Tag Archives: Fashion

I Wear: Indian Wedding

*This is a sponsored post.

Two of my friends got married this week. I attended a ceremony that lasted over 6 hours, included a pheras-around-fire ritual, several small in-family practices, a wedding dinner and reception. And this was actually an Indian Wedding Lite. I didn’t have much time to dress or even plan what I’d wear, considering it was a speed tracked wedding (7 days to organise, invite and conduct!). Also, it was in the middle of a  weekday in oppressive, pre-monsoon June in Mumbai.

I went to my saree cupboard, of course. Sarees are my staple wedding wear. And the past year of saree experimentation have given me a mean confidence about a quick drape. I picked out an old favourite, my first ever Kanjeevaram saree, actually. I chose this one because its blue/green colour would be different from the traditional red/pink/purple hues that dominate Indian wedding guest attire. Also, with its stripy design and brown-gold border, it defies the kanjeevaram tradition of plain hues with gold buttis and  border.

I’ve been struggling to find good blouse alternatives for sarees and the last year has been full of experimenting with tee-shirts, croptops and even a blazer once. But for a wedding, I wanted to go a little more traditional (convention having being defied adequately in choice of saree). I wore a chilli green readymade silk blouse that I found available under a brand called Ethnicity. The fit is good, the colours vibrant and the design, just the right blend of saucy and conventional.

And finally (or rather, primarily), the accessories. The jewellery would have to be gold or close (I went with minakari) to match the saree border. My regular steel strapped watch would clash with the gold/yellow/brown tones. My latest timepiece came in handy. I have a new Jord Woodwatch in an unusual Cherry wood shade. It went beautifully with my attire. The watch is entirely made of wood, including its strap so it didn’t conflict with the material/fabric ensemble either. Here’s how I looked:

collage_20140625181046811

I Wear:

  • Blue-green striped kanjeevaram saree: Nalli, Chennai
  • Chilli green silk readymade blouse: Ethinicity (available in InOrbit mall)
  • Minakari jewellery: Central Cottage Emporium, New Delhi
  • Woodwatch: Ely Series (Cherry), JORD

*JORD wood watches can be ordered at their online store. The one I’m wearing in the photograph is here.ely-11-front-angled

 

I Wear: Warm & Cool

Winter’s here (for what it’s worth in Mumbai). And we enjoy the brief stint where we get to wear high necklines, layered garments and boots. The tricky thing about dressing for a December day in Mumbai is that you’ve to be prepared for stinging heat as well as infection-ridden chill. Here’s what I picked for a day of meetings, commuting and an evening out.

IMG_20131220_191138

I Wear:

  • Maroon & grey tartan print turtle-neck top (cap sleeved): Shoppers Stop
  • Skinny blue jeans: Levis Diva
  • Black corduroy jacket
  • Snakeskin booties: Clark’s (new acquisition!)
  • Onyx pendant on a silver chain: Magick (also new)
  • Silver hoop earrings & a single silver bangle

It turned out to be a warmish day so I was thankful for being able to shrug off the jacket. The booties didn’t hurt even when I walked up seven stories (broken lift *sigh*) so yayyy for a shoe brand that designs for comfort as well as style! And the evening threatened to hit my throat with the cold that everyone passes around in this season, so the jacket came right back on again.

I guess I like that winters are never really that cold in Mumbai but just cool enough to be able to wear some great clothes! 😉

I Wear: Hot Stuff!

I brought a handful of chillis to lunch.

Hot Stuff collage

For the past four years, I’ve been evolving from my identity as defined by my family, my job, my age and my background and transitioning into something that goes beyond these things. I find I like vibrancy, quirkiness and originality. I also enjoy comfort, prudence and practicality. These things reflect in my style.

The October heat is here and I was having lunch with friends over the weekend. Here’s what I wore – a typical ‘me’ look these days.

