Mumbai: They are India's topmost politicians, but do they make the cut when it comes to fashion? MiD DAY fashion editor Shweta Shiware analyses the sartorial sense of our netas

Sonia Gandhi, Congress
She is the most dignified leader in the country when it comes to dressing. Almost complimenting her personal outlook to politics, her wardrobe isn't drenched in superficial sulk. Sonia understands the importance of subtle perfection: her hair is simply done, but never out of place, the understated handloom saris or Tassar churidar-kurtas are never without an absence of colour, and her shoes are classic peep-toe wedges.
Tip: It would be interesting to see her in something younger; maybe well-cut pencil pants worn under a knee-length tunic.


J Jayalalithaa, AIADMK
The one-time glam girl of south Indian cinema now shrouds herself in saris, sometimes shielded with a bullet-proof cape from the same fabric. The owner of 10,000 sarees and 750 pairs of shoes, as one raid at her residence revealed, tends to resort to dark monotones, which is smart considering her girth.
Tip: The occasional floral prints she sports needs to be put aside. When in doubt, wear black. Especially when you are 61 and overweight.



Narendra Modi, BJP
The man with a mission to corporatise brand India isn't averse to brands. Bulgari rimless glasses, Mont Blanc pens and designer flat-dial watches are constant companions, even when he's launching a verbal blitzkrieg against Sonia Gandhi's Italian lineage. In Gujarat, he has single-handedly rechristened his trademark half-sleeve cotton bush shirt as the Modi Kurta and his double-strapped flat, brown chappals as Modi Chappals.
Tip: His charisma overshadows the style glitches, but maybe Modi without the facial hair would be a surprise.

Omar Abdullah, National Conference
He's got age on his side, not to mention taste. So whether Omar dresses in a crisp blue shirt worn under a knit cardigan, a pinstripe shirt with a blazing red tie, a dressy sherwani or a well-fitted jacket, he looks dapper. It will be interesting to see him opt for the jeans-Polo shirt-Ray Ban Aviators avatar.
Tip: Can we get a hairstylist to rid him of that peak of hair that juts out like a peninsula into an ocean of baldness?


Raj Thackeray, MNS
The man who caused havoc for North Indians is surprisingly diminutive in stature. We love the spin he gives to a drab shirt when he contrasts it with a sleeveless sweater bearing a flash of colour and designer sunglasses.
Tip: While he needs the kurta to connect with the Marathi manoos, nothing stops him from adding an edge to draw in the youth by slipping on a pair of rugged denims underneath.

Priya Dutt, Congress
Priya's non-committal approach to everything conventional, including the outdated whites and sarees, asserts itself muscularly to make her a woman who isn't afraid of wearing pants to Parliament or sporting a chunky wrist watch at a political rally. She combines the traditional with modern when she teams a hand-block printed kurti in vivacious blue with denim and girly, floral slip-ons.
Tip: How about adding some designer jazz to ordinary kurtis, perhaps a Monisha Jaising kurti in glamorous chamois?


P Chidambaram, Congress
The comforting waft of filter kapi wafts into our living rooms whenever the home minister appears on TV. Whether he's presenting the budget or visiting heads of state abroad, he never ditches the mundu (lungi). His ethnicity has made him an unconventional style icon, even for lifestyle magazine editors like N Radhakrishnan, who revealed his desire to feature him on the cover of Man's World.
Tip: The saucer spectacles must go. A sleeker frame was in order a decade ago, Chidu.



L K Advani, BJP
The PM aspirant comes across as rigid as far as his wardrobe goes. He rarely deviates from the kurta-pyjama-Nehru jacket combo; the only change is the colour of the jacket beige, black or slate.
Tip: A quick way to alter his look would be to invest in a new pair of spectacle frames. The current ones are way too large. A slim, rimless pair would be classier.



Lalu Prasad Yadav, RJD
He loves his khadi kurta-pyjama that he jazzes up with a Nehru jacket or a snug cardigan that accentuates his belly. On special occasions, he might want to try chic raw silk kurtas, Javed Akhtar style.
Tip: A trip to a salon, not the local hajaam, is in order. The excess and unruly hair on the head and ears needs to be taken care of. A crop that's styled with stronghold gel, swept to the side rather than falling in a tapeli-cut, should do the trick.


Varun Gandhi, BJP
While the Chinese-collared kurtas might be his way to blend with the experienced, he's alienating GenY.
Tip: Who sports a centre parting unless you are still reeling under the Tere Naam craze? A sleeker, buzzed haircut will make his face look less chubby.



Mayawati, BSP
The good thing is no matter how gawky she is, she's unique. The full-sleeved nylon salwar kameez, with a dupatta slung around her neck and heavy gold bangles rarely leave her. If she would only up the quality of the fabric (try Tassar silk or a handwoven cotton-silk blend) and ditch the bangles for a subtle, matte gold bracelet, or a pair of solitaires, she wouldn't look like she's trying too hard.
Tip: We're glad she cut the ponytail, but she needs to style her hair. The current top-heavy crop adds weight to her face.



Rahul Gandhi, Congress
Rahul's quiet charm provokes a flurry of naughty thoughts. His signature starched white kurta-pyjama is teamed with footwear that best suits the task at hand sneakers for the Olympian pace at rallies, loafers for Parliament, and platform sandals worn with jeans when he permits himself to socialise.
Tip: We've heard that a tediously worked-out six-pack lies beneath the kurta. Perhaps a linen shirt over worn-out denims will help us get closer to veracity.

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