Sunday, May 06, 2007

Dressing for Dinner

I just got back from having dinner at this nice little Italian place called Fiorano. The food was excellent, but there was something that struck me as unappetizing. There was this young family sitting at a table next to us. The mother was fairly well dressed and so was the little boy, but the father was wearing a faded, dull grey T-Shirt and Jeans that looked like he had just gotten out of bed. Now, this Italian place is an upmarket place (the food is really good), and so its unlikely that the man would have been too poor to buy some decent clothes.

A large family dropped into the restaurant as we were mid way through our meal. There too I found something really unusual. The women were well dressed, but the men were not. There were a couple of boys, probably around 9-12, who were dressed in dirty T-shirts and Jeans.

This got me thinking. Are we as a society, poor dressers? I had the opportunity to go to two separate weddings in rural Karnataka a couple of months back. In both places, I remember the men being really shabbily dressed. Most of them were in the worst possible cotton sarong's (aka Panchay) with the dirtiest towels drapped over their right shoulders. But as expected, most of the women were wearing their best silk saris!

The trend doesn't end with Rural Weddings. In almost every single wedding in Bangalore that I have been to, the male friends and collegues of the bride/groom have always turned in the worst possible clothes. In fact, its a given thing that only the groom, the fathers, the brothers and possibly an uncle or too, will be well dressed.

Take a quick look at our politicians. Kurtas for the men may be the norm, but the sight of shaded and dull kurtas is just sickening. Yet, I am yet to spot a lady politician wear anything other than the choicest saris and with hair never out of place. I remember a story on NDTV where the camera follows various netas hot on the campaign trail. There was this one story where the camera followed Sushma Swaraj. When asked, what is the toughest part of the roadtrip, she said, it is the lack of time to attend to her sartorial needs!

I'm often berated by Eva for dressing badly when we go out, but there's hardly ever an occasion where she has dressed badly when we have gone out. In fact, even if it is to my grandmom's (or her granny's) place, she dresses up a bit more than I do. At dinner tonight, I was wearing a pair of Jeans (a newish one :-)), but had a "good" shirt on. I don't think I was under dressed.

Our women dress up well, but we men don't. So, I don't think we are poor dressers as a society. Its just that our men are slobs! Its also not that the concept of dressing well when going out is alien to our society. Women do it all the time, but men just don't seem to care. I think this is why dress code that some companies impose makes sense. We really need to be told to dress appropriately.

Its time we improved our sense of clothes and paid attention to ourselves. While the proverb, never judge a book by its cover, may be true, Clothes Make the Man.

Myopic view of
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