Book Review – Visibly Muslim

I’ve never been religious, but wrangling my political convictions and a love for clothing taught me the vicissitudes of negotiating two value systems that are seemingly at odds while attempting to craft an image that reflects my beliefs and is aesthetically pleasing (to me, at least). It is this tension that drives Visibly Muslim: Fashion, Politics, Faith, which looks at Muslim women who cover in contemporary England through a series of ethnographic profiles highlighting the diversity of their practices and perspectives. Anthropologist Emma Tarlo attends at length to how individual women reconcile visibly displaying their faith with the desire to dress fashionably and self-expressively.

Tarlo describes in great detail how her subjects adapt and negotiate signifiers of both Islam and style in order to craft their own looks, and she repeatedly emphasizes the great creativity of Muslim dress in the West. Noting that some of her subjects have more than 500 hijabs, she argues that the headscarf serves as “a new form of Muslim personal art” that in many cases “provides the aesthetic focal point of a young girl’s appearance.”
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Postal Fashion

There is a real dearth of good mail in this world. And I suppose I’m as much to blame for that as anyone. I used to send letters – long, handwritten missives to my mom and long-distance friends. I still have a stack of love letters from a diligently romantic university boyfriend. Picking up the mail was sort of exciting, the potential of finding a fat little envelope filled with scribbles and pictures. Mostly it was because it meant someone was thinking of me – you know, for longer than it took to hit “send.”

These days, mailboxes are sad receptacles reserved for bills and flyers – the only postal cockroaches to survive the e-pocalypse. So imagine my delight when, on an ordinary Tuesday afternoon, I found an honest-to-god parcel on my porch.

Behold – WORN contributor and generally remarkable human, Hailey Siracky, sent me my very own pair of second-hand Ukrainian dancing boots!

After I stopped jumping around like a maniac, I had this Great Big Idea. I’m calling it Postal Fashion. Somewhere in everyone’s closet there is a tee-shirt that never fit quite right or a pair of earrings that are too pretty to get rid of but don’t go with anything. Just stick them in an envelope and send them to someone you like.

Because mail should be this awesome.

- g.