(Originally published on the Times of India web, April 27, 2020, 12:51 PM IST)
In one month of lockdown due to Cornoa virus outbreak, I have complained around every important activity –sweep, mop, cook, work-from-home in random schedules or quit community gathering activities. However, if there is one thing I am truly comfortable with, it is the suspension of fashion in my life.
Corona times may have banal outcomes; it is but a period of utmost gratitude for a non-fashionista like me.
I have always hated dressing up – be it for office, parties, gatherings, conferences or even for a workout in the gym. It has felt like a pain! How cumbersome to match the right shirt with the right pair of trousers, both meticulously ironed and then further team it up with correct socks and shoes – day after day, occasion after occasion. What adds further misery to the annoyance is to make a choice of suitable make-up (not mandatory though), hairdo and a permutation of related accessories to enhance the look.
Of late, life has come around like a boomerang to a non-fashionista’s prayer, rendering itself simpler than ever.
With workplace having moved to home laptop screens, meeting and seminars to webinars and community gatherings to digital portals, it implies – no one will be watching what I wear! Hurrah! All I’d have to do is to put on a decent shirt over comfy pyjamas and worn out tee, dab a shade of lipstick, comb hair bangs and zoom the webcam to cleverly capture just the face. Mission Deception is successful!
No qualms that my hair has overgrown like branches of a tree from every wrong side, eyebrows blossomed like a dense bush over my forehead, traces of uncoloured hair turned into a grey forest, yet I am unashamedly unbothered. The salons and parlours are locked down, you see, leaving everyone helpless (what a brilliant excuse)!
In last one month, the maximum choice I have made with regard to dressing up has been between a few comfortable shorts and tees. Did not realize how cathartic would it be to lose sense of collection my wardrobe has maintained over a period of years! I no longer remember the shades or variety of dresses, office suits, sarees or shoes it stores. Besides, neither there is a pressure to buy clothes nor to keep them in order!
Corona has fuelled my fire to live a minimalistic lifestyle. There is no place of fashion in my life any longer, not even a bit. Yet no single important activity seems to have stopped. Life has only become better. I now dress to survive. I neither judge nor get judged. The bug of apparel consumerism does not bite me any further. I have forgotten what a mall, fashion street or online shopping page looks like without a whimper. I have stopped consulting youtube fashion channels or makeup tutorials for rescue hacks to save my world. Nor do I cringe for wanting to look a certain way on some special occasion.
For some, fashion could be a sense of self-expression (which is appreciable) but it always has felt like a load on my head to cover up the real self. If they tell me wedges, fringes and tassels, it makes me think of bushes and not hair styles. If they tell me olive, teal or rose, it takes me to a flower garden and not to skin undertones. If they tell me about angled, contoured or flat strokes, it leads me to painting palettes and not to makeup brushes.
Am I not well-read in image management? No, I pretty much am. But my mind refuses to get wired with fashion theories and fundamentals compared to the feel of original skin. Do I care? Not anymore. I have learnt to embrace the naked reality of simplistic living.
And therefore, I now look how I should – in the truest sense of self. I can count my grey, feel botches on skin, accept a unibrow and fall in love with every little flaw in the body. My energy has diverted to eating right, building mental strength and nurturing a healthy self, which certainly has no place for pretension.
Soon, Corona will fade away leaving us in our new skin. I have picked mine and it is called ‘minimalism’, and I plan to hold on to it for the rest of my life – happily.