In defence of the “ugly” dress

The uglier the better.

Every wardrobe should have at least one ugly dress. The long, loose kind, that hangs on your frame reminiscent of a scarecrow wearing your grandma’s faded nightgown. You know, for those days when you feel particularly lazy to rack your brains on what shirt goes with what skirt.

The ugly dress covers flab. The ugly dress allows you to overeat. The ugly dress allows you to run on the platform when you’re just about missing your train, without fear of ripping your skintight jeans, dropping a strap and having a minor wardrobe malfunction in the face of 100 creepy train travellers.

The ugly dress makes you look “prettier” than you really are. The ugly dress is so ugly that anything compared to it looks stunning. So, even if you feel like shit, when you put on your ugly dress, instantly you will feel better – after all you can’t be “uglier” than this dress can you?

The key to buying an “ugly” dress is to buy one that’s a few notches below you on the looks scale. By which I mean – a dress that won’t steal your thunder. When people see you, your dress won’t be the first thing they see. Instead, the focus will be on your face. That’s the best thing about the ugly dress – it’s completely missable.

The ugly dress comes in ugly colours. Like yellow ochre, mud brown, rusty red, algae green; earthy hues.  Extremely flattering especially when you darken your eyes with some kohl, and enhance your natural lip colour with a lip jelly that changes colour with your lip temperature and ph. The ugly dress is great for those fuss-free days when you aren’t in the mood to dress sharp, yet want to feel beautiful.

The ugly dress can also be made pretty. With silver jewellery and pretty sandals. Then, you can take the dress out for brunch. It can also be made sporty – with a pair of white converse sneakers, in which case you’re fully equipped to race against time to catch an about-to-depart train or flight.

So, the next time you’re out shopping, don’t let your eyes gravitate towards the shimmering pinks and delicate laces. Instead look out for the rugged, sensible cotton counter, with the ultra-ugly printed dresses.

Happy shopping. 🙂

 

 

What a shopping trip is like when you’re broke.

Today I stepped out for a run. But ended up going to Forever 21 instead. (Don’t say it – I know – it’s silly). It started off quite ordinarily. After watching quarter an episode of The Good Wife on Netflix and downing two mugs of tea, I suddenly realised that if I didn’t step outside now, it would be too late. Daylight would’ve disappeared. So I changed into my sneakers and shorts, almost didn’t take my wallet (which on second thoughts would’ve been much smarter) and bounced outdoors.

Once I was actually out on the street, I got this sudden itch to spend money – which is surprising as I am literally in debt with most of my recent purchases being on a credit card. However, I thought – a few steps in the crisp, fresh November air may inspire me to stick to the healthier original plan. So I continued walking towards the park. The itch, sadly, was a stubborn one. I couldn’t walk it off. And by the time I reached the corner, I found myself hailing an autorickshaw – “Bhaiya, Infinity Malad?” And fate decided to take me on with a slight nod to the affirmative.

I sat in the rickety rickshaw, my thoughts racing. What do I do once I reached Forever 21? Shop or just browse? What if I actually liked something? Shit, that would suck as I can’t afford it. What do I do when I am back home? Maybe I should finally start writing the book I’ve been meaning to write for the last gazillion years. The book about love. But what part of love? My first boyfriend? Current boyfriend? But, I have no clue on how it all turns out! Should I assume? No. I should concentrate on what’s elapsed. Finish a story that’s already finished. This happened and then this and finally this. Oh, but would people want to read it? And what if it sounds too rushed? Maybe I should just stick to an incident and elaborate every little detail. Maybe, I should add a hint of magical realism like Murakami? But what? Murakami’s books are mostly metaphors about uniting with your dark side or shadow. What would my books be about? I need to discover something and then use metaphors to explain it. What have I discovered?

And like this, my brain raced on and on and before I knew it, me and my auto were speeding along a windy backroad that ran parallel along a sewage drain. For a brief moment, I thought we were near the sea but the black colour gave the drain away. What a disappointment. A sea would’ve been the perfect sign for me to begin work on the book. Romance. Possibility. Freedom.

