It’s no news that soaring temperatures are breaking new records with every day. Summers seem to be hell bent at leaving all of us stifled and panting. So much so that – even an early monsoons prediction fails to ring the happy bells – what with sticky humidity promising to come as a non-negotiable part of the package. Well, let’s not rant more, and tweak our wardrobes and fashion choices, so we will continue to feel cool – even when the monsoons break in.
Summer and rains are a great time to flaunt a plenty of styles, silhouettes and trends. From shorts, teeny strappy tops, sheer trousers and billowy skirts to flowing ghagras, lehengas, kurtas and floral sarees – tropical fashion is one fun trip. Let’s quickly get down to list down the smart style choices that can help keep us cool and chic –
1. Invest in Natural Fabrics…
A summer-proof rule that cannot be over-emphasized! Natural fibers are breathable and hence, make a great choice for hot and humid climes. They look – and more importantly, feel – really cool and crisp. Classy as they are, they are available in many varieties. From the ever reliable cottons to light-as-feather muslins, chic linens, swish silks, breezy jutes – and the more new-age hemp, bamboo, banana and ramie – natural fabrics speak for themselves in terms of sweat absorbency, non-allergic/ anti-itch properties and unique textures. They also dry up quickly – which is a must for rainy weather.
Western wear as well as ethnic wear looks great in these breezy fabrics. “Cool and stylish Salwar Kameez in natural fabrics like cottons, muls, Chanderi silks are super-hit attires for sticky weather. In fact, even the bridal and wedding wear segment is tilted towards natural fabrics for summer weddings, this season.”, say the stylists at popular ethnic-wear portal Saree.com. While silks have always been a favorite in the wedding market, smart silk-cotton blends, tussar, other wild silks, blended linens, khadi, organza and even gauzy jutes are gaining momentum in the designer bridal-wear sector.
2. Say Yes to Handlooms and Indigenous Fabric Arts
For starters, handlooms are definitely soothing and cool, as they largely use natural fibers and are woven in such a manner that the resultant fabrics are airy, absorbent and comfortable. While cotton, khadi and linen based handloom sarees and materials are great choices for work-wear, day-wear and casual-wear – for special occasions and evening-wear, we can pick all-weather silks like tussar, ahimsa, khadi and wild silks – and sico – silk-cotton blends. Handloom silk sarees are much in vogue these days, and have an unmatched classic appeal. Heritage fabric arts like Bandhani, Leheriya, Shibori, Ikat weaving and such are great ways to add color and vibrancy to monsoon greys.
3. Go Sleeveless
Going sleeveless is the best way to beat the heat, and we, as women, can do it easily. Just a word of advice there– arms must be groomed (that includes under-arms), if and when sleeveless is attempted. Hair removal and moisturizing are non-negotiable. Also, sleeveless styles look great on toned arms and shoulders – so let’s get going to the gym for those upper body strength exercises. Toned arms do not equal thin arms, by the way!
**Exercise, anyway, is great all through the year. Summers and rains are a great time for hitting the gym, as this also builds up our immunity. We can replenish lost fluids by drinking water, fruit infusions and healthy drinks like nimbu pani, coconut water, buttermilk, aloe-vera juice and phalsa sherbet. This will also give us a glowing skin.
4. Experiment with Blouses
Summers and monsoons are great times to try out fun styles in saree blouses and western tops – which we can’t do, when wearing a jacket or cover-up is necessary. Let’s bring out strappy styles, halter necks and cute back designs like cut-outs et al.
Cold Shoulders and Off-Shoulders – This is one trend that’s hitting the fashion markets right, left and center. And, we can’t miss it! These peekaboo styles are great in dresses, suits, western wear – just about everything. Wedding lehengas and saree blouses are also being made in trend.
Prints and stylish fabric arts like Kalamkari and block prints add an ethnic charm to saree blouses. Cut-out, window/ button holes and backless designs also look very sensuous in rainy weather.
5. Roomy Bottoms
From the evergreen classics – Salwars, Patiala Salwars, lehengas – to the chic and trendy palazzos, sharara pants and bohemian skirts – roomy, comfy, loose bottoms are perfect for sweaty weather, when we can always do with some more air circulation. Loose silhouettes allow for free movement and are perfect, when the humidity strikes. Moreover, they are super in-vogue now – so trying them in different avatars will make us more fashion-savvy.
“Pair usual cotton casual kurtas with long, flowy skirts for an instant lehenga suit ensemble.”, says Saree.com’s chief stylist. These separates are usually there in most women’s wardrobes, so putting it all together is quite easy and convenient for creating fresh looks.
Floral, abstract and all sorts of digital prints look great on roomy pants and palazzos. We can add them to rainy day fashion looks, especially flowy culottes, which are short – ending at ankles or way above them – as they are sure to appear smart and stylish, even when wading through rainy puddles. What fun! Culottes and cropped pants are great with ethnic kurtis and Indo-Western tunics.
6. Can’t beat Chiffon Sarees (and the Georgette ones)
Think of Yash Chopra’s heroines serenading the Swiss Alps – as they wave their stunning chiffon pallus. Doesn’t that feel like the epitome of cool chic? In fact, seeing those gorgeous drapes instantly makes one forget the scathing heat of the tropics. And, imagine how surreal and sensuous they look, as the rain drops make their way through these gossamer sarees! Chiffons and georgettes are unbeatable for warm as well as humid environs, also because they are light, breezy and dry quickly.
7. Bring on the Flower Power
Since we are talking of the ethereal chiffons and light georgettes, let’s not forget what looks best on them – a heavenly splash of flowers. Instant pick-me ups, eternal reminders of the pleasant spring and always fresh and fabulous – flowers are the best way to enliven any outfit.
Be it the floral embroideries on wedding lehengas or the bouquet of flowers arranged stylishly in digital prints on tunics, summer dresses or sarees – floral designs are evergreen classics – and a must-have in your tropical wardrobe. Bigger, bolder, more colorful floral prints and patterns can be reserved for casual haunts and summer-time vacations – or for a coffee date on a rainy afternoon. The smaller, daintier blossoms can be incorporates in work and formal wear. Scarves, dupattas, shoes and accessories – there are 100 other ways, blooms can be added to our closets.
Let’s take the full advantage of the Sale season and tons of Online discounts awaiting us this season – and add these hot and rainy weather staples to our wardrobes. Meanwhile, we assure you that all these suggestions hold equally great for a fun wardrobe all through the year. So, what we buy for summers and rains can still be uses in autumn and winters (with some tweaking and additions).