The Romani people or Gypsies are a traditional ethnic nomadic group that originates from communities in northern India. They live in dispersed groups mainly around central and southern Europe.
Gypsy Appearance According to Purity Laws
Their social behaviour is strictly regulated by Hindu purity laws, which is still respected by most Gypsies. This regulation affects many aspects of life. According to it, lower parts of the human body are considered impure, as well as the events of birth and death.
They were originally Hindu, but over years adopted Christianity or Islam depending on where they lived. Most Gypsies are talented musicians. They influenced and inspired many classical musicians, writers and artists. Over centuries their lifestyle was heavily romanticized and appearance stereotyped. Their quite distinctive and anti-conformist dressing style has become a symbol of freedom and free spirit.
Gypsies usually wear bright, colourful garments with flower patterns on a dark background or just black.
Symbols of Gypsy Appearance
Gypsy men tend to prefer eclectic outfits. Favourite colour is black, but often accompanied with distinctive white accents. They find highly polished, glossy dress shoes very attractive. These are either white, black or with a black and white pattern. The head is covered with a small black or white cowboy-style hat.
Women like to wear long floral skirts and usually white blouses decorated with lace, especially around the wrist or neck. The hair is long and ruffled, sometimes covered by a colourful scarf. They proudly wear gold coin bracelets around the neck and a gold tone coin belt or a belly dance belt. Shoulders are covered with a fringed shawl. Bra is used as another pocket or place for cigarettes.
The important distinction from the individualistic Bohemian style is that Gypsy fashion is very traditional and is driven by a collective taste expressed through customs. The clothing is accompanied with a characteristic behaviour, gestures and manners.