THE BIG APPLE FASHION GUIDE
Prutha Raithatha | May 17, 2011
We have all traveled to a new country sometime in our life or intend to do so sometime in the future and the first time we do, we are completely clueless about being internationally fashionable. Whether we like it or not fashion in every part of the world is different and site specific. But there is still a certain gray area that fits all boundaries.
After being in the US for over 6 years and having been one of them I now know how to instantly spot a FOB [Fresh off the Boat] desi in foreign land. For men, the ultra square toed black shoes with rubber soles, backpacks on ill fitted suites and unpleated pants super tight around the waist and butt, flared at the bottom give it away in an instant. The worse is when they go to a formal event like a wedding or just clubbing and think wearing super pointed [almost 2 inches off of their toes] shoes are cool. If that isn't enough the belief that shinny means formal hurts their game with any girl or acing an interview. Shinny "doop chaou" shirts are not to be ever worn in any country, period!! I strongly recommend Indian fashion police to ban them in India too. The world will just be a better place without men being that dandy.
Some pointers for working men: A well fitted classic suit is all you need in a black or a dark gray. Not double breasted. Single breasted 2 buttons or 3 buttons is the best and the bottom button of your jacket should "NEVER" be buttoned, the top button should "Always" be buttoned unless sitting down and the middle button if you have 3 buttons can "Sometimes" be buttoned. A formal business suit should always be worn with leather "soled" shoes, never rubber. Classic oxfords are the best bet because they will never ever be out of fashion even 10 years from now in any country. Stay away from a maroon shirt for the suit. White, grey, blue with a yellow tie and tiny design on it will work perfectly for any interview.
Never follow bollywood trends outside of India. This goes to both genders. Who on the face of this earth told you guys that wearing a combed headband like Abhishek Bachchan did in some movie was appropriate in any world? It was rather embarrassing for me to see people stare at the newly landed in NYC wearing them and thinking they are cool and that's why everyone was staring at them. Poor things. Little did they know. I blame Bollywood stylist and actors for that; it's not your fault.
This I know is something that a lot of Indians wear for religious or superstitious reasons and since I am neither, I can talk about it. Wearing rings with your birth stones all the time weather it goes with your outfit or gender is something to evaluate. People outside of India [rest of the world] have no clue about the concept of birth stones helping your future or miraculously curing anything and yet without the help of any stones on their fingers they still get lucky and prosper!!So how come so many of us Indians [many highly educated] believe that these birth stones on our fingers will help us get a better job or get luckier over 2/3 rd of the rest of the non birth stone ring bearers?
As far as women go, the top list of don't wear bindis on jeans (I actually break that rule myself but you have to know how and why I wear it to understand why I am to be excused..lol], ultra oily hair in braids, jeans 2 sizes bigger with floaters, etc. is a given. Also remember a Kurta / tunic with some embroidery is not formal wear to go dancing in or to your husband's colleague's thanksgiving dinner party. If you are shy about bare shoulders and deep necklines for formal New Year's Eve party LDB, don't buy the dress. Wearing a tee inside of a formal strappy dress or even covering it up with a stole or a duppatta is super annoying. You can get plenty of covered outfits with reasonable necklines in the stores; just get something that you're comfortable in. Learn to wear your hair down without using any clips. And never get out of the house wearing a butterfly clip holding your hair up like your maid does in India. Leave your scrunches at home. A plain non-frill hair rubber band is all you should use to tie your hair in a neat ponytail if you need to. Long nails are not in fashion abroad unless they are fake tips. But I don't feel that strongly about them. It's a maybe.
Best advice to all moving abroad to study, work or marry is that it is kind of a waste of money to shop in India before you move because 90% of the things you buy from India will not be fashionable in the new place. You rather save all that shopping money and spend it in your new land after assessing the trends there. That custom made 2 sizes bigger than your shoulders Dharavi leather jacket is not going to be worn by you even once after you land in any country. So why waste the money. In the mean while stick to the extreme basics.
For Girls: Regular fitted or skinny jeans in a dark blue, white tees or shirts, a basic black boyfriend jacket, black pumps for all occasions, some statement accessories and neutral makeup.
For Boys: Regular fitted jeans in a dark blue, plain white tees/ polos [no silver or gold printed Ed Hardy looking tees please. Ever!!] or crisp white shirts. A normal pair of sneakers, oxfords or boat shoes paired with maybe a brown corduroy sports jacket should do it.
All your other outfits should also be variations of the above classics and once you have been around for some time and get the idea about the fashion in the new place you can go to the local stores and splurge on shopping with the money you saved by not shopping in India. Trust me you will thank me later.
Bon Voyage for your next big trip!!
The author has a blog titled Don’t Shoe Me