The regulation of dress was a hallmark of imperialism. British reactions to ‘cultural cross-dressing’ reveal the anxieties and hypocrisies underlying colonial rule. The politics of dress were central to both the policing as well as the contravention of the tenuous boundaries of these outward distinctions. The emulation of European styles extended far beyond princes and rulers. By the mid-1800s, many successful businessmen and Western-educated Indians had taken to wearing European clothes in public. Indian princely authority, which was essential to the system of indirect rule and legitimization of British power, was perceived to be under threat from cross-cultural admixture and the abandonment of traditional displays. British sartorial norms were constantly being made and remade in reaction to a perceived Indian threat of mimicry through an ever-quickening cycle of change, fashion itself could make visible mimicry, and thereby render permanent the hierarchy of power engendered in ‘dressing apart’.