So while different fads might become de rigueur
before the end of a few seasons, one can stay fashionably chic if one goes by French designer Laurent's belief that while ''Fashions fade, style is eternal.''
Developing one's own distinctive style is important, says Chennai-based designer Rehane Kavyar. One must always wear clothes complimentary to one's skin color, body type and environment
. ''The rule of the thumb is to wear horizontal stripes and light colors if one wants to look fat and vertical lines and dark if one wants to hide unseemly bulges.'' Says this designer, who unveiled her latest collection in the India Lakme fashion show.
Good grooming goes beyond knowing what kind of clothes suit one's personality, according to event manager and stylist S. Chitra. ''An untied shoe-lace, bad breath or fuzzy hair can undo any good impression created by a stunning outfit. As far as good grooming is concerned, god is in the details.''
''I remember once when we had to organize a fashion show in Chennai for a leather firm, a really beautiful girl with drop-dead gorgeous looks auditioned. But then many men on the selection panel turned her down, while they selected girls, who were less 'well-endowed.' When I later spoke to my colleagues, they told me they didn't want a girl who couldn't be bothered to trim her nails or her hair before an audition,'' recalls Ms. Chitra.
And one does not need to burn a hole in one's pocket to look good or be naturally good-looking. Most cosmetics sell on the premise that even the most un-Grecian features can be made alluring with a judicious application of their products.
While dressing up one must remember that not everyone can carry off all kinds of clothes with élan. One must choose dresses and make-up that highlight one's good features. Height, Figure and Clothes
People with short, dumpy figures would do well to stay away from large, loose dresses, as it would only make them look shorter and fatter. They should go in for long skirts and severely cut pants. While people who are tall and hefty would be well advised to wear streamlined clothes; tight or loose dresses will only further emphasize their size.
After marriage most women put on weight in the wrong places, says Ms Marion. ''Since I'm on the stouter side and a little pear-shaped, I always wear tight tops and loose skirts or wraparounds to draw attention to my strong points - my shoulders and bust. And the gathering skirts ensure that the skirt stays away from my less than perfect waist and hips.''
Plump women keen on wearing only Indian outfits must go for more figure-hugging fabrics like chiffon, silk, georgette, satin and polyesters and on no account wear cotton, jute, flannel, corduroy, denim, jean, canvas if they want to look less barrel-shaped.
For those wanting to have fuller bosoms and more voluptuous figures, there are always padded bras, layered petticoats and corsets to the rescue. And with movies like Moulin Rouge bringing the corset back into fashion, it can no longer be dismissed as innerwear, but can be flaunted in the open after teeming them up with matching pair of slacks or skirts. Make-up
With regard to make-up; the less, the better, says self-professed style guru and PR consultant Ms. Soumya Balakrishnan. ''As most women today are career-oriented, not everyone will have the time or the energy of going through the whole rigmarole of applying foundation, sunscreen, moisturizer, eye-liner, mascara, rouge, lip-liner, lipstick, lip-gloss, Vaseline, nail polish
, etc, etc.''
She advises, if one is going heavy on the eyes then its better to use more neutral colored lipsticks in shades of caramel brown, coral pink or amber. To shift the focus to one's lips one would have to go for dark shades like chocolate brown, wine-red, crimson, scarlet and auburn.
And the same rule applies for the rest of the face. One must use lighter shades of make-up to camouflage the blemishes and use darker shades for the highlights. And heavy make-up is a no, no on all accounts; unless one wants to look like a vamp auditioning for a Dracula movie, says Ms. Soumya. Accessories
Accessories should complement the dress and can be strikingly different, says women's magazine AGLOW designer Ms Mercy Novak. ''Wearing matching accessories is so childish. I mean imagine wearing pink shoes, pink handbag, pink bangles, pink earrings, pink ....you'll become sick of pink at the end of the day.''
But most important good health makes a person more attractive than all the Christian Dior' outfits or Ellee' cosmetics put together, says Dr. Renuka Sundaram. She recommends daily exercise, good diet and healthy life-style as adequate measures to ensure good looks.
Marion Stevens of Limelite, one of Chennai's most exclusive uni-sex salons, agrees with her. ''Make-up and designer wear can only take you that far. Unless one has healthy hair, I would not recommend anyone to go in for needle-hair perming or chemical treatments.'' Losing Weight
But what about those women, who sacrifice their health in the name of wanting to stay fashionably thin? Dr. Reunka says, ''At Ramachandra Medical College, where I studied, there were a few of my classmates, who used to take laxatives and purgatives to lose weight overnight. During weekdays, I remember these girls would take strong doses and keep drinking nothing but water all day, so that they could fit into their micro-minis or some other teensy-weensy party wear that they had out grown.''
And such horror tales of girls going on crash diets for that perfect hour-glass figure abound. Model and communication student Deepa Evelyn says, ''It was while working as a waitress in an up-market restaurant that I learnt the advantages of smoking to stay thin. When I want to lose a few kilos quickly, smoking is the best choice; when one goes on a diet it takes more time to lose weight.''
Her friend HR consultant Anna Jawahar adds, ''Smoking kills one's appetite. One can go for hours without food after two or three fags.''
Dr. Renuka says that girls obsessed with losing weight must seek medical attention. ''One of my patients suffered from anorexia. While her parents were generally worried about her loss of appetite and weight, it was her sister who had spotted the fact that the girl's condition might be more serious that what her parents imagined.''
Her sister had noticed that the margins of most of her books had been torn deliberately. She had then watched her sister closely and to her horror found that the teenager had been eating paper to curb her appetite for food.
The preoccupation with good looks is not restricted to women alone; men are also becoming highly fashion-conscious these days. The growth of uni-sex salons is a witness to it, says Ms. Marion.
''In our place, women want value for their money and are not so keen on experimenting. Whereas men spend more, though they come here less often,'' she says, adding men are also more easily persuaded to try out new hair colors or funky styles like blonde streaks in the hope that it will make them look better.
And men are more willing to state their emotions through fashion, says Ms Deepa. ''My friend's boyfriend got her name and portrait tattooed on his back before her birthday. And she even now feels that seeing him strip down was the best thing that ever happened to her. Now while I don't know how to interpret that statement, I do know that men are bolder in making fashion statements. My own brother with his underwear-revealing low-hip cargoes and t-shirts sporting messages like Touch me with a picture of a hand doing the concert C, is one good example.''
The coining of the word 'metrosexual' is in itself a reflection of how men have come to terms with their sexuality, says Ms Rehane. Metrosexuals to put it briefly are actually heterosexuals who can sometimes look like homosexuals. The term metrosexual was coined to describe men in metro's who have more access to fashion and saloons then their rural counterpart.
Some of these Latino men will go to any extent and sometimes they can overdo it. It is one thing to shave armpits, wear good cologne and use a manicure and pedicure service but when they start plucking their eyebrows and putting on make-up, wearing pink shirts and socks their sexuality can become a question mark.
Actually one can say men are becoming more feminine, says stylist Chitra. ''Which is a good thing,'' she hastens to add.''The hirsute, muscular male models on the ramp have given way to more slender, lithe men. Even in our movies these days, the hero is no longer macho but more believable and the boy-next-door type. Maybe its because women and recruitment guys prefer well-shaven, neat guys to more burly individuals,'' chuckles Ms. Marion. Grooming Philosphy
Good grooming is a culture one needs to inculcate over time and this helps in enhancing one's self - image and personality.
World's leading sales trainer Tom Hopkins says - ''You are your greatest asset. Put your time, effort and money into training, grooming, and encouraging your greatest asset.''
These are changing times and being a bit trendy is essential part of the good grooming exercise.