Confessions of a Chick in Paris

Confessions of a Chick in Paris

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Little India: The Textile Shops…

February 26, 2009 , , , , , , , ,

suitAs my parents stroll around in India making the scene, I’ve entrusted them with finding me a dazzling sari for my sister’s wedding.

As for me, I’ve commited to visiting the gym so I can work on my “stomach rolls”, in the sense of complete annihilation.  Because you know, the wedding will be packed with men, and as the only  “available” daughter, I’m expected to look my best.

So the wedding outfit for July is taken care of  (though I won’t reveal the colours to you yet), but there’s a tiny little problem in between.

It’s one of my favourite friends, who’s getting married in the end of March.  Her wedding will span a weekend since she’s marrying a white boy (yay for mixing, let’s all get along!), and on the first exciting night, the theme will be decidedly “Bollywood”.

Well I don’t have a thing to wear (and my parents won’t be back with all the “goods” until the start of April). 

Correction, I have four or five Indian party suits, but they were tailored a couple of years ago, when I was in my fatter phase.  Yeah that’s right, I wasn’t always hot-to-trot, but I’ve given up on cake (and sitting on my rump all day), so now the suits look a bit like maternity wear.  I hope that doesn’t confuse you, because I didn’t lose a hundred pounds or anything (I wish!…no wait, that math wouldn’t work), but the suits were never tailored to be “sexy” from the start.  They tend to “billow” you know? Hiding any semblance of a girly figure. 

Even with a handy tailor I’m convinced they’d look unsexy, so I need to hit up a textile shop (or I could wear the exact same dress from my sister’s engagement, but come on, a “repeat”? I don’t think so).

And that’s where I get frightened.  Frightened because I don’t have a lot of money right now, and I know how it goes at the Indian textile shops…


…It was a Sunday afternoon in Little India.  I was eleven now, and slowly approaching my womanhood…well not officially, since I hadn’t yet been stained with the “monthly red”, but I was getting more in tune with my gender.

My sister was already there, as a stick-legged tween with voluptous dreams, so for the first time ever, we accompanied my mom to the textile shop.

It was a cozy corner shop, and colourful enough to make your eyes explode (with a sign at the door absolving the place of any guilt should such a thing occur).  Roll after roll of dazzling coloured fabrics along the wall, and racks pushed together in the aisles, full of magnificent suits.

But we walked past all of that.

It was in the back, with the piles of pre-packaged folded suits, where my mom found her textile haven.  These suits were pretty enough for me, and they were actually affordable!

So there wasn’t any problem…except for one. The owner of the shop was rude, and baffled that we’d buy these cheap-o suits.  What about all the embroidered silk? Freshly imported from India, and covered in a thousand little crystals…weren’t those the ones we wanted?

But my mom, with a twenty-dollar bill and a couple of dimes, wanted only the pre-packaged suit.  It was the one with the muted crystals and the orange hue.

This happened everytime we went into a store; it was “buy the fancy party suits, or get a narrow glare”.  Hmm…I agree with the capitalist motives, but is that all it really was?

No, it was so much more.

I would learn the “so much more” with each new wedding or party I’d attend.

Basically it goes like this: the world of Indian party wear is its very own system of rigid castes.  The more ruffly silk, the more complex designs, and the more blindy jewels (both on the suit and on yourself), the more you are accepted in the world of banquet halls and crowded dance floors.

And if you’re not so lucky, get ready for the jug of water that’s direct from the sewer, not to mention all the mushed-up “reject appetizers”.

It’s harsh, but the rules are clear: you need to dazzle.  This also sucks for the men who have dowdy wives that are lacking in the “glam”.

As for me, I really don’t have the money for some dazzling attire, but I will not be reduced to the dull-suited girls who are missing all the glory in the banquet hall.  Nor will I visit a textile store; just too many years of dirty glares…I am weak and broken.

So instead I will search for an Indian suit online.  If if ends up risking my desired “caste” at the banquet hall, I’ll just fix it up with one of those “Bedazzler” guns.

And some chandelier earrings of course (well the fake ones anyway…)



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I usually go for the cheap generic clothing too. It all looks the same,unless you are in the fashion business. I don’t know how many Hindi fashion police there are though “Ma’am that Sari is sorry, gotta go girlfriend!” Come on! I usually but t-shirts with no logo and jeans that have the tag missing. I used to rock the designer gear though…before I became a careless, grumpy, married man. Ha


February 26, 2009

I hope if end up having to bedazzle the outfit, that you at least bedazzle the shit out of it.


February 26, 2009

Oh the humility! Romi’s humble upbringing … like your reminiscence and think it’s great that you were and are able to see through the superficial. Who needs bling when you got the THING?

The contents are more important than the container, grasshopper. 🙂


February 26, 2009

I hope you will keep us posted on what you will be wearing. I absolutely love those jewel encrusted gowns! You must feel like a princess wearing them.


February 26, 2009

Trusting Mom and Dad with this task doesn’t seem like the best plan. You are stuck with whatever they bring you…and weddings, everyone knows, is the place to find YOUR husband.


