Designer Lascelles Symons offered the following gyaan on 'what to wear during monsoon' to a TV news channel:
a) Lots of colour
b) Avoid white
c) Keep it short.
Enlightening, I say! But I guess his clients aren't the kind who really need to budge out of their houses and get their Manolos wet... And certainly they've never seen the inside of trains and buses!
Meanwhile, the man whom the Mirror calls the 'city's latest dress designer' - the Vice Chancellor of Bombay University - has his own views on the subject. He wants to impose a dress code on students, especially female ones. The idea being to 'dress decently' and not as if in a fashion show.
The VC has therefrore stipulated the following:
* Salwar Kameez — but no deep neck. Sleeveless will do
* T-shirts that do not have a deep neckline or expose the navel
* Jeans, but no low-waist
* Short skirts
* Body-hugging tops
* Sleeveless tops
* Tank tops
Are knee length pants OK? What about a tank top worn inside a shirt...And Visible Panty Line?? Should the V-C be, at all, concerned with such questions?? !!
Where's the problem, anyways
I for one, am wondering which colleges in Mumbai the V-C visited which necessitated this policy statement.
If anything, for several years now, the trend on campuses across Mumbai has been to 'dress down'. Jeans - with kurtas or tshirts and colourful accessories are pretty much the standard uniform. You'd be hard pressed, really, to find those shorts/ mini-skirts.
I can say that because JAM regularly visits campuses to shoot for its fashion section. In a feature we did at KC and HR (some of the more fashion-conscious colleges in Mumbai), 4 out of 5 students we shot would have met the VC's 'no exposure' guidelines. And even the one girl in a 'short skirt' doesn't look indecent or provocative in the least!
I think the concept of 'decency' itself has broadened considerably. Sleeveless t shirts might have been 'provocative' 20 years ago... At one time my grandmother had a huge problem with my mom wearing sleeveless blouses, I remember.
Today, 'music video' costumes would probably be 'indecent' outside clubs. But which girls are trying to wear such outfits - and travel in buses and autos - anyways?
Rebels for no cause
As elementary psychology will tell you: telling hormonally charged young people 'what to do' is the surest way to get them NOT to do it. It's inciting a rebellion among a population which, on its own, had chosen to be pretty boring and conformist in most respects, including hemlines.
'Woh kaun hota hai hamein rokne waala' are the kind of soundbytes pimply teens are giving to TV crews.
Parents and individual principals were enough to police errant kids. The V-C has more urgent matters to attend to - relating to what is being taught - or not - in a university which is way behind the needs and aspirations of modern India.
But, like Nero, he prefers to fiddle while Kalina burns.