In this insightful article, Kanchan Agarwal explores the captivating world of co-ord sets, delving into their versatility, comfort, and enduring appeal as a fashion statement.
Versatile, Chic, Comfortable—Co-ord Sets are trending, and here to stay!
Co-ord sets have been trending as a go-to outfit. It’s easy to style, versatile in design, and evolving as a fashion statement and an expression of self-love.
An ensemble well-coordinated
Typically, a co-ord set is a 2-piece ensemble of top and bottom wear. It is perfectly coordinated so that every piece of the outfit is cut from the same cloth. Co-ord sets have been known to extend to 3 to 6 pieces, including additional items such as an overcoat, scarf or even shoes, and accessories like a handbag and headgear like a beret or a hat. One would choose their ensemble and style it according to the occasion and personal preference, be it western, indian, or fusion.
Staying at home during the pandemic of 2019 gave us the chance to rediscover ourselves and love ourselves deeply. One of the ways in which we expressed our self-love was through our outfits. Now that we no longer had to dress up for an audience, we found value in dressing for comfort. It was now fashionable to spend our days in athleisure suits, and just as well in night suits—an extensive array of online clothing brands selling them exclusively in cute and quirky prints, both coordinated and contrasted, came up (The Pink Elephant, Pajama Tribe, Snarky Gal).
A good balance of comfort and style has always been a key factor of fashion trends. For example, back in the day, colour blocking was a trend that could be adapted to everyday and occasional outfits. When it was time to socialise again, co-ord sets emerged prominently as an extension of the comfort we found at home in a way that we could carry it outside of our homes, and feel as comfortable, stylish and loved with our choices in the cuts, colours and prints. “The whole trend started during the pandemic. I think a lot of people started wearing them at the same time, because of the whole comfort aspect. I got my first co-ord in 2020. I picked it up from Urbanic. It was an airport look,” observes Apoorva Rao, a Travel Content Creator.
A favourite go-to outfit
Conceptual versatility of the co-ords is the main reason why women and men, and even children of all ages have been seen donning them—in diverse prints and forms variably suitable for formal and informal occasions in both outdoor and indoor locations. “I love co-ords. It is my favourite trend. It’s comfortable and chic at the same time. It’s versatile, there’s something for everyone, I can wear a co-ord anywhere. It especially works out for me because I travel—it’s my go-to travel outfit. For the airport, I wear a comfy athleisure suit. While enjoying the destination, I prefer a jazzy, chic look. I like subtle colours. I usually wear a 2 or 3 piece set with a crop top and a blazer. My favourite is a set of white and white.”, Apoorva tells us.
Co-ords make parents’ life easy
While children as young as 5 years might still be forming their likes and dislikes, parents have been seeking co-ord sets for their toddlers and preschoolers. “We had parents who had specifically asked for co-ord sets. Maybe it’s the ease of dressing—you don’t really need to use your head to mix and match the ensemble, you just grab the same print of shorts and shirt, you put them on, and the kids are good to go. They can wear it to school, at home, or on playdates on the same day. That got us thinking, we scouted online for brands who had co-ord sets for kids on display, and we requested them to send what was available. There are brands making co-ords for 0-6 months old babies, too!” informs Meghana Rao, Partner at One12.
Bold statement, Casually made
As easy as it is to wear it, one can easily make a bold fashion statement in a co-ord set. Why not—it seems to work for people of all shapes and cultural preferences—one can pick up a set in a cut that silhouettes their unique body shape and expresses their personal style desirably. “My idea was to offer effortless styling, and my customers asked for more. We do pant suits, kurta suits, which can be worn by any age group”, says Khushboo Jain, Founder of MoonBow India.
Brands love making co-ords
While individual clothing brands, including designers of high street wear, who cater to their niche audiences are offering a huge variety of creatively designed co-ords unique to their brand value (Chique, Vaishali Studio, Boho Dreams, Jisora Jaipur, Kachhi Imli, Oziss, Puremist India, Urban Komfort), popular e-commerce platforms like Nykaa, Amazon, Myntra and Urbanic are sticking to the fast moving styles. “I wanted to utilise our traditional dyeing techniques,” Khushboo mentions. It seems that monochromes, floral motifs, ethnic motifs are popular among adults, while tie and dye, and quirky and cute animal prints and motifs from pop culture like powerpuff girls and mickey mouse are popular among children as well as adults who have kept their inner child alive. “My customers pick up sets with motifs of dinosaurs, trucks. They love tie-and-dye,” Meghana elaborates.
Co-ords adapt to Indian traditions
The concept of co-ord sets can be found among traditional Indian outfits of ghaghra-choli-dupatta, shararas, anarkalis etc. (House of Dechen). Wide-legged trousers coordinated with short kurtis ideal for loungewear or a casual outing is its repurposed version (Bunaai, Kisha’s Collection). A co-ord set is fashionable for the office, high-street, the lounge, holiday destinations, the beach, pop cultural gatherings, and formal events.The fact that it can be variably styled for any time of the day, week or year is a huge plus. “On my recent trip to Goa, I saw a huge wave of the trend. Everyone was wearing it. There were stores dedicated to co-ords in fabulous prints. I picked a few!”, chimes Apoorva.
It’s just the beginning…
Historically, since the beginning of the last Century, we have seen women wearing a pantsuit or a skirt suit, earlier during the war, and later during the 60s, and a lot more in the 90s. At one point, it symbolised the empowered presence of women in decision-making roles in the workforces. One search entry into pinterest and a wide array of co-ord patterns can be found in results, some of them are links of online markets. Most upcoming brands selling online now have a whole section dedicated to co-ords. Celebrities and style icons like Deepika Padukone and Karishma Kapoor are often spotted in a co-ord, on and off screen. Co-ords are primarily akin to the zen lifestyle inspired by Japanese philosophy.
An innovative form of self-expression
The question is if the trend will last or fade soon? “I have been doing co-ords since before it became a trend. ‘My motto was styling simplified’. I saw a gap in comfort clothing and I wanted to make everyday clothes,” recalls Khushboo. Buyers are exploring fabrics, motifs, silhouettes and ensembles, and so are the sellers—there’s much to work with. “People have started experimenting with fashion more; everyone’s into styling now—this was very prevalent in the west—because the weather is changing, and people are travelling, you are just not in your denim anymore. People like the idea of a complete look,” adds Khushboo. The concept is being adapted to satisfy audiences with all kinds of cultural and personal interests. It is nice to see people covering their bodies with ideas as motifs they resonate with, enjoy or want to use as a form of self-expression. “I see innovative ideas like threadwork, doodles coming up”, Meghana tells us.
Co-ords are here to stay!
From the basic denims and cottons to the synthetic rayon, from nostalgic disney cartoons to indian handlooms, from avant garde embellishments to psychedelic graphics, co-ords are attractive, basic, functional, and versatile—just like the good old t-shirts, they make a remarkable statement of personal style without compromising on the comfort factor and there’s something for everyone, people love to buy them, sell them and gift them. They are desirable, they are friendly, and they are here to stay! “Aren’t the co-ords best? You look cool and comfortable at the same time!”, a representative of The Souled Store commented.