Forever in blue jeans

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September 2, 2009
Designing by Nature
September 27, 2009

What you wear can change your life or someone else’s! By Fareeha Qayoom

Girl in blue jeans

Girl in blue jeans

What you wear can change your life or someone else’s!

By Fareeha Qayoom

forevver in blue jeans - illustration

Image matters! A lot, apparently. It’s even more important than your personality or character. It might be shallow way of looking at things but we are a shallow society.

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of work to maintain appearances, especially, since there are too many strikes against you. Juggling work, family and your social life, not to mention, hobbies and chores, today’s lifestyle is hectic for your average Jane. (Besides, the same clothes that you donned in the morning may have to do double duty for the evening as well…you may not have time to keep changing your clothes for every occasion or event lined up in your average day).  All these activities could take up your whole time, leaving you with no time to work on your appearance or image! You need specialized personal care products for grooming, gym membership and a personal trainer for full body workout and unlimited money to buy clothes, not to mention time, (one to three hours minimum devoted to yourself, for grooming, wardrobe organization and your work out routine). Who has that kind of time or indeed money? Only socialites who have to look good to compete with each other at the their coffee parties…your average woman is size 12 or 14 and above,  juggling home, work and kids and doesn’t have time or money to spend on herself.

Everything you wear communicates something apparently. It may not be communicating what you want it to communicate though! It’s Murphy’s Law for wardrobe all over again – “anything that can be misunderstood by your personal style will be misunderstood!”

For example, if you are overweight – according to psychologists, you have low self esteem… It’s beside the point that you could be basically lazy, or too busy, or too well to do and can probably afford home help, or sedentary because you work all day at some desk bound job and need a major work out every day to maintain your ideal weight based on your height or you may not have enough time to yourself or you may simply like junk food or have a sweet tooth, or you may have slow metabolic rate because of your genetic makeup, or you may be in high-stress work or home environment, heck, it could be anything…but it apparently communicates only low self esteem – hmmm.

If you are an older Pakistani woman and you prefer jeans and t-shirt to any other type of clothes – it apparently communicates that (a) you are not God fearing or indeed a Muslim apparently, or (b) you are a modern Muslim of the world since oh, you pray too,  or c) you are a case of arrested development because apparently only teenagers wear jeans and t-shirts or (d) you are so rich that you can afford imported branded apparel for every day wear  or (e) you wear it for its snob appeal (you have a branded apparel fetish!) or indeed  (f) you are so out of touch with reality that you don’t realize this is Pakistan, however,  it doesn’t apparently communicate (g) you are confident, gutsy and non-conformist woman who doesn’t care about peer pressure or society pressures and are self centered enough to wear what you like and find convenient,  or (h) you are lazy or (i) you basically don’t have time or unlimited money to put together a decent wardrobe!  Or indeed (j) you can’t find a good tailor for your un-proportional/problem figure and may have to rely on imported brands for the right fit in Ready-to-wear (RTW) or well made clothes in nice fabrics! So the right message may not go across to your peer- group/society at large  in spite of your best efforts or no efforts at all depending on your situation.

By the way, I am not trying to communicate any of the above even if some of those things may apply to me also (points b and g to j). I just like jeans! And I don’t plan giving them up for anybody. They are comfortable, easy to care for, low maintenance, long term wardrobe staple that can be dressed up or down depending on the situation with the right top and accessories. They can take you from day to evening and still look fresh and unwrinkled.

Girl In blue jeans

Girl In blue jeans

On top of it, if you are working for some multinational or local company with no or business casual dress code, (even if you are in management) –you can get away with flat shoes, dark jeans and tees or Polo shirts on routine days and when you have customers or vendor meetings, you can change over to chino’s or dark jeans with button down shirt and 2 inch heels and voila – its business casual in summer.  In winters, you can add a leather jacket or twill jacket on top and you are all set. No excessive ironing, folding, hanging or extensive shopping trips required. You can get ready in five to ten minutes flat in the morning and do not need excessive decision making, you will never catch yourself thinking what do I wear today question – I don’t have to dither over my work or play clothes – I take out a pair of jeans – (I have 13 pairs so far- that I can rotate with ease as they are all a great fit and are bought for comfort and style and durability  – I just decide what color of top to team with it and which shoe and I keep my wardrobe fresh and happening. I don’t get bored because there are hundreds of variations if you are working with separates. If you wear a different pair of accessories with it, the look changes entirely even if you have teamed up the same tee and pair of jeans a few times…so I have fun and no hassles – what’s the big deal about that?

Apparently, it’s a big deal. Like I said, I have had to deal with a little criticism, resentment and downright hostility from a small minority of women – no, not from men, I get the same respect I would from them even if I was wearing shalwar Kameeze – and I am talking about men from all walks of life – work colleagues, friends, cousins, even gardeners and mechanics etc., even if they have negative thoughts, they have never had the guts to air them to my face! Or sent me weird vibes in any shape or form… I have always felt comfortable –one colleague basically defined it for me – I am ‘one of the guys,’ another one called me a “Tom Boy” – not insultingly but affectionately so it was not intended as an insult I guess, because there is no element of man/woman thing in my dealings with men – its pure work or whatever the point of the relationship is and it seems to set the tone – the clothes become irrelevant like they are irrelevant for me – I don’t care what they are wearing and vice versa, they don’t care what I am wearing, its just work, you know what I mean?

