Dressing for all Man-kind

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My area of expertise is in women fashion but on the behest of some women let me write about fashion tips for men. Today’s blog will focus on basic outfit appropriateness and how to stay updated  with latest trends. So here goes

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1.Jeans have a fit: like women jeans there are different styles and fits for men as well. And like women you have to choose the right fit, gone are the days of baggy jeans and dad jeans being cool. You can read more on jeans etiquettes and shop for skinny leg, cuffed, boot cut, straight cut, distressed and move out from the comfort of relaxed and  tapered leg.

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2. Checkered out : I know by default most men including my husband gravitate towards check shirts. Yes, they are nice and look good but there are other options like stripes, solids, dots. Yes floral and paisley are also trending but word of caution : hawain shirts (big floral prints) only look good on the beach and that is also a dying  trend. The most important aspect the shirts is for occassion as there is a different between casual shirts, work shirts and formal shirts which you can discover in types of shirts.  2 front pockets are casual , one shirt pocket is formal, shiny fabrics are party wear and not formal, short sleeves are casual I know the counter argument could be Aamir Khan in ‘Ghajini’ but you cant show up
to work in that now can you?

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3. Short-comings : shorts and  bermudas are great options to beat the heat. But remember boxers are not shorts and the length does matter. Home shorts and casual shorts are different and so are gym shorts. Work out clothes are not casual wear. Please read short style for more information.

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4. Sneakers v/s casual shoes : there are different types men casual and formal shoes. Sneakers are mainly of 2 types street and workout and they don’t always go with shorts and jeans. There are loafers which are casual shoes and floaters are casual sandals. You might not want a shoe closet but there
are essentials you can find in the  shoe rack.

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5. Jacket up : do not confuse formal wear jackets with work wear. The main difference is fabric, shiny is partywear and structured is work wear. Suit jackets are work wear, sports coats are evening or casual wear. You choose  jackets based on occassions. Courdroy and linen blazers are smart  casuals and are classy options for day outings.

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6. Right fit : trousers should have the right fit whether pleated, flat ironed or straight fit and shirts always have to be tucked in. Pants are also formal and casual , formal pants have to be worn with formal shoes. Cargos are casual wear
and so are rolled pants.

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7. Tees : the most basic of all casual wear which now has so many varieties and the one in which most of the mistakes are made. Categorized based on necklines such as polo,round neck, v neck, crew neck and collared. Super tight t-shirts are actually work out gear.T-shirts should have a relaxed but nice fit. Polos work with all pants and give a nice casual look. Stripes, solids and graphic tees are the basic styles but now thats changing with designs coming in as well.
    Thus, men’s fashion is as vast as women’s fashion its just that the interest level may not be as high. There are so many dos and donts which change with time, bug the time has come to focus on cut, style and fit as that is what makes you stand out.

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  Cuffed pants (especially jeans)are very summer casual and do not always look appropriate. Tight tees does make one look like that they might burst. Undershirts and blazers can never be a hot look and neither can short shorts.
  Colours and patterns change as per seasons and years. There are colours other than blue,white,black,grey,green and red. Pink is still trendy and so is yellow. Tees do not go with trousers and even collared ones don’t. Loafers and street sneakers are more durable casual shoes than running sneakers. Suit means jacket and pant of the same fabric for a suitable business attire. Shirts can look shabby if they don’t have the right fit even if they are tucked in. Layering is still a trend. Snug undershirts are not actually t-shirts to be worn out. Embroidery and embellishment still looks better on women’s clothes.
    Thus, these are a few tips you should keep in mind on your shopping spree and be more adventurous in terms of colours, styles and pattern. And if you need style advice please feel free to leave a comment or mail me at aamrav@gmail.com 🙂

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Silken beauty

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I have been writing about (sari-nation) and refering to the importance of silk sarees (timelessness). So lets go into the details of the types of silk and how to style them write so you can shine at the next shaadi 😉
    In India, sarees differ from region to region just like our traditions. But for now lets take a  sari safari :

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                Temple saree

1. Kanjeevaram : a typical weave of kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu its the most famous silk from all of the south. Its a thick brocadish silk with a sheen from the way its woven. Popularized by bollywood actresses its also the most expensive. The gold shines on its own and is a heavy silk saree basically with borders or temple borders but now comes in different varieties as per the changing times.

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Style tip : this Saree is very heavy and shiny so jewellery should be minimalistic but with less shine. The blouse can be contrasting to give the outfit more colour, appeal and trendiness.

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                    Brocade

2. Banarsi : coming from its namessake city in Uttar Pradesh, it is the most popular silk saree and is ideally a part of every bridal troussea. This saree is thicker silk often infused with brocade and gleaming zari work. Intricate threadwork of designs ranging from floral, animals, brocade to architecture. The threadwork is duller than the silk.

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Style tip : since the saree is so elaborate they look best with muted blouses, metallic colours look good too or you can opt for the saree colour. Jewellery should be one coloured as a variety may look too shiny and bright. The saree has to be the focal point because of its sheer beauty.

