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Aaah… Winter! The rest of the year is spent in fond memories of this season.. Why? For one you don't break into a sweat doing absolutely nothing and second, it's that time of the year that girls can wear westerns without looking (as current society would put it) particularly indecent. Unfortunately, local designers don't work too hard on a winter line that features western outfits. I asked the store assistant at Taaga (Aarong) about their winter line and she pointed at the cotton fatuas with intricate thread-work, which as beautiful as they were, still did not appear suitable as winter wear.

Westecs is having a year-end sale so you might want to check it out. The 20% offs on the to-die-for cream suits are probably one of the best deals. Other than that it's basically clearing time with few temptations for your winter wardrobes. Ecstasy is showcasing pretty much the usual fashion printed chiffon tops and frill skirts. All in all nothing specially wintry in these 'Big places'.

So we are now left with a very favourite Dhaka trademark spot 'opposite Dhaka College' also known as Doja. This time of the year the market is flooded with jackets sweatshirts, jeans, coats, t-shirts that range from being outrageous to outstanding and the prices make it worth rummaging through all the rubbish to come to your desired item, and you almost always do. The next bit contains suggestions of how these various individual items can be put together in a way that is chic, stylish and comfortable.

Trousers: Jeans. I do not think I am required to give justifications for the choice. But it would be helpful to know that flares and bell bottoms are taking a fast exit as jeans trends are going towards tapered and tight (i.e. narrowing as it approached the feet). However slight flares at the bottom and straight cuts are still running hot and will probably always be safe options. Options of cord and velvet… ok I'm kidding not velvet… well the former at least is good to keep the cold out but less fashionable compared to jeans.

Layering: This clothing option is one of the zillion reasons I personally love winter. You cant go wrong with it, unless of course clashing colours are paired up. A body hugging full sleeved , high neck t/sweat-shirt underneath with a top layer that is lose, short sleeved and wide necked to sufficiently show off the layer below is a good choice if you decide to go for the casual, laid back look. For a more 'smart' look you can try a shirt (collar/high neck) with buttons, underneath, with a wide V-necked sweater on top. Both the layers essentially have to be well fitted and safer not to experiment with floral patterns and to go with plain. Striped shirt is a good option and is accentuated if topped off with a sweater that is in the same shade as one of the stripes. Experimenting is bound to give great results but few things should be kept in mind; colours used for different layers should be compatible; if going with patterns, best to not have both layers patterned (tends to look confusing); bottom layer should be as fitting (if not more) than the top layer (to avoid looking fatter than you are).

Dress tops: These tops go well below your waist and flare out slightly like a short dress. It looks very 'cute' if you manage to pull it off. It should be pared with skinny jeans or tights. Fortunately they are available in thick materials and you will not have to wear anything over it to spoil its original look. While some are tapered (cut to fit the body) others have a straight cut. For the latter wearing a semi-lose semi-tight belt around the waist will add shape and style to the outfit. For these, colours, stripes, patterns, anything that is tasteful is likely to look good

These are some little suggestions that might help you try new things and come up with some yourself. One important factor when pairing up a trouser and a top is that if both are very loose the outfit is not likely to look very nice. It's good to go with the one-lose-one-tight idea depending on your body type. However the 'fit', which is essentially the shape, is crucial in whatever (loose or tight) that is worn.

Winter is also the wedding season. Good: because your hair will stay ironed and your makeup won't melt. Bad: because you have to make the excruciatingly painful choice between covering your beautiful sequined saree or kameez with a shawl or having the cold bite your every single bone segment. Surprisingly (or not) most go with the latter choice. Luckily the soft shawls with a range of colours designs are now quite available in Dhaka, which makes the former choice less painful, you will almost always find a shawl that goes perfectly with your saree. Metro shopping mall has a few stores that sell these in prices ranging from Tk 600 onwards. With kameezes a tip that you can use is: wearing a thick figure hugging t-shirt below the kameez hidden well away from sight can be a solution to the to live-or-to-look-stylish paradox. It's crucial that folds and bulges of the t-shirt don't show through.

So bottom line whether you're using tricks or shortcuts, whether you're wearing designer or …not, western or eastern, important part is to look good AND stay comfortable. Fashion's slightly tricky so unless you have already developed a personal style it's good to consult magazines and opinions of friends and relatives and certainly your inner self. Experiment and have a fun wonderful winter!!

By Midnight Maiden

Redefining life's equation…

"Shall we dance?” Wait! You're getting me wrong! I can't dance with you now. I am still lying in a sleep-triggering couch while you must be already in the breakfast table with a “copy” of RS in one hand and perhaps a coffee in the other. And I can't even dance in the first place, my only expertise in this field being limb throwing frenzies, that too, utterly crude imitation of latest Bollywood floor scorchers.

