Ms JULY 1, 2012
ISSUE NO. 2
Do you dare take your hemline higher? page
Pakistan’s Tom page Cruise The uber-sexy
Fawad Afzal Khan inside Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
drama mama –
domestic goddess –
bored housewives and broken toasters
exploring grey areas
Give yourself a hearthealthy treat
Pakistani women seem determined to go to any lengths to keep the ankleskimming tunic in fashion. Why this style is already passé
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, JULY 1, 2012
The long and short of it by Zurain Imam
he permanency, if not absolute immovability, of the longer shirt length has fascinated me for a long time. While designers such as HSY, Nadya Mistry and Kamiar Rokni derisively refer to the shapeless, flowing garments as ‘tents’, the long, loose tunic is such a favourite with women that it stays ‘in fashion’ even when it looks hopelessly inelegant. I often perform an odd and potentially embarrassing experiment on certain women. At the most elegant of soirees, I will approach a glamorous socialite and ask her why she continues to follow the trend of wearing long tunics even when the garment obviously drowns her diminutive frame and makes her look even shorter than she is. More often than not, the reply from these women is that they wear it because it’s“in fashion”. This, of course, exasperates me since, to be truly stylish as opposed to trendy, it is necessary to don clothes according to one’s body type, complexion and age. Fashion experts say that in the swinging 60s Pakistani women were truly fashion forward, wearing short, sleeveless shirts with churidaar pants and accessorising their daring outfits with beehive hairdos and Jackie O-inspired sunglasses. Pakistani women have now turned into a nation of clones, all wearing similar lawn prints and those pesky long tunics. Are Pakistani designers simply following women’s demands in churning out the same safe and boring designs rather than introducing revolutionary silhouettes? And will these voluminous floor-skimming tunics ever go away? “We are desperate to get rid of them,” says Safinaz Muneer, one half of the uber-successful designer duo Sana Safinaz. “Our latest collection for the export market is all about short-
er lengths. But for the past 18 months, I have actually been nauseated by the long tunics!” “The truth is the market is not yet receptive to short lengths,” adds Sana Hashwani. “People are not ready to let go because it is an easy coverup.”
Camouflage your worst While designers might be slowly pushing shorter lengths to clients, another reason for their endless stay is that they manage to camouflage and hide the typical subcontinental woman’s hereditary pear shape and her bumps and bulges. “People are not ready to let go because it is an easy cover-up,” says Hashwani. In the west, the wrap dress made popular by Diane Von Furstenberg does the same for Caucasian women. “These long, loose, formless tunics allow women to feel free and unself-conscious when they are lolling about amongst themselves at kitty parties,” explains Yasmeen, a stylish design entrepreneur who supplies embroidery for British designers such as Sir Paul Smith and Osman Yousefzada. “If they wore more structured, leaner silhouettes — which I personally believe help to improve your carriage and posture, making it more elegant — they would feel more conscious about any bulges and sags.”
A time and place for everything To this I would add my belief that working women, especially those employed in maledominated offices, prefer the long lengths, to keep the look work-appropriate since formfitting attire simply does not have a place in the office. At the same time, argues Sana, “One needs to educate women that you can’t wear a ball
Zurain Imam is a fashion journalist and social commentator who has contributed to various international publications including the Washington Times (Style Section), Harper’s Bazaar and The Seattle Times. gown to work. I might encourage women to wear a short and slim tunic to work but I wouldn’t wear it to a wedding where I would opt for a long flowing tunic.” Sana adds that for evening wear and for weddings a demand for the long and flowing ‘princess look’ will remain as there is no way of attaining that ideal with a short length.
A season of change “If you peruse lawn catalogues,” says Sana, “you’ll see that we have been introducing short lengths for the past two years. We constantly have to be one step ahead which is why we have always done short versions of every design. But now I think the trend is changing because women are suddenly wearing shorter lengths. Although most designers are still doing longer lengths, by next year we hope to see the trend change drastically.”
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, JULY 1, 2012
Dont’s Do not blindly follow fashion trends that do not suit your body shape or lifestyle. Look for clothes that flatter your figure and minimise your flaws and highlight your body’s strengths. Long tunics do none of that.
Do choose a bright colour A brighter colour will help you exude confidence and warm up your complexion
Do add a bold accessory If you feel more comfortable in a conservative black or winter white top, infuse some drama with a great statement necklace, a long strand of colourful beads or cocktail ring.
Do select tunics with youthful accents
The 10 Facebook commandments How not to embarass yourself on the web
A keyhole neckline, delicate beading, grommets, crochet and brocade designs will make your tunic look youthful. A few well-placed embellishments will keep the style from looking frumpy or boring
Thou shalt not post pouty pictures on Facebook each time thou puts on new lipstick Pouting should be banned over the age of five.
