Fashion, this summer, is dichotomic in so many different ways. A-line or tapered? Chooridar or shalwar? Short hemline or long? Anything goes, really, as long as a woman wears it well and has it stitched in a light, breathable fabric. Flowing chiffons may be beautiful but in the sweltering hot summer, they make sticky, clingy and very uncomfortable outfits.
Basic cottons, on the other hand, are the fabric du jour — easy to wear and there is so much that one can do with them. Embroidery remains the easiest option, but also the most boring one. Screen and block printings, on the other hand, are far trendier. Designers have been shifting away from embroideries for a while now.
Sania Maskatiya, for one, is hugely popular for her digital motifs, printing them onto her free-flowing, very wearable tunics. Wardha Saleem, on the other hand, has opted for an ethnic twist, combining screen prints with traditional ralli and colours in her recent Fashion Pakistan Week line-up.
The latest collection by Maheen Khan’s ‘Gulabo’, following its quintessential street smart design aesthetic, intermingles minimalist embroideries with truck-art inspired prints including trucks, poetry and flowers. From peacocks to rickshaws to Ghalib’s poetry, screen-printed embellishments are just as decorative and yet easier to carry than heavy embroidery. Most importantly, they make for snazzy, individualistic fashion statements.
And this summer, individualism is what is making an outfit stand out. Women who have been yearning for their short shirts of yore can now shake them out of the closet and wear them with shalwars or well-fitted chooridars. Long shirts are still in vogue also, both narrow as well as A-line, and for a funkier effect, there are shirts that have both a long and a short hem, rising high in the front and rounding off at the ankles in the back.
Similarly, there are a variety of lower options to choose from. The ever-popular chooridar and lightweight leggings are still around while shalwars have finally made a comeback, both in the narrowly tapered form as well as baggy Patialas. Loose, carefree palazzo pants have also been winding their way down fashion week ramps off late; sometimes in plain, muted colours and, at other times, innovated with Technicolour embroideries, colour blocks and prints!
Colour, incidentally, is touted to be bright and kaleidoscopic this summer. Karma’s collection at the recent PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week showcased gorgeous shirts with multicoloured horizontal strips of fabric stitched along their front. For a less dramatic effect, this colour blocking can also be simmered down to an outfit with the back and front stitched in differing shades. Neon and orange shades have also made a big splash this summer; standing out in the recent collections of designers like Nomi Ansari and Sanam Chaudhri, and a very vivid way of looking cool in the fierce heat.
The less colourfully inclined can opt for classic black and white or dabble in androgyny — kurtas in muted shades of brown, blue and grey that look great over a white shalwar or lightweight jeans. Whites and pale shades are also colours that always work well in the summer. For an elegant look, select an entire outfit in white. For a brighter fashion statement, pair a white shirt with a colourful lower.
And what would summer wardrobes be without a lawn suit or two? Lawns may have reached exorbitant prices but, when temperatures rise, the fabric is still ideal as daily wear. However, with lawn prints often getting common amongst all and sundry, it is important to have the suits stitched in unique ways. Buttons and colourful pockets are easy, convenient accessories for a shirt.
For women with svelte figures, bright belts hanging low over the waist help in making a shirt look tapered. Draping is another stitching style that can be implemented with lawns, with fabric draped around the waist, down the shoulder or around the neckline to give a cowl effect.
With a motley crew of sartorial trends at her disposal, a woman can wear her clothes however she likes them. The best way to look distinctive this summer is to personalise your clothes. So, play with colours, stitching, and accessories and get creative with your wardrobes!