FESTIVAL-RITY!

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Maybe a little behind of times, as some festivals have just passed us but just in time for the major festivals to start. Gone are the days when bright colours and sweets were the main focus of festivals. As with changing trends, festivals are platform for the Festival-rity! i.e. the best dressed of the occasion.
Teenagers looked forward to food and kharchi but now its also about donning the latest kareena – lehenga or the alia bhatt -look. Even Stylists and Designers, have realized the importance and launch collections ahead of time. Shops tend to be open longer hours and e commerce is full of festive collections for all ages. Thus, dressing up has become a part of the festivities.So, here are a few pointers while selecting your outfit:

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1. Colour -conscious: First thing while choosing an outfit for any occasion is always colour. The colour doesn’t have to be in the expected shades but can have hues of it. It doesn’t have to be bright or dark depending on the season but a slight tint or the fabric can change to suit those needs. Colours should be chosen as per your undertone and also your mood mixed with the festivals favoured colour if any. Trending colours become the most popular by default as that’s what is available in the market.
e.g. Colour of holi is white and of Christmas red so should you be Chandini or Red riding hood? The answer is no, you can opt for shades of white and red, outfits which have colours in combinations or even just accessorize in these.

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2. Material Girl: fabrics play an important role, as they should not only look good but also be comfortable amidst the hustle bustle of the festivities. Materials tend to be season appropriate,due to the rising temperatures thanks to global warming : heat and cold is at extremes thus, making it feasible to invest in fabrics which would be durable during these times. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that one should only opt for cottons or velvet only. Additional accents give a lighter feel and a more stylish look. Emboss designs and embroidery can make even a cotton outfit look dressy for fancy occassions. Mixing fabrics also gives textures, the manner in which they are used sets the tone of the outfit and makes it more versatile. Festivals in India means your finest outfits, so in the summer wearing a cotton palazzo with embossings can make a comfort look a little dressier.

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3. Trimmings : Addition of sequins, gotta patti, stonework, laces, ribbons, patchwork, cutwork,etc. They can make a plain outfit look glamorous, they let you wear a lighter fabric for comfort and fit. Use of fabrics like net, velvet, brocade as accents also can make a traditional outfit more contemporary. Placement of these trims and buttons, can add a stylish edge and can also be used like ornaments. This also the best way to add a festive tone if one is not fond of shine overload. Bright colours and shimmer are the perfect festive addition.

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4. Accessorize: use of the right accessories be it jewellery, handbags, shoes or even scarves can add a touch a colour to a monotone outfit. Wearing a plain silk saree with nice bangles and earrings or opting for a statement clutch and coordinating sandals or dressing in a festive green cotton anarkali with a woven print raw silk dupatta can make your anarkali stand out amongst the run of the mill ones in fashion today.

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5. Incorporation : a popular trend in western countries where Santa claus, snowflakes, holly leaves are embroidered or printed on outfits. The trend of Krishna prints, Kalash motifs, lamp designs, henna prints are an interesting trend to dvelve into fabric embroidery and printing during the festive season. Bags, saree anchals, dupattas can have big prints and embroidery to make them stand out. Use of flowers and bangles in festivals is a so floral prints and textured bangles can make your kurti with jeans a little more festive.

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The truth is some festivals are dressy some or not, night parties are glamourous and lunches more laidback. Eid, diwali, karva chauth are more about fineries and jewellery. Holi, Bakreid, raksha bandhan are more about rituals than clothes.
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Some festivals can be colour centric, whereas some season. So you have to dress for the occasion based on the season and your comfort. Style is your personal look and preferences incorporated in your outfit and accessories. So dress as this season’s biggest festival-rity.
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Sleeve- talk!

