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Kiran Bahl

Happy holidays. With Diwali and Eid just around the corner, it's so hard not to already get excited and filled with the holiday spirit. Holidays such as these and others are about spending quality time with your friends and family, even those whom you rarely see at all. Gather everyone around and enjoy each moment as if it were the last - The best (and happiest) side of you will show each time. Let's also spend these social events with the latest in fashion for every family member.

Garba, during Navratri, is probably the most fun talked about social gathering in the year. With nine days of dancing, meeting friends old and new, and most important, praying for a happy and healthy life, we want to look our best, too, ladies! Garba lenghas, or chaniya-cholis, as they're better known, are still in our basic and comfortable cotton, but now, some are being made with a crepe silk or chiffon material to appear more 'formal.' These look great, but stick with the cotton makes, especially if you plan on dancing. They breathe better, and contrary to popular belief, don't wrinkle as much after a long night. Sequins, mirrors and other ornaments hold better on this more durable fabric, too. The latest styles have the traditional and much-loved bandini work, but with different color combinations. For the more 'sober' types, navy blues, blacks and maroons are showing up with a twist on the bandini pattern. The bandini work is either contrasted with a completely different color or in such a pattern where it catches the eye instantly.

Bolder types will favor the infamous tie-dye combinations, including unruly colors together, such as lime green and navy blue, or red and fuchsia. They not only look unique, but they Also will certainly turn heads. Girls will look like little princesses this year, in cotton and crepe outfits, but with more zig-zag sequin/stone patterns, versus just a 'bandini look.' Turquoise, orange and pale yellow are on the top of the list of colors for girls, and suit mostly any complexion.

Men, we could never leave you out! This is just as important an event for you as is for the ladies. A lot of networking, catching-up and 'male bonding' can take place at such an event as garba, and looking your best is not an option; it is a must! Wearing a casual kurta pajama will no longer suffice. Spice the outfit up with bright and classic red/gold scarf or go all trendy in a black-laced one. Wear a sand silk (much lighter and breathable than the basic raw silks) kurta pajama, but again, have a sharp, contrasting scarf to clean up the look. Unlike last year, do not wrap your scarf around your neck in a circular shape. Keep the cloth free-flowing around your neck, ends (preferably with tassels) hanging on either side. The look will equal a casual, yet distinguished feel. Boys, match up with dad and wear a kurta pajama, but copy the style completely and get a scarf too! You'll be the stars of the nights.

Now on to our fancier Diwali and Eid occasions. Only the best will do, and this season, it's all about the fabrics and the cuts of the fabric that could make or break your look. Ladies, focus on flowing lenghas with an A-line finish. These ballroom looks complete a formal look, whereas previously, the fishtail/straight hems did. The style now is more classic, traditional and subdued. Vintage colors such as greens, reds and golds are still dominating runways, creating a regal, more royal and feminine look to every outfit. As the Anarkali churidaar look is fading, Masakali styles are in. They're long-sleeved (semi-sheer and sheer looks are popular!), mostly on jacquard and brocade fabrics, with elegant embroidery, zari and dabka work. They're also not as super flared as the Anarkalis, so they're more flattering on more body types. The look is perfect for the cooling weather, too!

Jewelry is easy this time ... A set with a stone or bead look is very much "in," with matching bangles. No need to complicate your perfect outfit with out-of-place jewelry this time around ... Simple can get you far, you'll be surprised.

Men, stick with the oh-so-trendy (and sexy!) jodhpuris. Every color will do, particularly the darker ones, such as Navy Blue and black. Whites and creams should be saved for wedding-wear or day events.

Once again, please enjoy this holiday season to the fullest. We wish you the best of everything, including happiness, health and prosperity. If you ever have any fashion and/or beauty questions or even advice, contact us at We'd love to hear from our readers! And, as always, remember to gro with style.

Kiran Bahl of Gro Styles, "An Indian Boutique," 2035 E. Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33612, can be reached at (813) 843-9040 or (813) 903-8334.

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