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3. Tussar : tussar silk is crisp and flowy and comes from all regions in different varieties. These sarees have a distinctive gold sheen and are very light weight. They have thread work or prints on them and use contrssting colours.

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Style tip : since the colours are many the blouse should be a single colour of one of the design colours. Jewellery can be heavier as the saree is light weight, this is a good option for the summer months due to the airy fabric.

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4. Paithani: originating from Maharashtra and often worn by traditional Marathi brides, paithani sarees are known for extravagant aanchal though the saree overall only has borders. In olden times, real gold and silver threads were used for the weaves. Anchals have intricate threadwork of flora and fauna traditionally.

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                    Bridal

Style tip : these sarees have a silky shine and are plain overall. Traditionally worn with a solid coloured blouse of the border. To add an extra oomph try pairing it with a similar print blouse as the aanchal in one of the bold colours used on it. Kundan and gold jewellery complete the look.

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               Moga silk

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                Sambalpuri ikat

5. Orissa silk  :  orissa produces the finest silk in the country but has different varieties.  Moga, pasapalli, temple, bomkai, ikat, tissue, sambalpuri and different tribal silks make these sarees unique because of the weave and the work. They don’t have too much shine and are softer and lighter and the silk is also more breathable.

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                    Bomkai silk

Style tip : designs are simple and aanchal is heavy so the blouse can be brighter than the saree shade in a bold colour. Chunky jewellery looks good and ethnic with these sarees.

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6. Kashmiri silk : silk threads mixed with pashmina gives rise to the exquisite silk sarees with elegant kashmiri embroidery. The fabric is soft and glides but adorned with borders and lovely aanchal work.

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Style tip : this saree is simple but very elegant and blouse becomes a centre piece of colour . Plain brocade silk or sequin blouses would work well to add the needed shine. Jewellery should be a solid colour so it does not rake away from the beautiful embroidery. This saree is warmer than all other silk sarees due to wool blend.

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                    Tribal print

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              Jamdani dhakai silk

7. Baluchari : originting from Murshidabad in West Bengal these are machine loomed silk sarees with a China silk texture. Lustrous silk fabric but mostly having prints of Bengali tribes or floral intricacies. Overall printed saree with printed borders and have elaborate panel work on the aanchal. Now even adorned with  motifs giving it a royal look.

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Style tip : blouse should be monotone or maybe even dull metallic to enhance the beauty of the saree. Single colour jewellery with stone would make your royal look even more exquisite maybe only opt for big earrings and thick kadas.

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8. Chanderi:  these sarees are woven from ancient times in Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh. They are light and translucent in nature.  Popular for its pastel shades, simplicity and thin metallic borders, this breathable saree has been in vogue for a while especially during rising temperatures.

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Style tip : plain sarees are easy to style but remember to do it right. Printed blouses look better but brocade choices could be debatable. For subtle sexiness try a sequined or embellished low cut choli blouse. Jewellery should be understated or maybe use a heavy necklace as a focal point.

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9. Maheshwari : these sarees get their name from the town of Madhya Pradesh where they are woven. Traditionally silk was used but over the years these sarees have become more popular because of their cotton blend also known as cotton silk. The fabric is very light and airy with a tight weave of lustrous geometric zari borders. The uniqueness of this saree is the reversible border which means that the saree can be worn from both sides.  Their designs were traditionally inspired by the walls of the  Maheshwar fort. They have a wide variety of patterns including chattai, diamond, chameli (jasmine) and  brick. Vegetable dye shades of green, purple, pink,gold and brown are used and normally come in dark hues.

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Style tip: simplicity is elegance is epitomized by the sarees so keeping that tone the blouse can be montone of one colour complimenting the saree. Keeping it simple even with jewellery will work with this look.

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10. Khadi silk : popularized by Gandhiji this yarn is spun on the charkha. Also known as ‘Raw Silk’, these are sarees are cooling in summer and warm in winters due to their unique weaves. Popular designs are prints of mango booties, hand paintings or even borders. Not extremely formal but are good to wear during functions, they have a dull sheen in their threads.

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Style tip : since these sarees are simple and more casual printed blouses look trendy but in contrasting colours. Jewelery should be complimentary and not too elaborate.

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                   Tissue silk

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                   Bandhini silk

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                  Brocade

   I haven’t elaborated on all but only the most popular styles. Bandhini and patola are prints which are also on silk sarees making them very sought after. Brocade is a design of silk sarees which is the most popular and found in all types especially kanjeevarams and banarasis.

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   The beauty or exquisiteveness of the silk is based on its weight. The sheen, print and intricacies are the other important factors while selecting one. I personally find that the blouse is what makes or breaks a saree so pay special attention, ensure it compliments or contrasts and only if the saree is plain then maybe overshadows the saree. Just the fabric and design is not important but the entire cut actually shows the beauty of the blouse you can find your perfect style in all buttoned up.
  Silk sarees have also become a status symbol, so the price has become pivotal to exclusiveness of the saree. The vivah pattu is the most expensive saree mainly due to the Raja Ravi Verma painitings depicted on its aanchal.

