Recently I met two women with whom I got a chance to interact over 3-4 months @ once or twice a week, sometimes face to face else on phone or via Watsapp. And the way they have enriched my life is just amazing. Since they are both my clients I got to know them and their lives close enough to start thinking about other women in the same age bracket. Further my mind raced from big cities to smaller ones , then from India to the entire world. And I am thorougly amazed to find similarities and differences galore.
Keeping every other thought on the back burner, I want to concentrate only on Wardrobes of working women in India, who are in their 40s and 50s. Their lives are quite settled with one or two kids who may be attending school or college, a husband who goes to work early morning only to come back late in the evening, leaving hardly any possibility of interaction pertaining to something as trivial as appearance. Everybody in the family just about manages to get dressed and is in a hurry to leave the house and reach respective destinations on time. Now these women that I am talking about here are not at-home mothers. They are WORKING …maybe in a corporate setup, school, bank, government office or have a small business to run. Seems perfect. Right?
WRONG!! These women are not dressed as appropraitely as they ought tothe reasons are very simple:
1.Lack of Awareness The diversity of Indian culture has given us so many choices that we are often lost in a myriad of clothing styles, hairstyles, manners and etiquettes because every region, community and class has a set of parameters which over time have all evolved together to create a set of Indian or Ethnic Wear. So we have a wide range of Sarees, variations of Lehengas and innumerable variations of Kurti suits. Kurtis paired with salwars, churidaars, leggings, jeggings, palazzo pants, cigarette pants, patiala salwars, harem pants, dhoti salwars, aladin salwars – all spread across domains ranging from formal to semi casual to casual looks. Throw in western outfits and you get a far wider spectrum than you can imagine by virtue of fusions thus created. For the younger crowd it is still easier because they can follow a certain fad and carry off well even without a consistent Personal Style.However for middle aged women its a difficult choice.With variations in body shapes at different stages of life they mostly keep juggling between currency of a fashionable item and appropriateness. Every outfit is not meant for all shapes, sizes, ocassions etc. Similarly all colors, shades and hues do not work well for everyone. All it will take to change the picture is spreading a little awareness about body shape, personal colors, possible customization of an outfit to suit a certain Personal Style and how it affects the perception of others about you in addition to elevating your own confidence and selfgoal is to make them feel unique with the help of a unique wardrobe.
2.Lack of Interest A little girl who in an attempt to imitate her mother or elder sister quite often gets appreciated and loved for adorable looks while trying to drape a saree or don a dupatta grows into a fun loving, fashion forward youngster always competing with the peers and friends for the most stylish look. Once married all the glamour quotient gradually dissipates with the vicissitudes of daily life. Home, family and kids grab a higher wrung in the list of priorities. Actually she loses interest in keeping a track of latest trends because with advancing age she stops loving herself. New additions to the wardrobe are no longer a reflection of her choice or suitability but whatever others think will enhance her look. Makeup reduces to the bare minimum. Comfortable slip-ons in a non glamorous design add to the platitude of the wardrobe. I want to make it very clear here that it is not lack of time but an insidious lack of interest that I encountered.
The two factors create a negative Image cycle where a person with poor self image is not investing enough efforts to dress and groom herself and consequently fails to think, feel, act and behave appropriately. This package is carried over to the workplace as well. Consequently , others see her in the same light and react and respond accordingly. On getting a negative response from colleagues or clients, confidence level further depletes, thereby completing a vicious circle. In order to break the cycle, wardrobe correction is the most sensible starting point. Just by infusing a new lease of life into the wardrobe, better results can be achieved in every sphere of life. And knowing the perfect answers to What, When and How of self styling will pay multiple dividends.Although in the beginning, it is difficult to cite “defunct wardrobe” as a reason for non-performance at work and that too convincingly. But it is imperative for everyone to understand the significance of appearing impeccably dressed at all occasions.
Just as my these two clients I wish to make every aging woman realize that styling is age independent and never give up taking care of yourself. Each one deserves to look good at all times. Therefore get a better understanding of your own likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses and let them be expressed through your WARDROBE styling. In return the same wardrobe will earn you brownie points in every endeavour that you undertake.
After the first few sessions with my said clients my initial reaction of dismay gradually changed to empathy and understanding because the most surprizing element in both cases was enthusiasm and positive response that I received from them. With each session I saw them changing for the better and for me ther was a new lesson to be learnt. However, an implacable attitude and a slow walk through the epiphany of self worth bore wonderful results that I can proudly boast of. Today when they share their pictures with me via Watsapp to show their well coordinated clothes, lipstick and mascara…….I have to give a light pat on my back.
“MAKE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, THE BEST OF YOUR LIFE” – Morton Shaevitz