Summer fashion alert | fashion and trends | Hindustan Times
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Summer fashion alert

If there’s anything nice to be said about the hot season, it’s this. Summer clothes look sooo good and make you feel sooo young and fresh. Check out the new trends of the season for both women and men.

fashion and trends Updated: Mar 06, 2010 19:27 IST
Parul Khanna

Time to layer up

What it is:
Usually, summer means wearing as little as possible so you don’t melt. Off go the layers of clothing that cold weather called for, and on go the clothes in the thinnest fabrics that modesty will allow. But girls, if you don’t want to be left behind – fashion-wise – this summer, continue to layer.

Layering means to wear a number of clothes, one upon the other and all at once, in such a way that a bit of every piece is visible.

How do you layer in summer:
By wearing something in a sheer or transparent fabric over another layer or two. This way, you can show off all the clothes you’re wearing and not collapse in the heat either.

Fabrics are going thinner and thinner this season. So it’s easy to dress in layers. “Sheers are going to be very big. Airy, light and transparent fabrics like tulle, organza, chiffons and soft nets will be used this summer to sensuously layer clothes,” says fashion designer Nachiket Barve.

Why it works:
Layering adds dimension to an outfit, especially if it’s done in contrasting shades. Layering is also recommended if you have an active social life and need to be a quick change artist between work, coffee date and party – just add or subtract another layer, and you’re ready to roll. Plus, it looks sensual.

How to wear it:
Opt for summer jackets (a trend in itself) that are made with sheer and light fabrics. Wear a strappy malmal dress with a sheer jacket over it. Or jeans, ganji and a summer jacket or loose, billowy, sheer top.

Barve suggests playing with fabrics and doing a peek-a-boo – wear a slip in a contrasting shade that’s visible beneath the slits of your skirt or let a lace camisole peep from beneath a strappy top.“The best way to do it is to make it a play of contrasts. Wear a bright colour or print under a neutral, breezy, sheer top,” he says.

Going nar

What it is:
No, we not talking about your mindset but your silhouette. Narrow, tapered and fitted are the keywords of men’s style this summer, from pants to jeans to T-shirts to shirts and jackets. This is a big shape-changing trend.

Says fashion designer Ashish Soni, “Jackets are shorter, pants are narrower. The silhouette is lean, the look sexier and edgier.” At the Milan Fashion Week, Spring / Summer 2010, most designers had a neat silhouette with defined shoulders and slim trousers and waists.

International designers and design houses like Roberto Cavalli and Bottega Veneta had V-shaped trousers – full on top and narrow below – with crisp shirts and jackets.

An off-shoot of this trend is the narrow, snug-fit, ankle-length pants that are touted to be next season’s silhouette and are already becoming popular.

Why it works:
Contrary to what you might believe, this look suits even those men who are short or stout. “A narrow fit cuts away the excess from the body and gives an illusion of slimness. Short and stout men, in fact, should go for narrow pants,” says fashion designer Nitin Bal Chauhan.

How to wear it:
You can achieve this look only if you opt for the skinny silhouette all the way up and down. Make sure your jeans or trousers are fitted and are not flapping around your ankles. Otherwise, you might end up looking like an urchin.

Wear fitted summer jackets cropped to just where the belt loops of the pants begin. And you can experiment with the length of your trousers. If you have a good physique, opt for an ankle-baring length. Otherwise, stick to the trouser length you usually wear.

Virginal white? Not quite

What it is:
Purists argue that white has always been the quintessential shade of summer. But that’s not completely true. Fashion reflects the times we live in, and thanks to the recession, black and acid shades ruled the last couple of years, reflecting the dark mood prevailing across the world.

“Now white has made a comeback for women. It’s a statement celebrating the end of bad times. That’s why Chanel had whites in its collection; Calvin Klein’s spring / summer collection was dominated by white on white ensembles; Fendi, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci all went white,” says fashion stylist Nisha Kundani.

International celebrities like Lady Ga Ga, Beyonce, Rihanna, Eva Longoria, Pink and Megan Fox all went white at the 2010 Grammy Awards and fashion labels like Gucci, Herve Leger by Max Azria, Osman and Marchesa used white or nude for their creations this summer.

Why it works:
White looks clean, fresh and summery. It works with every complexion, and contrasts with and enhances a tan. White has the ability to illuminate the skin and emphasise design.

