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Kiran Bahl

Spring has arrived. What does this have to do with fashion, many of you are thinking? Lots. To begin with, all designers can finally take their spring/summer runway show designs out to the public. Lighter, more playful colors, textures and patterns are acceptable to wear. And finally, new, surprising trends in unique places can crop up out of nowhere!

Speaking of surprises, here a few 'wow' moments captured over the weeks at our boutique. Read them as fashion myths truly revealed. Also written are some tips, tricks and remedies gathered to help with any fashion tight spot.

Wearing the color orange

We always knew wearing the color orange is great on medium to darker complexions. But on lighter, more fair skin tones? Never! I always tell my paler clientele to distance themselves from oranges, peaches and yellows to avoid looking washed-out. This piece of news is in practically every fashion outlet too. Wrong. Not only have I had fair-skinned South Asians try this color and look great, but I've also seen Europeans, Americans and Spanish people flaunt this shade quite beautifully.

The trick is to find an orange shade that is bright, vibrant and almost neon, fire-like. A pastel or more sober tone will pale you even more. Especially accessorized with darker, more sober jewels/bangles, the color orange is truly inspiring for all.

Wearing dupattas 'seedha pallu' style

I remember seeing this look in a couple of designers' shows last year. Many disregarded the style right away; others thought about it then let the idea pass. It was basically a lengha/choli set with the dupatta draped open over the shoulder, diagonally across the body, like a traditional sari pallu. When shown on the catwalk, it resembled a sash, almost pageant like. But what a look! It stuck with me, and when I experiment the style on daring customers, they smile with glee and I smile right along with them. For added oomph, use brooches to keep the dupatta in place versus silver safety pins, which will make the outfit look too 'homemade.'

Wearing tikkas

Yes, you can! Wearing tikkas/forehead jewelry is immensely scary for so many women, especially over the age of 40. But why? Not only is it a sign of royalty and status, it looks downright gorgeous. Even with a simple salwar kameez or patiala, a plain thin gold or silver tikka will enhance your hairstyle, makeup and other jewelry. For a fancier event, a larger stone or gem tikka will boost the colors of your sari or lengha, and add more sass than the average bindi any day. Remember, however, not to overdo the look. If wearing a tikka for more simple get-togethers, avoid a bindi altogether. If attending a wedding or reception, wear a bindi, but one that is smaller, and paler in comparison to the main showpiece. Also, rounder faces should focus on longer, thinner pieces. Heart-shaped and oval ones can wear the thicker, rounder designs that are more popular now.

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 know patialas are the popular choice at this time, but I'm only five feet tall. When I wear too-baggy bottoms, they make me look shorter than I already am. Any tips? - Deepa, Sanford

A: Hi, Deepa. Yes, the biggest fashion don't I see on more petite ladies is when they wear regular long kameezed patialas. To better your frame with this look, shorten your top to improve the proportion of the kameez and the patiala itself. Too long of a kameez with a loose patiala will immediately shorten your body. Another thing you can do is wear high heels. I'm sure you've heard this before, but adding inches to your height this way will ensure a longer, traditional top looking just fine. For a more comfortable fit, you could wear platform-style heels since they're coming back into spring fashion!

Try out different looks, trends and fads always. However, I guarantee 100 percent that if you add your own character and flavor to your wardrobe, you will lead the top of the fashion crazes, and not just follow them! Being yourself and unique, and showcasing this for the world to see will make you most memorable. 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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