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Rummy Couples
October 8, 2012 6:14 AM   Subscribe

"Two people. I call them "Rummy Couples", dressed allmost alike. The last 5 years I managed to photograph 56 of them."
posted by like_neon (157 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
I knew that they would be over 40 and in exercise gear.

This phenomenon is called "Team Couple".
posted by Rat Spatula at 6:17 AM on October 8, 2012 [28 favorites]


Where's the 'windbreaker' tag?
posted by Huck500 at 6:18 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I knew that they would be over 40 and in exercise gear.

In fairness, there were two younger couples, one in tshirts and one in wetsuits.
posted by Forktine at 6:23 AM on October 8, 2012


I will genuinely view not purchasing his-and-hers or directly matching products as an achievement on my deathbed.
posted by jaduncan at 6:25 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Most just seem to be wearing the same jacket.
posted by BlueScreen at 6:26 AM on October 8, 2012 [26 favorites]


In some cases, this speaks louder than a metal band around the third finger ever could. I love it.
posted by sektah at 6:27 AM on October 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


My main experience with this was in the Seoul airport where it was usually young couples who went all out - shirts, hats, shoes, bag - everything. Made me wonder if there was a special store that catered towards this type of thing because it wasn't like the women were just wearing a size small in whatever the guy was wearing. They were really wearing a women's version of the same thing their partner was wearing. Anyway, that was last year and I wish I knew about this website then so that I could have sent him pictures.
posted by like_neon at 6:28 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Most just seem to be wearing the same jacket.

Some not, however. My eyes, they are boggled.
posted by jaduncan at 6:28 AM on October 8, 2012


I remember seeing a lot more of this in Taiwan and Japan, where it was much more coordinated. I think it was especially popular with younger folks as well.
posted by proneSMK at 6:29 AM on October 8, 2012


In some cases, this speaks louder than a metal band around the third finger ever could.

I got that sense from this one in particular.
posted by howfar at 6:29 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


A random sampling of two people dressing alike and no punks, no Goths, no hipsters?
posted by three blind mice at 6:29 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is my goal in life. Unfortunately my wife is smarter than me.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:30 AM on October 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


I've wondered for years why so many older couples wear matching cycling outfits when they're out for a ride. Is it so they don't lose each other in the event that a crowd of other cyclists suddenly gather?
posted by cmonkey at 6:31 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


A lot of the subjects have an expression that clearly says "Hey, is that asshole taking a picture of us?"
posted by Horace Rumpole at 6:32 AM on October 8, 2012 [56 favorites]


Oh dear. More than once I've purchased matching jackets for my other half and I for the simple reason that I hate shopping, found a great buy on a well-made, good fitting jacket and bought two out of practicality and laziness. Guess I won't be doing that for a while.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:34 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


I like how it's 20+ interchangeable older couples in matching Northface jackets, and then BAM, smiley teenagers in Brian Jonestown Massacre shirts. Aw.
posted by slow graffiti at 6:35 AM on October 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


He should attend a college football game, or a major league baseball game, he could line them up by the hundreds.

This is about a step up from the people of walmart site. And, the "Rummy" word... other than the card game, it seems to refer to drunkards..
posted by HuronBob at 6:36 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The first time I met my future in-laws (in their 70s at the time) they were both wearing jeans and pale green sweatshirts with baby seals on them. After they left, I asked my future husband, "Do your parents ALWAYS dress the same?" His response: "I've never seen them do that before! That was weird!"

We've been together for 8 years and I haven't seen them do that since.
posted by jillithd at 6:41 AM on October 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


Very smart of him to copyright his snapshots.
posted by NoMich at 6:42 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


He should attend a college football game, or a major league baseball game, he could line them up by the hundreds.

That's a very, very different thing. Wearing replica sports tops (or indeed the Brian Jonestown Massacre tees) is about a temporary token of group identity that is essentially event-based and is an unofficial uniform for that event.

The wearing of matching outfits in a his-and-hers way implies a loss of identity in the classical Bob-and-Stephen rather than individual Bob and individual Stephen way, and I find it much less appealing for that reason.
posted by jaduncan at 6:42 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


And, the "Rummy" word... other than the card game, it seems to refer to drunkards.

Obviously he's using the word rummy in reference to the card game.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:45 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is about a step up from the people of walmart site.

It's just pictures of people doing a particular interesting/odd/sweet/cute/whatever, thing. There seems no intent to ridicule or humiliate.

And, the "Rummy" word... other than the card game, it seems to refer to drunkards..

And if you told me I have strong calves I'd think you were calling me a farmer. It's just a play on words, probably both on rummy and on the matching game Rummikub. No reason to imagine that any of these people are being called alcoholics.
posted by howfar at 6:45 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would think this would be terribly impractical.

"Wait, this doesn't fit me, is this your jacket? Where's my jacket?"

"Dear, I'm looking for my keys."
"Did you check your jacket pocket?"
"Yes."
"No, that's my jacket. Yours is over there."

The backpacks doubly so.

"Why is my backpack so heavy?"
"That's my backpack. It has rocks in it."
"Damnit, I don't want rocks, I just want my wallet."

Et cetera.

We do have matching T-shirts from gaming conventions. We try not to wear them on the same day.
posted by BrashTech at 6:45 AM on October 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


There seems no intent to ridicule or humiliate.
I got the impression we were supposed to mock them for wearing similar clothes.
posted by MtDewd at 6:47 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


"Why is my backpack so heavy?"
"That's my backpack. It has rocks in it. Mwa ha ha ha ha, enjoy the hike." *runs off*

This message brought to you by Divorce Lawyers of America Association.
posted by jaduncan at 6:47 AM on October 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


A random sampling of two people dressing alike and no punks, no Goths, no hipsters?

Subcultures will often seem monolithic from an outsider's point of view. I would guess that there are distinguishing differences that only a member would pick up on.

Are these people mostly tourists? Why is it supposed to be awkward when you find out you're wearing similar clothes to somebody else?
posted by quosimosaur at 6:47 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


My wife and I have matching black fleece jackets from REI. We were equipping ourselves for a backpacking trip and they were super cheap. We used to never wear them at the same time in public, but eventually we stopped caring. On our last camping trip, our friends suggested that my wife embroider her collar.
posted by hydrophonic at 6:49 AM on October 8, 2012


I can tell you exactly how most of these pictures came to be.

"Oh look, honey, these jackets are on sale."
"Grab two."
posted by Sternmeyer at 6:50 AM on October 8, 2012 [39 favorites]


When I travel, I try not to be too conspicuous. These people seem not to care. Maybe you just stop caring when you get to that age?
posted by quosimosaur at 6:51 AM on October 8, 2012


Aw, you guys are so cynical. It makes me think of Ben Stiller's fictitious family in The Royal Tenenbaums in the best way. There is never anything wrong with matching track suits. Never.
posted by sweltering at 6:54 AM on October 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Mrs. slkinsey and I often prefer to give lots of minor gifts rather than one large one on the major gift-giving occasions. The first Christmas we spent together, we ended up gifting each other identical bathrobes -- completely unplanned and even purchased at different stores.
posted by slkinsey at 6:56 AM on October 8, 2012


Is it just me, or do other people when they see a huge copyright notice splattered on a picture want to crop it off and do something or other with it?
posted by Wordshore at 6:58 AM on October 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


It is likely these people are visiting from tiny remote countries, where there is only one poorly stocked store. Or their country has a unique micro-climate and only one particular garment is applicable.

