Style vs. Fashion

by Tuesday, May 13, 2014

There is a growing trend around my side of the world that is alarming to say the least. Seriously, I’m considering walking around with a t-shirt that says “I See ‘Cloned’ People”.

Now, Dubai is a very transitional city. People flock here from all parts of the world, in search of a better income, better opportunity, and a better lifestyle. While some succeed at getting one or more of those and decide to stay here longer than they had originally planned, some aren’t as ‘lucky’ and leave in a few months/years. Either way, people are constantly coming and going, in and out of Dubai.

What’s been common though in most people I’ve seen landing here (women, actually, I’ll address only the women in this post), especially from the motherland, is this sudden sense of wanting to ‘fit in’, and more often than not, it starts with their clothes.

Now, I’m all about looking your best, and turning up with your best game on every single day, but what I have a problem with is ‘cloning’.

Yes, as my friend from Bombay put it ever so simply – “What yaar! People here dress up so much! I can’t keep up, I need to go shopping!” 

And that’s perfectly understandable too.

HOWEVER!!!! Must you all start looking ALIKE?!?!!?

Trust me, give any Fresh-Off-The-Boat newbie-in-town an average of 5-6 months in Dubai. You will see a whole new wardrobe. Jeans, t-shirts, osho chappals, flats, loose sweatshirts – everything goes into the bin. To be replaced by the brand new stilletos, knee length dresses and tunics with leggings, and the I-sat-in-a-salon-for-6-hours-to-get-my-new-keratined poker straight hair.

Walk into an office and that’s what you see.

Go to a social gathering at a friend’s house and that’s what you see.

Go to a friggin’ club and that’s what you see.

Forget all of that, go to a supermarket, a salon, the hospital – and that’s what you see!!


I mean, WOMEN!




With all the big department stores, malls, and brands that are available to us in Dubai, along with the best from the motherland in Meena Bazaar, you would think that women would find it easier to express their personal styles! 




Personal style – something that is unique only to you. It should define you. It should tell the world who you are without you having to speak a word. 

Why is that so difficult to get?

I was thinking about what makes people want to dress like everybody else around them. And I came up with the following:

1. A need to ‘fit in’

2. Insecurity

3. Fear of being considered ‘not good enough’

4. Fear of being judged.

5. A lack of respect for the self.

And the last one really got me.




I’m addressing all the clones now – listen, before you moved to the brand-obsessed, superficial, its-all-about-your-looks-cars-house city of Dubai, you had a personality. You had your own personal unique taste in clothes. What happened to that?

I’m not advocating for sloppiness. Hell no. Because if anything, Dubai teaches you not to be sloppy or badly turned out. And that’s a good thing. But not at the cost of losing your individuality!

I see women with awesome curly/wavy hair grabbing a discount coupon off the internet and going to the salon for a quick keratin treatment.

Straight hair, all over the place.


I see women go to a mall, and pick out all the dresses in sight, casual, everyday, office, club, party – all kinds of dresses.

Never mind that they feel comfiest in harem pants, overalls, jumpsuits, salwar suits or simply a pair of jeans & a t-shirt.

Never mind that the one thing they’d really spend their days walking around in would be good ol’ flat ballerinas that don’t end up making the balls of your feet feel like death at the end of a long, hard day at work.

Never mind that the amount of time they spend at a salon every week getting their nails done, could actually be used to have a deep, fun, long conversation over coffee with a friend  whom they haven’t touched base with in a while.

Never mind that post pregnancy their bodies have changed (which, by the looks of it, they refuse to accept), and they no longer fit into the clothes that they see models wear in store catalogs.

Never mind that they look like tarts when trying to squeeze every ounce of flab into a dress that is a size too small.

Never mind any of that.

Looking like this helps them fit in. Even if it is at the cost of looking ridiculous.

They’ve successfully been “Dubai-fied”! Bravo!


Ok. Enough ranting.

Women, just remember one thing:


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And STOP giving in to peer pressure. Wear what you want, wear it confidently, and don’t give a shit what others think! You’re just as gorgeous, without turning into a “Dubai girl”, by virtue of your personality.

And please, for crying out loud, stop getting a hair wash & blow dry every time you have to go to a party.

Keep it real.




PS – next post – how to find your personal style (again).

Until then, keep Being Awesome!


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