Style is a statement not a dress code

Style is a statement not a dress code
Sajith Kumar
Today’s world has more designers than we can keep count of! If you walked through the undulating, crowded, narrow streets of Hauz Khas village, for example, you would see a multitude of designer stores who stand shoulder to shoulder with each other. Often you could spot a celebrity, a wannabe celebrity, a tycoon, or a leggy model scouting the stores for a good deal, great buy, new design, or something different. (Count yourself lucky if you understand ‘something different’). As the sun sets, there are a host of bars where you can let your hair down and get a well-priced drink in affable surroundings. Sometimes you could spot a trim young person in a pair of faded jeans, a white flowing shirt and pearls with a trendy non-designer label clutch, that makes her stand out in the crowd. It’s her laugh, it’s her confidence, it’s the way she wears the ordinary with an extraordinary flair and ‘style’.

Style is what you make of what you wear, and it need not come with a designer’s label or exorbitant. It is where the ordinary is worn with a fashionable twist, and dressed down rather than dressed up. That’s what I call uber chic. Not opulent but understated, that’s the game changer. (But then, that’s my opinion.)

Sometimes, I have seen women wear menswear-style double-breasted jackets and shirts that are look so dapper. A versatile garment that could work both for men and women with straight lines in linen or has leather trims is just so stylish! I remember, many decades ago, the cocktail saree was chiffon with sequins and women sued to dress up in it to go out for dinner. Men in bandhgalas or turbans were so dashing and handsome which have been such integral parts of our culture. We, who have such a rich heritage, craft and culture, look to the west for haute couture, whereas designers such as Canali and Ermenegildo Zegna have been inspired by our traditional bandhgalas. What is Saville Row, but a collection of tailors or ‘darzis’? Why can’t fashion be smart and comfortable? Why can’t it be trendy and casual? Your clothing quirk are your imprint, don’t lose them!

I remember my father loved cufflinks, to date I believe it lent a certain style to the way he dressed. He made me see the beauty in minimalism, and always said, “Style is a statement, not a dress code!” How well those words echo down the years. He bought few things and treated them well, because he said, “When you buy quality, it lasts. So treat it well”. But then today’s young generation is spoiled for choice. They have the high end and the ready-to-wear lines. All you have to do is develop your own style and silhouette! Like someone said, “It’s not what you wear that will be remembered, it’s how you carried it that will be remembered.”

(The writer is a theatre director and novelist)

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