Category Archives: Style & Beauty

I Wear: Bold Words Deserve Bold Lips

An I Wear post at long last!

After I was liberated from my nude makeup modesty constraints a few years ago, I swung out to the other extreme to reclaim what has always been mine – a love of BOLD, BRIGHT, DRAMATIC, WHO CARES ABOUT THE RULES dressing and makeup.

I discovered liquid lip colour sometime last year. Liquid lip colour, like the name suggests is literally liquid in a bottle. It’s a lot like painting your nails, except you’re painting the soft, crinkly, thin-skin, fleshy bits that you call your own lips. If like me, you’ve had trouble getting your nails right, boy are you in for an adventure with liquid lip colour! And yet, I persisted. Mainly for the challenge, some for the novelty and a fair bit because liquid lip colours have added a new dimension to the lip hue range.

Yeah sure, I have one shade from the traditional range and obviously it has to be my signature colour of screaming red. This is Nyx Kitten Heels. It’s an orangey-red and now that I’ve figured out the elaborate application and touch-up process it looks the way it does. This picture is without airbrushing, Photoshop or Instagram filters. But it is with lip exfoliation, moisturising, lining, application, correction, concealer and matting. Yes, this is not for the faint of make-up heart.

So why you ask, would I go to such effort for a red I’d get in the much easier formats of lipstick tubes? Because liquid lipstick (once you perfect the application) paints on much more sharply than the crayon-rub that most of us do with regular tubes. It also lasts way longer which is a big plus for people like me who swallow most of our lip colour when we talk (which I do a LOT) and eat. But again, given the considerable effort, I’d rather go with the apply-reapply-touch up of tubes for the other colours like pink and brown.

But let’s come to the really exciting bit and the real reason I’ve gotten so fond of liquid lipstick – bold colours! Here’s starting with a bold. If you said black, you’d have been just a little short of correct. Because my first bold liquid lippie was a grey. Here’s Nyx Stone Fox, a metallic grey which seems to confuse people. It’s not the stop-you-in-your-tracks black. Grey also reflects colours you’re wearing a bit so everything seems to blend seamlessly and yet….

Technically speaking the above was not my first bold liquid lipstick. But Nyx Amethyst is that safe gateway drug into crazy, mad colours. It’s a gorgeous purple but not purple like you’ve ever seen on lips. Apparently the beauty blogger/makeup professional way of describing this is to call it a ‘cool purple with more blue’. Yeah, whatever. Look at my FIERCE!

38 kitsch (thanks to @ishmeetnagpal and @manishalakhe) Happy birthday to me.

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Once the mind is freed of colour boundaries, the whole world opens up in Technicolour. Except I’ve never been shy of bright colours. So I did my ‘let’s give this a shot for a change’ going to what I’d usually consider too safe for me – a dark maroon. Nyx Oh Put In On did that wonderfully because it’s almost black but just short of, which takes it away from 70s aunty territory but keeps it from falling into wannabe goth land. I think this one has slightly brown undertones. While I’ve never enjoyed wearing brown as a colour, I can’t deny it really brings out the glow in my face.

This has been a year of such drastic changes and shifts that my whole outlook has been the here and now – surviving these. But I am a creature of nostalgia and the past doesn't impede me. It teaches me, it nurtures me and it gives me fodder for the future. This Sunday, I attended a storytelling session organised by Spill Poetry. Bring personal stories only, they'd said. I approached the stage with no prior preparation for the first time in nearly three years. Poetry and Spoken word have become such polished, seasoned ventures and I'm nothing if not competitive. But oral storytelling? I had no references. I started to weave a tale from something that happened to me in 2005. At the time, it happened so quickly and in such an over way, I barely had a chance to notice how much it changed me. But it did – me, my relationship with the city and my sense of security, home and independence. I overshot my time limit but the organisers were kind enough to let me continue and the audience kind enough to listen and tell me they could relate. I am so grateful to have had a chance to stop and examine my past and share it with you. Thank you. #openmic #spokenword #liveperformance #performance #shayar #shaayari #sher #ghazal #mehfil #maqta #story #storytelling #stories #storyteller #personalstories #mumbaifloods #mumbai #mumbaiker #mumbaiwriters #mumbairains #26thjuly #spillpoetry

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And since I’d gone into almost goth territory, I figured I’d round it with claiming black too. I haven’t actually worn this out properly yet and I’m still working on a way to wear it without doing goth. Nothing against goth, it’s just that that is the stereotypical way to wear black. I’ll do an I Wear post or video about that in some time. This is Nyx Alien.

And finally, a blue to complete the entire range! I already have a blue, an unusual format involving a brush and a palette that looks more like an eye-shadow box but never mind that now. Here’s Nyx Jet Set and as you can see it’s an inky blue which could give you a schooltime learning-to-use-ink-pen flashback. Or if you can remember it really makes your teeth look bright white, your smile could dazzle everyone into seeing you as a star. Well, at least that’s what I’m hoping. I love this colour.

Now for a few tips for any of you inspired to give these a shot:

  • Please IGNORE anybody, professional or otherwise who tells you what colour ‘suits’ your skintone or not. The beauty industry is built on making women feel insecure about their looks and India doesn’t treat dark girls well. It’s up to you to reclaim your pride. This is how I do it. Dark girls can have all the fun.
  • Practice does make perfect. Don’t expect to master liquid lippies in one go. It will not look the way it does in beauty magazines. Remember to do this for yourself and it’ll be nothing but fun.
  • Keep refining your technique. I found Youtube tutorials immensely helpful in this regard.
  • The colours shown on sites do not match most of the actual products. Youtube is full of reviews but most of them are by non-Indians. These colours do not look the same on Indians as they do on white people or black people. There’s a rare Indian video here and or there but the production quality is usually not the same which means the actual shade is anybody’s guess. If possible, check out the colour in a store. Or be like me and just take a wild leap of faith!

