Friday, January 15, 2010

Traditional Russian Clothes

For the Language Awareness month, my colleagues asked if I would be willing to wear the kind of clothes women traditionally wear in Russian-speaking countries to our campus activities.

I didn't know how to explain to them that if I did it would look like what you see in this picture.

Of course, if I were to dress like this we would achieve our goal of attracting people to our department. Unfortunately, those people would mostly be police officers and not prospective students.


Богдан said...

Запевняю Вас, що якби російські чи українські дівчата в такому вигляді прийшли б до свого навчального закладу, вони б його не закінчили. Дрескод є і в Росії і в Україні. І такий одяг вдягають лише тінейджери на прогулянки чи дискотеки. Але так не ходять до шкіл, університетів чи на роботу. І аж ніяк ви не побачите в такому вигляді викладачів:)))

Богдан said...

Якщо вам цікаво, як вдягаються студенти та викладачі в нашому університеті, то ось вам посилання на газету нашого університету:

Переважна більшість світлин зроблена в аудиторіях, і я можу підтвердити, що саме так одягаються звичайні люди і в Україні і в Росії, коли йдуть на роботу. :) Фотографії не дуже високої якості, але дають уявлення про стиль одягу. Наприклад тут:

Clarissa said...

Well, the point of the event is to attract attention. If I dress like this, nobody will notice. We are supposed to wear something that stands out and screams 'Russian.' What we see in this picture is the only thing I could come up with. :-)

Богдан said...

Сподіваюсь Вам вдасться їх відмовити:)
Відверто кажучи я не зовсім розумію чому викладачі мають привертати увагу до університету.
Втім, гадаю Вам може підійти, щось на зразок цього:)
Як на мене, чудовий російський стиль:)
Або стилізація українського народного одягу від нашої прем"єрміністра:
Чого в Тимошенко не відбереш, так це вміння стильно одягатись.

Не ображайтесь, я жартую :))

anna said...

I'm Russian and I don't dress like I even need to point out the women in the background? This is stereotyping.

ktravula said...

Clarissa, we don't mind you dressing up like this to the event. Not at all.
(I hope this comment doesn't get me a sanction in the department :D)

Tom Carter said...

I lived in Moscow for about three years in the 90s, and I have to admit that a lot of young women dressed this way. But Anna's right, too, in my experience. The women who dressed this way had access to money and the right shops, plus a certain attitude. They were very often seen on the arms of "mafia" types sporting their own uniforms and symbols -- black leather jackets, dark glasses, cell phones (when they were very expensive), and BMWs.

It was (and probably still is) kind of a "wild west" atmosphere, and I enjoyed it.

V said...

Clarissa, these are teenagers and in summer... The weather- and age-appropriate uniform for you would be the fur coat. :):) May I suggest mink or sable? :)
You could also add some high-heeled boots. Maybe in red. :)

Clarissa said...

Dear readers, I have no interest in being politically correct about this issue because it pertains to my own culture and I can be honest about it.

V.: If you are suggesting that my red boots are vulgar, you are wrong. They are fashionable and classy. You want to see vulgar footwear, go to St. Catherine's stripper shops. Or better yet, to Russian restaurants on Queen Mary.

I lived in Baltimore this summer, in an area where there were many Russian-speaking visitors of all ages. Every time a group of them would enter a restaurant or a coffee-shop, I would literally cringe with shame.

Kola: I could dig out some of my slutty clothes but something tells me the university administration might not appreciate it. At least, not in the sense we are hoping. :-) :-)

V said...

Clarissa, I am not sure if I offended you or if you are playing along, but if I did - I apologize.
Concerning the red boots - I do not consider them vulgar. I do imply, though, that, combined with some other items, they could make an outfit which is classier than those in the picture, but still recognizably enough stereotypical Russian. Your putting the equation mark between "Russian" and "vulgar" and "slutty" is your decision.
Also, since you started about certain streets - we both know that at least in this particular city dressing like in your picture is definitely not limited to Russians.

Clarissa said...

Why would I be offended if I know for a fact that my boots are not identifiably Russian? :-)

As to the way people dress on St. Catherine E., far be it from me to criticize an honest sex worker who is simply doing their job. It's one thing to dress like this for professional reasons, and it's a completely different thing to arrive half naked at a respectable restaurant where people are trying to eat.

I am not going to pretend that I don't notice that Russian-speaking people have a tendency to dress, talk and act inappropriately in a wide variety of situations.

Kiibaati said...

Funny, I can't see anything wrong with those young women's attires, it is quite appropraite for their age, the location and the weather.
I think the guy checking them out from behind might agree with me.

Anonymous said...

Surprisingly, but in streets of Moscow such clothes simply shout about the Ukrainian or Moldavian origin of its mistress.
Also these clothes, as a rule involve police and the girls who have arrived to Moscow not for earnings by a body, after one-two times of dialogue with police in such clothes quickly change it for something more covered.


Clarissa said...

NataliaV: I'm sorry, I find this very hard to believe. Do you think that women from Moscow buy extremely inappropriate clothes every time they go on vacations to other countries and then never wear these clothes at home? :-)

I've glanced at some Russian mini-series recently. All of them took place in Moscow and the characters weren't supposed to be Ukrainian or Moldavian. I was shocked that all women were half-naked. Many of the characters were women in their 40ies, in responsible professional positions. Still, they were all half-naked and deeply anorexic.

