Not so for the Russian-American population.
The first time I went to the Russian grocery store, I was dressed like most normal people would dress to go to a grocery store: tee-shirt and jeans. How naive I was, to think that would be appropriate in the frozen foods aisle! My wife ridiculed me, saying she was going to be embarrassed to be with me, but I stood resolute - why would anyone wear anything else? It's a grocery store!
Then...I realized what she meant. The store is not a place to get fresh fruits. It is a place for the women of Northeast Philadelphia to judge. It is like American Idol (but for un-Americans) and EVERYONE is Simon Cowell.
Natasha just picked up her deli meat from the kolbasa counter
Both men and women are dressed as if they were going to a club - sexy, sharp outfits that make them look 50x hotter than they really are. Women have more makeup on than clothes, and they're all wearing six inch heels. All the guys are wearing designer clothes and button-down shirts with wild prints all over them, and leather shoes.
And the craziest thing is: my wife is among them. A college educated, career-oriented and brilliant woman pursuing her MBA dressing up like, well, you know, so she can impress a bunch of people she only knows in the most remote ways. They're all deathly afraid that each other one will run home and say, "You see? I saw Katya Borisovna not wearing heels while ordering her dried cod's head! That must be why she's still unmarried and poor!" Then they go to pay for their groceries with food stamps (a subject for another time).
And rightly so, because they will. My wife has said to me a couple of times that her mother has heard stories from her friends about how they can't believe a nice pretty young Russian Jewish girl like my wife can be stuck with such a dirty slob like myself.
All because I wear jeans to the grocery store.
Now-a-days, my reputation is out, so I'm trying to cultivate it. I'm now wearing a wife-beater, sweatpants and sandals. I also refuse to shave more often than once a week, and I shower just as frequently.