Wednesday, July 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India



S O C I E T Y

Getting fashion basics right
Sumona Roy
M
ost of us who are in touch with the latest fashion trends would have no difficulty deciding what to wear to a party or at a wedding reception. There is always a dress (with or without a designer label) that women keep aside which could be appropriate for the occasion.

Daughtersí clothes, mothersí woes?
Deepti Gupta
T
HE entry of the Indian woman in the international fashion parade has unleashed a host of factors. The mushrooming of beauty parlours, fitness centres, plastic surgery clinics and finishing schools bears ample testimony to the interests of modern-day girls. 

 






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Getting fashion basics right
Sumona Roy

Most of us who are in touch with the latest fashion trends would have no difficulty deciding what to wear to a party or at a wedding reception. There is always a dress (with or without a designer label) that women keep aside which could be appropriate for the occasion.

But when it comes to deciding on what to wear to work or for shopping, we invariably get stumped. For while we Ďknow bestí how to make an impression at a social do, we are always found wanting in the way we carry ourselves through day-to-day life. Somehow, the wardrobe, too, lets us down.

Your wardrobe reflects how naturally inclined you are towards fashion. Unless you get your basics right, thereís no point showing up as a Christmas tree at a public gathering. People will still be judging you by your appearance elsewhere. After all, fashion is more than making a statement. It is a way of life.

Suitable shades

So how do you get to work on the basics?

Start with the colours. Check what shades complement your skin tone and stock your wardrobe with those colours. For most Indian women, neutrals are the safest bet. Black, beige, navy, grey and off-white not only suit the Indian skin type, but are long-lasting and lend themselves to mix-Ďní-match options.

Next, make sure you have a black dress ó mini, midi or maxi, it does not matter. For you cannot go wrong with any of them, whether you choose to dress up or down, depending on the occasion. It is the best standby for a woman when she runs out of ideas.

Of course, the styling and length of the garment would be influenced by the figure. But keep the silhouette simple and detailing minimal. Black is one colour that cannot take too much of clutter. Also, it tends to make the wearer look slim.

In western wear, the must-haves are always a pair of dark trousers, white or navy blouse, skirts and a neat body-fitting tunic. The choices in Indian wear are more varied ó ranging from salwars and churidars to kurtas and kameezes, lehngas and cholis, bustiers and jackets, saree and blouse...

Avoid matching sets. Reserve the right of colour coordinating while mixing and matching so that you will never be seen repeating yourself. A variety of multi-coloured dupattas and odhnis, with elaborated embellishments would add that extra drama to your look ó even in the most casual of situations.

Scarves as accessories

Yet another convenient addition to your wardrobe, could be scarves. Have them in pastels or bold prints, short or long, in square or rectangular shapes... A scarf when teamed sensibly with a garment of natural shade, can change the very look of the wearer.

Of late, the black bustier or camisole is increasingly making its way into womenís wardrobes. Its versatility, however, needs to be tested, depending on the wearerís comfort level. For it can look great when worn under a sheer garment, or by itself, or teamed with a black jacket or worn over a sheer blouse.

For men, the same principle of neutrals holds good for shirts and trousers. Fashion-wise though, a blazer and flannels are the best bet for any man. A blue blazer can take him from through the day ó from work to his evening engagement.

Blazers for men

Pin-stripes are ideal for formal wear and go very well with white and blue shirts for the busy executive. But depending on his physique, he must go for either single breast or double breast blazers. If the man is on the portly side, single breast is just right.

Accessories like ties and cuff links have become just as important as the clothes the man sports. A maroon or dark blue pin-striped tie works very well for the evening, as well as evening engagements. The male wardrobe is incomplete without at least two pairs of shoes ó black and brown ó with belts to match.

As for womenís accessories, never underestimate the importance of handbags, shoes and belts ó both in neutral colours, as well as in metallics like gold and silver. A must have in jewellery, apart from the usual gold and silver ornaments, is a pearl necklace. It can go with just about any outfit you wear.

And finally, whether man or woman, do not forget that all-time classic ó a pair of blue jeans! 

