Thursday, February 8, 2007

Clothing the color of feces

So my brother-in-law (BIL) saw my pictures from Kila Raipur and decided to comment upon color and sartorial style. He writes:
Women need clothes that are unique, personal and to their taste, in a way that the dress becomes an extension of their personality. How can something so drab, like the universal bark-coloured trouser reflect the bewildering difference of nature between each woman's personality? Most men would be understandably content to dress in denim or khaki, but I think it's criminal to constrain women's fashion with such horrible colours in spite of the great design.
It's an interesting perspective, and undoubtedly one my colleagues at work share. (Upon my wearing a rose-colored kurta to office today, no fewer than five people exclaimed, "You're looking beautiful! Why don't you wear color more often? It is looking so nice on you!") But see, the thing is, I don't *see* my clothes as an extension of my personality. In fact, I see my clothes as almost an anti-personality: I use them to engender respectability and deflect from my youth and otherwise play games with the world at large.

I forgive the lovely BIL for imagining that women somehow require clothing to express their true natures any more than men do. I do, however, want to defend my countrywomen. I know we look boring and businesslike and we don't have any of the novelty and loveliness that Indian women really capture in their saris and silks and kurta pyjamas and dupattas, but our clothes can't be equated with our personalities. I once was at a function and there was a beautiful young girl who was wearing a glittering gold sweater, and I told her she looked quite nice; she responded, "It's sparkling, just like my personality!" I've never been able to be that forthright, and I've always admired the girl.

However, not all that glitters is gold; conversely, not all that is gold glitters. Or something.

1 comment:

ggop said...

I have started to love black, chocolate brown. I do occasionally miss rust/fall colors/orange and red. But IMHO western clothes look best in basic muted colors.

Somehow there is a herd mentality here - all chains from Macys to Target will carry the same colors in a season. Ditto for the salwar kameez market back in India.