Must buy: The Tulle Skirt

One of the hottest trends of Spring-summer 2017 is the tulle skirt. In fact, street-style evidence from the 4 fashion week destinations show that many fashionistas have already jumped on the bandwagon and are channeling this trend in advance.

Asos Tulle Skirt | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Buy this Asos tulle skirt here.

Tulle, is essentially net and it may be made from silk, nylon or rayon. Used primarily as fabric for wedding gowns, lehengas, veils and as tutus for little girls, the latter half of 2016 notices a shift in its functionality –  this once-in-a-blue-moon fabric is slowly inching its way into your everyday closet. Hurray!

Asos Tulle Skirt | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
But this Asos Tulle Prom Skirt here.

 

I understand that you may feel like this trend is not for you. That it’s too girlish and too princess-like for your refined (and sophisticated) fashion sense. But, trust me on this – the tulle skirt is more versatile than it may seem. For starters, everybody doesn’t have to buy the rose-coloured prom version. You can buy a black mini net version and team it with a black vest or black jacket for instant edginess. If you feel black is too gothic for you, you can choose a deep red or maroon version. If you’re feeling modest, there are tulle maxi skirts too – Indians, these are surprisingly similar to our net lehengas, so you can buy one and innocently wear it with a heavy blouse to your BFF’s sangeet.

The tulle skirt is a flouncy, candy-like item that every closet will benefit from. It’s great for days when you really want to dress up different, it promises to be your “happy-dress” – Mine is a ruffled version right now.

In fact, if you want some inspiration, here are some images I pulled out from Pinterest that are sure to make you want to buy this trend right away.

Happy Tulle-spiration. 🙂

 

5 types of ‘bloggers’ you’ll meet on Instagram

When you’re a wannabe blogger like me and are really-really interested in fashion (and stylish women), you end up following a lot of people online. You get their id’s from Vogue or you suddenly read about them somewhere, or your friend tells you that you have-to-have-to follow this one, and soon even Instagram is in on the plot (and guesses your secret ambition to harness a million followers) and begins to show you “recommendations”; and before you know it you’re following a 1000 people with very few people returning the favour – yes, let me be very frank about expressing my honest hurt. *sniff*

And after all that following and commenting (‘you-must-comment-for-them-to-comment-back’ – which NEVER works with me), you’re still stuck with 570 followers (Oh, shit, now its 566 – why are people unfollowing me?), you’re like @#$%, what am I doing wrong?

Anyway, long story short – I don’t think I have it in me yet to make it as an Instagram “visual” blogger – either I am really ugly or I lack skills, and so I have come back to wordpress, to well, try and analyse what are the “types” of bloggers ruling the online space.

But, before I start…

Disclaimer: This article does not intend to classify or discredit the uniqueness of each individual online by amassing them into “types”. It is merely an attempt to decode what is it that really works online.

  1. Head-to-toe perfectionists

They are the bloggers who look like they actually spent time to craft and curate every look for every photo they upload – I am sure every blogger does this – but this category actually adheres to the theme and pulls it off brilliantly. Case in point – That Boho Girl. Every look is perfect – boho – her makeup is never out of place – hair is always styled to perfection – her pictures makes me (and my blog) want to hide under a rock – yes, that level of perfection.

2. Wander-lusters

They are the bikini-clad, suntanned, beautifully-bleached haired people that you find sprawled under a coconut tree or sipping a martini on a hammock or water-babying it up at the Bahamas. In other words, they are the bloggers, who make the rest of us feel like we are leading really sucky lives. Their pictures make us want to throw a resignation letter at our bosses and take the first flight out to the exotic Fijis and Balis of the world – even when deep down we know that we neither have the money, the guts or the bodies to pull it off.

*Sigh*

3. Hot People

Well, this is a category of people who are just hot. They aren’t (usually) modelling clothes or selling looks or even promoting products – they are just really gorgeous and lead really gorgeous lives and post really gorgeous pictures of their really gorgeous lives. And since they amass an envious number of followers, thanks to their booming Instagram personality, soon they are modelling clothes and selling looks and promoting products. I think, they’re called “influencers”.

4. Hash-taggers

Well, this is a category of people who have managed to win followers thanks to using the right hashtags and following the right people, and tagging the right handles. Their content is average, their pictures are dull and they generally have no real theme to their blog. They are the ones who are just really smart. And really dedicated. And I tried to fit my blog into this bucket. But seems even this didn’t work out for me

5. Controversials

They are people who have an insane Instagram following due to cutthroat content that’s provocative and sometimes controversial. From a new generation of feminist artists like Nimish Bhanot to free-the-nipple activists, this is an interesting space to be in, if your work genuinely raises some good points. So, yes, some scope here.