How to wear it:
Go completely tone-on-tone. For instance, wear an all-white dress with white slip-ons, or a white tee with white sports shoes and distressed jeans, teamed with a white bag. Says Nisha Kundani, “You needn’t get too extravagant with whites. Wear it simply, with the focus on clean lines as shown at Calvin Klein and Wendell Rodricks’ eternal resort collections.”

You can also choose from shades of the white family – ivory, beige and khaki. And, says fashion designer Abhishek Dutta, “Co-ordinate your whites with tangerine orange, tomato puree red or neon greens.”

Short, shorter, shortest

What it is:
Legs, legs and more legs, because hemlines have gone up, girls! Really up. So start doing those reps of squats, or your hemlines will have to come down and you’ll be out. “The trend is a recycle of the ’80s, but hemlines are dangerously up this time,” says fashion stylist Shy Kalra.

Why it works:
Since we’re all becoming gym-conscious these days, says designer Abhishek Dutta, and figures are getting trimmer, hemlines are open to experimentation.

Plus, short dresses, skirts and shorts make you look sexy. And, they are great for the long, hot summer ahead. Not to mention the little known fashion fact that when hemlines rise, so do economies…!

How to wear it:
The higher the hem, the better this season. But remember: only if you have toned legs can you carry off this look. If you’re comfortable going bare-legged, then that’s the best way to wear your short dresses, skirts and shorts.

But if not, pair your short number with interestingly patterned stockings. Team your short skirts or shorts with fitted and cropped tees. Loose is not a recommended silhouette.

If you’re interested in shorts, there’s a wide variety. Look for hot pants, boy shorts in denim, or checked shorts in cotton. Says fashion designer Abhishek Dutta, “Many styles of shorts are available.

Try out the bloomer shorts. They are fitted at the waist and thighs, but bloat in the middle. For a party, go for skirts or shorts in dark shades with details like sequins.” For a casual day out, team your short number with casual footwear. At night, wear stilettos.

Indian prints in western wear

What it is:
Pinch your mother’s malmal sari with the paisley print, rush to a tailor you trust, and turn it into a summer dress, top or skirt. Because your summer wardrobe this year would be incomplete without Indian prints in western wear. And not just one print: mix and blend Indian prints and motifs with graphics, foliage prints and florals. Says fashion stylist Nisha Kundani, “Marry your psychedelics, digitals, florals and gingham.”

International designers such as Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier have paisleys and other Indian motifs in their collections. And, says fashion designer Abhishek Dutta, “Why not celebrate our rich arts and crafts?” Say designer Anupama Dayal, “Flaunt marru ikats, paisleys with graphics, bandhinis and leheriya in fabrics of your choice. Because the world is awed by Indian prints and motifs, I experiment with them a lot. For instance, I am combining leheriya with cubism to offer the world something new.”

Why it works:
Because these prints are uniquely Indian and when they’re used with western silhouettes, they add another dimension to the ensemble. And they are a delight to look at.

How to wear it:
Advises Nisha, “Pair an ikat print drop-waist silhouette with bandhini print fitted pants to create a look that clashes and is unique. Frida Giannini, head designer at Gucci, has designed an Ikat print body-conscious dress (short and really tight-fitted) that is already a best-seller.”

Make sure your clothes are well-cut. Take a look at the Dries Van Noten collection to get the idea. In India, Ritu Kumar and Anupama Dayal have taken up the cause. Or raid your mother’s wardrobe for saris you can transform via a tailor, and add accessories like colourful bangles for a hippie chic look.

But wear prints in moderation – either as a dress or a top, and balance them out with staple accessories like a silver chain bracelet. Or wear a plain tee or dress and decorate it with a print scarf, print clutch purse and ethnic jewellery.

The orange family

What it is:
Emboldened by the success of last season’s big colour, purple, fashion gurus have announced the “orange family” as the new colours for men this summer. Shades varying from fluorescent brights to darker burnt oranges dominated the Spring / Summer 2010 collections of Emporio Armani, Louis Vuitton, Etro, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bottega Veneta and Paul Smith.

Why it works:
It’s a change from boring blacks, greys and blues. It makes you stand out. Since there is a range of shades, you can pick the ones that suit your skin tone. And it’s fun to include the colours as highlights.

How to wear it:
The key here is not to walk around in a monochromatic colour, but to have accents of it in your attire. Highlight the colour by including one item - T-shirt, trousers, or jacket – in that shade in your ensemble.

Or use the colour in the details of your attire, says fashion designer Gaurav Gupta. “You can wear fluorescent laces, have fluorescent or orange piping on jeans and trousers or wear slippers of the colour.”

