Fashionwise, August is a strange month in Bangladesh. Not quite summer, although the weather is still pretty warm on most days, and not autumn just yet. With Ramadan spanning through its dates, this is also an austere time, but there is a sense of anticipation as Eid rolls closer, with its promise of food, fashion and many festivities. So how does one go about finding clothes that manage to multitask and meet all the dictates of weather and appropriateness? The answer may very well lie in seven yards of sheer chic, also known as the chiffon sari.
While not an obvious choice, considering that the heat makes us run towards cotton and its blends, chiffon is actually a better bet all around. For one thing, it is a lightweight, breathable fabric that, if allowed to flow loose, directs the sweat away from the body. So while a fitted kameez made of the material might still cause pit-stains during a power cut or under the sun, a sari is the perfect balance of cling and flow if you want something easy and breezy.
It can be dressed up or down as the occasion permits, and is just as suitable for an iftar party as it is for a more formal occasion. The fabric hugs your body, accentuating the curves you want to show off, and concealing what you don't want advertised with almost magical effectiveness. It is the perfect choice for anyone who's not proud of the results of all those yummy piyajus. And an added bonus? The texture of chiffon makes it one of those textiles that photograph really well.
Silk chiffon is the fanciest of the lot, the most popular choice for bridal gowns, but works well as sari material too. Since it is also the more expensive type of chiffon, this is the fabric you opt for your more formal 'dos.
Silk crinkle chiffon, which has a more crepe-y texture, looks absolutely smashing if worn plain, in a bright, solid colour, dressed up either by a single pearl strand and small earrings, or by big statement earrings and a bold cocktail ring. Or you could go for the flat silk chiffon, which allows for subtle prints and embellishment. The problem with silk chiffon is that it is very delicate and thus hard to maintain or store.
Polyester or 'poly' chiffon is made from polyester or rayon, as the name suggests, and is more durable than silk chiffon. It drapes as easily as silk, so is a more viable option for the budget-conscious. It is perfect for the afternoon party, or the iftar dawat. The downside is, the polyester isn't as 'cool' as the silk fabric, so while it's still a breathable, light and breezy material, it is less sympathetic towards heat and perspiration than its silk counterpart.
The stores at Bashundhara City and Pink City are good places to go looking for chiffon saris. If you want the really high-quality French chiffon, tissue saris or the Pakistani 'shimos' silk chiffon saris, you'd have better luck looking for the specialty boutiques that import the garments.
If you're in a DIY frame of mind, seven yards of the fabric from any of our silk houses will get you started on a fine creative adventure. Whichever you choose, chiffon saris are a trendy choice for this festive season.
By Sabrina Fatma Ahmad
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Model: Suzzana, Airin, Isha, Naoshin
Wardrobe Airin, Isha, Naoshin: Scarlet
House#16, Road #112, Gulshan-2
#0155 234 1261.
Wardrobe Suzzana: Farzana Shakil, personal
Makeup and styling: Farzana Shakil