ó MF

 

Daughtersí clothes, mothersí woes?
Deepti Gupta

THE entry of the Indian woman in the international fashion parade has unleashed a host of factors. The mushrooming of beauty parlours, fitness centres, plastic surgery clinics and finishing schools bears ample testimony to the interests of modern-day girls. This change has had an insidious effect on young girls. Many a time, we have all squirmed on seeing a young girl dressed in a manner which draws negative attention. The question that comes to mind is that is it not a motherís role to instill a proper dress sense in her daughter early in life?

As mothers, women canít afford to be careless or lax in instilling certain dress values in their children. Given the presence of so many outside influences, it is never too early to begin. It is not too difficult a task either, as Sunita Puri, an IRS official, mother of 13-year-old Carmelite Kriti, says, "There exists perfect harmony between me and my daughter as far as clothes are concerned. But this harmony has developed over the years, and cannot be developed overnight. I play only a minor role in her selection of clothes, and help her to make a decision occasionally. I have always taken care that the clothes my daughter wears are not a subject of ridicule, but at the same time they are smart. There are times when we donít exactly agree, but then again, I never stop her from wearing certain dresses. I tell her the reason for my disapproval of a dress and then leave it to her to decide. So far, she has always agreed with me, and I have not had any problems. As far as the vulgarity of todayís clothes is concerned, I feel that no dress is bad. As long as one carries the clothes well and presents oneself decently, there is no harm in wearing any dress".

Often, the mother has to accommodate the daughterís desire to be Ďiní. This is what Anita, a homemaker does. Anitaís daughter, Charu, studies in plus two in Bhawan Vidyalaya. Anita says, "I really donít disapprove of western wear, but excess of anything has an adverse effect. The MTV style of dressing does go overboard sometimes, which is a strict no-no for my daughter. Due to our wonderful rapport, there is hardly any conflict. A small rift, however, does crop up of f and on. When going out for parties she likes to dress up according to the latest trends, nothing less than a reflection of MTV VJs".

The relationship between Suman Kochhar (Professor of Radiology) and her teenaged daughter, Rashi, establishes the importance of open communication. Says Suman, "When two people are staying together and interacting with each other, day in and day out, they are bound to be influenced by each other. I have tried to maintain a delicate balance between guiding her in a positive manner without interfering. .."

Dress sense apart, isnít mothering all about giving roots and wings?





Of fathersí & sonsí sartorial spats

Surprisingly, as far sartorial tastes are concerned, things are not as hunky-dory in the father-son universe as they are in the mother-daughter world.

Says a lecturer in a local college, "I often feel like the young child who asked his mother whether he would have to marry his elder brotherís widow as well, so sick and tired was he of his brotherís hand-me downs. My son studies in my college and is very fashion conscious. The moment the fashion gurus alter the width of the trouser bottom or the style of the collar, out go the old clothes, whether worn twice or not. He demands money for clothes and my wife loses her temper. Being a salaried person, I canít throw our premium branded clothing like this on a regular basis. So, to preserve peace at home and keep within my budget , I get my sonís discarded clothes altered and wear them. My tailor has made a big joke out of it, "Bauji, kabhi to naya kapra silva liya karo!" For obvious reasons, this father wishes to remain anonymous.

On speaking to a father who is a businessman and not tied down by financial constraints, a different woe emerged. Mr Garg complained, "My son helps me at my shop. But, at times, when we need him the most, he has to go to the health club or the hair-dresser. The gym is a must for him every evening, just when business is brisk. The day he is going out with his girlfriend, I know I canít count on him for he will be busy getting ready for his date. Iíve never seen any boy spend so much in terms of time and money on his appearance as my son does".

Interestingly, while it is acceptable for girls to be fashion conscious, such tendencies are not wholly welcome in boys. This could be due to two factors.

Society is used to girls spending time and energy on their appearance and they are even encouraged to do so. Witness the long bridal preparations in any Indian household! Two, the hand-me-downs of girls can rarely be used by the mother. There being no easy way out, daughters canít discard clothes as easily as sons can.

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