Looking toward the IPM building, Tehran, April, 2006


The way women dresss in public places Iran is the most obvious cultural "strangeness". There are great differences in this, and at first glance it and even second look...it is confusing. What understand, is that there are various levels of requirement or strong expectation. 1. One level is how women dress when working for or attending government sponsored institutions. This is when women dress in black hijab, with sometimes a long veil. This can vary slightly to a knee length black topcoat , with jeans, and a shorter black headcover. This is something they do in the way one wears an army uniform if one chooses to join the army in the U.S. or a dress uniform for certain jobs in Western culture. 2. A secondary expectation is how women dress in restaurants, on the street, in more informal places. This varies greatly, and we see much more color and style variation than three years ago. Pretty scarves, colorful topcoats, patterns. 3. How one dresses at private parties and at home. Of this can be said that Iranian women are stunning in their style and beauty. They are tolerant but strong and independant minded. In institutions and in public, foreign women visitors are required to be modest and cover heads and wear loose clothing similar to what is informal public dress. The IPM where we are staying is of course a government sponsored institute. Thus those who work and attend dress accordingly. Kathy's and other visitor's "artistic" style of dress seems to be generally appreciated and admired, as respectful in an individual and creative way.

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