Russia is a unique country in many senses: it has the biggest territory, many nations, rich food, original folk dresses and beautiful Russian girls.
But folk dresses are not worn every day. So, let’s talk about the Russian women and their fashion.
The key element of the Russian ladies’ style, noticed almost by every foreigner, is very feminine and often “revealing” clothing. Many women regardless their age are dolled up when they go out. Such “appealing” looks are not understood by Europeans. They do not see any reason to wear smart clothes if they do not have a special occasion. Why should a lady wear makeup and high heels if she is only going grocery shopping? The roots of such dressy style may be found somewhere in the past. It is an issue of the mentality, education and cultural heritage of Russian women.
In Soviet time (1945-1960), many women’s wardrobes were sparse; the choice of the clothes was limited and poor. Patterns were designed to cover a body but not to underscore the woman’s beauty. The main objective for the textile industry was to make comfortable and functional clothes. The Soviet economy was designed for the age of mass production and national power but not for individual style. The word “individualism” was negative. A person should not be distinguished or stand out.
In the 1950s, Dior House brought to Moscow its new summer collection with “the new look”. The elegant models in stylish dresses with luxury accessories walked in the center of Moscow. Their exquisite looks surprised and shocked Russian women in long, loose, dark dresses. In time, Russian women learnt how different and beautiful a dress or a costume may look. Mainly thanks to the foreign fashion magazines like German Burda. There was a sewing machine almost in every family and women started making their own dresses that had style and femininity.
The greatest changes occurred in the early 1990s when the local textile industry declined for lack of demand and Russian people got free access to European and American fashion. An abundance of western brands and a variety of styles brought a new breath into Russian fashion. Today, Russian street fashion is a patchwork of styles: some young women tend to wear very mini dresses and very high heels, some like only jeans and slim shirts and other women prefer romantic dresses. Over recent years Russia has produced its own fashion icons, talented designers, and popular Instagram street style stars to provide us all with endless inspiration of the Russian fashion.
So, yes, we have to admit that women in Russia look more dressy than in many Western countries. This difference can be explained by cultural upbringing, by traditions or by the combination of all reasons. Russian women like to be beautiful and enjoy their looks. The overheard conversation in the ladies’ room easily proves this assumption. “A girl must always look elegant and pretty” a mother persuaded her young daughter of 5 years old…
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