This is probably the very first question asked by many non-Iranians I’ve met, right after they’ve found out that I’m an Iranian girl: “So you have to cover all your body, right?”
Just like many things we only think we know about other countries –specially those featured A LOT on the mainstream media- there are facts and fictions mixed up in this issue.
So let me explain:
By law, Iranian women need to wear Hijab in public places (ONLY). Hijab –here in Iran- is defined by law as covering the whole body except for the face, hands and feet. Also, tight clothes are considered immodest.
But, the legal definition sits very far away from the actual practice of Hijab by Iranian women, specially by the young, urban population.
If I want to give you a picture of an average Iranian girl walking down the street on a summer day, I’d say she’s wearing tight jeans or three-quarter leggings, sandals or ballerinas, some short blouse barely covering her hips with sleeves down her elbows, and a loose shawl decorating her hair pretty nicely.
|However, those working in public offices are required to wear standard uniforms, which are much closer to the main definition of “Hijab” promoted by the administration.|
I should add that pretty much none of these apply to women travelling to Iran as foreign tourists. For them, just the shawl and probably longer sleeves (anything more than just a Tshirt) will be enough.
Just like in any other country, Iranian women are absolutely serious about fashion, and trends get evolved almost every single season.
Here’s a wonderful 1-minute video which can show you how much the practice of “Hijab”, or rather women’s fashion, has changed during the past century: