Fashion disaster moments

The kind of moments that remain etched in your memory like those smarmy comebacks that are just perfect and guaranteed to sting the other into pulverised silence but which come to you around 30 years too late and when you’re in the shower, and Mini, who ticked you off about eating before saying your prayers has probably already been beatified.

The other moment that comes to you too late. The what I should have worn moment, which strikes, years later, when your fashion disaster moment has been captured by professional photographers at family wedding type event and framed up for posterity. I have plenty of those. Ive lived long enough to. And frankly by now, I am beyond caring. If you remember me with the tights that were actually black cut off panty hose pretending to be tights, and the panty line skimming top, remember that was not me. That was my doppelganger. Down to the hair that had just been frizzed with an expedient finger stuck in an electrical socket plug turned to on. So there I am, with the face pancaked to the Bride of Dracula levels in a gold outfit that was supposed to be Shantung oriental but ended up looking like sofa material ripped out and restitched by a cobbler to make a look that was straining at the bustline, and had so many multiple creases under the armpit that I could have just worn an accordion and no one would have been wiser. Of course, except the mother, who would hiss, stand straight, stomach in, shoulders out, to me having visions of me flinging parts of myself around the place while a frazzled photographer picked up the pieces and attempted to stuff them back into shantung golden oriental disaster. And the next time, the mother would hiss, it would be better if you came to the tailor for the measurements.

If you’re as old as I am you probably came to pimply aged adolescence during the eighties when the height of chic was Footloose and ankle warmers and one shoulder off oversize sweaters cinched at the waist with a belt and high top sneakers. Well in India, I did try the look out. The mater threatened to lock me in the loo before she would allow me to step out disguised as a woman of a certain profession (my dubious emergent skills in the make up department and sorry choice of the brightest pigments on offer). And having one shoulder off in an oversized sweater cinched at the waist made me look like something just begging to be kicked to a goal by men in padded shouldered tshirts, and helmets and knee guards and groin guards. And then there was Madonna. So I did the best I could to look as ridiculous as she did, with hair messed up and tied with big lacy bows, lace tops and short skirts that had much of the neighbourhood adolescent and non adolescent males strategise about how to fit mirrors onto their shoes and have a casual conversation with me not suspecting anything. And of course, I didnt suspect anything until recently.

Anyone remember stonewashed. The kind of denim that had very bad bleached effects done by people who had probably drunk half the bleach themselves and had to be carted off to have their stomachs washed out? I had plenty of those jeans. Two to be precise. Each a work of random white patch art. The kind only extreme youth and extreme confidence carried off without looking ridiculous. Cant see myself wearing anything other than deep indigo dyes these days. Of course, the girth of the thighs now demands deep solid colours in order not to have one carted off to an abattoir.

And the wedding of a friend. Where, me in my youthful arrogance, landed up in a jacket and a skirt. Yup yup. They probably thought I wandered in from an interview for the position of personal assistant to very busy and important senior management type. Or an intern from the catering company who had outsourced to them catering colleges. Is that why guests kept handing me their empty glasses?

The most recent blooper? I wore black to a white do. A brunch. Everyone floated in white and lineny and long necklaces and gold gladiator sandals and there was I, black tshirt, deep indigo denims, leopard skin tote and leopard skin sky high wedges. But strangely enough, it didnt feel wierd. Or maybe Ive grown up enough not to care about fitting in. Dont tell that to the other guests though, they had their dose of daily entertainment by moueing around me and sympathising about my faux pas. It made them feel good. It made me feel better. The next brunch I go to, am gonna go with rani pink sequinned salwar kameez. Cant deny them their little joys. Maybe I wont get invited again.

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About Kiran Manral

Author of The Face At The Window, ( 2016), Karmic Kids, All Aboard (2015) , Once Upon A Crush (2014) and The Reluctant Detective (2011).
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11 Responses to Fashion disaster moments

  1. Vijaya says:

    Hi,

    I have been reading your blog for quite some time!! Love the way you write…always makes me smile!!

