The new fashion mantra : Wear what you like

As I stood decked up in an ostentatious outfit on my son’s wedding, I remembered my mother,  sans any makeup dressed modestly on mine. She wore a simple sari that she had picked up randomly from her limited wardrobe. While my mother did not spend a penny on herself for the occasion,  I spent a fortune on my dress.

To brush  aside any feeling of guilt that I had for indulging in myself, I sought justification in the trend today wherein a mother, whether of a bride or a bride-groom, does not want to be left unnoticed . Today, the mother, too, wants to look good and feel good. Her dresses and accessories are high on the wedding shopping agenda. She is ready to splurge money and time on herself, and has no qualms about it.

The fact is that over the past three decades, there has been a sea change in the outlook of women of all ages, including their wardrobe. Not only that women, regardless of age, have been spending money on themselves but are also bolder and experimental in the choice of their dresses. They select trendy outfits in place of the conventional ones, whether casual or formal wear. Sari, the elegant six-yard drape no longer enjoys the kind of popularity that it had in the past. Not only has the conventional sari appeared in new avatars but the traditional salwar kameezis also on its way out, being replaced by its myriad new interpretations.

A decade ago, when I visited the West, I was in for a cultural shock to see both the mother and daughter in the same type of attire. Now, I see the same trend catching up in our own country. Today, it is not a big deal to see a twenty-year old girl and a sixty-plus woman wearing similar dresses, at least in the metropolis and big cities. Quite clearly, there is a sort of bridging of sartorial generation gap, a sign of democratization of fashion in the new millennium.

Dressing according to age is becoming outdated; instead ‘not  wearing dresses as per your age’ seems to be gaining momentum. Today, it is not uncommon to see the youngsters attired in sober beige and grey and the elders in flashy outfits.  It is remarkable to see the seniors flaunting bright red and orange colours of lipsticks, while the younger lot prefers to wear nude and light shades.

There is a saying in Punjabi that goes ‘Khao man bhanda, pao jag bhanda’ implying that you should eat what you like, dress up as per societal norms. The trend today towards the  reversal. Life style diseases coupled with health consciousness have put many food items in the ‘forbidden’ category but there are far less restrictions on the way you dress today. You may be on a strict diet but, thankfully, you are not bound by a strict dress code. High cholesterol and rising sugar levels may prevent you from indulging in Gajrela, pinnis in winters and your favorite ice cream in summers. You may not be allowed to gorge on parathas with dollops of homemade white butter but you enjoy far greater freedom in the choice of your attire. Food may not as per your taste buds but your dress is as per your liking. With all sorts of diet fads in vogue these days, you may be on keto diet, taking a large amount of a single food like cabbage soup or grapefruit to reduce weight, but you make sure you dress up as per your choice; it may even be flaunting the dresses which have been a taboo in the past. To hell with the society, you wear what flatters you – ethnic or western wear, sari or suit, loose or tight, high or low.

‘Dress up the way you want, whatever your age’ is the new fashion mantra. Well! Wear what makes you happy; but make sure that you are dressed according to the occasion. It is imperative that you look dignified and feel confident in whatever you choose to wear.

(Published in Woman’s era 2024  , January issue )

20 Replies to “The new fashion mantra : Wear what you like”

  1. Dear Rama
    Your observations on changing trends are always very noteworthy and interesting. Comparing the past and present trends makes one go down the memory one. Tne little bit of advice about dressing at the end- to look confident and dignified and being dressed according to the occasion is well taken.

    1. Thanks Praveen for reading and leaving your comment. Glad my observation resonated with you .
      Ha.. ha The piece of advice in the end, hope I am following what I am advising.

  2. Dear Rama
    You are absolutely right.Today,the mother of the bide or bridegroom is the lady photographed most adter the wedding couple.It is but natural that she has single out from the rest and choose her dress carefully.This is an occasion we should look forward to

    1. Yes ma’am, I agree children’s wedding is a big occasion to celebrate for a mother. Our generation of mothers does it in style. But perhaps our mothers neither had time nor the resources to indulge in themselves .

