October 28, 2021 Special cleaning-lady dress without pockets
Apparently, over six thousand of these “dresses” have been sold.
They are a special outfit for the cleaning help in Orthodox homes. With large families and so much work, there is a bustling underclass of low-wage laborers who clean the homes of Hasidic families. The help used to be immigrants from Poland with a reputation for immaculate cleaning skills, but that wave of immigration has stopped for years now. Many Hasidic cleaning ladies are now Hispanic, often from Central America. We frequently see them sit around on Division Avenue for hours and hours, waiting for Hasidic men or women to come hire them.
This housecoat belies how much privilege and entitlement Hasidim might have toward their help, and how narrow their concerns are. The worry that the help might come in dressed inappropriately is ever present when outsiders are brought into the most intimate spaces of life. Hence, a special “maid of honor” dress exists to ensure the help is dressed fully modestly, from top to bottom.
The ad also boldly claims the dress doesn’t have pockets. No doubt this is to imply that many families mistrust the help and worry about theft, so even pockets they can’t have.