Friday, June 18, 2010

Syria: clothing and other incidentals

Clothing...it's complicated. And in Syria, street fashion is complicated and convoluted.
Twenty years ago, 70% of women did not "cover"; now it is just the opposite. Ten percent of the population is Christian, so they don't cover. Of the women who cover, there are different levels of covering: head scarf (hijab)and regular clothing or medium length/long trench coat, fully cloaked with head scarf, fully cloaked with face veiled (niqab). Women not fully robed wear a variety of current fashions (jeans, stilettos, crop tops over t-shirts (many with sayings in English and/or "engrish" that are very suggestive), skirts to knees. What they wear under the trench coats or cloaks is hard to know. But, on younger women, the trench coats are very tight fitting, leaving little to the imagination. The decisions made by women on what to wear, do not seem to be religious in nature, which is what makes it complicated. Some decisions are based on fashion, family pressure, the desire by women to find husbands: men tend to marry late because they have to buy a house before marriage; they marry younger women because they want children and then want their wives scarved to show unavailability to other males.

Men's attire is much like anywhere, except for those in robes and/or wearing head scarves. Young men are in jeans and t-shirts with slogans and sayings most in "engrish": there must be some factory in China that sends all its seconds and misspelled logos to Syria! Shoe fashions for hip males tends towards the looong toe, squared off at the tip.
Below are some crowd photos taken around shops in the souks, people milling, shopping, etc.

Trench coats in a shop in the Damascus souk:



What to wear under the trench coats.......


Diorama in the Azm Palace, Hama: fashion in the 1750's:


We had to rent cloaks to enter the Umayyad Mosque, Damascus:


Many fashion statements in the souk, Homs:


Locals outside the Umayyad Mosque:


Jewelry Row in the souk, Damascus:


Locals between the souk and mosque, Damascus:


Back courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque outside Saladin's tomb:




Tourists are advised to dress modestly and neatly: no knees (as in shorts or short skirts), no sleeveless tops (even if you look great in them). But, there are always those (especially if they travel in large groups and so are somewhat distant from the locals), who choose otherwise.

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