Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Fashion In The Fields

Farmer harvesting rice.
Originally uploaded by yellojkt.
This picture is an enlargement of another picture and shows a typical women harvesting rice. Vietnamese women are notoriously sun-shy. No one wears shorts or tank-tops as daily attire. This farmer is wearing a scarf and along sleeves under another shirt on a day that is over 90 deg F with wilting humidity levels while working outdoors. Presumably all the clothing is to prevent tanning although it must also provide some protection from the rough edges of the freshly harvested rice stalks.

Most people from the West would assume conical bamboo hats are a quaint article of native dress sold only in tourist shops. Actually they are a nearly ubiquitous fashion necessity that meets a variety of requirements. It provides good shade, it’s light, and it’s inexpensive. Some men wear baseball caps instead, but those are prone to flying off while riding a scooter, while a bamboo hat can be trapped under the chin. We spotted several people have their caps fly off and get lost in traffic. Some entrepreneur should collect all the roadside caps and resell them.

Nor is the complete coverage of clothing restricted to farmers. Women commuting on scooters typically wear elbow length gloves to cover their arms and a face mask that covers the mouth and nose and latches over the ears. These face masks come in a variety of colors and patterns, so they can be coordinated with the rest of the outfit.

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