In the latter case, manufacturers should make mirror images by flipping the plans, like they to in rubber stamp housing tracts. Presumably the female versions do have the zipper-tongue on the left side, and that's how they tell them apart.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:59 AM on October 8, 2012


Only 56 in five years?

Obviously the photographer has never been to Palm Springs. You'll see 56 in five minutes!
posted by PapaLobo at 7:00 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The first Christmas we spent together, we ended up gifting each other identical bathrobes -- completely unplanned and even purchased at different stores.

And each with a still warm human heart in the the pocket. Mwhaha mwahahahahhah!

Sorry.
posted by howfar at 7:01 AM on October 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


My main experience with this was in the Seoul airport where it was usually young couples who went all out - shirts, hats, shoes, bag - everything. Made me wonder if there was a special store that catered towards this type of thing because it wasn't like the women were just wearing a size small in whatever the guy was wearing.

One Chinese blogger has a few hypothetical explanations for this fashion phenomenon: "Maybe it's because collectivity is valued as more important in Asian society. Another explanation is that public displays of affection remain something of a taboo here. Matching outfits are a kind of substitute for the lack of kisses and hugs they can share in public."

Incidentally, in addition to assorted photographs of matching couples, she provides a sample rack from a t-shirt shop in Beijing that specializes in matching outfits.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:02 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


Axiom 1: There is never anything wrong with matching track suits. Never.

Axiom 2: Everything said by people in matching tracksuits is a lie.

Mwa ha ha ha.
posted by jaduncan at 7:05 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]



I once broke up with a girl because she bought a jacket that matched mine.

although, truth told, it wasn't that so much as it made me re-evaluate things in a new and unfavorable light. I feel bad sometimes, though, and sort of regret doing it, because she was really sweet. But, look, we'd only been dating for 6 weeks. Just no.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:08 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


My parents have matching everything. They think it's hilarious. They'd be smiling like fools in a doublemint gum ad for that photographer. But hey, they can find each other in crowds (and other people can help!) and there is no chance that people would mistake them for anything but two people who should be treated exactly the same and with the same preferences. Since they like that, it makes everything very, very simple.

On the flipside, I haven't spent time with them as not-a-conjoined-unit in over 20 years. Well, except for that time two years ago when my dad and I drove to the bank. Mom was at home and their matching sweaters were apart for only 20 minutes.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:10 AM on October 8, 2012 [35 favorites]


My new guy and I are just about the same size. We've already started to occasionally just grab each other's shirts when heading out in the morning, but if I start buying matching things, I think I'll have to break up with him and start dating either giants or people much, much shorter than me.
posted by xingcat at 7:10 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I got the impression we were supposed to mock them for wearing similar clothes.

Our impressions must originate from different distribution centres.
posted by hat_eater at 7:11 AM on October 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


If nothing else, this is a good guide to determine what kind of windbreaker you favor. So many options!
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 7:11 AM on October 8, 2012


I tell all the little children that if they are lost and scared, go to the people in the matching track suits for help.

Okay, not really... but hey, not a bad idea. And, aw, you guys, don't you notice that most of these people are holding hands or arm in arm? Romance has not died for these folks, it just got matchier. I think they're adorable.
posted by taz at 7:12 AM on October 8, 2012 [35 favorites]


This would be so easy to do in certain well to do gay neighborhoods that it would be pointless to try.
posted by The Whelk at 7:15 AM on October 8, 2012


I do this with my son as often as possible. He's still young enough to think it's awesome.
posted by sciurus at 7:17 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I knew that they would be over 40 and in exercise gear.

I'll have to admit, I was expecting something like this.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:17 AM on October 8, 2012


I guessed this would be Holland or Germany before I even clicked the link. Most of these couples were cute together.
posted by arcticseal at 7:17 AM on October 8, 2012


Each is an example of a duprass.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 7:17 AM on October 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Mmmm. I had to do a quick gut check. My husband and I don't have anything matching per se but we do have very similar styles so that it is pretty clear from looking at us we are a couple. We both favor plain black: black boots with black jeans and often black shirts as well. The difference (and thank god there are some) is that I favor buttoned shirts and he favors T-shirts. I will be vigilant about the matching windbreaker thing, though-- it will be easy enough since I loath windbreakers.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:18 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes, on a gloomy fall day kind of like this one, my partner and I need to pop down to the store or go get a soup in town. We each, separately (yes we have different rooms for clothes), change out of our pajamas and put on something appropriate for the day and weather. Usually this means jeans, T-shirt and black hoodie. Sometimes I go find a different shirt but sometimes not, eh.

Strangely enough, even my mother and I go out dressed alike, but that's because SHE wears a black hoodie sometimes.

On preview, Secret Life of Gravy: same here on the similar styles.
posted by bobobox at 7:20 AM on October 8, 2012


'rummy' means weird. Just a data point on the side of this exercise being intended to mock those people
posted by winna at 7:21 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's practical - if one gets lost during the field trip, it won't be hard to track down their buddy.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:21 AM on October 8, 2012


God I hate it when people fail to properly individuate themselves through their timing of when to wear mass produced consumer purchases. It is almost like they are wearing clothing for a reason other than communicating with me.
posted by srboisvert at 7:22 AM on October 8, 2012 [20 favorites]


I don't think the pairs in cheap rain ponchos should count.
posted by klarck at 7:23 AM on October 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


My entire family once owned identical jackets that my mom had gotten for free from her workplace (they had her company logo on them). Yes, we'd wear them all at the same time - they were warm! And free! And pretty poorly-fitting!

Once I wore the jacket to school and a classmate of mine whose dad worked for the same company was wearing the exact same jacket. I never wore mine outside the house again.

From that perspective, as someone whose family could be the banner photo, I don't see these photographs as mean-spirited.
posted by muddgirl at 7:25 AM on October 8, 2012


I've done the generic and accidental black tee-jeans-docs, or, blue hoodie-cargo shorts-sneakers kind of matching before. I expected to see more of that. But really, there must be more folks like these guys... That these are almost all just about a jacket (and some just about an emergency poncho) seems pretty silly.
posted by mdn at 7:29 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


control+f "sale". Yep.
posted by cashman at 7:32 AM on October 8, 2012


Hah hah because g*d forbid two people being happy together & doing their thing without the internet laughing at them.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:32 AM on October 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's kinda sweet on the older folks, but anyone older than a teenager but younger than 50 or so, it induces reflexive eye-roll.
posted by smirkette at 7:32 AM on October 8, 2012


This would be so easy to do in certain well to do gay neighborhoods that it would be pointless to try

"You see son, when that web site came out, corny old white married republicans realized they had more in common with corny old white gay couples than probably any other group. And that's how Audrey's two daddies were allowed to get married."
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:33 AM on October 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


A quick google translate on the text at the top:

"Since 2007 I photograph them. Couples. No employees with uniforms! Wearing the same fuselage skin is a minimum requirement. I shoot them as an endangered species. Almost always I suggest they ask why they have the same jacket, sweater, t-shirts, Body Warmer, tracksuit jacket or wear. I think that is important and makes this type of street photography informative than the obligation of registering people in public space."

