Something is definitely afoot in the style scene of North Korea's capital.
Most North Koreans remain too poor to think much about fashion, and the country in general maintains a deep-rooted resistance to outside influences. But in Pyongyang, where the standard of living is relatively high, clothes and styles have been changing in recent years — slowly and in a limited way, but more than many outsiders might think.
ABOVE: Long shadows are cast by the evening sun as North Koreans make their way home after a day's work on Aug. 1, 2014 in Pyongyang, North Korea.
While rubber boots and utilitarian flats remain the norm elsewhere in North Korea, high heels in a wide array of colors and styles are commonplace in Pyongyang. They range from basic black to glittery sequined styles that are almost over-the-top exuberant.
ABOVE: A North Korean woman walks along the Taedong River on Aug. 30 in Pyongyang.
ABOVE: North Koreans leave an underground subway station in Pyongyang on Sept. 1.
ABOVE: A North Korean woman reacts while watching a pro wrestling exhibition, on Aug. 31 in Pyongyang.
North Korea's top trendsetter is Ri Sol Ju, leader Kim Jong Un's wife, who is higher-profile and more fashionable than previous leaders' spouses were. Her short hair and Chanel-style black dresses have undoubtedly influenced many Pyongyang women.
ABOVE: North Korean women laugh while watching others on rides at the Kaeson Youth Amusement Park on Sept. 3 in Pyongyang.
ABOVE: A North Korean woman works at the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang textile factory, on July 31, in Pyongyang.
There is a clear trend for young men to wear more flattering, tighter shirts, with back darts and sharper, harder collars. Overall, the look for both young men and women is basically old-school preppy, with an emphasis on clean and simple lines.
One exception: trousers. Pyongyang still prefers the stove-pipe style, wide from the waist to the ankle. Skinny is out.
ABOVE: A couple walks along the pier which leads to Jangdok Island, on July 28, in Wonsan, North Korea.
ABOVE: North Koreans read newspapers displayed at the train platform of an underground subway station, on Sept. 1, in Pyongyang.
In the past few years, however, some North Koreans have dared to wear trousers that are something like jeans. They are not made of denim but have jeans styling, such as riveted pockets.
ABOVE: North Koreans gather to dance in downtown Pyongyang, on July 27 in North Korea.
But jeans are a touchy topic. So touchy, in fact, that just bringing it up is likely to raise nationalistic hackles.
"We don't have to like jeans," said Kim Su Jong, the Pyongyang woman who so favored brighter colors. "Why should I wear that kind of jeans? It looks ugly. We have our own style."
— Eric Talmadge, The Associated Press
ABOVE: A North Korean woman waits for a train in an underground subway station in Pyongyang, on Sept. 1.