This is crepe dress with a heart-shaped cutout neckline and a vibrant chilli pepper print. I added a red belt for definition. Especially post the fracture, heels and otherwise insensible footwear are a no-no for me. Mercifully, I chanced upon the Clark’s brand that has seems to know sensible doesn’t mean ugly and *wonder of wonders* stocks in my size. Given all of this and the heat, I didn’t think I needed any further accessorizing than that watch.

I Wear:

  • Chilli print dress: Shibori, Rs.1550
  • Red belt: Local bazaar, Rs.100
  • Maroon sandals: Clark’s, Rs.1700
  • Tan leather handbag: Clark’s
  • Steel strap watch: Tissot

I Wear: Red And Gold

Dressing for the day often begins with one thing – an item of apparel, a colour, a fabric or even an accessory. The rest of the look is built around that point.

The newest addition to my closet is a handbag, a gift from the boy’s mum. As he gave it to me, he cast a wary gaze at my red tote and asked,

“You aren’t…terribly attached to that bag, are you?”

I laughed and told him a new bag was always delightful. He looked mystified. Ah well, the things a man will never understand about a woman! Sure enough, when I called his mum to thank her and tell her she needn’t have gone to the trouble, she just said,

“Shopping is always a pleasure!”

🙂 Cue rerun of mystified look.

So here’s what my bag collection looks like at the moment: A big lime-green Rhysetta handbag, the aforementioned red tote from Baggit (my favorite), a brown leather satchel and an identical black one (both used in my corporate days), a purple square bag from Esbeda, cloth bags from EcoFrendz (featured on I Style!), a kantha-embroidered jhola and sundry clutches of the neon-coloured plastic variety. (No, the boy still wouldn’t understand)

If there’s one thing the wardrobe has been lacking, it’s a dignified-not-boring, coloured-not-whacky bag. The colourful stuff has been fun to carry around and matches most of my looks. The staid brown and black are the ‘safe’ options for work and such occasions. But this new bag fits neatly in between.

It’s a sort of dusty rose coloured leather. My mum would probably call it cherry tan though I’ve never seen either a fruit or a skin colored that way. It’s a comfortable foot by foot-and-half size which makes it perfect for a day out (wallet, keys, handkerchief, make-up, water bottle, scarf, book, iPod). The flap has white criss-cross stitching over it which would have stood out starkly on a darker colour or yellowed in a dirty way on a white/cream bag. On this however, it blends in just right creating a subtle contrast with the rest of the bag without being in your face about it. The fittings are matted gold and include zippers down each pocket, a magnetic fastener and handle rings. In addition, a lock embellishment hangs down the front flap. To my surprise, I found a similarly themed key attached to the inner zip which fits this lock perfectly!

Now the colour proved to be a challenge for me. Red being my favorite colour, dusty rose would normally be a snap for me. But my look is usually silver (oxidized or polished), wood or plastic. Gold isn’t my usual theme but I liked the muted look of this one and how it added to the colour of the bag, so I set my brain to work.

It wasn’t long before I realised I already had several articles of the red-and-gold persuasion which had faced similar dilemmas earlier and hence hadn’t seen much use. I just put all of them together.

I started with a red wraparound skirt with bright prints and adorned by gold sequins (which catch the light when I move but make it a difficult garment to match with anything else).

This I paired with a muted gold mock turtleneck I once received as a gift and never had much call to wear (for the same reason). This top with its zipper that goes all the way up the front to the neck feels rather awkward, like it’s caught in an identity crisis between sportswear and glamour. Also, I’m not sure the gold fabric goes well with a silver zipper or with my complexion.

To break that up, I kept the zipper lower, opening out the flaps to look like a collar. To this, I added a bead-and-metal neckpiece bought from Delhi’s Tibetan market, years ago. A word on this necklace – I’d drooled over those exotic items of jewelery for years before I finally bought one. Once home, I realised that everything else I wore look drab in comparison. Yet another gold-coloured item relegated to the ‘someday I’ll figure out how to wear it’ pile!

