Monthly Archives: May 2017

Hijab

A hijab is a veil traditionally worn by some Muslim women in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family, which usually covers the head and chest. The word ḥijāb in the Quran refers not to women’s clothing, but rather a spatial partition or curtain. The term can refer to any head, face, or body covering worn by Muslim women that conforms to a certain standard of modesty. Hijab can also be used to refer to the seclusion of women from men in the public sphere, or it may denote a metaphysical dimension, for example referring to “the veil which separates man or the world from God”.

Most often, it is worn by Muslim women as a symbol of modesty and privacy. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam and Muslim World, modesty in the Quran concerns both men’s and women’s “gaze, gait, garments, and genitalia.” The Qur’an instructs Muslim women to dress modestly. Some Islamic legal systems define this type of modest clothing as covering everything except the face, hands up to wrists, and feet. These guidelines are found in texts of hadithand fiqh developed after the revelation of the Qur’an but, according to some, are derived from the verses (ayahs) referencing hijab in the Qur’an. Some believe that the Qur’an itself does not mandate that women wear hijab.

In the Qur’an, the term ‘hijab’ refers to a partition or curtain in the literal or metaphorical sense. The verse where it is used literally is commonly understood to refer to the curtain separating visitors to Muhammad’s house from his wives’ lodgings. This had led some to argue that the mandate of the Qur’an to wear hijab applied to the wives of Muhammad, and not women generally. In recent times, wearing hijab in public has been required by law in Saudi Arabia (for Muslims), Iran and the Indonesian province of Aceh. Other countries have passed laws banning some or all types of hijab in public or in certain types of locales. Women in different parts of the world have also experienced unofficial pressure to wear or not wear hijab in general, or in its certain forms, including physical attacks.

Wedding dress

A wedding dress or wedding gown is the clothing worn by a bride during a wedding ceremony. Color, style and ceremonial importance of the gown can depend on the religion and culture of the wedding participants. In Western cultures, brides often choose white wedding dress, which was made popular by Queen Victoria in the 19th century. In eastern cultures, brides often choose red to symbolize auspiciousness. Weddings performed during and immediately following the Middle Ages were often more than just a union between two people. They could be a union between two families, two businesses or even two countries. Many weddings were more a matter of politics than love, particularly among the nobility and the higher social classes. Brides were therefore expected to dress in a manner that cast their families in the most favorable light and befitted their social status, for they were not representing only themselves during the ceremony. Brides from wealthy families often wore rich colors and exclusive fabrics. It was common to see them wearing bold colors and layers of furs, velvet and silk. Brides dressed in the height of current fashion, with the richest materials their families’ money could buy. The poorest of brides wore their best church dress on their wedding day. The amount and the price of material a wedding dress contained was a reflection of the bride’s social standing and indicated the extent of the family’s wealth to wedding guests.

The first documented instance of a princess who wore a white wedding gown for a royal wedding ceremony is that of Philippa of England, who wore a tunic with a cloak in white silk bordered with grey squirrel and ermine in 1406. Mary, Queen of Scots, wore a white wedding gown in 1559 when she married her first husband, Francis Dauphin of France, because it was her favorite color, although white was then the color of mourning for French Queens. This was not a widespread trend, however: prior to the Victorian era, a bride was married in any color, black being especially popular in Scandinavia. White became a popular option in 1840, after the marriage of Queen Victoria to Albert of Saxe-Coburg, when Victoria wore a white gown trimmed with Honiton lace. Illustrations of the wedding were widely published, and many brides opted for white in accordance with the Queen’s choice.

Even after that, for a period, wedding dresses were adapted to the styles of the day. For example, in the 1920s, they were typically short in the front with a longer train in the back and were worn with cloche-style wedding veils. This tendency to follow current fashions continued until the late 1960s, when it became popular to revert to long, full-skirted designs reminiscent of the Victorian era. Today, Western wedding dresses are usually white, though “wedding white” includes shades such as eggshell, ecru and ivory. Later, many people assumed that the color white was intended to symbolize virginity, though this was not the original intention: it was the color blue that was connected to purity, piety, faithfulness, and the Virgin Mary.

