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Kiran Bahl

Happy Valentine’s Day! As we hustle and bustle to our soirees and cocktail parties, let’s also focus on one-on-one time with our partners, because after all, Valentine’s Day is all about the romance. And what better way to keep the romance alive then to make sure you’re the best dressed? Here are some tips to ensure fashion success.

Ladies, there are no substitutes this month for the two trendiest styles of early spring. Surprisingly, it is not the sari, but the churidaar and patiala that are on top. Focus only on these two styles to wear to just about any event, and all eyes will be on you, guaranteed.

When visioning a long, flowy dress, doesn’t sweet romance come to mind? Follow that thought into your churidaars. Churidaar dresses are the rage right now, prominently being shown off on runways all over India. From Manish Malhotra to Rohit Bal, and from Tarun Tahiliani to Roop Milan, the churidaar dress is well-timed to match the Valentine spirit within. Consisting of a long, flowy top, ‘dress-shaped’ to mid-calf, churidaar pajamas, and dupatta, this style ensures a long, lean look for any figure. All colors will do. However, steer clear of too many colors together, as it will confuse the eye, and widen your image. The more monochromatic the look, the slimmer you will appear.

To accessorize, wear a light chain with pendant with hoop earrings, or a light, coordinating jewelry set. Anything heavy will overwhelm the delicate style, so be wary of too-large kundan, stone or bead sets.

Patialas are hardly thought of as romantic, with styles only catering to casual functions such as poojas or home get-togethers. Patialas are now dressier, saucier and hotter than ever. To first soften the look, as it’s not near as ‘gentle’ as the churidaar dress, focus on Valentine colors in shades of red, pink or peach. Calming already, right? Next, pay attention to the cut of the outfit. A patiala consists of an extra-wide salwar with many pleats, kameez and dupatta. Ensure the bottom of the salwar contains some embroidery or sequin work to dress it up some. The kameez, as the mode is now, should be short, mid-thigh length, tighter-fitting, with long side slits. To upgrade the look further, take those slits all the way up to your waist for a spicy twist.

If you like dressing up, adding jewels to your patiala will be your favorite part of the outfit. Make sure jewelry is large, shiny and completely attention-grabbing. For jewelry, add a tikka to your head and wear as many bangles as possible. You’ll be the talk of the party.

Gentlemen, you are not forgotten. To truly impress that special someone in your life, opt for a sophisticated and savvy Jodhpuri, particularly the three piece ones, with a vest underneath. This look will replace your tuxedos and the embroidery can match with your partner’s outfit beautifully. Shoes won’t be a problem either, as Jodhpuris consist of a blazer and regular dress slacks, allowing you to wear your favorite pair of dress shoes, glossy preferred.

Send us your fashion questions and concerns. Follow the trend! E-mail us at, and we’ll answer any and all your fashion dilemmas. Here’s this month’s Fashion Drama Question of the month:

Q: I want to look good for my husband and want to wear a strappy churidaar on Valentine’s Day, but am afraid of exposing my arms too much. Also, what if it’s cold? Will it be proper to wear? - Naina, Crystal River

A: Hi Naina and Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your husband. You chose to dress in a churidaar, so already you’re in the “now” of fashion, I’m proud of you. As for exposing too much ‘arm,’ you can use your dupatta as a ‘shawl’ for the evening. For outdoors (it can get chilly in February, even in Florida!), opt for a shawl over your outfit, or a cardigan to match. Heavy or puffy coats are not allowed. Enjoy your special day.

If sharing Valentine’s Day with your soul mate, enjoy every moment with one another, these are the occasions where happy memories are grown. If single, go ahead, plan a night out with your friends, or spend the evening with family – after all, those are equally happy moments too. Be in love with each other, with your family and friends, and most importantly with life. And as always, remember to gro with style!

Kiran Bahl of Gro Styles, “An Indian Boutique,” 2035 E. Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33612, can be reached at (813) 843-9040 or (813) 903-8334.

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