Monday, June 09, 2008

Frocks - A tale of woe

When I was expecting, I didn't really care whether the baby turned out to be a boy or a girl. But whenever I saw pretty little frocks on displays in shops, I would wish that it was a girl, so that I could dress her up in those cute frocks.

Little did I realize that those very frocks would turn out to be such a pain in the wrong place.

Sometime ago, I had expressed surprise that one tiny frock costed 500 rupees, and someone had commented with a "This is just the beginning/ you haven't seen anything yet". I know now. I can't believe how terribly expensive baby clothes are. And their quality? Don't get me started on them.

No, wait. There are pretty frocks available at pretty reasonable prices, if you take the trouble of looking. Most of these frocks are based in white, with pastel prints, and a couple of ribbons and buttons and laces here and there. Some can be incredibly cute, and invariably, I tend to buy them. Left to myself, I can be very content dressing Puttachi in these beautiful light-coloured, white/pastel/light floral dresses.

But my mom-in-law craves to see her beloved grand-daughter in bright clothes. "Take advantage of her beautiful complexion - bright colours will suit her", she says. I know exactly what she means, and I would gladly dress her in bright colours, if I could.

For here is where the problem lies. Look for dark and bright frocks, and all you get are utterly atrocious pieces of cloth that make you wonder whether the designers were stoned. Colours that corrode your retina, prints that make your head go round and round. And designs that make you wonder where the neck is and the sleeve is, and what is this hole for.

Psychedelic prints. Solar systems. Grotesque teddy bears and bunnies. Animal prints. Sequins and beads all over. Sparkly writing, with some kind of shiny powder all over. Glittering paint. Gaudy coloured lace. Brass-coloured buttons of various shapes sewed on in the strangest places. A huge belt with a huger buckle in some weird place. And all in horrible, sweaty, prickly synthetics. I can't bear to inflict the synthetic-torture on Puttachi's tender skin.

The other day I saw a frock that looked like a fish's scales, and I could swear it had fins too. Another frock looked like a cross between the skin of a panther and a panda. And it had a few porcupine quills too.

Really, how difficult is it to take a nice, soft, piece of cloth and sew it in a simple design, add a couple of pretty buttons and motifs and attach a lace?

Actually, there are such frocks, yes. I saw a stunner of a frock in Weekender Kids and a heartstopping one in Lilliput last evening. I snatched them from the rack and my brain took a trip imagining how cute Puttachi will look in those frocks. Then I glanced at the price tags. 600 and 750. Can you believe that? Gaaaaah! I dropped them like hot bricks and hurried out.

S~ baulks at 600 and 750 too, but he is more liberal than I am when it concerns frocks that cost about 400 or so. Come on, he says, it is not everyday that we buy good frocks for her, and this is such a pretty frock, let's go ahead buy it. But I just cannot bring myself to do it. For one, Puttach will outgrow it in two months, and two - and this is the core problem - I know just how easy it is to stitch those frocks. I grew up only in home-stitched frocks. My mom and grandmom and aunts pored over Sears catalogues, selected good patterns, and churned out the most beautiful clothes for us. I know that this frock worth 500 can be stitched with ease by any of them. And that is why I cannot bear to pay so much for it. I know, a screw loose in my head, but that is hardly news.

S~ also says, come on, let's try one of those crazy hallucinatory prints sometime, I am sure Puttachi will look good. Oh yes, I say, I am sure Puttachi will look good. Like all mothers, I think my baby looks great whatever she wears (and doesn't wear). But really, even little girls are entitled to a bit of elegance. Little girls should look like little girls, and not like item girls.

Sigh. What do I do? Oh, I know, I know, mom, the solution is in my hands - pick up a good piece of cloth and stitch a frock myself. But it is one of those things that I "could" do, but don't do.

All I have to do is bide my time and look for a pretty, dark coloured, bright dress, which is not too heavy on the pocket, and meanwhile, I have to exercise utmost strength not to buy any more pretty light coloured clothes.

Now, if only it was that easy.


Gopal M S said...

We wanted a girl too, and my wife wanted to a girl so that she could shop for pretty clothes and we got a boy!

Devaki said...

You are right, the bright coloured dresses (can't really call them frocks) are little horrors. And all the sweet frocks come in pastel shades.

Hey, how about badgering your mom into stitching some, eh? :-)

Kadalabal said...

it is true for girls you get variety but the price you pay it heavy if you go to big shops no doubt about it for such things mumbai and delhi are good places where you are having places like dadar and karolbagh where you get all these things at pretty cheap price and they are all good stuff but all can not live in mumbai and delhi so your frock kathe is really cute nicely carved out as usual by shruthi what a great feeling to read about it.

shilpa said...

Grrr! I hear you! I recently bought a cute bright colored one from fab india and paid 400 for it. Guess what? The fabric bleads and it is a pain to wash it separately all the time.

Btw, I recently discovered your blog and now I'm hooked.

Usha said...

My god, I had no idea that this is how expensive they were. I think it is time you took the scissors and needle in your hands.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more on the fact that babies and toddlers at that age out grow the dresses in about two months time.

Being first-time parents ourselves we remember induliging in such dress purchase binges ourselves not really knowing how fast they grow. Our son did not wear some of the dresses we bought even once. We had to donate those new dresses to the charity and it was a bittersweet thing to do. Bitter because our son did not get to wear those dresses & sweet because we knew another less fortunate child would wear it and be happy just like our son.

We are much matured now and are careful how and when we buy dressess for our son.

It is a learning curve you see. :)


Anonymous said...

I am surprised at how much a baby girl's frock can cost!! Please try this website for easy designs -, I am sure you will turn out much better ones than you get out there, and will give your creativity another outlet!!

