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.

To sneak-er or not to sneak-er

Hello nice people of the world,

Hope you had a relaxing weekend. Hope you didn’t party till you threw up. Hope you slept 8 hours, ate healthy and dressed up to the movies. 😉

For those of you who know me, you’d know what a stay-at-home, tea-drinking monkey I am. Hence my old-aunty-like advice. 😉

Anyway, jokes apart, I’m going to talk about a trend that’s stolen the global catwalks, local sidewalks and every other Instagram feed, including mine.

Which reminds me, here‘s a link to my Instagram account. Do follow me for regular style updates, snapshots of well-dressed people from office, and other everyday objects that I choose to elevate through an Instagram filter. 😉

Presenting: The white sneaker

Though I’m in love with this trend, and I have been trying to find the perfect pair in India, what my worry is, what is indeed the longevity of this style? Especially, since the white sneaker has been around for almost 2 years now. Which means, is it soon about to flood the local markets and become passé?

Click here to read Chai High’s article on the top 5 shoe-trends.
How to wear white sneakers in summer | Sourced from http://stylecaster.com/
Found on stylecaster.com |  View their story here

The white sneaker is a shoe that’s been worn with everything from summer dresses to torn jeans. It’s all-encompassing, versatile glory has captured the imaginations of bloggers, Instagram-addicts and models. Especially Gigi Hadid, who appears to be a huge fan of this trend.

Check her rocking the White Sneaker trend in the pictures below.

Gigi Hadid wears her white sneakers with a shocking purple dress | Chai High is an Indian Fashion blog started by Shivani Krishan
Found on popsugar.com | Image Source: Getty / James Devaney
Gigi Hadid wears her white sneakers with a mini skirt | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Found on popsugar.com | Image Source: Getty / James Devaney
Gigi Hadid wears her white sneakers with a blazer and slacks | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Found on popsugar.com | Image Source: Getty / James Devaney
Gigi Hadid wears her white sneakers with a white low-cut mini dress | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Found on popsugar.com | Image Source: Getty / Raymond Hall
Gigi Hadid wears her ripped jeans with white sneakers | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Found on popsugar.com | Image Source: Getty / Jacopo Raule
How to wear white sneakers with jeans | Gigi Hadid
Found on fashionclue.net | View their story here

Now, there are many variations of this trend. And everybody takes it and interprets it in their own unique manner.

While most team it with ripped jeans and cropped pants, the more experimental wear it to sportify flowing dresses.

10 ways to wear sneakers with a dress | Chai High borrows this image from becomechic.com
Found on becomechic.com | Read their article here.
How to wear an off-shoulder flowing frock with white sneakers | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan
Found on justthedesign.com | Read their article here
How to wear a long midi dress with white sneakers | Chai High is an Indian Fashion blog started by Shivani Krishan
Found on justthedesign.com | Read their article here

If you’ve stuck long enough  to make it till down here, chances are, you have the same questions I do.

I mean, yes, the white sneaker trend is incredibly versatile. And, it goes with everything from mini skirts and flowing midis to torn jeans and slacks. But, how long is it here to stay? And, indeed, is it just a lazy girl’s way to get out of dressing up?

Is it just our way to buy into a one-shoe-fits-all, cookie-cutter philosophy, so we don’t have to spend all that time planning our outfits every morning? Wedges or mules? Brogues or loafers? No, girl, go and buy the white sneakers. You don’t need no other shoe.

Smart move, I’d say. Being a tad fashion-obsessed, I still don’t know the genius behind making the Sneaker legit. But, maybe the world was a bit tired of walking-fashion-disasters everyday. So some smart mind just woke up one morning and decided to come up with a wonder shoe, that will be embraced by the “androgynous” and the “girlish” alike.

Hello. White Sneaker.

Should I sneak-er or Should I not?

Given the maddening obsession with this trend and the heightened style status of every even-slightly-interested-in-fashion person, I am incredibly tempted to hop on to the bandwagon like everybody else and buy myself a pair.

But each time, I am about to slip out my credit card and enter the fated digits towards the online purchase, something stops me.

I think, it’s just my huge “early-adopter-wannabe” ego, that says, “Shivani. Since you didn’t adopt this trend in time, now  you shall wait it out, and adopt the next trend.”

Hell yeah. I wore torn denims before it became mainstream-cool.

So, now I don’t wear them no more, inspite of people telling me why I should. Guess, some things just don’t make it past my style-ego. No. Don’t say it. I know I am weird.

So here’s my question to you all. How long do you think this trend will last? Will it make it to the classics? Or will it soon be replaced by a brogue, a black sneaker or a loafer?

Comment below. 🙂

 

 

Mirror selfies. Done in style.

