Sunday, 11 October 2009

A pajama by any other name is still a pajama

The mysteries of fashion were never intended to feature on this blog – it having some pretense to address the weighty matters of the business world. But completely flattering comments went to my head and I converted the Sunday post into a somewhat irreverent one on less weighty matters. Matters sartorial crept in here because of numerous girlie tags that addressed the famous question – what are you wearing , in all earnestness.

Last week was a tough one and the good doctor has prescribed a large dose of humour and a solid rant as a remedy. But it must take a seriously unbalanced mind to tease the female of the species , as I am about to do. But what the heck; I need a rant; so here goes.

Of all the dresses in the world that the fair(er) sex are obsessed with, the hijaab is surely the most awful one. The second most awful contraption has to be the salwaar kameez, especially in an office.

Now, Indian women have two real options for formal dressing – the wonderful sari, which must rank amongst the very top in the most graceful, elegant, suave outfits in the world. Or the western trouser or skirt and the jacket. Both look lovely and are very professional . But, what does our Rajalakshmi do ? Wear that horrible salwar kameez to work.

A shapeless and more unglamorous outfit is hard to find. A baggy pajama that is still a baggy pajama even if anointed with the name of salwar. And another equally shapeless kameez, whose fashion variances are connected to where they extend upto; from the waist to the knee. And the worst of all – the dupatta which flaps around, gives you a swat in the face when you trail the wearer, and is left around in meeting rooms.

To add insult to injury this is usually worn in colours like deep red, bright yellow or fluorescent green. Many a first time visitor to an Indian office has gently sidled upto me to enquire whether it is normal to see such colours in an office setting. After two washes, the deep red has faded and then – UGH !

Oh yes, I have heard the arguments. It’s the most practical dress in the world . Try wearing a sari and commuting to work. And a western dress is often not appropriate for ladies of, ahem, ample proportions. Fantastic. So these are arguments for wearing what should be a nightdress to an office ?? And anglicising its name to a "suit" doesn't make it any more acceptable.

Right. Now that I have said it, I am quivering in fright. Whatever possessed me to take such grievous risks with my life. Can I be any match for an irate wearer of the dreaded dress. Bash on the head ? Maybe. Constriction of the trachea with the dupatta ? Would be poetic justice. Either way I am ducking for cover. I shall remain strictly in bed; head under the blanket for the next twenty four hours. HELP !

17 comments:

  1. ahh the much awaited sunday post.. firstly i hope the coming week is much better than the one that just passed..

    next, coming to the point, I'd say what you have heard so many times before,the SK is ofcourse the most practical outfit in the world.. ofcourse it needs to be tweaked to suit a corporate set up (print wise, color and texture wise).. also its not as dowdy, if its carried off well..

    PS:im hope not many virtual raps come ur way..hehehe

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  2. I also wear sarees and trousers many times to office. but i also sk as well and many of my team members only wear sk.

    After your post, i have gone into introspection mode now. i agree that the sk's come in very unprofessional colours and sometimes very casual designs (while i still disagree on the looks since people can look very elegant on SKs as well). so by definition, it seems an inapproprite wear.

    a > But then there is a social stigma associated to trousers in this country for a very strange reason. and there is a god knows why affection attached to dual layers of covering - top and duppatta, pyjama covered by kurta and this is ingrained into minds of people. So to be within acceptable social norms, many women have only salwar and sarees left

    b > when it comes to sarees, believe me Ramesh - it is a time consuming affair. i have to get up 15 mins earlier whenver i have to wear sarees to office. and there is enormous amount of during the course adjustment which one needs to keep on doing. and for larger sizes like me, there is also a potential exposure value which i have to stay conscious of.

    c > So that leaves many with only one option SK. I think a practical solution to this will be to have a professional designer attached to each corporate who could probably design elegant looking SKs for female members with some filteration on the colors.

    You can come out of your blanket now Ramesh. really enjoyed the comedy, but then, frankly sk isn't such a bad attire after all.

    PS - sorry for these long comments. need to learn some editing skills.

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  3. :D :)

    Agree completely to Sandhya's arguments. Can I also add, in a few cases, case-a is also avoided due to our physique?

