The choli couture

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By Reshmi Chakraborthy

This is one piece of clothing that can transform your simple sari intro a truly sensational statement. Here are a few hot trends for you, to help you get started on the path of edgy experimentation.

“Trends keep changing when it comes to the sari but what stands out is a good, well cut choli,” says Bangalore designer Shylaja Ananth, who specializes in designing blouses for brides. “A heavily embellished choli with a simple sari works great and you can wear it by draping the pallu to one side. It’s a good way to show off the fit as well as the work on the blouse,” suggests Shylaja.

Long cholis work well with lehengas too and since you do not need to bother with a pallu, there’s more scope for experimentation. You could wear it long sleeved or one shouldered, like actor Imran Khan’s fiancé Avantika Malik did at their engagement recently. “Cut out sleeves is another great option for a choli with a lehenga, though you need to be sure they work on you,”  says Barkha Kumar, stylist with a Mumbai fashion house. If you are wearing a plain toned georgette or crepe sari, a choli with sheer sleeves could also look good, she adds.

The blingy blouse
If you love bling on your blouse, keep it short and team it up with a transparent sari. “I advise clients to get a nice crepe or a sari that drapes well and wear a richly embroidered choli that can be seen through,” says Shylaja. Think Kareena Kapoor, who probably owns this look. And if you have a waistline that would put Lara Dutta to shame, it’s something worth trying with a lehenga as well.

You could even tinker around with texture and fabric to give your choli a style that’s truly different. Shylaja specializes in patchwork cholis, by segregating different shades of one color; a style that looks great with Kanjeevarams. You could also try materials like jute or coarse fabric to give it an ethnic yet edgy feel.

Dressy with a classic edge
Love your blouse dressy but do not want an overdose of bling? A raw silk blouse with gold shimmer piping or a Kundan-style broach embellishment on the sleeve or the back is the answer. You can even finish off the blouses with temple jewelry type accessories to match the sari. Shylaja suggests that you keep the neckline absolutely simple to draw attention to the work on your choli. A complicated neckline would be a bad distraction, especially if the sari you are wearing happens to be gorgeous. The draping is equally important to make it all look not just unique but flattering as well.

West inspired looks
Girls, who want to give their traditional lehengas and saris a Western touch, could don a corset. From Vikram Phadnis to Manish Malhotra, every designer has done his or her version of the corset choli and if you have the shoulders for it, it can look great with both lehengas and saris.

In fact, there seem to be more Western style variations that you could try. Shirt like blouses in shimmer georgette and transparent chiffon could be worn with a sari or a lehenga. Or else if you have a lehenga that isn’t too heavily embroidered or overly Indian in its look, you could even team it with a fitted jacket.

While lehengas need  specific cholis with them, you could have a few blouses in your closet that could team up with a number of saris. Neutral colors like black, maroon, gold and green in good raw silk are great to brighten up almost any sari.

Depending on the mood, you could make these backless or high-necked, full sleeved or bare-arm. In short, the possibilities are endless. All          you need to do is to start thinking!

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