HThere’s nothing better than that feeling of knowing you look good. You might not be turning everyone’s heads, but you know some people are giving you an admiring glance.
You’ve experienced it before when you walked into the office in a new outfit that’s different to your usual dress sense. It might be the first time some people in the building even realized you were there!
What is the secret?
Believe it or not, this feeling has a name. It’s called enclothed cognition. The concept is defined as the influence what you wear has on your psychological processes. It affects several aspects of a person’s overall psychology. These aspects include confidence, performance, and empowerment.
That means that ‘swag’ is an actual thing! The spring in your step when you’re feeling good about what you’re wearing is not imagined at all. What people have been saying for years is correct: when you look good, you feel good.
How do you get the full advantage of your enclothed cognition?
Our forebears said that clothes make the man, but they were only partially correct. Fashion is not as narrow as clothing. It includes accessories like handbags as well as fragrances. Face it, when you smell good, you feel good.
Jewelry is another essential component of fashion and often treated as a status symbol. You can achieve enclothed cognition in your regular clothing while wearing a trendy Rolex Explorer or a blingy diamond bracelet.
So, go ahead and buy yourself some stylish clothes that make you feel good. But don’t forget to accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!
Shopping for optimal enclothed cognition
Here are some tips to help you achieve the highest levels of enclothed cognition the next time you go shopping:
1. Shop alone
You might enjoy going shopping with your friends, but did you know that it cramps your style? Our friends and family tend to be very influential in the decisions we make, and shopping is no exception.
Are you going to treat yourself to those designer shoes when your sister is with you nagging you about spending too much money?
2. Have a sense of who you are
Each person has their style. Your style is a set of fashion choices that make you feel good about yourself.
It might not always conform with all the latest fashion trends. Have a sense of what suits you, what makes you look good, and what makes you feel confident. Put your stamp on every outfit you wear.
3. Play around with fashion
Fashion is all about experimentation and personalizing your style. Combining different elements creates new outfits that are eye-catching. Part of expressing yourself through fashion is showing who you are and what a unique individual you are.
Don’t be afraid to experiment; it’s the best part of it all. Sometimes going against the grain is the best approach, if that’s your style, of course.
4. Don’t save it all for a special occasion
Shop for work, play, and formal clothes equally. There’s no point in only feeling good when you go to work but not when you go for a run. Spread your shopping across all aspects of your life. The more enclothed cognition you experience, the better your self-image will be.
5. Shop smart
You don’t need to be dressed from top to toe in fashionwear that makes you feel good about yourself. A pair of shoes alone can give you that confidence boost you need.
Instead of spending a fortune on one ensemble, shop for clothes and accessories that you can add to your regular wardrobe. Then you get to feel enclothed cognition more frequently.
The inaugural edition of “India Men Show” took place on April 18, 2019, at the Metropolitan Hotel, New Delhi. It was a luxury evening dedicated to celebrating men’s lifestyle choices. The evening encompassed a panel discussion on changing trends in men’s lifestyle industry, ‘Man of Substance’ awards to honor select iconic men from different walks of life and a curated fashion presentation by menswear labels.
“India Men Show” evolves from the fact that men are becoming increasingly style savvy and are making informed lifestyle choices more than ever before. Be it fashion, grooming, fitness, travel, machines, technology or personal space, they are investing smartly in factors that determine their way of life. However, the event finds its purpose in encouraging modern men to become significantly aware of their lifestyle decisions and their impact on society.
The guest list also included industrialists, businessmen, bureaucrats, influencers, restaurateurs, politicians, diplomats, expats, and socialites.
Panel Discussion: Former Indian cricketer Anjum Chopra was in conversation with Bobby John Varkey, (Editor-in-Charge, The Man Magazine), Sunil Sethi (President, FDCI), Malvinder Singh Ricky (Former COO, Taj Hotels), Rajiv Makhni (Tech Guru), Sangram Singh (wrestler). They decoded changing trends in men’s lifestyle.