    And, Ramesh, here's wishing you a stressless week ahead!:)

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  4. The Sunday Times!! For me the Saturday Midnight Edition!! :-) You are turning into quite a fashion critic! A year down the line, you will be talking about the Lakme India Show!! ;-)

    Dupattas are a pain!! But SK is much better now what with kurtis and lycra pants! Maybe when wearing dupattas around the head (farmer style) becomes a norm, I ll consider it as an accessory!! Till then, it is a weapon of mass destruction!! :D

    Good post Ramesh and a breather from all the "reality checks" of the past one week!! :-) Don't take it to mean your business posts are not appreciated, they are brlliant!! Really!

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  5. Saturday Midnight Edition?? What was I thinking??

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  6. RFOL :) I think you are just envious that women have legitimized working in their pajamas while you are still trying to shed your tie!

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  7. oops! ROFL! proof that it was literally true!

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  8. I peeked out from under the blanket and discovered that I was still alive !! Now gathered up some courage to peek into the comments section.

    @AJCL - Thanks for the kind words as always.

    @Sandhya - Your comments are always wonderful. Please don't edit at all !

    No introspection please ! And what's this about "larger size" - Hey all - this lady is a petite and stunning lady. Large ? no way.

    @athivas - The "physique" may be a barrier for some, but surely not for the suave and slim athivas :) Thanks so much for the cheer.

    @thoughtful train - I am walking on air ; won't hide under the blanket anymore when the thoughtful train has such kind words. But LYCRA PANTS ? Good lord !!

    @J - Completely. I am so envious.

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  9. The Salwar can be elegant and flattering too if stitched and fitted well. I agree completely about the dupattah and choice of colours. Incidentally I used to wear only wear sarees or business suits to work because somehow I felt they were more 'suited'. :-) Wearing a saree is an art that has to be mastered :) Practice makes perfect :)[I can wear one in under six minutes] :)

    Good post Ramesh.

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  10. haha Ramesh edhu theevaya!!

    Nama business matter ezudhinoma ellayannu , namalukku edhukku edhellam , LOL

    Coming to the point, I agree some of the SK does look like party clowns, the worst part of it is uncombatible issues, lousy bathroom slippers , funky SK and hair with innumerable colored hair pins!

    The whole floor would smell jasmin for an hour and the carpets would have dried up yukky looking ones on the it by afternoon.

    Having said these things I got to hide as well i think :)

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  11. Was waiting for this one! :D:D But honestly, the original SK is a very beautiful attire too! Unfortunately, its the most hopelessly adopted attire by the rest of the country (esp Maharashtra and below).

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  12. @sri- of course u gotta hide, u are going to sport many more bumps on ur head than Ramesh will..
    @Deepa- bang on.. u said EXACTLY what i intended saying

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  13. kiwibloke13/10/09

    A good loose fitting jeans, a nice monocolor tee shirt (with or without collars) and suede shoe - that's my concept of comfortable wear. Alas most companies (old/new economy) insist on turning me into a stuffed shirt with the 'policy on dress code'
    kiwi
    PS: when I was in Her Majesty's service in the Health Board in Auckland, summer dress were shorts, tee shirts (no collar) and jandal/flip flops (popularly known as hawaiis or bathroom slippers in India)
    Imagine me turning up to work in that atire in BLR - OMG!

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  14. @Preeti - That's why you lookoed so professional and smart - see the right dress makes all the difference :)

    @Sri - We are outnumbered in this forum. Duck for cover !!

    @deepa - Haven't seen it much more elegant north of the Vindhyas too ??? :)

    @Kiwi - Jeans and T shirt permitted, if you wore a tie along with it :-)

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  15. Holy cow ramesh! What were you thinking??

    Blame the tailors for a badly stitched salwar:) It is one elegant dress and can look elegant if stitched well to suit your contours.

    And the duppatta is a statement of grace!

    on offical colours come in the form or shirts and trousers worn as well an except the cotton sari which is the epitome of grace, in my opinion the rest are party wear no matter how elegant the design and color end up.

    And I agree with the many posts that say trousers for some reason are taboo in India, not sure why. It usually elicits the comment if I am heading out of office and I end up wacking my head.

    When in India, and all the tags of being Indian:)

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  16. @Priya - Oh, the joys of needling a lovely lady !

    The dupatta as a statement of grace ? That redefines incredulity :-)

    Agree on the cotton sari though. It surely is one of the most graceful of outfits.

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