Saturday, September 21, 2002

A look for every style
Sumona Roy

A distinctive style can help carry off the most ordinary dress
A distinctive style can help carry off the most ordinary dress

IN these days of high-powered fashion statements, it is the look more than the dress that makes a lasting impact. You could be wearing the most expensive of designer labels in town but if the overall look is not correct, all your efforts would come to a nought.

Similarly, the most ordinary dress can be carried off in style, should it be complemented with the right hairstyle, make-up and accessories to suit your physical disposition and temperament. Attitude comes only later. And together, they make for a distinctive style statement.

Designers are increasingly coming around towards recognising this holistic view of fashion and are offering make-over tips, which, till a couple of years back, was considered beyond their purview. They have even categorised certain "standard looks" to suit every design and style:


Retrograde Indian:
This is straight out from your grandmother’s time when hair used to be kept long and rolled into elegant knots at the base of the neck. But should you have short, cropped hair, let it fall loose, leaving the parting prominent. You could even get a wavy look with coal-heated tongs.

Ideally, keep the make-up subdued with, perhaps, a dash of rouge on your cheeks. Do not use eyeliner along the eyelash line. The eyebrows should be slightly arched, thicker at the centre and tapering outwards into a thin line.

Retrograde western: Symbolised by jazz bands and martini shakers, this is also known as the "cafe society" look as it makes a celebration of French rolls in a big way. The front is kept flat out, while hair at the base of the neck is back-combed to form volume rolls.

If you want your hair to be left loose, try rolling it onto thin strips of coal-heated iron rods. This is a tedious process and can take hours (maybe, even a day) for the hair to set. When opened out, it gives beautiful ringlets which, when brushed, gives added volume.

This is a good option should you require to give body to your hair and curls to otherwise limp and straight strands. In order to match the style, keep skin tones pale and powdered. Pink is an appropriate lipstick colour to emphasise softness and femininity.

Street smart: Here, you need to carefully keep the hair waved from the temple area down. Chemicals and certain perming lotions can create this effect, but more than the hairstyle, it is your make-up that should send the message of being wild and fun-loving.

Keep the colours as loud as possible. Red is right for the lips, which may further be accentuated by big black artificial moles by the side of the mouth. Ensure the eyeliner is laid out thick and pulled out to give the eyes a fish-like shape.

Classy: Also known as the elegant look, it is identified by back-combed hair raised to a high bouffant. Tied up, you could create a very large bun. Do not apply kohl. Instead, try a thick black eyeliner and your eyelids — blue, green, or even pink.

Teenagers may try out blue eye shadow and plait their hair into two braids on either side of the parting. Lipsticks could go from light to dark, but otherwise, use little or no make-up. Your face should look as fresh and natural as possible.

Romantic: Long layered cuts with heavy curls tend to go well with the 25-plus woman, who wear both Indian and western outfits. For make-up, all colours may be used (depending on the skin tone and mood) but keep it subtle and understated.

Youngsters have the added option of choosing between the hippy and punk styles. Complementing these, are lip colours in brown and pink tones. Blushes could range from lilac and purple to metallic blue, green and bronze. Liners are not a must, but thick mascara is.

Exotic: Here you could try the latest in hair-cuts with cute flip-outs and cool flip-ins. Straight hair may be worn up to the shoulders or could even be cut shorter — with the lower half flipped out and the crown of the head flipped in. You’d be sharing this look with many Hollywood stars.

For those who want to keep their hair long, the razor cut complements straight hair, while curly hair asks for a long, layered cut. Large buns are also happening, in celebration of the classical Indian look. (MF)