I didn't think this was at all mean-spirited. At the very worst it's "here is a thing I noticed enough that I think it's a thing" and I personally thought a few of the examples were actually really sweet.

Also - fuselage skin
posted by like_neon at 7:36 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hah hah because g*d forbid two people being happy together & doing their thing without the internet laughing at them.

Is this sort of thing weird where other people come from? Because it seems sort of normal where I'm from. Clothes are on sale, you have similar tastes, there's a pretty narrow range of appropriate clothing in places where you're dressing for utility over fashion (a lot of these people just seem to be wearing the same windbreakers because, hey, weather) and if you're dressing for utility over fashion who even cares if you look the same?

But the funny joke where I'm from is how if you go to a party with other librarians and you're in one of the many households where people remove their shoes, you're pretty likely to go home in another person's clogs.
posted by jessamyn at 7:39 AM on October 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


This would be so easy to do in certain well to do gay neighborhoods that it would be pointless to try

In 80s SF, I was aware of gay men being frustrated that they couldn't find someone without matching their own jean jacket and zippered hoodie. There was even a wall-sized graffiti, "I don't want to be clonely tonight."
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:40 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


HImself is a tall man with long arms, and the rare clothes that fit him well are bought whether or not I already own something similar. Which is how we ended up with virtually matching grey wool sweaters. The sweaters are a very subtle bone of contention all winter long - they are both sturdy and warm, and on bitterly cold days there's a race to see who gets dressed first and gets to wear a grey sweater. He's an honourable man, so I suspect he often lets me win, and spends the day just a little bit chilly so that we're not matchy-matchy.

But I can see the day coming when we're old enough not to give a shit anymore, and we'll both be warm.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 7:41 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


you're pretty likely to go home in another person's clogs

These librarian parties sound interesting. Go on.
posted by howfar at 7:42 AM on October 8, 2012 [22 favorites]


There was even a wall-sized graffiti, "I don't want to be clonely tonight."

This may well have been a reference to the Castro clone fashion trend.
posted by howfar at 7:44 AM on October 8, 2012


True story:

My favorite brand of shoes is Cydwoq. They're hand made, extremely comfortable, durable, and unique.

My sister started dating a new boy and she brings him to my house to meet me and he sees my shoes and freaks over them. Ridiculously complimentary to the point that I think he's making fun of me.

A few months later the two of them show up to go out for lunch. I go to open the door, the top half of which is glass and I can see that the boyfriend is absolutely beaming. I cannot recall the last time I saw someone so happy.

I open the door. He says, "D! I got the shoes."

"What shoes?"

"The shoes!" And he looks down. I follow his gaze.

He's gone out purchased an identical pear of my hand-made shoes. The shoes I'm then wearing to go to lunch.

I'm puzzled. "Okay... why?"

"They're awesome!"

"But they're my shoes."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I now have to change my shoes so that we don't look like idiots walking down the street in identical clothing."

"What do you mean?"

I changed my shoes and we went to lunch.

My sister married the guy. I never grew to like him. Every time I go to a family gathering or think I'm going to encounter them--and this is now 10 years later--I have to worry about what I'm wearing on my feet.

Rummy, indeed.
posted by dobbs at 7:45 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


My mother would buy his n' her matching jackets from the Fingerhut catalog for her and dad. Hard to get much tackier than that (unless it's tobacco company swag). Never heard dad complain though. Then there was the family at church who had something like family uniforms. The same knitted sweater on everyone, matching color schemes, that sort of thing.

And "fuselage skin" is going to become a thing all on its own- like goosebumps but with rivets.
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 7:45 AM on October 8, 2012


you're pretty likely to go home in another person's clogs

Ha! At yoga studios, too!
posted by bobobox at 7:48 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Every time I go to a family gathering or think I'm going to encounter them--and this is now 10 years later--I have to worry about what I'm wearing on my feet.

Yeah. He's totally crazy.
posted by howfar at 7:48 AM on October 8, 2012 [44 favorites]


My wife and I have done the matching windbreaker thing once, not out of some desire to dress the same but because we both packed equally poorly for a trip that turned out to be colder than we expected.
posted by JaredSeth at 7:49 AM on October 8, 2012


This may well have been a reference to the Castro clone fashion trend.
posted by howfar


Yeah it was, but the Castro clones I knew didn't want to be with mirror images. Also, it was a damn practical outfit for that weather. I was relieved to be visiting my relatives in rural areas where I could make that pairing without being judged.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:51 AM on October 8, 2012


howfar, I should have indicated that I still wear the shoes he copied. I just have them resoled every two years or so. They get better with age.
posted by dobbs at 7:51 AM on October 8, 2012


Is "Rummy" Dutch for "Creeper"?
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 7:54 AM on October 8, 2012


Maybe it's just me but "same shoes" != "identical clothing". In fact, shoes are probably the last thing I ever notice about somebody's appearance.

(But I know other people can be different. This may also be part of why my wife is constantly exasperated by my apparently super ugly shoes.)
posted by kmz at 7:55 AM on October 8, 2012


Yeah, I don't read this as a sign of mockery, more respect if anything. Old people who have checked out of the game of cool / social appropriateness seem to have leveled up, in a certain way, compared to the rest of us. Especially old couples, cause who do they got to impress? They've got each other, and if the rest of you don't like what they're doing, you can keep it to yourselves thank you very much.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:55 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just have them resoled every two years or so. They get better with age.

This is definitely true about good shoes. When I have sufficient funds, I plan on doing all my shoe shopping for the rest of my life in a single trip. Perhaps a dozen pairs of really good shoes to last me until death. I find something deeply comforting in the notion.

Now I sound crazy.
posted by howfar at 7:56 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe it's just me but "same shoes" != "identical clothing". In fact, shoes are probably the last thing I ever notice about somebody's appearance.

A friend of mine always notices when twenty-something BFF girls in different outfits have the same shoes. It's pretty common, and would make for a more subtle photo essay.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:58 AM on October 8, 2012


Dress-alike couples appear to be more egalitarian. Is it just me or do these couples also appear to be noticeably more similar in height than a random sampling of couples?

