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And SO the story continues:

Enter college and we suddenly discover that one half of our wardrobe, the uniform – our pride and joy, was now useless. That beautiful Blue Blazer and grey flannel trouser, those lovely white shirts – all had to be consigned to the far reaches of our cupboards. We were devastated but we rallied.

American Gigolo

The saviour enters our world in the form of Richard Greer wearing Armani. The blazer gets pulled out with the school crest removed and we are back in action. Some of us hit the gym and try out dumbbells for the first time. Fortunately none of us actually try to sell our services, though it did cross the minds of some of us. Money was not the motive.

Mohan Singh Place

Mohan Singh Place near CP was a maze of cheap tailors where one could allow their designer fantasies to run riot. Jeans, trousers, you name it, of any size, design, cut one could get made within a couple of days. This is where we converged, GQ magazine in hand, like flies during our first term. We were still new and had not quite adjusted to the fashion scene in a city college. Many a faux pas and plenty of fashion disasters later, we collectively vowed never to go back. It’s the only promise I have never broken in my whole life.


From Mohan Singh Place we graduated to K.Nags or Kamala Nagar. This was a locality near the campus and it had a shop, owned by an enterprising sardar, who sold ‘smuggled’ clothes from Hong Kong / Singapore. Sanity returned and we went back to the loving arms, sorry should that be legs? of Levi Strauss originally of the US but lately of Hong Kong .
There was also a choice of T – Shirts and Lacoste was a favourite, with Jordache and FILA coming in a close second. All of them reaching our shores after a brief stopover at Hong Kong. During their stopover in Hong Kong they seemed to have acquired some of the local flavour but somehow managed to retain their essence. It was enough for us.


The GQ magazine was our bible. We borrowed them from Bassy (the best dressed guy on campus) or got old copies from second hand book shops. I still remember the ads. – Armani, Guess, Gap ... all distant fantasies. Incidentally GQ is still a staple in my house; I have been faithful all these years.

VIP Frenchie Brief

I will skip this part for obvious reasons but it was an important milestone, a game changer. Interested parties may PM me. All I am willing to say in public is that they took some getting used to and added colour.

Sunday Market at Red Fort

Every Sunday there would be a market at the Red Fort where they would sell second hand clothes. We went there on a lark but struck oil! To our delight we found jackets and sport jackets from around the world. We acquired Buckskin jackets and Sheepskin coats that we had only seen in the Marlboro ads. The sport jackets were from the top international design houses. It was a treasure trove. We had stumbled across thrift shopping. It was kept a well guarded secret as it was considered infra dig to get your clothes second hand but what a bonanza! One wash and no one could tell the difference in fact we started to stand out, well that might be wishful thinking, but we certainly stood apart from the crowd. Anybody wearing buckskin jackets and sheepskin coats in Delhi would! One of us added a Stetson and a string tie just to make sure but we won’t get into that.

The three S’s

Sweaters, shirts and shoes. Action shoes replaced the Golas, the brogue made its appearance and has stayed put till date. Jodhpur boots were acquired from Jodhpur. Yes they were handmade there. Some of us slipped into cowboy boots but there were hard to get , though you could get the Indian version in one shop in CP. Dress shoes were acquired from Trend in Calcutta . Sadly the shop went out of business recently. Pierre Cardin shoes were launched in Delhi but remained out of reach.
Dress shirts made their debut. We got them from Intershoppe with matching ties. Newman was a brand that was also popular. I got my first Arrow dress shirt, a very expensive gift from my father. Cotswool check shirts were another staple.
Sweaters were another change that we had to make. The grey school sweater no longer sufficed and a major part of our pocket money went into getting new ones. By then my parents had moved to Delhi and I moved out of the hostel. My mother would get my sweaters knitted for me from the patterns I chose from GQ.

The Pride and Joy

On a visit to a friend’s place in Bhopal, while flipping through a copy of Life magazine, I stumbled upon an article on Princess Stephanie of Monaco and was immediately struck by her sense of style. There were a few photographs of her wearing leather and I was hooked. After a thorough study of the photos followed by discussions and deliberations it was finally decided. A fawn suede leather sports jacket needed to be added to my wardrobe. Easier said than done, how was I to get hold of one? On my return to Delhi an exhaustive search was undertaken (no internet those days) and finally a shop was located that made leather garments on order.
It took a little work but I managed to persuade my long suffering parents and I got one made. It was the pride of my wardrobe and my most cherished possession. I wore it for many many years , it was the most versatile garment I have ever owned . Ever since then sport jackets have been my weakness. Unfortunately, some ten years later, it lost the battle. I am ashamed to say that rats got to it during the monsoon. I have never replaced that jacket, but I think finally the time has come. Come winter and I am going to get myself a new one. Let the search begin.
And so life comes full circle ....the story continues.


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Vikram Nanjappa

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