It’s always interesting to explore different cultures together and one of the vivid ways of seeing curious differences revolves around people. It seems like the geographical location and descent highly impacts the typical look of those people. So, this fact really piqued my interest and I decided to focus on the typical look of Armenians and share some of my thoughts with you as well. Hope you also enjoy reading about it!
Typically, the Armenian look is defined by dark-colored hair and eyes, and lighter skin color. Armenians are also known for their prominent noses. Regarding outfits, casual clothes have become more prevalent among modern Armenians these days. Black is also a dominant color choice to complete the outfit for many.
In this blog post, I will go over Armenian facial characteristics so you can get a good idea of a typical Armenian look. I also think style is a crucial part if you want to look Armenian so there’s a little guideline in the end so stay tuned! And don’t forget to share with me what you think I missed or would like to add to this list by pinging me on Instagram or Twitter with #ArmeniaTravelTips. But now let’s move on to read the details.
Armenian facial features
People of our nationality are usually very diverse and there is no single feature that will help you spot an Armenian from a distance. Also, it’s worth noting that there is no one look that makes someone more Armenian than others. So many of us come from different backgrounds that all our features can vary quite significantly. So, writing about a typical Armenian look, I have to apply some very broad generalizations. This in no way suggests that Armenians who do not share the features described below are “less Armenian”. I always say you are Armenian by choice! Alright, now let’s get into some stereotypical features of our looks.
There is a lot of talk going around the Armenian nose describing how big it is. Even though as the generation changes the “big nose” also disappears over time but cultural jokes always stay relevant. As an analogy, it is often compared to a mountain top, as a joke. And who knows, maybe this “big nose” concept is one of the reasons for the growing number of nose surgeries in Armenia. Well, actually, I know, as you’ll learn if you check that post out. 🙂
Typical Armenian eyes are usually in brown/hazel/dark color tones. You can still see people with lighter eye color too, like my mom for example, but I would say dark colors are what best describes most Armenian eyes. I’ve also noticed that the number of Armenians with lighter colored eyes and hair is higher among Armenians from the diaspora, especially among those from Syria, Turkey and other Middle-Eastern countries.
Armenian eyes are known for being rather big and prominent. In combination with the dark color of our eyes, this creates somewhat of an effect of sad eyes. This has often been mentioned in songs and poetry throughout history. Armenians also have very dark eyelashes and prominent eyebrows. Yes, we rocked the ‘thick eyebrow’ before it became trendy. 🙂
Considering the fact that people dye their hair nowadays quite often, I will only talk about natural hair color. To cut it short, I would say it’s mostly dark – pure black to darker brown shades. Also, in Armenia you will not witness many men who prefer to dye their hair. So the Armenians you may see will typically have dark-colored hair, nothing special here.
What is a bit special, in my opinion, is the fact that in Armenia you see a lot more people who put special effort into styling their hair, especially men. I personally find it curious that typically our guys don’t think twice about their fashion choices, but they can spend a lot of time styling their hair before leaving the house. 🙂 I guess it’s the idea of embracing the classic color on a well-groomed head.
Typically, urban Armenians have a rather light skin color. And, unlike what some might think, this is not a result of any kind of skin-bleaching creams or anything of that nature. Most of us simply have the natural combo of dark hair and rather light skin.
Of course, during summertime, it changes a bit because of the sun’s rays and the impossibility to avoid it while you’re out. During that period everyone gets the tanned look and a three-shade darker skin color. If you travel outside of urban areas, you will encounter a lot of Armenians with darker skin. And that’s because many of them work in the fields being constantly exposed to the sun.
Speaking of hair and men, we have to talk about facial hair. Armenians know how to grow a beard! And oh boy, the barber industry is booming in my country. Most Armenian men nowadays typically prefer to have some form of facial hair, especially the younger ones. Among the older generation, a more classic clean shaved look is more common, which I think they’ve gotten accustomed to in the Soviet era.
However, with the beards, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. I’ve heard from Armenian girls, that sometimes they associate a beard on a man with him being “gyartu”, which is a colloquial term for being “old-fashioned” or “socially conservative”. So, while some Armenian men think that rocking a well-maintained beard is trendy, not everyone around them thinks that way. If you are an Armenian man reading this, let me know if I shed light on new information for you. 🙂
How to look Armenian?
Like I said, Armenians are very diverse and it’s obviously expressed in their looks as well. However, if you are looking to fit in among Armenians and “pass” for one of us, I have some tips for you. 🙂 But first, if you want to get an item or two and add it to your “Armenian closet” you might need some tips for some cheap shopping in Yerevan. So, don’t forget to check those shops out. And if you want to know how we dressed in the past, just have a look of the performers of the Armenian folk music. Now, let’s start with tips on your Armenian look.
- Casual and comfy – This is the typical outfit look to go out on a usual day. We do overdress on special occasions, that is without a doubt, but if you’re looking to go out in the middle of the day, choose something that’s not too edgy and trendy.
- We love black clothes – the saying “you can never go wrong with black” is literally all about Armenians. We really love the color black and lots of us prefer that color over the rest probably. Especially for men, classic black trousers are an absolute staple in our closets.
- Sportswear is only for the gym – Keep in mind that you will rarely see people wearing activewear outside the gym. It’s gym-only clothes for most of us and not many walk on the streets in gym wear.
- Our style is mostly basic – A true “fashionista” will always appreciate an extravagant outfit, something with crazy colors, or some provocative print on their t-shirt. It’s all cute and fun, of course, but that is not how you pass for a “typical” Armenian. Most of us prefer basic colors and patterns in our outfits for daily use.
- Make-up look – Most of the girls prefer to have a little or natural make-up look over no makeup look. But feel free to go bolder with your evening makeup, or if you are attending a special event. Armenian men typically do not wear make-up. And I’d argue that with our crazy rich, dark and long eyelashes, we don’t quite need it.
- Girls love accessories – You’ll see most girls with bags and jewelry on a daily basis. They love to add accessory pieces to their looks as it seemingly adds to the whole fit and I think it works cool. Actually, bags and accessories of all kinds are a huge part of our cultural identity as well, so you might want to buy some, read more in my list of 10 unique gifts you can bring back from Armenia.
Final thoughts on typical Armenian look
As Armenians are very diverse it’s hard to mention one typical Armenian look but I tried. I hope you appreciate my effort in making this list as “stereotypical” as possible. 🙂 Take everything I wrote here with a pinch of salt, of course. It’s for fun! And remember, you are Armenian by choice, not by your looks or any other criteria. Share some of your thoughts on the typical Armenian look with me on Instagram or Twitter with #ArmeniaTravelTips. I can’t wait to read all of it!
The last thing I’ll leave you with today is this music video by Iveta Mukuchyan. This song called ‘Hayastani aghchikner’ (Girls of Armenia) describes the looks and power of our beautiful women. I think it’s a really cool song, and it can shed some more light on the typical Armenian looks. And if you want to see more variety in how Armenians look, check out my post about Armenian female celebrities. They are gorgeous!
Featured image credit: Sirusho Production on Wikimedia Commons
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