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   Personally I think silk sarees look good on everyone irrespective of age and body type. They are timeless and some can even be family heirlooms based on their exquisitiveness. I plan to have an excellent collection of all the unique silk sarees so go ahead start your own and dress like royalty. 

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Printerest

Prints and patterns are as important as fabrics we choose. Prints are the fabric designs and patterns are embossed on the fabrics. They come in various types and have become extremely popular especially during summer seasons. Here are some types to increase your printerest :

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                 English prints
         

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                  Cherry blossom
                  

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1. Florals : as the name suggests they are flower designs on the fabric mainly cotton based. The small floral prints are also known as English prints and the big flowers considered hippie influenced. Cherry blossoms are popular on silk weaves as well. Small prints enhance and big camouflage.

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2. Digital : the latest range in the kurti and dupatta markets. They are mostly abstract prints which are digitalized on synthetic fabrics ranging from nylon to chiffon. Newsprint was one of the starter trends in this. Good focal points of the outfit.

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3 . Paisley : considered Indian prints are basically a mix of different sized kaeris. Come in all types of fabrics and colours are mostly pastels. Its a classic print fast gaining popularity on outfits and accessories for the summer.

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4. Animal print : one of the on and off trends. Animal skin prints of cheetah, leopard and zebra being the most popular. The best way to wear this is one item at a time.

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                     Tie n dye

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                       Batik

5. Dyes : be it tie and dye or batik, these are formed by mixing of a bunch of colours on one fabrics by twisting and turning. Commonly used on t-shirts and summer dresses.

               

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                     Aztec

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                        Tribal
6. Tribal : encompassing warli and Aztec designs. Come in horizontal patterns with figurines. Trending for summer outfits. Wide horizontal designs enhance width.

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                    Houndstooth

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7. Geometrics : checks, stripes, dots, houndstooth  these are different prints on all types of fabrics. Common on casual outfits mostly, but also now getting formal recognition. Good for dimensional visuals and work well on most body types. Horizontal stripes showcase width. Very popular prints for winterwear as well.

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                  Leheriya

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                     Bandhini
                 

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                       Patola

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                         Ikat

8. Indian prints : stemming from Indian roots of different regions like patola of gujrat, ikat of Bihar and bandhej (dots) and leheriya (horizontal stripes) of rajashthan. Have now become popular globally and are not limited to Indian wear. Big prints are heavy and but good for camoflouaging flaws where as small prints can focus on them.

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                Garra work

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                    Chikankari

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                     Kashmiri

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                      Zardosi

9. Embroidery : threadwork patterned on fabrics is termed as embroidery. There are different types such as garra work, zardosi, chikankari, kashmiri, kantha work, etc. Some are done with gold and silver thread as well depending on the richness of the work. Embroidery will always be the focal point of the outfit irrespective of its position.

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                     Beading

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                      Stonework

10. Beading : mostly sequin embroidery is termed as beading but lets also include crystal and stone work as well. Used on formal clothes or outfits to add more glamour, rhinestones have also been added for the oomph factor. Beading on bodice or borders works well to take away focus from other areas. So choose beadings on areas that you want to highlight and they also add curves.
   These prints and patterns are more for your knowledge so next time you shop you can tell one from the other. You can choose outfits based on prints and patterns for different occassions as well.
  Thus, prints can enhance or break your look depending on size and amount. In dresses ensure there are solid accessories to break it. For other outfits ensure prints are always paired with solids so they can be showcased even better. Choose wisely when mixing prints and have fun printisizing 🙂

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How do I look?