I have never been subjected to even mild harassment, naw; I am not having you on. Besides, clothes don’t stop them from being flirtatious if they are bent on a flirtation with some (female) colleague, you have to be receptive or girly or young or giggly or dumb or something for them to try it on with you because I have never had to deal with that sort of problem ever, even when I was young, impressionable and somewhat pretty, because I have been wearing jeans to work since day one, only in those days I used to confine them to casual Fridays – one (female) colleague told me once commenting on this that that the men don’t try it with me because its just  different – I am a senior manager and the only woman manager so that’s why…but like I said, I didn’t start at a senior position, I went up the ranks slowly and gradually, sometimes, I was the only woman manager…anyway, I have to tell you this, I had a colleague who wears an Abaya to work and is covered from head to toe in black and still gets offers to go steady or start a beautiful friendship with some (male) colleague all the time! Hmmm. My point, its not your clothes – it’s not even your demeanor which sets the tone with your (male) colleagues – its je ne sais quoi.  Western or eastern style of dress doesn’t matter; it’s your rank which will set the tone if you are to believe my (female) colleague! Whatever, I never had to deal with the bad stuff ever because of my jeans – thank God! 🙂  Surprisingly, like I said,  it’s only women who have a problem with my wardrobe and not all women – only some of them.

Forever in Blue Jeans

Forever in Blue Jeans

Women who are 29 plus, married, comparatively overweight like me and think they have no right to a good fit or nice cuts or interesting fabrics or jewelry and accessories to go with their whole look or western silhouettes because they are overweight and older and think they can’t get away with it because of peer pressure or society pressures or whatever and they hate my guts because I am getting away with it because I simply don’t care and they do and they  can’t…hmmm.

Incidentally, after a little resentment, they settle down and start by buying a few pairs of jeans too, in fact, one colleague went so far to ask for my help with her jeans selection and started wearing them to work! 😀

My younger colleagues take it as a permission to take out their weekend/play clothes and wear them to work on casual Fridays and sometimes on weekdays too…yes, you guessed it jeans, blouses and ts and button down shirts. Pretty soon it’s a mix bag – a nice blend of eastern and western clothes show up at my current workplace no matter what their respective size…it starts all over again when I show up at a new workplace – hence, I felt compelled to document this phenomena on paper…it gets kind of tiring after a while – live and let live women! If you can’t, free your mind! You get this one life and clothes are just clothes – enjoy. Why complicate everything with weird encrypted code?

As for the totally conservative element out there in Pakistan– I have only one thing to say – how come the men in our society started wearing western cuts as wardrobe staples almost two hundred years ago and they were not considered non-Muslim, or less God fearing or promiscuous because of their clothes? Our national hero’s like Jinnah or Iqbal all wore western clothes. Their religion or their morals were never in question but today’s women’s are and funnily enough by women!? Who builds this perception and weird stereotypes in our society anyway?

Their standard comment when they are airing their negative views to me is – what am I going to do if Taliban take over Pakistan? My answer – nothing, I will go an as before, only I will probably start wearing even low cut, sleeve less, short knit tops, and Capri pants and clam diggers in public since I would be wearing an Abaya on top. God asked us to take more coverage for when we go out on street for our protection (so we are not teased as available or women of loose morals or something like that), the dress code was not imposed on us to restrict us, or to censor us or to make us lose all our aesthetics, sense of proportion or dress sense. We are women. Celebrate the fact.  Who said, an Abaya has to be all black anyway?

…Another thing, a Muslim woman would still look different from her western counterparts even if she doesn’t wear an Abaya as an outer covering because only minimum skin would be on show, clothes would be comparatively loose fit and her top would be at least tunic length.  Some of them would even have a scarf on as an accessory or a head covering!  While her western sister would be wearing low cut, sleeve less or short sleeve short fitted knit or woven top with her jeans. So the Muslim woman would still stand out as a modest woman in a crowd – won’t she? So, what’s your problem?

You have my permission to be yourself and enjoy clothes for the clothes sake’s too even if you are overweight or older than a teen ager! Not dressing well is a sign of low self esteem. Trying to look nice, no matter what your size or age is liberating and actually denotes positive self esteem.  Besides, Islam only teaches you to show no extra skin and wear loose fitting clothes, it doesn’t tell you to wear Arab or Pakistani clothes– there is no such thing as Islamic dress, because Islam is universal and is for all regions and climates, so go on, give yourself permission to be yourself and wear anything you want and enjoy the whole experience and please stop resenting people like me, we just wear jeans because we like them, its nothing more complicated or simpler than that…

While you digest that, I have one question for Pakistani designers – Why don’t you and the RTW retailers make it easier for women of Pakistan by providing them more choices in well fitted nice separates in local and international silhouettes? Why don’t you provide us with nice fabrics and a good fit based on our size grade charts and demographics? Are you going to keep on churning bad clothes, stocking them at 10-Q, calling them RTW and couture? They would not pass the quality grade, especially at the prices points that are being merchandised at…anywhere else in the world, only in Pakistan!