This would be like nature where monogamous species are less sexually dimorphic. Compare it with Jersey Shore, where men are supposed to bulk up into giant gorillas and sleep around with harems of diminutive snookies.
posted by dgaicun at 7:59 AM on October 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, the jackets don't stand out since, many people (even in this thread) seem to lump those into the same category as umbrellas or disposable ponchos (which totally don't count)—the wetsuits don't even register. The matching t-shirts are a silly but not exactly remarkable. The matching black shoes, black jeans, black polo shirt, and grey sweatshirts of my god why did you do that are you in a cult.
posted by wreckingball at 8:04 AM on October 8, 2012


Back in the 90s I liked to play spotting matching shell suits (along with most garish shell suit)... I once saw a family of four all in the same shell suits.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:05 AM on October 8, 2012


I plan on doing all my shoe shopping for the rest of my life in a single trip. ...
posted by howfar


Be careful. I did that on a trip to Rome, scheduled specifically during the once-a-year shoe sales. Then my foot inexplicably grew another half size. I spent years eyeing friend's feet to guess if they were candidates for a gift of a pair of new, too-small, shoes. Men's size 10? Hit me up, still have a few.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:06 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't blame both of them blame just one. All it takes is one half of the couple to be inspired by the other half and voila one day you wake up and you're team couple.
posted by dydecker at 8:06 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not one Rumsfeld in the batch. Hmmph.
posted by yoga at 8:09 AM on October 8, 2012


Note to self: Throw away cargo shorts.
posted by mule98J at 8:14 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It somehow reminds me of those adorable monogamous prairie voles. Someone should test these couples for higher than usual dopamine levels.
posted by elgilito at 8:15 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


shopping for the rest of my life

Just an aside, Eric Satie came into some money as a young man and bought 12 identical grey velvet suits. He correctly expected that he might not earn enough money to remain presentable. At his death there were still a few in his closet.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:22 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


apparently in Germany this is called "partner look" using the American words. heehee. been trying to get Mr Supermedusa to do this with me for years!!!!! (with velour tracksuits)
posted by supermedusa at 8:27 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Many of these are rain gear on people who are likely sightseeing in Amsterdam. I don't think that counts. Go on vacation with your wife, and pack a couple of rain jackets "just in case"? They probably picked them up at a sale somewhere just to travel with.

There's way better examples of this. Looks like this guy just went around a tourist area on a rainy day. Bah.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 8:28 AM on October 8, 2012


bought 12 identical grey velvet suits

The only thing that really stuck with me from The Fly, despite my love of Cronenburg's body-horror, was Jeff Goldblum's closet full of identical suits. The idea of accomplishing in a single act that which is normally a Sisyphean task seems wonderfully liberating.
posted by howfar at 8:28 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you live in the USA, and you work at or frequently visit a tourist attraction like a theme park, you could easily snap 56 of these kinds of photos in an hour or two...so while I guess it's an interesting phenomenon to make fun of elsewhere it's not terribly novel to me.
posted by trackofalljades at 8:30 AM on October 8, 2012


It somehow reminds me of those adorable monogamous prairie voles.

I am a published vole biologist (no, I'm not kidding), so I know a bit about that finding. One thing that is fascinating to me is that the prairie vole, Microtus ochrogaster, exhibits monogamy, whereas the closely related meadow vole*, Microtus pennsylvanicus, is promiscuous.

Meadow Voles: workin' the clubs
Prairie Voles: Matching track jackets

* the only assured way of telling a prairie vole from a meadow vole is that one of the voles has three inner angular loops on its third upper bicuspid, the other has two. I spent countless hours on this one summer to find out which vole I had on my study site. I'm thankful to say my prairie party was off the hook with swingin meadow voles
posted by mcstayinskool at 8:34 AM on October 8, 2012 [53 favorites]


Well, hey, I know why he calls 'em "rummy" ... there was a goddam PIRATE in one of the pictures. And pirates drink rum, right?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:36 AM on October 8, 2012


But the funny joke where I'm from is how if you go to a party with other librarians and you're in one of the many households where people remove their shoes, you're pretty likely to go home in another person's clogs.

This happens in Texas, except with Tevas.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:49 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you live in the USA, and you work at or frequently visit a tourist attraction like a theme park, you could easily snap 56 of these kinds of photos in an hour or two..

YEah, absolutely. I've spent my life in such setting, and this phenomenon is totally unremarkable. I think there are a few different things that give rise to it:

1. Couple has utilitarian approach to clothing, likes comfort. One person shops for things for both because the other is uninterested in shopping.
2. Couple is traveling and didn't pack rain gear. Outdoor shops, department stores, and even pharmacies in tourist towns carry cheap, basic windbreakers and sell them like hotcakes. If it's colder or wetter than expected, one person will pop out and just buy the easiest thing, 2 identical windbreakers from what is usually a narrow selection. It's not like they're shopping for top-of-the-line, use-a-long-time outdoor gear - it's for an immediate need, and because they're traveling they're not looking to invest, just get out of there for under $100 and be a little more comfortable for the rest of the trip.
3. Two people legitimately have the same taste and like appearing to be a team, like iamkimiam's parents. My parents have friends who are like this. The uniform is jeans and comfy walking shoes, and the tops are almost always T-shirts or sweatshirts with images from nature, like wolves or whales. Comfort is king, but they really genuinely like those images, and they like them together.
4. Whole families often do a "Family uniform" thing which is an intentional strategy meant to help parents and children find one another in a crowd. It's usually a t-shirt in a bright color like red, lime green, or orange. Old Navy shirts are especially popular for this, because they come in sizes for any age and are wicked cheap.

So I thought this link was going to be more about Category 3, and was really disappointed to see that most of them fall into the category of 2 or 4 which I'd call "yeah, they're just traveling." When you're traveling - especially the type of traveling where you're going to spend the day on foot and on public transport sightseeing and need to be totally comfortable for long walks in all weather - you make different and much simpler and more pragmatic choices that don't really reflect your normal style preferences. A study on Category 3 might be more interesting, but still I'm not sure that "people who like each other also like the same kind of clothing and often adopt the same general look" is really breaking news.
posted by Miko at 8:56 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Another possible explanation, at least for some of these couples:On pricey cruises/trips (like these), the organizers often give brightly colored parkas or jackets to the participants. The ship then stops at some port city and everybody dons their parka and away they go. (Note-- I've not experienced this myself but my in-laws have spiffy red matching National Geographic parkas.)
posted by tuesdayschild at 9:04 AM on October 8, 2012


If you live in the USA, and you work at or frequently visit a tourist attraction like a theme park, you could easily snap 56 of these kinds of photos in an hour or two...

I am a big Walt Disney World fan, as in I go every couple of years. I belong on a couple of WDW forums. There are message boards where people exchange various patterns for iron-on designs so that people can create matching t-shirts for everyone in their party -- parents, kids, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. Some have mentioned as many as 10-15 people, all in matching custom t-shirts.

And not just for one day, oh no! Then you might get confused as to whether this picture was from your first day at Epcot, or your second day at the Magic Kingdom. They make matching t-shirts for each person for each day of the trip. Of course, these people also tend to have the entire trip schedued in 15 minute intervals, so as to make maximum use of park time, so not your usual group.

I go every other year, I plan my park days according to crowd callendars, and I have a general idea of what I want to do each day. That is why I am a fan, not a fanatic.
posted by pbrim at 9:05 AM on October 8, 2012


Very few of the couples seem to be having much fun.
Most of the women seem suspicious of something.
Fewer of the couples than I would have thought have grown to look like one another despite their clothes.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:07 AM on October 8, 2012


Did he not think of going to a nudist colony?
posted by Pararrayos at 9:13 AM on October 8, 2012


Great, the only thing worse than pictures of 50+ year old couples in matching track suits is pictures of 50+ year old couples without track suits.