Do wear flowing shirts over churidaar pajamas or skinny jeans This minimises figure flaws yet accentuates the positives such as shapely legs and a full bust. The lack of definition around the hips and waist draws attention away from that area.
Do pair a long, flowy top with great heels The shirt and the shoes should complement each other, as they will be the visual points of interest on both the top and the bottom.
Thou shalt not act lovey-dovey with thy boyfriend or husband on wall messages He’s sitting right next to you, why do you need to discuss your date plans in front of the entire world?
The verdict Personally, I feel that Pakistani women have a‘Princess Fascination’ and the long, airy, flowing gown-like tunics transmute women into princess mode. On the other hand, designers happily provide this voluminous cover-up, perhaps because they can justify charging the customer more since the garment uses up more fabric. The worst sartorial combination, in my opinion, is when these long floor-skimming tunics are worn with oversized Kimono or Raglan sleeves. Add to it some thick, lace borders at the hem and paired with Dhaka or Memoni shalwars and what you have is a boxy, monastic monstrosity.
If you are 5’0” or thereabouts avoid wearing tunics which swamp you. Opt for tailored at-the-knee shirts and pair them with slim pants and high heels. When dressing for the office, wear longer shirts with low slits that are comfortable and made from breathable fabrics such as pure cotton, rather than flowing embroidered silk and chiffon gown-like tunics. If you wear long voluminous ‘Princess Look’ tunic to a wedding, pair it with churidaars rather than the wide palazzo or Dhaka pajamas. Ease into the shorter lengths by wearing trailing shirts which hit thigh high from the front and trail to below the knee from behind.
Thou shalt not play games Playing Mafia Wars with your three-yearold cousin on Facebook will NOT make you the Godfather. Thou shalt not update thy status more than once a day. Even if you’ve won the lottery and made out with John Krasinski the same day, wait at least 24 hours before you tell the world.
Thou shalt not devote an entire album for thy drooly baby pictures, thy seven cats or thy pedicured feet Only your mother would be interested in those things. Email her. Thou shalt not keep a profile picture older than six months You’ve been married for three years, you can’t still be sitting in a gharara every day?
Thou shalt not indiscriminately ‘Like’ everything on this planet “My dog died.” — 1 Like “There’s been a bomb blast.” — 1 Like “I’m dying.” — 1 Like
Thou shalt try to spell correctly There’s Spell Check for a reason.
Thou shalt not say ridiculous things like “shizzle my nizzle” Not least because there are no African Americans in Pakistan.
Thou shalt not post or tag ugly pictures of thy friends If you do something as malicious as that, expect your friends to return the favour.
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, JULY 1, 2012
Shabby Chic Taking on the stereotype of the stay-at-home mom — by going on a toaster tirade
Hiba Masood is a stay-athome mother to 3-year-old Betu and 7-month-old Beti. Writing about parenting affords her time away from actually doing it. Find her on facebook.com/ muddling
by Hiba Masood You know those pristine home pictures, all clean lines and glowing surfaces, you sometimes see on Pinterest? Well, I hope this doesn’t make you feel too jealous, but all of those pictures were taken at my house! I don’t know what it is about Beti, my seven-month-old daughter, but she just sleeps all day like a chubby little angel in her white crib, surrounded by yards and yards of sparkling white lace and dainty embroidery. Sometimes my three-year-old Betu might skip by dressed in a crisp blue oxford shirt and blindingly white shorts just to go sit on the sunlit wooden floor and spin an antique wooden top, while I putter about our kitchen baking whole wheat zucchini muffins and sipping tea from a Wedgewood teacup. Oh, wait. No, no. I forgot. That’s not us. Our house is the other one, the one that’s less Pottery Barn and more farmyard barn. I guess to be perfectly honest, it’s not a classic disaster — you know, weeks’ worth of dishes piled in the sink, bags of garbage everywhere — no, no, that’s not our style. The mess is more subtle than that and the longer you stay, the more of a cumulative impact it will have on you. When you first walk in, you won’t even notice anything amiss. But then, you may wonder: Why, for instance, does Hums the Husband usually pick his socks right out of the dryer every morning? How come those picture frames are all resting against the wall, instead of hanging on it? And why are there so many crumbs around the toaster which is perpetually lying on its side? These are just some of the questions you’d have for us. I would have very few answers for you because I might be busy constructing a lengthy defence to the question “So, you’re a stay-at-home mom right, at home all day … what do you do?” I won’t get into that. But I would answer the toaster question and explain to you how I have totally learnt my lesson when it comes to buying household appliances and that it is this: Never go cheap. As we say in Urdu, “Mehnga lo, ro ek baar; sasta lo ro baar baar.” Now, that toaster does NOT pop the toast and so every day, someone is standing there holding the toaster upside down and coaxing the toast out with a knife. I’m just venting here and I don’t want any advice, because it turns out I’m really not a person of action. I’m more of a person of thinking. But oh man, I am so sick of my toaster all of a sudden it’s not even funny. To make matters worse, as you yourself may have noticed, being very sick (of anything) tends to make you not only very grouchy and short-
tempered, but also very boring, which then lowers your self-esteem. Hums and I are having dinner the other night and I asked him a million questions about — hold onto your hats — our toaster. “Should we just leave it tipped to the side permanently? Is there some sort of spring inside we could tighten? Should we just buy larger sized bread so it sticks out from the top? Or maybe the trick is to go smaller so a lighter slice would jump higher?” Mind. Numbing. That’s me! He tried for a while to politely reroute the conversation (“Did you finish that book you were reading?”) but I’d doggedly bring it back around to the gripping topic of toasters that don’t spit up the toast high enough. I was fully aware of how tedious I was being — it was like I was watching myself do it from afar — but I couldn’t seem to stop. I know that just last week I wrote something very deep about living in the moment and experiencing Zen in your zindagi, blah blah blah. But sometimes, a girl just needs to talk about toasters without feeling judged or defensive or intellectually dead or thinking that she should be thinking about people starving in Africa. So, that’s my little tirade for now. And, just in case someone out there does want to profile my home on Pinterest … let me tell you, the look I’m going for is shabby chic. Hold the chic.