‘Man of Substance’ awards
This felicitation is a celebration of select men’s bold decisions and their lifestyle choices. These shakers and movers have set remarkable examples in society. And they are a role model for the millennials of India.
Some of the well-known names were honored with “Man of Substance” award include Amit Burman (VP, Dabur India), Raghava Rao (Vice President, Finance & amp; India CFO at Amazon India), Zorawar Kalra (Founder, Massive Restaurants), Navin Ansal (Founder, Casa Pop), Raghav Verma (Co-founder, Chaayos), Sunil Sethi (President, FDCI), Sabbas Joseph (Founder, Wizcraft), Tarun Thakral (Founder, Heritage Transport Museum), Sangram Singh (Wrestler), Samir Suhag (Polo Player), Sachin Atulkar (IPS Officer, Online sensation), Rajiv Makhni (Tech Guru), Jamal Shaikh (Editor, HT Brunch) and Martin Howard (Social Activist).
India Men Show 2019 was supported by leading names – BMW as Lifestyle Partner, Wikka and Ayurveda as Gifting partners, United Breweries and Fishing Cat as Beverage Partner, The Metropolitan Hotel & AMP; Spa as Hospitality Partner, The Man and Exotica magazine as Media partners, Brand Stand Bespoke Communications as PR Partner, Crystal Hues as Digital Partner and Red 93.5 Fm as Radio Partner.
NEW DELHI — It’s fashion season in India’s capital, with the country’s top designers showcasing their latest collections to lure the rapidly growing domestic and export markets for Indian haute couture.
Before the styles debut on the runway lie days of planning, fittings and hair and makeup sessions to experiment with looks, poses and choreography. Just days ahead of the big show, tailors take models’ measurements and fashion designers finish rehearsing.
Top fashion names and models participated in Lotus Makeup India Fashion Week organized by the Fashion Design Council of India earlier this month.
The show celebrated the sari, Indian women’s most idiosyncratic garment, 6 yards of fabric that symbolize a centuries-old tradition.
“As a long piece of fabric, it’s not easy to drape, a lot of designers have worked on it over time and it is being styled differently to inspire the younger generation to wear,” Vaishali S., a Mumbai-based designer, said of the sari.
Models sashayed down the runway in a riot of color and glitz as Delhi socialites, Bollywood stars and prospective buyers watched for the season’s next “it” items.
The sari was juxtaposed with other Indian ensembles, Western wear and fusion clothing collections for men and women.
The show finale was an ode to the sari, worn by the runway models in modern, reconstructed forms, along with elaborate jewelry and accessories against striking backdrops.
Vaishali said the saris on the runway paid tribute to the great variety across India of “weaves, textures, drapes and fabrics with every state and every village having its own strongly distinct and contemporary style, alive and evolving.”
At the end, avid fashionistas in the audience blended in with fashion models as buyers thronged the stalls of designers, who offered their creations for sale, pret-a-porter.
Mumbai: India’s fastest growing kids fashion brand Hopscotch made a stylish debut at the Bombay Times Fashion Week this weekend. As a delightful twist to the fashion-packed extravaganza at the St. Regis Mumbai, Hopscotch stole the show with its refreshing Summer ’19 collection. This first ever kids fashion showcase at BTFW saw kids adorn the ramp with three Hopscotch summer ready ranges/sets, namely Street Style, Put-Together Casual Pret and the celebration forward Party Range. Launching about 500 new styles daily on their website, Hopscotch is trailblazing the Indian kids fashion space by offering the latest trends at an unbeatable value.
