October 8, 2014

Should one follow fashion blindly?

“How do I look?” asked Neeta, opening the door to me and executing a twirl about the room. Embarrassed, I coughed and looked away from the plump short legs, revealed by the black mini skirt.

That brought me to the question: does one have to follow fashion blindly? Even if one looks terrible in it?

Normally attractively dressed in either saris, salwars or churidars, Neeta looked awful in a mini. Fit, in fact, for a circus.
I have short, stumpy legs!! What kind of dress would suit me!! Image Credits

We just have to face facts. Most Indian women look terrible in either skirts or dresses. Neither do we have the legs, nor the manner of walking and carrying ourselves that is required for dresses.
In minis, most look horrible; in midis, we look dowdy. Most end up looking like potatoes balanced on drumsticks, or baby elephants displaying their haunches!

Plump legs, bulging waistlines don’t look good in skirts or minis.

The aim of dressing is to look good at all times, and if the prevailing fashions suit one, why, then it’s a rosy path to becoming the well-dressed female.

There are five facts to be kept in mind, while selecting clothes. They are: the sort of lifestyle one has, one’s figure, the colors that suit or flatter one’s age and the occasion for wearing the clothes.
Most clothes look very alluring on tall, slim, young and pretty models, but they don’t look the same on the buyer. The results are quite disastrous, at times.

Tall, slim beautiful girls in mini.

Lifestyle takes into account the type of person you are. Some people love outdoors, spots and whizzing about on bikes. Others stay indoor, stay-at-home sort. Some people need to jump on to running buses. Others receive visitors in air-conditioned comfort.

Women’s wear are not the same for every type of activity or occasion. For instance, ghagras won’t work where jeans will. Somewhere, saris are more appropriate than either jeans or salwars. For example, you hardly expect to find a smiling receptionist to be clad in jeans, do you?

We Indians are lucky we can wear all colours flatteringly except, perhaps, grey. Oranges, leaf-greens, bright Indian pinks, turquoises, reds and dazzling yellows are our forte. With the slight tan we sport and with our dark brown or black hair, we don’t have to bother, like Europeans have to, about dress colours clashing with hair colour or eye colour.

Contrary to what most of us think, most dark people look good in bright greens, yellows, greys and pinks. Dull browns, greys and beige should be avoided at all costs. These make the skin look muddy. The figure is very important. Plump legs don’t look good in minis and fat arms with bingo wings or bat wings do not look nice in sleeveless blouses. Spare-tyres or a bulging, exposed waistline look awful.

Bold prints and designs are “out” for either short, plump people or short, thin people. The former will look even shorter and plumper, the latter will be lost behind the bold prints. Very loose clothes too make a person look shapeless. Small, sober prints, narrow borders, well-fitting and properly matched clothes are the order of the day.

Tall slim people are lucky. They can carry off almost everything, including broad-bordered Kanjeevarams. However, they should be careful about wearing vertical stripes. Their appearance might just resemble an elongated, elegant giraffe.
Tall, slim Shilpa Shetty looks so alluring in sarees. Image Credits.
 The age factor
Age is a factor that some don’t take into consideration at all. It inhibits some from following fashion, or even seeking a temporary change from the usual clothes. Here too, the rule would be to pick and choose clothes that flatter. Read Do not wear Age Inappropriate clothes.

Many women, once they cross 40, in spite of having a good figure feel that they must wear only sober dresses. So with a heavy heart they discard their favorite dresses and wear only saris. Now sari is a wonderful attire that suits young, old, plump, slim alike and in fact plump women can drape it in an alluring way to highlight their best features. But considering oneself too old for other attires is also not  right. And if the woman is still trim and slim,  she can always wear more casual, comfortable clothes, like the salwars, trousers and jeans and reserve saris for special occasions,. Kaftans can be worn at home, or even jeans, if she is the sort who loves gardening, jogging and playing tennis.

Sari is a versatile garment that suits one and all.

However some other women think the opposite. They insist on wearing clothes which are “in” despite having an obnoxious figure and have no compunction in displaying prosperous paunches which precede them wherever they go. For heaven’s sake, don’t get taken in by the sales-talk of what is “in” or “out”. A grandmother dressed in the trendiest skirt about town, won’t look in the pink of fashion!

Apart from he wearer’s personality, clothes have to be worn according to the occasion. No matter how casual one is or likes being, one simply can’t attend a wedding in a cotton kaftan or jeans. Weddings require more formal or dressy clothes.

Interviews require simple tasteful clothes that don’t stand out. Yet, if one is being interviewed for the job or a model, receptionist or a salesgirl, enhancing oneself by wearing flattering fashionable clothes, is quite in keeping with normal decorum. But they should not be indecently skimpy, tight-fitting or revealing.

The workplace needs functional yet smart and attractive clothes that don’t crush easily. Women, staying at home, naturally prefer loose casual clothes that are also good enough to welcome the unexpected visitor.

Well-fitting clothes are the order of the day.

There shouldn’t be any need to run from the door to the dressing room, the minute somebody rings the doorbell. The woman who stays at home also needs clothes for morning visits, though not as dressy as evening wear, they needn't;t be plain, either. Simple handlooms can be highlighted by attractive silver or costume jewelry.

Fashion cannot dictate what people wear, regardless or what suits them.

Despite the advent of the mini or the micro-mini during her reign, Queen Elizabeth II of England didn’t wear one. Throughout she has steadfastly stuck to designs that suited her – creating her own individualistic style.

Queen Elizabeth doesn’t go by fashion trends but follows her own individualistic style.

People remember a person by her style, and not by what she wore during a particular period, or whether she followed fashion trends assiduously.

Style is something to do with the whole person-her personality, clothes, hairstyle, way-of-life, makeup, accessories – everything.

The greatest pleasure lies in wearing clothes that one knows flatter one rather than in following fashion blindly – in being secure in the knowledge that one stands out beautifully form the herd of fashion followers.

(Contributed by Vini K.)

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