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I write about fashion and beauty. I give advice on what works and what doesn’t but that is my opinion and advice, similarly we are bogged down by notions about colours and style which look good on us and which don’t.
These ideas could have been filled in our head and now are a part of the way we dress but have you ever challenged them, thought out of the box and tried. I strongly believe in ‘try before you buy’ cause you never know what actually might work. So here are some myths broken :
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1. Dark colours don’t look good on dark complexions :colours are dominated by our skin undertone and not complexion. Dark skin actually looks great in bright and dark colours as it plays up your complexion and features. Not that light colours don’t but darker hues play up your complexion especially earthy tones of orange, brown and yellow. Try the deep reds, rani pinks and not just the pista green and baby blues and see the stark change.
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2. Colours are age appropriate : age and colour have no correlation but occassions do. You might not want to show up for a condolence meet in bright orange but even if you are 50 above you can rock a lime green and coral saree. The trick is to break down the brightness if you are uncomfortable in this e.g. try adding a navy blue border and blouse and see how you can carry off the bright colours with elegance. I am personally averse to wearing red, but recently realized it looks good but I always try to subdued with an earthy tone accompaniment.
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3. Red lipsticks are for fair skinned: wrong, I cannot stress enough that colours are determined by our undertones of yellow and pink and not our skin colour. If you think a blood red doesn’t suit you try a red with bluish tinge as it might compliment you better. Try the different shades of lipstick jungle to see what works before completely rejecting the idea.
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4. Skinny pants are for toned legs : skinny jeans, tights, ciggerette pants, etc all work on different body types as they are structured. They add length to petite frames, curves to skinny legs and structure to curves. The trick is to find the right style and material for your body. Avoid lycra and opt for jersey or stretch cotton fabrics.
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5. Short tees and tights are so hawt : totally wrong. Tunics and long tops are invented for a reason and they are know as tights or leggings. Tights or leggings are like second skin of legs and don’t look good with short tops irrespective of their looseness or the wearer’s body type. Yoga pants are not tights and are not for realms outside your work out space. This trend only highlights your flaws.
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6. Front of the outfit matters : this is a weird view to have as we are dimensional so for any outfit to work it has to look good from the front and back. On my recent dress shopping I was admant on buying a babydoll dress and most of them looked adorable from the front but the back was so unflattering. I didn’t give up until a finally found one which looked completely awesome from all angleds. So try every style before deciding what works. Similarly in Indian clothes, kurtas which are completely plain in the back look incomplete or that you ran out of borders, thus, ensure that not only the back is flattering but also in sync with the rest of the outfit.
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7. Maxi dresses are for tall thin women : this is so completely wrong as the dress style is denoted by the body type. If you are curvy avoid empire styles, if jersey dresses feel clingy opt for a bigger size or flowy fabrics. If you are petite try tea lengths which actually add length, if you are lean opt for horizontal designs or also for cotton to add more curves. Try them and maxi-mize so you don’t feel left out of the summer fun.
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8. Pointy shoes are for narrow feet: I feel that my shoe blog a Cinderella story might have agreed with that notion. But that’s not the point I was making, as you can try a wide or a 1/2 size to see if you find a better fit of a pointy shoe. Going a size up actually doesn’t work as the breadth might fit but the length doesn’t and makes it uncomfortable. So try ones where the point is much above your toe area so it is comfortable and feels less stuffy.
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9. Loose clothes hide my flaws : baggy clothes have never worked and have a reverse effect to the look one is trying to opt for. A muffin top might actually look more pronounced, you add weight to your frame and if you are skinny you look skinnier because there is no structure. Clothes are not meant to be lost in, but actually are tools to enhance your appearance. Wear clothes which are structured and have cuts and fits, this doesn’t mean super tight so you have tires but just giving you a proportionate figure. Try your clothes, and wear loose and tight in a balance .i.e. if you wear a skinny pants wear a looser top and vice versa to add balance to your frame. Try, try till you succeed in finding your perfect look.
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10. Sleeves denote my arm look : sleeves are cut based on the arm hole and their final appearance on how that armhole looks on you. Sleeveless outfits are the best example of this as the armhole has to cut you right for the outfit ro work for you, as sometimes even when one has perfectly toned arms a halter top might just not work, deeper armholes sometimes might be more flattering or higher armholes might actually add more curves to skinny arms. So try and then see which length and fabric works to make you arm-ed.
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11. Empire cut anarkalis always look good : this is such a wrong notion as bodice length denotes the overall look of the anarkali. Empire cuts more often than not make one look inproportioned or shapeless. So you have to try the style very carefully, I have realized bodiceless anarkalis work more as they don’t emphasize on certain areas and give more shape. So next time think before blindly ordering the latest kareena kapoor replica online if it will work for you and refer to anarkali disco chali for more styles .
12. My shapewear is my chemise : the notion that chemise or undershirts hide flaws and give more shape is completely off as they make one look boxy and shabby especially if they peak through. The only time they look great is when your outfit is transparent or as a layering option under t-shirts. But if you opt for lining under see through fabrics since they are flowy, the lining actually gives more structure and a more polished look.
Thus, these different notions are filled in our head by a more traditional outlook towards fashion. We need to challenge and get out of our comfort zones to experiment with trends and looks which might actually work more than what we have been comfortable in. But the only real way to carry any look is only with confidence, as when you are confident it shows and totally changes your persona and attitude in the way you dress.
Try bold colours, cuts, style. Be appropriate but be elegant in the way you carry your outfits. Style and confidence is all you need to bring out of your inner goddess so, shine on.
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Effortlessly effervescent

I have written on how to do make up and how to choose the right cosmetics. I know it sounds tiring and sometimes one doesn’t even have the time or inclination to dress up so much. But looking presentable is essential and looking effortlessly stylish even more so.
   So how can one accomplish looking all put together without putting much effort. So the first trick is to get make up right. No, you don’t have to spend 5 hours doing the right make up but here is a way to be ready in 5 minutes :

Step 1 : this is always the first step and helps in maintaining clear facial skin, so wash – cleanse and moisturize.

Step 2 : apply your bb or cc or dd cream or tinted moisturizer. Use a sponge to blend it in and make a clean base.

Step 3 : after that use a concealer and blend it in to cover all the blemishes and uneveness.

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Step 4 : use a bronzer if its day or a light hued blush, to add some colour to your cheeks for a sunkissed look.

Tip : use little compact or pressed powder and even on your eyelids and cheeks for a little shine and avoid blush or bronzer altogether.

