html xmlns:og='' xmlns:expr=''> Lounging at the Waldorf: A Turban's Tale


Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Turban's Tale

Not all Orthodox Jewish women shave off their hair, but the Satmar Hasidim do.  When dressed for a day on the town, the uniform of today's married Satmar woman consists of a wig with a hat on top, a long dark skirt with matching jacket, a blouse with sleeves below the elbow, square-heeled shoes, and a pair of gold drop-pearl earrings.

But when just kind of chilling around the neighborhood, the look of the lady is all about the turban.  Behold.


Always inspired by fashion, when I moved near a large Satmar community in 2001, I knew I needed a turban.  This wasn't such a crazy idea.  The older ladies in the neighborhood where I grew up used to rock them, too.  So here, once again, we see the intersection of black and Jewish cultures.  Why must people only look at the differences, huh?  African-American, Haitian, movie star Lena Horne, crazy pants Edith Bouvier Beale, working-class, wealthy, French, or Jewish - we all love a good turban!


Determined, I strolled into a women's clothing shop off of Lee Avenue in the heart of Orthodox Williamsburg.  Like I said, I hadn't been in the area very long and was blissfully unaware of the unspoken rule that we - the Jews and "the artists," as they call us - are meant to be neighbors that mutually ignore one another.  That is, unless there is an emergency such as a fire or a terrorist attack.  Everyone who was here will recall that the Hasidim stood at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge on 9/11 and handed out bottles of water to anyone who had just walked from Manhattan.

But that nightmare was still a few months away.

Kyoto Costume Institute

Big-eyed and on a mission, I walked into the women's clothing store and in 3 seconds realized I was the only non-Jewish person in the joint.  Whoops.  But then I got all "Eh, it's a free country" - and started to browse as if I was very, very interested in purchasing a floral housecoat or a pair of rather large underwear.   

Upper East Side

After a few minutes and many quizzical looks from everyone in there, a sales woman approached me.  Here's the exchange.

Can I help you?

I'd like a turban.  

A turban.


And then, in a moment of inexplicable moxie, I just kind of put on this faux, non-specific Eastern European/Middle Eastern-ish accent.


Oh, tourrr-BAHN. 

God, I'm weird.  But it worked.  She pulled open a drawer and showed me a selection of terrycloth tourrr-BAHNS, but none were black which is what I wanted.  I left the store on this technicality and never returned.  However, I did buy one a few weeks later at the Fulton Street Mall for $1.99.  Now that they're a bit trendy, Urban Outfitters sells these same black, polyester tourrr-BAHNS for 15 bucks.

What the hell is the point of this story, anyway?  Oh, it's to do some fashion math and the subsequent fashion character.  I haven't done one of these in a while.  Okay, here we go...

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