Monday, January 7, 2013

Tehran Street Style

A street vendor selling wigs to women in the bazaar in Tehran.
As many of you know, I recently returned from a trip to visit family in Tehran, Iran (see my post on it HERE). The culture in Iran is very different from what we are used to in more Western countries. Because Iran is an Islamic Republic, they operate under Islamic Law, which includes a strict modest dress code. The Visa application website lays down these specifications:

Hijab- the traditional dress code of Muslim women, can also refer to any of the pieces of clothing this involves
Roosari- scarf or hat that covers the head and neck
Manteau- a loose cloak or mantle
Chador- a large piece of dark covered cloth wrapped around the head and body leaving only the face exposed
These women are dressed in the standard Islamic hijab. The college-aged woman on the left wears a roosari headscarf and manteau jacket. The middle-aged woman on the left wears a longer, more conservative jacket. Many women choose dark colors like these,  but it is not mandatory.
The women behind me in this photo are wearing chadors. This is often worn by middle-aged and older women who are very religious. Some places, like certain mosques, require that a chador is worn by women entering. If this is the case, there will usually be a small booth right outside where you can borrow or rent one.
Here I am in my roosari. Don't mind my knitted hat underneath, it was cold! I chose to use a rectangular scarf wrapped around and over...
...while some choose to fold a square scarf into a triangle and tie it under the chin. My mom prefers this option because she feels the scarf doesn't slip around as much.
Mens street style is obviously very eclectic. Many of them have very well-groomed eyebrows and spiked hair. Almost all of the jeans, men's and women's, have this sort of acid-washed effect.
Here is another example of a roosari and manteau, worn by my sister. She was wearing walking shoes, since we were sight-seeing that day, but many of the girls in Iran, especially in the winter time, wear skinny jeans tucked into boots, or thick black opaque tights. Although it is supposedly against the rules, makeup and nail polish are also very common, as well as opulent gold jewelry.
Brand names are VERY popular, but because of the cost, as well as the current sanctions,  it is difficult to obtain some things. Knockoffs are readily available, especially for popular brands like Nike, Puma, Adidas, Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, and Dior.
Here is my sister posing with one of her purchases, a very fake Gucci bag that came out to about two American dollars after conversion. You can also see a more popular way to wear a roosari, slightly pushed back off the crown with a little bit of hair showing. Many girls also wore their hair piled on top of their heads, or wore a plastic "bump-it" type of thing to make their scarves tent above their heads. If you don't want to call a lot of attention to yourself, it is suggested not to wear a lot of green, as that is the color being used to represent the revolution.
While visiting the Golestan Palace, we found a booth where you could dress up in traditional Iranian clothing and they would take your picture with the palace grounds as your backdrop. My sister and I had fun dressing up in the beautiful brightly colored clothing.
The Islamic dress code is enforced everywhere outside of the home, but it is not acceptable to be alone with members of the opposite gender who are not family members. We visited in the wintertime, so it wasn't difficult to stay covered up, but having been previously during the summertime, it can get very hot. In the summer, it is acceptable to wear sandals, and I would recommend wearing a lighter fabric roosari and manteau. You also don't need to wear anything under your manteau if it is very hot outside. Nobody will know the difference! 
Underneath the hijab, people dress about the same as they do in America. When traveling to an Islamic country, it is better to err on the side of modesty, but above all, dress in clothing that makes you comfortable and expresses your personal style.

No comments:

Post a Comment