People Watching--What Women Wear
The Husband and I have a long-time sport derived partly from natural inclination and partly from law enforcement training. We are avid "people-watchers."
Since coming to Israel, I sometimes wish I could turn off my eyes.
Before landing, I was told that there are two styles of clothing in Israel--frum and slut. Well, it's not quite that bad, but there are certainly enough women wearing things I'd be embarassed to see on Bar Rafaeli running around in public without a second thought.
This week's winner: the 14 or 15 year old at Canyon Malcha wearing hooker heels, black hotpants, a black, clingy blouse with cleavage down to her diaphragm in which everyone in the mall could have a good look at her teenage breasts which were being pushed out of the cleavage by her black push-up bra. She was a pedophile's dream. She would fit in without question on the 'hooker stroll' on E. 14th and MacArthur in Oakland. And the icing on the cake--she was at the mall with her mother!
What kind of mother lets her teen go out in public looking like a $20 whore?
This week's nominee for arrest by the fashion police: the 50+ woman of some 250 pounds wearing black pants and a black spaghetti-strap top with a bare midriff.
Runner-up for arrest by the fashion police: the 45+ woman in skin-tight stretch pants and bared-belly top who, but for the stretch-marked saggy tummy bulging nakedly over the edge of the pants, looked otherwise okay.
Not to be outdone in the religious sector, there was Ms. Letter-But-Not-Spirit-of-Modesty: hair trendily covered by a snazzy scarf whipped into a Jerusalem knot, skin-tight hip-and-thigh-hugging skirt (but no slits!) topped by an equally skin-tight (but long-sleeved!) top of some stretchable material which showed off her 36Cs to advantage. Ladies, when I can make out the pattern of your bra through your top, the top is too tight.
Maybe its a certain provincialism that derives from growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area before the Hippie Invasion: one was expected to dress with good taste. That isn't to say, old-fashioned or stodgy. As a teen, I wore jeans and tie-dyed T-shirts, and later graduated to Liz Claiborne, DKNY and other adult tastes. But tasteful was the watchword.
There are girls and women who look good in the Sultan's Concubine Look (otherwise known as the bare midriff). But very few. Most women who have borne children should not try this at home and especially not in public. Most girls who don't have flat, muscular stomachs from gymnatics, ballet or swim team should also abjure this fashion---there is nothing sexy about seeing your fat. Even a little of it.
And while I'm on the subject....Women of Israel, forhevvinsakes, dress your age! It is both pathetic and ridiculously funny to see some woman in her 40s toodling around the mall in a clothing style which looks like she raided her daughter's closet. Have some dignity. You do NOT look younger because you (barely) fit into your teenager's jeans--you just look desperate.
Do you know who are consistently the best-dressed women at the mall? The Arab women, who somehow manage to wear their limited options of public clothing (hijab, jilbab, tunics and skirts or slacks) with grace, dignity and a great flare for color and style. I am not advocating Islamic or Hareidi garb for women, by any means -- but some of the awfully stomach-churning and/or must-smother-laughter styles worn by my Israeli sisters truly cry out for a modicum of restraint and good taste.
*Photo credit to Jerusalem Shots