Look hot this winter

COOL AND TRENDY Fashion-conscious collegians dress smart to look hip, yet be warm and comfortable  

Winter brings with it a few sniffles and plenty of worries — for collegians at least. This is the season when they are stuck in a dilemma over what to wear and the last thing a teen wants is to look like a big, fat cuddly bear.

For the fashion-conscious, layering is the key to looking hip and trendy and still remain warm. Layering your garments can give a sleek look besides making it easier to put them together. By investing in garments that can be layered, you can mix and match to come up with various combinations that will keep you and your winter wardrobe chic for years to come. What's more, some of these pieces will even see you through spring and summer.

In western wear, girls can choose to wear a vest or a singlet below a thin sweater. A full sleeve, open button shirt worn over a singlet can be left open. At night however, button up.

Choose basic colours like black and grey for your singlet. Have a few spring-summer colours like blue, green, orange and pink in your wardrobe too. This is not the age when you should be saying, "This is not my colour." This is the time when you can wear almost any colour under the sun and not look old, ungainly or outdated! Make the most of it.

Singlets or spaghetti strap tops are useful in summer too. If your college has restrictions about the length of your tops, make sure your outer layer is long enough to reach your hips.

The neckline shouldn't be too deep either. The cue, after all, is to be warm and trendy, not to freeze and look like a hillbilly!

If you're in a college where western wear is a strict no-no then worry not. Nothing better than a salwar kameez to keep you warm. In fact, a well-designed one will do away with the need to carry extra shawls and sweaters around. Patiala salwars are still hot. Salwar kameez with embroidery on the entire churidar or salwar are the designs of the moment.

If you're making new suits, make them full-sleeved. When it gets warmer, you can simply ask your neighbour tailor to shorten the sleeve length.

Another option that is very popular in the north and can be carried off here as well is the suit-shawl combo. Readymade suits or suit materials come with a matching shawl rather than a dupatta. This again eliminates the need of a regular dupatta and the shawl will keep you warm.

If you can't get your hands on one of these sets, wear your favourite printed suit with a plain shawl or a plain suit with a Kalamkari or Kashmiri shawl.

Complete your western outfit with boots and an Indian outfit with a pair of jootis. These closed shoes will keep your feet warm too.

Boys can choose from a variety of fabrics like corduroy, tweed and chinos for their pants. If you wear jeans, then a bomber jacket or even a denim one will see you through the season.

If trousers are what the administration has laid down, then choose a lightweight blazer in navy blue or grey-black to wear with shirts. Wear a cardigan over your tucked-in shirt rather than a button down sweater.

For both sexes, your grandma's argyle knit sweaters — the ones with the diamonds across the front, are classics for every winter.

If you're buying an expensive piece, think if you'd wear it the next winter too. This will save you a lot of your father's money. But before you buy anything, rummage through your wardrobe. That old bizarre print blouse with a nice collar would look good under a coordinated sweater. Or even that warm shirt in a colour you swore you'd never wear — who's going to notice it under the sweater anyways?

In the southern States, where the winter temperatures hardly swing between extremes (namma Bengalooru being exempted, of course), cottons and natural fibres are still the best bet. Even in the cooler months, the days tend to be warm, and these fabrics will allow you to be comfortable all day long.

Don't let the season's gloom affect you. A bit of colour will brighten your day and of those around you.

Remember, fashion is not about wearing what's in and what's out, it's about wearing what you can carry off.

So if you think that turquoise blue scarf will enhance your all-black outfit, go for it!