Weeks before Eid every year, a whole lot of women get a special glint in their eyes and take to the streets, looking for outfits, with a mixture of competitiveness and panic. Finding the right Eid jora is serious business; no one wants to be caught dead in an old outfit.
Then there is the festive angle: the hustle and bustle of pre-Eid shoppers evinces a communal spirit; and at night, the capital’s open-air markets light up with the gleam of embroidered suits and stalls showcasing jewellery and chooriyan.
Sadly, a large majority of men — especially those below 30 — reveal an attitude best described as torpid when it comes to finding an outfit. They miss out on the festivities and the stellar collections out this year at Khaadi, Junaid Jamshed (JJ) and Amir Adnan. “I’ll wear something I already have,” says Ali Gauhar, 23, a graduate student, fond of recycling Eid wear.
It’s true, a fair share of dudes in Islamabad find it a lot easier to recycle something they have already worn to their cousin’s wedding, instead of actually taking the time (and money) to pick something new.
Should they decide to make the effort, many of the above mentioned will probably come to realise that the dreaded shopping experience is not as traumatising as it’s thought to be.
Khaadi for instance, with its reasonably priced kurtas (Rs2,200-3,000) ranging from vibrant to traditional neutral hues, is an ideal pit stop for anyone on the prowl for a quick, trouble-free purchase. The store provides those interested in slightly conservative trappings — that they would wear to Eid morning prayers — with longer options in grey, brown, coffee tones, white and beige; some plain, others rendered with hand embroidery. The contemporary-minded find short kurtas with horizontal stripes, youthful colours and unusual materials or prints.
Meanwhile, JJ’s overall look is strikingly dissimilar: walking into the men’s section upstairs, the feel is sombre, a lot more ‘grown up’. Although JJ offers a broader variety of prints and designs, a darker colour palette (oscillating from deep red hues to mahogany and black) describes the knee-length kurtas and sherwanis (these are pricier, most at Rs27,000 and up) on display. Less experimental than Khaadi, JJ should rank as top choice for clients over 35, who prefer subtle trends and a style more formal than youthful.
Amir Adnan takes a different approach, closer to couture: his line emphasises cut and sophistication, bringing a modern, almost metallic, sensibility to traditional Eid wear; there is also a play on different materials (cotton to synthetic fabrics) along with an understated but smart colour palette. Kurta-inspired shirts provide those hesitant about looking too ‘decked out’ with a chic, casual alternative. The cost remains at a steady Rs5,000-6,000, making the clothes a bit of an investment and rightfully so.
Unbending frugality should not be top priority for anyone who wants to look attractive and sartorial for this special day. Men, kindly take note: this year, don’t show up to your grandmother’s in a mouldy, ossified ensemble. No one should want to look like the Grinch who stole Eid.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 26th, 2011.
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