Chinese Collar, Full Sleeves


There are some of us in this world who are fashion illiterates (I don’t know if that’s actually a term, if it isn’t then I’d like to lay claim to it as my invention).

In conversation with a close friend about clothes I discovered another kindred spirit who shared my unfashionable sense of being unstylish, yes, these are actually words that the dictionary threw up as antonyms to fashionable. Amongst other nuggets that the logophile in me delighted at discovering, which can make for another interesting post, however, this one is definitely about my rant about fashion and its many challenges (for me).

Over the years I have perfected this formula of ready to wear that involves try it on, works on me (means I’m not looking too fat, ridiculous or ugly), the material doesn’t pinch or bite (very important) and is not blingy (shudder…I refuse to look like a Christmas tree, period!!) So far I’ve managed an understated look of elegance (wink) at all weddings in my big, fat Punjabi family. Now thinking about it carefully, methinks I’ve managed quite well actually with a lot loads of help from the husband, the rest of my family has probably given up on me barring my fashionista Bhabi(sister-in-law) who takes one look at me, sighs, shakes her head and I’ve got to commend her, still hasn’t lost hope. So I’m in this conversation with my dear friend about a cousin’s upcoming engagement and what to wear, this time I say I want to plan in advance rather than throw on one of my many sarees at the last moment. I regale my friend about my million faux pas’ and ask her to be on the lookout for something this time that will appeal to my very Punjabi Bhabi (whom I love to bits). The kind soul even goes so far as to offering to loan me one of her own outfits, forgetting my size twelve will not fit into her size zero (not like models size zero, but in post two kids size zero) as she thinks she’s fat (only in her head as her husband and I keep telling her). Once we get through the no, no I’m fat and my outfits will easily fit you now that you’ve shed some weight and I get all teary eyed thanking her with gratitude (for noticing the few grams that I’ve managed to lose). I finally convince her it would not bode well for the outfits in question for them to be stretched beyond the limits than the ‘designer’ intended them to be.

Then she asks me the question, why don’t you get something made. A very good question with a very simple answer…because…(a pause added to heighten the drama)… I have never till date had anything made, that looks the way I’ve been led to believe it will turn out. I think the message somehow gets lost in translation. I say understated, they think I’m cheap and want to pay less money. I say I want blue and imagine a soft blue of a spring sky, they think electric ****ing blue. I say not too much embroidery, they think once it’s done she will have to pay in for it in any case let’s not let an inch of cloth be visible. After laughing with me at my tale of woes galore she enlightens me that’s the reason why she tells her tailor (Boutique wali) to make every one of her ‘suits’(Indian Salwar Kameez) with a Chinese collar and full sleeves. That’s a formula that works well and I’m not changing it, she promises.

7 thoughts on “Chinese Collar, Full Sleeves”

  1. Well described situation of any married girl with 2 kids . situation of fat , tight clothes and ever gaining or try to loose on those inches is a permanent challenge.. Very creative and cute .. Also well described “Punjabi heavy duty wedding clothes “.. Hahaha


  2. my almirah is stuffed & bursting at the seams but when I have to go out……O Lord! I have nothing to wear ……because what is fashionable to me (read Fab India) …….is quite a fashion faux pas’ in the very glamorous punjabi world……sigh! what to wear is the dilemma…..


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