After spending more than a decade in a school uniform, developing an individual style for college can be daunting. “More than girls, young boys are afraid to incorporate colour—acid green, fuchsia, red—or tinker with silhouettes or include outfits with funky patterns in their wardrobe,” says Bharat Mishra of Skin Style, a design label sold at Cafe Style, Noida, that targets people under 25. “For freshers, colour is a great way to make a style statement,” he adds.
A graduate of the Amity School of Fashion Technology, Noida, Mishra and his co-designer Mohit Malik, a third-year student at Amity, urge young men and women to add more unisex outfits to their wardrobes, and discard loose-fitting jeans and trousers. For men, the duo suggests a hair makeover every two-three months. “And please, just because you have spikes, it doesn’t mean you have a cool hairdo,” says Malik.
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Puneet Gupta, a graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (Nift), New Delhi, says the mohawk hairdo is an interesting option for men; printed shirts with three-fourth trousers, Osho slippers and a chunky wristwatch work well; and backpacks should be ditched in favour of messenger bags.
“Don’t even think about having a ‘match much’ situation this season. Not more than two pieces in any ensemble should belong to the same colour family,” says Seepi Gupta, a freelance stylist who just graduated from Nift, Mumbai. She says tiered skirts, handkerchief dresses and baggy pants are out; carrot-fit trousers, high-waisted denims, fluorescent shades and fabrics with glazed colours are big; and custom-made trousers in fabrics with check prints are wardrobe must-haves for freshers. “And please work on your bag. A boring handbag is a killer.”
Nift, New Delhi graduate Taniya O’ Connor is an assistant stylist for the style show I Am Too Sexy for My Shoes, which airs on NDTV Good Times, and runs a design outlet at Okhla. She advises women against wearing heels to college and suggests that they have at least one jumpsuit in their wardrobes this season. She feels that men and women should stock up on separates and pick up style tips from the 1980s retro look. “One element in your daily ensemble should stand out, whether in terms of colour, the cut of the garment or as a quirky accessory,” she says.
The Indie look (click here to magnify)
This look is complete only when you club colours and ethnic prints in the same ensemble, according to Seepi. The idea is to be able to fuse Western
influences with Indian prints and silhouettes, adds O’Connor. So go for Lycra churidaars instead of cotton ones, club ganjis or tube tops with long, flowing colourful skirts with ikat prints and don’t forget to add chunni-scarves or dupattas to your ensemble.
Kurtas paired with dhoti pants work for Seepi while O’Connor is all for zouave pants (harem pants with a low crotch) or half-Jodhpurs (trousers billowing from the waist down to the knees, with the drainpipe fit minus the buttons).
Accessories must make a bold impression in this look. “Ditch plastic bracelets in favour of glass bangles and oxidized jewellery, or large neckpieces made from earthen beads,” says Mishra. Heels are a complete no-no for this look. Stick with sequinned flip-flops or ethnic footwear. Jhola bags always work: Opt for patchwork or mirrorwork bags, especially ones which can be slung over one shoulder.
The Emo look (click here to magnify)
“It is a depressing look with lots of black, skull motifs and close-fitted trousers,” explains Mishra. For women, eyes are over-emphasized with kohl, then
highlighted with red or turquoise eyeshadow. “Hair is the most important aspect of this look,” says Malik. “If you have short hair, go with long bangs and cut straight across the forehead. Keep the hairstyle spiky at the edges. For those with long hair, keep a side flick (over one eye) and add blonde or red extensions,” says Mishra. Seepi suggests an undefined parting as an option. While black is the dominant colour in the look, colour isn’t fully absent. “Introduce a fluorescent shade—wear neon bangles or slip-ons or carry a blood-red bag with a black sheath dress,” says Seepi. Layering helps when you want to introduce colour. “Wear a blood-red spaghetti over a black fitted tee or 9-inch violet shorts over black tights,” says Malik. Layer a fuchsia ganji with a tight black or charcoal grey T-shirt with skinny black jeans, advises O’Connor. Accessorize with dark Converse shoes and oxidized silver jewellery with skull motifs, says Mishra. If you want coloured jewellery, pick blood red, dirty green or mauve, says O’Connor.
The Preppy look (click here to magnify)
Ditch the baggy jeans and T-shirt look, says Mishra. Go for shorts (9-inch hot pants if women can carry them off or mid-thigh shorts) or skirts. Malik and Mishra
recommend checks or plaid prints in colours such as mustard, green and dirty yellow. This is the most conservative of the three looks, but even here “introduce a sense of quirkiness with bright rich colours, and pepper it with accessories that are fun,” says Seepi.
A fitted tee in colours such as canary yellow, acid green and fuchsia works well. But if you don’t like wearing bright tees, O’Connor suggests you wear a vest in a bright shade, layered with a neutral or white shirt or an argyle-print shirt. “We see this print a lot on sweaters but it looks great on shirts or vests too,” he says.
While accessorizing this look, opt for one or two pieces of jewellery at the most. Don’t overload yourself. “Bracelets are hot this season, as are belts that contrast with the colours in your ensemble,” says Malik. Men can wear thin ties in saturated colours, along with three-fourth trousers. Sunglasses are a must for this look (Ray-Ban Wayfarers work best). Downplay hair and make-up, says Seepi.