Once banned, Iran sees timid return of neckties

Mohammad Javad enters a fashionable shop in well-to-do north Tehran with his mother. For the first time ever he wants a necktie, long banned in Iran as a symbol of Western decadence.

The 27-year-old dentist said he opted for this clothing accessory in hopes of looking his best during the first meeting with his future in-laws.

"In our society, wearing a tie is like wearing a mask before COVID-19 hit," he said as the salesman adjusted his suit.

"People would look at you differently because the negative view still remains. I think a man looks chic with one.

Unfortunately, we Iranians have imposed strange and unnecessary restrictions on ourselves. It'll take time for that to change, but hopefully it will."

Dress rules have stoked strong passions in Iran, especially restrictions on women who have long been required to wear modest clothing and headscarves.

Iran was gripped by unrest, labelled "riots" by the authorities, after the Sept. 16 death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, following her arrest for an alleged violation of the country's strict dress code for women.

Iran banned the tie for men after the 1979 overthrow of the U.S.-backed monarch as a symbol of Western culture.

Although it has made a slow comeback since, government officials and most Iranian men continue to shun the cravat.

The upmarket Zagros shop on the capital's Nelson Mandela Boulevard however displays rows of ties in different colors and in wool, cotton or silk.

"We sell around 100 a month," said deputy store manager Mohammad Arjmand, 35. "We import them mostly from Türkiye, but some are also made in Iran. Customers buy them for ceremonies or for work. In this neighborhood, you will find that two out of 10 people wear one. These...

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