Respectful occasion dressing

Think of past after World War One, the time of the fabulous flapper girls in the 1920s. A time when women’s unapologetically glamorous fashion spoke of their newfound confidence…writes Sujata Assomull.

Dress sense is important for fashion lovers and for other people. The recently held Golden Globes awards showed that occasion dressing needs to be respectful, not revengeful.

Amanda Seyfried in an Oscar de la Renta silk sorbet gown, Cynthia Erivo in neon green Valentino and Nicole Kidman in a custom-made black and gold halter neck gown by Louis Vuitton–these were some of the dressed up at home looks that celebrities wore for the event. All of them commented on how good it felt to have an occasion to dress up for. While they choose beautiful and bold clothes—there was a sense of elegance to their selection. None of them pushed the boundaries too much, as that would not have been appropriate.

Last April, when we thought the pandemic would be over by summer, many fashion pundits predicted that “Revenge buying” would bring in a new wave of people shopping just to make up for lost time during the lockdown. Of course, a year later, the coronavirus is still a part of our daily reality. I have never liked using the term revenge as it has such negative connotations.

The one exception to this rule is Princess Diana’s revenge dressing moment when the then estranged wife of Prince Charles wore a fitted black off-the-shoulder dress with a rather short asymmetrical hemline to a high-profile summer party. It was the same night that the infamous Prince Charles interview was airing. He was about to confess to his extramarital relationship with Camila Parker Bowles. The story goes that Princess Diana wanted to look like “a million bucks” that night so she decided to wear a dress out of her comfort zone. It became the night Princess Diana’s status as a style icon was solidified. This was a moment when over-dressing suited the occasion, it had a purpose.

Think of the past after World War One, the time of the fabulous flapper girls in the 1920s. A time when women’s unapologetically glamorous fashion spoke of their newfound confidence. Decadence seemed in tune with the moment. With World War One a thing of the past, businesses were booming again, so the moto was why not celebrate. As they say there is a time and place for everything, and while many predict we will see a redux version of the Roaring 20s once this pandemic phase is over, let us not forget we are still in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis. Many countries are seeing their second and third waves, and we still do not know how successful the vaccination drive will be, there is no question that the economy is hurting.

Fashion is all about reflecting cultural shifts — and it does seem many of us are tired of the whole sweatpants moment. This means we now want to look forward and understand the need to embrace the new normal in our lives. While one might have missed dressing for occasions, it does seem a bit tone dead to be bringing it on right now. Yes, occasions are thankfully being held now, but just as they have to be respectful of Covid-19 norms, so should our dressing. I am all for having fun with fashion and using it as an escape but let’s not behave like modern-day Marie Antoinette’s, because revenge is never the answer.

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