Friday, July 4, 2008

Dressing in Russia


How the Clothing Is Adapted to Outdoor and Indoor Temperature.

The national cap has a soft velvet crown, surrounded by a broad band of sable or of otter. it is always in fashion and lasts forever. People who are fond of variety buy each year a new cap, made of black Persian lambskin, which resembles in shape that worn by the kazaks, though the shape is modified every year by the thrifty shopkeepers.

The furs and the Russian's sensible manner of dressing in general have much to do with their comfort and freedom from colds. Few Russians wear flannels of any sort. Linen underclothing and the thinnest gowns are sufficient in the delightfully heated houses, and at theaters and other places of public entertainment anything more would be intolerable. No Russian enters a room, theater or public ball at any season of the year with his cloak and overshoes, and no well trained servant would allow an ignorant foreigner to trifle with his health by so doing. Even the foreign churches are provided with cloakrooms and attendants. And the Russian churches? On grand occasions, when space is railed off for officials or favored guests, cloak racks and attendants are provided near the door for the privileged ones, who must display their uniforms and gowns as a matter of state etiquette.

The women find the light shawl which they wear under their fur to preserve their gowns from hairs, to shield the chest, and for precisely such emergencies, sufficient protection. On ordinary occasions people who do not keep a lackey to hold their cloaks, just inside the entrance, have an opportunity to practice Russian endurance, and unless the crowd is very dense the large and lofty space renders it quite possible, though the churches are heated, to retain the fur cloak, but it is not healthy and not always comfortable. It would not be possible to provide cloakrooms and attendants for the thousands upon thousands who attend church service on Sundays and holidays. With the foreign churches, whose attendance is comparatively limited, it is a different matter. Moscow, by the way, is the place to see the coats intended for "really cold weather" journeys, made of bearskin and of reindeer skin, impervious to cold, lined with downy Siberian rat or other skins which one does not see in St. Petersburg shops. — Lippincott's.

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