Thank you, but no.
posted by Blue_Villain at 9:16 AM on October 8, 2012


Especially old couples, cause who do they got to impress? They've got each other, and if the rest of you don't like what they're doing, you can keep it to yourselves thank you very much.

Along these lines, a comment from ChurchHatesTucker in the thread about the guy wearing a skirt to support his son:

There's something liberating about middle age. I have a pink iPhone case because it's easy to find. I have a My Little Pony (Cheerilee!) hanging from my car's mirror because it makes it easier to distinguish in a parking lot full of blue Toyotas. I would have zero problems with wearing a skirt in solidarity with my crossdressing son.

And now I totally get the old guys with their high waisted pants. Because Fuck You is why.

posted by Killick at 9:18 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very few of the couples seem to be having much fun.
Most of the women seem suspicious of something.Most of the women seem suspicious of something.


It's hard to have fun when you are being stalked by internet photographers. Perhaps they resent being called "rummy" as well, because of the well-documented misunderstanding.
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:19 AM on October 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's hard to have fun when you are being stalked by internet photographers

Speak for yourself.
posted by josher71 at 9:22 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This sometimes happens on accident around here. I honestly don't notice until Mr. Mustachio says "Dammit, now I have to change." and I notice we're both wearing burgundy shirts, black pants, and black hoodies.


He didn't care when we last went camping and we were both wearing black hooded shirts and brown adventure pants (You know, those comfortable outdoor pants with lots of pockets. Not cargo pants. Usually made of some kind of weird light fabric. Adventure pants.) Of course, a wild photographer appeared near our cabin, so we very well may end up on a site like this, hiking up the trail in our matching camping uniforms.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:24 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Very few of the couples seem to be having much fun.
Most of the women seem suspicious of something.


There are two basic approaches to street photography: Being totally invisible - the "artistic spy" - and being very open and friendly to your subjects. I'm not sure which one this guy's going for, but either way, he appears to be awful.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:27 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I remember reading about a couple in Smithsonian Magazine back in the 1980s (maybe?) that wore matching outfits. I distinctly remember they had camp shirts with pink flamingos on them. I think the wife made the outfits though.
posted by vespabelle at 9:31 AM on October 8, 2012


My wife is an inveterate hat brim crumpler, and I buy replacement hats every year or so. As a result, even though we mostly make an extra effort to not dress alike we occasionally wear the same outback style sun hats. One day we passed a homeless guy on the sidewalk who took one look at us and croaked WHERE'S YOUR CROCODILE? HEH HEH HA HA. I think it was about three years before she'd wear one of those hats again.

Every time I go to a family gathering or think I'm going to encounter them--and this is now 10 years later--I have to worry about what I'm wearing on my feet.

I'm guessing there's at least one person now plotting how to prank you at the next Toronto meetup.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:42 AM on October 8, 2012


The technical term for couples that dress alike in this manner, especially when doing an activity together, is "pod".
posted by clvrmnky at 9:44 AM on October 8, 2012


"I must harness the forces of ridicule and shame to ensure that folks suffer negative consequences for transgressing against the arbitrary norms upon which I predicate my self-esteem, for if they provide living proof that rigorous adherence to the Law of Fashion is not a precondition for being a flourishing human, I will be forced to confront the essential vapidity and arbitrariness of my worldview. Also: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED because I totally invented being a creepy asshole who stalks folk in order to ridicule them."
posted by kengraham at 9:45 AM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've always known this as "Howard and Hilda", after a similarly dressed UK sitcom couple.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:47 AM on October 8, 2012


I'm still having a hard time seeing either ridicule or shame, at least in the original Dutch tag. Sometimes people get a weird compulsion about some otherwise-common phenomenon. Sometimes we want to share that.

I wonder if ridicule is commonly read in because most of the photos seem to be taken surreptitiously, although some are posed. If this were an art project similar to other pseudo-anthropoligical photography studies (like the subculture photo series), would be seen as less hateful?
posted by muddgirl at 9:51 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Jut en Jul" is a dutch expression for an odd couple. The closest english that I could find are "Frick and Frack" or "Tweedledum and Tweedledee".
posted by Pendragon at 10:12 AM on October 8, 2012


Very few of the couples seem to be having much fun.
Most of the women seem suspicious of something.


...this is default mode for any middle-aged couple on vacation.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:29 AM on October 8, 2012


Sometimes people get a weird compulsion about some otherwise-common phenomenon. Sometimes we want to share that.

In this case, the phenomenon in question is an innocuous behaviour that unintentionally apparently violates arbitrary aesthetic rules, and it seems like weird compulsions about it are judgmental at some level. The surreptitiousness adds to this feeling, as does the coining of a glib name for the people in question. If it were truly pseudo-anthropological, and not basically similar to People of Walmart or Look At This Fucking Hipster, then the "telling their story" aspect would have been highlighted more. There's little effort made to explain the phenomenon, or even to explain why it's something worth documenting, or if it really is a single phenomenon and not a bunch of idiosyncratic situations that are cosmetically similar. The effect, to me, is "look at these weird people".

From the faces, it actually seems like there are at least two totally different phenomena, here: the posed pictures and the surreptitious ones. Subjects of what appear to be the latter have expressions, in some of the pictures, indicating that they've spotted the camera and feel straight-up threatened. The posed ones are more complicated, because it's hard to tell if the subjects are complicit in whatever the photographer's project is, or if they're being flattered into doing something for which they will be mocked, or what. I wonder if they were told that they are examples of "rummy couples".

Granted, I read the English version, and there is some Dutch text in the "News" section that I did not read because I do not read Dutch, but it didn't appear to have the meat required to make me believe that this is a sympathetic, or even neutral, portrayal of these people.
posted by kengraham at 10:32 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw a couple once wearing t-shirt with photos of the other one's face silk screened on the front. It was oddly creepy.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:32 AM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


violates arbitrary aesthetic rules

Sometimes I get the feeling that the old guys with their pants hitched up to their chest know exactly what they are doing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:48 AM on October 8, 2012


In this case, the phenomenon in question is an innocuous behaviour apparently violates arbitrary aesthetic rules, and it seems like weird compulsions about it are judgmental at some level.

Well yes, exactly. I went through a phase where I couldn't help but notice when I saw a heterosexual couple where the woman was dressed neatly and cleanly, while the male was (usually intentionally) scruffy and disheveled. It's completely common and innocuous. Was I being judgemental in noting it? Maybe. When are humans NOT judgemental? Are we not, right now, passing judgement on this photographer based on context? For me, the dividing line is between saying, "Hey, I notice this thing, isn't it unusual?" And "Hey, I notice this thing, and I hate it." Maybe other people see more of the second than the first.

and not basically similar to People of Walmart

For me, the difference between this collection and PoW is that PoW is making an implicit value judgement - that people who shop at Walmart are freaks. They're inhuman (that's straight up explicit - the front page shows the "Feature Creature"). But beyond wearing matching tops, what do the people in this "Rummy" photoset have in common? Are they all tourists? No. Are they all old people? No. Are they all fat? No. So what value judgement is the photographer making?
posted by muddgirl at 10:48 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why does this produce such strong feelings? And it does produce strong feelings - I see these pictures and I have a visceral reaction of despair, shame and disgust. I assume from some of the strongly-worded comments in this thread that people have a lot of relatively strong reactions of various kinds. Given that these aren't photos of, say, cops beating down some child on the subway or teapartiers turning people away from the polls or something else that clearly causes disgust and dismay, why?

