As a child, if you have seen your mother step out every single day for her workplace in the most graceful sarees, it is very natural to grow up absorbing a warm affinity towards the six yards. No wonder when I started working, saree it was every day to college. Years later too, with a small child and despite a war-like situation every morning, I remember wrapping myself in crisp cottons in summers and lush silks in winters in gross 5 mins and almost running to make it on time to be there for my school assembly every morning. Delhi allows you to indulge in the luxury of having a different wardrobe every season and I made the most of the six years that we stayed there.
My long sabbatical from work was also a sabbatical of sorts from sarees. I’m back with a bang to draping them again in my second innings as a writer and Spoken Word Performer for most of my events now. Most of my collection of exotic silk and crepe sarees are hand-me-downs from my Mom and Mom-in-law. It feels like a fortune that I have inherited from them. Over the years, I have shopped myself mostly for cotton and linen sarees and love teaming them up with quirky blouses from ‘Muchukalis’. Their high necks, straight cuts and a comfort fit is just the way I want my blouse to be.
Fab India suits and dupattas (silks and cotton both) are my other go-to attire. My wardrobe has dupattas as old as 16 years brought from Fabindia stores in Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Kolkatta- places that we kept moving to over the last 20 years of our married life. The one in the picture is an absolute favourite Lucknowi suit with a pink floral cotton duppatta. (Fab India)
Lest I forget, once in a while when the mood is western, my inches oblige and I’m ready to make the effort of pulling a dress down my pleasantly plump frame, it’s always a Marks & Spencer. Cuts that camouflage my love handles and all that is buxom are the best cuts- anyday 😉
(Jasmine Khurana was an economics professor and has now found her calling as a writer and a spoken word artist.)
A popular or latest style of clothing or a manner of doing things, what is your definition of fashion? I have never been the type for whom the latest style or cuts work perfectly. For me, fashion was and is defined by clothes in which one feels comfortable in one’s skin, confident to take on the world and challenging situations, and feeling that I look my best without worrying about unsightly curves on display or seams that could burst anytime. It is not just about high-priced labels but also about quality, workmanship and the right fit. My fashion choices have always been safer, hesitant and predictable so far.The forties, however opened the floodgates. I began to think bold splashes of colour, explore racks that I would have never stepped close to in the previous decade and experimented with different kinds of attire like skirts and dresses that I had not worn for nearly 10 years. Look 1
The all-forgiving, ubiquitous sari. Saris to me was about if there is no matching blouse I cannot wear that sari. It was something that one wears on special occasions and only the fancy silk variety that looks grand and well-set on the body.In my forties, I learnt to step out in a sari that boldly draped over shoulders that showed a blouse with colours that had no connection with the sari. In fact I rebelled in the blouse does not match proclamation! I got a selection of blouses stitched in bold hues that could work with saris of colours that were either bright and flashy or dull. Blouses that lit up the sari in a manner in which the attached blouse we buyers are so fond of, would never do. This look is put together with a bright rani pink Bengal cotton sari. which is buttery soft and cocoons the wearer in the folds. Nothing describes fuchsia as well as rani pink, a colour so named because it was a combination of rare purple fit for royalty and pink. This is worn with a yellow blouse that doesn’t really match exactly with the borders but still works. I teamed it with a chunky silver floral filigree necklace, an antique finish bracelet a setting of fuchsia stones, from GRT jewels, white gold and diamond hoops from Carat Lane and silver sandals from Clark’s. After years of snobbishly wearing only gold, I hesitatingly moved to rose gold and then white gold to try whether I could work with colours that only the fair-skinned people seem to feel confident with. One day, I graduated to silver- a metal I fell in love with all over again when I discovered the variety I could play with in accessories and style without draining my savings. I also discovered that I could no longer rely on flimsy footwear that gave up on me on the second wear and have permanently moved to sturdy brands like Clark’s and Hush Puppies.
Look 2 Simple, Smart and Comfortable The Kurta revamped.In my previous life, I always went with simple, straight cuts with side slits that in my opinion gave me the illusion of a better figure. I never touched those in which the side slits were given a miss. Fab India was my friend because of their cuts, prints and overall looks. I felt comfortable in their silks on formal occasions because of their no-nonsense cuts with three-fourth sleeves and sometimes high necks and prince collars. It made me feel in command in official meetings. Then I stepped into Sanginee, a boutique that works with bold cuts; I have noticed inspirations from places one would not have imagined taking. I learnt to wear Anarkalis after 25 years and worked with bolder necklines and patterns.This mustard and red cotton number has been on my to-buy list for almost six months. I loved it yet never felt I could carry it off. In fact I bought it when other pieces of the same or similar cut were already sold.The kurta has pleats that are similar to box-pleated sports skirts of my school. I had instantly seen the possibilities of traversing this look to a dress however to do that I needed to live in the dress. I am glad I bought this, even though it needed a few tucks and stitches to get the cut lengths of the box pleats to my liking.The Kalamkari print also was not the run-off-the-mill kind and the material hugged the body well without being stiff in places. Bright red churidars completed the look.The wooden beads necklace is my go-to necklace for attires of all kinds – western or Indian. Yes, I graduated to wood, seed and cloth jewellery even, in my forties though I did team it up with a gold jhumka and bracelet because it was Diwali and the mood was celebratory.