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Fareeha Qayoom
Fareeha Qayoom
Publisher and editor-in-chief of Tkfr.com and former print editions of The Knit-Xtyle Fashion Review (tkfr), a trade newsletter for the textile and apparel industry of Pakistan. In short, Publisher, editor, and a blogger. In addition, she has served as Managing Editor of MIT Technology Review Pakistan, print and web editions (2015-16). Total of 7 editions were published under her leadership by ITU, Punjab's first public technology university under the license of MIT Technology Review (USA). She has also managed Value Mag in the same capacity, a real estate and lifestyle magazine for Value TV - 2008-9. Published freelancer for The News on Sunday 1994-96. Fareeha has over 21 years of solid management experience – of managing brands (like Harley Davidson, Munsingwear, Chaps, Chaps Ralph Lauren etc.,), Retailers (like Target, Mervyns, Kohl's, Marks and Spencer etc.,), customers (VPs, Product Managers, Unit Managers, and Buyers), and products (apparel - woven, knits, men's, women's, children's, Print and online publishing units), projects, teams, and processes, information, content, and data, staff, vendors, and time. Versatile and adaptable with international exposure, communication and language skills (oral and written), and a consistent track record of achieving company targets and objectives, plus a MA in Political Science from Punjab University, a MSc in Economics from La Salle University, Louisiana, USA, and a BA in Economics from Kinnaird College for Women.

44 Comments

  1. You might find this interesting…

    Burka: the other view
    By Sara Malkani
    Tuesday, 16 Feb, 2010
    In the ongoing controversy about the proposed burka ban in France, the voice of one group of people is strangely obscured. Muslim women who do not wear the burka or the headscarf do not feature prominently in this debate.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/editorial/12-burka-the-other-view-620–bi-10

    Confessions of a hijabi
    Posted by Guest on 03 22nd, 2010 | Comments (37)
    I watched the much talked about My Name is Khan the other day. The brilliant depiction of an autistic person by Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar’s surprisingly taut direction made for a good film. I had been warned by friends to keep tissues handy, as many friends had their eyeliners washed away as they sniffled through the film.
    http://blog.dawn.com/2010/03/22/confessions-of-a-hijabi/

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  2. You might find this interesting too…
    Hijab for Women- Dr. Zakir Naik
    http://shahidpages.wordpress.com/2008/02/13/hijab-for-women-dr-zakir-naik/

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  3. How To Wear Jeans to Work
    http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20185823_20335325_20723700,00.html

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  4. I found this poll kind of interesting…a woman’s sexiest body part is not the hair nor the face!

    Tell Us: What’s the Sexiest Body Part?
    Whether they rocked a sexy strapless style or a flirty figure-hugging frock, the stars showed off their best assets at Sunday night’s Oscar red carpet. With so many gorgeous bods, we want to know which feature you find the sexiest. Were you wowed by Zoe Saldana’s flash of leg or did Charlize Theron’s sculpted shoulders leave you envious? Were you mesmerized by Penelope Cruz’s graceful neck or does Jennifer Lopez’s famous derriere amaze every time? Tell us: What do you think is the sexiest part of a woman’s body?

    http://news.instyle.com/2010/03/08/tell-us-whats-the-sexiest-body-part/

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  5. saw this interesting observation by a friend of a friend on facebook…

    “The Cloth That Binds
    Share
    Yesterday at 8:16pm
    I don’t know about the rest of Pakistan, but Karachi is definitely becoming more polarized as far as religious and liberal ideologies are concerned. Nothing exemplifies this better than the womenfolk of Karachi- the hijabis/burqa walis vs the sleeveless walis. One quicker than the other to judge and condemn.

    The so-called ‘progressive liberals’ look upon the hijabis as crude, backward, unsophisticated and unprogressive beings. They are forever judgmental of them and find their presence at exotic restaurants, the oh-so-selective kitty parties and top-notch boutiques, at odds with their high-class upbringing. They, myopically, regard the attendance of these ‘paindu hijabans’ at any intellectual gathering as an anomaly, and look upon them as brainless creatures that should largely be ignored. Subconsciously, they banish the ‘others’ from their world as if they were lepers.

    Conversely, these beacons of morality, the hijabis, are often condemning anyone not like them to the pits of hell. Too western, too modern, too ‘out there’ is how they define these liberal women. They gawk (much more than their male counterparts) at the ‘nanga pana’ of the fellow women. They hold the ‘independent biggri hui khawateen’ as the root cause of the collapse of an otherwise, beautifully functioning Islamic society. They don’t give anyone a chance, unless that anyone is willing to embrace their way of life and nothing else.

    So, what amazes me most is that two sets of women, who are so mutually exclusive and who would not be caught dead in the company of the other, unless it is to preach or liberalize or to convert one way or another, should become so much like each other when thrown together in a ‘lawn’ cloth exhibition.

