On Father’s Day, a Big Thanks to All Papas For Their Great Fashion
To the dads of the world – thanks for always letting your little girls borrow fashion tips from your wardrobes.
Ever since I was little, I can remember rifling through dad’s cupboard for hidden treasures.
I know what you’re thinking – mommy’s closet should’ve been it for a retail-hungry five-year-old. The bundles of silk sarees and kaftans wrapped in fragrant napthalene should’ve remained my Holy Grail. But here’s what fascinated me: the fact that I was automatically going to inherit everything in mummy’s bundle (an idea pressed upon me by countless aunts and great-aunts) pushed me into revering my father’s ‘atelier’ like a beacon of fashion.
I’ve always been close to Baba. I’ve always loved what he wore. I can remember fresh Calcutta winter mornings when a disgruntled sister and I would be woken up to exercise in the park. I wanted to emulate his dedication to fitness – so I would emulate what he wore. On most days this meant fishing out a pair of track pants (just like his) and a loose t-shirt (much like his) and go flapping my wings like a drowning seagull among Jungle Gyms.
There are memories associated with our fathers’ wardrobes that we often, sadly, discount over the conditioned rummaging through mothers’ and older sisters’ closets. How often have you heard a – “this sari was handed down by my mum, or a “I nicked this out of my sister’s shopping bag”, juxtaposed to “I raided my father’s cupboard today?”
Of the Little Girls in Oversized Shirts
Tidbits gathered from a number of delighted female friends (all of whom were beyond happy to talk about their fashionable dads) proved we’ve got too much to look back on!
Aakruti Jagmohan, a 20-something journalist, for instance, sends me a picture of herself in her dad’s colourful oversized shirt, tucked into a pair of jeans. And looks rather fetching while at it. She also claims to be a ‘daddy’s girl’ – but you’d have guessed that anyway.
Shamayita Sen, an MPhil student, to this day continues pairing beautifully oversized white shirts with jeans or slacks and will always tell you proudly, “I got this one from Baba.” There’s also a whole bunch of big dial watches and chunky belts in her repertoire – all courtesy her father. “When I was a kid, I wanted to be just like him. I still do – which is why I suppose I’ve incorporated the clothes in my daily style,” she says.
Can you also not think of at least one t-shirt in your dad’s closet that looks like it was bought in the Bahamas? This, irrespective of the fact that he never went to the Bahamas? You know, the sort that looks like many tropical flowers and plants decided to walk all over your frontside in tandem.
“You looked like a total buffoon in my kurtas when you wore them,” my father informs me over the phone. “You’d refuse to part with them, though.” He recalls times I’d sift out aesthetically monochrome shirts from his stockpile – ones that most resembled whatever my favourite actress at the time wore – and belt them in. I am already beginning to understand the origin of the shift dress/shirt dress idea in the fashion industry.
Lijumol Joseph wholeheartedly agrees.
“Whenever the ‘fancy dress’ bug bit me, I’d try on my father’s wedding suit and pose. It was really expensive and I loved wearing it.”
She also recalls trying on his Coast Guard hat and upping the military-girl fashion quotient!
The latter wasn’t an uncommon idea – a lot of us would try on our father’s uniforms. A naval uniform, a Customs hat, an Army beret…
When my father tells me I raided his closet, he sounds fondly exasperated by the memory. And laughs at it too. And I think that’s the idea. That is why we borrow from our dads’ wardrobes. Pick threads. Put together memories.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and we’re just showing our dads that we care.
Also, that they’re uber cool men. And that never goes out of style.
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