The auto screeches to a halt near Forever 21. I get off and rush to the women’s loo. I find a stall that seems it’s about to get vacant any second -a brush against the flimsy door somehow seemed to me an indication of pants being being pulled up clumsily – however I was wrong and the lady in my stall decided to have a nice, long dump.


I got to Forever 21 and the first thing that caught my eye was a faux leather button-down miniskirt. Love at first sight. My mind began racing – I would team it with a t-shirt and a boyfriend shirt. Or a vest for a night out. And  I found myself throwing it in the black mesh bag, an overenthusiastic sales person handed me.

The collection was very streetstyle inspired – hence I was in love with it. There were jackets – military, bomber, trench-style, fluffy, straight – all kinds. And there were skirts – corduroy, military, pink georgette, rust hued. The bralets and bustiers didn’t fit well – so I didn’t pick up any- I wanted to wear one with a saree. However, the skirts were lovely. Boots were a colossal disappointment – they had barely anything that fit my large feet. Plus the designs were very blah.

Anyway, after a bunch of clothes I tried, I ended up buying nothing.The faux leather skirt was awesome – but was I really going to travel in a local train looking like a goth-inspired monkey? Nah. So, reluctantly I placed it back on the shelf I’d borrowed it from.

A lady walked over to me, “Ma’am, would you like me to find you another size?” “No, I murmured, I am just putting it back” How could I explain to her that the skirt fit me like a glove and how I wish it had been too big or too small so my heart wouldn’t tear when I placed it back like that?

So, sheepishly I hailed another rickshaw. And took an hour reaching home. Evening traffic.

A run would’ve been more fulfilling after all.

 

The 15 best Instagrams on my feed right now.

So I recently discovered how to get more people to see my Instagram posts. “Hashtag Marketing” they call it. So basically, there are these specific hashtags that are trending. And you need to find the relevant ones and just post it with your update.

Ta da! And just like that from a maximum of 21 likes per post, I have gone to a maximum of 133 likes. And God knows how many views. In just two weeks. Oh, now, that sounds like a tele-marketing commercial. 😉

Anyway, ever since a friend told me how to leverage this magic-tool, one that I really turned my nose down upon once, I have been posting left, right and centre. And hash-tagging everything left, right and centre too.

“Yes. Come on. You can fit one more hashtag, Shivani. Yeah. See.”

#StyleInspo #FashionInspo #OutfitInspo #LookInspo

Just #Inspo

Make every goddamn thing Inspo.

#ShivaniInspo

And many people have unfollowed me too, I guess. *sigh*

With my discovery of the wonder-tool, came the discovery of the “right” Instagram handles to follow.

Like Man Repeller. That Boho Girl. etc. etc.

You can follow me here. (It’s honestly not that bad. I think, you will like it.)

Anyway. Here’s what’s really hot on my Instagram feed right now. You can click on the names to be directed to their respective Instagram pages.

  1. Amrapali Jaipur

Amrapali Jewels' update on Chai High's Instagram home | Chai High is an Indian fashion blog started by Shivani Krishan.

2. Jaypore

Indian online website Jaypore on Chai High's Instagram home page | Chai High is an Indian fashion blog started by Shivani Krishan.

3. VOGUE India

Vogue India does a kurta makeover in this cool Instagram update | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

4. New Outfitters

Super torn denims look so much cooler on Instagram | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

5. Smrti Srivastava

A shirt worn backwards. Now doesn't that look awesome. | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan.

6. Balmain

Balmain does a mesh top and football earrings for their Instagram page | Don't miss the model's septum piercing | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

7. Blaireadiebee

Orange heels meets white tunic meets blue jeans | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

8. Man Repeller

Man Repeller's awesome look for Instagram | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

9. Pallavi of That Desi Girl Blog

That Desi Girl teams a happy check jumpsuit with a hair band | Her beautiful long hair is the 'desi' in every picture | Chai High is an Indian Fashion blog started by Shivani Krishan

10. Kritika of That Boho Girl

That Boho Girl gets Color-popping right | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

11. Amanda Shadforth

The White Sneaker trend shows no sign of dying | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

12. Song of style

Loving the flowers and tasselled sandals in this Instagram post | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

13. Nicole Warne

Love the fun-loving pose in this Instagram shot | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

14. Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist

Black knee-high socks, black boots, grey shirt and an afro | The perfect look | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

15. SALT.BY.SIMO

Love the top view angle in this Instagram update | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

So, what did you think? I loved all of these posts and more. Do click on the handles you like and explore more posts.