Well, yeah, so that is it for now.

Some of you may argue that this is a simplistic view of the blogger landscape and I do agree – but who am I to delve in to the depth, anyway.

After all, I am just another wannabe blogger.

 

How I found myself through fashion.

Fashion saves me. Everyday.

Some see it as an annoying intruder, a pointless culture, and a distraction from what’s important. Others see it as an occasional indulgence meant to be partaken in, only during special occasions. And a few, like me, see it as an integral party of the everyday, a constant saviour in the journey of life.

When I was little, my mother dressed me up in smocking frocks with peter-pan collars and puff sleeves, matching ribbons for my hair – little bows, white socks, and smart Mary-Janes. I was the “well-dressed” child in every circle, never without a missing ribbon or shoe, never with snot running down my face, and never in flimsy spaghetti straps and careless hot-pants. I was quiet, well-behaved, and disciplined enough to sit with my shoes and socks, white without a speck of dirt, at parties.

I wasn’t a cute child. I wasn’t adorable or talkative. And I had no special talent apart from being able to draw – not something you can show off to your relatives about. I couldn’t dance or sing or act or mimic. I couldn’t play an instrument or say adorable things that grownups could listen to and go, “awww…”. Nope. I was quiet, I sat in the corner, played with my dolls and read. I spoke when spoken to and answered with a “yes” or “no”.

Then I went to boarding school. And the awkward pre-puberty age set in. I no longer liked frocks and I wanted to look more boyish than ever. I looked at my friends with their jeans and shorts and rubber floaters and that’s all I wanted to wear. I lost my love for pink, I lost my love for frocks and a part of me lost myself for a little while. I tried to fit into boarding school, by borrowing aesthetics from the people around me. Baggy shorts and baggier denims. The more boyish, the better. With my skinny legs, bony knees, gawky face and giant braces, nothing looked good on me. And my school uniform? That looked particularly horrid. No matter how much I tried, the grey pleated skirt refused to sit flat on my tummy, puffing up in an odd sort of way.

My rebellious hair was chopped up – “Maggie cuts her hair” style with no real definition. And I would comb through my hair – a hundred strokes every night, hoping for some semblance of straightness. I would oil, shampoo and condition it twice a week. I would buy the serums “specially formulated for dry, frizzy hair”, as the Livons of the world smiled inwardly , conscious of the giant prank they had played upon frizzy-haired believers everywhere. And none of it worked. Of course.

As I grew older, little by little I realised the reason everything looked odd on me. It wasn’t my genes or the lack of effort on my part – trust me. I tried everything.

It was because I was running after an aesthetic that wasn’t mine.

And subconsciously I began to define myself. I lathered on kohl, got a set of double piercings on my ears, and I got my skirts shortened. I began to tie my hair up in a high ponytail, and wear my skirts an inch shorter than the knees (everybody else was going for the low wasted, extra baggy-long skirt look at that time). And I gave up trying to straighten my hair. I washed my hair less, stopped combing it like an idiot.

I finally started embracing my curls.

And that’s how I made my little mark in the sea of identical uniforms. But, when it came to “coloured” clothes or clothes that weren’t uniform, I was lost. I tried long skirts, short skirts, capris and flared denims. But, nothing… nothing made me feel like me. I felt odd, my body felt sloppy and I just didn’t feel like “me”. The me who wore her smocked frocks with matching ribbons and pretty shoes. The “smartly dressed” me.

I read up the Vogues and the Cosmos, and I tried to draw inspiration… For the longest time, I blamed my weight for making clothes look odd on me. But, then again, I wasn’t really fat.

I knew I had toned legs, and so I should wear shorter silhouettes. But I had a tummy, and at that time, shops were only selling really fitted tees and body-con dresses. So, I struggled and struggled to find clothes that would flatter me. And would make me feel more “me”.

I think, it was only recently, say around 3 years back, that I discovered my aesthetic. I think it was repeated trial and error and a conscious understanding of my body-type. It was finding the middle point between comfort and style. And understanding my mind a little better. That lead me to it. And slowly I knew I was all about cottons, checks, anti-fits and comfort. Of button-down dresses, fit and flare silhouettes and skater dresses. Of bright florals, knee skimming lengths and floaty-breathables – The exact opposite of tight jeans and synthetic tops – my uniform throughout college and early years of working.