My first choice of footwear was brown suede boots. But considering the drama of the neckpiece and the bright skirt, I thought that would be too much. I settled instead for my trusty red snakeskin sandals. Here’s how it turned out.

I wear:

  • Red wraparound skirt, embroidered & embellished: Lokhandwala market
  • Gold zippered top: unbranded, somewhere in the US
  • Dusty rose leather handbag: Suede, Kolkata
  • Red and gold neckpiece: Tibetan market, New Delhi
  • Red snakeskin sandals: JMC (nice designs, high prices, zero durableness, horrible service)

Cross-posted at Divadom.

Is The Indian Man A Fashion Failure? – Feature In M Magazine, Jan 2011

The year begins on a good note for the writer in me. 🙂 M Magazine has a special feature called ‘What Women Want‘. The feature covers various questions surrounding the Indian man of today.

'What Women Want' - feature in January 2011 issue of M.

Five women have each contributed an article and one of those women is me! My piece is titled ‘Is The Indian Man A Fashion Failure?

"Is The Indian Man A Fashion Failure?" - M Magazine, January 2011

 

The piece was originally slated to run a few months ago but got rescheduled. Now I think it’s a great new year gift for me to start 2011, seeing my words in print. The issue has just hit the stands. Now, don’t make me beg….go out, buy it, read it already!

Continue reading

Ideamarked: November 2010 – Nostalgia, Romance, Identity Theft, Fashion, Street Photography, Geek Humour & Kids

It has been a busy month, what with the domain issues and shifting back to WordPress. Actually, I don’t regret it. This old template (I’m hoping at least a few of you recognize it from having been my readers since then) triggers off old moods and inspiration and I feel freer to write about a lot of things that got buried under the gleaming-gloss of a fancy template and a hotshot domain name. This can only be good.

The Idea-smithy on Facebook idea continues and I’ve been posting links. It’ s a little trickier than the XX Factor Facebook page. XX Factor concerns itself with very specific topics and areas and it is is relatively easy to tell what would appeal to the readers of the blog. But The Idea-smithy is a lot broader, greyer, flexible in its nature. From its inception in 2004, it has been a rantfest, a scribble-pad, a poetry corner, a personal diary, a writing journal and a photo-blog. The posts encompass poetry, fiction, cityscapes, photographs, cartoons, humour, writing exercises, link-and-editorials, reviews and a lot of generally uncategorizable stuff.

I’m still grappling to define this blog the way I struggle to define myself. Tell me, my dear readers, old and new, what do you like about The Idea-smithy? What are your topics of choice? What do you hate? What else would interest you?

I’ve taken some chances in the first month of link-love on Facebook and here’s what I came up with. Your inputs are not just welcome, they’re vital!

  • Writers, romance-lovers, diehard M&Bers, hear ye!: A writing challenge looking for synopsis and first chapter of a novel (via Harlequin Enterprises)
  • This one did the rounds on email a few years ago and all of us in our twenties (then!) sighed and said, “That’s my life!!!”. A landmark net-pop culture reference: The Quarter-life crisis (via Caltech)
  • A strange case of identity-theft: Is someone stealing your tweets and your identity? (via Soma Ghosh)
  • Many of these gave me goosebumps. The related ‘women’s regrets’ one didn’t do that. Strange that is: The secrets regrets of men (via Lemondrop)
  • OMG, if only these were available on the streets, they’d be I Style! I would love to wear The Gateway of India or even The Bandra Worli Sea-link!: The architecture of statement rings (via (via Republic of Chic)
  • Whacky remixes in packaging!: Hommade Undies (via Chhavi Noticed This!)
  • Toilet humour and yes, it is funny!: Accurate Toiletry Instructions (via CollegeHumour)
  • Slightly outdated (which is ancient in internet terms). Appropriate for the month of the release of The Social Network: What Your Email Extension Says About You (via CollegeHumour)
  • I LMAOed. Then I wondered if I was too much of a geek because I understood every single reference in there:The First Fail (via CollegeHumour)
  • Mommy-bloggers, unite! You aren’t alone!: Shit My Kids Ruined (via ShitMyKidsRuined)

Tiny Tales: Emderatology

Close to midnight on Saturday, the coffee server on duty reported two dead people in the shop. The couple had been seated in the back booth of the cafe for over three hours, he recalled. When asked why she didn’t report it earlier, she said that she only noticed when he went over to tell them that it was closing time.