Step 5 : put your eyeliner and mascara for a more defined look. You can use a kohl pencil for more underline, for a day look if you use both then ensure that the liner is very thin or If you prefer thick liner then just put a hint of kohl on your lower lid. In the night you can sweep a basic nude eyeshadow before putting on the liner.

Step 6 : final step is highlighting your lips using tinted lipbalms or gloss  for a hint of colour. For an evening look you can use a glossy lipstain.            
     Tada…and your make up is done. You can get ready in 5 minutes without having to apply tones of product and the result is always excellent as you look super polished only by investing 5 minutes of your time.
   The important thing is to remember that you can look stylish and put together without having to worry and fret for hours. A little make up and good fitting clothes is all you need to look stylish and chic. So stop thinking about buying all the many products ( you still need them for occassions or when you want to dress to kill) just always have a tinted cream, eyeliner, mascara and a gloss. Compact helps in evenness and kohl for definition.
  Just 5 products and 5 minutes and you can dazzle everyone with your style and beauty. So get ready to be a dazzling diva 🙂

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Framed

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So keeping in with the season your sunglasses become the most essential accessory for every daytime outing. I know so many people who are iffy about them and some who only wear them when others with them do.
  I guess the only way to get over the unsurity is by trying it. Try different styles because each face structure is different. First lets analyze different face shape

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1. Round – face is more spherish with no defined angles. They should opt for angular sunglasses as they give more structure.
2. Heart shaped – the face is broader on top and is narrowest in the chin. They should opt for wide lower edged sunglasses as they balance the the curves on the face.
3.Square shaped – a more pronounced jawline and a broader forehead. They should opt for spherical sunglasses to help soften the features.
4. Oval – gently rounded but with even features making it easy for any sunglasses. Avoid  huge frames so the features are not hidden.
5. Oblong – long faces with some angles and look good with huge frames. Avoid small frames as add more length.
6. Diamond –  are narrowest on chin and forehead and widest on the cheekbones. Ensures sunglasses are not wider than your cheekbones and opt for spherical glasses.
  Once you know your face shape its easier to decide which style for
you :ill

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1. Aviators : started by top gun and have always been associated with style. They have dark smoked big lenses for extra coverage and a very thin metal frame,  the latest range for more than a couple of years. The glasses have a squarish oval shape and thin metal frames surrounding it. They look good on round faces as they add structure and also on square faces as they give it a softer look. Best for :  Heart shaped , square , oval, round and diamond faces.  a

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2. Cateyed : retro  gone chic best describes this style quotient and have wide upswept angles on a fairly round lenses. Best for : Heart shaped  and oval faces. 

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3. Retro square : nerd going glam is what describes this trend of boxy lenses with thick frames which works on all faces.  Best for Round, oval and oblong faces.

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4. Round : spherical lenses with thick or thin , metal or plastic frames. Small glasses keep the  boho chic style alive. Best for square and round faces.esn

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5. Rectangles : they are angular  wide lenses. Best for : Round, heart shaped, oval and oblong faces.

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6. Wraps: they have sleek  lenses and  wrap around your entire face. One width  across the sides and very lightweight making it great for playing sports. Best for oval  round and oblong faces.  Best for oval, round and oblong faces. 

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7. Browliner : have a thick brow frame and thinner rims on the bottom. Very retro chic and well defines the eyes. Best for heart shaped faces.

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8.Butterfly : shaped like a butterfly with more angular edges of these oversized sunglasses. Very very urban chic and best way to shield your eyes and face . Best for: Square , oval, diamond, heart shaped and round faces.

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9. Shield – one single lense covers the entire eye area with a very thin
frame. Give tremendous eye protection. Best for :Heart shaped, oblong and diamond faces.

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10. Wayfarer : defined smaller rectangluar lenses with slightly curved side frames. Very timeless and classic style. Best for:  Oval,oblong, diamond, round, square and heart shaped faces.
  One more thing to keep in mind while looking at sunglasses is the size of the frames and the rims as they also depend on your face and nose shape and also on your cheekbones. Sunglasses are also important for shielding our eyes from the harmful uv rays and preventing sun damage to the eye area.
    Thus, styles and face shape combined can give you your best options but trying on will help as it will give you the right fit. Jewelled, blinged or printed are just few of the frame designs. Even though sunglasses work on trends , your face shape will not change as per fashion. Small faces get hidden under oversized frames, and big faces don’t get enough coverage if one opts for small lenses. So look for your perfect pair with the right fit and glare. So be cool with your sunnies 🙂

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Timelessness

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Trends change and fashion is created depending on fabric, colour, cut and style. What is in today may not be in vogue 3 months later. Spring colours vary year to year , seasons change so do fabrics, all these factors are important while finding the correct piece which will suit you.
  There are certain items which never go out of fashion and always look classic. The key to have a perfect and functional wardrobe is having these and using them as per the occasions. These pieces depend on colour , fabric and fit. You can keep some for years and never make a fashion faux pas while wearing them. So my choice might be different than yours, but some are universal so lets take a look :

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1. White shirt : this is not only an essential but one with the right fit can make you look stylish with ease. The key is finding one which is not too starchy or straight as the fit is what makes the look. Sleeve length depends on what works best for you, pair with jeans, khakhis, shorts and maxi skirts for an outing or  pencil skirts, trousers for professional wear.  You can never go wrong and it  will never go out of fashion. This is one of the most versatile pieces you will ever own.