And, in case you still don’t follow me on Instagram, here‘s a link. 🙂

Goodbye. And Happy Thursday to you.

 

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 Indian trenchcoat by Shoulder Lab

When you think of a trenchcoat, chances are you imagine Burberry models huddled up looking at the camera straight in the eye, one among them the “latest face”  with dark natural-looking eyebrows.

Cara Delevingne. Emma Watson. Remember?

But how many of us have ever really worn a trenchcoat? And I mean the Burberry way. Bare legs, commando… get the drift?

Hmm… Not so many, huh?

The trenchcoat, at least the way I see it, is exciting. It’s covered. Yet there is a world of possibility concealed in its simple tie-up. One pull, and it’s a heap on the floor! 😉

So, don’t we deserve this garment?

Which brings me to the Indian trenchcoat.

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Designed by Aditi Holani of Shoulder Lab,  this trenchcoat is cotton-based and ornamented to suit different occasions in an Indian social circle.

 

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Most of these trenchcoats are reversible.  Some fall under holidaywear. And some can even be worn during weddings. You can choose to wear it with sarees, or as a light cover-up for strappy dresses.

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In fact, I think it would look good layered with a midi-skirt too. That is, if you want to stay up-to-date with the fashion weeks and trends of the world.

For the more classic among you, throw on the trench over a pair of black tights for an instant style upgrade.

And if you’re bold, you know what to do. 😉

We love how Shoulder Lab has brought the trenchcoat into India and made it look so indigenous!

I especially love the tie and dye ones. They’d look great with loafers and oxfords.

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In fact, here’s something really cool about this brand. Shoulder Lab follows a strict zero-waste policy. Which means they believe in sustainable fashion. And that they up-cycle excess cloth by crafting accessories and fanciful neckpieces out of it. Isn’t that amazing?

Also, they’re mad about experimenting. They have a separate sampling department where they try and create new surface techniques, and experiment using new materials.

Every. Single. Day.

In fact, if you see, even gota is used in the most unusual way in their collections.

 

 

All in all, if you’re looking for something different to wear in this mass produced, cluttered universe of ours, look at Shoulder Lab.

_ _ _

Here’s a little something about the designer.

Aditi Holani is an alumni of NIFT, Kolkata and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London. She has trained under Alexander McQueen and Sophia Kokosalaki among others, going on to debut at the Lakme Fashion Week as a Gen Next designer in 2013.

Her label ‘Shoulder Lab‘ experiments with cutting styles, surface textures, patterns and embroideries to articulate free-flowing individuality.

She is based in Mumbai.

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To get in touch, email her at: shoulder.lab@gmail.com

Or connect through Facebook here

Tata,

and Happy Monday 😉

 

Trend alert – Layering

I don’t know if you guys have been following the Amazon India Fashion Week, A/W 2016. Even I’ve been trying to catch it in bits and pieces, frantically googling in between chats with my mother, deciding which designer’s style resonates with me.

Irrespective, one trend caught my eye. A trend that cut across designers and days and sensibilities.

Layering.

Longer skirts and pants worn under slightly shorter hemlines.

Designers experimented with fringes, tassels, net, sheer and florals, layering contrasting separates, one on top of the other for an unexpected and refreshing twist.

layering_aifw_aw_2016

Even though many designers experimented with this, Eka and Anavila actually ruled this trend.

Check out glimpses from Eka‘s collection below.

Eka-2

I love the nightwear-meets-nomad vibe that I’m getting from this refreshing set of oh-so-comfy outfits.

Eka-1

Don’t you feel like snuggling into these and going off on nap-mode?

