"Now That There Is No Decree"
(Picture courtesy of Jameel)
TZ commenting on Shtreimels - A Question:
As far as I understand all Chassidim wore fur hats (whether a shtreimel made of tails or a tall spodik or a kolpek etc.) if they could afford it. Many Rabbonim wore fur hats such as the Chasam Sofer, fur velvet and silk were materials used by the nobility they were choshuv.
Chassidic dress was never totally uniform but different regions, climates and decrees altered it even more.
Russian Chassidim had several decrees and great poverty. Many Chassidim in Russia could not afford fur anyway. However the decrees insured that certain distinct Jewish garb were forbidden. Therefore Russian Chassidim did not wear Shtreimels, Payos or Bekishas. This is evident since today most Russian Chassidic groups have re-adopted these clothes and styles now that there is no decree. The same with long socks in cold Russia they wore boots a custom still upheld in Skver (even in the summer). Luckily even Russian peasants wore beards otherwise this too might have become a problem!
The other Eastern European Chassidim were not affected by decrees on clothing. However again in different locales they dressed differently in Ger and Polish Chassidim they tucked pants into socks and wore Spodiks. Whereas the Hungarian/Rumanian groups wore short pants laced around the knee w/knee socks and shtreimels.
Lest one attack and say this is all just outwardly appearance and just chitzonius, we must answer that Jewish clothing protects our distance Jewish identity and while the clothes don't make the man, a soldier w/o his uniform is reprimanded and jailed. We are in Hashem's army and should each proudly wear the uniform of our division, the army the navy the airforce all are one army yet they have separate unique identifying uniforms which are all quickly identifiable as making a uniform for a soldier.
There is a well known story that a Chassid once entered to his Rebbe dressed differently than the custom. Their custom was to have the top button on the shirt open and short pants tucked into socks. The chassid came in with his short collar buttoned to the top and long pants which are "open" at the bottom. The Rebbe quipped at him and said, If I try and teach you Torah how can it penetrate with your top button closed? And if it eventually somehow does get in it wall fall straight out through your pants legs!