And once I found my aesthetic, I suddenly knew, no amount of taunts and jabs and magazine advice could hurt this strong extension of my being – my everyday armour. And even though plenty in India would call my style “jhalla” for it’s incredible looseness, and even though I admire those who can pull off the tight dress and stiletto look, when I look at myself in the mirror, with my  ultra faded-plaid dress and black-floppy-chappals, I know i couldn’t wear anything else – for the sole reason that it won’t fit in with me. It just won’t be me.

The deep-pockets for storing the odd lip-balm. The loose fit to cover the slight overeating at lunch. The knee-skimming length for leg-freedom. The cotton fabric to beat the humidity. And the absence of fluff to drive attention to my face rather than the dress. The dullness of colour to serve as a canvas to my personality. And the detailing of the dress, finally, to ground me sartorially and to pay homage to the talented designer.

This may seem too intense for something as seemingly light as fashion. But if you were to watch the documentary on Bill Cunningham and hear what people around have to say, you may understand things a little better.

Fashion is not just feathers and fluff and an ostentatious display of cloth for thrill. All that is advertising. Fashion is more. It’s advertising (of course), but it’s also style and craft and art and a tool that ordinary people like you and me can use to build ourselves a little brighter.

And as I found my aesthetic – an aesthetic surprisingly similar to the 5-year-old me with her plaid frocks and smart shoes – I found myself.

 

One Week Of Style

Hello generous-followers-who-actually (hopefully)-read-my-blog,

I’ve started this thing on Instagram. You know, one of those hashtag contest/activity like things. Thanks to everybody’s suggestions to do something meaningful, something with an “idea” otherwise, I’ll drown in the sea of packed-like-sardines hashtags with no real engagement.

Anyway, so I came up with this BRILLIANT idea (right!) to post a picture of what I wore for a week and (yes, so smart isn’t it) I encouraged others to share their outfits too, for the gigantic reward on being featured on MY blog. Yes, you heard me. MY blog.

And, the hashtag I came up with for this exciting, new idea *roll-eye-emoticon* was #OneWeekOfStyle.

So original.

The interesting thing in this entire story is probably the fact that every one of these pictures will be taken in the exact same spot (Don’t ask me where. Shhh…my office loo), and hence it will lead in to a fun GIF at the end.

Anyway, so since I started this thing on Tuesday, I have just put up 3 pictures on Insta right now. Here they are.

You too, can participate in this humble (but fun) initiative and after a week, won’t it be exciting to see what you wore?

You can even compare looks, hairstyles and see your varying styles. I think, it’s fun.

Day 1:

Plaid Dress: Forever 21 | Sandals: Charles and Keith

I wore my plaid school girl forever 21 dress with Charles and Keith Sandals | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Once in a while, it’s fun to work school girl chic. Hello quarter-life crisis.

 

Day 2:

Black basic vest: Forever 21 | Black handloom skirt: Designed by mom

I wear basics from high street labels with indigenous, handcrafted fabrics | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
How I wore high-street with Indian handicraft. *feeling cool*

Day 3:

Midi Dress: Cotton-on | Kolhapuri Slip-ons: Linking Road, Bandra

I wore my black midi dress with slits with Gold kolhapuri slip-ons and a statement pendant | Chai High is an Indian Fashion blog started by Shivani Krishan
Does it really look like I forgot to wear pants? Because, people often think I did. Also I wouldn’t admit it, but in my head I agree with those who called it a kurta without salwar. 

In one shot, here are my 3 looks.

 

To participate, all you have to do is upload your pictures on Instagram using the hashtag #OneWeekOfStyle.

Chalo, I got to go and work.

tata.

Great Design at wholesale price? That’s Thieve.

We all know buying straight from wholesalers is cheap.

But isn’t it too much effort in real? And too dubious online?

So what if someone swooped out of nowhere and applied a couple of filters to the process?

What if, someone went to AliExpress.com (China’s largest direct buying portal) and put the awesome-est, most reliable products in one neatly designed space?

That is exactly what Tim Scullin’s Thieve is doing.

Curated by bloggers, photographers, designers and other creative people around the world, Thieve brings you designer products at ridiculously low prices. Plus only those products with really good reviews have been selected. Which means zero fakes.

And FREE or low shipping costs on these already low-priced designer products, makes these cool products even cooler.

So you can get yourself a delightfully designed product that is genuine and cheap, easily!

Thanks to  Tim Scullin’s Thieve.

Here are some of my favourites.

