Global fashion labels are trying hard to get women to dress up. If consumers comply, we’ll all have to spend a little more time staring at our wardrobes in the morning. No more grabbing the first thing that catches your eye and slipping it over the next thing that happens to connect with your weakly outstretched hand. Alas, the just-got-out-of-bed-look, my all-time favourite classic, is in danger of becoming extinct as I write this (See Page12 if you don’t believe me).
All am decisions are traumatic for pm people like me. So traumatic that I only had one condition for the pre-nup: Bed tea, every day. That, in a sentence, is the secret of our successful marriage.
But seriously, just as Indian women had finally mastered Sabyasachi’s nearly six-year-old mantra (anything-that-doesn’t-go-with-anything-goes-beautifully), the fashion world is telling us that it’s all about coordinated looks. What’s back? Tailored jackets, matching skirts, high-waisted trousers, high-heeled pumps and all the rest of the stuff that was around in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s—updated, of course. So the high-waist is even higher this time round (in our cover story from The Wall Street Journal, one expert helpfully points out that anything that’s high-waisted shows every flaw). All those skinny trousers and wedges you bought recently could soon be overtaken by wide-legged trousers and slender-heeled pumps. Jackets are back, but this time, with cropped sleeves.
Consider yourself lucky you don’t stay in Paris or Milan. In Mumbai and New Delhi, you can still get away with wearing a cotton salwar kameez to work. Or can you? Even here, women are increasingly embracing more formal attire in the office (See Page9). Some of them say they do it to be taken seriously, others say dressing up makes them feel more confident. In our 25 August issue, many powerful female executives said that’s exactly why they keep a pair of killer heels under their desk.
I have a theory about all this. It’s never good enough that we’re the best at what we do. We just don’t seem to be able to shake off the centuries of conditioning that makes us feel inadequate, no matter what. The fashion world knows this. That’s why they tweak the rules of confidence dressing every season. Every time we think we know what makes us look good, wham, it’s gone/changed/turned on its head/narrowed/widened. This season, I think I’m going to be perverse and dress coordinated—in all black.
Although, I’ve already heard them say, grey is the new black.
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