Inspector Clue-so deduced that the death must have happened a few minutes prior, when the couple was presented with the bill, since the bodies had not started ‘to steenk up the place and were probably ‘fresh’. This theory however, was dropped when the young server pointed out that both bodies were freezing cold and rigor mortis had set in. The lady, who admits to being a investigor in her sparetime (which she says is more than the time the job takes), was quoted as saying

“They were just sitting there staring at each other. For all I know, they had died ages ago but I just thought they were in love.”

Investigating experts were confounded by the abnormally red colour on the cheeks of the deceased. It was surmised that the excess rush of blood to the face caused the brain to stop functioning. Two slimy, fist-sized objects were also found fallen between the table and the wall, which were later identified as human hearts. Speaking to this publication, the coroner said,

“I must admit I was surprised to see two bodies without hearts inside them. How they came to remove their hearts I will never be able to tell. No wonder they died. Poor things.”

It wasn’t until the police began interviewing the friends of the couple that the truth emerged. The first to come under suspicion was Mr.McMohan, a close pal of the male victim, aided by the fact that his first reference to the victim was that he was staying at his place but was in the toilet at that moment. This charge was however dropped when it was revealed that the victim often used this as an alibi to explain his social activities to his family. On hearing the charge, he confessed that he himself had been in Pune all weekend (even at the time of the call) and could present an alibi but which he requested not be revealed to his family.

Following this train of thought, Inspector Clue-so next went to the best friend of the deceased lady. This was the turning point of the case (and also what salvaged the good Inspector’s career from the wreck of the first hypothesis). The best friend (name withheld on request) explained the history of the two dead people.

“I didn’t even realize that they were still in touch but it must be recent. They haven’t met since they broke up ten years ago. After all the drama is over, you really don’t want to face the person you shared your first awkward kiss with. It’s dreadfully embarrassing meeting that one particular ex-, you know.”

Wrapping up the case, Inspector Clue-so was quoted as saying,

“And ze key to ze mystery was found zere. You see, ze two people entered ze shop separately but it was very crowded. Zen ze spotted each other and thinking eet rude to do ozzerwize, decided to share a table. Zat is why our esteemed young friend behind ze counter does not remember zem coming in together. Ze got to ze table and discussed ze weather and how heeedeeous zis year’s fashion week was.”

The reporter interrupted this account to ask how he arrived at this conclusion and was rewarded with the following explanation.

“Because of zis.”

said Inspector Clue-so holding up a promotional leaflet whose copies were on all the tables of the shop. The image showed a boy and girl both wearing jeans. Both characters bore penmarks on them, depicting a different set of clothing.

“Obviously zey had good taste.”

said the Inspector with a distinct sniff.

“After zat, zey must have run out of topics. Ze young man had just broken up with his girlfriend, as was told to us by his friend in Pune. Ze young lady in turn was considering breaking up with her boyfriend. Zen zey found each other. Eet was like fate! But memories prevailed. Ze embarrassment of zere last encounter and all ze memories of the years after zat. Ze emotions must have been overwhelming. Hysteria built up inside both of zem till zey could take it no more! Both of zem blushed and blushed till zere hearts could take it no more and then zere hearts jumped out of zere mouths at the same time! And zey died of extreme embarrassment!”

As a reward for her help, the young coffee server has been deputed to be a trainee under the brilliant Inspector, starting next Monday.

————————————————————————

Note: The science of embarrassment is called emderatology.