Hopscotch’s Summer ’19 collection looked promising and playful. Mini fashionistas walked the ramp in their comfy, trendy and playful fashion looks. Each look was uber stylish and fit for all occasions, be it a beach day, an evening garden party, a road trip or playing out in the sun. Boxed in 3 mini sets, the Hopscotch Summer ’19 collection had ‘Street Style’ apparels that had snug track pants, hoodies & jackets for an ideal summer party. Next in line was the ‘Put-Together Casual Pret’ set, which comprised of classic separates that can be mixed-matched and customized to the occasion. This set had some chic styles with cool summer cotton dresses in floral & fruity prints along with checkered shirts and typo tees. The finale felt like a beautiful celebration as the little ones gracefully walked the ramp in their beautiful party dresses, tuxedo jackets & suits.
A Hopscotch spokesperson said “At Hopscotch, it is our constant endeavour to innovate and deliver the best of kids fashion from the world to Indian mothers. We strongly believe that our wide range of styles and the unbeatable price points make us the first choice of Indian parents when it comes to kids fashion. Our summer collection’19 is a well curated, fun-loving, free spirited and a trendy range with a splash of vibrant colours. With the launch of this collection, our aim is to make every moment a stylish #HopscotchMoment”.
The kids’ fashion market is expected to reach $14B by 2022. Hopscotch leads the kids fashion space by providing customers with an unbeatable value proposition. They launch 300x more styles than traditional retailers, which is 120,000 styles per year – offering consumers abundant variety coupled with the latest trends in kids fashion. Staying ahead of its game in the kids fashion space, Hopscotch is the first kids brand to have partnered with the Bombay Times Fashion Week.
Let’s talk about sex, shall we? Fashion and sex, that is. First things first: any conversation about sex needs to be an honest one, so let’s cut straight to the chase. Sex appeal will always be an integral part of fashion, even if sexy has become a less straightforward compliment after MeToo. So please, there’s no point pretending that we are too woke to care about looking hot these days. We still care. Nobody is taking vows of sartorial chastity here. But perhaps we are making some progress in how we think about sex and fashion if we are more conscious of whose rules are being played by, and whose needs are being met. As long as the survival of the human race depends on sex, looking attractive isn’t going out of fashion. But there is room for evolution.
It is Valentine’s weekend, and dressing for date night is the hot spot where the rules of attraction meet the rules of social convention. Which means that some Valentine looks might just be a little different this year, in the MeToo afterglow. The neckline might be altered, or the skirt might be a new length. Or maybe the clothes are the same but you might wear different underwear or decide against the high court shoes with toe cleavage, and look – and feel – different as a result. The way we dress for date night through the years reveals so much about our changing attitudes to sex. Braless under a silk blouse in the midst of the sexual emancipation of the early 70s. Spike-heeled and armoured in sequins in the competitively charged, battle-of-the-boardroom 80s. Unravelled and lipstick-smudged in the fog of 90s grunge when a Saturday night was more about getting high than getting laid.
It is 18 months – three seasons, in fashion terms – since the MeToo movement was born. In that time, fashion’s centre of gravity has shifted away from sex. Hemlines are longer, silhouettes are looser. From London to Milan to Paris to New York, on glitzy spotlit runways polished to a mirror shine and on catwalks marked out with tape on concrete floors, a new course is being set. From Stella McCartney to Erdem, Coach to Loewe, Dior to Max Mara, there are skirts that swish the ankle and sleeves that graze the fingertips. Fashion has shifted the emphasis from skin to fabric. As a sweeping generalisation, there are more sweeping hemlines. Gucci, the runaway fashion success story of this decade, peoples its catwalks and advertising campaigns with women who would appear to be dressed in a way that might work for a portrait sitting with Leonardo da Vinci rather than for one with Helmut Newton.
