The passion for fashion – The Hindu

“What’s that?” requested my husband, gesturing discreetly in the direction of a lady strolling on the opposite aspect of the highway. “Are these flared trousers or have lengthy skirts come again into fashion? Is it...,” he paused, wracking his brains for the correct phrases, “...a full-size divided skirt?” I used to be fairly impressed for I by no means thought my man of books and concepts would have any notion about divided skirts. Holding forth on divide and rule and its affect on society was extra in his line.

“That’s a palazzo,” I replied, happy I knew the reply to that one.

“Palazzo? Italian dish?” He seemed puzzled. “Ha, Indian is extra prefer it,” I commented, for the lady striding neatly forward was very enticing regardless of her incongruous apparel.

“Is it the in factor?” he requested, frowning in disapproval. “Seems to be like a confused tailor got here up with this many-in-one.”

I checked out him in marvel. Why, his nonchalant statement may nicely maintain the important thing to the baffling thriller of the origin of the palazzo pants. “This ‘many-in-one’, a combo of harem pants, trousers, lengthy skirt, divided skirt, salwar, gharara, ghagra, sharara and bell bottoms, was fairly doubtless a sensible tailor’s sartorial response to a fickle-minded shopper’s order,” I noticed.

“I feel it appears like an underskirt,” he pronounced, somewhat uncharitably. “You left that one out.” It doesn't matter what it appears like, there’s at all times room in a palazzo for debate and argument.

Fashion assertion

Palazzo pants turned fashionable within the 1960s when Hollywood actresses favoured them. It is usually believed that across the identical interval, when excessive-finish eating places denied admission to girls in trousers, some enterprising feminists sought a manner round this by sporting palazzos that have been really trousers however seemed like skirts, thereby pleasing the prim, patriarchal restaurant homeowners and satisfying their very own skirt-shunning instincts.

Only a few can carry it off with panache. Not that it has stopped devotees of fashion from donning it. Or the rest, for that matter.

That’s the apparent factor about fashion at the moment. Something goes. A younger chap might need dressed with care for a particular dinner solely to search out the others turning up in pale, crumpled apparel, typically three sizes too small for them, and nobody will get thrown out.

The shabby look has been embraced with nice reduction by everybody. Scruffy Bermuda shorts, generally with one trouser leg longer than the opposite, once more a doable error by a tailor, have turn out to be a fashion assertion, and the extra seen pockets they sport, the upper the wearer’s inventory rises in his friends’ eyes.

Ladies have fashion’s lots to select from. Skirts, fits, salwar and churidar kameezes, pants, denims, palazzos... the vary is limitless. However sadly, amidst these riches, one distinctive, elegant and usually Indian costume has been transferring into the endangered class. Sure, the sari.

The sari has plummeted in reputation and is shunned not simply by children however by older girls who earlier had had no drawback sporting it. Their boast that they wanted simply two minutes to put on a sari has been changed by an exaggerated litany of complaints.

All on a sudden, it has turn out to be an uncomfortable apparel, troublesome and time-consuming to drape, and an obstacle to straightforward mobility. The ubiquitous salwar kameez has pushed it out of wardrobes and I watched the rejection of a cultured costume with sorrow.

To the rescue of saris

However hope has arrived from surprising quarters. Modern blouses have come alongside to rescue the sari from oblivion. Now the shirt is the factor, the sari performs second fiddle.

When Sharmila Tagore wore a backless shirt in an previous Hindi movie, An Night in Paris, everybody’s eyes grew as broad as her neckline. Ladies have been outraged and males delighted that blouses ought to go in for minimalism. Some even stated it was solely half a shirt and must be known as a “blou.”

However now, fancy backless blouses are the norm and nobody bats an eyelid. And so long as the sari is again, backless is welcome.

“Something appears okay in fashion, however seems ridiculous later. Take the birds’ nests actresses favoured within the ‘70s, and the bell bottoms,” my husband continued.

“Don’t fear, the bouffant coiffure has returned and I wager bell bottoms are not far away,” I laughed.

He shuddered. “Thank goodness for the smart trousers and the comfy denims.” He seemed down on the previous pair of denims he was sporting. “Oh no! Look! A tear!” he exclaimed, dismayed.

“Great! Ripped denims are the trend. Distressed denims, they're known as,” I hid a smile.

The expression of misery on his face was comical.

A fortnightly column by town-based mostly author, educational and writer of the Butterfingers sequence. She could be contacted at

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The passion for fashion - The Hindu