For decades, the unspoken rule has been that pyjamas and casual home clothes are not to be worn outside comfort zones. (Representational Image)
Deepika Padukone recently decided to skip a designer gown and instead took the stage at an awards ceremony in an oversized shirt and boyfriend denim jeans.
A generation that grew up in the glare of social media, where the ‘look’ is part of the narrative, finds the actor's carefree appearance genuinely fascinating.
The million-dollar question is: What is a well-dressed look?
Celebrities like Justin Bieber, Jonah Hill and Pete Davidson are dominating the world because imperfection is in right now. Sloppy attire has been rebranded as tres chic.
For decades, the unspoken rule has been that pyjamas and casual home clothes are not to be worn outside comfort zones. "With the rise of Instagram, this trend accelerated. Covid, on the other hand, has flipped fashion trends. What it means to be well dressed has changed dramatically. In the post-Covid era, it appears that trying too hard is the ultimate fashion faux pas. Recently, celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Cara Delevingne and Vanessa Hudgens were praised for their carefree looks. The haute mess style of dressing is the new trend, with brands such as Balenciaga selling hoodies with moth holes," shares designer Renesa Rastogi of RISA, design house.
Hedi Slimane, Celine’s designer, has been working on developing an aesthetic that balances glitz and imperfection. Song writer FKA Twigs is the embodiment of ‘the haute mess’, mixing casual and luxury pieces. "Veterans such as Alexa Chung favour effortlessly cool looks. This trend can be seen in the Indian fashion scene too. We are entering a golden age of fashion that is grounded in reality," says Renesa.
The event defines the look
Nevertheless, Deepika, who has always enjoyed experimenting with fashion and combining vintage and designer pieces like suits and leather blazers, has been criticised for her appearance at the award function. Netizens feel that, to celebrate certain events and occasions, one must appear glamorous and dressed up.
Comfort has undoubtedly become the keyword when it comes to expressing one’s personality. "Well-dressed styling entails adapting personal styles and comfort choices to fit situations that make the outfit look dressy and appropriate by simply playing with colour, style, embellishment, and accessories," says Nivedita Saboo, founder and fashion entrepreneur at Nivedita - Luxe Pret and Couture.
She feels Deepika's style on the awards night was great for expressing comfort, but it could have been in a deeper colour, accessorised differently, to give it a little more edge and spunk, making it more event-appropriate. "That, I believe, is also the essence of fashion, styling, and design - Creating versatile looks that speak loudly and clearly about your personal choices and personality, and styling them to look and feel dressed up and emotionally and psychologically the best version of yourself for a specific life occasion," Nivedita says, adding, "To celebrate certain events and occasions, we need to feel glamorous, dressed up, and special internally, without peer pressure, because that's what fashion and clothing do for us."
Comfort trumps all
Many celebrities choose the most expensive and fashionable wardrobes. But some prefer comfort over fashion. "Being well-dressed is a matter of personal style. Limitations such as only certain dress codes being accepted in 'well-dressed' lists have long been breached. Fashion is a powerful tool for self-expression, and this is truer than ever in today's world," says Masoom Minawala, global influencer, entrepreneur, and investor. "Clothes have evolved into a means of expressing one's thoughts, moods, opinions, and more. It's all about being true to oneself and wearing what makes one happy, something that is an accurate reflection of one’s personality. And, just as no two people have the same personality, no two people have the same definition of 'well-dressed’," Masoom avers.
We've all put a lot of pressure on ourselves at one time or the other, by aiming to dress up for an "image" or to take centre stage. "Dressing up and looking amazing on red carpets and award shows is acceptable. After all, you get all the attention and branding. But the challenge is to match this standard every time while avoiding unnecessary pressure. Actors and influencers have a larger impact on society, so if they begin to take things casually, it trickles down to a large section of people. While social media has many wonderful aspects, one must strike a balance between them and the stress of validation that comes with it. Looking good has no definitions or norms other than those we create for ourselves," says fashion designer Gautam Gupta of Asha Gautam, who feels this latest fashion development is a fantastic trend.
"Expressing your individual style effortlessly is what defines fashion. One should not be forced to conform to fashion standards. I just returned from Tokyo, and I couldn't stop admiring how ordinary people dressed brilliantly, even to the point of being avant garde!" says Jesmina Zeliang, founder, Heirloom Naga, COA Member & Convenor North East, Export Promotion Council For Handicrafts, Handloom Committee, Ministry of Textiles.