February 26, 2009

Gee. Now I’m not sure if I feel happy or sad that I come from such a dour and bland culture!

Taoist Biker

February 26, 2009

Ha. had it not been for my adoption from India, I’d be in a sweatshop sewing you up a hot dress! I clicked the link to your sisters engagement, and I’m with glasswater, I got absolutely lost in your eyes as well! You are SOO beautiful. Wear a bag, and I think you’d still look good, (ha lol, i’m not hitting on you, I SWEAR)


February 26, 2009

I would be broken too Romi…I’d be broken too 😦 I can’t wait to see the final product!!!!! P.S. we need to bedazzle us some Artha Frnklin hats from the inauguration 😉 Of course instead of participating on the dance floor you could always hang around the bar….and hit on the hot singles that might be there! 😉


February 27, 2009

I say break out the bedazzler and burn your newly sparkly self into their brains as the belle of the ball.

Will you post a photo of the outfit for your sister’s wedding afterwards?


February 27, 2009

Hi Romi,

Just dropping in to say you look BEAUTIFUL in this picture!

Daddy Dan

February 27, 2009

Accessorize the shit out of what you wore to your sister’s engagement. You’ll look beautiful in whatever you wear.


February 28, 2009

I think you need to fly to India asap to get the good stuff. OMG, I wish I was skinny enough to wear a Sari’s … such beautiful colors.


February 28, 2009

Can I help with the bedazzle bit. I do my best work with that!


March 1, 2009

Justin: dude, you don’t even know about the fashion police! It’s not about the label at all (because they’re aren’t any really), but the weight of the fabric? The stitching? The crystals? The blindingneses? Enough to land you a husband even! (or get you thrown out 😉 )

Kerplar: there is no half-way dude, like you either bedazzle the shit out of it…or leave the fabric plain and stay home, lol.. 😉

wow, thank you oh wise one, and don’t be so convinced of my humility, it might be more accurately mixed up with confusion on my part 😉

Teeni: haha, thanks, I will keep the world posted on these all-important details (lol), and yes it’s nice to have that princess-feeling, but sometimes you can accidentally run your arm across your dress the wrong way and cut yourself from those shiny little beads!! 😉

morethananelectrician: independently, you are correct, I should never trust my parents with my clothing. In this case though, it’s my sister’s wedding and when it comes to a family occasion, my parents know well enough to spend the money and get the good stuff (like my engagement dress wasn’t bad I don’t think)…so in this case they have my trust 😉

Taoist Biker: dour and bland?!?!? Are you kidding??? I LOVVEEEE my slutty-white-girl clothes…lol 😉

Shweta: hahahaha, you would SO not be sewing my indian dress at a sweat-shop!!! My “North American” jeans on the other hand are a different 😉 In this case my parents go to one tailor in India and one tailor only; he is a family friend and I don’t believe he has any children working in the back…lol 😉

sammy25: LOL…if you can get the bedazzled hat ready by March 27th I will probably wear it 😉

PS: the bar is usually flooded with creepy Indian married men who finally get a one-night relief from being stuck at home…so I DON’T think I want to be perpetuating the slimy thoughts of THOSE dudes…lol 😉

rambleicious: well at the end of this month is my best friend’s wedding, so I am perfectly comfortable letting HER be the belle of the ball 😉 …as for my sister’s wedding in July, listen dude if I can fit into that sari AND make it look good? I’ll be pimping my pics on the blog like nobody’s business, haha 😉

Daddy Dan: WOW Dan, thanks for stopping by, and you are funny…so, so, soooooooo funny 😉

Anja: that’s very sweet of you to say but I would argue that point right now, as I sit here in faded teddy-bear pajama pants and my fave zip-up hoodie and a horrible mess of hair…lol 😉

thegirlfromtheghetto: the colours really are the best part; like it’s rare when you can get away with a “the brighter the better” type of scenario 😉

cowgalutah: oh my gosh, if I could get a professional bedazzler on board, I bet NO ONE would be able to tell the difference! I’ll let you know 😉


March 1, 2009

Dude! The Greeks are like that too. We have to pretty much wear all our bling at once when we go to weddings. My mother is blinding from across the hall it’s insane! Can’t wait to see pics!


March 2, 2009

Don’t you wish there was a feminine/indian version of the Smoking T-shirt? You know the kind… where you are seemingly in formal wear, but are for real in t-shirt heaven 😉


March 4, 2009

As a student, at the University of South Alabama, I had friends from all over the world! But my closest friends were from the Indian Subcontinent (Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka).

Anyway, these guys wore the coolest clothes I’ve ever seen! And to this day, when clothes-shopping, the shirts and pants to which I am drawn the most happen to be made in the Indian Subcontinent.

Y’all have style!


July 9, 2009

1 notes

  1. Internet Saree Success! (Eventually…) « Romi reblogged this and added:

    […] you go.  In the end I avoided the pressure from sale clerks as well as the crazy mark-ups that a Little India shop would’ve charged, so it was worth […]

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