Thursday, March 20, 2014

Being a Travelling Fashionista

20 March 2014

Yes, I'm a bit of a fashionista.  I like my clothes.  And I notice the clothes that other people wear.

I also adore ethnic clothing.  Clothing from India is always a favourite, because the colours are wonderful, the combinations lovely and unexpected, and there are so many varieties.  There's the sari, which is easily identified and comes in such gorgeous fabrics.  (And I wish I could figure out how to wear one and look good - I'm afraid I'd look like I'm wearing drapery, I'm just not great at the fold and wrap aspect.)  There's the kurta, which is the long tunic top, often adorned with embroidery, worn with contrasting trousers.  (I think this is the outfit from Punjab.)  And there's the kalidaar (sometimes called a kalidar saalwar kameez, I think - I've found contrasting opinions on this one) - this is sort of a variation on the kurta, more of a dress than a tunic.  This is my favourite one, although it may not flatter my shape.  The kalidaar has a yoke or bodice, embroidered and embellished.  The body is made from wedge-shaped pieces of cloth sewn together to make a dress that's fitted in the middle and flaring out at the bottom - sort of like a gored skirt, but with maybe 20 or more gores or wedges for the whole thing, so the midriff is very fitted and the hemline flares way out.  The hemline usually is also embellished with ribbon or embroidery.  Gorgeous!

So, today has been rainy - pouring rain at lunchtime.  We finished booking our train travel north, and were ready for something to eat.  Went downstairs to the bus station, and crossed the street using the covered pedestrian bridge.  (That's part of why we're staying here.)  Went to a Malaysian Indian lunch.  Yes, we were the only people of European origin.

Anyway, there was a beautiful young woman having lunch.  I noticed her because she was wearing a bright pink kalidaar with a pink and orange scarf - I know, it sounds odd, but trust me, the combination worked, especially against her creamy dark skin.  Might not look as good on pale me.

Well, after lunch this gorgeous woman in pink was outside with her child and a few other people, and I turned to her and said that her pink ensemble was one of the most beautiful dresses I've seen, that it was just lovely.  The woman smiled, but looked rather confused.  A man from another group turned around and said that this woman was a foreigner, didn't speak English, didn't know what I said, could he help.  I said that I was telling her how much I liked her outfit.  The man just laughed, head back, and then went back to his own conversation. 

So I turned back to the woman and motioned over my head (scarf), down my body (dress), motioned to her, and gave her a big thumbs up with a big smile.  I don't know if she understood, but she gave me a big thumbs up back!

Richard, of course, maintains that she was still confused and had no idea what my version of fashion charades was all about.  I'm confident that, in the women's intuition and kinship society, she got the concept I was trying to put across - that her outfit was gorgeous and I was complimenting her.

It was just one of those little vignettes of travel, and part of being a fashionista on the road.

PS:  These are photos I lifted from Indian fashion websites online.  Beautiful, aren't they?  After confusing this woman, I didn't want to further embarrass her, or myself, by asking if I could take her photo.  She really was gorgeous, I would have loved having her photo in this incredible outfit, but I don't have quite that much chutzpah.  Really, I don't.

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