  3. Dear Rama, very well written article . Like everyone else ,I am also of the opinion that -wear what makes you happy 😊. Good thing is now women have freedom to choose what they want to wear irrespective of their age, which was not possible earlier.

    1. Thanks Neelu . Glad the post resonated with you .
      Yes, we all want to wear what we like but not everywhere women enjoy that freedom . I was saddened to read the news about two female journalists arrested for not wearing the mandatory head scarf in Iran in today’s Times of India .
      I feel we are lucky to be born in a country at time when we are not subject to a strict dress code .

  4. Wear what u like… Interesting as always.. Rma your long awaited article is spinned carefully.. You traced changing dress sense vid time through personal experience… Very true… Stigma got lifted up as women came out to manage home n job both n had to dress up Accordingly… N dresses have to be bought matching job requirements…
    We wear more colourful clothes n have varieties as you say even in wearing old sarees Or suits….
    Very interestingly your articles brings out inverse corelation btw diet n clothes. where care is given to diet but ful freedom for dress.
    Healthy diet n simplicity…
    Changes to strict diet n sky touching varieties of dresses..
    Enjoyed every word Rma..
    Be blessed always. 🔥🔥

    1. Thanks Anjana di for your comments that come straight from your heart . A treat indeed to read your thoughts on the subject!
      In gratitude.

  5. Rama dear, you will agree with me that MCM culture have taught us many good things. Proper and good dresses are also part of that culture. We all enjoyed wearing Sarees and function wear sarees and unlimited types of suits. Now after retirement again there is no dearth of our dresses and also those which our girlie gang wear at get-togethers. With complements from all friends, next time we still wear … whatever we like. Do you remember that dupatta…… incident. Ha ha. Wonderful write up, very true 🌹… lovely views expressed on behalf of all ladies of our generation…. Keep writing… God bless my dear friend with more such ideas.

    1. Yeah Neelam , how can I ever forget my MCM roots ? I learnt a lot from my colleagues, which also includes my dressing sense. When I joined I didn’t even know how to tie my hair in one plait and also draping sari was an uphill task . I would wear my mother’s starched cotton saris and take these back to Jalandhar on my next visit and get another lot .Nostalgic!!
      Thanks Neelam for reading and commenting. Thanks for taking me down memory lane .

  6. Rama, your each article is a nectar of truth and truthful feelings. You literally narrated the mind of women who love to get dressed up as the occasion so demands. Shameer my better half is a FIT Manhattan pass out designer. Coming from J&K background she remains glued to Pakistani serials sure for the sops but more so for her fascination towards the dresses worn by the women artists. I observe her wearing traditional dresses when in India and when in USA she takes a 180 degree U Turn. Western from top to bottom often leaving me flabbergasted.

    1. Narinder, i must say you have the gift of gab . Your stories are very interesting. I fully appreciate Shameera‘s dressing sense .

  7. This one is so relatable Rama. Times change and so do the preferences. You are right, mothers are hugely photographed. So obviously the mother would love to dress up, if not by herself then the children would force. But everything is so enjoyable. Lets enjoy dressing up till the time we can

    1. Well said Alka . Times have changed so have our preferences. Now that we now have more freedom, why not dress up the way we like . ENJOY 😉

  8. Powerful n Brilliant 🏆🏆🏆
    The narrative elegantly dissects the sartorial evolution of women, deftly weaving societal shifts into the fabric of fashion. A poignant reflection on ageless style, empowering individuality, and the artistry of self-expression.

    1. Glory dear , you always leave me stumped with your comments. This time again, I am mesmerised by your expression. Indeed you are a master words-smith . What can I say when your appraisal is better than the article itself?
      Thanks dear for reading and leaving your beautiful comments.

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