Many countries have an identifiable ‘national dress’, which often express the spirit and priorities of their people – like the bucolic Austrian dirndl or the elegant Japanese kimono.
Modern Australia is defined by its multiculturalism and doesn’t have the same sort of clearly identifiable national dress. You’re more likely to see kurtas or Panama hats on the streets of Sydney or Melbourne than Driza-Bone jackets and Akubra hats.
But something all Aussies can get behind is the humble ‘double plugger’. Thongs, flip-flops, slides, jandals, whatever you want to call them – the egalitarian summer shoe of choice is a bona fide Australian cultural icon.
While 2020 has been a rough year for fashion, thongs have had an unexpectedly good year. With social distancing and hotel quarantine keeping Aussies inside, thongs have been on our feet more than ever. They’re the perfect around-the-house shoe. People from every level of Australian society has been rocking them – even our Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who shared some photos of himself on social media yesterday lounging about in quarantine wearing the real Australian national dress of swimmers and thongs.
Fresh back in the country after a trip to Japan to meet with their new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, ScoMo’s informal attire seems at odds with the splendour of his surrounds. Unlike most Australians returning from a trip overseas in 2020, ScoMo has skipped hotel quarantine and is instead quarantining at The Lodge, the Prime Minister’s official residence in Canberra.
Regardless of where you stand in regards to ScoMo’s performance as leader (or how performative his ‘everyday bloke’ image is), you can’t help but have a laugh at our ‘national dress’ as exhibited by the man in charge. It also seems as if he’s taken the same approach to businesswear that many Aussies working from home have: formal on top, casual on the bottom where the webcam can’t see you.
While many Aussies across Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn had plenty of praise for the PM, many were angry that unlike regular Australians, he didn’t have to endure hotel quarantine – nor foot the bill for it either.
“Not the same mate! You get to quarantine in your own home with no personal expense to you… And you get good food. Don’t insult the average Australian,” one irate commenter pointed out.
We’re more aggrieved that even our PM doesn’t know how to correctly mix smart with casual (a hallmark of modern Australian fashion we thought we were finally leaving behind).
In recent political news, Morrison joined other world leaders at 2020 G20 summit: scheduled to take place in Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, the international summit instead met online, a consequence of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Compared to many other G20 member nations, Australia is weathering The Bat Kiss remarkably well, but a fresh cluster of infections in Adelaide has been a source of concern.