We Dress to Not Be Seen

I just spent a week in India with my friends Ansh, Pooja and their kids. I was surrounded by beauty, Yes, the New Delhi streets are full of people, far more than New York City could even dream of, but full of people you want to look at.

Especially the women. They are beautiful, rich and poor alike. A huge, dark braid falls straight down their back. Where does it end? Nothing like the wildly strewn hair currently featured in the west, like a matted lion’s mane. The Indian lady’s hair is tightly coiled and shiny, beauty parading.

Then there is their dress. Many of them wear saris, wildly colored, pink green blue yellow and every imaginable color and all kinds of designs. The front is aglitter with stones, flowers sewn down the front. They wear a blouse of pink of white or green often which exposes the midriff and then the sari goes over. Tying a sari is a complex job. It is not merely closing a couple of buttons. Some go to the tailor to get it done.

The women walk along like flowers, each in their own special bloom.

It makes me ask myself about my country’s fashion statement: so dark, dark, dark. Who decided that black is our magic color? Some say, “it goes with everything you know.” Black and brown and grey. It is like attending an all the time funeral. It is like Japanese Noh theater in which those chosen to change the scene wear black which indicates that they are not seen.

We are good at being invisible. When did Madison Avenue become a god of fashion which dictates what we wear? When was our color taken away and a new non-image imposed on all?

One friend said that we are a “nation of sheep” that we don’t like to stand out from the crowd. Black is the image of modern times and we wear it to fit in. Another person, a cynic said that the moment a country goes industrial, its people give up their culture which includes native dress and then wear whatever is deemed current. He said that is true of Japan, of China and soon will be true of India. People on the money train join the current anti-person trend. India is just not there yet. I said to him that India is a nation devoted to beauty. He insisted that so were Japan and China and every rural nation until the quick, the cheap and the easy become available.

The sixties was a time of color with the Stones and the Beatles and Janis Joplin and everyone wearing tie dye and beads, some with beaded noses, many earrings, ragged jeans not factory made, smoking grass and dancing and having sex wherever and with whomever they pleased, color ran wild.

I think that color is associated with the senses; not senses dictated by the cocaine crowd as part of one’s image. Color is part of the child within us all that always wants to dance. and sing. The child wants to express itself and to be seen. The child wants to join other dancers but not to lose itself by joining.

We need to think about choosing out own colors regardless of what is fashionable. Does wearing this color threaten my job? Would it threaten my job if everyone does it? Do we remain anti color joiners out of fear?

All change begins with 1, next year with 10 and the year after with 1,000. Who will be number 1?

One thought on “We Dress to Not Be Seen

  1. astrid cernos

    There are still wildly colorful places, where I live for example, Woodstock. The tourists also dress up to come here. I have a raspberry coat and an ice blue one for winter. Of course when the weather is below 20, and now it is, I have a full length black down model. Very warm.


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