Or, make it the base colour in your attire, suggests fashion designer Nitin Bal Chauhan. “Wear an orange, yellow or fluorescent T-shirt, that has detailing in other colours. You could also wear it in socks. Men should use these colour forecasts in their accessories, such as the wristband of watches, socks, laces, ties, caps etc. It works well,” he says.

Funky T-shirts

What it is:
Listen up, guys: T-shirts are getting a makeover and experimentation is the key. Different techniques and detailing, such as funky coloured piping or embroidery, are being used on T-shirts. The international runways saw rainbow colours meshed together to create a graphic print or illusion, and a variety of techniques, including funky embroidery.

Why it works:
You can make a statement and be cool, no matter how old you are. Fashion designer Gaurav Gupta has telephones on his T-shirts. Nitin Bal Chauhan has faces and colorful piping on them. Printed tees with slogans and statements are another big trend. Think Tantra, for instance.

Disney’s cartoon characters are also favourites, such as the very popular Mickey Mouse T-shirts, says fashion stylist Shy Kalra. Comic-book superheroes such as Superman and Batman are also hot, as are the skull and crossbones prints, Japanese prints, and prints of your favourite music bands. Remember: this trend is not only for the young. It crosses age barriers. So be brave!

How to wear it:
Flaunt your trendy tees with jeans, shorts, even pants. Keep the T-shirt as the one main piece in your ensemble, and make sure your accessories are minimal and classy. You want to make a statement, not look like a wannabe teenager. Your tee should be the only funky element in your outfit.

Checks and plaids

What it is:
A favourite for men last season, checks will continue their reign this year. But the difference this season is in the size, says Gaurav Gupta. “Go for finer, thinner checks, rather than broad ones,” he says.

Accordng to Brunch columnists Yatan Ahluwalia and Jojo, small checks suit more people and most body types. And this time, Madras plaid (woven cotton dyed in checks and plaids) is having its fashion moment. “Madras checks and plaid patterns were popular in men’s wear in the 1960s and 1940s, but are being revived now.”

Why it works:
Checks add depth to an outfit and make it interesting.

How to wear it:
If you have the confidence, go for an out-and-out check look, with check pants, check shirt and check summer jacket, says designer Gaurav Gupta.

Or else, wear a check shirt paired with check shoes. Or, pair check shoes with check belts. Just play with checks. And wear them in light shades to beat the summer.

However, if you have a heavy build or a large frame, avoid checks altogether, as they tend to make you look wider and fuller, say Yatan Ahluwalia and Jojo. If you’re planning to wear check pants, they add, choose small prints or Scottish tartan – a pattern consisting of small criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands – and pair them with a plain top. Checks make skinny legs look fuller, but can also make you look shorter.

Sportswear splash

What it is:
Daily wear now has elements of sportswear. But this doesn’t imply going to parties or meetings in track pants and T-shirts. Clothes that have elements of sportswear are touted as the next ‘in’ trend.

Labels like Stella McCartney, who designed a collection for Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Lacoste, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Paul Smith and True Religion showcased collections inspired by sports such as tennis, rugby, football and even yoga.

Why it works:
Sportswear is practical. In the summer heat, wearing a sweat-absorbing T-shirt or dress makes perfect sense. Plus, lycra is a figure-enhancing fabric.

How to wear it:
Sports are becoming popular with today’s fitness-conscious youth. That’s why its elements are creeping into casual wear. Says designer Nikhil of the Nikhil and Shantanu duo, “Tennis stripes in T-shirts, on the sides of pants and shorts, the headband, are going to be in.

The fit will be such that it makes you look sexy and strong and shows off your body’s best features. For men, muscle-fit tees are in.” Nikhil and Shantanu recently tied up with Adidas to create a line for them called Style Essential.

Sportswear-inspired lines also include clothes that borrow the technology and details of sportswear. So T-shirts that can absorb sweat are in. That means clothes in cotton with a mix of stretch, polyester and lycra.

For men
Harrington jackets, scoop-neck T-shirts, horizontal-striped polo shirts, drawstring detailing, piping along pants (or in the lining of a jacket), tennis shoes, mesh shirts, the colour orange, and lots of white.

For women
For women, the sportswear look is a fitted one. For instance, lots of snug T-shirts. Says designer Abhishek Dutta, “Typical sportswear elements like coloured bands on dresses and T-shirts will be seen in women’s clothing. Tennis skirts are the rage, as are razor-back T-shirts.” There’s also cross-lacing, jersey fabrics, football-style shoulders and leggings.