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Kiran Bahl

Spring is here, and as allergy season is cutting us a break (finally!), don't we just want to be outdoors all the time? Be inspired by nature and take these latest fashion cues being displayed in runways and shows worldwide.

Think of the sunny, breezy days. Patialas, yes, are still in, but ladies, airy saris have taken a step forward. They have remained their elegant selves, but a few changes reminiscent of olden times have transformed them into true treasures to behold! For example, wearing your sari in a light, pastel color seedha pallu style (with the pallu hanging down your back) is truly traditional, but now, leave the pallu draped over your shoulder and arm, instead of broaching the pallu in place all on your shoulder. This look, in fact, is a vintage style, and flattering!

Another look extremely popular is the Indian gown. More 'fusion wear,' this look is a blend of the traditional Indian workings of sequin, zari and embroidery, made into a full-length evening gown. Perfect for formal events, Hermes, Michael Kors and Falguni & Shane Peacock have taken a gown, added a ruched 'pallu' hanging down the middle, inserted a sequined, paisley pattern all over, or embroidered the bottom of the gown (like a lengha skirt!) fully with contrast stitching. Very classy and in the now!

Now, imagine a field of flowers, a gushing waterfall, or the sun rays peeking through a dense forest. Beautiful, isn't it? Your clothing should reflect this too. Saris and kurtis with artwork-inspired prints and motifs are the rage, and reflected even in accessories as well, from sandals and wedges to jewelry and kadas (wide bangles). Hand-painted saris and salwars, as a result, such as from Satya Paul or Monisha Jaisingh's collections, are back in fashion, big time.

What is the most important trait of spring? The sun. It's no wonder then why yellow has been the most prominent color choice for designers everywhere this season. Surprisingly, yellow can even work for the fair-complexioned lady! From pale shades to traffic-stopping neon hues, yellow is the new black. If you're not quite ready to take on the color yellow, do not worry. Try accessorizing and complementing your outfit with this shade, and you'll be just fine. Just remember not to wear black, mixing with yellow, as the bumblebee look is definitely a fashion don't.

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

Q: I'm scared of wearing a sari, as I have zero experience. Where do I start? - Erica, Tampa

A: Hi, Erica! My goodness, don't fear the sari, embrace it! Yes, saris can look as complex as driving a stick-shift car, but once worn a couple of times, it's a piece of cake! Not only can you come to the boutique and get a one-on-one lesson to tying a sari properly (there a few ways!), but there are so many resources to learn from, such as books, TV/DVDs and the infamous Internet! Literally, however, start your sari adventure with a matching petticoat and sari blouse (your sari foundations!). Even better, we can make any sari ready-made for you. The pleats would be pre-stitched, and the pallu would be attached. You'd just pull up the 'sari', which would resemble a lengha/skirt, and throw the pallu over your shoulder - done in no time!

So to refresh, remember that yellow is the latest in color, nature-inspired artwork is the latest pattern trend, and Indian workings fused into an evening gown are the rage. And do not fear yellow (many of you do, I know!) or saris! With these tips and the right attitude, everyone will look fashion fabulous! 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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