In India, Anti-Fit Clothing Can Fit a Feminist Way of Dressing
Anti-fit is an outfit that keeps the shape of your body a secret (Photo: Lijumol Joseph/ <b>The Quint</b>)
Anti-fit is an outfit that keeps the shape of your body a secret (Photo: Lijumol Joseph/ The Quint)

In India, Anti-Fit Clothing Can Fit a Feminist Way of Dressing

What is a tight dress? Is it empowering, or is it a tiny, tyrannical piece of clothing holding our bodies hostage?

It’s so tricky, right? When you think about how the most ordinary and intimate of acts — like getting dressed — can have real political consequences.

For long, clothes have shaped how we’re seen by others, especially along the lines of economic structures, gender and ethnicity. So, in this world dominated by silhouettes, what is the significance of a shapeless or anti-fit clothing?

Let’s first start with the definition of ‘anti-fit’. Anti-fit is a top that refuses to divulge your figure. It’s a dress that won’t reveal your body’s secret. Anti-fit pants won’t choke you with their tight embrace (perhaps they are better than stuffy relationships in a way).

Anti-fit and shapeless outfits are on the rise. Here, blogger Devyani Kapoor is featured wearing an anti-fit tunic (Photo Courtesy: Ankit Mathur and Darshana Banthia )
Anti-fit and shapeless outfits are on the rise. Here, blogger Devyani Kapoor is featured wearing an anti-fit tunic (Photo Courtesy: Ankit Mathur and Darshana Banthia )

On some subliminal level, the aesthetic has appealed to so many women. They have adopted the style in their flouncy skirts and sack-like dresses.

Many young Indian women today are choosing to experiment with styles that don’t necessarily pass the barometer of the male gaze. And the reasons for this are varied: From the rise of comfort fashion to the rising tide of fourth-wave feminism.

With genderless fashion, and the rise of a “man-repelling aesthetic” — courtesy Leandra Medine of the Man Repeller — and even a growing combativeness on the part of women towards street harassment (that coexists with their fight for the freedom to dress), women are consciously investing in this aesthetic. There are other intellectual arguments presented in favour of anti-fit fashion as well.

As blogger Ashima Gandhi, Founder and Creative Director of Stray Style, puts it, “Anti- fashion is a rejection of the idea of perfection.” Bravo, love that, Ashima!
For blogger Ashima Gandhi, anti-fit is wearing her dad’s shirt. (Photo Courtesy: Ashima Gandhi)
For blogger Ashima Gandhi, anti-fit is wearing her dad’s shirt. (Photo Courtesy: Ashima Gandhi)

For Ashima, anti-fit is wearing her dad’s shirt and performing other such clothing experiments. And is it a sartorial compromise? No! She beautifully layers it with an additional jacket to add varied peels to her style. Ashima also experiments with loose culottes and complements them with either a loose top, or a crisp white shirt.

Manou, whose blog Wearabout would have popped up on your social media feeds at some point or the other, thinks anti-fit has a lot to do with being confident about who you are, and being comfortable in your skin.

Borrowing from a wonderful line that appears in Ms Blog, “If feminists ignore fashion, we are ceding our power to influence it.” And all evidence suggests that anti-fit is indeed feminist in a sense, in that it dictates an aesthetic for the women, by the women.

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