Veena Shivanna said...

"The other day I saw a frock that looked like a fish's scales, and I could swear it had fins too"..
-- Probably you can use them for fancy dress compitition..

and they outgrow clothes so quick, few of the clothes which people gifted soon after he was born just remained as new clothes
FOR EVER :-( Sigh!!

Anonymous said...

Totally agree! The worst thing is when you buy a pretty white frock and the design colours all bleed. Makes me sooooo angry! Wait till she gets to pre-school - then you'll have school clothes, home clothes, play clothes, aaaarrrrrrrrrgh! :)


Poppins said...

LOL how true. I have an admission to make however, I do buy those costly ones once in a while. I know she will outgrow them so I make her wear them whenever I can and hope that it is atleast worn out before it is outgrown. The ones from Shoppers stop are maha expensive but the quality is great.

Tell me have you ever seen a black frock? I have never and don't know why.

Item girl vs Little girl had me laughing my head off, Those dresses are yuck!

Wunderyearz said...

I totally agree with you on every single point.I'm too lazy to travel to city centre for shopping, so once when I looked around in the shops in Malleswaram I truly had a heart attack. The colours and designs were so horrible that I would never dream of putting Jelly in it.
Hey there is one shop though out there called Dolphins which has a decent collection of kids clothing in bright colours with no unwanted accessories attached to it and also the price tag was about 150 to 200.They go on good for regular outings not for any functions as such.

Morpheus said...

So agree with the little girls should not look like item girls. I saw a cute little girl the other day - about 2 yrs old I think, wearing a heavily sequinned off shoulder polyester net thing..and I thought..WHY!!! Girls need pretty, floral, comfy fabrics..not nightmare from christmas clothing. Good luck with your hunting..I dont know about pricing in India..but in Uk too..its damn expensive..bring out the USHA / SINGER and get cracking I say!

Radhika said...

Where is this Dolphins??

Collection Of Stars said...

I stay in B'lore and have a 2 year old daughter.
There are loads of baby shops around but they seem to have only garish clothes and they are extremely expensive. The frocks in Shoppers Stop/Westside etc are really good, elegant, graceful and are of good quality but MAHA expensive. And kids grow out of these is a couple of months.
We stay in an apartment complex and we have some sales/exhibitions happening in our club house regularly. Some of these export people come here and we get an extremely good pick there. I am not sure if the clothes that turn up here are the rejected ones from exports but I have not been able to find any problems. The quality of these clothes is very good, they are very smart and last long.
They are not expensive too.
I think 'Dolphins' in jayanagar 4th block also works the same way. I think they have an outlet in Indiranagar too.
Also, 'Desi' near South End circle has really cute stuff for little girls and the pricing is also decent.
Hope this helps :)

Kadalabal said...

Those of you who can find time to go to majestic please visit Alankar Plaza Complex lot of shops here sell clothes for children I found them pretty good but you must bargain a lot otherwise you are going to pay heavy price. avoid sundays and holidys if you dont like madrush if you are free visit on week days AN it will be of less people and you can make an attempt . beware dont hesitate to ask throw away price reduction they offer varies from 25% to ??? up you can make an attempt if you are willing to go to majestic area

Kanti Joshi said...

May be you should try 'Crystal' outlet and 'Solo' outlet in D.V.G Road, Netkallappa Circle in Bangalore. They have good quality clothes for a very reasonable price.

dumbo said...

im not eligible to say anything fruitful about the topic. but the post in general is gud!

shyam said...

Shruthi, my turn to tag you - I thought you might find it an interesting one to do :) It's called "Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married So Maybe We Should Just Forget This..." :) Basically, you're to list 10 of your favourite characters from literature - male and/or female.

I'd love to read about your choices... but of course if you dont have the time, I'll understand and will be happy to accept a link to more photos of Puttachi as compensation :D

Manpreet said...

Hilariously beautiful. I have faced these dilemmas once in a while. The trick is to buy good quality designer dresses in lesser numbers instead of piling up many and thus regretting having spent a fortune. They do outgrow but at times one wants to indulge too.
By the way, Ebony has nice designs and they offers great deals at intervals. I often shop for kids there.
I agree with Poppins that the dress should be worn out before it is outgrown.

GettingThereNow said...

I loved this post. I don't know how I ended up on your blog but now it is in my feeds.

I was in India in April this year and bought three dresses for my daughters. Paid 1200!!! bucks for them and I don't even like them that much. They were just better than the rest and I was hard pressed for time. And there were two kids back home expecting something when mommy returned. I so agree about the design of clothes - everything from the color to the pattern to the finishing leaves so much to be desired.

Bhargav said...

He he he...I have a solution. Go to Baby'R'Us or Toys'R'Us website and select a dress you like. Request your friends in the US to bring them to you during their next trip or send it along with their friends. Dresses at Baby'R'Us are mind boggling.
Or else, like you said you could stitch the frocks yourself.
Nice utilization of blog space!!

Anonymous said...

There is a store called Baalika, in Banashankari-lovely dresses for girls- with a heavy leaning toward ethnic designs and prints.And the clothes are not too expensive , either.

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Rama said...

hey does anyone have info on where to shop for smart trousers,jeans for 3yr old boys.I have recently shifted to Mysore from Bangalore & am finding it difficult to get a decent pair of jeans or trouser for my son. As is the case with the girls frocks,all trousers seems to be inspired by bollywood with heavy designs & belts rather then on comfort. Either they are too loose from the waist or too tight.The only brand where i found resonably priced trousers was Max in bangalore. So where do i go in Mysore now for a pair of smart trousers?

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