Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

The Hasidic Dress Code, Demystified

 by Lisa Gulya

Tags: Spirituality, Judaism, Jews, Hasidic Jews, Brooklyn, clothing, clothes, New Voices,

Outsiders sometimes pejoratively refer to Hasidim as “black-hatters” or “penguins,” in reference to the Orthodox men’s old-fashioned, black-and-white garb. Colorless though their clothes may be, the Jewish student magazine New Voices points out that subtle variations exist among the wardrobes of Hasidic sects. New Voices provides a taxonomy, not a trend report—after all, most of the fashions are deliberate hold-outs from another century on another continent. If you’re still tempted to label Hasidim “penguins” after reading this fashion primer, New Voices tries a new tack: “Penguins? Maybe. But penguins as differentiated as the Macaroni, the Emperor, the Humboldt, and the Gentoo.”