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Neck, back, hem and now sleeves make your outfit complete. Sleeves are what denote the shape of your arm and structure it. The fall again comes from the fabric so it is very important to pay attention to the material. The arm hole is what will tell you how the look will be, sometimes deep ones make your arms look slimmer but with halter necks they can make the biceps look bulky. High arm holes can push the underarm flab upwards giving it a cleavage and also adding more weight to the sleeve area. So lets take a look at the different options :
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1. Sleeveless : no sleeves or sleeveless where the entire lo
ok will depend on the cut of the arm hole. Be particular if deep or high suits you as that will set the tone of your look. They include basic sleeveless, straps, spaghettis and halters. The thickness of the strap helps in detailing the outfit and should be complimentary to the style of the outfit.
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2. Cap sleeves : a little more than sleeveless, as the name suggests it caps your shoulder. Used mostly in casual outfits to set a slight different look. Its a gives a better toned look than sleevless outfits.
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3. Short sleeves : these are mid arm or higher. They give your lower arm a more longer look, as they only cover the start of your arms.
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4. Blouse sleeves : named after the original blouse, they come up just above the elbow. If made of a structuring fabric, they make your arm look leaner. Softer fabrics may need a thicker  edging to give more shape.
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5. 3/4 sleeves : they are about a few inches below your elbow. They cover your entire upper arm. They tend to be slightly loose but sometimes can be snug as well. They might make your arm look bulkier especially in transparent fabrics.
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5. Full sleeves : long sleeves or full sleeves cover your entire arm. They tend to make your arms look longer and leaner. Even  transparent fabrics in full length look better whether loose or tight. Fitted but not snug are the best option as they give shape and length.
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7. Bell sleeves : shaped like a bell these are flowy and can be short to full lengths. They add a bohomeian feel and a casual vibe. Very popular in peasant tops and straight short dresses.
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8. Puff sleeves : these have gathers near the shoulder and look like a balloon. Big puffs are very childlike, opt for small  puffs as they are more feminine. Popular in tops and saree blouses but now can be seen in jackets, kurtas and dresses. Initially made famous through princess gowns,  but now a very contemporary. These can be short to full length. Big puffs might  look like shoulder pads dis balancing your entire arm. Works well on most as long as the puffiness is under control.
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9. Cuffed sleeves: these can be worn inside out atleast on the edge. Very popular in shirts and pathani kurtas. They can be folded upto 2 inches and are 3/4 in length. They add a little casualness to a very formal look.

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10. Ruffled sleeves: they are frills on a sleeve. Mostly in capsleeves or 3/4. They are very vintage and also feminine. Mostly seen in tops and kurtas but now are popular in coats and saree blouses.

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11. Slit sleeves : these are of 2 types, slits from the shoulder to tje sleeve length or slits at the shoulder only i.e. more like cut out sleeves. They range from short to full length. They are subtly sexy and also make your arms look leaner.
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12. Churidar sleeves: as the name suggests, these have gathers at the edge and are long sleeved. They elongate and structure your arm and the edge makes it look fuller.
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These are the different types of sleeves and they entirely depend on the cut and fall of the fabric. Sleeves should add structure to a loose outfit or flowiness to a structured one. Loose plus loose might look shabby but changing trends tell us a different story. Comfort and fit should be priority as your arms are moved the most.
   Variety in sleeves can also  give a turn to a very boring outfit. Different fabrics, colours, prints and embellishment take your outfit up a notch. So think different and be stylish.
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Hem-let

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We started from neckline and backlines so how can we miss on hemlines. All these elements are what makes your outfit, they are the outline of your personal style.
     Hemlines have gone beyond lengths and now encompass the actual border styles. So lets take a  look at the different options :

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1. Straight lines : whether long or short, circular or a line the cut of the hem is completely straight. Its a proportionate cut for the fabric and most popular. Depending on the style, this hemline works on your figure. These are the easiest for adding borders and other trimmings.

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2. Handkerchief : the edges are not straight or defined, it is mostly  used on flowy cuts. Its been in fashion lately, especially in Kurtas. They give a nice flirty and fun feel. Popular in semi formal and casual
outfits.

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3. Asymmetrical : they are straight but uneven, mostly sloping towards the edges. Kurtas, tops and dresses are trending in this particular hemline, they tend to hide flaws as they take away from straight proportionate.

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4. Round bottomed : it is u shaped, the biggest drawback is it tends to make one’s hips area you look bulkier as it puts weight on the bottom. Big amongst kurtas and tops.

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5. V hemline : it is a pointed edge, in the middle latest trends also have it on the side. These are popular amongst tops, skirts and kurtas. Give a structured but feminine look. They elongate your torso and tend to give a slimmer silhouette.

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5. Slits: these hemlines can  have one slit or even more. Mostly common in evening gowns and dresses but now catching up with skirts,kurtas and tops. They show off a little bit of skin either legs or tummy depending on the slit length and outfit. Slits are mostly done on straight hemlines.

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7. Frills: popular amongst  girl  frocks, but has been trending amongst dresses and skirts and even some casuals. Frills are made of flowy and transparent fabrics so they layer the outfit and give it a flirty look. Small frills add structure  and big frills add more weight, this also depends on the fabric and cut of the outfit.

