2009 was a year when different style statements worked. The ethnic half-sari of yore returned with a designer touch; international must-haves such as leggings and treggings (trouser leggings, for the uninitiated) came in, got moulded to the Indian way of dressing; pleated dresses and tunics continued to rule, and balloon dresses simply vanished.

The fashion industry felt the ripples of recession, too, in varying degrees. “Recession has had a stabilising effect on prices of designer garments.

Prices were escalating without a corresponding increase in quality. Designers had to bring in quality control and prices had to become realistic. A dress priced upwards of Rs. 60,000 doesn't make sense to me,” says designer Anand Kabra.

An enterprising few came out with ‘recession-proof clothing', enabling you to mix and match different pieces to make the garments more functional. Classic cuts and silhouettes that have passed the test of time ruled, as buyers played safe.

The mark of the 80s was unmistakable, both in Indian and Western wear. “The 80s were synonymous with the rock, mish-mash look. 2009 saw elements of 80s style being picked up in classy, sophisticated form,” says designer Kedar Maddula.

The calf-length legging of 2007/08 was still around, but the ankle-length leggings were predominant. Leggings doubled up as churidhars for ethnic wear (Deepika Padukone made the flouncy kurta and legging combination popular in “Love Aaj Kal”), or were teamed up with long tops. Black leggings apart, there were ones in gold and silver shades. Then came trouser leggings in denim and leather variations, lending themselves to fitted tops or shirt tunics. Designer Ishita Singh feels the disco bling of the 80s will emerge stronger, and leggings will get a new look with prints and Scottish checks.

In fact, the return of the leggings and trousers of the 80s saw a simultaneous fading of skirts. And, the trousers were as varied as slim pants to peg trousers and drape pants. Jumpsuits, another major highlight of the 80s, were back too.

The 80s were also about off-shoulder dresses. Kedar points to the growing popularity

of off-shoulder dresses at parties. He sees this trend trickling down to casual wear with long and short one-sleeved tops worn with jeans in 2010. In regular and off-shoulder dresses, the emphasis is on shoulders. “Dresses and shirts have fuller, puffed sleeves or exaggerated shoulders,” he says.

Formal shirts incorporated subtle pleats for the boardrooms. The pleats worked for knee-length dresses too. The pleats, used imaginatively, added to the garment detailing. Ishita feels the use of girly frills will stay in 2010.

Dresses, tunics and tops got more structured, weaning out the balloon dresses and skirts. Structured tunics in comfortable fits were worn with leggings. The silhouette also had room for cocoon shapes. “People got tired of the frumpy, voluminous look and preferred structured dresses,” says Anand.

Kedar sees solid colours ruling the coming year as well as combination of off-beat colours such as a mix of green, purple and orange. On campuses, have you seen young women carelessly matching black leggings with just about any colourful kurta and stole? That's the idea. A range of yellows, from mustard to citrus; royal blue and purples; and scarlets will hold sway.