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FASHION: Make your Diwali wear sparkle
By Kiran Bahl

With hurricane season nearly over, it's time to party. November includes several holidays, one important one being Diwali, the Festival of Lights. There's so much to celebrate, enjoy and dress up for!

Traditional looks are back in full swing. Top designers in India from Ritu Kumar to Manish Malhotra are shifting to more folk looks. Neutral colors are still the basis for clothing, but works filled with intricate embroidery and bead work are the rage. Lehngas and chaniya cholis are fast becoming the "it" item.

Longer, more traditional blouses complete the look for fuller, more elaborate skirts. Pantsuits are trimming up. Slim-style pants and shorter, more fitted tops are the style in easy-on-the-eye shades, such as dark pinks, reds, browns and purples. Simple stripes and subtle prints also are popping up in runways all over.

Women, take your outfits and accessorize. It's all about accessories. From full jewelry sets, including large earrings, full necklaces and tikkas, to thick bangles and colorful bangle/churiyaan sets, enhancing your favorite outfits can completely alter the look. Try experimenting, contrasting two shades of bangles instead of just one on both wrists. Add fancier bangles/kadas at the sides to produce a complete ensemble. Hand-to-wrist pieces, nose rings and anklets/paayal are gaining popularity too. This month, pull off a solid colored outfit and dress it up completely with colorful accessories.

For elaborate Diwali celebrations and gatherings, opt for more formal, beaded looks. Sequins, bright embroidery and glitter and flash are in style. Even men's formal fashions include intricate, mirrored works. Soft chiffons and silks are easily taking over the traditional cotton/georgette looks. Focus on darker, more solid colors and emphasize on limited beadwork or embroidery without overdoing it.

It's the men's turn to sharpen up their looks. Fancy, but lightweight materials are popular. Like women's fashion, neutral colors remain prominent, but with more complex designs, including floral prints. Foil work and glasswork embedded in a variety of designs add the right flair for any occasion.

Enjoy the month, and here's wishing you a healthy, happy and prosperous Diwali. And as always, remember to grow with style!

Kiran Bahl
Gro Styles, "An Indian Boutique"
(813) 903-8334 / (813) 843-9040

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