    How a lawn exhibition makes everyone equally bereft of any civic sense is quite beautiful. As one gets jostled, it’s quite refreshing to see that the arm from the left is a ‘sleeveless wali ka’ and the one from the right is a ‘burqa wali ka’. That no amount of modern or religious training is going to keep these women from pushing, shoving, bitching and fighting for the last remaining paisley-printed, yellow and pink two-piece suit.

    The ultimate sight to behold is the unity with which they all push together against the salesman’s table until he is backed into the pile of cloth, and ultimately, cornered into listening to all of them at the same time. Their collective strength and determination is remarkable indeed.

    Attempts are made to break the queue. Bodies press close as everyone inches forward to pay for this most sought after merchandise. One occasionally gets pushed into the people standing ahead, who turn around and glare as if a cardinal sin has been committed. And once again, everyone is an accomplice- the crude, the refined; the backward, the progressive; the hijabi, the modern.

    This reunion and togetherness of womanhood ends as soon as the Exit Sign nears. The Chanel sunglasses so far perched on the head are brought down; the niqab is pulled tightly across the face; the judgmental looks return. Cars approach. Doors are slammed shut- forever blocking out the other, or at least till the next lawn exhibition, when everyone becomes an accomplice again.

    Who am I to write this? Someone who would never be accepted into either world. ”

    By SH*, just initials (to respect her privacy)

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  6. Not that I subscribe to niqab for Muslim women personally, (I think its extreme in modesty stakes and was probably borrowed from nun’s habit in the middle ages and further improved on so no other men could look at wives or daughters etc etc, besides, men and women used to cover their heads in those days all over the world including all cultures, this practice went on till 1960s when Kennedy set a new fashion by going hat-less in public; Arab women used to wear low-cut necklines even though they wore a headcovering before Islam, so there is only one ayah in the entire Quran which advises women to cover their bosoms with their head covering, however, there is no mention of covering of the face, the clerics use the ayah to infer ” hiding your attractions” as the basis for niqab which is pretty ambiguous interpretation and open to further interpretation; besides, Islam prescribes the middle way, moderation in all things so to me, this doesn’t sound like a very original practice anyway; furthermore, if Islam wants to forbid something, it categorically forbids it, the Quran statements are not open to interpretation, they are stated in absolute terms – for example, you can’t drink, gamble or charge/pay interest etc., ) however, even I draw the line at telling someone what to wear or not to wear, (it infringes on people’s personal freedom rights!) even if its for security reasons…it will only set the backs up for Muslims all over the place…because it smacks of bigotry…

    Belgium moves towards public ban on burqa and niqab
    Home affairs committee of Brussels federal parliament votes unanimously to ban partial or total covering of faces in public places

    Belgium today moved to the forefront of a widening campaign to restrict the wearing of the Muslim veil by women when a key vote left it on track to become the first European country to ban the burqa and niqab in public.

    The home affairs committee of the Brussels federal parliament voted unanimously to ban the partial or total covering of faces in public places.

    “I am proud that Belgium would be the first country in Europe which dares to legislate on this sensitive matter,” the centre-right MP Denis Ducarme said.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/31/belgium-public-ban-burqa-niqab

    France Moving Towards Full Ban on Burqa and Niqab
    April 21, 2010 12:28 PM
    After Belgium, France is moving towards a full ban from public places of the burqa, the full head-to-toe Islamic veil, or the niqab, which only leaves the eyes visible. Despite the recent warning by France’s highest administrative body, the Council of State, that a total ban in public places would be unconstitutional, except in some cases, French President Nicolas Sarkozy decided today during the weekly cabinet meeting that France would go ahead with the full ban. Citing the dignity of women and the respect of the values of the French Republic, Sarkozy asked his government to work on a bill that is expected to be introduced in the French parliament by July. Those who have been calling for the ban say the burqa is a mark of gender inequality, against other French values such as human rights, and a breach of the nation’s secular foundation.

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2010/04/france-moving-towards-full-ban-on-burqa-and-niqab.html

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  7. Get Perfect Style at Any Age

    * 20s |
    * 30s |
    * 40s |
    * 50s

    http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20185823_20332378_20719382,00.html

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  8. French muslims feel stigmatised in veil row
    Sunday, 25 April 2010 15:23

    Muslims in the French city where a woman was fined for driving in an Islamic veil complained of being stigmatised by the affair as the political repercussions rumbled on.

    With the government planning to ban the full Islamic veil in public, the fining of the French woman took a political turn when a minister threatened to punish her muslim husband for offences including polygamy.

    ‘The muslims of Nantes… are worried by this systematic stigmatisation which goes against the values of the Republic,’ the collective of Nantes mosques said in a statement.

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2010/0425/france.html

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  9. Trendsetting: Haute hijab
    By Aamna Haider Isani
    Sunday, 25 Apr, 2010 | 06:27 AM PST |

    We live in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and despite the fact that modern society is readily adopting ways of the West, many (in fact a majority of women in the country) prefer to observe the hijab or cover their heads. It is therefore a natural part of Pakistan’s style evolution that fashion also address that huge majority. And that is exactly what is happening. We are seeing more and more women adapting options of how to cover the hair or simply cover up without compromising on their style quotient. The variations are very exciting and one feels proud to see many women sprucing up their hijabs just as eagerly as one would update makeup or accessories.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/in-paper-magazine/the-review/haute-hijab-540

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  10. Smokers’ Corner: Lost bearings?
    By Nadeem F. Paracha
    Sunday, 25 Apr, 2010

    A few weeks ago a young lady wrote a moving blog for dawn.com called ‘Confessions of a hijabi,’ she predictably rambled on about how painful it has been for her to hold on to her hijab in the face of taunts by the people around her.

