Tehran elevator

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The sign at Imam Khomeini International Airport urges “Respected Ladies: Please Observe Islamic Dress Code.”
Not that they have a choice: Under Iranian law imposed after the Islamic revolution, all women — visitors included — must cover their heads and dress modestly.

Officially, that means either a full-length chador (a shapeless, tentlike cloth, usually black) or a headscarf, trousers and long-sleeved, lightweight coat called a manteau. But as foreign tourists chafing beneath their unaccustomed garb discover, the country’s shifting interpretations of acceptable attire illustrate the complex realities of Iranian women themselves.
On the streets of modern neighborhoods in cities such as Tehran and Shiraz, young fashionistas wear thigh-high, figure-hugging manteaus, their peroxided tresses spilling out of skimpy silk scarves, while visitors push the envelope with ball caps and gauzy Indian tunics.

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