Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

What to Wear

The most recognizable Iranian garment for women is the black chador cloak that covers the body down to the wrists and ankles, with a roosari scarf to cover the hair. Of course, this is just for street wear, not at-home wear. According to my Iranian friend Ali, at home, Iranian women wear ordinary clothes, such as skirts and blouses or even jeans and t-shirts. So, for my Children of Heaven Dinner & a Movie, I will be dressing cool and comfortable for the kitchen, and in something elegant and basic black for dinner.

Traditional Persian Garments

Much that is known of traditional Persian garments comes from the renowned miniature paintings of the Timurid and Safavid dynasties from the 14th through 19th centuries. These delicately detailed works of art depicted the styles and textile design of the times, including brilliant colors, metallic threads, rich brocades, silks and velvets.

The traditional Persian robe for both men and women consisted of three or four layers, including a slip, an underdress, an overdress, an outer robe, and a veil or turban. The slip was rarely visible, and the underdress and overdress came in two styles. Both featured long sleeves, with buttoned keyhole neckline for the underdress, and a v-neck worn open to a gathered waistline on the overdress. The outer robe was a simple, long, loose garment with either a short, scalloped sleeve, or a near floor-length sleeve, and three necklines, including a collarless style, a short, standing collar, or a large flat embroidered collar that draped over the shoulders. Headwear included turbans for men, and for women, simple shoulder-length veils, topped with a small white cap, or a circlet draped with pearls.