As A Woman, I Can Either Choose Fashion Or Comfort

Posted by Ameya Shaikh in Gender & Sexuality, Society
July 26, 2017
This story is a part of Youth Ki Awaaz’s campaign #MoreThanOneSize to challenge the systemic body shaming women face if they don’t fit a ‘conventional’ body shape. If you have faced something similar or have an opinion on how we can address this issue, write to us here.

I am not a cross-dresser or a ‘tomboy’. I am just a girl who prefers comfort over fashion if either has to be chosen when it comes to clothing. In fact, I have seen a lot of girls who have the same preference as mine.

I am not the ‘window shopping’ kind, I am the ‘need based shopping’ kind who won’t shop unless really necessary. Following are the issues I have usually faced while shopping:

Pockets

I wear jeans not for ‘showing off my modernity’, but because of the utility their pockets provide! I don’t like carrying those annoying purses everywhere I go. Moreover, things like a bunch of keys and handkerchiefs do not fit in a wallet – hence the need for jeans pockets!

I have noticed that trousers for women either have smaller pockets or no pockets at all. These days, however, salwars and palazzos do have pockets – and that’s a relief. But frankly speaking, coming across one of these is a rarity in itself!

Also, finding comfortable night pants with pockets is a challenge. For this, I have always had to shop from the men’s collection. Brands making trousers need to understand that females too carry smartphones, earphones, keys and handkerchiefs – for which a pocket would be a blessing!

Sleeves

Women’s T-shirts always have smaller sleeves for adding a ‘feminine feeling’ to it (sigh!). If three-fourth of my hand is bound to get tanned or cold, what’s the point of wearing it? Full-sleeved T-shirts are scarcely available. The concept of plain T-shirts does not exist either – and if they do, they’re always in horrible colours and have puke-worthy quotes.

A woman shopping for clothes in Delhi
How difficult can it be for us to find comfortable clothes? (Photo by Jyoti Kapoor/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Wallet

These days, wallet or ‘clutch’ (as they call it) has become a new accessory. Women’s purses are never as small as those of men. I usually use a gent’s wallet, because it has a lot of compartments for cards and is easier to carry than a purse. These come in uniform sizes and without prints. A lot of people have judged me for it – but I don’t care, because wallets are more of a necessity than a fashion choice to me.

Handkerchiefs

I don’t know the genius behind the sizes of women’s handkerchiefs: let us make women do all the makeup and give them smaller handkerchiefs, and give the big ones to the men, yay!

To me, a woman’s handkerchief is what an irony looks like. What am I expected to use that wee-sized piece of cloth for?

Yes, I use men’s handkerchiefs too! Because utility>fashion.

Designs

Every damn thing in the women’s section of the clothing stores I know is either pink, glittery or with weird quotes like “I am cute”, “Princess”, and “Love” with hearts, flowers and unicorns all over! Even floaters and slippers are pink! Why?

I like “Star Wars”, “Game of Thrones”, “Need For Speed”, “Counter-Strike”, etc. – but never have I found a single T-shirt of this sort in the women’s collection!

Lingerie

Panties are useful only during periods. Otherwise, bloomers are a better option – and because they are comfortable, they are a rarity in the markets. Plus the intricate designs on the panties – who’s looking there?

Some say women feel cute and nice about themselves because of the design. I wonder why men don’t want to feel the same way. Or are they not ‘allowed’ to feel that way?

Furthermore, I wonder whose idea it was to cage a pair of breasts in the first place! We have come too far to drop the idea, since we have been accustomed to living with it. However, bra shopping is an endeavour in itself. Size is never an easily ‘deal-able’ thing. In addition, there’s those designs, the satin and the laces!

It’s a sincere request from me to please make useful clothing. Many of us may like the colour pink – but not all of us do. Fashion is an important aspect for many – but not for all.

Shopping from the men’s collection is not a fantasy or a choice. It’s just something we have to do for our own comfort – for which we get stamped as ‘tomboys’!

After all, we don’t judge anyone for doing what we’d never do. We would be happy if we don’t have to choose between fashion and comfort. It’d be great if they go hand-in-hand!

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