Roland Mouret, a fashion icon for two decades, has recently gravitated away from the siren curves of his Galaxy dress, revisiting the pleats and cascades he learned while working with Yohji Yamamoto and Issey Miyake in his 20s. At his spring/summer 19 show, models wore badges in support of the MeToo movement and catwalked on the roof of the National Theatre to the sound of Aretha Franklin singing Natural Woman. Mouret said at the time that the new silhouette felt like a redefinition of his relationship with the female body. In the second half of her decade in fashion, Victoria Beckham, too, has pivoted firmly away from fitted dresses and toward loose, fluid separates. Such silhouettes – once the hallmark of alternative, arthouse fashion – have become mainstream. Vanessa Spence, design director at Asos, confirms the shift is happening on the high street. “The midi length has become a staple in our fashion vocabulary. Necklines still vary, but we have recently seen more of a focus on the back as an exposed area.” Sexy, she says, is no longer a concept that takes up more bandwidth in womenswear than men’s. “It’s the same across the sexes – which is surely a good thing.”
There will always be cross-pollination between sex and fashion, but MeToo has prompted a conversation about healthy boundaries around nudity and exposure. Changing facilities backstage at fashion shows are one issue being brought into the spotlight. It was long considered perfectly normal for an assortment of well-wishers, journalists, celebrities, friends of the designer – most, of course, with a camera phone in their pocket – to crowd immediately after a show into the open-plan backstage area where models were scrambling out of their show looks and into their own clothes. A year ago, New York fashion week was the first to address this, pledging “a safe and respectful working environment” with private changing areas. During London fashion week last September, the British model Edie Campbell spoke to Radio 4 about the ongoing lack of privacy at some London shows, describing it as “bizarre, uncomfortable and humiliating”. Awareness is growing that an expectation of endless female nudity is not a healthy baseline for any industry.
The meteoric impact of MeToo on what it means to dress up and look your best became clear a year ago, when the Golden Globes was the first red carpet to turn black. It was a gesture of female solidarity from Hollywood’s women, in an industry reeling in the Weinstein fallout. A black dress for black tie is hardly revolutionary, yet the dresses became the story of the night. The winners’ list is now a distant memory, but the red carpet blackout remains a landmark moment. The world was reminded of the power of an outfit – even one that stays within the guardrails of convention – to send a powerful message. Natalie Portman, Elisabeth Moss, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek wore long black gowns with long sleeves. In each case, the dress had a decorative element that lightened the mood – a sheer layer, a split in the skirt or a portrait neckline. Many actresses left husbands and boyfriends at home to pair up with female activists for the night, which threw into sharp relief the traditional award show optics that see an actress nominated for an Oscar totter in a tiny, pastel-toned frock on the arm of a man in a suit, as if she were a magician’s assistant about to be put in a box and sawn in half.
But if the first half of 2018 belonged to a swelling tide of demure black-tie dressing, the second half was dominated by an angry backlash against catwalk near-nudity. The exit of Phoebe Philo from Céline after 10 years had been felt as a body blow by women who had held dear her philosophy that catwalk fashion could be an elevated woman-friendly wardrobe rather than date-bait. It was with unfortunate timing that her successor, Hedi Slimane, unveiled a debut dominated by doll-sized party dresses – one that seemed the polar opposite of what the house had stood for under Philo – on the very day of the Brett Kavanaugh sexual misconduct hearings in Washington last September. Emotions were running high, and Slimane’s dolly-drop aesthetic became a lightning rod for female fury.
Male designers mansplaining female sexuality to the women who buy their clothes is not new. But the context has changed, and in fashion, context is all. Engagement with the world is what makes fashion more than simply clothes. It is, quite literally, what makes it fashion. Two months after Slimane’s show, the Victoria’s Secret models came bounding down their runway, with the tried-and-tested formula of bouncy breasts and jutting hipbones, angel wings and skimpy boudoir lace knickers which made this the most popular fashion show in the world just a few years ago. This time the spectacle was met with critical scorn (website Vox ran a feature with the headline The Stubborn Irrelevance Of The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show), falling ratings and – most tellingly – declining sales.
London fashion week has never been afraid of controversy. While other cities have reacted to the new climate by shying away from the idea of sex altogether, designers Christopher Kane and Michael Halpern are among those tackling the new rules of sexy dressing head-on, and reaching for a new body-positive, female-first way to talk about sex on the catwalk.