And why is is ridiculous to wear the same clothes as your partner, especially your heterosexual partner?

I assume here that a lot of strong feelings on this type of thing are projection of fears and wishes about the self:

1. Fear of aging; hatred of people who show signs of age. "Middle-aged" is used in this thread quite clearly as a synonym for "past-it, clueless, boring, joyless".
2. Fear of being ridiculed. For me, part of my response to these pictures is a feeling of "jesus christ, don't those people know how stupid they look? what if I accidentally look that stupid and don't even realize it? Must project hatred!"
3. Fear of not recognizing social cues - a particularly strong one for me as a nerdy person who has trouble with certain social cues.
4. Cultural distaste for heterosexual monogamy (we don't know that any of these couple are monogamous - they could all be swingers! - but I feel like there's a certain 'these people embody all that is boring about long-term straight relationships' in the discourse) - I mean, monogamous marriage is simultaneously held up as a sort of civic ideal and despised as a trap or a surrender, especially for men.
5. And reasoning from 4, I feel like there's something about gender in here somewhere but I can't quite pinpoint it. Is it seen as de-sexing to wear these clothes, and a de-sexed woman is despised while a de-sexed man is believed to be emasculated?
6. Self-formation through ownership, consumption and correct display - fear of incorrect self-formation?
7. American myths of rugged individuals - if you're dressed just like your wife in some godawful nylon jacket, you certainly aren't the rugged frontier-conquering individual, are you? Gender probably plays in here too.

I also wonder how "fear of being seen" plays into this, for everyone but especially for white people. I know I loathe and fear the idea of being photographed without my consent while I'm just flailing around. I know that this brings together for me a lot of stuff about gender, sexuality and embodiment, but it's also a bit about race - as a white person, I get used to a kind of "invisibility" in that I see myself as viewer/judge/primary audience/hero but rarely think of myself as being seen critically. (I mean, from a gender standpoint I'm used to "being seen critically; it's the condition of my existence, but there's a particular kind of racialized invisibility too.)

As to what to do about this, I have no idea.
posted by Frowner at 11:30 AM on October 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


This is my goal in life. Unfortunately my wife is smarter than me.

Oh, mine too. "Honey, why are my panties all stretched out?"
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:34 AM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


So what value judgement is the photographer making?

"These people are behaving in a way that warrants exposing them to the scrutiny of the internet in a setting where I get to structure the narrative by declaring that they are part of a class of people with a common characteristic and giving that class of people a funny name."

What they have in common is: a photographer has chosen an unimportant detail of their self-presentation and elevated it into a Thing. It's fine to make whatever observations you want, but if you were operating HeteroSexualCouplesWithDivergentGroomingStandards.wordpress.com, I'd want to see some serious analysis and reassurance that your motives extended beyond lulz, or malicious conflation of aesthetic judgment and moral judgment, or I might think you were being manipulative or mean.

And yes, I'm probably being extremely judgmental, because I happen to think it's okay to judge the public moral behaviour of strangers in ways its not okay to voice public judgment* of the fashion decisions of strangers in ways that make it hard for them to defend themselves. At minimum, this photographer has misunderstood the potential of the Internet Hate Machine and not done his due diligence in terms of justifying his project as an observational or artistic thing and not as an unkind lulz-engine.

*Given the existence of stuff like PoW and LATFH, this type of photoset, absent a detailed explanation of what the photographer is trying to achieve and some discouragement of the "Oh! Exploitable!" crowd, is judgmental by its very existence. There's nothing wrong with being judgmental, but expressing it publicly, when not trying to right some actual wrong, is kind of a dick move.
posted by kengraham at 11:46 AM on October 8, 2012


EVA & ADELE, and Gilbert & George have made a lifelong artistic statement of this.

I think most of the cagoule twins were just in a hurry though.
posted by tardigrade at 12:00 PM on October 8, 2012


And why is is ridiculous to wear the same clothes as your partner, especially your heterosexual partner?

Exactly nothing. A cool thing about having a partner who shares one's relevant dimensions is the Communal Jeans-and-Hoodies Pile. A cool thing about having a mutual friend much bigger than either of you is literally wearing the same pajamas as your partner at the same time.

I'm bothered by this site not because I think there's something lulzy or pathetic about the folks depicted, but because I know that other viewers might have such ideas ("doesn't the photographer know how stupid random intertubizens will think these people look?"), and I don't think it's nice to expose people -- for no reason -- to the scrutiny of an anonymous public that includes such people.
posted by kengraham at 12:04 PM on October 8, 2012


or malicious conflation of aesthetic judgment and moral judgment

Again, on this particular site I don't see any conflation of aesthetic judgement and moral judgement (unless "Jut en Jul" has a negative connotation that I'm missing"), the way I do with PoW. Does a site like The Sartorialist avoid this sort of assumption because the focus is on positive aesthetic judgements? Why is "I don't like what they are wearing" a moral judgement, but "I like what they are wearing" isn't? I will never be featured on the Sartorialist - if curation is a moral judgement, then isn't The Sartorialist making a negative moral judgement about those he doesn't feature?

and I don't think it's nice to expose people -- for no reason -- to the scrutiny of an anonymous public that includes such people

It's futile to try to control the reactions of other people. Some people almost certainly read The Sartorialist to mock those featured there. Should the Sartorialist refrain from his street shots?
posted by muddgirl at 12:07 PM on October 8, 2012


unless "Jut en Jul" has a negative connotation that I'm missing

I should say that I'm obviously not Dutch, but google searches seem to show that it's a term that is often self-applied in a way that may be, at worst, gently self-deprecating. I don't think we have a very analogous term in the US.
posted by muddgirl at 12:11 PM on October 8, 2012


Waiter! Take these beans back, they're overthought!
posted by howfar at 12:14 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


quosimosaur: A random sampling of two people dressing alike and no punks, no Goths, no hipsters?

Subcultures will often seem monolithic from an outsider's point of view. I would guess that there are distinguishing differences that only a member would pick up on.
Agreed. While Goths, punks, and hipsters might follow a general "aesthetic", individual fashion sense is highly prized in all three of those cultures - looking like you simply copied another's style is actually a big fashion faux-pas, for them. I'd be mightily surprised if one could find a single example of a couple identically dressed, from any of those three.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:33 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's futile to try to control the reactions of other people.

Of course, but that doesn't mean one should encourage those reactions without at least trying to indicate that one isn't participating in the mockery (by, for example, refraining from calling people names).

I had not seen the Sartorialist before*, but that doesn't seem to be a good analogy, since the Sartorialist is pretty obviously a good-faith blog about fashion, and therefore carries some conceptual metadata saying "I have a purpose other than mockery, even if some people use me that way". That's absent in the FPPed website.

