Shall I join the kurti brigade…

You know what I mean. You know, dont you? Those comfortable cotton numbers with the proportions of a sack, in bright prints, which let you eat to your heart’s content in a public situation, allow the tum to meander out of the path of virtue and waistband and hang comfortably over the belt, with nary a care in the world.  I went and got me some kurtis. I’ve been seeing everyone wearing them all around. And been resisting them, because, well, they are shapeless. But considering I’m fast getting there, it was high time I got into something that gave me breathing space, and exhaling space. And space to exhale some more. And ingest some more. 

I went into a shop and asked the man for some kurtis in my size. He yelled at a minion to get XXL. I ran away as fast as my lard would permit in embarassment at being the XXL being catered to in volumes loud enough to bring the mall down. I stepped gingerly into another store and browsed the racks carefully not daring to ask for my size, picked up one I fancied, held it against me, thought I could make a public appearance in it and handed it to the salesperson. “Aapka shaize mein nahin hai. Yeh to medium hai. XL wahan par hain,” he said desulatorily, pointing me towards a rack filled with gigantic floral and curliculed prints and bright eyepopping colours that would mean I could never ever escape a marksman in a crowd. What is it with the people who make these kurtis. Do they not realise that given the size we XL folk are we dont really want to the kind of entertainment that has small children following them down the street, chucking stones and running away, for personal merriment purposes. What about some subtle colours.  And some shape. Kurtis, I have found are constructed with a straight cut. Which in turn means the front rides up for someone like me, who is, ahem, generously endowed. And the back hangs low. And which totally gets my goat. I need them darts and them pintucks and some semblance of some shape. I need waist definition, I need them curves to be on display and make me feel like slimness is just a couple of days dedicated walking away.

Aargh. I might as well wear jute bags and pretend them to be organic fashion. I consoled myself with the thought that from one shop to the next I’d dropped a size from XXL to XL, and took my chance at the next shop which, gleefully, had all the kurtis labelled L and a sweet salesgirl, who didnt look at me sympathetically, nor insisted that nothing on any shelf in the store was meant to be soiled by being touched by the likes of garguatan swamp creatures like yours truly and actually was pretty sure that I would be able to get into a L sized one. I was determined to do so, to give credence to her confidence, even if it meant I had to pat myself into the damn garment, millimeter by millimeter. Yup. I emerged with four kurtis from the store. Moral of the story to store owners: Mark down your sizes. It feels nicer buying an L than an XL.

And no, these are not yet going into regular wear. I’m just about easing them into park and home wear. It will take a while before I accept that yet, the waist is too broad to be contained by a tshirt, and only the wide, forgiving width of a kurti could do it justice. Like them mommy jeans? I’m still trying hard not to get there. Never mind that I’m already there, regardless of my valiant efforts to peel on them skinny fits, with much huffing, puffing, snakedancing on the floor and such like.


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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25 Responses to Shall I join the kurti brigade…

  1. DewdropDream says:

    This is precisely why I dislike ready-to-wear clothing back home. I am terribly skinny and can never find anything in my size to begin with. And on the rare occasion that some place stocks xs size stuff, it turns out to be really shapeless and puts me off shopping. What’s wrong with spending a little time actually getting the cut and pattern right I ask you? I mean, they can do it for high street stores abroad but for things they sell locally, no sirree! What logic?


  2. sraikh says:

    Its not your Kiran. Its them rest of the world who have no boobs and butts and are shapeless(lucky them!).

    When I was in Bangkok, the land of size 0 and negative, even before entering the shop, the owner would shout, No you size No you size!

    And you stop with your moaning. You havent gained weight since I started reading your, which I think is 2? 2.5 years now?


  3. Anamika says:

    Interesting that you mention kurti riding up in front. They are indeed flawed. Last weekend I was in a public kind setting and on stage and had this nice red silk kurta that was event appropriate. We were videotaped and next evening I sat down to watch and was appalled at seeing myself. Somehow escaped my attention in the mirror but was very obviously glaring in third person. yikes!


  4. Suki says:

    Kurtis, I have found are constructed with a straight cut. Which in turn means the front rides up for someone like me, who is, ahem, generously endowed. And the back hangs low. And which totally gets my goat. I need them darts and them pintucks and some semblance of some shape. I need waist definition, I need them curves to be on display and make me feel like slimness is just a couple of days dedicated walking away.

    Are you writing that on my behalf or something? If you are… you missed the annoying horizontal creases above butt as a result of front riding up as a result of boobage. ARGH.


  5. Gigi says:

    The kurtis exported to chains like Banana Republic have the darts etc. But they also cost > $60. 🙂
    Fab India does vanity sizing very well in case you feel all handloomy!


  6. jaya says:

    ok, talking about Kurtis, i feel they are the most hideous piece of clothing.
    i think people assume, it hides out fat, in my opinion i feel it makes us fatter.


  7. I beg to differ! On my last trip to India I got myself some lovely kurtis from a small boutique…you know those 3/4 sleeved Chinese collared ones..