Retail Therapy

Today, I accompanied E Vestigio across the city. When I say across, I mean literally across. In the space of 6 hours, I’ve passed dug-up roads, flyovers, under-rail subways, main roads, a highway, bylanes and market roads. I’ve been inside a mall, foodcourt, chain store branches, thronged a bazaar, hunted down an inner-lane shop and bargained with roadside vendors. We started at Oberoi Mall, Goregaon East and worked our way south-westward ending at Santacruz station market.

Now ostensibly, today’s trip was her agenda, with routes, destinations and shopping lists laid out in careful detail. So how is it that I find I’m now in possession of three new handbags, two pairs of sandals, a ring, a bangle, an almost tee-shirt (returned for reasons we won’t get into now) and three packs of to-fry cheese fingers?

Let’s see, there was Inc.5 with whom my only experience so far has been these delightful creatures. If I hoped for a repeat of that, I was rather lured away by E’s more sensible and stable choices. I rather regret not picking up the omelette-yellow sandals.

Then there was the mannequin wearing a tee-shirt depicting ‘Him’ and ‘Her’ display signs, the kind you see on toilet doors in malls. Of course I had to check it out. I saw a really cool racer-back with a print of ghungroo-clad feet. Voila! It fit! It was only after I paid and looked at the bill, did I realize that I’d been charged about a third more than what was on the price tag. The salesgirl sniffed and stated pointedly that the price tag showed the material cost while any print was extra. E came to my rescue (or perhaps kept me from throwing a shopper-tantrum and screaming my head off). The tee was returned and we left. Oh well, the print wasn’t that great and anyway I can paint it on myself. Huh.

We lunched in the foodcourt, the largest, most varied one I’ve ever seen and it prompted me to exclaim,

The only other place I’ve seen such a food court is in Heathrow airport!!

Oberoi Mall has successfully pulled off what none of its earlier counterparts in the areas could. It combines the cool of the western suburbs’ InOrbit while also catering to the more ethno-diverse population in the eastern suburbs. Town be damned, Mumbai’s disposable income is never more visible than in the suburban malls. There is a certain new-money loudness in these places. There is also a refreshing lack of world-weary cynicism. E gushed and gushed about the food court before capturing our mood with,

Such simple things make us joyful, no?

Yes, indeed. We remember shopping centers, neighborhood kiranas and restaurant food. Malls, food courts and glitzy stores are still a big, very big deal in our lives.

As we were leaving, I just had to check out Rhysetta. Esbeda introduced me to colourful-but-classy bags; it was good to find another brand that offered the same. I was intrigued by a bright yellow bag with a black handle. The sunshine colour seems to have been my theme today. E very pointedly said,

If you wear them all together, you’ll be a dirty fellow.

…which of course meant I had to take the green instead. It’s neon green, not a dull/sensible colour by any stretch but I’m still rather in lustful desire with that yellow bag. Maybe I’ll trip back tomorrow to do an exchange. (Forgive me E, you’re just going to wear sunglasses when you see me next!!)

There was a black sequined bag I almost bought except that its strap looked more like a fracture-cast bandage on my arm than the mock-bracelet it was supposed to be. Undeterred, I stopped at another bag shop while E walked into the FabIndia. None of my shortlisted choices met with her approval though, so I walked out purchaseless. FabIndia, on the other hand, never failing to please, put me in possession of two bags. One is blue raw silk with buttis print and metal kadas for handles. The other is a black silk with buttis and looks like an open envelope. How could I *not* buy those?! Money is to be made so it can be spent on such wonderful things (okay, after the basic necessities).

The bazaars outside stations are throwbacks to creditcardless student days of raste-ka-maal-saste-mein bargains. My loss of the yellow sandals still smarted so instead we made up by buying two pairs of gladiators, one black-with-metal riveting dominatrix and the other brown-with-bronze buckles sensible chic. E’s superb bargaining ensured these two cost me less than the price of that one yellow pair.

And when all of this was done, I had burned off enough of calories and water-atoms to be ravenous. So I picked up the cheese sticks for dinner.

Yes, it all makes sense in retrospect. Try telling that to my wallet, though.