I was actually referring to the American motion picture entitled “Shall We Dance?” starring the certifiably striking, Jennifer Lopez and the owner of age-beating looks (or shall I say “the controversial and apologetic Kisser”?), Mr. Richard Gere. The later plays the role of a workoholic man with an envious job and squabble-free marital life, who nonetheless seeks out the “missing” part of life's jigsaw puzzle. Each evening on his commute home through Chicago, he watches Jennifer Lopez through the window of a dance studio and henceforth impulsively signs up for Ball room dancing lessons to meet the enigmatic lady. He falls in love with no no no no!…not the lady (they remained friends, unfortunately) but the art! The story continues and finally ends showing how he succeeds in bringing back the “lost-spark” in his nine-to-nine ordinary life.

It was a good time-pass watch I must say but it left a lasting impression in my mind as the movie's tagline-“Step out of the ordinary” hovered around my head. I did regular activities that day, studied, let Mr. Newton, Kepler and Mendel's laws do mischief with my memory cells but I still tried to figure out if I ever took notice, if not tried to fulfill, of any of my secret desires? I finally managed to scribble some of them on the back of a book cover. It read “painting” on the left, “pamper-treatment” (I meant spa-treatment) on the right, “cooking” in the middle and “Kungfu lessons” on the extreme edge- all written at perfect distances from each other, which of course reflected the diversity, huh!

I set off to grab my share of joy by trying to fulfill some of them. Initially, I turned out to be as clumsy as any naïve when I started painting. But as my skills developed, I discovered painting was undoubtedly an exquisite thing to do especially when hours of colour-brushing on white paper finally gave the joy of producing an “effort-wasool” masterpiece! On the contrary, I declared cooking to be “not my cup of tea”. The almost non-edible dishes I made were subject to countless criticism by the family. So I finally backed off! As for the Kung-fu lessons, My mother reacted as if she had carried alien Jadu in her womb for nine months instead of me, but never mind, hurdles are sure to come one's way.

So, nerdy boys and girls, do you mind re-defining your life's equation from “Living In Flimsy Entrapment” to “ Living It To (your) Fullest Enjoyment”? Unveil an occasional painter or salsa dancer inside the ordinary high school student. Derive the ecstasy of being able to say the cruelest thing on the face of a sly acquaintance by taking French lessons! Or else accomplish whatever secret desires you have. Dance on the redefined tune of your own life. The line between what to choose and what not to choose is pretty clear cut my friends! I'm off to my KungFu lessons..

By Shahida

Cry Me A River, Make Me A Doll

Dolls, dolls and more dolls is what one will be mouthing when in the right company. But how are such dolls made? Sure my mother-in-law is quite the expert making three but we are strictly speaking in terms of dolls made for arts and crafts, which are inanimate and look good (for girls). These dolls can be made from handkerchiefs, paper and even some fruits. It is quite an art and though they may not rival the likes of Barbie or the Blythe's collection from the now defunct Kenner's, but it is quite an art. Some of the best creator's are from the remote area's of Peru and according to some Nepal. My sister had some which she got from Pakistan and they were good to. Now using my very limited knowledge regarding dolls as handicraft, I spied a few good 'models' in Aarong. These were made mainly from pieces of clothing, straws and jute. But traditionally and simply a handmade doll can be made using a man's handkerchief (grimace).

“Start with a standard, white, man's handkerchief, unfolded. Fold in half and sew the two sides together, close to the hem, from the bottom edge about two-thirds of the way up the handkerchief. Turn right side out. Knot each of the two top corners close to the corner. This makes it look like a "puffed sleeve with the corner sticking out for the arm. Place a wad of stuffing in the center between the two knots. Gather the material up around it and wind thread around it tightly several times and knot to form a head. Sew lace around the bottom of the "gown" and across the top of the head to look like a bonnet. Embroider a face on the doll and it's finished.”

To make a doll from a pillowcase, just knot the upper corners for arms and follow the above instructions to make the head. And then let your imagination run wild. These instructions I acquired from http://www.mtnlaurel.com/ Crafts/apple.htm. Check out the site to learn about how to make doll heads using an apple and a gourd. It's pretty interesting and weird but tasty at the same time.

Paper Dolls are also popular among children as an inexpensive toy and many makers are now converting this otherwise business scheme into a respectable and crafty form of arm. These dolls, with the help of sticks, can move hands and legs. Such dolls are available in Mirpur Zoo, Shishu Mela, Wonderland and even sometimes in Ramna Park and Sangsad Bhaban. Some of the better quality ones are cute out from papers, drawn with a lot of details and can be dressed up by using separate garments held up by folding toys. The ones which are old and made keeping celebrities in mind are genuine collector's items and can fetch large sums. Try it and make clothes for it and I am sure it will be quite fun, though I am yet to try that out yet. (Source-Wikipedia)

It's fun, creative, inexpensive and provides entertainment both before and after it is made, therefore I would encourage both boys and girls to try this out and if you do make a good one be sure to send us a picture of it. Till next time, keep stacking 'em dolls!

By Osama Rahman




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