(Once you go to the link, click ‘VIEW ON ALI EXPRESS’ to buy)

  1. Colourful Pendant Light Socket | Know more here.

colourful pendant light socket

2. Men’s Quilted Duffle Bag | Know more here

Mens Quilted Duffle Bag

3. Genuine Leather Macbook Sleeve | Know more here

Macbook Leather Sleeve

4. Bamboo Handle Toothbrush | Know more here

Bamboo Handle Toothbrush

5. Wood Leather Watch | Know more here

Wood Leather Watch

6. Bamboo Wooden Sunglasses | Know more here

Bamboo Wooden Sunglasses

7. Canvas Hanging Hammock Chair | Know more here

Canvas Hanging Hammock Chair

8. Gold Antler Ring | Know more here

Gold Antler Ring

9. Moscow Mule Copper Mugs | Know more here

Moscow Mule Copper Mugs

10. Youth Embroidered Baseball Cap | Know more here

Youth Embroidered Baseball Cap

 

I love all of these products. And more. Especially as these are indeed one-of-a-kind.

So I suggest you go to Thieve and shop for your favourite products. There are games, clothes, lamps and a zillion other things, all handpicked by creative people. So, yes, it’s all in good taste. 😉

Moreover, the website’s neat design makes shopping and scrolling a joy. It indeed feels like a walk into a designer’s personal website. Think bright popping objects on white background and all. Truly, love at first sight.

In fact, now each time I have to find a gift for someone, I’m going to go to Thieve. It’s got stuff everybody would like to receive.

If you want to read more about Thieve, click here.

You can make collections, swipe left or right like Tinder, and get directed to shop some really cool designer stuff.

I hope you love Thieve, as much as I do. 🙂

If you want to know what else I like apart from the above, click here

 

The story behind Chai High

I never liked Tea.

Ironic. Because my father like his father before him works in the tea-gardens.

collageAs a child, I thought it was one of those burn-the-tongue, fiery hot beverages, a stark opposite to the tooth-numbing ice-creams, meant to be had by grown-ups.

Coffee, was still a once in a while deal. But tea? Argh! Not at all.

I think I must be in the 9th grade in boarding school when I was introduced to actually drinking it as a beverage. I don’t know whether it was the monotony of hostel food, or a way to give company to a tea-drinking friend, but one hot April I tasted the elixir that was to appear in a zillion Facebook updates, and spam friends and strangers, leading a couple to ‘unfriend’ me too. (I’m sure).

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.35.58 am

And as 9th grade turned into 10th grade and the dreaded board exams drew near and pressure from family and teachers and nosy relatives grew, the need to stay awake (and energetic) for long hours mounted. And before I realised, from one mug a day, I was on to FOUR giant mugs of tea. Back-to-back.

Hell, yeah! I was a chugher of TEA!

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.35.40 am

And from being an ice-cream eater, I turned into a tea addict.

Ice-cream or tea? Tea.

Lunch or tea? Tea.

Chocolates or tea? Tea.

And once I walked into a pub and asked if they had tea.

Yeah. That bad.

It became my go-to, my come-to, my everything-to. When I was sad, it was tea. If I was happy, tea. When I was bored, tea. When I was confused, tea. The answer to all of life’s mysteries soon became tea.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.32.54 amThankfully, it wasn’t an expensive addiction.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.32.33 am

 

And every time, I read an article detailing the benefits of tea, I was like “yayiee!”

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.32.11 am

My friends in school would say, “Shivani, you get high on tea. So when you come to my place, I won’t give you tea. Who knows what you may say in front of my family?!”

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.18.04 amI don’t know what it is about tea. Maybe, it’s the caffeine that gets me up and about. Or maybe it’s the taste that brings all my senses to attention.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.00.32 am

I crave it at parties, at work, in the mornings and just before bed. I crave it at vacations, in between meals and sometimes right after another cup of tea.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 9.20.52 am

So, when I started this blog, I knew, I just wouldn’t be able to write without a tea-fix. And, if you were to listen to my friends, how would I be after a mug of tea?

Chai High.

_ _ _

About the writer.

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Shivani Krishan is a MAYO-ite, NIFT-ian and MICA-n, but as if in contradiction to her ‘premier’ and ‘crème de la crème’ (read snobbish) taste in schools and education, she is forever broke, partially depressed for being broke, and is on a constant lookout for something that matches her fluctuating interests.

She tells herself that being a “starving writer” is cool, but then again, she can’t really decide whether she’d rather be a “starving” writer, artist, graphic designer or fashion designer. So she alternates between professions just as she alternates between moods and skills and cities. She may not be a traveller, but she’s sort of a nomad, having lived in 5 cities.

From ‘Fashion’ in Kolkata to ‘Marketing’ in Delhi, ‘Art Direction’ in Ahmedabad to ‘Copywriting’ in Mumbai, she’s practiced something different in each city. And to bring everything she loves together, she’s started Chai High.

Hope you enjoy this blog.:)