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By Kiran Bahl

Happy Independence Day to India. August 15th marks a very important and historic date for us all. Why not celebrate by wearing India’s bright and bold colors as a symbol of patriotism and pride?

Moving away from the heavy jhumke earrings of last season, runways are focusing their chandelier looks on another important accessory – bangles. These “jhumke/ghungroo” bangles are put together by mixing two or more bright contrasting colors together and then adding thicker, more ornate kadas in the middle and ends for effect. The ends are connected on the bottom by three or more swinging chandelier strands that create a dazzling effect when worn. Try them with a one- or two-tone colored outfit for splendid results.

Churidaars are slowly taking a backseat. Instead, salwar kameezes and saris are coming back as the most-wanted item. Traditional salwar kameezes add a twist by having the kameez length knee-length or shorter. The salwar on the bottom is becoming more decorative with sequins/embroidery around the border, keeping the outfit semi-formal. Wedding catalogs are now even sporting extravagant salwar kameezes as a substitute for the traditional lengha or sari. Popular wedding colors are now burgundy, gold and dust pink. A unique turquoise and violet also is being predicted as the next ‘it’ color instead of the classic reds and maroons.

Saris are back. Which ones are the ultimate in style? Anything chiffon goes! Bright colors, such as sea green, mustard, lime green, and shocking pink are the rage, filled with sequins, embroidery or kundan work. Brocade and net pallus are different, yet beautiful when displayed. The young generation especially is highlighting this Indian-style staple; even our Bollywood’s leading ladies are strutting around in them at every event. Blouses are being stitched fitted and sleeveless, including halter tops and tube tops. For everyone past the college age, blouses are kept traditional, but the sleeves and back are being altered to a more drastic look, either sleeves with large teardrop slits or drop-down backs many inches below the norm.

Jewelry has actually been inspired by historical times. With movies such as “Parineeta” and “Paheli” hitting our country, old styles are back. Large tikkas are the number one must have accessory after lots of bangles. Two tone sets are super hot, with large jhumke earrings and huge pendant sets. The thicker the better, offsetting the “less is best” trend from last season. Bindis also have gone traditional. Large round and oval styles are being worn more overall than the long, thin styles. Going back to our roots is what it’s all about this time around. Hair too, is not left behind in the “old is gold” look. Pleated hair, heavy braids, buns and low ponytails are hits, especially tied with fancy hair clips and flowers.

Gentlemen, you are not left behind. Try out a dhoti paired with a light cotton kurta top. Cotton kurta pajamas are most comfortable! For fancier functions, go for jodhpuris, but with a twist. Instead of closing the jacket all the way, leave the first few hooks undone and wear a solid colored contrasting matching top underneath for a different look. This makes the look a bit more lax during this summer season, yet still maintains its elegance and sophistication.

Once again, Happy Independence Day to India. Whatever you choose to do to celebrate, be safe, happy and always remember to gro with style!

Kiran Bahl
Gro Styles, "An Indian Boutique"
on Fowler Avenue in Tampa
(813) 903-8334 / (813) 843-9040

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