    The event that inspired her to write this piece is rather telling. She says she watched My name is Khan and was extremely moved by a scene in which the hijab-wearing heroin is physically assaulted by an American man. This was enough for her to scribble her own story. But the problem is that her story takes place in Pakistan. One was thus left wondering how can a fictionalised account taking place in a distant western country be so conveniently associated with the status of hijabis in Pakistan.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/19-nadeem-f-paracha-lost-bearings-540-hh-04

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  11. Here we go again…saw this news report…Do you suppose the girls are going to school dressed in mini skirts and tank tops? Obviously, they are going to school in accepted mode of dress which is sufficiently modest when compared to today’s international standards of female dress code…I also fail to understand why women are singled out as the ‘temptress’ element of the society…The Islamic ‘dress code’ applies equally to men – why don’t they lower their gaze and think of their modesty? I hate illiterate clerics that go around interpreting Islam based on their tribal norms! Anyway…enough already!

    ‘Follow Islamic dress code or else…’

    QUETTA: Suspected militants have threatened several girls schools in Quetta to follow “proper Islamic dress code” or else they will be attacked.

    The threat was issued in letters sent to several girls school in the provincial capital. The letter warned teachers and administrators of dire consequences if they ignored the letter. It claimed that informers of militants were present among students and teachers in all schools of the province. A Baloch insurgency and sectarian clashes have claimed hundreds of lives over the past three years in the province. But threats to girls schools have been uncommon in the province, especially in Quetta.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/13647/%E2%80%98follow-islamic-dress-code-or-else%E2%80%A6%E2%80%99/

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  12. Historical Perspectives On Islamic Dress
    A Complex History of the Veil
    What constitutes modest clothing has changed over time. Like most customs, what women wear has reflected the practices of a region and the social position of the wearer. The veil itself predates Islam by many centuries. In the Near East, Assyrian kings first introduced both the seclusion of women in the royal harem and the veil. Prostitutes and slaves, however, were told not to veil, and were slashed if they disobeyed this law.

    http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/essay-01.html

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  13. Nicolas Sarkozy’s cabinet approves bill to ban full Islamic veil
    Despite warnings move could be anti-constitutional, French president gives it his full backing

    * Lizzy Davies
    * guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 19 May 2010 16.58 BST
    * Article history

    Nicolas Sarkozy defended his ambition to impose a total ban on women wearing the full Islamic veil today, despite warnings that such a move could be anti-constitutional and socially incendiary.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/19/nicolas-sarkozy-defends-veil-ban

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  14. The Closet Thinker: Dressing for Grown-Ups
    …Back in the real world, where red carpets tend not to unroll, I rely on two different wardrobe staples: a DVF wrap dress, which can be tied at the front in such a way as to conceal a round tummy; and narrow jeans from Gap or Uniqlo.

    Yes, I know that denim was once emblematic of youthful rebellion, but I’m as reliant on jeans in my forties as I was at 14. Find the right pair and they’re better than support underwear; and far more comfortable, too…

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/7796873/The-Closet-Thinker-Dressing-for-Grown-Ups.html

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  15. Smokers’ Corner: Manly manoeuvres
    By Nadeem F. Paracha
    Sunday, 04 Jul, 2010

    It is rather startling to note how the powerful ‘Women’s Lib’ movement in the 1970s was manhandled by certain sections of society in the West. They scrapped the intellectual aspects of the concept and used the fruits of the movement by simply exhibiting it as a way to justify nudity.

    The above was what most frontline women activists of the movement bemoaned, alluding that their movement’s many positive social outcomes had been misused. In fact, such is also the view of a majority of conservative Muslim thinkers — especially those who have been at the forefront of encouraging the usage of veil among Muslim women.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/19-nadeem-f-paracha-manly-manoeuvres-470-hh-04

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  16. French lower house votes to ban veil

    No face coverings in public places; Critics say bill could be unconstitutional, but polls reveal strong public backing

    By PETER O’NEIL, Postmedia News July 14, 2010 4:03 AM

    -French lawmakers, with strong public backing, voted massively yesterday in favour of a bill to ban face-covering veils in the latest attempt by a European country to force Muslims to integrate.

    The National Assembly voted by a 335-1 margin, with Socialists and Communists abstaining, to deny people the right to cover their faces in all public places such as government and corporate buildings, trains and buses, and stores, markets and streets.

    The bill would impose a fine of only about $200 for violators, but men who force wives or daughters to cover their faces could receive a maximum one-year jail term and a fine of just under $40,000.