domestic goddess 5
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, JULY 1, 2012
Baked Salmon method Marinate the fresh salmon with 1 tbsp of lemon juice, salt, Â˝1 tbsp of black pepper,1/2 of chopped dill and 1 tbsp of oil. Place the salmon in a baking tray and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 250oC temperature. Slice the bell pepper and eggplant. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Set the oven temperature at 200oC and roast in the oven for six to eight minutes. Pour the oil in a saucepan, add chopped onion and cook till soft. Add chopped dill and lemon juice and stir. Add fresh cream and stir well. Cook until the cream thickens. Add salt and pepper according to your taste and remove from heat. Place the sauce on the plate and then place the bell pepper and eggplant on the sauce. Finally, place the salmon over the bell pepper.
Chef Bilal Ahmad of the Royal Palm Club prepares an elegant salmon with a smooth, creamy sauce
ingredients Fresh salmon 250gm Salt To taste Lemon juice 3 tbsp Chopped dill 1 tbsp Yellow bell pepper 1/2 Red bell pepper 1/2 Fresh cream 1/2 cup Eggplant 2 slices Ground black pepper 1 tbsp Chopped onion 1 tbsp Cooking oil 3 tbsp
what she said
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, JULY 1, 2012
When three’s a crowd
Not all women experience maternal longings. Some find fulfilment in a loving husband and successful career by Rabab Khan
When I tell them I don’t have any children, their faces always show a certain pity for me
At 45, Meera Ali has all she ever wanted — a dream job, a nice house and a loving husband. But she often finds those around her think that something crucial is missing in her life — children. Meera and her husband have been married for ten years. She met her husband at a party organised by a mutual friend and they hit it off immediately. Both were well-established in their careers and the couple decided they did not want to have children. However, Ali’s family had other ideas. “I don’t understand why women can’t support other women,” says Meera. “At first, we didn’t tell anyone about our decision but two years into the marriage, everyone started asking questions. Ali’s sisters were especially blunt about it, as if privacy or politeness don’t exist.” When Ali’s family found out about their decision, the reaction was explosive. Being the youngest of three brothers and a bit of a rebel, Ali decided to move out of the family home after another year of constant badgering by his brothers’ wives, his own sisters and mother. Meera and Ali have now been cut-off from their families, but are decidedly more peaceful. “I have to travel quite often because my job demands it and a child would have made it very difficult for me,” she continues. “Both of us like children, but we don’t want the responsibility of one and don’t have the time or place for one in our lives.” Nasreen Bilal is another woman with similar ideas.
Rabab Khan works as a content creator, social media strategist, writer, self proclaimed journalist and editor. Currently she is a business consultant for IBFS Inc.
“The first question from any new acquaintance is always about children,” she says. “When I tell them I don’t have any, their faces always show a certain pity for me. That quickly changes to dislike or disdain when I tell them I decided not to have children.” Her relatives whisper about how ‘westernised’ her thinking is; they say she is selfish because she is depriving her (unborn) children of a place in the world. According to them, she is also depriving her husband of an heir to his name. “Why do I have to cater to their false sense of what a woman is?” Nasreen asks. “I’m told that a woman is not complete until she is a mother. But my decision to not have a child stems from my inability to handle one. Why should I cave in to their emotional blackmail when I know I can’t take care of a child?” Women often have to bear the brunt of society’s culturally set notions of what a woman should be. Most accept defeat because they don’t have the courage to go against the tide. They get tired of the pitying looks for not having normal lives with kids running around them. But ‘normal’ is just how you decide to live your life. If childless people can accept your kids as part of your life, why can’t you accept their lives? “I like children,” says Nasreen, echoing Meera’s words. “But only as long as I can hand them back to their mothers.”
