Saturday, April 14, 2007

Classic Clothes

Growing up, Ms M was one of the most fashionable women I knew. Her taste was impeccable and she had a rather small wardrobe. Once while talking about the distinction between style and fashion, she introduced me the this quote by James Laver

"The same dress will be Indecent 10 years before its time, Shameless 5 years before its time, Outré (daring) 1 year before its time, Smart in its time, Dowdy 1 year after its time, Hideous 10 years after its time, Ridiculous 20 years after its time, Amusing 30 years after its time, Quaint 50 years after its time, Charming 70 years after its time, Romantic 100 years after its time, Beautiful 150 years after its time."

I was not able to tell where in the fashion timeline Ms M fit; since her primary attire was the sari and there is something inherently timeless about it. However, I picked up a few rules about attire and makeup from observing her that have stood the test of time.

1. Wear classic styles so you don't have to replenish your wardrobe frequently. Saris make that easier but it is not impossible with western attire either.

2. Expensive accessories make an ordinary outfit look extraordinary. Ms M's shoes and bags looked very well maintained and expensive. The jewelry was minimal but beautiful and perfectly coordinated with her clothes.

3. Never dress too young even if you have what it takes to carry it off. Ms M looked younger than her years despite her rather conservative style. Younger by far than women who made concerted efforts to look young.

4. Makeup is not a constant thing. Sometimes less is more and at other times more is less. Ms M on a regular working day looked nothing like she did on a Diwali or New Year party. She startled you with the dramatic change and you wondered when she may be dressed like that again. You remembered the look.

5. Create an unique individual style that has nothing to do with latest fashion. Ms M had a certain distinction about her that fashionable women could never emulate. In the fifteen years that I knew her, she never changed her hairstyle. Yet she managed to look refreshingly different everyday.

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