‘Tis the season of neutrals
“Neutral hues are seasonless, timeless and absolutely effortless! I take great comfort in playing with them as they give the ease of blending in with the humble richness of their palette, no matter how extensive or elaborate the outfit maybe,” says Karan Torani. Young designers like him find this colourlessness appealing to make fashionable clothes.
No wonder the flurry of social media feed these days is brimming with brides and fashion models sashaying in style in not blood red and gold, but elegant neutral hues.
However, history has it that from 3000 to 4000 BC, throughout the world, before dyes were created or understood, people would just wear the neutral colours that came out of wool, cotton, etc., says veteran designer Ritu Kumar.
“Then India became the first country amongst many, which discovered natural dyes. And, since this vegetable dying process was wanted by everyone in the world, they came to India, colonised it and took away textiles ,” she elaborates.
Having said that, says Karan, while we’re a nation obsessed with bold and popping colours, the subtle hues of earthy neutrals add the much needed restraint in our clothing. “Think sheer pastel saris of ancient maharanis to a timeless chikankari angrakha of nawabs!”
How to ace the monochrome game
Monochrome neutrals like white (and black) provide the perfect blank canvas to dress up or down the look. Only suggestion: wear skin-coloured lingerie underneath!
Wear this to: “Anywhere! Because you can dress them depending on the occasion,” says celebrity stylist Rishi Raj.
Who should wear it: “This hue is the safest choice to make for all complexions. Also, monochromes add linearity and an un-hampered line of vision creating a slimming, lengthening silhouette. But avoid the ruching in the front if you have a soft, fuller, belly,” he explains.
Pair it with: ”Accessories to dress it up or down. Glam it up with some blingy and chunky jewellery or a luxe clutch and high heels, or tread the casual chic route with strappy flats and fun earrings, suggests Rishi.
Avoid: “Since such outfits are clean slates with no prints, wrinkles and other stains like sweat are tough to hide. So, be careful about your make-up application and where you choose to sit while wearing such an outfit,” he says.
How to wear two neutral colours together
Want to pair two neutral hues? The science: Go for beiges and ovoid off-whites as they might end up looking soiled!
Wear this to: “A Sunday at home! The relaxed fit, tonal colours in summer fabrics are perfect for lounging at home,” says celebrity stylist Rishi Raj.
Who should wear it: “Depending on your height, your shorts may become shorter. One may replace the shorts with a pair of relaxed fit pants,” he suggests.
Pair it with: “Different beiges are the safest but off-whites can get tricky because if one is brighter than the other, one looks dirty in comparison,” says Rishi.
Avoid: “Avoid tucking the shirt, it would kill the vibe. Be careful with the socks. If you are wearing them with closed shoes and shorts, keep them invisible or relaxed and slightly gathered around the ankles (even if they are longer). Nice leather sandals work best though,” he suggests.
How to include neutrals in ethnic
Sure, neutrals have been part of ethnic wear. But you can give them a chic spin by keeping accessories minimal and the embellishments zilch.
Wear this to: “An evening out,” suggests designer Madhu Jain.
Who should wear it: “A sari is an Indian woman’s best friend! If draped well, it can hide a multitude of sins,” she says.
Pair it with: Since the outfit is so attractive in itself, go with minimalist accessories. Silver danglers and tons of bangles,” says Madhu.
Avoid: “A neckpiece on account of the high neckline,” she says.
Wear this to: “A semi-formal event,” suggests Madhu.
Who should wear it “Everyone! The pyjamas that mimic pants and the long kurta are a boon to all sizes,” she adds.
Pair it with: “Kolhapuris, Peshawari sandals. For a more formal look, drape a Kani or Jamewar shawl,” Madhu suggests.
Avoid: “Overpowering accessories such as a heavy brooch. Let the textile and silhouette speak for itself,” she cautions.
How to wear it with a hint of hue
Who said neutral workwear cannot be spiced up. Just add a hint of hue, nothing OTT, and beat Monday morning blues.
Wear this to: “Work! This is a fun work-day look, apt for Monday mornings when you want to add a bit of zing to begin your week,” says celebrity stylist Amy Billimoria.
Who should wear it: “This look especially flaunts your waistline. So, if you have worked on a perfect waist do try this fun look,” she suggests.
Pair it with: “Anything subtle especially earthy tones look good on neutrals. Avoid sharp contrasts. Best colour options would be pastel pink, light fawn. And something unusual would be a midnight blue!” she adds.
Avoid: “Avoid too much accessorising − just a waist accessory does the look. Keep your hair and make-up minimalistic,” says Amy.
How to break the monotony of a neutral-coloured suit
Pant-suits in neutrals can be carried to dates and discos. All you need is a nice tee and cool sneakers.
Wear this to: “This look is very versatile and a combination of cool and comfort. It can be worn for a lunch date and for the dinner party as well!” says designer Jenjum Gadi.
Who should wear it: “Both skinny and athletic body types can carry it off. Since this look has volume at the bottom, it’ll add extra pound to chubby frame,” he says.
Pair it with:“A suit with a T-shirt, casual shirts, casual shoes, and you could colour block or team it up with printed shirts or T-shirt too,” suggests Jenjum.
Avoid: “Very formal shirts and shoes. For a summer evening party wear this with nice leather sandals,” he adds.
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From HT Brunch, December 6, 2020
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