The inviting sun, sand sea merit their own special
kind of wardrobe. Beachwear comes of age as a riot of colour explodes
in cotton, Lycra, linen and viscose.
Fashion in India has
taken a new turn. Gone are the days when the sari reigned supreme.
Gone are the days when Indian men and women were hesitant to show
more than an ankle. Today fashion in India has its definite
divisions. There is formal wear and there is informal wear. The
first group is further sub-divided into semi-formal and bridal wear
and the latter is divided into casual, sports and beach wear.
The last variety in the
informal wear category is the most colourful and popular. In a
country where the weather is conducive enough to encourage the people
to go to the beaches and seaside, Indians obviously like to dress for
the occasion and the location.
Beachwear revolves around
colour and comfort-the two main criteria around which designers
create their garments. In no other category of garments is there more
unisex styling as there is in beachwear. For what is good enough for
him, is good enough for her.
shorts, burmudas, T-shirts, shirts, bikers shorts, swim wear of
course and sarongs, informs Ravi Ratnam of Mischief that stocks large
varieties of styles for men and women in the beachwear group. There
was a time when a pair of shorts were rather simple, in staid dull
colours like beige, white or navy. A pair of shorts in the nineties
is printed, striped, dyed or shaded. From their short length they
have moved to Bermudas the popular garment that gets its name from
the sunny island of Bermuda. The difference between a pair of shorts
and burmudas is that while the former ends just below the hips, the
latter ends just above the knees. Bermudas are very popular for beach
wear with both men and women because they are more sober and less
revealing. Bikers shorts in Lycra are a more skin tight and clinging
version of the Bermudas, adds Ratnam.
There might be an
occasion at the beach party at sunset or a fireside barbecue. Here
the accent on clothes will be definitely casual but they can have
attractive cover-ups like a mesh top over a T-shirt or a clinging
Tops are normally loose,
baggy shirts or T-shirts and at times even vests. For women it is the
tube top or a cropped tank top that is most favoured. When it comes
to fabrics for beachwear, the choice is between Lycra and of course
cotton, linen or viscos. Silk and polyster (except in Lycra) are not
favoured. Coclour tones are always vivid and wild. Large floral
designs in multi-colours. Stripes that are not exactly executive or
sober in their looks but are thick parallels that are combined to
appear in a myriad colours. Abstracts are also a favourite as long s
they are bright and bold solid colours cannot be totally ignored. But
they have a lot of flash and dash. Fire red, terrific turquoise, jade
green or perfect pink. Colours that make an impact against the wild
waters of the beach and the serene beige of the sand.
Swimsuits are now a part
of the beach culture and for the water nymph who wants to while away
her time on the sands and in the water there are several Indian
brands that cater to her needs. Labels like Proline and Bata have
been creating swim wear which is comparable to the best in the West.
The most exciting thing
that has happened to beachwear and especially to the swimsuit is the
sarong. This large piece of cloth that can be gently wrapped around
a swimsuit or by itself adds that bit of glamour and formality to a
swimsuit. The length of a sarong is the same as that of a dupatta. So
the more adventurous ones can even make a dupatta double up as a
sarong if the need arises.
Knowing how to tie a
sarong is as important as choosing the correct swimsuit. There are
two popular styles. One is with the ends crossed over and around the
neck and tied at the nape. The other is with the ends tied around the
waist with a knot at the side and enough leg room for movement. If
one is not very keen on sun bathing then a sarong comes in very
While one is talking
about the various outfits that one can wear for the beach,
accessories are equally important. For these, the best and easiest
way is to add scarves to the garments. A scarf tied to the head,
around the waist or held in the hand makes not only an attractive
accessory but a useful one should the need arise to shade and protect
the head from the harsh rays of the morning sun.
Sun glasses are an
absolute must on the beach whether one likes it or not. There are
enough brands available in the market which will match not only the
type of garments worn on the beach but also the mood of the wearer.
Beachcombers love to
while their days away on the sea front. A straw hat is something that
one cant ignore. Its shady. Its light and it is
necessary if one wants to protect the skin. Accessories like
jewellery are always kept to the bare minimum when one is on the
beach. A pair of earrings or a bracelet is all that is required.
Fashion on the beach has
become as exciting as in the city. What is required is a bit of
imagination and the right garments to make an impact.