Here’s how I apply liquid lipstick:

  1. Exfoliate using a mascara brush and transparent lip balm. Remove excess with tissue.
  2. Outline with lip liner. For the crazier colours, I just use eye pencils.
  3. Apply the liquid using the applicator. No smacking. Fill in the insides first. With a light hand complete the outer edges.
  4. Reapply lip liner.
  5. Tidy up the edges with tissue if needed.
  6. Apply loose powder on the outside of the lips just to make the whole thing look sharp.
  7. Rule with a SMILE!

So, what do you think? Like the crazy colours on my face? Or should I go back to hiding behind deep, sometimes obscure poetry?

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Fashionista In The Wild

I managed to catch a rather reluctant Reema on camera and she agreed to stop and tell me what she was wearing. This woman manages to look effortlessly chic even in the middle of a warm, sticky summer day in a suburban mall. Well, we are not all born with Libran taste, I suppose.

If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Women At Work – Diva Minimalist Or Tomboy Chic?

Reema moved into a new place last month and I helped her (slightly) by keeping her company while her new place was professionally cleaned. The rather mundane circumstances didn’t stop both of us from dressing up. And this is what we each wore:

I Wear:

  • Yellow hoodie: Cou Cou
  • Blue racerback: Zivame
  • Loosened skinfit jeans: Levis Diva
  • Lavender jockey hat: Baggit
  • Snow quartz pendant: Magick
  • Checkered socks

and Reema in style!

I Wear:

  • Pink (almost bespoke) top: Miss London
  • Severely distressed jeans: Ross Dress for Less
  • Black socks with pink toes

If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Ranger Ramya Goes Adventuring With Stories

Alphabet Sambar meets are always a pleasure. But getting up on a Sunday morning when the weather is so meh (rainy! cloudy!) needs all the willpower I can muster. So on this grey morning, I decided to ask colour to play sunshine to my mood. Here’s what I wore:

I Wear:

  • Yellow halterneck top: Flipkart
  • Olive green shirt: Cotton World
  • Denim miniskirt
  • Olive green boots: Pavers
  • Peacock necklace: Globus

* This video was shot by Gautam Sukhija.
If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Candy Valley Girl

Reema and I had a funny experience last month. We met for a quick coffee-and-gab at a Kandivali mall. One of the things we enjoy doing together is dressing up and comparing notes. After all, the I Wear videos were Reema’s idea. On our way out, we decided to shoot in the open compound outside the mall. Midway through Reema’s shoot, we were interrupted by a mall employee claiming to be the manager. He told us that we couldn’t shoot there because of security concerns. He went on to say that,

“Photos are allowed. No videos. We have been told that terrorists will use it to do reiki.

I gawped, Reema stared. Then Reema began arguing with him while I, disgusted by people’s proud ignorance told her we’d just shoot elsewhere. It wasn’t till the next day that it occurred to me that the man may have meant ‘recce’. 😄

This is what we managed to capture.

I Wear:

  • Beige, floral chiffon top: Globus
  • Teal trousers: Jabong
  • Brown cloth lace-ups: North West
  • Turquoise earrings: Lokhandwala
  • Lipstick & turquoise gel pencil: Faces Canada
  • Pink handbag: Baggit

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

 

I Wear: Dressing For Rehearsal

A week before my September feature calendar unfolded I ran off to Bandra for a rehearsal with Gaysi. I wanted to be comfortable and protected from the monsoon but also look good. The gay community is so well-dressed! This is what I pulled on.

I Wear:

  • Denim tunic: Cotton World
  • Red silk tie: Borrowed from dad
  • White jeggings: Bandra
  • Red sneakers: Only

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: The Indian Turk

A little style tip I borrowed from Instanbul women that works perfectly well for Mumbai’s weather and terrain! I guess cultures may vary but urban style is universal.

If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Independence Sari

Independence Day fell close to a weekend this year. And it was also a sunny, dry day in the middle of a wet August. I took the opportunity to pull out a garment that I added to my wardrobe on another Independence Day four years ago – the sari.

I won’t talk about all the merits of the sari and how it suits Indian weather and body structures. But I will say that it gets better and easier with practice. I’m almost entirely sari-normalised now in that I don’t consider it a special garment to be brought out only among fanfare and tripped around in awkwardly. I reach for a sari as easily as I reach for a pair of trousers or a favorite top. It does tend to reduce in the monsoon because of the filthy city I live in and the fact that I prefer cottons which don’t dry as easily.

But here’s the look that it only took me 20 minutes to get on, right before I went out on a family dinner for Independence Day!

I Wear:

  • Red and white cotton saree: Bengal cotton
  • Lace croptop: Lokhandwala market
  • Painted wooden earrings: Bangalore airport

If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitter and Instagram.

I Wear: Lightweight Indian

I am a fan of Indianwear, primarily for its prints and fabrics. But the cuts and styles don’t suit me well, given that I don’t have traditional Indian features (tall frame, lean body, pointed chin, small eyes, prominent cheekbones). Most traditional Indianwear tends to swamp me in fabric or metal/stones. That’s why I rarely wear Indian designs in jewellery. I’ve also been a very infrequent wearer of salwar-kameezes. But in the past decade, I’ve found my own balance, my own ways to customise what’s available and suit it to my look. After all, Indian fabrics and prints really do suit Indian skintones and the weather better than any other.

So here’s one look:

* This video was shot by Reema Prasanna.
If you enjoyed this style post in video, check out the other I Wear posts and videos.

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If you liked this post, you’ll want to follow the Facebook Page and the Youtube channel. I’m Ramya Pandyan (a.k.a. Ideasmith) and I’m on Twitterand Instagram.

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