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My impression of male Chareidi Jews is that they only ever wear a white shirt with a black suit shoes and hat, no tie. I also get the impression that particular other (possibly Chassidic) groups have a uniform which they all wear. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Why do they do this? Is there something wrong with looking different in their culture? Does the particular ensemble have significance or is it just a common expression of sober, severe dress?

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It's not true that Yeshivish people never wear a tie. –  Daniel May 14 '13 at 13:18
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"My impression of male Chareidi Jews is that they only ever wear a white shirt with a black suit shoes and hat, no tie." Is that part of your definition of 'Chareidi Jews', or do you have some definition that doesn't include that? If the former, then you don't seem to have much of question; if the latter, then you might want to include your definition of 'Chareidi Jews' in the question, since I imagine different people will define it in varying ways. (Or if you're asking about 'some groups' in general and none in particular, then maybe state that explicitly in the question not just the title.) –  msh210 May 14 '13 at 17:30
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1 Answer

I believe there are a few reasons.

  1. At certain times and in certain countries Jews were required to wear certain articles of clothing. Rather than fighting these decrees, these became proud status symbols of the Jews who wear them.
  2. Today dressing a certain way is an expression of allegiance towards a certain sect. Ie., a Gerrer chassid has different dress than a Belzer chassid.
  3. Modesty is a law that applies to both men and women. Among the many aspects of modesty is the idea to be inconspicuous. If everyone is the same, then no one is attracting attention.
  4. I believe that the dictum "don't separate from the community (Avos 2:4)" also has a part to play. Uniform is a way for the entire community to express their unity.
  5. According to kabbalistic tradition, men should wear white clothing. However, the Rabbis explain that a side effect of wearing all white is that it engenders haughtiness. Black clothing is said to elicit humility. It could be that the black/white uniform is a result of this idea.
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iKay, welcome to Mi Yodeya, and thanks for your interesting and well-written answer, which would be even better if you could cite any of your sources (e.g. that inconspicuousness is valuable or that one should not separate from the community). I hope you stick around and enjoy the site. You may also be interested in other questions here, such as our twenty-three questions about provenance. –  msh210 May 23 '13 at 14:27
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I don't know the sources for my comment about inconspicuousness. It is just what I received from my rabbis who are charedi. I will try to find some The other I cited. –  iKay May 23 '13 at 14:49
    
What is the source that wearing all white causes haughtiness? –  yoel May 23 '13 at 16:22
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