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How To Martyr Yourself To Fashion

21/01/2016 8:16 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Mannequin hanging in a stall wearing Indian traditional dresses and western also.Pushkar, Rajastan.

Once you start writing for pleasure, you get into the awful habit of observing people around you. You note down their peculiarities, eavesdrop on their conversations and get a glimpse of their exciting lives of truant maids and unfaithful husbands. It's an addictive pastime... much like reading advice columns (mostly concerning sex) in magazines and dailies where shy adults confide their love for masturbation using a banana skin. Or a gentleman complains about his wife who makes him wear lingerie and bangles and ties his hair into a ponytail every time they make love. No, I absolutely did not make these up.

What I am going to write about has nothing to do with people's bizarre sexual fetishes. It is about the Indian woman's love for dressing not according to her shape, but just her state of mind. Go to any mall or multiplex and you'll see a parade of jiggly bottoms and generous tyres spilling out of dresses two sizes too small. I'm always in a fix about how to react. While a part of me says a silent yay for women who dress for themselves and not others, the other part of me wonders if they have a mirror at home.

Someone wise once said, drunks, children and tights never lie. In fact, they betray your secrets and indulgences in the most embarrassing manner.

I understand what a liberating feeling it is to slip into something that makes you feel fashionable and sexy, the rest of the world be damned. But knowing that what's in fashion may not necessarily look good on you, is also a great liberator. Just like tights. Someone wise once said, drunks, children and tights never lie. In fact, they betray your secrets and indulgences in the most embarrassing manner. Just because Cheenu looked drop-dead gorgeous in that halter neck red bandage dress and got 450 likes on Facebook, doesn't mean it will have the same effect on you. What she didn't tell you is that she only eats seeds and leaves and when she's feeling adventurous, adds a pinch of sugar to her tea. And if your friends insist you look fabulous in that leopard print jumpsuit that makes you feel asthmatic, they are lying. While I understand girlfriends are meant to make you feel good about yourself and call you gorgeous even if you're anything but that, an occasional dose of honesty is needed. It forces you to move your complacent ass out of your comfort zone.

If the sight of hairy uncles flaunting their paunch in Speedos at your club's swimming pool makes you flinch, what makes you think your thighs wobbling from under the super short skirt you bought from Mango is a sight for sore eyes? And it's as true whether you're 16 or 60.

Shouting from the rooftops that you're proud of your booty and then looking like an apple stuck inside a test-tube is certainly not an act of bravado.

My take is that we should dress according to our body shape and just that. Especially when there's no dearth of outfits that allow us to make the most of what we've got. Yet we insist on conforming to standards of style popularised by the mainstream media and the fashion industry. Flaunting the hottest new trend meant essentially for reed thin, 6-feet-tall models doesn't make you fashionable. Rather it makes you look like a martyr to fashion.

So, why try to be someone you are not? We women are beautiful. It is our dazzling smile, our eyes that speak a thousand words, tresses that sway sensuously, warm demeanour, a zest for life or the ability to laugh at ourselves that make us attractive. We certainly don't need fashion trends to prove a point. Rather, discover your own style and flaunt it with pride.

And, if you are forever in a quandary about what looks good on you, just wear a sari. When draped right, it brings out our graceful best. Plus it looks way better than jeans that make your muffin top pop out. Or choose a dress that looks good on you and not the mannequin. Just make sure you don't ask the shop assistant how you look in that dress. They will say what they know will make you buy it.

Being fit or fat is entirely your prerogative. And I am certainly not saying women of a certain weight should dress in sacks. In fact, some of the most gorgeous women I know are far from slim. It's their personality and attitude that adds to their appeal. They don't necessarily dress for others. Their confidence reflects in their attire. Be it flowy skirts, tailored pants with long quilted jackets, a dupatta carelessly thrown over their linen shirt -- these women carry off everything with élan.

Nobody conquered the world in ill-fitting pants!

Fat does not equate ugly. But by dressing in outfits not meant for your body-shape you are not changing your body shape. It simply makes you look ungainly. It is certainly not an assertion of your feminist beliefs. Shouting from the rooftops that you're proud of your booty and then looking like an apple stuck inside a test-tube is certainly not an act of bravado. To me it is lazy subterfuge, just like holding up a soiled sanitary napkin and saying I am proud to bleed. I am neither proud nor ashamed to shed my eggs and certainly don't have the crying need to prove it to others. It's a body function that's as natural as my daily ablutions.

So, if you're dying to assert your "I am an independent woman and care a damn about what you think" attitude, I am sure there are better ways than squeezing your tummy inside skinnies too tight. Nobody conquered the world in ill-fitting pants!

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