Sunday, September 29, 2013

Jerusalem Fashion

From the first day I got to Jerusalem, I was fascinated by the clothes people wore! I know what you're's not that hard for me to be fascinated by clothes. But the fashion in Jerusalem was definitely unlike anything I'd ever seen before! I wanted to do a post about Jerusalem fashion, featuring the excellent stalker pictures I took of Jerusalemites this summer. A lot of them are awkward, blurry pictures of people's backs, but I promise they're still interesting. I promise that I'm not usually a stalker.

So one of the things I liked the most about Jerusalem fashion was what their clothes demonstrated about their culture and religious beliefs. And I loved the diversity of it. On any given street you walk down in the Old City, you'd probably see a monk, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, a lady in a burqa, and someone wearing shorts and a tank top within a minute.

I'm going to start with ultra-orthodox Jewish clothes. If you remember from the signs they post at the entrance to their neighborhoods, they take modesty very seriously.

Both men and women show zero skin except for hands and faces. And sometimes feet :)

I like how both men and women (and not JUST the women) are required to be modest. Other things you always see are women only wearing dark colors, and men only wearing black and white.

Men always cover their heads, and they wear sidecurls (peyot in Hebrew). Here's a Mitt Romney t-shirt I found in the Old City with a nice representation of peyot. But don't ask me to explain the shirt beyond that.

Most of these pictures I took right before Shabbat started. Everyone is dressed up and heading to the Western Wall. Some sects of ultra-Orthodox Judaism have special clothes for Shabbat. They wear what look like robes with fur hats. I enjoy it.

Another thing all Orthodox males wear are tzitzit, which are white fringes/string that hang down from their undershirts. The kids wear them too!

With all of the black and white, sometimes ultra-Orthodox Jews can look a bit like Mormon missionaries. We definitely did a double take when we saw these guys...

Some more cute children with peyot and tzitzit (you know you want to see more):

Orthodox Jews (that's without the ultra) have a lot of similarities to the ultra-Orthodox, but they dress much more modern.

For instance, they're more likely to wear a suit than a robe to the Western Wall.

Both ultra-Orthodox and Orthodox women cover their hair if they're married. Some women wear scarves, and some just wear wigs over their real hair.




For Orthodox (as opposed to ultra) the modesty rule is just covering the knees and elbows. Also, all Orthodox women tend to wear skirts at all times.

Orthodox teenagers:

And my last 'Jewish' picture. A cool prayer shawl:

So to summarize (because I feel like this is confusing...)- 
ultra-Orthodox Jews: dark colors, traditional styles, ankle-length and wrist-length. 
Orthodox Jews: more modern, knee-length and elbow-length. 
Both: men always have heads covered and wear tzittzit, married women cover hair, and women always wear skirts.

However, plot twist, not every Israeli Jew is some version of Orthodox. A huge percentage of Israelis aren't even religious at all. Jerusalem happens to be a very religious city compared to other places in Israel. In Tel Aviv everyone dresses just like typical Americans, with the occasional yarmulke thrown into the mix. But even in the Jewish side of Jerusalem, you'll see PLENTY of people dressed just like you would see in say, Wisconsin.

Yeah, this post is going to be super long. But now it's Muslim/Arab time!

In general, the Arab men I saw didn't dress any differently from men in the U.S. Once in a while, you'd see an older man wearing a dress/tunic (with pants underneath) type thing, especially during Ramadan.

At one of our hotels in Jordan, I saw this guy dressed pretty traditionally (tunic+keffiyeh scarf), and sitting with two women wearing FULL burqas.

It was one of the highlights of my Jordan trip that I got to observe how women eat while wearing those.

In Jerusalem, there were very, very few women wearing full burqas (as in- just the eyes poking out). I think that's usually reserved for more conservative countries like Saudi Arabia. I probably saw less than 5 women the whole summer who had their mouths covered. 

The two most common looks for Arab women in Jerusalem were abayas (very loose black dresses) and floor-length trench coats.

What I loved about the abayas was that they were always covered in either rhinestones or embroidery.

I cheated. This one's from National Geographic. Oops.

And I had no idea that floor-length trench coats would be such a thing over there. Actually, I didn't know they were a thing anywhere.

Lots of choices!

For most of the Arab women I saw, the modesty rule was being completely covered from neck to ankle.

I also saw some girls who wore head scarves with modern clothes (but still didn't show skin).

I took a picture of this girl because I appreciated her commitment to matching.

And I took a picture of this girl because her shirt was cute.

The Arab women had an awesome commitment to fashion. Their culture and religion have very strict modesty requirements, but they totally work with what they have. I saw things like lots of perfect matching, fancy stilettos, and designer purses. A lot of them also wear a TON of makeup.

Stilettos on the right:

It was pretty rare to see girls or women without headscarves. 

One night, we had an Arab Culture party at the Jerusalem Center and got in on the fun.

I bet you weren't expecting that, right?

Well, the fashion in Paris this week was pretty fun to see...but I don't think I can say it was as interesting as Jerusalem.

I miss you, Jerusalem!

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