Have you been thinking that it was that iconic Givenchy little black dress and the extended cigarette holder that made Audrey Hepburn’s Holly Golightly the ultimate fashion idol? Then try kissing your angry lover (while holding a cat in one hand) as the sky tears open and still look half as elegant as she does in the final scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
In our opinion, this is her biggest feat in the film, which we are reminded of most poignantly when we try following suit on our potholed, slushy streets post a heavy downpour. The time when neither bright neons, nor waterproof makeup, or even the big, floral umbrella (a suggestion dished out every year by sundry monsoon guides) are able to help us recover our slowly crumbling elegance. So we decided to find out how to remain elegant (trust us, mere pretty is no match) this monsoon.
Bollywood might have taught you to wear only sheer fabrics in the rain, but we are convinced you know better than that. Staying away from materials that crush easily like linen, cotton and pure silk will leave you de-stressed about the wrinkles later. Designer Anupama Dayal tells us, “It’s better to stay realistic about your fashion choices and include the weather in your style decisions. It’s advisable to not wear fabric that’s too thin, or handlooms. You must also avoid man-made fabrics like polyester, as the chemical fabric could cause a reaction and upset your skin if it gets wet. It’s best to opt for organic fabrics that don’t turn transparent and could dry on their own.”
Anyone who’s ever worn wet jeans might already know what we’re talking about. But that’s not the sole culprit of foul odour post a good walk in the rain. Designer Rahul Mishra says, “T-shirts in jersey might seem like the most comfortable material in this slightly chilly weather, but I would suggest avoiding it completely. Even knits and crochet could do a lot of harm to your stylish image after getting wet as they turn limp and heavy.”
He adds, “Cotton silk and chanderi are great options which are tailormade for the Indian monsoon. They even work well if you choose to wear a raincoat as they are very light and don’t absorb moisture easily.”
Instant fix-its for a rain-free look
Always keep an extra pair of shoes in your bag. Crocs may be convenient for the road, but they sure won’t impress your interviewer/date.
Carry some wet wipes/towels to get rid of the humidity and extra moisture from your face and hands.
Wet hair on board? Find the nearest public restroom and use their hand dryer to the maximum. Also, do a neat back comb, which would work perfectly in this weather.
Distract by using colourful hair accessories and pins. Place them strategically over stray hairs and no one will notice how wet your hair is.
Never leave your good quality perfume at home; a damp smell and wet clothes can be a lethal combination.
Hair and makeup
Tying those long locks up is beyond common knowledge now, but your style also needs to be fuss-free. Elaborate French braids and tricky updos will only add to your distress and you never know when they could need to be redone. “You should not have hair falling on your face and it’s better to not blow dry in this weather. With a lot of moisture already in the air, there are chances that your hair might get bigger than you intended, ruining your style altogether,” says Anupama Dayal, who also recommends a no-makeup look and keeping a fixer handy.
“It’s better to have very light makeup than to wear waterproof mascara which could also run over. Also, you must use the fixers available in the market as they could really make you look done up in two minutes flat,” she adds. And while this promises to make you Holly instead of her wet, gnarly cat, a dazzling smile will put you just there!
Colours and prints
The bright colour scheme does remain, but it’s important to choose your brights carefully in the monsoon. “Don’t wear colours like turquoise and bright yellow in the rains, but choose warmer tones instead. Coral, watermelon red and aquatic orange work really well here,” says designer Pankaj Ahuja.
Designer Anand Bhushan, in turn, doesn’t advise wearing a print that looks too busy. “It looks too chaotic and has the same effect on the person wearing it and those around them. With so much activity happening around you, it’s necessary to counterbalance that with your attire. So choose monochromes or very light prints,” he says.
The monsoon is the time to strike a careful balance between too much and too tight. While frills, ruffles and gathers are merely more fabric to get soaked, something too clingy isn’t a good look when wet either. Pankaj Ahuja of the duo Pankaj and Nidhi says, “Avoid any fitted or sticky silhouettes that sit too close to the body as they could look unappealing and be highly uncomfortable while giving rise to unsightly wet stains.”
Forget how crafty layering makes you seem and ditch all those clever tricks you might have learnt over the summer. Single out just one summer dress and wear it without any jackets, waistcoats or shrugs. Anand Bhushan says, “A dress on its own is your best option this season, as many layers tend to get wet and absorb more moisture. Layers not only take ages to dry, but will also make you look frumpy.” Apply the same rule to accessories as well. Too many chains, necklaces, ribbons and danglers look clunky and instantly pull your look to the bottom.
From HT Brunch, July 31
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