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2. Blue jeans: this is a staple and you can own a variety of them. But the one with the best fit is what you need. It can be dark or basic denim and the style which works for you the most. Refer to damsels in denims and style it for a day or evening look. This is the most functional piece of your wardrobe.

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3. LBD : well now its just not a ‘little black dress’ as there so many styles to choose from as per all dressed up! A well fitting black dress can be your rescue item for any formal occassion with the right accessories you can go from chic to sexy to glamorous. The ability of one dress to make you look so many things just gives it bonus points for a must have. And Remember black makes everyone look slimmer, so this has to be your go to dress.

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4. Solid tanks : you might think tanks are so basic and not necessarily something you are comfortable in. But pair it with a jacket if you are sleeveless shy and see its trannformation of you to ultra chic. Wear it under a suit jacket or basic hoodie. Wear it with a printed skirt or a pair of khakis, it adds colour, layer and gives a nice fit. My basic preferences are racer backs in colours of grey, blue and hot pink. These are basic but add burst of colour and also offer a break in pattern for maybe a basic outfit. Wear it under a transparent shirt or Kurta and see the structure it gives you.

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5. Denim jacket : any colour and any style but it is always a classic. Perfect for chilly weather or even on a printed summer or maxi dress. Not very warming, but keeps you wrapped up against even the cool winds. Denim blazers are becoming popular as business casuals and vests a staple with summer dresses. Pair with a lighter or darker denim bottom to avoid looking monochrome head to toe. Always chic and always stylish.

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   If you think these might not work for you but give it a chance of versatily, pair a black slip dress with a denim jacket , a white shirt with a tank underneath paired with blue jeans and you already have 2 outfits ready. These are just the basic but the options innumerable.

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6. White chikankari kurtas : my actual classic in this category is white chikankari anarkali as it never goes out of fashion and always looks classy. But even a basic white chikankari Kurta works well even with a pair of blue jeans. It is the perfect summer outfit, add nice jewellery or gotta Patti work and you are ready for an evening affair. Though black makes you look slimmer, white always makes you look elegant.

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7. Silk sarees : whether banarsi or south silk, a silk saree is essential in any Indian womens wedding trousseau if already not in your formal clothes. It never looks outdated and a simple saree with a nice border is the easiest saree to pick. It can look good for a wedding or even a dinner party depending on its heaviness, and especially during winters it is the warmest saree you will own. Even if you stick to basic colour combinations they always look great. My favourite and the one I think always looks classy is cream and maroon or white and red, they might be popular but they look good at every age.

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8.  Colourful chunni : this piece might not come to your as classic but one dupatta which is a statement piece will work on any plain Salwar suit or maybe even useful as a scarf. Your perfect statement chunari can be leheriya, bandhej, phulkari, chikankari or even handpainted silks, pair with a one colour outfit not limiting to black and white or even same colours top and bottom. My wishlist of these consists of Turqoise phulkari or a red handpainted tussar silk, as they look so classy for an evening wear or colourful and fun during the day.

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9. Brocade blouse : a brocade blouse in colours or even the basic gold and silver is a shaadi staple. Pair it with a saree of the same or contrasting colour and you will look trendy. The choli cut with a low back or a style in  all buttoned up! can make even a monotone dull gold saree look glamourous . Fed up of matching blouses pair it with a saree with borders or printed saree and see your transformation to the style queen of the party. The best is to pair it with a darker saree than the shade of the blouse to give your look colour and oomph.

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10. Solid churidars : some women are dicey about donning a churidar but try a solid one in a darker hue and see the effect on your legs. Not only does it give you more structure but the variety of kurtas you can pair it with goes to a gazillion. The Kurta can be straight, aline or flared, printed , embroidered or even plain solid. The colours can be contrasting or even of the same family. You can dress it up or make it casual and you will always win. My go to staples are white, black, maroon and maybe a dark green. Very basic and very versatile.

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  If you think fabrics and trends change as per style , wear your printed silk saree of black  with a  brocade blouse and see heads turn. Pair your white chikankari anarkali with a maroon churidar and maroon and mustard leheriya duppatta and see how the colours bring out each other. But these are just basic examples.

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  What if you have all the above classic pieces then see how many outfits you can get out of them. White Kurta with jeans is basic, pair your handpainted silk duppatta with a black dress worn with a scarf and see the burst of colour. Or try a long brocade choli top with a pair of jeans for a night of clubbing, or a white tunic teamed with a denim vest and a green churidar, yes you have fusion and ethnic chic.
  But the point is not only having these items but having them in the right fit for your body and using them to glam up a boring work look , a fun day look or even an elegant evening attire. I try and always have these items as they are my go to clothes when am in doubt.
    This is just part one of the classic wardrobe staples read this space for more gyan and to amp up your style quotient by using these very basic pieces.

