On making a style statement

Whoever thought that Thiruvananthapuram is not a style destination, need to look no further than Technopark to prove that they’re wrong. Whether it’s Ambika Pillai-inspired hairstyles, Deepika Padukone’s blue leather skirt or Kate Middleton’s favourite peep-toe wedges, top to toe, whatever is in vogue, across the country and across the globe, you’ll most probably find it on campus. In fact, a fair majority of the clientele of the few boutiques and branded stores in the city are those who work at Technopark.

Also, “parcels from popular online shopping sites, the majority of which by their packaging we can make out contain clothes and accessories, arrive by the sackful on campus, on a daily basis!” says Rani Sasikumar, who works in corporate communications for a multi-national company (MNC). And all this is despite there being all sorts of dress code dictums and restrictions in place.

“Nowadays in Technopark, it’s no longer just about wearing fashionable clothes, it’s more about looking groomed,” says Blessy Martin, one of the more fashionable young women on campus. “When I started working in Technopark around a decade ago, most of the women wore salwars and saris and drab formal wear to work. Most of us who didn’t want to wear them had to conform simply because there were not too many shopping options available in the city at that time. Online shopping too was unheard off then. The transformation has been gradual.

“Almost everyone these days, is up-to-date about what is happening in the fashion world and try to make some sort of a style statement – perfectly groomed hair, the latest designer handbag, matching shoes, funky earrings and statement necklaces…,” adds Blessy.

Her colleague Roshni John, who has been at Technopark for the past six years, adds: “No one is really keen about formal business wear, especially not ties, unless and otherwise we have client meetings. Salwars, kurtas, kurtis and saris are still the preferred choice of clothes for most of the women, even among foreigners who come to Technopark on extended work. Jeans and tops too. Sleeveless tops with shrugs or blazers, teamed with bright stilettos are currently in vogue, especially on Fridays where most of the companies allow casual wear. The idea is to look polished without being loud about it.”

If anything most of the older women who work on campus, though fewer in number, are the real style divas, with perfectly coiffed hair, flawless make-up, matching jewellery and swinging designer bags. Says Rani: “I would call my style as ethnic Indian wear teamed with ethnic accessories. I’m partial to cottons. A lot of the youngsters shy away from cottons because they don’t think its easy to maintain.”

It’s not like the men are missing out on the fun. While most of them still have to stick to business formal wear, at least from Mondays to Thursdays, and of course, whenever they have client meetings, they say even then there are plenty of ways to make a style statement.

“Men are equally conscious about looking groomed. It’s a faux pas now if you team black shoes with a brown belt, for example. Or if you wear ill-fitting shirts or if you wear a tie that clashes with your shirt,” says techie Nikhil M. who works at an MNC. Agreeing with him Sreejith Chandran, who works for a major business process outsourcing firm on campus, says: “Slim fit shirts are a must have as are linens and low crotch jeans, especially on casual days. Everyone now wears branded shirts and tailored pants. As far as hairstyle goes, it’s spiked hair that is in. We can’t wear as much accessories as the girls but we do try and keep up with wear designer shoes and watches.”

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