My friend Adrian, commenting on a previous post, spoke of finding Delhi staid and dowdy in comparison with Bombay. Well, Delhi fashions have changed considerably since Adrian visited half a dozen winters ago. Which makes sense: all the clothes sold in all those new malls have to end up somewhere, right? The most important sign of the shift in fashion sense is, in my opinion, an exponential increase in the number of women wearing boots.
No item of clothing combines allure and assertiveness, power and play, the way stiletto-heeled leather boots do. A decade ago one could stay in Delhi for days and spot hardly a couple of boot-shod females. Young, office-going women wore shoes; seniors wore sneakers or chappals with woolen socks. Now women in boots are all over the place, striding down streets, in offices and restaurants.
If I'm right in relating boots to power, the change in female footwear represents something larger. It is a sign that women are slowly claiming Delhi for themselves in a way previously unthinkable within a city notorious for its female unfriendliness.