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Why all women in the USSR wore headscarves: an explanation of an incomprehensible "trend"

Alina MilsentLife
A woman in a headscarf

In the USSR, there was little talk about fashion, and the textile industry worked to produce monotonous items. However, there were also so-called trends: it was almost impossible to imagine a Soviet woman without a headscarf. They were tied under the chin, at the back of the head, or wrapped around the neck.

At first, they were ordinary headscarves, then they became shawls that were thrown over the shoulders. We looked into why all women in the USSR wore headscarves and where this massive trend came from.

It was believed that a Soviet woman should not have "bourgeois and bourgeois" tendencies. Her main role was to give birth and raise children. Add to this daily work, household chores, queues to stand in, dinner to cook-and, of course, what woman exhausted by endless chores would worry about her appearance?

The headscarf also became an element of equality: everyone wore them, from collective farmers to women of the party nomenclature. The latter, after all, were "more equal," so they wore scarves made of expensive and high-quality materials.

After 1917, elegant women's hats became symbols of the bourgeoisie, laziness, and "decaying capitalism." Elegant hats did not fit into the new system of values, so they were replaced by headscarves.

Soviet ideology popularized headscarves in every possible way, and there were several reasons for this. The accessory became a continuation of the ideology of all Soviet citizens. Sacred significance was attached to red headscarves. It is difficult to imagine a typical proletarian woman without a headscarf.

As hats became a symbol of "rotten capitalism," it was necessary to find a replacement. At first, these were just warm scarves that had a practical purpose: they helped to tidy up hair so that it did not get in the way of hard work.

In times of shortage, when it was almost impossible to get, for example, hair bands or hairpins, scarves became a commonly available headdress. By the way, the fabrics used were the simplest - high-quality materials were simply unavailable.

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