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/life/French+lower+house+votes+veil/3274398/story.html

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  17. Amnesty condemns France veil ban
    Updated at: 0831 PST, Thursday, July 15, 2010

    LONDON: Amnesty International has decried a vote by French lawmakers to ban the wearing of full veils in public places saying it violates the rights to freedom of expression and religion.

    The organization had written to all French parliamentarians urging them to reject the bill.

    “A complete ban on the covering of the face would violate the rights to freedom of expression and religion of those women who wear the burqa or the niqab as an expression of their identity or beliefs,” said John Dalhuisen, amnesty’s expert on discrimination in Europe.

    http://www.geo.tv/7-15-2010/68382.htm

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  18. Tory MP bans veils from surgeries
    (UKPA) – 3 hours ago
    A Conservative MP who launched a bid to ban Muslim women from wearing the burka has said he will refuse to hold meetings with constituents wearing a face veil.
    Philip Hollobone’s Face Coverings (Regulation) Bill would make it illegal for people to cover their faces in public.
    In an interview with The Independent, the Kettering MP said he will not meet with burka or niqab-clad women at his constituency surgery unless they lift their veils.
    He said: “I would ask her to remove her veil. If she said: ‘No’, I would take the view that she could see my face, I could not see hers, I am not able to satisfy myself she is who she says she is. I would invite her to communicate with me in a different way, probably in the form of a letter.”

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5hvOp9EO57zEB3M1bfZ7H5hD83PbQ

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  19. Two-thirds of Britain would ban the Islamic veil: poll
    (AFP) – 11 hours ago
    LONDON — Two thirds of British people would support a ban on Muslim women wearing face-covering veils in public similar to the one approved by French lawmakers this week, a poll found Friday.
    An online survey of 2,205 adults for Five News television found 67 percent of respondents agreed that the burkha — the full-face veil — should be banned. That figure rose to 80 percent among people aged over 55.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hGdY4gZpTQbpCb3I6gGgvUjEn5AA

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  20. Copying French ban on burqa would be un-British, says minister
    Immigration minister Damian Green says ban on Muslim women covering faces in public would be at odds with ‘tolerant society’
    (96)
    Tweet this (92)
    Allegra Stratton, political correspondent
    guardian.co.uk, Sunday 18 July 2010 14.33 BST

    A government minister has signalled that a French-style ban on women wearing burqas is unlikely to be replicated in the UK, because, he said, the idea was “unBritish” and “undesirable”.

    The immigration minister, Damian Green, said banning Muslim women from covering their faces in public would be at odds with the UK’s “tolerant and mutually respectful society”.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/jul/18/burqa-ban-unbritish-immigration-minister

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  21. 07/19/2010

    Religious Provocation or a Woman’s Right?
    Europe’s Fear of the Burqa

    By Juliane von Mittelstaedt and Stefan Simons

    The French are close to passing an outright ban of the burqa. Spain and Italy may soon follow suit. But is legislating prohibitions on the wearing of the veil the right way for Europe to deal with the cultural conflict?

    One of the first burqa offenses in Europe was reported in the northern Italian city of Novara. It was committed by Amel Marmouri, 26, an immigrant from Tunisia. Marmouri had no previous police record — at least not until that spring day two months ago, when she entered the post office dressed in a full-length coat, with her face hidden behind a black scarf, leaving only a narrow slit for her eyes.

    As she left the post office, she was stopped by members of the Carabinieri, Italy’s national police force. But she refused to reveal her face, and was issued a warning: A €500 ($645) fine for wearing a full-body veil in public. Marmouri’s husband responded by saying that his wife would no longer leave the house in the future.

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,707251,00.html

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  22. Harassment: Fighting back
    By Fauzia Kerai Khan
    Sunday, 25 Jul, 2010 | 02:44 AM PST |

    Sexual harassment, which is far more prevalent in the workplace than most people realise, is a clear form of gender discrimination. It is an abuse of power in working relationships and both reflects and reinforces the inequality between men and women in our society. Though both males and females can be victims of sexual harassment, quantitative and qualitative research shows that women are much more likely to be victims and men, perpetrators. This happens precisely because women lack power, are in more vulnerable and insecure positions, lack self confidence, and/or have been socialised that they are to suffer in silence.

    Often, the victim is economically and emotionally dependent on the aggressor. Moreover, the abuse is humiliating, so the victim is motivated to keep it secret. Women can also become targets of such behaviour when they are seen to be competing for power or take on new roles.

    Sexual herassment in the workplace is any form of unwelcome attention of a sexual nature that is found to be offensive, humiliating or intimidating. This includes comments or jokes which have sexual connotations, leering or staring, displaying rude and offensive material, like cartoons, calendars etc., unwelcome touching or any physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of sexual nature, gestures and body movements.

    The most important principle applied worldwide is that the intent of the harasser is not the determinant. It is the recipient who decides whether the conduct is acceptable or not.

    There is also a difference in how sexual harassment is perceived at different levels in the work hierarchy, by men and women, and by age-groups. While the term may be new to many women workers with little education, they all distinguish clearly between unwelcome sexual behaviour and socially accepted familiarity.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/in-paper-magazine/the-review/fighting-back-570

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  23. Jean trends: The future looks flared
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/7926779/The-future-looks-flared.html

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  24. Weekend shopping: ultra-hip denim looks
    22 of the coolest options out there, from a studded belt to a painterly skirt.

    http://www.luckymag.com/shopping/2010/08/denim#slide=1

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  25. What is this burqa media frenzy in the west about anyway?

