Friday, November 30, 2012

Era of 'Jacket Toego' in Bhutanese dressing style

In the evolution of Bhutanese dress over the past two decades, I remember various fashions coming in and dying out. A new fashion would exist for certain period of time and soon become obsolete as another fashion would take over. I remember an era when men started wearing half-Ghos*. Then it was the era of woman wearing half kiras*. Then came the era of woman wearing  above-waist sized toegos*. Then it was the era of men wearing pointed shoes (these may not be in chronological order). The list goes on. I cant remember all. All these new fashions had some influence on Bhutanese cultural dress, especially on design and style of wearing. Today, it is the era of Jacket toego.

Jacket toego is a newly designed toego and is becoming a popluar fashion among Bhutanese girls and women. It is called so because of its resemblance to a jacket. The sleeves are slenderer than  normal toegos. It gently tapers down to the midriff and broadens from the midriff to the waist. This gives it a constriction at the midriff. It is worn without wonju because when the sleeves and the collar are folded out, the interior that gets exposed makes it look like there is a wonju*.

The way it is worn is quite unusual. Unlike the normal toego where the left and right lower fronts does not contact, the right lower front of jacket tegoes are pulled right to the left side of the waist overlapping the left lower front. The right lower front is held in position (left side of the waist) by two brooches or pins, one at the bosom region, one near the edges. This style of pulling the right lower front right to the left adds to the tightness at the waist region.

I talked to some girls who were wearing Jacket toegos and I asked them why they liked to wear them. They said that jacket toegos make them look slimmer and trimmer adding to the elegance of their body shape. Then I asked them if they know how Jacket Toego originated, to which most of them were unsure. However few opined that the toego was first worn at a fashion show in Thimphu. They believed that a fashion model walked the ramp wearing the toego and it became the prototype. From then on people started producing such toegos and it flourished.

With Bhutanese tradition and culture constantly being struck by new fashions, and with the society that is ever becoming fashion conscious, where would Jacket toegos take Bhutanese dress to? Now that jacket toegos have already become popular fashion, would it soon make Bhutanese forget traditional toegos?

Footnote:
Toego- A jacket like cloth worn over a blouse by Bhutanese women.
Wonju- Blouse.
Kira- A wrap-around worn by Bhutanese women.
Gho- Robe like dress worn by Bhutanese men.

PS: Photos for this post coming soon.