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Islamic Dress Code

Iran-106All the female tourists we talked to had worried about what to wear in Iran. Quite easy actually: baggy pants, a shirt that cover your hips and bum, very little cleavage, short scarf – otherwise most of it is wrapped around your neck and drives you crazy, especially in the heat. You are set, not matter where, in rural areas or in urban areas!

In Shiraz, IranOf course in the hip north of Teheran or in the Julfa quarter in Esfahan, you will be out-dressed no matter what you wear. There you find the most stylish and most elegantly dressed women, an almost transparent small scarf dangling over a bun of beautiful shiny hair rising high up. Very different in smaller towns and rural areas: it is the chador, period!

Young male Iranians wear exactly what young men wear in Europe and in most parts of the world, except shorts though. This phenomenon – how differently the two sexes are required to observe dress codes in Islamic countries – has always been puzzling us.

Women in Chador going along a kindergarden in Yazd, Kashan, Iran

Women in Chador going along a kindergarden in Yazd, Kashan, Iran

We also learned that tourists get away with a lot that Iranian women don’t. We watched the youngest daughter of an Iranian family being stopped by a group of female pasteran who scolded her for showing too much hair and wearing a low cut T-shirt showing too much of her neck. A couple we met in Teheran was worried about her smoking in public, while we were resting in a park.


2 Responses to Islamic Dress Code

  1. Patti 11. April 2015 at 15:33 #

    I agree, tourists are allowed for flexibility than Iranian women. I wore a scarf loosely over my head and around my neck and I wore a tunic that was long enough to cover my backside, 3/4 length sleeves and a high neckline. It was made of Rayon so it was cool, I wore it constantly as it was warming up when we were there just last week. I have so much respect for women who have to endure the heat of wearing all the clothing and scarves, but they have found a way to make it fashionable for them, but I know most of them would shed it all in a heartbeat. Thanks for stopping by One Road at a Time!

    • Gilles Barbier 11. April 2015 at 17:11 #

      Hi Patti,
      True, tourists are allowed for much more flexibility than Iranians, and it is obvious that security forces have clear orders not to bother tourists. Especially in the summer, when temperatures climb through the roof, it must be hell for women.
      And yes, the huge majority of Iranians would like to get rid of this whole system that they actually criticize themselves clearly when you start discussions, even on the street.
      Cheers, Gilles
      PS: nice article on Iran, really enjoyed reading it

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