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Los Olivos, California, United States
You can reach me at fool4fabric (at) gmail (dot) com

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A CHALLENGE!

Basking in the glow from my (mostly) successful travel wardrobe for Sicily trip, I have been thrown a challenge...our next trip, in April 2013, is to IRAN. It's supposed to be a beautiful country, full of ancient history and culture, with friendly, welcoming people. So what's the challenge?

THIS is the recommended wear for women tourists to Iran. I can deal with the "long shirt to hide your
bottom",  like this?
The headscarf will be a little harder, but I think I can do it...but the dark, inconspicuous colors? MOI?
I have been doing a lot of research since we decided on our next destination and some of the recommendations I've read say that dark colors aren't necessary, but the whole point (as I can understand it) is to be as unnoticeable as possible. Hard for someone like me. No jewelry, other than a "fake" wedding ring, no bright colors (RED)...ooooh...

I welcome any suggestions from any of you who have traveled in Iran or have Iranian friends (or ARE
Iranian) If you have no suggestions, I welcome your commiseration!

32 comments:

  1. I don't have a suggestion but can't wait to see what you come up with! Will be watching closely.

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  2. Margy, This site might help: http://www.payvand.com/news/12/mar/1032.html

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  3. I spent time in Jordan and most married women wore black headscarves while young girls wore brighter, block coloured scarves. Don't go for any fashion statement, be mindful of the culture and wear black.

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  4. Hmmm... Black headscarf and black clothes? This does sound like a challenge!

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  5. It is going to be an interesting journey following you, seeing what you come up with for this travel wardrobe. Very challenging indeed...

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  6. Oooh - exciting! I travelled there three years ago with 2 girlfriends of mine who had grown up there until their mid-teens. We travelled all around the country - it was incredible and not something I'll easily forget!! You simple must get onto the saffron flavoured ice-cream in esfahan - devine.
    The first thing you'll notice is that tourists are the daggiest people in the street (at least, in the more cosmopolitan, larger cities), so don't be afraid of colour (although a red coat would indeed attract attention you may not want). I wore a royal blue 'manteau' that I bought whilst there for the cooler climes and a shapeless but still relatively-close fitting 3/4 sleeve shift thing (you can just wear your bra underneath for the hotter days) and I always had a coloured headscarf, as did the local girls I was travelling with. Yeah, there'll be no shortage of scarf shops with colours and prints as diverse as you could imagine. Except when you're in the more conservative or less populated areas when the locals are in head to toe black. But the zoroastrians are the opposite and ALWAYS brightly coloured, reminiscent of gypsy's even.
    And the younger (non-religious) girls take HUGE liberties with the dress code - sometimes their manteau's look painted on, huge amounts of makeup and the headscarf hanging off the back of their heads.
    If you're interested in any more info, I'd be happy to help - shoot me an email. I had an amazing time there, and I don't doubt you will too :)

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    1. Yay, Poppy! I knew there'd be someone with experience! So helpful to hear, and I will email you when I have a question....and I can't wait for saffron ice cream!

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  7. I am looking forward to seeing what makes the cut!! Sounds like bright colour is OK, so maybe you won't have to forsake red, which is wonderful as it suits you so well :)

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  8. If anyone can figure out how to add style to a rather nondescript wardrobe, it will be you.

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    1. Thanks, Rhonda...keeping my fingers crossed!

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  9. Do what the Iranian girls do....wear your sexiest red underneath...and you'll know !! Maggie.

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  10. I have been sewing a lot of scarfs and have found it very easy to use my serger and do a rolled hem with wooly thread on the third spindle from the left {I have 4 spindles on my bernina serger.} It makes a beautiful seam and you can make any size or style scarf you like! Have fun!

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    1. Thanks, Anon....I'll give it a try!

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  11. I am still concentrating on the destination - Iran - how fascinating! I know you will come up with appropriate, but respectful clothing.

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  12. I'm sure you will look appropriate and beautiful as usual. I'm looking forward to hearing all about your adventure. One little story: my father in law travelled to Iran some years ago. He was a very knowledgeable and savvy New York businessman. Knowing my love for turquoise jewelry, he purchased a necklace for me (Iranian turquoise is the best in the world). I cherished that necklace for years, even after I found out it was a very, very good fake! So be careful where you buy your souveniers, lol.

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    1. Great story, Carole...I'll be careful! Thanks for commenting!

