once upon a time, my clothes never matched. they still don't but that's more of an accident than the style-statement it once was. when i was 21, i believed in something vague like a sense of rhythm in your over-all look rather than matching colours. so if the light greeny-blue bead on an earring you wore sort of resonated with the dots of bluey-green on the white block print of your purple salwar, which in turn 'went' with the bottle green trim on the blue kurta you were wearing, you were home safe. i think youth is a lovely concealer, so it didn't matter what one wore - thick jute like block prints and lots of bangles, etc. - it all sort of came together, glued firmly by youthful confidence. when well-coordinated older cousins complained that i was SO mismatched, all i did was smile. i tended to imagine that i was throwing them into a muddle of serious envy and self-doubt.
back then i had an older friend who was fat, a mother-of-one and terribly unhpappy in her marriage. i'm very very ashamed to admit now that it used to bother me a bit that her clothes matched ane - shudder - were made of cotton blends and even synthetics. it surprised me back then because she was SUCH a bright, funny woman otherwise. and i thought EVERYone knew that bright, funny, sexy people's clothes DON'T match, and were made of natural fabrics! her clothes had laces and embroidery and trims and fusses, and matching dupattas, and were all very proper.
i'd look at those sleek bizzy-lizzy kurtas, the sad attempt at streamlining with discretely embroidered terrycot nighties, and wonder when she would grow some taste again... to me, high on life, wearing thick maroon jute with black block print in a bombay summer, her choice of blends and sometimes 100% synthetic fabrics was not just pointless and shocking and vaguely morally reprehensible, it was also just so sad.
17 years, one kid and a weight gain of 20 kgs later, i find there's been a slight shift in perspective. at the shops yesterday to buy myself some ok togs before i hit amit's home town, i found myself doing the unimaginable - straying cheerfully towards the bizzy-lizzys, the terrycots, the downright synthetics. where once i would have dripped disdain, i admired the colours, the patterns. because i get out so little, the sheer clevernesses in fabrics boggles me in shops. i get giddy from the prices, the prints and the textures.
boggled and giddy as i am, though, it doesn't stop me from trying to match in order to contract the silhouette a bit. those same pathetic attempts to mask the burgeoning bod with pollyester are made... bizzy-lizzy, a thickish blend, is my new friend. it is a wee bit flattering - in that it doesn't make up its own little bulgy lies unlike thicker cotton, and it doesn't quite glimmer and flow like synthetic either. but that's my range these days - bizzy lizzy, to the odd paisley-printed 100%synthetic, to thinner, finer cottons simply because i still can't resist block prints that run colour with every wash and will eventually become as comfortable second skin... i steer clear of the 'thick' cottons, getting totally seduced by the supposedly slimming fluidity of the synthetic.
but i do try and put up a fight with myself. i stand at the counter, biting my lip, wasting the poor shop man's time, wondering about the heat, the sweat and the 'immorality' of it all somehow (don't ask me why, but buying synthetic has always seemed morally a bit suspect to me). of course i succumb and buy the lot eventually. sigh... how the sartorially advanced have swollen and become pollyester-punjabi-dress-wrapped auntyjis...
this, from my favourite doonesbury, speaks of youth and age so well... it's about a middle-aged woman being sent to recruit a young male fbi agent. i think her reaction would be mine...