Jackets smother sweaters

Jackets smother sweaters

Have you noticed sweaters fading away from the Bangalore landscape? This city’s sweater culture seems to be on the way out, along with all the other things old Bangalore was once famous for. The reason could be that it is a much warmer city that it was some years ago. And the ones who need protection from the cold would rather wear jackets or coats.

So is wearing woollens one of those lost, forgotten pleasures? Maybe in Bangalore, but Delhi hasn’t given up its love for knitted wool yet.
On the Metro, which makes commutes within the sprawling capital a breeze, almost everyone wears a sweater. Many shops at Connaught Place start promoting winterwear, especially sweaters, in October-November.
Some years ago, Bangalore used to have a big annual sale of woollen knitwear, but you won’t find too many sweater ads these days. When was the last you saw someone hand-knitting a sweater?

Jackets are probably seen as more macho (even by women who wear them) and contemporary, but they can’t beat the romance of the sweaters. But, on the other hand, jackets are water-proof, which sweaters can’t be.

Labour of love
Sweaters are crafted in colours, textures and designs that are a feast to see, touch and feel. Pure wool doesn’t come cheap, and acrylic is taking its place, but sweaters of whatever material still have a delicate charm that jackets just can’t match.
Hundreds of colour and pattern possibilities present themselves before a sweater designer. Can you say the same of jackets, mostly made in manly, sober colours? I would imagine jackets wouldn’t inspire a designer as much as sweaters would.
Windcheaters, remember them?
In Bangalore, the first challenge to sweaters came from ‘windcheaters’, jackets made from thin nylon-like material, and designed like the stuff that motorbike racers sport. These are meant to protect you from the wind, and were a huge hit among two-wheeler riders in the 1980s. Where have they disappeared?
Bangalore’s motorcycle riders now wear thicker jackets. And thanks to easy loans and rising incomes, many of them have graduated to air-conditioned cars, in which the atmosphere can be controlled, and they don’t much feel the need for warm clothing. Shawls are still in vogue, but they seem to be preferred by the elderly and the art fraternity.

Many moviemakers now use sweaters are a class marker: only the less affluent or lovers of retro styles wear them. But do check out the stores in Bangalore. They have on offer a winter collection of sweaters that could, if nothing else, delight the art lover in you.
Shawls may be dignified, and jackets may be functional, but sweaters are beautiful.

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