If people are unable to recognise you without your uniform of long coats and snug boots, then there’s no doubt that winter fashion has you wrapped around its chilly finger. But before you dive into that stack of chic warmers every morning and layer yourself out like there’s no tomorrow, take a rain check.
While those chunky cable knit pullovers might look ultra chic on the twiggy model, you (and we!) have higher chances of looking like decorated Christmas drums in them. And the luxurious wide-legged pants that were all the rage on the Fall runways could end up giving you the ghastly toe of that desert animal that shall be unnamed. But before you start labelling us as anti-trend and un-stylish, we’d like to lay our cards out.
There’s no need to shun these trends, but it helps if you know what works on you and most other average sized, un-model like bodies. So we got four super stylish, regular sized people to dish out advice on dressing in winter: Designers Anand Bhushan and Kallol Datta, blogger and stylist, Sonu Bohra and Marie Claire (India) fashion editor, Pearl Shah. Fabrics
It’s all in the drape!
Plastic kills. And not just the environment but your figure as well! "Avoid lycra, satin, synthetic and polyester. They are curve killers and are snug at all the wrong areas," says Sonu Bohra, fashion blogger from fashion-bombay.
Choosing thinner fabrics that fall well on the body helps to hide the bulk. "A good trick is to choose fine wool like cashmere. You could layer cashmere cardigans under your winter coats to skip the bulk," says Pearl Shah of Marie Claire magazine.
Flat materials like cotton, denim, silk, wool and jersey that don’t skim the curves yet embrace them lightly are best suited for fuller figures. Materials like brocade, suede, velvet, leather, taffeta act the other way. And guys, ditch that corduroy, fast. Trousers & Pants
Ban the embellishment
Go for a relaxed fit and don’t bother to fit into your clothes. Make your clothes fit you instead! Take in the seat of your pants to avoid the bunching at your waist, bring in the seams and both you ladies and lads, don’t let the length fall below your shoes. There’s nothing more unflattering than tattered and dusty trouser ends.
"Heavily flared pants are very in for women this season and those with a heavier bottom should try them in darker shades of wine, brown and burgundy," advises Sonu Bohra of fashion-bombay.com.
"Girls, channel the gentlemen’s club look with beautifully tailored trousers in soft tweeds and a matching jacket," says Pearl Shah of Marie Claire. When buying denim, always opt for unadorned, unembellished jeans as tags, diamante, crystals and motifs on the back pocket (a favourite with some men!) will add bulk and are also, by the way, horribly out of style.
Low-rise jeans are not the best friends of a curvy Indian bottom. Run as far as you can from them and an unsightly underwear band. Boot cuts for women and straight fits for men are more form flattering. With uniquely shaped bodies, Indian women often tend to go wrong with trousers, says Kallol Datta. "You should ensure they have the right crotch fit or else you’ll spoil a good looking pair of pants," he says. We’d say ditto for all guys too! Cardigans
They are back this season!
If all you ladies are thinking of the archaic, bygone variety that wouldn’t even be granny chic at the moment, then you’re wrong. Give up the maternal tighties and embrace the new asymmetrical cardigans that are all the rage now.
Invest in ones that come in a stretch fabric. "They are shorter in the front and longer in the back, effectively hiding those bulges without making you look dowdy. You can also opt for a cosy wrap which is popular these days," says Sonu Bohra.
Show off them arms, says Kallol Datta. "Make sure the cardis don’t cling all over your torso but onto your most flattering part, which for a lot of Indian women is their arms. That draws the attention away from other areas to your best parts," adds Kallol.
You can nip in the waist of the cardigan with a slim or a thick belt, or even a colourful scarf. "Adding a belt instantly gives the illusion of a slim body with the bulges reined in," says designer Anand Bhushan.
Add a vertical, long scarf (paisley is massive this winter) to your cardigan, jeans combination to add length to your figure. Boots & shoes
Glide, don’t squeeze
When buying boots, especially the trendy above-the-knee-ones, don’t squeeze your calves. Find ones that give you enough room. Guys, stick to the calf length.
Avoid chunky heels or those with broad square toes as they could make your legs look short and stubby. Try slim stilettos with a wide-based heel that would add the right length to your calves and give you ease of movement. Men, avoid heels as far as possible.
Take the monotone trick further and pair black tights with black heels that make your legs look so long, they’d last for days. Guys, try the same with black trousers and gently pointed shoes.
Girls, if you want to show off your shapely calves, opt for pointy booties. Men, try and avoid the too-pointy route, as it hardly suits anyone. Jackets & Coats
Go Long for a chic look
When looking for a coat for curvy silhouettes, look for designs that are single breasted, without shoulder padding and with linear lines. Avoid styles with too many pockets, lapels or a tight fit.
"It’s never a good idea to draw too much attention to the hips if you have a relatively heavier backside. Use jackets and coats with belts and ensure they end around mid thigh or mid waist," says designer Kallol Datta.
Try getting custom fits that flatter your size and figure. "Anything off-the-rack will not fit someone with a 8 or 10 US size. So it’s always better to get the waist nipped and trim the sleeves so they fit perfectly on the wrists," adds Kallol. Guys, when you look for a blazer or a coat, opt for V-necked ones with a single breasted style and no shoulder padding. Also, stay away from oversized buttons or tuggable strings.
Layering can be a great weapon for women when used well, says Mumbai based stylist Sonu Bohra of the duo Sonu and Jasleen. "Clinch a belt over a blazer and flaunt your upper waist, an area which is naturally flat for most women. One can also go for overcoats with inbuilt belts, which can be tightened from within," says Sonu.
A long T-shirt under a cropped jacket or a bolero can also help knock off those pounds. "A fabulously well-cut coat which has a structure like a trench or comes in an A-line silhouette, close on the heels on the ’60s trend, works really well for a curvy figure or a thick middle," says Pearl Shah, fashion editor, Marie Claire India. Skirts & Dresses
Work that flounce
Reveal some skin this season with a stylish colourful scarf as an accessory and an appropriate V-neckline as it balances broad hips and thighs. The inverted triangle takes the attention away from the midsection, providing an illusion for a thinner upper body.
Do not ignore the importance of right innerwear. "Most women wear innerwear that is either the wrong shape or the wrong fit. It not only shrinks their bosom but also makes them seem heavier than they are," says designer Anand Bhushan. Something that leaves marks or has the clinching strap riding upwards is probably wrong.
You can also invest in quality shape wear or spanx which are a high waist and low-legged form of knickers and bring a certain sense of shape to the wobbly bits. Even Kim Kardashian swears by them.
Mid-length hemlines are the hottest silhouette this winter and a blessing for those with big legs. "Indian women can elongate their legs by showing off their calves since most have a great knee to ankle ratio. Mid-length skirts/ dresses do that very well," says Kallol Datta. Try an A-line silhouette in a skirt if you are bottom heavy.
Avoid high necklines or pairing turtle necks with a low scooped dress. "I think polo neck sweaters are the biggest disgrace to fashion and should be strictly avoided. You could wrap a stylish muffler instead of making yourself appear stunted without a visible neck," says stylist Sonu Bohra of fashion-bombay.com. Accessories
Draw the right attention
Girls try out the latest turbans and men, go for hats in felt. They will add drama to your look.
Choose chunky cuffs and a stack of several bangles that create the illusion of a slim wrist.
Experiment with lots of beads in a longer length and mid-chest bib jewellry that will instantly take the eyes away from the waist and midsection.
Slip your fingers into cocktail rings in bold and bright colours.
Click here for a detailed low-down on how to get the look just right!
From HT Brunch, January 15
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