Walk into a coffee shop any where in Karachi and get ready to be overwhelmed by three factors:
1. Intoxicating smell wafting from [no, not the coffee] the lady sitting on the first table; her very strong, very prominent perfume gives your nostrils not the kind of blast you were looking for to wake up in the morning. If that isn’t the case, it is usually the thick cigarette smoke fogging your vision as soon as you enter.
2. You just walked in on the set for “Top Model Pakistan!” What, you didn’t know it was happening here? Every coffee shop in the city is flooded with a gaggle of girls and boys in fun ‘street’ clothes, which they give absolutely new meaning to. And some aunties are not far behind either, one look at their latest long lawn shirt with so much ghair it could make 20 outfits for a five-year old and are those pants I see underneath that long shirt? Phew! For a second I thought the shirt was it. Quite a possibility for the ‘Next Top Model’ franchise, I tell you, like seriously (the random chatter and snippets of conversation heard at these very coffee shops is catching up with me).
3. Inane gossip and random name-throwing. Here is a glimpse:
“He was a total Nazimabadi type before, with those weird pants and did you see his belt? Ugghhhh!” one girl says to the cute guys sitting next to her, as she flicks her long, carefully blow-dried hair over her shoulders.
“But he is so hot now! Give him a break, I saw him in a Stone Age t-shirt the other day, the guy has got style,” says the other girl at the same table.
So once you digest all these three factors and do sit down, giving a once over to your own post-yoga clothes, greasy hair tied back (you did sweat it out at yoga after all), the reality is shocking, but something you are used to by now: Coffee shops in Karachi are now the hubs of fashion. Since we have never really established any rights or wrongs in fashion, that fashion is adaptable is what fashion really is. Street clothes are copied from the latest season of gossip girls (now you know the height of fashion that can be seen) or from the wardrobe of a recently-returned friend from abroad (yes, Dubai fashion does count, darlings).
Clothes may be understated, but accessories are not, especially when for an 8 am morning coffee/breakfast you have managed to pull together an impeccable white lawn shirt over skinny jeans, a diamante-studded chappaland in some cases, even heels. Do not miss the big bag (OK so even I’m guilty of that, but it looks cool!), the aviators sitting primly on top of that glossy, recently blow-dried mane and the cocktail rings. Fashion in coffee shops is HIGH, not understated, although a lot of times has gone into making it look understated but the effort usually eventually shows, especially if you have heard snippets of conversation.
Fashion is not just clothes, it is your entire look, and the way you carry yourself and even how you talk. So when you see two ladies walk in, and one is supporting red tracks, a grey t-shirt (probably her son’s, not because its short or tight but because it boasts of a university based in Houston), blue Chanel glasses perched on her head, a white leather watch snugly fit on her wrist, you do a double-take when conversation turns to a very crass gossip session with lots of exclamations and ‘OMGs’ thrown in after each sentence. That’s just ruined it for me.
I am no guru of fashion, but I prefer making my own style, by adapting fashion to what I like and my personality. I am all for the bling, even during the day but it shouldn’t scream and slap you in the face three times and ask you to look at it NOW! Fashion is a life style, it doesn’t change because you have to go to a particular coffee shop and meet particular people. It is who you are and adapting it according to your own style.
Adios fashion savvy people out there, dress well and stand out for the right reasons! Until next time …