Alright everyone, let’s take our seats- it’s time for a serious talk about a possibly uncomfortable subject. No, not SPANX- that’s been pretty well-covered. I’m talking about Clothing diversity. Yes, Clothing Diversity. Familiar? Its ok, I just made up the term. Now we all know that imitating a person’s accent or culture is not cool. Even if you don’t honestly mean to be offensive- you probably have. But what about appropriating a person’s national dress? When does homage become Paris Hilton dining at Nobu in a shorty Geisha costume she got at Party City? Can a person manage to swing past the tacky costumy feel of a direct cultural knock off and be as acceptable as a Nehru jacket on a Ken doll?
You all knew this was coming- my Bollywood summer madness debut. It started with an embarrassing Simplicity Harem girl pattern. I wanted to take that part to my grave, but a pattern review needs pattern accuracy, right? So I’m going to admit that I research Kameez suit pants patterns and darned if this costume wasn’t right on the money. So I used a homespun muslin business with a thin gold pin stripe and then tapered the legs in about 3 inches, adding 2 to the length and then I gently gathered the outer leg about 6 inches into 3 to get that elephant ankle effect.
***I meant like the children’s book! The saggy-baggy elephant- this was in no way an attempt to add even more dubious cultural web strands to this possibly inflammatory post***
Ok, as you know I’ve been circling pinterest and even Vogue India online to drool and plot. I decided that the obvious tunic styles with blousy sleeves and embroidery would be seriously ‘I got it at a little shop at the port!- isn’t it darling? ’ So I went in a less obvious direction- Simplicity 1466. I’ve submitted to sleeveless again!
It feels kind of retro- but dressy. Cutting Question, Simplicity! What’s the point of that center seam? It isn’t even curved for fit purposes- it’s just there to make me match a print again?! When I do my standard fit moves, I angle the upper neck on all bodices in about 1 inch, so I just didn’t bother with that seam at all. Hello pattern match. Now as you know- I am built not like the proverbial brick shit house, but like a classical Egyptian icon- a thing to gather around and worship, marveling at its design- yes, a pyramid. So I can get anything with a fit and flair shape over my head without a zipper- it’s my skillset. Show me a fit and flare straight jacket and me and MacMurphy are busting out of this Cuckoo’s nest with only minimal mussing of the hair!
My only other change was no interfacing- the stretch twill was heavy enough to not need it. So I bothered not a bit.
Now, down the hall, I hear the stirrings of my personal chauffeur Husband. He awakens. I will give him 15 minutes to mainline coffee, pet the dogs and start up World of Warcraft- then I shall spring my fab, FAB, FFAABB! New look on him.
I gussy up and head into the computer lair. I warn him that the overhead light is going on. I do a slow
Prancing Fantasia Hippo turn. I beam, I await praise. Nothing.
Well, not nothing, I did get a look of terrified horror. He looked at me like I was wearing blackface. Seriously. He looked like if he’d had access to a blanket and a divorce lawyer he would have thrown both of them over me. I start saying ‘What, what, what?’ in ever increasing shrill tones.
He finally speaks and tells me that I cannot possible leave the house and go to work in those pants- they are so ‘on the nose’ that I will offend every doctor on our GI staff. He backpedals at the look of crushed sorrow on my face- he likes the top maybe with leggings, but the pants- no, nononononono!!!!!!!
So ok, I put them on the back burner and puzzled over what the problem is. I would never dream of wearing a Bindi or having a Chinese character tattooed on my leg that I had no idea what the social ramifications entailed, but the pants of another culture? If they aren’t Nazi uniform pants- aren’t I safe?
I’m on a slippery slope in buttered Doc Martins, me thinks. Just because you don’t mean to offend- doesn’t mean you don’t. Perhaps I need to try to walk a mile in another man’s moccasins- crap! Forget I wrote that! I don’t think we say that anymore. Focus! How would I feel if someone ran around in my national dress. Ok, honestly, I’d want to know why they couldn’t be bothered to spruce up a little. I
mean really. Didn’t we invent the jammie pants/hoodie combo? Jeans and camo? Feel free to take that and run with it other nations- I’ll stay busy trying to run from it.
Ok, little enablers- here’s your chance to weigh in on the pants of perdition or the Leggings of Lamentation!
Set phasers on stun and let me know if this outfit should be buried or loved and embraced.
Do you shriek? Do you recoil?
No one shot at me or threw eggs- I think I’m kind of safe and you know what? I am soooo comfortable! I love this fabric- Mary Jo’s in Gastonia for the win!
Oh, come on- tell me this isn’t fun!! Look how well I match the railing!
photo credits: meadhawg, google images, pattern review. All images remain the property of their original owners.