Get Street Smart This Monsoon

Monsoon in the Capital has always been tricky. Not even the most debonair Delhiite can predict how the day will turn out.Will those sale-bought blue and brown shoes do their duty and getting duly admired? Or will they get soaked through and through by the city’s friendly puddles and meet their maker before the day ends?Remaining stylish has never been costly or difficult in the Capital. And heeding the call of fashion runways across the world — our open markets have stepped up.Ballerinas and peep-toes in pink, light blue, fluorescent green, black and every other shade imaginable that you can get away with only in the monsoon are available at Janpath, Lajpat Nagar and Sarojini Nagar. For boys, there are plastic sneakers in red, blue and, if you cannot take the risk, brown.“I have loads of these lovely, costly Oxford shoes, sale-bought of course. But four monsoons in the Capital have taught me to wear loud red plastic shoes. And, they look super stylish,” says 28-year-old fashion journalist Anupam.Though the rain helps bring down the temperature, it also bring with it the menace of humidity. Sweating through your jeans for the sake of fashion is no longer cool. Breezy pyjamas or palazzos in soft cottons are available in the myriad lanes of Sarojini Nagar for barely Rs.200.The same gets more expensive as you reach Janpath. Here too, pink rules, followed by yellow and light blue. Last on the list is dark blue and black for those who still want to play it safe.Moving on, it is a truth universally acknowledged that even the shabbiest of outfits can be saved by the right accessories.A cheerful headband decorated with pink and red flowers to off-set the faded white shirt, funky earrings shaped like peacock feathers to soften the severe pulled-back ponytail. And a big plastic neck-piece in fushia pink or yellow to offset the plain black T-shirt. The street vendors in Connaught Place, Paharganj and a few shops in Janpath have them all.Last on the list, of course, is scarves — great to wear with the right earrings and very efficient in wiping off that monsoon sweat or covering up an immodest shirt. The cost between Rs.50 in Sarojini Nagar and Rs.100-Rs.500 in Janpath and Karol Bagh.Simply knowing what is available out there and what to buy is pointless without picking up some street smart advice from those in the know.“I usually quote Rs.500 for those who look smart and Rs.700 for those who look like they don’t know any better. Sometimes, shoes that are for Rs.200 fetch me Rs.500,” says Raj, a vendor selling plastic shoes.“I once asked the price of a shoe and the shopkeeper quoted Rs.500. I quoted half the amount. We got into a friendly bargain banter when a nearby shopkeeper laughed and said all the shoes of that style were available for Rs.100,” says Pooru, who works in public relations and has to look good, come what may to keep her job.It naturally follows that the best plan of action is to look into many shops as possible before closing in for the kill. However if you are hard-pressed for time, then street shopping is not for you.

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