Turkish Style

 I found it very interesting that in this vibrant city there was a wide range of styles of dress for women and a much narrower one for men.  That first morning as Sally and I sat drinking turkish coffee watching people getting off the trains and trams, what was striking was the lack of bright tee shirts and baggy pants on men.  Regardless of age, most wore dark pants with a polo or button down style shirt, perhaps a suit, as they headed off to work in the morning bustle.  This held true in the markets, museums, and out in the countryside of Cappodocia.  If you were to do a Boston and Istanbul comparison, the guys in Istanbul would make Bostonians look flashy.

Turkish women on the other hand have a wide spectrum of clothing styles from tight shorts and tank tops to full burkas.  What is striking however is the quiet style - Gucci purses to go with elaborate black beaded Burkas, beautiful head scarves coordinated with pants, shoes, belts and sweaters.  The evening of our farewell dinner we went to a swanky island restaurant floating on the Bosporus.  A wedding party was in progress and the female guests wore dresses and shoes that were stunning, sexy, and stylish- yet not over the top.  It reminded me of how women dressed when I was a child and my mother had a closet full of beautiful clothes for every event.  It is lifestyle that skipped me completely, my daughter embraces and is alive and well in Istanbul.

Modern Day Istanbul

While tourists flock to the historic district of Istanbul to see the palaces, mosques and other historic sites, they often miss the chance to see modern day Istanbul. In a country where half the people are under 35 there is a remarkable energy and endless development. The connection of past and present was very evident as we wondered through narrow cobbled streets around Galata Tower filled with hand made clothing stores. 

The aesthetic of this crossroads of east and west could be seen in the beautifully designed dresses and traditional Turkish pants.  Made from fabrics with subtle vegetable dye colors in draping forms – this apparel was both modest and revealing, and unlike anything we see in our world of mass marketing clothing made in China.

We met designers and salespeople, all telling us that their mothers did some of the work. While this not true in every case, it is clear that the artistry and craftsmanship comes from close at hand.  Beautiful handmade shoes can be found in these shops and no doubt you could find someone to make them for you.

Look at the dress on this beautiful dress -
the silver buttons at the shoulder
crochet work in the torso, subtle colors....mmmmmm