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Loose it

Small maybe in, but when it comes to clothes, think big. Smita Mitra tells you how to dip into the voluminous trend.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2008 18:12 IST

Since we had the entire summer of 2008 to get used to the volume trend, we should have had a handle on it by now. But here we are, woefully unprepared for the fall-winter 2008, uncertainly armed with just our shift dresses, a few oversized bags and some harem pants.

As it happens though, the next few coming months will still incorporate volume but get ready for spectacularly new interpretations. Think of the hoop skirts and the bouffant hair-dos of the Fifties to get a clue about what the trend can be about. This is the final season you will get to play with volume for a while since globally the fashion silhouette has already collapsed to give rise to a longer, leaner look. So are you ready to pump it up one last time?

Swinging skirts
Think of all the Disney belles with their flowing skirts and tiny waists. Think of the fantastical and romantic genre they epitomise. That is what the swinging, full skirts for the coming season promise – an opulent, unpractical but deliciously fashionable look. Instead of the plain A-line shift dresses, we have luxurious floor length or knee length dresses with lots of pleating at the waist or under the bust.

Their generously flaring hemlines are not unlike our traditional ghagras with their huge gheras. This is a direct inspiration from the hoop skirts of the Fifties that emphasised the waist because of the flared cut. If you don't have an hourglass figure, just cheat. Pick dresses that are cinched higher up, towards the bust. The other option is to go for panelled dresses, panelled gypsy skirts or volumised skirts that end just above the knee or at the knee. Longer, ankle length skirts are probably not the best bet unless you are among the few Indian women with a long torso. These skirts are best teamed with well-fitting tops.

Oversized collars
If you have ever snuggled into a coat with a high collar, you know how utterly luxurious this style is when there is a nip in the air. But the oversized collar is not limited to coats or the simple turtleneck sweater. You could go for oversized lapels on your jackets, get tops with the ‘alternate’ high collar that wraps swathes of fabric around the neck or the mini poncho collar that extends till the shoulders.

To emphasise a high, big collar, opt for racer back tops and halter necks with wider armholes. If you have the enviable swan neck, you can experiment with oversized collars. But even if you have a short or thick neck, don’t despair. Instead of the oversized turtlenecks, you can go for gently scooped necklines with a floating, cape-like collar that falls gracefully over your shoulders. Volume in the collar means that the eye is immediately drawn upwards, away from the hips and waist.

Slouchy Pants
Relax, it isn't going to be all about skirts and dresses next season. Slouchy, comfort fit pants will be the rage as well. Though loose, these pants are high-waisted and well fitted around the waist and hips before they flare out. They hug the bottom before becoming baggy. Teamed with loose, full sleeved blouses in materials like chiffon and voile, these pants are perfect for office and for formal dos.

A more casual interpretation of these are the jodhpurs or dhoti pants worn with tees and waistcosts. These pants have to be worn with high heels for the right effect. Slouchy pants make power dressing easy for women and if you want to stress the masculine aspect, wear these pants with suspenders.

Exaggerated sleeves
Pants are not the only way you can give expression to the dominatrix in you. Sleeves that make your shoulders look broad can do just that. Exaggerated cap sleeves, dolman sleeves that are wide near the armhole before narrowing down near the wrists and of course puffed sleeves is a way to achieve the look. The best think about the ‘broad shoulders’ look is that the waist looks slimmer and accentuates the hourglass figure. Since Oriental flourishes will be hot, turn to Japan for inspiration.

Kimonos sleeves in casual cotton tops or wrap dresses look fabulous and are a boon if you have heavy or flabby arms. If you want to play it safe, opt for the bell sleeves that could flare either from the elbow or armhole. Long puffed sleeves in translucent fabrics gathered near the wrist are a charming, Victorian interpretation of this style. But loose, puffy sleeves means that you again have to team it with slouchy pants or full skirts that highlight the waist.

The trapeze Shape
Next season's dresses pouf up the baby boll shape even more. The trapeze dress with an exaggerated silhouette billows at the hem and when combined with the balloon cut, makes a breezy, casual day outfit. Narrow under the arms before it unfurls to its full proportions, the trapeze dress is perfect for the Indian woman's voluptuous figure. It should be preferably short and show off the legs.

But too much volume can also be a bad thing sometimes so whenever possible, cinch it with a wide belt. Other ways to incorporate the trapeze cut is to get flaring short bolero jackets that end just above the waist or kaalidaar kurtas and yoked tops. If you liked the flapper style, get tiered dresses or tops where each layer has a larger circumference.

This is a style where the clothes floats over your body and goes best with a bouffant hairstyle. Bows and flounces that add to the volume can be excessively feminine but you think you have the ingenue charm, feel free to go all girly and rock the look.