lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

Location: Kolkata, India

Monday, April 10, 2006

Fashion? But it's just clothes!

Life was definitely simpler for our grandmothers. They wore sarees and that was that. In the north, maybe they wore salwar suits, but that was that too. Or was it?


My grandma probably fretted about the weaves and patterns and my mother fretted about fashionable colours. But they only had to worry about fashion trends in blouses, surely? Whether the sleeves were long or short, whether to add lacy flounces or bows, whether the blouses buttoned up behind or at the front was the most they worried about trends.

Now there are fashionable and popular designers from our own country. But do they measure up to the standards of impractical designs that their Western counterparts churn out? Absolutely! We even have our own wardrobe malfunctions! Nobody can call us backward. :D

Whether they are publicity stunts or they are bad designs and worse execution in tailoring, the clothes that are paraded in these fashion shows make no sense to me. Who in their right senses will wear the kind of clothes that are strutted on the catwalk in everyday life? (don't, oh please, don't let me get started on Sabyasachi) The clothes aren't practical, they are not even appealing or attractive. The designers seem to think of only clothes-horses and not ordinary people when they create these marvels; which turn out to be badly tailored and which embarrass the person who is trying to model them.

I simply commiserate with Carol Gracias. Apparently she asked the designer to take care of slippage during the fittings; and was ignored. So now she is the goddess of a million MMS clips. Poor girl.

When I was a young, fashion was a lot simpler.

If Dimple wore her blouse knotted, so did a generation of teenagers, to the consternation of their parents. If Zeenat wore her hair short, ditto, ditto. Now girls wear a dozen ear-rings and a nose-ring just like Sania Mirza.

(I remember wearing bell-bottoms in shocking pink with a parrot-green bat-sleeved embroidered top and feeling gorgeous and trendy. Ah, how time flies. Now I'd give both the hues a miss and would probably shudder to see the combination.)

Clothes seem to get skimpier and skimpier in magazine photo-spreads. A couple of hankies with sequins and a few shoe-laces seem to be enough to spark off creativity in our designers. Real life population doesn't dress like that. Young people seem to live in jeans and cropped tops.

But what I see around the city, young girls in tight t-shirts that barely skim the hips and jeans that seem painted on doesn't really bother me much. Fashion changes, and skirts that seem hang below the pelvic bones on the strength of a prayer will surely raise to waist level sooner or later.

All our clothes- blouses or salwar sets, or skirts and dresses, used to be tailored. Buying ready made clothes was considered de classe. The best thing about tailored clothes was they were made for you, so they fitted well. Of course, if they looked good or not depended on your taste and choice of style.

I wonder if anybody goes to the trouble of getting an outfit made from the scratch nowadays. Selecting the fabric, print and style; discussing what embellishments you want with your tailor; getting fittings, making alterations... Who will go to such trouble if you can get well-made clothes, all ready to wear?

I was never a fashion slave. I never had time for it. My mother did it all anyway. She loved choosing fabrics, deciding designs and she positively revelled in buying sarees. I dressed in the first thing that came to hand from my wardrobe, and that was about all I had to do. My mother did the shopping, my sisters researched fashion, and I wore whatever was there.

When I lived in Delhi, I used to buy bargains from Janpath pavements and wear them for years. Clothes just didn't mean much, except as a necessity. I still tend to live in jeans that are a decade old and still going strong. As I avoid social gatherings, I never need to dress up or fret that I don't have a thing to wear. I don't have a thing to wear for a classy evening out, anyway. :D

I am musing about fashions and clothes as I had to turn out my cupboards in preparation to handing over my bedroom to the painters. As I see the piles of salwar suits I had grown tired of, sarees I haven't worn in decades, I wonder what to do with them. Just throw them out? Cut them up and make a patchwork quilt? Recycle them as dishrags? Send them to charities?

Any suggestions?



Blogger Rimi said...

Charities, if you want. you'll have my mum's vote on that one. But ooh, ooh! unused clothes are THE thing to get me going! Can I take a look at the stuff? Will you post some pics online? Do you sew? Do you still have a good tailor?

On second thoughts, er, maybe I should tone it down a bit...

3:37 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:06 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

You sew and sew! Don't make me laugh about posting pics. Let me first learn how to add links. :D

9:08 am  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

rimi, yes.I used to sew my outfits, and yes, you can take a look at the stuff. No, I don't have a good tailor. Do you know any? :D

6:14 pm  
Blogger Rimi said...

Sure I do. And come on now, you learned how to link in a DAY! Seriously, how do I take a look? Post pics!

7:22 pm  
Blogger Lalita Mukherjea said...

Not so, dear. I learnt it over an agonising one month period and via intervention of a fellow blogger, mister mischief, a k a Praveen. He gave me a tutorial and an 8 step programme. Since it didn't involve my standing up and saying 'Hi, I am Lalita and I am HTMLphobe, it worked. :D Remote control all the way. * giggle*

11:28 pm  

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