*and found it alienating at first glance; although the reasons are probably not relevant here, I should disclose this reaction in case it's related to my reaction to the FPP in ways I'm not aware of.
posted by kengraham at 12:35 PM on October 8, 2012



To Brits of a certain age , it suffices to say ' Howard And Hilda'
posted by rosbif at 1:03 PM on October 8, 2012


My main experience with this was in the Seoul airport where it was usually young couples who went all out - shirts, hats, shoes, bag - everything. Made me wonder if there was a special store that catered towards this type of thing because it wasn't like the women were just wearing a size small in whatever the guy was wearing.

@like_neon and DoctorZed

I live in Seoul, and there are both shops that sell couples' everything (down to couples' underwear) as well as non-couply shops that just go out of their way to stock and display matching clothes and sizes on mannequin couples. Couples that dress alike sometimes just do a similar jacket, or a same shirt but different color, or go all out - everything same down to shoe and socks and accessories (watch, backpack, etc).
posted by nile_red at 1:45 PM on October 8, 2012


I've wondered for years why so many older couples wear matching cycling outfits when they're out for a ride.

Actually, this is the easiest thing in the world to explain. For a lot of couples, one person cares more about how they and their partner look than the other one does. That person spends a lot of time suggesting clothes for the other one to wear, and on average the other one dutifully complies, but in most scenarios there isn't a one-to-one mapping between clothes for the couple (except unisex couples, of course.) With biking gear and similar, the clothes that the cares-more person likes will be available for both members of the couple more or less identically, and so, there you go.
posted by davejay at 1:54 PM on October 8, 2012


This reminds me of last December when I went back home to visit my parents in India. I had figured out that an awful lot of the expensive leather jackets I was finding in US stores were made in India, so I wondered if I could buy them at the source where they would be presumably much cheaper. Well, long story short, my mom knew a friend of a friend, and I was able to buy a beautiful jacket at a wholesale rate (seriously, the markups are crazy!). Of course now that my parents saw the jackets, they decided to buy one each as well. We took several photos of us all wearing our jackets. We looked completely ridiculous! Miss my parents and their sense of humor.
posted by peacheater at 1:55 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great, the only thing worse than pictures of 50+ year old couples in matching track suits is pictures of 50+ year old couples without track suits.
Thank you, but no.


"Middle-aged" is used in this thread quite clearly as a synonym for "past-it, clueless, boring, joyless".

I call ageist here. I see many more young couples is matching outfits-black jumper,black jeans,combat boots,cowboy boots,etc... than I do middle aged, whatever arbitrary number that is, in tracksuits and I live in a very touristed area.
I do see a lot of matching cowboy/cowgirl gear,too, in all ages.
posted by Isadorady at 2:07 PM on October 8, 2012


I showed this to my German husband, and he said, "Oh yeah, that's partnerlook!". I love how there's a word in German for everything, even borrowing words from other languages to create new meanings!
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 2:16 PM on October 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


This squicks me out.

though I confess to thinking it was once cute when done on purpose, like the colour combination rather than the actual item of clothing
posted by infini at 2:17 PM on October 8, 2012


Very shortly after MrMacbeth and I started dating, we took a trip to San Diego. On the last day of that trip, we discovered that our single remaining outfits matched: I had a madras plaid sundress, he had a short-sleeved shirt in the exact plaid. So we wore them. At Horton Plaza, we stopped at Hot Dog on a Stick for a lemonade. The four uniformed Hot Dog on a Stick girls could not contain their amusement.

Twenty years later, we still do this inadvertently, often when one of us dresses and leaves before the other, having left a fleeting, foggy impression on the remaining partner. So MrMac will show up to pick me up at work, him wearing his glen plaid suit, I in my glen plaid dress. Um, we like plaid. I suppose I should go browsing for plaid track suits now.
posted by MsMacbeth at 3:07 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Partnerlook is a big thing in Germany. As I remember it from when I lived there, there were special sections for it in the stores. When I was younger, I found it ridiculous.

Later, a boyfriend really, really liked sharing clothes. I mean really. I discovered he was serious about it when he started buying new clothes specifically for sharing. Obviously, we'd never wear it at the same time, but I certainly think we 'd have ended up with identical pajamas and tracksuits and much more if the relationship had lasted. And in hindsight, I find it rather cute.
Maybe also because he had awsome taste. It was more like sharing clothes with a rock star than being your aunt and uncle...
posted by mumimor at 3:16 PM on October 8, 2012


There is a gradient of motivations and reasons for matching your partner, but one end of that scale are cases where people appear to value ease and convenience as overwhelmingly more important than personal presentation, and I think it's only when it starts to look like this that some people start to be discomforted, ie it's the same as seeing people wearing their pajamas to the store. In contrast, I doubt any discomfort occurs with a photo of young Korean couples who have clearly gone to great lengths to make complimentary outfits.

Maybe the discomfort comes from wondering if not valuing your presentation reflects not valuing yourself? (Many of us have known a depressed person who gave up on themselves, and lost interest in presentation as part of that). Maybe it comes from wondering if presentation is a luxury where the cost/reward either doesn't add up for this person, or feels beyond their reach?
Regardless of the specifics, I'm pretty sure it's something to do with us being intensely social animals. People are intensely interested in people.
Maybe it feels weird because you're taking an interest in someone whose presentation indicates they have no interest in people's interest? :)
posted by anonymisc at 3:22 PM on October 8, 2012


It seems celebrities are not immune.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:42 PM on October 8, 2012


Partnerlook is a big thing in Germany

I'd never heard of it, but a moment on google is eye-opening, to say the least. The absolute cutest is the combination of partnerlook and western wear.
posted by Forktine at 3:48 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've wondered for years why so many older couples wear matching cycling outfits when they're out for a ride. Is it so they don't lose each other in the event that a crowd of other cyclists suddenly gather?

Lots of folks also join cycling groups, who wear matching uniforms and ride about in them. I see this a lot in my town, where cycling is very popular, and people are cycling about in pods of people who train together.

Cycle tourist couples might easily take along such gear when travelling.
posted by chapps at 4:40 PM on October 8, 2012


wow, I had no idea hat this could provoke such a strong negative reaction! Frowner, thanks for the detailed breakdown, it's certainly an eye opener. I found the pictures kind of sweet, and noticed that a lot of the couples were holding hands or were arm-in-arm. While I wouldn't go out of my way to dress similarly or unsimilarly to my mate, it looks to me like an expression of loyalty in the people pictured here.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:40 PM on October 8, 2012


LOL this is sort of how I became attached to a girlfriend. She lived in the American Hotel, above Al's Bar. I lived in the Loft District, so I went to Al's frequently. One night I met her, and commented we were wearing the same colors of clothing. We both wore black pants and a bright, solid color shirt. The next few times I saw her, we both had changed shirt colors, and again the same color. After a while, it became a running gag. Before going out, we would both search our closets and try to find some color shirt that the other couldn't possibly have. And invariably, we'd meet and we'd be wearing the same color shirt. Our friends thought this was terribly amusing, far more than we did. They thought we were such a cute couple, with matching black motorcycle jackets, shirts, and she wore black stretch pants (yes, I looked totally hot in black stretch pants). Pretty soon we figured that something was going on and we became inseparable.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:55 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only time (that I recall) Mr. SLC and I dressed alike was when our son went away to the wilds of Canada for a semester of study and got himself a mohawk. I cried when he sent pictures. We are conservative innocents in the haircut department, Mr. SLC and I. We truly thought that bleaching the tips was as far as our son would ever go, and I saw no harm in that. His cousins were all doing it. It was fine. It was cute, even. But when I opened his e-mail and saw those pictures. The girl with the shaver. The hair on the floor. That strange person.
"Sweetie," I called to his younger sister, "What is this about? Who is this?"
"Mom, that's Alex!"
"No, it's an e-mail he sent. Who is this in it?"
"Mom," she said, with the great loving patience of a 16 year old towards her hopelessly slow mother. "That's. Alex."

