Make waves with your style statements

Make waves with your style statements

Avni Gandhi Varma, grooming, lifestyle and wellness coach, shares the secret of power dressing and wardrobe essentials

Avni Gandhi Varma

Right from top models and television stars to corporate honchos as well as brides and grooms, everybody is all ears when Avni Gandhi Varma speaks about styling and grooming. Founder of Transform with Avni, a finishing school that provides complete grooming and etiquette solutions, Avni is the official grooming consultant for Femina Miss India and Mrs. India Inc.

A fashion diva, says Avni, is someone who makes waves with her style statements and expresses herself organically. And it takes more than branded clothes to do that! Avni advocates an “integrated approach to being beautiful in body and mind along with practical lifestyle solutions” to tap the best potential within you.

Excerpts from an interaction with the grooming, lifestyle and wellness expert on all things fashion:

What does it take to develop one’s own sense of style?

To develop a unique sense of style, think outside the box. You must be comfortable in your skin with what you wear, only then will you be able to make an impact. It is important to be aware of your personal protocol first, which can then extend to the latest fashion trends.

How important is it to know your body type?

Once you have recognised your body type, it is easy to hide the flaws and enhance your features. Inverted triangle, pear, rectangle, oval and hourglass — these are the categories of body type. To know your body type, grab a measuring tape and compare your bust, waist and hips ratio.

* Inverted triangle = Broader bust and narrow hips

* Pear = Narrow bust and shoulders as compared to hips.

* Rectangle = Equal bust, waist and hips.

* Oval = Broader waist and narrow shoulder, bust and hips.

* Hourglass = Shoulder and hips of the same size, and waist about 25% (or 10-12 inches) smaller than hips.

The key is to create an illusion of an hourglass figure, through the clothes you wear. The cut, fabric, colour and style are all crucial to create the perfect outfit suitable for your body type.

Any fashion tips to complement one’s body type?

Clothes should flatter your body type and empower you. Someone with a pear figure, for instance, will look taller and broader by adding some more weight and drawing attention to the torso and away from the waist and hips. Shoulder pads, scarves, bolder prints, wide necklines can make your shoulder and bust look bigger, creating a balance.

For an inverted triangle, simple tricks like accentuating the necklines, showing some skin on the shoulder, opting for horizontal stripes, and A-line cuts below the waist can work wonders. To create an illusion of height, the easiest way is to opt for clothes with vertical stripes and diagonal prints.

What does power dressing entail?

Power dressing is choosing what you wear with absolute awareness to create the right non-verbal impact. It is a catalyst to ensure that the world perceives your position and authority correctly. The term is usually more relevant in a business and corporate setup.

Being comfortable is imperative to power dress. The most vital aspect is the cut and the fabric of your outfit. Invest in clothes that you can mix and match. For instance, a white shirt can be worn with trousers, formal skirts, under a jacket, or even with a scarf. It’s important to keep in mind the purpose, occasion and personal profile. Media and advertising industry allow for more creative dressing, while industries like banking, education and law call for more conventional styling.

Does grooming mean different things for men and women?

Grooming entails being at your best, especially in a social environment. It’s a unisex concept. Men are equally conscious about the lasting impressions they want to make. The biggest gender difference, perhaps, is that women have far more choices in terms of clothing and accessories. So, the time invested in grooming is more as compared to men.

What’s the golden rule when it comes to make-up?

Understand your skin type to choose the right make-up or make-up brand. People often buy beauty products without researching about the brand, ingredients used, skin type it is suitable for, etc. That’s a very big mistake! It’s prudent to read product reviews and make-up blogs to gain better insights. Also, study the make-up colour wheel and learn to distinguish between day and night make-ups.

Highlight strengths or hide flaws — what’s more essential?

Both elements are vital. It’s about striking the right balance! There are enough tools available — clothes, make-up and accessories — to help one feel empowered and confident. The idea is to conceal your weakness by flaunting your strengths.

What are the wardrobe basics for men and women?

For men:

* Suits: At least one well-tailored suit. A black or grey single-breasted suit works for most skin colours. Keep it classic cut to change the shirt and tie for fresher looks.

* Button-down shirts: Preferably in white, blue and black.

* Ties: At least three ties —basic, bold and classic.

* Shoes & belts: Black and brown leather shoes with the same tones for belts. A casual pair of loafers is also a good investment.

* Jeans: Nice-fitted jeans, preferably in dark and light blue. They look dapper teamed with sports coats.

For women

* White shirt: A plain white shirt and white ruffled shirt (for a feminine look)

* Bottom wear: Navy blue skirt is a versatile piece of clothing. And I can’t over-emphasise the significance of well-
fitted denims and black trousers.

* Shoes & bags: Black classic heels with matching bag. Nude pumps are good to have, as is a bling clutch.

* Jackets: If you can have only two jackets in your wardrobe, let them be in leather and denim.  

What about accessories?

Hats, sunglasses, watches, scarves and jewellery can make or break any look.

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