Frugal fashionista is the new hep?

A big write up in the HT Brunch had me thinking all of yesterday. It spoke about Frugal Fashion, and the article essentially spoke about the once upon a time crime by celebs to be seen in public wearing the same outfit, and how the terribly straight off the farm sense of style Mrs Obama (God, I refuse to call her Mrs O in case anyone confuses it with the late Mrs Onassis)and the getting thinner by the day Kate Middleton now the Duchess of Cambridge are repeating outfits and getting lauded for it.
Did I get the memo wrong here? This aint frugal fashion. This is being sensible. This is what regular everyday women do. They repeat outfits. Unless they are not regular everyday women, in which case designers woo them with gowns and dresses they can borrow and return after a single use.
I am a repeat offender. I have half my wardrobe in various shades of black so no one guesses, but I recycle everything. I have been known to saw off the bottoms of widelegged flared jeans to make them cropped at the ankle versions when them flared legs went out of style. I buy export surplus tops I wear with my DVBs. I get shoes regularly resoled and buffed. I’ve even gone as far as getting a bag made out of old upholstery fabric that was too pretty to throw away. And repeats? I’m the queen of repeats. You stick pictures of me from year to year and you can bet your sweet patootie I’m wearing something that’s the same down the years. I feel no shame. I’m being solid and practical and thoroughly middle class, like my upbringing made me.
The thought of wearing something once and chucking it aside appalls me. Unless of course, it were a harlequin costume. Or something equally appalling. Like something designed by, ah, well. Anyway.
I have the total of four so called heavy sarees which get aired by rotation at family functions. The rest I’ve distributed to all and sundry thanks to the fact that I never actually ever wear them, and there didn’t seem to be much sense in making them fodder for the silver fish.
An interesting few got recycled into churidar kurtas. The ones beyond redemption got cut up into cushions.
Okay. I’m the kind of woman designers hate. I know. I do nothing for the economy, except run out during sales and pick up the occasional pair of staple jeans or shoes. Or bags. Yes. I do spend on my accessories. A great bag. A great pair of shoes. And I don’t care how many times the world has seen me in said same outfit, it might be very tough on the world but it would have to lump it.
As I grow older and none to wiser, comfort also starts playing a stellar role in this equation. No longer do I want to have to hold in my stomach to the extent of crumpling my bladder into my kidney in order to zip a pair of trousers up. I need give and stretch. Ergo, read lots of lycra. Ideally 99 per cent lycra, one percent cotton. Failing that, drawstring pants. Seriously though, my pants stay with me till they tear at unmentionable places, or till I chop them into bermudas and then shorts.I even recycled my wedding lehenga, by wearing the ghagra with a red corset top for another wedding. And yes, if someone remarked it looked familiar, I smiled graciously and remarked that they had an astounding memory.
So am I hep? Far from it. I’m frugal. I buy only when stuff is on sale. I stick to my jeans and tees, and now, kurtis. I change my bags and shoes often. Am I a fashionista? No, I dont think so. Nor do I want to be one. What I would rather have said about me is “She has style, that one.”


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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14 Responses to Frugal fashionista is the new hep?

  1. Makes sense! I guess Michelle Obama and The Duchess of Cambridge have made common sense acceptable. I for one love my clothes too much to wear them only a few times.


  2. gardenerat60 says:

    Superb justloved it.


  3. gardenerat60 says:

    Superb thoughts. Lovedit.


  4. Aathira says:

    I think I live with my clothes far longer than acceptable. So, recycling is always always the way to go 🙂


  5. Anjali says:

    I am with you on this one, I too am a girl who only and exclusively buys stuff when it’s on sale. Although I must confess that sometimes I go overboard and buy stuff I don’t even need, but, I refuse to pay the full sticker price for pretty much anything . Even a beautiful diamond ring my hubby gifted me for our anniversary was bought on sale at Zales, so I too am the queen of frugal. I am not that much of a recyler as you are, I usually try to wear newer stuff when I’m gonna take pictures in them, but what I do tend to do, is hold on to stuff for years…I never like to throw stuff away, and I’m not very giving either, to donate it…hehe…I do donate some stuff, but it has to be something I really hate, or looks ugly on me, or something, anything I can fit in, and looks even a little okay on me stays with me, till it’s completely worn out. I love the title ‘frugal fashionista’…haha…:)


    • Kiran Manral says:

      This all sounds so familiar…I thank the lord actually that I have a zero social life, that I can get away with being so badly dressed all the time…


  6. So agree with you Kiran !!


  7. I completely agree! Why would I buy an outfit if I only thought I was going to wear it once?! Even while buying my wedding outfit, I was already thinking of what all I could pair pieces of it with (to wear at siblings’ and cousins’ weddings). There was no way I was going to buy it if I couldn’t guarantee no less than TEN times of use. With other stuff, I wear it until my mom visits and takes it away to make a “pocha” or dust-cloth out of it.


    • Kiran Manral says:

      I so get you on the pocha. My MIL sometimes gently suggests that some clothes have become pocha worthy to me too…


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