Fashion or Style?

By Shahnaz Husain


I have never been one to follow fashion trends blindly, because I think style is more important than fashion. Style is something more individual. It is a personal touch, which goes far beyond fashion. Today, the good thing is that there is more freedom to follow styles that really suit your individuality.

You can create a desired look by wearing the right clothes and colours.  What you need to do is to keep certain rules of proportion in mind and relate them to your clothes. A few basic rules about colours and lines will help you.  For example, vertical lines help to make you look slimmer, while horizontal lines tend to add weight to the figure. A thin person would look good in horizontal stripes.

Another simple rule is that dark colours help a person look slimmer. On the other hand, light colours, especially white, add width to the figure. An over-weight person should avoid large prints. One-coloured outfits would be more flattering.  Clinging fabrics, like chiffon, tend to accentuate figure defects. Similarly, tight clothes accentuate bulges. In fact, in tight clothes, a thin person looks thinner, while it adds weight to an overweight person.  If you wish to look slimmer, avoid heavy fabrics. Keep to simple patterns.  The neckline should be simple. A V-neckline suits overweight people. Sleeves should be long and straight. Avoid puffed sleeves, frills and flounces.

Thin people look nice in crisp cottons, high necklines, collars and even frills.  Avoid clothes that “hang down” and wear clothes with detail, like a touch of lace, gathers, pleats and so on. Avoid long dangling chains or beads.   Short people can “dress tall” by avoiding contrasts. For instance, it is better to wear jeans and top or churidar and kurta of the same colour, as this adds height. Wearing churidar and kurtas, or skirts and tops, in contrasting colours, takes away height. Short people should avoid bulky clothes and details. The designs should be simple, without large prints. Wear jewellery that is also neat and small, rather than large and decorative.  Short people like to wear high heels, but the shoes should be light, with thin straps, rather than heavy and bulky.


Those who are slim and tall can carry off most styles and clothes. They can wear bold prints, striking, wide contrast borders and heavy jewellery. They can wear heavier fabrics.


If you keep these simple rules in mind and add a bit of your imagination and colour sense, you can look fashionable.  Keep the season, occasion and time of day in mind and dress accordingly. Observe others and look at fashion magazines, seeing how colours have been used, or how a plain attire can look dramatic with a few touches. For example, a plain coloured outfit can look fashionable with one striking piece of jewellery. A unique piece of costume jewelry, like a wide bracelet, long bead chains, a brooch made from an old earring and so on, can make the outfit stylish.  Also, the same churidar kurta in one colour can look informal with a printed dupatta and glamorous at night, with a sequined one.  Similarly, scarves, belts, bags, shoes, jewellery can be used to add an individual touch and style.

What is just as important as these basic rules is your attitude about your problem. Much depends on how you see yourself and how happy you feel about the way you look. On this attitude depends whether you can carry yourself with self-confidence.  In fact, many women have made the most of their forms by the way they carry themselves, with poise.

You can buy fashionable clothes, but you cannot buy style. You have to acquire it.  You can begin by reviewing your clothes, keeping your body structure in mind. Include clothes for different occasions and seasons. A little planning, using your imagination, with attention to details, can help you evolve your own style.

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