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Dress 4 Success

Corporate wear in India is fast coming of age. The Indian woman is learning to abandon the safety of the sari and salwar kameez without getting trapped in the dull and boring business attire of the West. She is also learning to let her hair down during after-work events. There are new rules and options, reveals fashion designer Anita Dongre, who has been in business for 17 years.

According to Anita, who has her own brand of Western wear prĂȘt line for women, called AND, women in India have the diverse and rich asset of Indian textiles, which distinguishes us from women internationally. The 'Power Woman' concept in Manhattan results in most women dressed in dreary black, with hardly a smattering of colour. Anita recommends that the Indian corporate woman develop a style of her own.

This is why she retails clothing wherein each garment is priced separately, she says. She counts on the ingenuity of the customer to pick and put things together in her own special way. Her advice: Do not lose your creative streak, else you will end up looking like a clone.


Go for colour
For starters, avoid avoid the New York-style black suit like the plague. Instead, identify colours and embroideries that work for you, complement your skin type and highlight your best features. Colours like teal blue, turquoise, mustard, leafy green, bottle green, burnt orange, brown, beige and white are good choices for Indian skin tones.


Wardrobe must-haves
~ Work to keep your wardrobe well-stocked with timeless pieces (classics).

These would include knee length kurtas, basic shirts (in white) and straight-fit trousers (in black, grey or brown).

~ Update your wardrobe seasonally with a few fashionable/ trendy pieces, like blouses, stoles, scarves and other accessories. Do, however, avoid chasing trends.

~ Whatever you do, keep away from frills, low necklines, low-waist pants and short skirts for the office.

~Opt for simple styles that you can don and forget about, like shirts.


Know your audience
While dressing up, keep the workplace in mind. If your work place is strictly corporate, it follows that clean lines, unfussy style and conventional wear would be appropriate. But if you work in the media for instance, a certain laidback approach to dressing is a must.


Shopping Tips
~ Buy a few expensive pieces of clothing that you can wear when you have to meet important people. For, as much as one may dislike it, you are judged not by the variety of clothing you own, but also by what you are wearing at that moment.

~ Always try to buy clothing that is of good quality, fits well and falls well. Well-fitted clothes make you look lighter, as well as younger and brighter.

~ If you happen to find a basic piece of clothing, like a shirt that fits well and makes you look like a million bucks, buy it in different colours!

~ Take a friend along and ask her to help you choose what looks best on you.


Accessory Management
While clothes may come and clothes may go, quality accessories are forever. So, invest wisely.

~ As a rule, jewellery for the workplace should be minimal. Avoid mixing metals like gold and silver. A pair of earrings, a chain to match, a bracelet and two finger rings should do.

~ Bindis, mangalsutras, bangles and the like provide an ethnic touch and look best when worn with traditional clothing.

~ Consider good footwear as an investment. When on your feet for the greater part of the day, a comfortable pair of shoes that don't pinch and are elegant to look at is mandatory. Get yourself two pairs to start with (black and brown).


Dress to suit your figure
We Indian women are mainly pear-shaped -- we have wider hips in proportion to our shoulders, as opposed to our Western counterparts. Thus our 'homegrown' ensembles like the sari and salwar kameez drape over our frames more gracefully, as compared to the Western clothing we have adopted.

~ Trousers should be fluid (drape/ fall well), in darker colours (as these recede) and flow straight down to the hem.
Wear these with light-coloured tops.

~ If you have large hips, you should ideally avoid short tops and replace these with tunic tops. Tunics or kurtis end at hip level or mid-thigh.

~ If you are top heavy, say goodbye to lycra and tight tee-shirts. Clingy fabrics like chiffons and georgettes are also out.

Tops with front-button plackets (part where the garment fastens together) are a good investment. Avoid empire line (waistline just below the bust) tops and high necks.

~ If you are short, wear colours that are in the same family from top to bottom. This will help create the illusion of height by not allowing colour blocks to cut your height.

~ If a heavy mid-section is your Achilles' heel, then belts are a big no-no for you.

SOURCE: E-Mail Forward

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