Meanwhile, Anavila with her collection “Folk” has done the incredible once again.

Anavila2

She’s teamed sweaters and sneakers with sarees and managed to make it look so chic!

Wow. I absolutely adore her style sensibility.

Can’t wait to wear those pleated pants/skirts under a shorter saree!

Anavila-1

And don’t miss the gorgeous french braids.

God! I just can’t stop staring at her collection. Especially the second outfit from the left… that jacket!!

The Amazon India Fashion Week had some pretty incredible collections this time. I will soon be doing a roundup and giving you guys tips on how to incorporate hints and bits into your own wardrobes.

Until then, enjoy this post. And think up, how you will layer up your skirts and dresses this year.

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Image source: Verve

 

 

Amazon India Fashion Week – Day 1

Hello,

I am going to review Varun Bahl‘s collection for Amazon India Fashion Week, A/W 2016. And tell you how you can borrow from it. 🙂

Day 1

Varun BahlNocturne

Varun-Bahl-1

Amazon India Fashion Week, Autumn Winter 2016, kicked off with Varun Bahl’s collection titled ‘Nocturne’.

Remininscent of a garden at midnight, the collection takes the viewer on a walk through wilderness. Think peacocks, flowers, the outline of a dark twig against the night sky and other motifs and inspiration taken straight from Mother Nature.

 

 

Overall if you were to imagine the collection, picture this. Fluid silhouettes, botanical textures, embellished sheers, tasseled and fringed hemlines, and lots and lots of layering, tiering and ruffling.

Varun-Bahl-2 (1)

Contrasting hued florals were worn together. Dresses were worn with pants. Fur capes were worn with dresses. Gowns were worn with fur capes. And jackets were worn with gowns.

 

Embroidered flower and nature elements grazed the ends of long sheer skirts. Midi skirts ended with wide fringed hemlines shimmying as the models walked. And tiered skirts, dresses and tops crafted from fluid chiffon-georgette-like fabrics billowed on the ramp.

varun-31

But the most striking was the way separates were layered. Longer skirts peeked from underneath shorter asymmetric dresses. And kneelength skirts modestly covered-up beneath sheer floorlength skirts.

Shorter skirts were backed by longer skirts worn underneath. And longer skirts partially concealed shorter skirts worn underneath.

Embroidered sheers were worn over opaque florals. And tasselled underskirts were worn under shorter hemlines.

And to add beauty to all this layer-play  were prints and embroideries of flowers and birds and branches and all things nature.

varun-61

 

There were embellished jackets with sheer sleeves, exposed shoulders and ruffled necklines, flowing sleeves and shimmering dresses, wreaths and textured garden elements…

Meanwhile front zippers on floral bomber jackets added a sporty element to the romance of the billowing skirts.

varun-41

As the show proceeded, the garments slowly went from day to night, white florals to dark florals, hints of ornate to full-blown glitter, casual day-dresses to  “lehenga” skirts and shimmering gowns embellished with applique and embroidered flowers.

 

The collection took us to that fated flower garden where the fragrance of a fruit bursting unexpectedly fills the void and silence of the night.

The footwear was kept simple. Models walked in low-heeled patent loafers in metallics, nudes and the obvious blacks.

varun-11

“‘I have actually played with the idea of period and age… This is a collection that can be worn by any woman.’

‘… the cuts I have used are both simple and classic, allowing for ease in styling and layering. Frills from straight hemlines were added to bring out a tinge of romance to the walk,'” he said.

All in all, Varun Bahl’s Nocturne is a fluid, embellished collection of dark florals, creatively layered and topped with glitter.

_ _ _

So what can we learn from Varun Bahl’s collection?

I absolutely love the idea of extending lengths of shorty-short dresses and skirts by wearing a longer (if sheerer) layer underneath.

So, if you’ve got a dress that you think is too short for work, wear a lace, net or crochet skirt underneath to extend the look by a couple of inches.

Not only will it look interesting, you can actually create different looks with the same separates over and over again.

 

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Source (Because I didn’t go for the show) 😉

Indian Express
Hindustan Times
Verve
Economic Times
IANS