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What to Wear in Tehran: The Evolution of Islamic Chic

The once-drab Iranian hijab has blossomed into colorful and figure-hugging styles that satisfy the letter if not the spirit of Islamic law.

TEHRAN, Iran — When this reporter first started coming to Iran 17 years ago, required Islamic dress for women came in only four colors: navy blue, dark brown, grey and of course, basic black.

Slowly, however, Iranian hijab has blossomed into a Technicolor array of hues and figure-hugging styles that satisfy the letter if not the spirit of Islamic law.

It is rare these days to see an Iranian woman under 50 wearing the pitch-black tent-like garment known as a chador, long associated with the Islamic Republic.

Mannequins sport the latest trends in Tehran.

A selection of styles are available.

One aspect of the rules remains unchanged, however, and that is the requirement to cover at least a portion of one’s hair and most of one’s body. With temperatures that in summer soar above 105 degrees Fahrenheit, that can make a woman in Tehran feel like something else associated with Iran: the grilled meat on a skewer known as kabob.

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