Russian Style

Jessica Peck is a sophomore majoring in Communication Sciences & Disorders. She traveling in Moscow, Russia for the next 10 weeks.

I always knew that Europeans were more fashionable than Americans but I had no idea just how much people here adhere to the rules of style. I feel like there is an unwritten dress code for men and women in the city:

  • Heels or boots are a must no matter the weather
  • Stockings or tights with a stylish skirt or dress
  • Jeans can be worn but always with high heels
  • Girls cannot be without a fashionable coat and purse
  • Hair is always neat and face powdered

The pressure to conform to the normal city fashion is reasonably strong. A few weeks ago, I wore snow boots to school (because I wanted to wear warm shoes) but I got some funny looks on the metro because they weren’t in style and it was slightly too warm to be wearing snow boots. Another time, I wore sneakers and a pair of girls across from me on the train continued to look at my shoes and giggle.

However, there is a reason why women are always extremely fashionable in the city. I learned from a local Russian that it is because women in Moscow are always on the prowl to find a husband so they must look their best every single day; ready to attract a man and to make a great first impression. I learned that there is some truth to this. Men here like stylish women. As I started dressing more fashionably, some of my Russian male classmates began to positively comment on my sense of style.

For the men, I have also noticed a dress code, but not as formal. The style for men usually consists of:

  • Very nice dress shoes (usually black and leather)
  • Nice dress pants or jeans
  • A black pea coat and scarf
  • And a sleek leather briefcase or satchel

Of course, not every single person in Moscow follows these norms. I’ve see men in tracksuits and outrageously dyed jeans and funny-looking Italian shoes. I’ve also seen women in jumpsuits sporting dreadlocks. However, if you want to blend in and look like a typical Russian, it’s best to follow the unwritten rules of style.

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