Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Size does matter when you're shopping

If you're forty plus like me -- and never intend to wear white shoes and white pants like Jeetendra to endorse the age-defying powers of some ginseng derivative -- you'll totally empathise with this post. And the feelings behind it. As for those who don't even know what the heck I am talking about....this was way before your time baby. For the longest time, life to me has been a four-letter word spelt S A L E. Now I am not your regular wallet-clutching, credit-card-flashing, brand-brandishing Sex-And-The-City stereotype of a shopaholic. But I shop when shopping is required and very often when it is not. The latter situation mostly arrives when assorted malls go into discount frenzy-- before summer, after summer, during monsoons, before festivals, after festivals...you get the idea. For some strange reason, it has been hammered into my poor, impressionable brain that SALES rain real bargains. So come sale season, and I find myself turning into a mall rat, lugging bagfuls of stuff for me, he and baby...
This year though, things were a tad different. He and baby got their share of white shirts and more white shirts and pink frocks and more pink frocks. But me? Aha...therein lies a blog.
I have always believed that just like every girl has a dream man waiting for her out there, she also has a dream store waiting out there. All you need to do is stumble upon it and voila...you're in clover. Want something to wear to your office party...snazzy enough for the evening but nothing that will make you look like a tart? Try your dream store. Want the perfect pair of jeans which hug hips as well as waist? Ditto. Want a sweater that actually makes you look slim? Its a no brainer...
For my contrarian friend that dream brand is Wills Sport. For my best buddy it's Bailou. For me...well, I am not so sure any more. For the longest time I thought the kind of clothes I like to wear are middle of the road enough to get me a wide range of choice. Not any more. This sale season has convinced me I need to be at least 10 years younger and 10 kgs lighter to even try to wear some of the stuff on offer. Where are those beloved cowl necks, tie necks, classic cut shirts and dresses? Instead the shop windows were groaning with the kind of tween fashion that looks good only on Kareena Kapoor. Even classic dresses like the ones in Sisley or Mango are for women roughly half my size. The fashion world, it seems, has relegated me to the frump heap of history. Neither age or spread is on my side.
Stores like Bizarre, once a favourite haunt, now offer stuff that's too cool to wear to office. Unless I suddenly turn into an incurable pub hopper -- a bit difficult with a two and a half year old at home -- those balloon tops with metallic details round the neck would look completely out of place in my wardrobe. Skinny jeans look stunning on the skinny...but otherwise it's a fashion nightmare. Flowery chiffon dresses are too girlie to wear if you're on the wrong side of 35...for a 43 year old they are a definite no no. Three quarter pants are okay -- comfy and functional -- but there's no way you can make them look stylish. And my current staple -- slacks and tunics -- are available in too few size options for anyone beyond a respectable size 10.
Get the idea? It's suddenly as if the whole world is designing and stocking clothes for size zero 18-25 year olds. Granted they are a very visible consuming class but what about the well-heeled, professional 40 somethings who like their saree and Indian wear but mostly stick to semi casual stuff as workaday and playaday wear? Will no one spare a thought for us folks?
Even the palettes are so cutesy and young I feel embarassed to even try some of those clothes on. Ever since I turned 35, I have been proudly wearing red lipstick as a mark of coming of age. It's my calling card...it's how I tell the world I am no wide-eyed ingenue but a woman of the world...I have been there, done that and even worn red lipstick! But show me stuff on the store shelves that can go with red lipstick and I'll buy you a coffee. With tequila shots on the side.
My only option is to stick to the tried, tested and boring trouser and shirt routine which is 21st century fashion's take on the Mao suit. It's unflattering. It's functional. And it's ubiquitous. The other option -- jeans and a tee -- looks good on you if you are 20 something and can carry off semantics like 'It's Raining Men' emblazoned across your chest or if you're a cross between Jen Aniston and Sarah Jessica Parker. I am neither so I steer clear of 'em tees.
So there you are...my sale sojourn this year ended with me buying myself my favourite kiwi sorbet ice cream...two generous scoops and a cone to keep me company. As for all those cool dudettes lugging bagfuls or stuff, I tell them...well you cant wear red lipstick with that any of that. Unless you're Sonam in Aisha...but that's another blog.


  1. Good one Mami :) i understand the size zero feeling too. Banned, that's what it should be!

  2. thanks da....pls to give your 20-something feedback

  3. Great way to go, Nandini! I empathise totally... Just when I'm drawn to a t-shirt or top in a gorgeous colour, I notice some glittery-shimmery stuff all over it, screaming at me! Looks like good ol' plain-n-neat blouses/tunics/t-shirts have gone out of fashion too! Sigh... All the same, we'll cheer for your sojourns out here... Keep going...

  4. merci madame....we 40-something gals gotta stick by each other or we risk being totally overshadowed by these younger stick insects

  5. Aaaaaaaaah! You let the cat outta my bag... that it's just the right type of clothes "that actually makes you look slim"!

    ;) just kidding.... and btw great idea for a blog...

  6. thanku ji thanku....as for right type of clothes making you look slim, it's the last and final hope of the treadmill challenged

  7. Welcome to the world of Reubens and Raja Ravi Varma!!!
    Zero may have been invented in India but not size zero - for Indians zero is a meeting of two curves!