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Picture Perfect

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I have written on the different makeups and also steps and how to get the perfect make up – Basic Foundations.  Though make up is essential to look good on dressy days but on a regular basis it can be too heavy for your skin. We see advertisements for skincare products which say they are natural and beautifying us more but actually are more confusing.
  Am sure most women have a beauty routine and are also use lighter make up for everyday outings. So the question is what is this lighter make up? The change is the base that is what should use instead of foundation. So what is
Better the bb, cc, dd, tinted moisturizer, primer, etc. Lets take a closer look at each to figure out which one works best :

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1. Moisturizer : the source of your daily dose of facial hydration. It is the basic facial cream one applies. Now you get them with spf or sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful uv rays. Thus, the basic function is to add moisture and keep your skin from drying and flaking. It is a must for all skin types but doesn’t act as supplement to foundation.

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2.  Tinted moisturizers : it is a face cream that has a slight tint to it, providing  some basic skin coverage with sheer colour. It makes skin soft and gives a blemish free appearance. It is an easy, no-fuss application, just squeeze some and apply to the entire face, in the same way as you would apply a lotion or your usual moisturizers . Oily skins should avoid it. It does the work of a moisturizer but in a better fashion in terms of cover-up.

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3. BB Creams : Beauty or Blemish Balm creams are basically tinted moisturizers with skin care ingredients and built in SPF.  They come in shades like fair, medium and deep. They are useful for daily use and provide good coverage but in a lighter formula. There is no exact shade for each skin type. The oil free bb is making it a good choice for oily skins as well. 

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4. CC Creams : Complexion or colour correction creams are mostly used to hide facial skin flaws like dark spots and uneven skintone. They have light diffusing particles to treat redness or sallowness of the face giving a clear and even appearance . These creams are lighter foundations and good for a better balanced appearance. These are an upgraded version of bbs.

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5. DD creams :  daily defense or dynamic do all or dermatologically defining creams are an all in one formula which is a mix of bb and cc creams but also has anti aging benefits.While BB creams add primer, antioxidant protection, and SPF to standard tinted moisturizers and CC creams added color-correcting ingredients into the mix, DD creams offer all those benefits plus e antiaging to help smoothen skin and reduce fine lines. DD creams target all the problems of facial skin and eliminate them. Best for women over the age of 30. They are only by specific brands in the market.

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5. Primers : they are  facial correctors  that smoothen, conceal and create an even base for make up. Whether you want to blur wrinkles, mattify, minimise the appearance of pores or even skin tone, primers do all this whilst creating a velvety base for make-up and helping it to stay put longer. Primers  are more opaque and are different for different skin types. They cannot be substituted for moisturizers as they are not hydrating.
  These are all different options and anyone of them can work for you. You need to try and see which suits your skin best. Don’t think that you can substitute them for foundation for always as each has its own merits. BB, CC, DD are more opaque and heavier than tinted moisturizers but are hydarting and great daily coverups for daily wear. Primers work only before putting on foundation and cannot be supplemented as a tinted moisturizer. The market has all of these in abundance, so just like always try and experiment which is your go to hydrator for daily wear.

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Footprints in Sand-als

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Since we have been talking about maxis then what better to pair them with sandals. Sandals the perfect summer footwear whether in flats, wedges or heels. Easy to slip into, airy for the feet  and perfect to show off your pretty summer pedicures.
    The correct definition of a sandal is slipons with back strap support. They are more open shoes with front and back support. We will be also looking at slippers and then categorize them. You must be wondering how can I write an entire blog about sandals after already writing one on high on heels! and one on the fit of shoes A Cinderella Story . But sandals are categorized by their strap styles:

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1. Flip flops : are rubber slippers with a strap dividing your big toe  from others. Initially basic but now becoming fashionable in terms of FitFlops by leading sporting labels. Great for the beach and summer outfits.

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2. Thongs : similar to flip flops but are made of leather and other footwear materials. They are slip ins and very easy to wear come in different heel styles. Look great with fitted pants.

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3. Slides : they are one or two  strap sandals which you just slip your foot in. Made of leather and cloth materials. They can have rhinestones for formal wear. They come in all heel styles and can be worn casually and formally.  Look best with straight and fitted bottoms and even formal dresses.

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4. Kolhapuri chappals : these are specific to India and are traditionally made in Maharashtra. They have a special cut for the big toe and similarly divide the feet like thongs.This style is becoming very popular and even comes in casual and formal styles. Looks good with all indian wear and even with capris.

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5. T- straps : the straps form a T as they have straps  in the front which have a line going back to the back straps. They come in all heels and can be worn professionally as well specially with closed front straps.

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6. Espadrille:  these have a flexible sole made of rope or leather material. They have tieing straps even with scarf ties and come in flat or wedges. Casual wear with style and now in a variety of beaded and printed straps. Great for sundresses, shorts and capris.

