Monday, Aug. 10, 2009

Iran's Members Only President

Given Iran's strict religious culture and the series of grim-faced, dourly dressed clerics that have been the face of the Islamic Republic since the 1979 revolution, one might expect more of the same from newly re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But Ahmadinejad's relaxed approach to fashion has garnered almost as much attention as his hard-line politics.

Like most Iranians, the President does not wear a necktie — a rule that was set in place by Ayatullah Khomeini, who banned them for being decadent and un-Islamic and for contributing to the spread of Western culture. Instead, he opts for simple cotton shirts topped with his trademark, a $30 Chinese-made khaki windbreaker purchased from a Tehran bazaar. The windbreaker, commonly dubbed the Ahmadinejacket, is widely derided for its similarity to the Members Only jackets that were briefly popular in the West in the 1980s; still, it has become popular among supporters hoping to emulate the President's look.