“Three sashes for every traditional wear” is a widely accepted notion for those who enjoy dressing in traditional wear in my homeland.
Some say the phrase was made popular by the fashion industry, to get people to buy more than what is needed. But sashes are generally cheaper than traditional wears, so it is probably much easier on the pocket to buy two more of them than be sold another set of traditional wear and sash (which they used to when the economy was booming, when my parents were young). Thus, this is unlikely to be the one and only origin of the phrase.
I still believe the phrase was made popular by the fashion industry, but for a different reason. But rather than telling you what I think, maybe it is easier if I showed you.
Traditional wear and sash, both with chrysanthemum patterns printed
Some of you may recall I have shown you this combination before. They were passed down to me from a relative as a set, because they were custom-ordered to be made for one another – the one and only for each other. Because they are by definition a perfect match, I feel quite comfortable putting them on. So long as I do not mistake the dress code (this is a casual wear) and the season (this is for autumn only), I can wear this without worrying about pattern or colour clashes or any other fashion faux pas.
But after a while, it does get a little dull to wear the same combination every time… I cannot say I am a fashionable one, but I do like to have fun changing my impression with what I wear! So I searched through the other sashes I was passed down, and I felt this one was a good match as well:
The circled animal is a deer, a seasonal reference for autumn because bucks call out to does during mating in this season
Not flashy or anything but just enough playfulness, and most of all, I think this sash gives quite a different façade to the traditional wear than the one above, which to me looks elegant and gorgeous.
And now, I am looking for the third sash for this traditional wear. This time, I am thinking of finding one from my own collection. I feel it will add another dimension to the traditional wear by combining something old with something new. Which do you like the best, or do you have more ideas on what will match? (All comments are welcome – you may well be providing another important point of view from outside my culture and open up a realm that has never been explored before!)
Now, imagine you are the traditional wear.
Maybe there is a one-and-only sash made just for you… maybe a talent, maybe a skill, maybe a competency.
But more often than not, maybe you will find many others with the same talent, skill, or competency.
Then maybe it is not the one-to-one matching between you and your talent or skill or competency, but a combination of them that matters.
Maybe the more “sashes” you have, the more unique you become by the principle of combinatorics.
And maybe then, you will become the one and only you.
I hope you will be adventurous and try on not just three but as many “sashes” as you can find!
(I should mention that the combinatorics in traditional wear is made even more complex with a couple of accessory items that are worn on and around the sashes… ah, the endless possibilities!)