Carrying branded bags is pointless: Aki Narula
We caught up with leading Bollywood designer Aki Narula recently and he had some suprising but sensible advice for Indian fashionistas. Narula has designed for the likes of Kareena Kapoor (Kurbaan, Kambakkht Ishq, Tashan), Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham (Dostana) and is certainly an authority on style, so you can't go wrong with his tips. Check them out.
Rule No 1: Don't match everything perfectly
Yes, you read right. This is for all those OCD-afflicted, yellow-hat-means-yellow-shoes-and-yellow-nailpaint socialite types.
"The most important thing I want people to remember is not to match all their clothes," says Narula. "It's a disaster to wear matching clothes and accessories. A red belt with red shoes, or red belt with red bag is a big NO!"
So what do you do? Mix it all up -- choose things that go well together, even if they're contrasting shades.
Image: This ensemble from Kavita Bhartia shows what mix 'n' match can do to up your style
Photographs: Manish Sharma
Rule No 2: Don't be a fashion victim
If it's on the ramps of New York and Paris, you gotta' have it, right? Wrong.
"You should experiment with your clothes and style," explains the designer."Don't wear something just because it is 'in' -- it very well may not suit you."
Really, what's the point of a great outfit that doesn't do anything for you, or worse, draws attention to your shortcomings? "Your clothes should never dominate you," he says. "You should carry your clothes and not vice versa."
Image: Not everyone can carry off a radical outfit like this one by Pakistani designer Syed Rizwanullah
Photographs: Athar Hussain/Reuters
Rule No 3: Scared to experiment? Stick to the classics
Narula is of the opinion that it is preferable to be timid when it comes to style choices, rather than make the wrong kind of choice.
He cautions, "If you are scared to experiment, wear classic and simple colours like whites, blacks, blues, and beige. You can opt for a classic look, too -- it could be a white linen tee-shirt or shirt, with blue jeans and sneakers. Experimentation is only good when you know your body type. Try new things keeping your body in mind and make your choices accordingly."
Image: A classic white shirt and jeans/ cotton pants combo can never go wrong
Photographs: Chip East/Reuters
Rule No 4: Team Indian jewels with Western outfits
"When it comes to accessories, Indian jewellery with Western outfits is the 'in' thing now," says Narula. "Don't overdo it -- wear very simple pieces like oxidised earrings, with a hand kada or bracelet, or just a neckpiece. Don't wear all of them together - if you are wearing the earrings, don't wear a neck piece. 'Keep it simple' is the mantra."
Image: This Kavita Bhartia creation is set off perfectly by tasteful Indian accessories
Photographs: Manish Sharma
Rule No 5: Make it look effortless
When you step out in style, look like you know it!
"Be confident when you wear an outfit," advises the designer. "You should look effortless and not conscious of what you are wearing. There should be some quirkiness in your attitude. Have fun with what you wear."
And there's no limit to what you can use for fun. Narula recommends, for instance, eco-friendly bags like the big jholas or vintage bags to set off an outfit and add that little extra pizzazz to your overall look.
Image: This Narendra Kumar number has just the right amount of quirkiness
Photographs: Sanjay Sawant
Rule No 6: Don't go gung-ho over labels
This is for all the 'I-only-wear-designer-clothes' divas. And coming from someone who owns a high-end brand, it stands for a lot!
"Finally, I'd just like to say that fashion is not all about labels," cautions Narula. "Look at branded bags, for instance. They're expensive and rather pointless, in my opinion. People think they look 'cool' with a Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana handbag on their arm, but the truth of it is that most of them don't know how to carry off these bags well."
Image: Deepika looks great in this Shantanu and Nikhil creation -- but it's not just about the brand
Photographs: Jewella C Miranda