Tears came to my eyes. Yes, it's silly to care about a hair cut. He's "still my boy", nothing is really different, yada yada yada. But I had a terrible, horrible time trying to come to grips with those pictures. The shaved sides of his head. The tall spiky hair. The weirdness of how he looked.

And then, at Christmas, he would come home, spikes and all. And we would have to live with him. Looking like THAT.
Really, I know it's ridiculous. But I couldn't figure out how to cope.
It was his choice, he was allowed, he was entitled. It wasn't about me, or his dad. We couldn't do anyting about it. I desperately wanted to prevent it from becoming a battle, or from letting him know how badly I was reacting to it.

So, if you can't beat 'em; join 'em. We bought cheap wigs, carved them up, sprayed them up and proudly greeted him at LAX with our own faux-hawks. Mine brassy yellow, his sister's goth black, and Mr. SLC's bright pink and green. And really, it was marvelous.
Just marvelous. Because it turned something that was separating us into something that brought us together. He doubled over laughing, so did we. Strangers took pictures of us, and with us. He told us so sweetly about an old lady at a busstop that morning who wanted to touch is spikes. "Excuse me dear, is this what they call a mohawk?"

And maybe that is partly why some people will dress alike. Because it is a joining thing, a you and me thing, an us against the world thing, an I love you thing.

You just have to be willing to look a little silly to do it.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:49 PM on October 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


So I'd like to distinguish between middle-aged couples wearing similar jackets, and young couples (or at least, newly paired couples) buying the same t-shirts. The former are probably trying to get one-for-one deals, as many have commented, while the latter are just trying for that awwwww factor (and failing miserably, IMHO)

I concur that it's a bigger Thing in (east) Asia than presumably in the west, and again for new couples. If there's anything worse than couples wearing the same t-shirts, it's couples wearing similar t-shirts but with political messages transposed to couple dynamics; I'm told there are quite a few folks who wear pink t-shirts reading "Taiwan belongs to China just s/he belongs to me", with a map of China on one t-shirt and a map of Taiwan on the other. Regardless of your views on cross-strait relationships, you'd have to agree that's a whole new level of irksomeness.
posted by the cydonian at 7:31 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, I'd like to dial back my cynicism a wee-bit, after reading some comments here. It's the early morning calls with off-shore teams, you understand. I'd still like to retain my vehemence against people wearing stupid couple-y-political t-shirts in pink, though.
posted by the cydonian at 7:34 PM on October 8, 2012


"Why is my backpack so heavy?"
"That's my backpack. It has rocks in it. Mwa ha ha ha ha, enjoy the hike." *runs off*

This message brought to you by Divorce Lawyers of America Association.


Holy damn, that's pretty much the entire story of my (not actually made legal) marriage and its dissolution in a single exchange of dialogue.
posted by jokeefe at 7:53 PM on October 8, 2012


I still remember a couple I saw some twenty years ago. They were both wearing bright red sweatpants and T-shirts, matching tennis shoes, and matching big diamond stud earrings (one for him, two for her, as I recall). He was a tall black man, and she was an average-sized white woman. I wondered then, and still do, if they deliberately did the twin thing to emphasize YES WE ARE TOGETHER / TABLE FOR TWO / PLEASE RING US UP TOGETHER / etc. when out and about.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:03 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


NoMich: Very smart of him to copyright his snapshots.

I look forward to "The 22 Wackiest Old Couples Dressed the Same!" article in three days on Buzzfeed.
posted by themanwho at 8:10 PM on October 8, 2012


It seems celebrities are not immune.

Mila, NOO -- wait, those shirts are confusing.

I'm mostly squicked by the fact that most of those couples clearly didn't want their pictures taken.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:04 PM on October 8, 2012 [2 favorites]



I'd never heard of it, but a moment on google is eye-opening, to say the least. The absolute cutest is the combination of partnerlook and western wear.
posted by Forktine at 6:48 PM on October 8


Somewhere in my parents boxes and boxes of photos is a picture of mom and dad wearing matching gingham shirts and jeans, with matching Roy Clark Perms, and a picture of them with a toddler me, also looking like a picnic table cloth. Sears photo studio, natch. My sister still lives at home with mom and is on standing orders to scan that shit and upload it if we ever figure out where mom tucked those gems away.
posted by mcrandello at 9:37 PM on October 8, 2012


This site needs to be called "Where can I buy that awesome jacket?" A lot of those jackets are way cooler than I would normally expect from older tourist couples. These two are both stylin' and adorable.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:26 PM on October 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I was a teenager, my mom bought a gorgeous purple sparkly winter coat and I fell in love with it. So she went back to the store and bought me one too. The same thing happened a couple of years later with a light blue fleece coat that I kept borrowing.. Sometimes people commented that we were cute in our mother-daughter coats.

It was convenient on occasion - "Have you seen my mom? She's wearing a coat exactly like mine."

billyfleetwood: "This site needs to be called "Where can I buy that awesome jacket?"

Totally. I was also checking out the backpacks on the couple with the light green coats.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:03 PM on October 8, 2012


I see these pictures and I have a visceral reaction of despair, shame and disgust.

That's really weird. I see these pictures and have a visceral reaction of happiness and general wellbeing, kind of like when I see pictures of a nice cat. I guess because I assume that what's behind the phenomenon is a great deal of love. But maybe we're both bringing our own baggage to this.
posted by Acheman at 12:41 AM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I the only person who looks at these and sees the subjects sneering at someone openly, unapologetically focusing on them, as far as they know, for lulz? There's a big difference between the posed and candid shots, and in the latter I can count at least seven people who are registering very clear anger (the woman who is sneering/girl with defensive 'arms crossed' body language). It seems like these subjects have not consented and are not happy about this. That makes me more uncomfortable than some dick on 4chan laughing over them.
posted by everydayanewday at 2:30 AM on October 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


three blind mice: A random sampling of two people dressing alike and no punks, no Goths, no hipsters?

For those subcultures and many more, see the photo project Exactitudes.
posted by larrybob at 5:04 PM on October 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


see the photo project Exactitudes.

Now, that far exceeds the quality of the project in the FPP.
posted by Miko at 6:19 AM on October 10, 2012


Though I'm creeped out by the categories, a bit.
posted by Miko at 6:24 AM on October 10, 2012


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