    Like

  2. ha ha ha…this post sure brings back some memory of my own fashion disasters. one case in point that comes to mind and is as vivid as yesterday is my school fete dance. oh yes! fashion in school was a big big rage and everyone wanted to fit in. ..including me! not really a fashion diva then, i was like the rainbow, that day.i wore red heels (my moms), angle length socks, the kind that had lace round it (yellow lace), a white skirt and a green coat. MY!!! we (my friends and I who were similarly colored) felt like models from milan. I laugh at those pics now, but back then it felt so right and chic 🙂

    now that was a nice trip down memory lane. Thanks 🙂

    have a great day

    A

    Like

  3. aneela z says:

    Yup… we did border line slut very well in the ’80s didnt we…cursing a combo of Madonna and in my case Boy George (please dont judge me!!) for that…Madonna is one smart woman, now that her daughter is hitting her teens, she has switched to ‘sensible chic’.

    by the way did the multiple eye shadowss, and the nail shade ‘Pink in the Afternoon’ and ‘Hot Pink Chocolate’ hit Mumbai…cant tell you how ‘pink in the afternoon’ made my little piggies look…yaargh…that shade should only be worn by Silas (the evil guy in Da Vinci Code).

    And Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak had me ripping my mom’s saris to make ghagra cholis…she still has not forgiven me for that…and ummm wearing our hair in two plaits to school…damn you Juhi Chawla.

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  4. goofy mumma says:

    Oh! I think every woman can identify with this post. Everyone has had these moments. I was a complete fashion disaster through my school days and the initial years in college too, I like to believe I am better now. I remember attending a school picnic in a completely Govinda like attire, black pants, mango yellow silk shirt and a red vest! I cringe at the thought of it now!

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  5. Aathira says:

    Oh yes… I have done this so so many times.
    I too think I am terrible with the fashion bit… and the funny part is people ask me for advice on what to wear!

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  6. sraikh says:

    I still am horrible at dressing and make mistakes though I like to think I am getting better.

    I look at the pictures on highheelconfidential, the WTHeyy walas and think..that doesnt look bad..:)

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  7. M says:

    Kiran,

    we grew up in the same decade! Remember those Horrible salwar-kameezes, with multiple colored patches on the kameez? The kameez was tailored like a shirt. My acid-washed jeans had bottons at the ankle! And puff sleeves…I look at my wedding photos – Me, all nice and slim (OK, I was in grad school, so was *thin*), nice sari colors (my choice of classic colors has thankfully remained steadfast) – and ABSOLUTELY horrendous blouses, with sleeves that look like alien beings!

    But a “white party” – what are those?

    M

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  8. Priyanka says:

    Lol…
    Remember the ‘dhoti’ type salwar craze?? Alongwith the then hep blown up hair…
    But I guess my worst faux pas was at my best friend’s sister’s wedding. She is a marwari and you know how they dress: chiffons or crepe sarees with heavy work. Well, I, not being in the know, turned up in my most jaridaar salwar khameez that I had had stiched from one of my mom’s benaras sarees… And I still have photos of it.. It was a nightmare.. I was shining more than the bride did.. [Shudder]

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  9. OOh yes those jeans. Mine had a part of a zipper (?) in the bottom and were given to me by some well-meaning relative. but my best was a series of pink skirts in billowy materials that mum insisted on dressing me in. oh wait! i still have one blouse of three-quarter sleeves from ze wedding. matched to a purple sari with a border reaching my navel. i consistently looked ridiculous back then. still do now!! so ha! rani pink china silk salwar kameez with puff sleeves and white lace (+ sequins) is gooood stuff!!

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  10. d says:

    Saddest Fashion faux pas of all time (circa 1987, location:Dubai) _ A friend has a brand new dress tailored by local Indian darzi known for his prowess in turning out cheap-cheap replicas from foreign designer fashion magazines . The Occasion – first meeting with posh and rich boyfriend’s snooty family at fancy restaurant. The Dress – a stunning off-shoulder number (a Valentino knock-off no less) from fabric found after much research at the Dubai souk. On the day of the dinner meeting friend walks in fashionably late and joins waiting boyfriend and family at corner table of newly decorated restaurant . The table covers, made from material handpicked by the hotel’s interior designers, are the exact same fabric as shocked friend’s dress.

    Like

  11. d says:

    Saddest Fashion faux pas of all time (circa 1987, location:Dubai) _ A friend has a brand new dress tailored by local Indian darzi known for his prowess in turning out cheap-cheap replicas from foreign designer fashion magazines . The Occasion – first meeting with posh and rich boyfriend’s snooty family at fancy restaurant. The Dress – a stunning off-shoulder number (a Valentino knock-off no less) from fabric found after much research at the Dubai souk. On the day of the dinner meeting friend walks in fashionably late and joins waiting boyfriend and family at corner table of newly decorated restaurant . The table covers, made from material handpicked by the hotel’s interior designers, are the exact same fabric as shocked friend’s dress.

    Like

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