E thanked me at the end of the day for accompanying her on her errands. I said, “No, thank you. I had so much fun!!” Now I think she should thank me again. You see, when I shop on my own, I usually know what I want and how, where and for how much I want to buy it.

But malls, display windows and charming streetside sellers aren’t designed for people like that. They are focused, diabolical strategies to target unsuspecting people who haven’t really been intending to buy anything at all!! A good friend isn’t someone who puts up with bad roads, horrible weather and crowded stores with you. All of that is part of the thrill of shopping. A good friend is the one who is willing to take that final risk of putting herself in the eye of the marketer’s fire. It’s really like being on a diet and agreeing to walk through the diary products section of the store with your friend who wants to get to green veggies on the other side!

But this is all said in jest. At the end of the day, my toes hurt, my scalp feels itchy from all the dust and my face muscles feel like they’re sagging along with my limbs. But I’ve had an uncommonly long chat with a good friend, laughing, discussing serious stuff, being silly, grumbling about men, work, life and such, bitching about prices, brands, styles and other people. E Vestigio, poppet, thank you, love.

I feel good. Retail therapy? Maybe it does work after all.

Ideart: Rose Garden

This is part of my series on fabric painting (after Peacock and Kathakali). But this was actually painted much earlier than those two.

I had this terrycot shirt checked orange and white. The overall effect was a sort of mustard. It’s not a colour I’ve ever been fond of or one that flatters me. Painting it was a rather delayed decision since it doesn’t occur to one intuitively to paint over something that already has a pattern on it. But I realized that the pattern was neither overwhelming nor highly visible. And it would serve perfectly well as a background.

I used several pictures of roses to figure out the basic geometric shapes and swirl-patterns that I’d need to use. It turned out to be surprisingly easy. I started with a round wavy shape (like little kids drawings of flowers) using black paint (Fevicryl no.02 Black). Then I added more waves and curlicues inside it. After that it’s just a matter of colouring and adding leaves.

The painting was actually loads of fun, the messy, splashy way. I made blobs of the basic red paint (Fevicryl no.39 Carmine) on the fabric. Then before it was dry, I daubed on the shimmery pink (Fevicryl no.303 Pearl Pin). The pink was probably an older bottle so it had gone a little creamier while the red, newer was liquidey. The net effect was that the pink stood on its own but blurred into the red at the edges to give a lovely shaded effect. I waited for these to dry before outlining and highlighting in black again.

The leaves were done using a similar principle – outlined in black, filled in with basic green (Fevicryl no.06 Dark Green) and daubed with the shimmery green (Fevicryl no.357 Pearl Metallic Green). And finally redefined with black once that was dry.

The details came in later. I added hairfine strokes of black to show the stems. Tiny buds with triangle-shaped leaves in blue (Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue); these were done with  a thin brush dipped in colour and then pressed flat down on the cloth. These were given yellow (Fevicryl no.302 Pearl Lemon Yellow) centers. The leaf veins were lined with bronze (Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze).

I started intending to only paint the back since it had an unbroken visage (the front has buttons all the way down so it’s difficult to do one contiuous painting). Then it looked so good that I added some detail in the front to match the theme.

rose-garden-3

The front detailing is not uniform copy of the back. While the back is just one pattern of roses scattered all over, the front shows a rose-trellis creeping up on one side and small bouquet-like collection of flowers on the other side that look like they’ve been plucked off the plant and dropped on the ground.

rose-garden-2

On the same side, I added a tiny rosebud and leaf detail on the collar.

rose-garden-1

Garment: Waist-length shirt with short sleeves and collar

Material: Terrycot with tartan texture

Background colour: Orange-brown with white threads running through

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.02 Black
  • Fevicryl no.39 Carmine
  • Fevicryl no.303 Pearl Pink
  • Fevicryl no.06 Dark Green
  • Fevicryl no.357 Pearl Metallic Green
  • Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze
  • Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue
  • Fevicryl no.302 Pearl Lemon Yellow

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

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