Hello people,

It’s Saturday today and 7:58 in the morning here in Mumbai. I woke up at 6:30. To run. Yeah right. 😉 Didn’t so much as lift my finger to plug in my Macbook to watch some Suits. And meanwhile took Vogue’s advice on who to follow on Instagram. From Kazakhstan.

(In case you want to follow me on Instagram, click here.)

And after my routine bout of self-pity, a habit I just can’t seem to shake off, even after repeated reading of “Spiritual” texts and “self-help” guides and quotes that people share on Facebook, and a mug of chai (of course), I am now starting on doing something productive.

Anyway, so again, since we are on Chai High, which is supposed to be my blog on fashion and anti-fashion, I’ve put together a few fashion (and anti-fashion) selfies I’d clicked over the past few months. You can read more about my article on how to be stylish effortlessly, here.

Mirror Selfie #1

So, on this day, I was wearing a white knee-length dress with a saree blouse and gold Kolhapuri slippers. To see the complete look, click here.

If you like my look, you can follow me on Instagram, here.

Shivani Krishan is wearing a white knee length dress from Janpath with gold leather kolhapuri slippers from Linking Road | Chai High | Indian Fashion Blog | Mumbai | March 2016 | Long curly bob | Selfie

Mirror Selfie 2

My mom bought me this dress from Bangkok. It’s crafted in this slinky material that flatters your body beautifully.

I chose to add more texture to this outfit by wrapping an Indian printed dupatta around my neck and slinging on a gold, hot pink and green bag. I matched my slippers to the bag.

What do you think about this look?

Shivani Krishan is wearing a black printed flowing dress from Bankok with a printed dupatta and a kitsch sling bag | Chai High | Indian Fashion Blog | Selfie

Here’s a close-up of the very kitsch slippers I wore with my dress.

Wool embellished Kolhapuri slippers | Chai High | Indian Fashion Blog | Kitsch Style | Best

If you like my look, you can follow me on Instagram, here.

Mirror Selfie 3

This one was at night when I was feeling a little low (and gothic in my head). Hence the darkness. However, the dress in light couldn’t be happier. It’s a blue printed Forever 21 maxi dress. Perfect for the beach and light summer evenings.

Shivani Krishan is wearing a printed maxi dress from Forever 21 | Chai High | Indian Fashion Blog

Mirror Selfie 4

What I wore to work two days back. It’s a basic blue pair of boyfriend jeans from United Colors of Benetton and a white sleeveless long shirt that I’ve worn tucked in. I teamed it up with brown leather brogues from a shop called Shoe Biz on Linking Road, Mumbai.

Shivani Krishan wearing blue jeans and a white sleeveless tucked in shirt with red Doc Martin boots | Chai High | Indian Fashion Blog | April 2016 | Mumbai | Curly long bob | Brown Holi Bag | Selfie

Mirror Selfie 5

Again, from my Goth phase, this is what I wore to bed and to my early morning cup of tea.

I was trying to mimic the illustration on my cupboard door. haha! 😀

Shivani Krishan is wearing black and white check shorts and a graphic printed t-shirt | Chai High | Indian Fashion Blog | Nightwear | Selfie

Mirror Selfie 6

This selfie marked the end of my Goth phase. Read more here, on my Instagram account.

Shivani Krishan is wearing a navy blue camisole with a straight long skirt handcrafted from traditional Bhutan fabric | Chai High | Indian Fashion Blog

Well, I hope you liked my looks and my phases in this series of mirror selfies. Stay tuned for more.

Have a happy weekend. 🙂

 

 

What Kate Middleton wore in India and Bhutan. Till now.

So Kata Middleton’s in India and all journalists, magazines, blogs, websites, fashionistas, wannabe fashionistas, critics and Shobha De, who is considered “an authority on popular culture” are going berserk about her clothes.

Including me. Yeah. That woman!

So, let me follow the norm, and take you through the Duchess’s wardrobe. Personally, I love how she’s carried off dresses with full sleeves and modest necklines so gracefully. And I think, all of us who love wearing dresses but are unsure of the “area” we are travelling to or the “crowd”, can borrow from Kate’s delightful take on the quintessential frock.

A red Alexander McQueen creation worn by Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge at her first appearance in her India trip with the Duke.
Day 1 | Mumbai | For her first appearance in India, Kate chose an Alexander McQueen creation.