    I am getting tired of reading about a small minority of women who are being singled out in the press for wearing extreme cover in public. As the west might have seen, most Muslim women in Pakistan (rural women are more conservative than urban women in their mode of dress) do not wear Burqa – a lot of women (flood survivors) from all over Pakistan were recently photographed by the same guys…still the stupid stereotype. Live and let live. Less than 1 percent women wear Burqa and probably in reaction to all that skin on display by their western counterparts…why the media attention? To promote a certain stereotype? Or is it actually Islamophobia in disguise?

    Australian court orders Muslim witness to testify without burka
    An Australian court has ruled that a Muslim woman must remove her burka while she gives evidence so that the jury can assess her facial expressions.

    Bonnie Malkin in Sydney
    Published: 1:57PM BST 19 Aug 2010

    Judge Shauna Deane of the Perth District Court said that it was “inappropriate” for the woman, only identified as Tasneem, to have her face covered while testifying in the A$752,000 (£433,000) fraud trial.

    Lawyers for Tasneem, 36, had asked the judge to allow her to give evidence while wearing the burka because she had not removed the veil in public as an adult and would find the experience highly stressful.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/7954046/Australian-court-orders-Muslim-witness-to-testify-without-burka.html

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  26. How to Look Your Best in Jeans
    Our resident expert, market editor Noria Morales (who tests out hundreds of pairs each season) reveals the newest denim looks for the season—and how to make them fit just right.

    http://www.luckymag.com/style/2009/08/look_your_best_jeans#slide=1

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  27. The Ultimate Denim Sourcebook
    Our exhaustive guide to the best and easiest places to shop online for the coolest, most flattering jeans.

    Plus! The best-looking trends in jeans—from soft pastel to sexily studded.

    http://www.luckymag.com/sites/sourcebook/denim

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  28. the lucky denim guide
    The best denim trends—from soft pastel to sexily studded and edgy motocross to clean, dark, and skinny.

    Bonus video: We try on four new looks at Barneys Co-op!
    http://www.luckymag.com/style/2009/08/denim_trends#slide=1

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  29. The Lucky Denim Guide
    Skinny
    Go for a downtown-cool effect with layers of frilly, flouncy, vaguely retro tops.

    http://www.luckymag.com/style/2010/08/denim_guide#slide=1

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  30. Muslim employee sues Disneyland for headscarf ban
    Friday, 20 Aug, 2010

    LOS ANGELES: A Muslim woman is suing Disneyland, accusing the company’s California theme park of discrimination for telling her she could not serve customers if she chose to wear a headscarf.

    Imane Boudal, 26, asked her employers at Disneyland’s Grand Californian Hotel several months ago whether they would permit her to wear a headcovering while working as a hostess, a spokeswoman for a worker’s union said.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/culture/06-muslim-employee-sues-disneyland-over-headscarf-ban-rs-04

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  31. The Closet Thinker: double denim
    Justine Picardie tries to get to grips with a denim dilemma.
    By Justine Picardie
    Published: 7:00AM BST 27 Aug 2010

    Try as I might, I’m finding it difficult to come to terms with the triumphant revivalism of double denim, whereby jeans are worn with a matching jacket or shirt.
    How odd to see what was formerly dismissed as suitable only for Jeremy Clarkson now being preached from the pages of glossy magazines; even honoured in the holy sanctum of net-a-porter.com, which has a retail shrine
    to double denim, including a two-tone Current Elliott shirt and distressed jeans.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/7956683/The-Closet-Thinker-double-denim.html

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  32. Shop for Jeans – tips from luckymag
    http://www.luckymag.com/video

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  33. This Week We’re Loving: Skinny Cargos
    Streamlined pockets make these incredibly body-flattering.
    http://www.luckymag.com/shopping/2010/09/wk_shopping_skinny_cargos

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  34. France: Senate votes for Muslim face veil ban

    Controversial bill sails through upper house of parliament after having already been passed by the Assemblée nationale in July

    # guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 14 September 2010 20.29 BST

    The French Senate voted almost unanimously to ban face-covering Islamic veils in public, clearing the final legislative hurdle for a bill whose supporters have been accused of stigmatising the country’s Muslim population.

    With 246 votes for and just one against, the bill sailed through the upper house of parliament after having already been passed by the Assemblée nationale in July. Barring a last-minute challenge from critics who believe it is unconstitutional, the ban should come into effect in spring of next year.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/14/france-senate-muslim-veil-ban

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  35. Stars’ Favorite Denim Trends
    Ankle-Length Jeans
    There’s no better way to show off your favorite stilettos than with a pair of slim-cut cropped jeans. Wear this polished style with a tailored jacket like Blake Lively’s Smythe blazer or, for a dressier look, pair them with a pretty blouse like Cameron Diaz.

    http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20308640_20289967_20642724,00.html

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  36. this week we’re loving: flared jeans
    Our favorite versions of this retro style are also truly flattering.

