cover image Pious Fashion: How Muslim Women Dress

Pious Fashion: How Muslim Women Dress

Elizabeth Bucar. Harvard Univ., $29.95 (228p) ISBN 978-0-674-97616-0

At a time when Muslim women’s clothing is discussed in terms of freedom, oppression, and piety, Bucar (The Islamic Veil: A Beginner’s Guide), a philosophy and religion professor at Northeastern University, explains that modest clothing in Muslim cultures means much more than religious authority and social conformity. Having done extensive fieldwork in Iran, Indonesia, and Turkey, Bucar illustrates that pious fashion choices vary tremendously based on location and the specific mix of moral authority, consumption practices, and concepts of selfhood that exists in each context. For example, she notes, on the streets of Tehran, where women are legally required to wear clothing that conforms with certain guidelines, the loosely draped scarf style of headdress is common, and skull motifs and bright colors are fashionable; elaborately pinned styles and pastels are popular in Yogyakarta, where women’s dress is not legally regulated. Throughout, Bucar reveals an underexplored segment of the fashion industry and excellently exhibits the ways in which Muslim women engage with their faith and the world of fashion by choosing head coverings, clothing, and accessories that are both reverent and in vogue. Featuring street style photos of fashionable women, this book adds some much-needed frills to debates surrounding the hijab. (Sept.)