Skip to navigationSkip to content
MODI TAKES MANHATTAN

What will Narendra Modi wear to visit the US?

Photomontage by Quartz/Images from AP and Reuters
Modi me.
By Jenni Avins
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

During his campaign to become Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi made a lasting impression with his eye-popping color palette, signature (now trademarked) half-sleeve kurtas, and incredible hats.

So what will he wear for his upcoming four-day tour in the US, which will include delivering an address at the United Nations General Assembly, a visit to the 9/11 memorial, meetings with corporate leaders, and meals with US vice president Joe Biden and president Barack Obama? Let’s have a look.

Though he’s still no shrinking violet, Modi’s style has quieted considerably since his election in May.

Reuters/Adnan Abidi
Modi wears a tweedy sleeveless Nehru jacket to host Afghan president Hamid Karzai in New Delhi.

The PM has recently favored neutral shades of bandi jackets layered over both long and short-sleeved kurtas. Earlier this month while hosting Chinese president Xi Jinping in India, there was nary a saffron-colored headpiece in sight.

AP Photo/Ajit Solanki
Modi takes a turn with Chinese president Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan in Ahmadabad, India.

Modi has dressed more conservatively still for diplomatic visits overseas. For an audience with Japanese emperor Akhito in Tokyo earlier this month, Modi went for a relatively modest mushroom-colored suit with a nehru collar—what’s commonly called a “Jodhpuri suit” in India.

AP Photo/Imperial Household Agency of Japan
Modi meets Japanese emperor Akihito in a sedate suit.

We predict Modi has packed some of his signature bandi-kurta combinations to address the General Assembly, and will probably go for something more formal for his visit to the White House—perhaps like the black suit he wore for a photo call with fellow BRICS leaders. We are hoping for a bit of flair, and it seems the UN would be the proper venue.

Reuters/Sergio Moraes
Modi works a sharp look for the BRICs and winter in Brazil.

Modi is said to have contracted Indian designer Troy Costa to prep his wardrobe for the visit. Costa is known for sharp, western-style suits and tuxedos, but we can’t imagine Modi abandoning his signature style entirely for such an important visit.

Reuters/Nacho Doce
Is that a hanky square?

He has also scheduled meetings with leaders from corporations such as Google, IBM, Goldman Sachs and Boeing, so we imagine he’ll have some sharp—but still Nehru-collared—suits in the mix. He could pair socks with his sandals, and fit right in at Google.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.