“To an outsider, it might be difficult to distinguish any differences in the way the herds of Hasidic men lingering outside 770 Eastern Parkway are dressed. But not everyone is wearing the same exact white shirt, black suit, and black hat,” writes Madison Margolin for The Times of Israel in a feature article on the nuances of Hasidic fashion.
from The Times of Israel by Madison Margolin:
To an outsider walking past Chabad Lubavitch world headquarters in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, it might be difficult to distinguish any differences in the way the herds of Hasidic men lingering outside 770 Eastern Parkway are dressed.
But not everyone is wearing the same exact white shirt, black suit, and black hat. And on Shabbat, there are subtle differences between the type of shtreimel (round furry hat), or kapoteh (black overcoat) worn by different individuals.
But the idea is that these Hasidim look generally, well, the same.
“It’s a uniform,” says Israel Shemtov, a distinguished tailor and Lubavitcher.
As feisty as he is famed, the five-foot-tall Shemtov is know as the “Red Devil.” He runs an old school tailoring shop in Crown Heights where he makes kapotehs for men in the community. Shemtov says that clothing should be modest, and nothing to boast about.
“A person should not feel that he is something special,” he says. “The clothing doesn’t make the man, the man makes the clothing.”
Shemtov denies that Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men’s fashion should have any room for self-expression, though almost automatically he can list the nuances in how Haredim dress, the slight details that differentiate various Haredi groups. If you know what to look for, seeming minutia to the untrained eye — the brim of a hat, the length of a suit jacket, the buttons on a shirt — are the minor distinctions that set an individual apart.