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Kiran Bahl

Welcome and Happy New Year! We hope everyone's holidays were celebrated with much peace, love and joy. As you follow your paths to fulfilling resolutions, let each step be fashionable and trendsetting, too!

Ladies, we can all agree - the Anarkali churidaar revolution needed an end. And how abruptly has it met its match! The patiala is the season's new and now MUST HAVE, and this style won't be going anywhere for a long while to come.

A patiala is generally made up of three parts. A patiala salwar, which is where the bottom resembles harem pants, is the foundation. It ties with a drawstring, has a super baggy fit, and many pleats stitched up top to create a flowing effect. Second, the kameez is the top portion, usually fitted to contrast from the salwar's looseness. Lastly, the dupatta provides the finishing touch, and sometimes can become the centerpiece itself!

As seen in many movies before, the patiala has much been thought of as a simple, village-inspired outfit. Originating from Punjab (northern India), the style was worn as an everyday, casual type of outfit, never quite given a creative thought to. This is hardly the case anymore! As in most Punjabi-oriented Bollywood films, such as "Jab We Met" and most of Yash Raj Films' movies, such as "Veer Zaara," "Bunty Aur Babli" and the recent "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi," the average patiala is becoming a designer's dream, full of contrast, merging colors and patterns, and some whimsical touches too!

"Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi" has enforced the patiala's demand greatly in the Indian fashion world, especially after the other movies mentioned. A twist on the patiala? Instead of the bottom of the salwar ending in a regular stitched end, the bottom is cuffed, almost like real harem pants. Basically, the salwar stays loose and flowing, but at the end, right at the ankles, the churidar 'cinching' effect is put in. Beautiful!

The kameez is updated now, too. Traditionally, patiala kameezes are fitted, knee-length, and to full sleeved. The kameez has now been cut almost kurti length, the length of your average blouse or shirt, right under the hips. It is still super fitted, but the shorter length lets the salwar's pleats show full force. Sleeves are shorter, and necklines are a little deeper as well, which look better with the draping of the dupatta.

The dupatta is normally larger in size than other outfits' dupattas. This is because in olden times, the dupatta was conceived to cover the ladies' entire chest area. This is still being done, except now, the dupatta is sheer (almost see-through), and in a contrasting color or pattern. How opposite that ladies now want that area to be noticed!

The sari, too, has been modernized greatly. The conventional sari blouse is a short short-sleeved choli, with scoop neck neckline, and hooks in front. Copying from the trendy film "Dostana" with Priyanka Chopra ('My Desi Girl' song), designers from Rohit Bal to Tarun Tahiliani are updating sari designs with bra blouses. These blouses, as the name suggests, are almost like bras or bikini tops. They're completely sequined or flashy in some other way. Their backs have no backs, as they just consist of just one tie-string. This style is great for younger generations, but if baring it all isn't quite your style, update the sari blouses you have by deepening their necklines (including the backs!) and slitting their sides up for a more couture look.

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 admit it, I'm an auntie. But I don't necessarily want to look like one. I work hard at my body, am fit and stylish too. How can I wear more contemporary designs without looking funny? - Kanti, Lutz

A: Namaste Auntie and Happy New Year! I understand your dilemma, and get asked this question a lot (sometimes in fear, even) at the boutique! You are clearly proud of your body, and we can all admire that. If you've got it, flaunt it! Try halter top or spaghetti strapped sari blouses. Try one shoulder lenghas, corset-inspired patialas, and fusion wear (mix a short pencil skirt with a fitted kurti or longer lengha top). All these will work without overexposing or looking as if trying too hard!

Once again, Happy New Year to one and all! As the chaos of the holidays calms down, and the regular routines commence once again, be sure to live each day with happiness, zeal and positive thinking, because good thoughts forever make good happen! 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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