A frank curiosity about sex has always been part of Kane’s aesthetic – his spring 2014 season featured sweaters embroidered with illustrations of the reproductive organs of flowers – and in February last year, he waded into the MeToo debate with a collection adorned with drawings and quotes from the seminal 70s manual The Joy Of Sex. Six months later, he was back with a spring 2019 collection soundtracked by a David Attenborough narration about sexual behaviour in animals and Marilyn Monroe talking about how society defined her as a sex object and then despised her because of it. “There are no taboos in my studio,” Kane said after that show. “To be bluntly honest,” he told Vogue at the time, “we wear clothes to attract members of the opposite sex and of our own sex. That’s what fashion is.” Meanwhile Halpern, who burst on to the fashion scene in 2017 with sequin dresses so minuscule they might have turned heads at Studio 54, says he relies “super heavily” on the opinions of his mum and sister, “who are both feminists – of course. My focus is on being aware and awake to what women want.”
Penny Martin was almost a decade ahead of this shift when she launched The Gentlewoman magazine back in 2010. “It was the zenith of the weeklies, when the newsstand was crammed with reality TV celebrities with barely any clothes and shouty coverlines,” she recalls. “Our mission was to be the opposite of that – to give both the cover stars and the readers back their dignity.” The Gentlewoman came to be aligned with a particular kind of woman-friendly fashion, epitomised by what Phoebe Philo was doing at Céline. “Women want clothes that give them pleasure, without undermining them,” Martin says. “And I wouldn’t be in this business if I didn’t think providing women with the tools they deserve to get respect in both their working and private lives wasn’t a worthwhile ambition.”
Although certain sections of the media would love to frame this debate as a catfight, there is little appetite in the fashion industry for slut-shaming of women who choose to wear tiny, revealing dresses. (To paraphrase Voltaire: I may not like what you wear, but I will defend to the death your right to wear it.) What we wear for date night is part and parcel of sexual politics, but surely there is room for making the point that a woman’s erotic impact is not all that she is, without policing anyone’s wardrobe. “My take on it, as editor of Elle,” says Anne-Marie Curtis, “is that a modern woman wants the freedom to look sexy when she wants to. But that fashion can’t be about having to wear a pencil skirt to get a promotion, or having to wear a low-cut dress to make your boyfriend happy.
Every single image that goes into Elle goes through our modern, feminist lens. If I am looking at a shoot and there’s a pose that I feel makes the model look vulnerable, I won’t run that picture. We just did an edit of a shoot and there were images that I took out, because I always want the woman to look like she is owning the image.”
But unlike a longer hemline, fashion’s stronger attitude cannot be measured in inches or plotted on a graph. “It comes down to intention,” Halpern says. “What makes my friends and the women in my family feel empowered is self-worth, self-definition. It’s about not letting someone else put you in a box.”
For generations, teenage girls’ teachers have used the does-it-touch-the-floor-when-you-kneel test to establish the minxiness of a skirt. But calibrations of sex appeal are more complex. A pose in which a model is lying on a sofa can project laid-back confidence or exposed vulnerability, and the overall effect depends not only on the clothes but on the lighting, the facial expression. The same minidress can be framed as a celebratory portrait of raw female power, or an exploitative image of a woman underdressed and undefended. The highly visually literate modern fashion consumer is attuned to such subtleties, which is precisely why the dog-whistle crassness of Victoria’s Secret feels so out of step with our times. “The readers of women’s magazines, and of fashion photographs, are so literate,” Martin says. “An infinitesimal degree of ‘wrong’ can be vast in this context, instantly breaking the spell.”
Sex as something unspoken, as a scent caught on the air, is part of fashion’s magic spell. When the zeitgeist is embracing a new era of informed consent, the sheer-black-stocking vibe of fashion’s traditional date-night mode can feel like an uncomfortable hangover from another era. A new dress may not change the world. But it could make date night a triumph. The rules are up to you.