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Old 01-10-2014, 08:56 AM
 
455 posts, read 767,403 times
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This is just a question I've been having in the back of my mind since I've been working around some (awesome) folks from India here in the states, but I can't bring myself to ask them directly for fear of insulting them.

Is there a particular reason that, no matter the age, they seem to all wear outdated (think '70s-'80s, maybe some early '90s) clothing and hairstyles? Is this a cultural thing, or do they just really dig that time period?
They also seem to love striped button ups made of polyester, I assume.

Again, this isn't meant to be offensive.
It's just something I've wondered about. Not even Google turns anything up about this, but I can't be the only one who notices and wonders about it. Any insight is appreciated, although not entirely important. I'm just curious, is all.
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:28 AM
 
3,275 posts, read 3,729,339 times
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I'm a 29 year old Indian man who spent all my childhood in India or in an Indian environment and practically all of my adulthood in North America. So I've seen both 'sides'.

The short answer to your question is: a total lack of awareness. We do what we've always done because it's what we're used to and don't stop to think about whether it could be done differently.

When I was a teenager, I didn't have the exposure to pop culture that American teenagers have, nor did I have many friends. My father would tell me what shirt and pants to wear every day. He had a 'stache, so I had a 'stache'. He thought it was wrong to wear tee shirts, so I only wore button-up shirts. Everywhere. It was looked down upon to wear shorts, even in hot and humid weather, so I didn't own any shorts either. I only had sneakers for shoes, because Indians wear only three types of footwear: sneakers, dressy shoes for formal events, and flip flops.

Complete with 80s porn star 'stache, fake Nike sneakers, beltless pants and a hilarious haircut, I stepped off the boat (or rather, plane) into my new home in Canada and couldn't understand why people were giving me funny looks. A few months later, I made a friend who eventually told me everything that was wrong about my appearance. If he hadn't done me this favor, it would have taken me years to figure out what was wrong. I knew that I didn't look the same as my peers but I couldn't place my finger on what it was. And that's with me wanting to fit in. Imagine if I had not cared about fitting in. I would probably still be dressing like Dad did in the 1980s.

And here's the kicker: my dad was actually not very controlling as far as Indian parents go. My mom was even less so. Some of my classmates in high school were monitored and controlled in every aspect of their lives. When they go abroad, they may very well want to change their appearance, behavior and mannerisms, but without any frame of reference to begin working on, it's a very difficult task to change. So they find it easier to do what they always did.

American men go through their awkward phase when they're between 12 and 14. I felt awkward throughout my 20s, and it decreased in small increments after my friend and later my non-Indian wife changed my wardrobe for the better. I was far too clueless to do it on my own because I didn't know where to begin.

Sorry for the long post. Basically, we are to be pitied for our cluelessness, not censured

Last edited by arctic_gardener; 01-10-2014 at 10:51 AM..
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Old 01-10-2014, 10:51 AM
 
455 posts, read 767,403 times
Reputation: 632
Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_gardener View Post
I'm a 29 year old Indian man who spent all my childhood in India or in an Indian environment and practically all of my adulthood in North America. So I've seen both 'sides'.

The short answer to your question is: a total lack of awareness. We do what we've always done because it's what we're used to and don't stop to think about whether it could be done differently.

When I was a teenager, I didn't have the exposure to pop culture that American teenagers have, nor did I have many friends. My father would tell me what shirt and pants to wear every day. He had a 'stache, so I had a 'stache'. He thought it was wrong to wear tee shirts, so I only wore button-up shirts. Everywhere. It was looked down upon to wear shorts, even in hot and humid weather, so I didn't own any shorts either. I only had sneakers for shoes, because Indians wear only three types of footwear: sneakers, dressy shoes for formal events, and flip flops.