    Here is the thing I have seen…If we can manage to get the sleeves altered to the right arm size…it does not look that bad at all! Pair it with some ethnic earrings and some lovely kohl lined eyes and “mommy wear” wont even be thought of in the same context.


  8. Darling, I’m a card carrying member of the kurti brigade…got them in various sizes, designs and colours.

    And ooh! These mommy jeans sound interesting! Must scout round for some…at least it’ll be denim on my person. And I am a mommy right? And also, at least it won’t be my pregnancy jeans!!


  9. Dottie says:

    Vanity sizing is done here all the freaking time and it works!!! I have almost stopped shopping in j crew now 🙂


  10. Trish says:

    LOL!! I know what u mean by those shapeless sacks..I know what u mean by those kurtis riding up in the front..i so know that..ou wont believe the number of kurtis I discarded before moving to OZ..only ones I have now are the “tailored” well fitting were dumped..before the hoarder instinct kicked in.


  11. Bhavna says:

    Dont you dare adopt kurtis. Its like losing the battle with middle age..please please please dont, I shall be heartbroken. btw the hubby went to Lucknow and got a surprise…kurti for me. I almost went into samadhi except that he seemed so pleased with himself. Surprise me..yes, he did!

    ( you will be glad to know that he has been informed, in the midst of a massive fight on another issue, that next time onwards he can buy such stuff for his boringly dressed near and dear ones which DOES NOT include me )


  12. Kiran Manral says:

    Dewdropdream: Beats me. I mean, we are even willing to shell out that little extra to get a good fit, but no sirree, all we get are shapeless sacks.

    sraikh: I will not even dare enter a shop in Bangkok. And yup, I have put on a couple of inches in the past couple of years, and I am not proud of that. I need to seriously turn to you for inspiration. Look at how hot you look now ….

    Anamika: I tell you. Which is why I check front and back and end up tossing off kurti and wearing tshirt…the pull up and hang down irritates me no end.

    Suki: Sistah with boobage issues….*hugs*

    Gigi: I hate hate hate Fab India with a passion. a) everyone wears fab india. b)they are ridiculously overpriced. c)everything I have bought has its colour run terribly, and the fabric become pocha material in a couple of washes….

    Jaya: Spot on.

    Cluelesschick: I’m getting kurtis tailored to fit. Till I have some semblance of a shape left, let me show it off…

    Mamma Mia, Me a Mamma: Oh love, Mommy jeans are so so not on. I thankfully can huff and puff into my pre pregnancy jeans too (so obviously I was not that sylphlike to start with) but you need some good fitted jeans. No mommy jeans with kurtis. I forbid you.

    Dottie: I’m vain. I need vanity sizing.

    Trish: I’ve converted the illfitting ones into home wear now.

    Bhavna: I know, I know, I feel like I have now to stop colouring the hair and let the grey hang out. Maybe I keep the kurtis for real feel fat days?


  13. babiesanon says:

    Waah. I wear mommy jeans with kurtis. I so do not belong on this blog!


  14. shilpadesh says:

    “I need waist definition, I need them curves to be on display and make me feel like slimness is just a couple of days dedicated walking away.”
    I hear you! I hear you! I need my clothes to ‘fit’ me rather than hang on me like they would on a hanger, making me look more bulky than I really am!


  15. Serendipity says:

    This post and all the comments…man!! Hilarious stuff…especially the last bit about snakedancing 😀 😀 😀

    All for a piece of cloth?! (Kill me for that now :))
    Why can’t women wear something that’s comfortable and stop fretting about whether it is in vogue or not? 😕

    I’m back…reading all the posts that I missed while I was shifting… 🙂


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Serendipity: Comfortable and in vogue do not go in the same breath thats why. Seriously though, I should be in tracks and tee through the day then…


  16. BEV says:

    fabIndia has some nice ones in lovely kanchi cotton. i finally gave in and bought a bunch, more to beat the god-awful delhi summer which i had to face sans AC thanks to job quitting. The kurtis are in luscious colours and some of them fit quite well too


    • Kiran Manral says:

      Bev: I trust your taste so I might just go check these out. But on the whole I have not had great experiences with Fab India.


  17. Kiran-

    Yeah, they are most shapeless and fit terribly even if my ‘issues’ are different from yours! 🙂 they highlight the worst parts of you. I save them for work-wear on days when I am in a most bad mood.

    I like the FabIndia shirts (good fit) but although I have several of their clothes of all types, I agree with you on all (a) through (c)!

    & I cannot ever wear them at home as they are NOT comfortable. Tshirts are so much better.


  18. Abha says:

    oh well. considering my size, Kurtis is all i get!! and mommy jeans too! but i am at peace with them now!! hehe!

    my kinda vanity sizing is size 1 in a plus size store! :p



  19. Natasha says:

    I dislike kurtis. They are badly constructed, and smack of lack of integrity.
    Why can’t someone create something for the real woman, not for backless, frontless sticks that try to pass themselves off as girls?


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