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7. Huraches : these are woven leather Mexican sandals. They have lots of straps and are comfortable and keep your feet in. Come mostly in wedges, flats and block heels. Great for flat foots as give support overall.

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8. Strappy sandals : these have a lot of straps sometimes overlapping or criss- crossed. They come in all heel varieties sometimes in slide ons as well. They can be worn on all occassions. Look great with fitted and flared bottoms and dresses.

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9. Gladiators : this Roman footwear has evolved into the latest fashion footwear. The styles have changed, straps are different and comes in a variety of heels. Straps now even go up to the knees some with tieing and some with zips. Look great with short clothes to show them off.

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10. Floaters : the sporty sandals mostly sneaker soled. Have good support all around and come on thick flat heel. Great during the rains and summers and best friends for running around.
   Thus,  these are the different styles and can be worn with a wide variety of outfits. Sandals are also becoming very popular for formal occasions especially the ones in stiletto and block heels. The latest designs come with stones and also in lace and satin fabrics.
   So sandals are now not only limited to  casual wear. Go ahead and fill your closets with the wide variety of styles and enjoy them throughout the year.

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Maxi-mize

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Summer is here and the biggest trends are always maxis- be it dresses or skirts. They are long flowy and light to wear, making them one of the best outfits to beat the summer heat.Women tend to be vary of wearing maxi dresses and skirts as they feel intimated by the length and style.
    If you buy the right style you can actually tend to love it. As it adds length  and also proportions your body depending on the cut. If you are unsure of the strappiness or lack of it you can always cover up with a jacket or shrug and look trendy. Its rapidly becoming one of the essential summer outfits to own. They are available in prints,solid colours, embroidered,etc and are made of flowy and breathable fabrics.  Lets take a look at the different types :

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1. Empire cuts : they cut right under the bust and good for petite women as they elongate their frame. It emphasis on the bust so as to make ones frame look larger.

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2. Columned : these are absolutely straight dresses mostly made of hoseiry or t-shirt material so tend to be figure hugging. Great option for athletic builds or skinny women as they add curves to your lean form.

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3. Divided dresses : these dresses have a little division between the bodice and the dress as either there is a belt at the smallest part of the waist, a flap over the bust area or just  a solid bodice but with a different patterned, material or coloured skirt. They are mostly a-lined and the skirt is of flowy fabric. The dress overall is less figure hugging, if the bottom is darker then it gives a slimming effect. Great option for curvy women as it highlights your curves.

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4. Cinched dresses : these dresses have a loser neckline which is normally cinched just above the waist. V- necklines are great for a more structured and slender effect for women who are heavy on the bust. It gives more proportion.

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5. Tube and halters : a lot of these dresses have band or halter tops making it essential to wear a strapless bra or that the dress has cups. If you are heavy on the bust or arms, you might hesitate but just ensure you have the right bra or jacket and your outfit will compliment your figure.

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6. Flowy dresses : these dresses are flowy from top to bottom. The biggest recent trend being pleated chiffon, but ensure you have a tie belt to give it some structure. They can be drowning if it is too long. They have a more defined neckline emphasising on the shoulders. Should be avoided be petite frames as can look like too much fabrics.

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7. A lined : they are fitted on top and flowy at the bottom, the best example is the layered dress. They have subtle tiers starting from under the bust. Good option for curvy women as adds structure on top and this style also lengthens ones frame.

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8. Slit dresses : they are a lined or columned dresses but have a slit or side slits. They are more stylish and add length as they show legs.

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9.  Formal maxis : these are made of chiffon, georgette or even silk. They are fitted at the top and come with a full skirt. Printed or solid coloured. They are more casual than evening dresses but with the right cut can make one look a bit dressy.

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10. Skirts : there are 3 styles such as : columned which is a straight fit, a-line which is fitted on the hips but flared below, flowy or gypsy which is flared from waist to ankle. Worn with fitted tees , tanks or even shirts.
  Thus, maxi dresses and skirts have the right cut and style for everyone. Some essentials to keep in mind while shopping for yours:
a) Prints : petite frames should opt for small prints, curvy women should opt for bold prints on either the top or the bottom so there is focus on one area. Horizontal stripes should be avoided by curvy women as it makes one look broader.
b) Fabrics : hosiery or clingy fabrics should be avoided by curvy women. Flowy fabrics without proper structure should be avoided by petite frames.
c)  Length : the fabric shouldn’t bog the length down so it should be light. Ankle length is the ideal length, petite women should opt for lengths with skim the ankle so they add length to their frame.

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d)  Sleeve : or lack of. Most dresses are strappy or come in halter and tube options as well. Deep necklines put focus on your bust area, and halter necklines on your arms. 3/4 sleeves look nice for a business casual look and short sleeves look great on casual dresses. So decide which feature is your best and how best to showcase it.
    Maxi dresses are easy to accessorize either with drop earring, statement necklaces, infinity scarves with jackets or shrugs and chunky bracelets. The dress should be the focus so jewellery minimal. Wedges look great with these dresses are they are perfect summer sandal. Thus, hope now you are geared up for shopping for your dress as I have already decided on mine.

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