What’s in and what’s out

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Attractive Making a strong statement
Attractive Making a strong statement

Look chic and ethnic with mix and match sets, advises S. AISHWARYA

Pleated pyjamas turned into cool harem pants go well with western tunics, while the all time matching kurtas now pair with tapered jeans. Cotton duppattas draped around kameez are rechristened as stoles to feature around the collars of formal shirts. Fashion has done it again, what it has been doing for years — throwing out options to experiment.

While the standard Western wears like Ts and jeans are increasingly patronised by the city teens, their fashion sense of ethnic wears are restricted to matching kameez with salwars and churidhars, say designers.

Yet to pick up

“The concept of mix and match has not quite picked up in the city, though cities like Chennai and Hyderabad took to it years ago,” says Bhuvana Ramanan, an ethnic wear designer, who runs 11-year-old ‘Vasthara,’ an exclusive ethnic boutique at Chennai.

Even the matching blouses for the sarees are no more wowed by women in metropolises. It takes a bit of your fortune but blouses of same shades of the sarees with heavy embroideries are worth the money.

“Aari and Zardosi embroidered blouses can pair with sarees with muted designs. Patch-work goes well with cotton sarees having rich pallus.”

A simple salwar-kameez with A-cut involves a whole lot of nuances to make it fit perfectly on a person. Women of Aura Club learnt it from Mrs.Ramanan at a workshop on fashion designing held recently. “The fashion world out there is full of trial and errors. Only when people attempt to try out new things, will they know what suits them the best,” she says.

Fashionable designs

Kalli cut, rarely experimented by tailors, gives the short and small-framed women a sigh of relief. Princess cut, like the name suggests, shows off rich looks and is ideal for party wear. Since the cut starts from the shoulders, a precise measurement is crucial for a great look. Anarkali cut is the most in-thing in the world of ethnic fashion. But it’s a strict no-no for people with broad and heavy frame. “It enhances the bust-line, as it is squeezed just above the hip and flares up below with numerous pleats. Tapered churidhar is the best mate for the top,” opines Poorva Srikanth, a City-based dress designer.

Before you pick up the complex necklines from the catalogue, watch out for the measurements. Broad and deep neck-lines go well with women of broader frame and high necks are best suited for slender women. “There is just a thin line between being fashionable and looking over the top. More than wearing trendy outfits, it is important to learn to carry yourself with elegance,” Mrs. Bhuvana says.


She suggests loose salwars with cotton kameez just below the knees for all ages. Loosely-fit salwars and tops seem to win over many others too. Saritha, a salwar-kameez designer, finds that girls insist on tight-fits with zippers at the back side of the kameez. “When you wear something too clingy, you tend to be too conscious about it and the whole purpose of the tailoring fails. Dresses are tailored for those who prefer comfortable outfits to readymade wear,” she says.

Vimala Mahesh, who trades in ethnic wear from North, makes sure she keeps the finger on the pulse of fashion-conscious women in the city. “Kurtis just below the knees paired with churidhars look ultra feminine. Patialas, which are outdated in metros have just made an entry into the city. Cottons are best suited to make fashion statements. But it needs proper care to maintain the shades.”

Fishing for ideal accessories for your ethnic party-wear in your wardrobe? Duppattas are your trusted companions. However, plain duppattas are old hat. The traditional way of fastening the duppattas on both sides of the shoulders is passé. Casual draping of the stoles around the neck teaming it with cotton kurtis is sure to make the heads turn. Heavily embroidered crepe duppattas and traditional bandhinis laced with funky beads could give the salwars a rich makeover. In cottons, you have umpteen choices. Maheshwari cotton and Chanderi silks make for good duppatta materials, which could be paired with Mangalgiri cotton kurtis.


When it comes to fabrics, maroon, black and orange make the basics. Cottons can take in all types of colours and so do crepe and georgette. But colour sense has to do less with fashion and more with the skin tone of the person. “Sarees or kameez, women must buy it only after having a look at the mirror after draping it over them,” Mrs. Bhuvana says.

Maintaining linen needs as much attention as choosing them. Bhuvana suggests hand-washing cotton fabrics with bathing soaps. “Detergents are too harsh on them and the colour tends to bleed especially cottons.”

There could be sea change in the world of fashion, but the universal rule of colour still exists — lighter shades during the day and darker at night.




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