 

Kate Middleton beautifully pulls off this gorgeous peach and pale green midi dress by Anita Dongre.
Day 1 | Mumbai | Kata chose an Anita Dongre creation to play cricket with street children at the Oval Maidan. Even Sachin Tendulkar was there. Wow.
Kate Middleton's outfit for the gala at Taj Palace. Aishwarya was there. Shahrukh was there. Madhuri was there. But Kate, of course stole the show. She is a duchess after all.
Day 1 | Mumbai | Kate wore a royal blue Jenny Packham gown, embellished in India for a Bollywoood charity gala, on her first evening here.
This white Emilia Wickstead midi was worn by Kate Middleton on Day 2 of her trip to India. Love the collar and pocket details.
Day 2 | New Delhi |  This white Emilia Wickstead wool crepe midi is the dress-version of a formal white shirt. Actually, no. It’s way cooler. Kate wore this to a meeting with young entrepreneurs, India Gate and the Gandhi Smriti Museum.

Check out more from Emilia Wickstead here

Kate Middleton chose an off-white and black gown to a party honouring the Queen's 90th birthday.
Day 2 | New Delhi | For a party honouring the Queen’s 90th birthday, Kate chose an off-white and black skirt and top by Alice Temperley.
Kate Middleton wore a red and navy maxi dress on Day 3. The dress had full sleeves, a modest neckline and a front tie-up. I would love to wear this. Doesn't it look so comfy?
Day 3 |  New Delhi | Kate Middleton wore a red and navy maxi dress to visit the Salaam Balak Trust and a shelter that benefits from it. This NGO works to help vulnerable children from the streets of Delhi.

In fact, this red dress can  even be pre-ordered. Just click here. 😉

Kate Middleton in India | Green Alice Temperly Dress | Day 3 | New Delhi | Meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi | Alice Temperly
Day 3 | New Delhi | Kate then changed into a powder green Alice Temperly Midi for a meet with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The royal couple then met with Women’s Rights advocates. You can read more about that here.
Kate Middleton in India | Kaziranga | Day 3 | Anna Sui | Blue Green Maxi Dress | Bihu | Assamese Festival
Day 3 | Kaziranga | The royal couple flew to Guwahati and then travelled to Kaziranga. In the evening, Kate changed into an Anna Sui maxi dress to celebrate Bihu around a campfire with local Assamese villagers.

 

Kate Middleton in India | Kaziranga National Park
Day 4 | Kaziranga National Park | The royal couple visited the national park to learn about the challenges the park is facing. And then they met with the rangers who are protecting the park’s wildlife and natural habitat.
Kate Middleton in India | Kaziranga | Topshop dress | Panbari village
Day 4 | Kaziranga | Kate changes into a Topshop dress for a visit to the neighbouring Panbari village and the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation & Conservation.
Kate Middleton in Bhutan | Pale Gold Dress | Paro
Day 5 | Bhutan | What Kate Middleton wore as she touched down in Paro – A pale gold Emilia Wickstead dress.
Kate Middleton in Bhutan | Traditional Bhutanese outfit | Kelzang Wangmo | Kira
Day 5 | Bhutan | On reaching Thimphu, Kate changed into a traditional Bhutanese dress for a meeting with the King and Queen of Bhutan and an archery event among other things.

The skirt is called ‘Kira’ and the jacket ‘Tego’. The fabric of the skirt was handwoven by Mrs. Kelzang Wangmo, also believed to have created the wedding outfits for the King and Queen of Bhutan. The embroidered woollen cape is by Paul an Joe.

Kate Middleton | Tony Burch Dress | Royal Dinner | Bhutan | Thimphu
Day 5 | In the evening, Kate changes into a Tory Burch dress for dinner with the King and Queen of Bhutan.

 

Phew. That’s all for now.

So many outfits. So many events. It’s difficult to keep up.

Let’s see what she’s going to wear today.

Stay tuned for more. Because soon I’m going to be featuring a designer who creates contemporary skirts from traditional Bhutanese material. Yes. She’s even got mini skirts. Don’t go anywhere.

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Images have been sourced from harpersbazaar.com, http://www.vanityfair.com, dailymail.co.uk, and http://fashion.hellomagazine.com/

Read the Harpers Bazaar article here, Vanity Fair article here and Hello Fashion article here.

Content sourced from @KensingtonRoyal. Follow to be up-to-date with what the royal couple’s doing.

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The 10 best dressed everyday showstoppers

If you follow Chai High on Facebook, you’d know about this. For others, Everyday Showstoppers is an album I created on Facebook. An album populated with pictures of the best dressed men and women.

This post will compile the 10 best pictures of Everyday Showstoppers, Season I.

Those of you who haven’t been featured yet, don’t worry, Season II will be happening soon. 😉

 

  1. Me. Of course 😉 me2. Naina | Read the full article on Naina’s style herenaina3. Reemareema4. Azra
  2. azra_daily_style5. VedantVedant6. Sangeetasangeeta_daily_style

7. ShivendraShiv

8. Sarahsarah9. Rebeccarebecca

10. DipikaDipika

Well, with that we come to the end of the 10 best everyday showstoppers on Chai High.

Stay tuned for Season II.

🙂