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8. Long and short: whether have a short front and a long back or vice versa, latest trends also include different in side lengths. These are disproportionate,  but give one a more symmetrical figure. They tend to give one a  longer silhouette where the hem is shorter and add length on the longer side. Great options for petite and  lean frames.
   Thus, these are the different hemline options, some add length  and  some structure. Trying different options, adds variety and also lets you know  which  works best for you. Formal lengths and hems need to be more structured  or flowy as that adds more elegance and class. Casual options are more laxed  and flirty lines are more fun. So  experiment  and get trendy.

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Backflash

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My  personal style has always been low and creative backs whether ethnic or western wear.
People tend to focus only on the front of the outfit and let the back be simple, I feel your back is more noticeable especially in Indian wear as the front gets covered by the dupatta or anchal.

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    Innovative backs does not necessarily mean skin show, sexiness is in  you and not through revealing clothes but a sliver is kind of sexy.

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    You must be thinking how can a full article be devoted only to backs which is already established as non entity. So here are a few backflashes :

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1. Tie backs : strings or bows used to tie an open or a low back. These are normally low cut and can be round, square, oval or v shaped. They are narrow on top where the tie is and wider towards the middle. They have a solid baseline which can be thick or thin. These backs are most popular amongst blouses and long anarkalis. They make the top slightly sexy as it is covered all around. The front can be high or low but has to be structured on top and shoulders for it to hold the outfit, the latest variation has also been on elastic sleeves in the absence of structured shoulders for the back to stay in place. The use of  tassles, latkans and velvet bodices has added variety to this very traditional style.

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2. Knot backs : these are wide backs which have a knot or bow at the base. Used in formal gowns and saree blouses. The bodice and the back end at the same level, these backs are wide on top and slimmer and structured at the base as that what holds it together.

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3.  String backs : the back has side structures of not more than an inch and like laces is holed up to be tied with a string. Made famous by corsets and cholis ,still  considered a classic cut. The front of the outfit  is sturdy and structured as the back is held up by strings, sometimes the strings are  laced together and some have to be tied individually.

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4. Backless : the back is non existent till the waist or little higher. It is held together at the nape by the front neck by buttons, hooks, velcro or tie strings. The back is completely open. Popular in swimwear, evening wear especially with halter necklines.

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5.  Cut out backs : these are high backs but have a cut out from a little below the start till mid back. They can be of any shape but you have to ensure that the shoulder and the necks is stiff to hold the cut in  place.

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5. Clasp backs : these are like wide and tie backs but the difference being are held together by a row of hooks. The hooks can be thick or thin and covered over the fabric by  a broach has been the latest trend. The shape can be v, square, round, oval, rectangle, etc. The strongest part has to be the base  and also the back side bars as they hold it in place. Top clasps have been a recent trend with the use of t-shirt and boat necks for a more cut out back  look.

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7. Sheer backs: they are similiar to cut outs and clasp backs. The bodice or top is made of sheer fabrics like lace,net, chiffon, georgette, organza, chanderi silk, etc. The top back does not have a lining, it can also be done on a  cut out back as well. They tend to be covered and make a style statement. Knot and clasps backs were the first to use these options by leaving a couple of inches between the lining and start of the fabric.

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8. Buttoned up backs : whether button, zip or hooks these are in a long row and all laced up together. It is a fully closed back which can be high or also used with strapless  necklines. Popular in bridal gowns, blouses, kurtas and tops.

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9. Full backs : the most conservative and most common back options. It is fully covered and is used with collared high necks. The back is high and completely covered with fabric. Most women don’t realize but a high backs adds weigt on your back depending on the fabric. The back has the biggest tendency to make one look ungainly so while choosing an outfit ensure you check the back section.

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10. Cowl backs: just like the neckline they are folded layers at the back. Popularized as Grecian backs, they are covering  and not at the same time.

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   Even when we wear outfits adorned with work and nothing at the back the outfit tends to look incomplete. Your back and hip area tends to look the heaviest from the back depending on the fabric e.g. anarkalis always add weight because of the extensive fabric.

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  Open backlines do put the focus on your back but also  make you look more structured depending on the cut and fabric. Backs have become a style statement over the years. Thus, choosing the right back is a challenge but variety makes clothes more fun, so get your back ready to be flashy.

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