Anonymous said...

You can not believe to me, but I did not meet half-naked Muscovites and in resort cities, except for a beach, and such clothes as on your picture was simple cannot in clothes to the Muscovite basically. It is possible to name it and capital snobbery, but the fact remains, such clothes in Moscow are considered indecent and speak or about work of the girl as the prostitute, or about its southern origin. I still can believe that so women from our southern country towns put on: Rostov, Stavropol, Krasnodar, but never I will believe that so women from Moscow or Leningrad put on

Clarissa said...

Nobody really cares who's from Moscow and who's from Rostov outsie of Russia proper. There is a certain image of Russian-speaking people - which is hugely unfair to those who behave differently - that is fed by a huge number of sources.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, it is a usual stereotype, after all said earlier that bears on streets go to Russia, we have worried and it we will endure.
And by the way, unless on another young ladies from the Eastern Europe put on: Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania?


V said...

We have discussed this issue some days ago with an American guy from Arizona (it was his first time in our city) and my graduate student of Romanian origin.
American guy was impressed by the way girls dress here. That was before he even got to St. Catherine's, so I doubt any of the girls he has observed were working. In fact, he spent most of his time on our campus. :) Thus, one cannot even argue that the majority of the girls he observed could be Russian by some weird twist of fate.
And the Romanian girl did not even mention Russians, she was sure these are the Romanians who dress the most inappropriately.
We kind of agreed on lumping all East Europeans together, but still, in this particular city I would not be surprised at all to meet also African-Canadian, South-American or French girls dressed like in that illustration of yours. Anglophones seem to be somewhat more conservative...

Clarissa said...

I don't know why you guys keep talking about "girls" and "young women". None of what I describe is age-specific. Also, it's a great thing to dress in any way you want for a night club. But if you have seen Francophone women in their 40ies dressed like that in an expensive restaurant in Old Port, do tell me where and when exactly. Somehow, I have missed that experience.

I disagree that this is a stereotype. I am a scientist and I believe in empirical evidence. The second I see something diffeent, I'll believe in it. But I haven't and I don't. I still see that Russian-speaking people dress, talk and behave in completely inappropriate ways.

Last week I invited a Russian-speaking visiting scholar to attend my classes. I did it out of the goodness of my heart. But the way she behaved in my classes were out of this world inappropriate. I have invited many people to observe over the years but nothing even close to this horrifying experience ever happened. She was beyond obnoxious and almost threw my class.

So here I was, right after I decided NOT to follow the stereotype for once.

V said...

---I don't know why you guys keep talking about "girls" and "young women".

Because of the picture, I guess. And I happen to agree with Kiibaati, at least concerning the girl to the right. :)

---But if you have seen Francophone women in their 40ies dressed like that in an expensive restaurant in Old Port...

I haven't seen Russian women dressed like those girls in the picture in the Old Port either. But I have seen inappropriately dressed women of different origins. I should dig up some pictures of some Mexican party (wedding?) from my archives...
Note to Mexicans: I am not generalizing the content of said pictures as something being typically Mexican.

---I still see that Russian-speaking people dress, talk and behave in completely inappropriate ways.

Of course I have seen that as well. But could it be that you just do not notice those who dress and behave appropriately, and who therefore blend into the environment?

And I am really sorry it went the way it went with your visitor.

Nastya said...

So, because you have never seen something different, even though there are people telling you that there is, you chose to believe in the stereotype? Doesn't sound scientific to me at all. I don't dress like that, my mother doesn't dress like that, and neither do any of my friends. And we're all from st. petersburg.

Clarissa said...

I never said I'm a sartorial scientist. :-)

Anonymous said...

I so agree with the author of this blog!

Nastya, if you or I do not dress slutty, it does not mean that the majority of Russian speakers don't. I went to Ukraine a few years ago and was embarrassed! The majority of women were dressed like prostitutes in broad daylight. When I went to a club during my stay there, it was even worse. I saw women walking around in fishnet dresses. It was sad, sad, sad.

Anonymous said...

Comments that American people make about Russian women always amaze me. Most American women who weigh 300 pounds, dress tastelessly and serve KFC food to their families for dinner would trade 20 years of their lives to look like an average Russian woman. Their husbands would trade 30 years of their lives to have a Russin woman by their side! Russain women do not dress in a slutty way. They dress sexy and feminine, and they do look like women, not biorobots, unlike their American counterparts! The picture you are referring to is much prettier than a view of American women wearing business suits over their fat bellies with white socks and sneakers! You need to leave Russian women alone - we are what you guys want to be but will never be.

Clarissa said...

This last post was totally written by some pathetic fool who is trying to buy a mail-order bride.

Relax, you sad fool, I'm not an American woman. I was born in Kharkov, so these ies you are trying to sell have no demand on my blog.

Stop making yourself look ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

"The picture you are referring to is much prettier than a view of American women wearing business suits over their fat bellies with white socks and sneakers!"

At least I have an education and job in which I am required to wear a business suit! hahah

They are pretty girls, no doubt. I'm not jealous though...