Saturday, May 18, 2002

Chill out with floral prints
Anjana Sarin

WITH temperatures soaring, it is time to chill out with some crispy cottons in the coolest of colours. Whether you go for the greens, blues and turquoise of the ocean or the reds, yellows and oranges of summer flowers, remember your look must radiate the vibrant mood of the season.

Designers are already recommending bias-cut skirts (with strong emphasis on the waist and hips) in place of the asymmetric tunics and gowns of the winter. For blouses and tops, florals abound in a big way ó from a show of large abstracts to tiny, dainty mini prints.

But then, a lot matters on your personal style. And should you not be a skirt person, how do you get your summer wardrobe in order? It is one thing to abide by market trends and quite another to make your own statement, feel comfortable about it and carry yourself with confidence.


On certain aspects you cannot go wrong. For instance, your favourite chikan kurta from last summer could probably give you a clue to the kind of tie-and-dye print that you might like to opt for now. Similarly, denim never gets out of fashion, so, you donít have to discard those jeans and tops.

The big news though is the return of the denim jacket as summer wear. Look for a deep purplish blue or charcoal grey number and dramatise it with chunky trims, buckles, rivets, studs...anything, so long as it is metal. Embroidery and patchwork are out.

If you are buying jeans, go for bootlegs or the narrow, straight-legged versions. A lean, basic denim skirt is also a hot item this summer. Make it hotter with strapless tops in strong reds or night black. Significantly, denim is fast getting to be regarded as formal wear.

Among formals, there are also those trendy buttoned-up Nehru coats as well as trousers and blouses in clean cuts, pin tucks, stripes and solids, which brighten up the workplace. For men, short-sleeved cotton shirts and rich twill for trousers are in high demand. Checks on white are hot Friday favourites.

For women, the hippie chic look is in. Team a belted tunic with slim white pants or a pleasant blouse or denim skirt. Alternatively, go for a long skirt with a solid fitted jacket. As far as possible, combine white with different textures and shades, like beige and ecru.

There are also so-called "comfort casuals" which constitute an important part of every womanís summer wardrobe. These would range from bright T-shirts and tops to capris, and cargos.

Related to them are the dramatic yet elegant outfits in black and white, meant essentially for party wear. Black teamed with silver, gold and red are also sure winners. Try out sexy low-waisted hipsters with kick-flare hems, asymmetrical tops with studs and glitter to brighten up the party scene.

Structured white shirts with pleats and large cuffs (reminiscent of a gentlemanís dinner shirt) with tuxedo inspired trousers are just right for a formal dinner date. At the other extreme are the racer-back tops with coordinated shorts and smart zip-up hooded jackets combined with boot-cut track pants or capri tights for the young and adventurous.

For those with a penchant for ethnic dressing, there are long and short kurtas with pants, churidaars and parallels to choose from. Kurtas are nowadays naturally textured in tie-and-dye and spray paint prints. For a formal look, go for cotton silks with open collars and round necks in whites and pastels. These can be ideally teamed with drawstring pants, khakis and jeans.

Finally, for the lingerie ó the most neglected part of the wardrobe. For those long, sultry summer nights, stick to nightwear in pretty pinks and corals, bright blue and lime. Spring prints (especially florals) are the flavour of the season for sexy hipster briefs and thongs. Bra-brief sets in satin and camisole brief sets that feel like second skin will also keep you cool and hip this summer. (MF)