Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 3, Issue 26, Wednesday February 8, 2006





This accessory is an important feature and trend setting, as styles can easily get updated and new ones can find amazing ways to show off different looks. Belts especially have taken center stage in the fashion scene. The waist has yet again become a point of interest for any ensemble. Dresses are back with belted cinched waist lines, skirts have the options to hang from narrow or wide belts, pants may be worn either high or low on the waist, and belts are now a must have accessory.

Belts come in a great many shapes and sizes. But let's look at some of the materials that have become popular as belts. Elements from the nature are a great source of inspiration, and have been used over time and through the ages. Raffia, jute, coconut leaves, pineapple leaves, cotton and twine are some of the interesting fibers that are used in different kinds of weaves. It is actually great in creating textures, whether it is open weave or tight. Bone, shell, buttons, metals, are all also used as embellishments to create further interest on the belts.

Then there are belts which are made of embroidered fabrics, beaded, mirrored, metal threaded, wide or narrow, buckled or tie on, with a variety in design and style. Geometric in tribal motifs, floral or oriental, or just faintly minimalist, everything goes. Wide belts are looking good after a long time. The bright ethnic primary colors and bold patterns are inspired by rich old cultures. Molas of Central America, chogas of Central Asia, or kimonos of the orient all have fine interpretations of the belt which is yet again finding its way on to the catwalk.

Belts are also being worn on the hips. Hipster, just about hanging off the hip with dangly bits and pieces tussled or necklaced, these are increasingly gaining popularity because of its carefree boho look. Metal chains with large hanging coins or large glass baubles are style you can take seriously.

Men need to get adventurous with their belts too. In the beginning of time men wore belts as a back support to lift heavy goods and continue to use it for the same purpose even today. But now belts have a far greater fashion role then before. It is very common to find men who pick up plain black, brown or tan leather belts with simple shaped buckles which have a long mileage. But one can also look at other options and get more adventurous. Canvas, leather, fiber weaves or neon hologram plastic all have distinct character. The styles should demand new and different kinds of belts for the young and old. It is one of the few accessories that have been worn over hundreds of years and shall remain a practical fashion item for the future.

Special Feature

Nurseries around town

With Dhaka's new found identity as a concrete jungle, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find a green spot. Well if you can't find it, you can at least create one for yourself. Even if you live in an apartment on the twenty fifth floor, a carefully selected plant can change the entire vibe of your room. The good news is that you don't to limit yourself to your veranda or living room. Bedrooms, bathrooms and even office spaces could always use a touch of green.

Nurseries around town are flourishing with abundant seasonal flowers. Check out the larger ones because their collection is usually better and, if you are lucky, you may find a few rare species. Plants sold in plastic bags are priced around Tk 20 while those in earthen pots start from Tk 50. Oddly enough, every single plant has exactly one large flower on it, so you can bring it home and enjoy it without having to wait. However, after you bring it home the flowers that will follow are likely to be of a smaller size. So it is wise to buy plants that have buds that will bloom very soon.

You will find Dahlias, Poppies, Astor, Snowballs etc for this season. Orchids are in vogue at the moment and their prices vary. Surprisingly marigolds are in short supply at the moment. According to one nursery owner the season for marigolds is over. You may also find plants that bear fruits such as guava, grape, lemon etc.

Nurseries also supply pesticide, fertilizers, seeds, medicine and spray machines for applying pesticides. Apart from that, some also sell earthen pots. The salespeople are usually friendly and ready to answer any questions you might have.

Plants not only add to the character to your room, they also transpire cool down their surroundings. And we all know about how they produce oxygen. So, next time you pass by a nursery stop and help yourself to nature's goodies.

By Shoaib Alam

By the way

Winter warmers are out. It's time for a new look for your wardrobe. Pack away those sweaters, pullovers and turtlenecks. Wearing light materials and cool, bright colours will definitely make you a treat for the eyes.

Under a different sky

By Iffat Nawaz


Mrs. Smith lives next door to my mother. She has seven cats and buys more cat food than any normal human being. Her social security checks go half to her cats, one quarter to her own needs and another quarter goes to the nearest casino that stays open almost 24 hours.

Mrs. Smith's cats often climb up her fence and jump into my mother's backyard. When one of us goes to rescue them, and take them back to Mrs. Smith, she usually calls us in for a cup of tea.

I never say no to tea. So I usually sit and sip on terrible herbal tea that was bought in 1949 with stale chocolate chip cookies. Almost every time when I go to her place to return one of her fat cats, she is on her way out. Rosy cheeks and a fancy purse- all ready for her outing. She is on her way to the casino where all her friends meet up, almost everyday, for a quick gin and tonic, all you can eat buffets and nickel and dime slot machines. She also likes poker but never has enough money to bet big.

One day to check out what Mrs. Smith is so strongly attracted to, we drove to the tacky casinos bordering the state. It was a big, bright, ugly building, with an oversized parking lot. Upon walking in I bumped into two elderly men in wheelchairs, one of them even had a bag attached to his hips, I assume to deposit his excess bodily fluid. I was shocked, usually someone in that shape can hardly get out of the hospital let alone make it to a Casino on a bright Sunday. But they were there, and there were hundreds of them, in wheelchairs or on high dosage of medications, they all were enjoying every second of their gambling life, they put all their strength into pressing those buttons of the slot machines, putting quarters after quarters, nickels and dimes, and then some lucky matches, a few pretty drops out of the slot machine, the wins, which probably equals nothing compare to the losses, but they didn't seem to be worried. It isn't about calculations, about gains and losses, it was about one chance, a chance for a jackpot, of a big win, like the lottery, to secure the rest of their lives, their lives which have been lived almost fully, and a big win would make it complete.

We stood around and watched for a while. None of us are big gamblers, so not much money was sacrificed in bets, we just watched, surrounded by the smell of old homes, old carpet, overpowering bad perfumes, alcohol and smoke. We didn't belong; we knew we had to leave. So one of us went to get the car while the rest of us tried to take in the colorful and cheery surroundings, filled with people who are living the last few years of their lives, happily, through each other, through parties and cocktails, through slot machines, Black Jack, Roulette and Poker.

Getting in the car I took one last glance, I wished that if I were to live as long, I too can become as giddy over a few nickels and dimes, a few jackpots and big wins…dreaming big until it all ends.


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