Get into the tribal groove
Multicultural fashion is always a fascinating trend to follow. Indian runways have been showcasing western fashion trends and styles for a very long time now – ranging from bandeaux dresses to maxis etc. and one can also find the ramps abroad, agog with Indian and Oriental fashion trends. International designers are recently showing a predilection for mixing and matching inter cultural motifs into their creations. And of these, tribal prints are quite popular with modern day fashion addicts. From Aztec motifs to African, Maori and India, tribal prints are now a rage on the ramp.
The mantra for wearing anything that has a tribal print is comfort – that is the whole point of the symbolism. You cannot have a tight fitted formal outfit in tribal print, it will look extremely out of place. Cool and comfortable designs and fabrics look best in a tribal motif and therefore, loose balloon tops, tunics and especially maxi dresses and kaftan dresses look the best.
Tribal motifs are expressive of spirituality and peace and they mimic the tribal way of life – which was colourful, simple and expressive. Nothing black, dark, minimalistic etc. for them. Not only do they look good on clothing, tribal patterns perk up almost all fashion accessories be it shoes, scarves, belts, bags or jewellery. Tribal motifs are a rage where body art – tattoos – are concerned, so it is natural that it would spill over to sartorial choices as well, eventually.
Tribal motifs are geometric in nature and thus can make you look tall or broad depending on what you choose. If you are short and wish to add height to yourself, choose the classic geometrical triangle pattern in tribal motifs – with bold colours such as orange, ochre, red – all earthy colours that are preferred by the ethnic population. If you don’t want to go overboard, then wear a shift dress in a nude hue like white, cream or beige and jazz it up with an embroidered belt of tribal patterned motifs in bright colours such as red or orange. If you feel like unleashing your wild side then wear a dress – floor length maxi or knee length wrap – in differently coloured bright tribal motifs. If you are a little on the healthy side, you should avoid wearing too many tribal designs together – material that depict hunting scenes, or village scenes in bold black figurines are not a good idea for someone who wants a slimmer silhouette.
Preferred material for tribal print clothing is usually cotton, linen and other homespun cloth, though of course more expensive materials are also used, especially by high end designers. However, these outfits lack the earthy charm that tribal motifs and patterns lend to clothing. So it is best to go for cotton outfits and warm tones. Accentuate the outfits with neutral jewellery because tribal prints are very loud by themselves and there is a lot going on, so ideally you should not increase the ‘noise’ of your outfits with jewellery that clashes with the designs on your dress.