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  13. I've had limited time in the Persian Gulf. I was most comfortable in clothing poppykettle described, as well as (purchased there) Indian kurtas and trousers. It took me too long to do this (should have been day 1). Once my whole head and shoulders were covered I became less obvious, which was important. Look at most US newspaper photographs from the region: women are truly invisible. Iran is a lage country with so many climates regardless of time of year.
    Look for this book in your public library: Saraban: A chef's journey through Persia by Greg & Lucy Malouf. More austere photographs than their other books.

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    1. Thanks for the tips, Heather...I do have some Indian clothes from traveling to India. Good idea!
      Will look out for the book.

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  14. I am an Iranian born and moved to US almost 30 years ago. In the past 30 years I have returned a few times, last time, four years ago.
    For the scarf, I usually get the long rectangle scarfs, they are much easier to have on my head, and plus I can use them here as well.
    Yes, I do go with dark colors. If you don't want to go with dark colors, take one dark color outfit for the airport when you have to deal with officials, and once you are in town then wear your lighter colors.
    Go with tunics, not shirts. And very shapeless tunics. Not tight, not short, not sheer.
    Another thing I have noticed is that it is very important to go age appropriate. And note that their age appropriate and American age appropriate is night an day! I guess they consider anyone over 40 old. Seriously! For example a 16 and 17 year old can put on lots of makeup and usually people are tolerate of that. But if someone my age, in her 40s, put on lots of makeup, in some areas of town, a non official person, can come to them and tell them off!
    Yes, there are nice Iranian people, and then there are not some nice ones.
    I go very conservative there because I want to avoid any conflicts.
    Oh, one more advice, don't be too polite, lol. For example, if you needed to talk to someone behind a counter, don't just wait for your turn, that never comes! Go right ahead to the front and see if you can get the person's attention. For example in the bank, there is no line, whoever is faster and more aggressive gets served first.
    Oh, one last thing, lol. When you go to store to buy something and you ask how much it is. It is in their culture to say "you are welcome to it!", meaning you can walk out with it as a gift! lol. You have to insist the second time for them to tell you how much you have to pay for it! And then start negotiating! The price they tell you is usually 1.5 to 2 times more.
    And when you enter a store, everyone tells the store owner, "I hope you are not tired!" lol! That sounded very strange to me!
    Yes, these things are the product of the past 30 years, that is why it was a culture shock for me. lol.
    But one good thing, most younger Iranian these days speak English fluently. So if you needed to approach an stranger in the street don't be hesitant. They probably do speak English.

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    1. Thank you for answering, Goli...I appreciate your comments!

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  15. It's interesting that you talk about the possibility of not being able to have any color in your Iran wardrobe. Then I scroll down to the post before this and your Italy travel wardrobe is essentially black and white with just a tiny spot of red and blue. I think you will be perfectly fine as long as your B&W prints are not too striking. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

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  16. Does no one here recognize the lunacy of a dress code where women must be invisible and wear a "fake" wedding ring, even if she isn't married? When women rise up and refuse to adhere to such oppression, then things will change. I wouldn't want to support such a country with any of my tourist dollars.

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  17. Hello, my name is Caroline, I'm from the UK, and I have been lurking on sewing forums for some time, but I'm inspired to make my first ever comment by your wonderful blog, awesome clothes, and your holiday destination.
    I travelled in Iran 3 years ago, and made most of my holiday wardrobe because it was so hard to find suitable things. Iranian women are very smart and fashion conscious, within the limitations of their dress code.Iranian friends were pretty scathing about the standard tourist wardrobe of long shirts and hippy /ethnic type tunics. They tend to wear smart tailored manteau , often partnered with quite tight trousers.
    Many of the narrow pants you feature in your blog will be perfect, coupled with tailored but not tight jackets that hit mid thigh or below with good bum coverage.
    Bright colours may well draw stares, so I would stick to neutrals with perhaps just a few colored accents.
    In April you will be exposed to quite a variety of temperatures- it may be blistering hot at midday but quite chilly at night. I found it useful to have some wicking breathable type camisoles and vests to wear under my manteau.
    Incidentally, I found lovely shawls, scarves trims and buttons in some of the markets.
    Do have a wonderful time!

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    1. Welcome, Caroline! Thanks for commenting. And I'm so happy to hear some specifics about female travel in Iran. I will use your experience!

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