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, JULY 1, 2012
by Hamna Zubair
Hamna Zubair is a freelance journalist and poetry major who frets over the inexactness of 15-word bios. Nevertheless, you can follow her on twitter @hamnazubair
I find it incredibly rewarding to read stuff I may not naturally be drawn to. I know that whatever trivia I accumulate this way will one day come in handy, most likely when I am talking to a Very Important Person who is going to judge me based on my knowledge of, let’s say, gerbil domestication. This logic ultimately led to me read Fifty Shades of Grey, a book which The Telegraph intriguingly called ‘mommy porn’, and now I’m in the perfect position to tell you why you should pluck it off the shelf.
Girls on HBO
Its cleverness has been vouched for — and by none other than James Franco. The ‘it’ boy for thinking girls everywhere, blogged about it on Huffington Post! I would love to see someone pick up the concept for a local series, something more along the lines of Shit Pakistani Girls Say than “Maat”. Takers, anyone?
Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James Before anything else, you should know this book is not for the faint-hearted or those who share space with children, parents or the elderly. It is d-i-r-t-y. So much so that I make sure my copy of Fifty Shades is shelved with the spine facing inward to prevent my mother happening upon it. If you’re not up to this kind of subterfuge, I suggest you refrain. That said, Fifty Shades is a book about Anastasia Steele’s raunchy affair with Christian Grey. When she puts up with his penchant for domination he gives her lavish gifts — a car, a blackberry and a laptop. The question is, will she ever get his love? That’s the question on Anastasia’s mind anyway. I, however, would urge you to ask yourself more pressing questions like: why is it that despite our being more ‘liberated’ now than at any other point in history, we still fantasise about a gorgeous wealthy man sweeping us off our feet and just — taking care of us? Should this fantasy be allowed to endure? After my first read I had mixed feelings about Fifty Shades. Upon further grudgingly undertaken introspection, I decided I appreciated how the story was told from a woman’s perspective (a rare thing in erotica), but most definitely didn’t like the book’s screamy main message: “Control women! They like it!” Because control is what Fifty Shades really boils down to. Mr Grey is happiest when his lady love does, says and wears exactly what he likes. I like to think our experiences with unchecked patriarchy will automatically ensure that Fifty Shades isn’t taken too literally, but just to be on the safe side, I suggest you read this book with your bullsh*t detector on high. Do this and by the last page, you’ll know that while it can be refreshing to occasionally escape into a fantasy where a big strong man takes on all your life’s burdens for you, reality is somewhat different. In reality, aggression can’t be managed so easily, material comforts you haven’t earned come at a distinct price, and practically no man unaided is capable of buying you clothes that will fit every single time. In other words, keep things in perspective and you’ll be able to enjoy EL James’ innovative use of the word ‘moist’ with your feminine pride intact.
Fret about eating disorders
Take some time out this week and assess your mother’s eating habits. Yes, you read that correctly. According to the International Journal of Eating Disorders a large number of women in their 50s and 60s suffer from eating disorders and don’t get the attention they need as this is seen as being a younger woman’s problem. If you think about it, we simply take it for granted that the older women around us will be heavy. We never stop to ask them whether that fourth samosa is dinner or a substitute for love. So take matters into your own hands and make sure your mom is healthy and happy with her diet.
THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE, JULY 1, 2012
hottie of the week 8 status Married to Sadaf
children One son Ayaan Khan birthday November 29, 1981 Horoscope
Who is he? Fawad Khan is our Pakistani Tom Cruise. He may not be a Scientologist and might be a thousand years younger but he’s got the same boy-next-door sex appeal that Hollywood’s golden boy once had. Khan’s popularity knows no age limits — little girls want him as their daddy, older aunties wish for a boy like him (as their damaad), and young women — well, they pretty much want him in any capacity, at anytime and place!
Why he’s droolworthy The sexy EP front man first caught our eye when he managed to hold his own next to Shaan in Khuda Ke Liye. A model, rocker and film star, he’s walked on the ramp, rocked crowds and made the drama serial “Humsafar” a runway sensation. With his finely chiselled features and trademark smoldering gaze, Khan was made to play “Humsafar’s” tormented Ashar, the guy that every Pakistani woman fantasises about. Recently, he’s been seen sporting a beard, the perfect foil to his boyish charm, giving him a brooding persona which still has us swooning.
What you might not know Fawad spent his early life in Greece, the UK and Saudi Arabia. The Fawad Khan brand of charm can sometimes be near-fatal: a teenage girl reportedly attempted suicide for him by slitting her wrists after watching “Humsafar”.