Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Dressing Properly In Yorkshire

People don't dress properly like they used to: thank goodness. We seem to have outgrown the need for men to wear a noose-like tie around their necks and women to wear a sober skirt for them to be taken seriously. Most restaurants no longer feel the need to keep a spare tie behind the reception desk in order to maintain customer standards and signs in pubs limiting customers in work clothes to certain bars would now be treated with the disrespect they deserve. The tendency to make judgements based upon styles of dress is, hopefully, in retreat, but it still exists and occasionally we all still need reminding to avoid such sartorial snobbery.

It is possible to visit many of the towns and cities of West Yorkshire with their large populations of citizens who come from an Asian background and spot styles of dress that might appear "foreign". The sight of women wearing the hijab - or headscarf - is now relatively common in these parts, but any lingering thoughts of cultural separateness are driven away by their rich Yorkshire accents. And their headscarves are not all that foreign to these stone-flagged Yorkshire streets. I remember seeing a clip from an early short film which was shot outside the gates of a Yorkshire mill in the early years of the twentieth century, just as the mill girls were leaving for the day. Almost every one of them was wrapped in a full headscarf. I was reminded of this only yesterday when I found this old photograph of my grandmother, Harriet Ellen Burnett, taken, I would guess, some time in the 1950s. She is wearing the same headscarf that she wore throughout her life in line with, what to her, was a grand old Yorkshire tradition.

7 comments:

  1. Yea I love it when families wear shorts and t-shirts to piano recitals to.

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  2. Christians wore scarves and often to show respect for their faith back in days gone by. It was mandatory to cover a head in church. Even the shoulders had to be covered when I was a wee lass.
    Yup Dress code has changed. Casual feels good.

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  3. And the pinny, whatever happened to pinnies?

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  4. Ah, the babushka. Also the Eastern European name for a grandmother. I saw them on most women when I was growing up.

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  5. A beautiful photograph that seems to capture their character in a moment of conversation. The foliage along the bottom frames it nicely.

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  6. Great photo. I too remember when women wore scarves in a slightly different way. On balance, I agree with you about the benefits of a more relaxed dress code - and it's one of the wonderful things about today's society that there is so much variety. But there are still some people who I wish would stay indoors or talk to a friend before venturing out in public. And I miss the frocks, of course... oh - and as Jenny says - the pinnies!

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  7. My grannies and aunts never wore scarves or pinnies but they did wear hats all the time. Even when I was about 10 we lived opposite a woman who won an award for being one of the "best hatted" women in Brittain! She was one of the Beverley Sisters and used to put on a hat to go into her front garden to prune a shrub! Weirdly my mother was almost never photographed wearing a hat although she was from the hat years. She must have been more of a rebel than I thought.

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