Images from 1968 (left) and 1980 (right); see here.
In north China the white cloth that male peasants tie around their heads became an emblem of the revolution. The custom long predated the 1949 Liberation, but was another casualty of the collapse of the commune system in the late 1970s.
While the headgear was common throughout the north Chinese countryside, it is often associated with Shaanbei, revolutionary base from the 1930s. In this 1981 group photo from Yulin, only a couple of shawm players were wearing them (see Walking shrill), outnumbered by the peaked caps which were a more modern image of the revolution:
In the hill village of Yangjiagou, here’s the shawm player Chang Bingyou (1916–98), father of our friend Older Brother:
Though fashion moved slowly in the countryside, by the time I visited Shaanbei in 1999 headscarves were already rare. Here’s the Yangjiagou band at a funeral in 1999:
So it was purely in a spirit of nostalgia that we took this photo with Older Brother and Chouxiao in 1999:
But some older people in the region were still wearing the headscarf—here’s a band from Linxian (across the river in Shanxi) at the Baiyunshan temple fair in 2001:
Here’s Guo Yuhua with the last Yangjiagou villager still wearing it in 2005:
In the countryside south of Beijing, headscarves were also rare in Gaoluo by the 1990s. The wonderful He Yi was virtually the only villager who still wore one:
In the depth of winter villagers often wore protective earflaps:
In Gaoluo even I resorted to headgear, affecting an English proletarian flat ’at.
See also Funerary headgear.
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Meanwhile, a world away from the Chinese revolution:
The fine line between irony and Looking a Complete Twat is lost on the repugnant Minister for the 18th Century, “eternally trapped in the ridiculous fancy-dress outfit that he once wore for a laugh at a school party” (oh, I said that):
And speaking of Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Johnson, here’s an instance of his characteristic gravitas:
Irony was also in full flow during the recent Opening of Parliament, with a crown worth billions of pounds, delivered in a gilded carriage, on display during a speech that neatly sidestepped the cost-of-living crisis (government advice: “Why not try earning more money?”):
As to clothing, one might note that men are not only free to choose for themselves, but that they are also kind enough to decide on behalf of women.