    Kate Moss
    The hip-slung belt, the cropped jacket, the broken-in jeans, and the structured bag—we want every single piece she’s wearing here.
    J BRAND “LOVE STORY” JEANS, $179, JBRANDJEANS.COM

    Photo Credit: Splash News

    http://www.luckymag.com/shopping/2010/09/wk_shopping_flared_denim#slide=1

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  37. comment: Do as the French do
    Zara Barlas

    Numerous criticisms have emerged on the issue of France’s decision to ban the full-face veil, particularly focused on how this move is targeting Muslims. “Why don’t they ban the head-dress worn by nuns too?” — a question asked repeatedly by Muslims insulted by the French parliament’s new legislation.
    The crucial point appears to have been misunderstood. Nuns do not cover their faces, only their heads. And in France, while the full-face veil is being banned, it is not forbidden for a woman to cover her head, regardless of whether she is Muslim, Christian or atheist. Indeed the banning of headscarves has been implemented in primary and secondary schools in France, but this is part of the wider law that bans the wearing of all types of conspicuous religious symbols, and not just those associated with Islam. This, then, indicates France’s enjoyment of its secularist status — something that it has a right to do.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/51272/do-as-the-french-do/

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  38. The ultimate guide to jeans

    No longer just a casual fabric, denim is a full fashion force this season.

    BY Clare Couslon | 22 September 2010

    DISTRESSED CROPPED SKINNY
    The look The plethora of cropped skinny styles this autumn is an indication of how important this shape is. Beaten-up, ripped and torn versions are myriad and provide a boyish take on the sexy skinny.
    Key piece Tommy Hilfiger’s take on the shape is called the Carrie, after Sex and the City’s lead character. With a looser, boyish fit, these are designed to be belted in and turned up to show off sexy, high-cut sandals. They are made from denim that looks like it has been worn into an artful state of decay rather than obviously machine-distressed (£80; 020 7479 7550, tommy.com ).
    You could also try Current/Elliott’s legging jeans in deep blue, which are faded to look as if they’ve been throug years of loving wear but without the rips and patching (£225; 020 7486 8085, trilogystores.co.uk ).

    http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG8009683/The-ultimate-guide-to-jeans.html

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  39. Style | Fashion
    Six Items or Fewer

    A month-long experiment encourages a shopping diet by wearing six items already found in your closet.

    http://video.nytimes.com/video/2010/07/22/style/1247468489339/six-items-or-less.html

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  40. Style | On The Street
    On the Street | At Ease

    A number of women in Paris were noticeably intent on putting together a practical solution to modern dress.
    http://video.nytimes.com/video/playlist/style/on-the-street/1247463985977/index.html#1248069188276

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  41. Our Favorite Denim Designers Reveal Their Obsessions
    Chantel Valentene of Resin and Ya-el Torbati of Ravin tell us what inspires their super-sexy jeans.

    Chantel Valentene, Resin
    Simply put, we’re obsessed with the just-edgy-enough prints and washes (derived from synthetic resins—hence the name) that Chantel Valentene, one half of the team behind the denim label Resin, uses to make their jeans. “American styling and city-worn aesthetics” is how Valentene sums up their look. http://www.resindenim.com

    http://www.luckymag.com/style/2010/10/denim-designers-inspiration#slide=1

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  42. True Religion’s Flare Jeans May Give Sagging Denim Market Leg Up
    By Matthew Townsend – Mar 29, 2011 9:00 AM GMT+0500

    Retailers from American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (AEO) to Bloomingdale’s are betting that women are ready to shed skinny jeans for a return to flared styles, a change that may firm up more than sagging denim sales.

    “The fashion shift is coming,” said Christine Chen, an apparel retail analyst at Needham & Co. in San Francisco. “Once the bottom changes, your tops are wrong. It’s a whole new reason for the consumer to spend.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-29/true-religion-s-flare-jeans-may-give-sagging-denim-market-leg-up.html

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  43. Imposing ‘culture’
    Rizwan Asghar
    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    The liberal and secular values of Europe are deeply rooted in its long history and socio-political culture and cannot easily be rooted out. But, over the past few months, a very interesting situation has unfolded in France, where the mainstream political parties have propagandised that their secular values are undermined by a handful of Muslim women wearing full-faced veils. If around 2000 full-veil wearers can jeapordise the culture of 62.3 million French people, there must be something seriously wrong with the centuries long evolution of French culture and values.

    http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=42511&Cat=9

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  44. Find Your Most Flattering Jeans
    JANUARY 22, 2010
    If You Have A Boyish Figure

    LOOK FOR…
    Low-rise, straight-leg styles with a fitted behind.

    AVOID…
    Flares cut for curvier shapes.

    DON’T FORGET…
    • Slouchy boyfriend styles with feminine shoes can be chic.
    • You can get away with bigger, more detailed belts.
    • Tuck in your shirt to add shape.
    • Skinny jeans can be flattering.

    http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos/0,,20479329_20339436_20730443,00.html?xid=facebook-jeans

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