Jelly shoes

Jelly shoes or jellies are shoes made of PVC plastic. Jelly shoes come in a large variety of brands and colors and the material is frequently infused with glitter. Its name refers to the semi-transparent materials with a jelly-like sheen. The shoes became a fad in the early 1980s, when a pair could frequently be purchased for less than one US dollar. Like many other fashion trends from the 1980s, jellies have been revived a number of times since the late 1990s. Although considered a populist shoe in the 1980s, the jelly shoe has been reinterpreted by a number of high-end fashion designers in the early twenty-first century.

The exact origins of the jelly shoes are unclear. A frequently offered explanation is that they were designed by a shoe maker in France after World War II, when there was a leather shortage in Europe. Another possibility is that the shoes were created somewhere in the late 1950sor early 1960s, when plastic became a commonplace material, and fashion designers began to experiment with it. Black and brown t-bar jellies sandals were popular school wear for boys and girls in Australia during the 50s and 60s. The Brazil-based shoe company Grendene Shoes claims to have introduced the jelly shoes to the US market in 1982, though a New York Times article published on June 1, 1980 also mentions them.

In 1981, a bank president named Preston Haag Sr. quit his job to look for a business that would involve his family. He traveled to South America where he began visiting American ambassadors to find potential products for the United States. At a reception in Brazil, Haag noted bright shoes worn by many young women. He inquired and learned that the manufacturer was Grendene, a small company that employed 3,000 of the 10,000 people living in Farroupilha, Brazil. In March 1981, Haag struck a deal to distribute Grendene’s plastic shoes in the southeastern US through a new company named Grendha, which introduced the shoes during the 1982 World’s Fair. While successful, according to Haag the jellies really landed on the map in America in February 1983, after Bloomingdale’s, a trendy department store in New York City, ordered 2,400 pairs in nine styles.

Jelly shoes companies like Holster in Australia are now adding trending health features and benefits to the shoes as well. Holster’s jelly shoes are recyclable, odor resistant and non-toxic, which have been distributed to 2,200 retail stores globally. Jelly shoes are vegan-friendly and offer alternative shoes that are not made from leather. Brazilian shoe store, Melissa Shoes, opened locations in New York City, London, Spain and three locations in Florida because it experienced a continuous increase in sales regarding its eco-friendly shoes. Jelly shoes come in a variety of styles such as flats, heels and wedges. They are known to be comfortable shoes for the winter, fall and spring seasons.

Slip-on shoe

Slip-ons are typically low, lace-less shoes. The style most commonly seen, known as a loafer or slippers in American culture, has a moccasin construction. One of the first designs was introduced in London by Wildsmith Shoes, called the Wildsmith Loafer. They began as casual shoes, but have increased in popularity to the point of being worn in America with city lounge suits. Another design was introduced as Aurlandskoen (the Aurland Shoe) in Norway (early 20th century). They are worn in many situations in a variety of colours and designs, often featuring tassels on the front, or metal decorations (the ‘Gucci’ loafer). A less casual, earlier type of slip-on is made with side gussets (sometimes called a dress loafer). Made in the same shape as lace-up Oxfords, but lacking the laces, these shoes have elasticated inserts on the side which allow the shoe to be easily removed but remain snug when worn. This cut has its greatest popularity in Britain.

In America and some European countries, such as Italy, the loafer enjoys general use as a casual and informal shoe worn for work and leisure, though lace-ups are still preferred for more formal situations. The general popularity of brown over black extends to loafers, sometimes using exotic leathers such as suede and cordovan. Since the late 1990s, socks have been optional while wearing loafers. Though originally men’s shoes, some styles of loafers, such as casual tassel and penny loafers, are also worn by women. Women’s loafers tend to have shorter toes and are worn with a variety of outfits from shorts, jeans, slacks, and capris to dresses and skirts.

In an evolution entirely different than the loafer, Chelsea boots were invented by J. Sparkes Hall for Queen Victoria in 1836. The stretchable rubber produces a comfortable shoe combining the convenience of laceless shoes with the profile of lace-ups. Its feminine image was soon lost, and was dubbed Congress gaiter and Boston boot in America. Rare even in Britain, its country of origin, it is still the only style of slip-on worn with a suit in some of the highly conservative working environments in the City of London. With such a background, their use mimics that of Oxfords, so they are worn in brown with broguing as a country shoe, or in plainer, black styles with suits.