Complete with 80s porn star 'stache, fake Nike sneakers, beltless pants and a hilarious haircut, I stepped off the boat (or rather, plane) into my new home in Canada and couldn't understand why people were giving me funny looks. A few months later, I made a friend who eventually told me everything that was wrong about my appearance. If he hadn't done me this favor, it would have taken me years to figure out what was wrong. I knew that I didn't look the same as my peers but I couldn't place my finger on what it was. And that's with me wanting to fit in. Imagine if I had not cared about fitting in. I would probably still be dressing like Dad did in the 1980s.

And here's the kicker: my dad was actually not very controlling as far as Indian parents go. My mom was even less so. Some of my classmates in high school were monitored and controlled in every aspect of their lives. When they go abroad, they may very well want to change their appearance, behavior and mannerisms, but without any frame of reference to begin working on, it's a very difficult task to change. So they find it easier to do what they always did.
Arctic, that is an awesome reply. Thanks!

I had a suspicion that it was as you say, but I wasn't too sure. I have good Indian friends from work that have been here on visas for a while now, but most of them don't seem too preoccupied with fitting in stylistically, which doesn't bother me or anything, but I just figured it was their way.
One friend came to work and out of the blue decided to dress like he was in Texas. He had wrangler jeans, a plaid button down (tucked in), big belt buckle and boots. He looked like a character in a spin-off of CHiPS and Walker, Texas Ranger, complete with the below hairstyle (which all my Indian co-workers and friends have)



It was startling and funny, but I couldn't say anything because I would have felt judgmental. To each their own.
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,410 posts, read 26,369,269 times
Reputation: 16498
Quote:
Originally Posted by arctic_gardener View Post
I'm a 29 year old Indian man who spent all my childhood in India or in an Indian environment and practically all of my adulthood in North America. So I've seen both 'sides'.

The short answer to your question is: a total lack of awareness. We do what we've always done because it's what we're used to and don't stop to think about whether it could be done differently.

When I was a teenager, I didn't have the exposure to pop culture that American teenagers have, nor did I have many friends. My father would tell me what shirt and pants to wear every day. He had a 'stache, so I had a 'stache'. He thought it was wrong to wear tee shirts, so I only wore button-up shirts. Everywhere. It was looked down upon to wear shorts, even in hot and humid weather, so I didn't own any shorts either. I only had sneakers for shoes, because Indians wear only three types of footwear: sneakers, dressy shoes for formal events, and flip flops.

Complete with 80s porn star 'stache, fake Nike sneakers, beltless pants and a hilarious haircut, I stepped off the boat (or rather, plane) into my new home in Canada and couldn't understand why people were giving me funny looks. A few months later, I made a friend who eventually told me everything that was wrong about my appearance. If he hadn't done me this favor, it would have taken me years to figure out what was wrong. I knew that I didn't look the same as my peers but I couldn't place my finger on what it was. And that's with me wanting to fit in. Imagine if I had not cared about fitting in. I would probably still be dressing like Dad did in the 1980s.

And here's the kicker: my dad was actually not very controlling as far as Indian parents go. My mom was even less so. Some of my classmates in high school were monitored and controlled in every aspect of their lives. When they go abroad, they may very well want to change their appearance, behavior and mannerisms, but without any frame of reference to begin working on, it's a very difficult task to change. So they find it easier to do what they always did.

American men go through their awkward phase when they're between 12 and 14. I felt awkward throughout my 20s, and it decreased in small increments after my friend and later my non-Indian wife changed my wardrobe for the better. I was far too clueless to do it on my own because I didn't know where to begin.

Sorry for the long post. Basically, we are to be pitied for our cluelessness, not censured

My guess is that it has a lot to do with the amount of money that you have. I dated an Indian girl and she knew more about fashion than I did. Now, I don't know anything at all.. but she was up on everything and followed Hollywood. Most of her friends were no different, but they all came from upper class families.

However, walking through the streets of India I saw told of people wearing clothes straight from the 70s. Guys were wearing bell bottoms, the brown shirts, etc etc. You could tell they were poor though. You have to remember that India is a developing nation and not Americanized. Many people don't want anything to do with the west and they don't follow anything about it.
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