Archana Pai Kulkarni on her personal style

everyday style, fashion

The wonderful Archana Pai Kulkarni on her personal style.


About yourself: I am a dreamer. Over the years, I have moved from dreaming of the improbable to dreaming of the doable. I was a homemaker by choice for fifteen years, during which I wrote poems, fiction and features, and freelanced a bit. I taught English privately, to the students of grade nine and ten for about six years, during which I was also Book Advisor with Time Life Books. Later, I joined New Woman, and edited the women’s magazine for 17 years. Quitting in 2015, I went on to learn yoga and am a certified yoga teacher. I also completed a nutrition re-education programme and familiarised myself with natural living. Currently, I’m Consulting Books Editor with SheThePeople, and an independent editor of books and content. I’m struggling with the last draft of my first proposed novel. I’m a nature-walk addict, and I type with one finger.

Personal style: I have never been a blind follower of trends. My accent has always been on comfort first. I tend to wear bright colours. Of late, my style has evolved into a bohemian, free-spirited one. The dash of colour stays. So also the focus on natural fabrics and simplicity.

Signature style statement: Blue denim jeans or ankle length jeans and a white shirt, or an oversized shirt (which my mother and mother in law think is three sizes too big; they are sure I have bought the wrong size) with a cross body bag, and canvas trainers or sandals with a low heel. Give me a sling bag any day, over a handbag. There was a time when I carried the world in a large bag with umpteen compartments. Not anymore. I have begun travelling light. On regular days, my face is scrubbed clean. On days when I go out, I apply some Evion moisturiser, a dash of lip balm, and some kohl. For an event or social occasion, it’s MAC Studio Tech foundation, MAC Lust lip gloss, some blush, and Maybelline Kohl.

Closet favourites: My AND cuff, a 35-year-old silver Ganesha ring, my worn-out canary yellow sling bag, my oversized striped Zara shirt (it’s my uniform), cotton knee-length palazzos, and a couple of bright Fabindia skirts.

Favourite brands: I’m not into brands. I root for affordable chic. Having said that, I combine roadside finds with cloths from Zara, Westside, Anokhi, AND (by far, my favourite. Fits perfectly), Global Desi, Lifestyle, Fabindia, W, Biba, OMO, and some online stores. The jeans are mostly cigarette jeans of brands that fit well. My best find was a white chikankari AND shirt which I hope to get back into, and two self-embroidered export surplus shirts I bought on the pavement at Khodadad Circle, years ago.

A particular dressing hack that you find yourself using all the time: An ankle-length dress with a scarf or stole. I wear stoles all the time. Blue denim jeans and a
shirt.

Your biggest fashion faux pas you’ve ever made:  I’m a safe dresser, not given to too much experimenting. But once, I got too adventurous, and ventured out in a brand new pair of stilettos. It was an insane idea. Needless to say, it was like walking on a tightrope with my ankles protesting and wobbling and the shoe straps silently eating into my skin, leaving red welts. I was flashing a fake smile through it all till the shoes decided to dislodge me from my six-inch pedestal. That was one nasty fall. I haven’t ventured
anywhere near a pair of stilettos ever since!
Fashion philosophy: Comfort, good fit, clean lines, simple, and vibrant—that does it for me. It should take me through the day without incident, and with ease. And yes, it must make me feel happy.

Meenakshi M Singh talks about the three looks she prefers

everyday style, fashion

Photo#1
Whenever there is a program or event where I need to go on stage the first thing that strikes my mind is the question, “what should I wear?”. I feel that once the dress appropriate to the program is fixed the rest would fall into place smoothly. Though the façade doesn’t carry more weightage than the core, but it surely aids in boosting my confidence.
This was an award function where lots of eminent people were coming. Formal dressing looks good in such functions. Being a lazy saree dresser, I prefer wearing stitched dresses or suits making it easy to wear, travel and rush for the program. The milky ivory hues of this anarkali suit allured me
instantly when I saw it in a nearby boutique and ushered the boutique assistant for trial.
Fortunately, it fitted me perfectly without a single alteration and fitted the bill of my urgent requirement. It had a big organza dupatta which was seeming a big hassle as I prefer to keep my hands free, nothing to handle than the books, award, miscellaneous stuff. and which helps me to walk fast on stage etc. I asked to convert the dupatta into a sleeveless long jacket and the outcome was brilliant. This is a floor length anarkali with a dupatta converted into a sheer jacket/cape. I accessorized this look with a pearl necklace my husband brought from somewhere in South Africa, a blue bindi and a statement ring bought from Dilli Haat to complete the look.

Photo #2
This look has a little story behind it. In my daughters’ school function, students performed on a song “Makeba “composed by Jain. The song influenced me and sounded quite cool to me. Inspired by Jain’s B&W look in the song on YouTube, I searched for a collared black and white dress. I am not a brand conscious person as the quality and the look matters to me
more than any label. I found this on a popular online site either Romwe or Shein costing remarkably less than Rs 1000. I didn’t mind that. White pumps, golden sunglasses, a multi-layered silver necklace, a pale pink sturdy handbag shopped from USA, a white stone ring bought for Rs.
100 from the stall outside Beatles café’ in Rishikesh and my smile completed the look for a lunch date at Impromptu café with my best friends.


Photo #3
This was clicked in City Palace of Udaipur during the winter vacations. This is a dress from “AND”, Anita Dongre’ special collection and the fit is awesome. I have worn this dress in summer without the leggings and jacket as well as in winters and it does brighten up my look. Wearing it with a jacket bought from an exhibition in Gurgaon, long black leather boots from H&M, and a LAVIE sling bag gifted by a friend on my birthday. Since hoops are in vogue these days, I wore big ones in silver from H&M realizing it later that almost 5 out of 10 girls were wearing hoops. Hoops were in fashion in 2005-2006 and again this trend bounced back. Since the dress has a pastel pink beaded neckline, necklace wasn’t required. Wearing “Relentless Red” lipstick from Mac and my smile again to reflect my happiness when I am a traveller.

(Meenakshi M Singh is an author, poet, a software professional, director of ShetheShakti – women empowerment centre and a mother. She is based in Gurgaon with her husband, raising herself with her daughters.)

How Monika Manchanda aces the plus size fashion game

everyday style, fashion, Uncategorized

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Look1 – Blue Saree
I love Sarees, have loved them since childhood. They are my comfort garments in many
ways. I picked up this blue Cotton saree from Vana Handlooms popup in Gurgaon a while
ago. The colors and simplicity of this was what attracted and it is great for corporatish formal saree too. I paired the saree with an old peach blouse and a fabric and papier mache neck piece I picked up from @barefootceylon, SriLanka.

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Look 2 – LBD
Three Words – Little. Black. Dress. Said to light up most women’s eyes. Red lipstick and the Little Black Dress have been long associated with sensuality and looking what we call as “Sexy”. It is the ultimate in femininity, considered essential for every woman to complete her wardrobe. It’s also easy and simple to dress up. And as always, larger women have had a tough time taking to it…short lengths n all. Could we really wear anything that is called Sexy? Me, I care a damn and embrace the LBD with the love it deserves.
Here I am wearing a bespoke LBD by @sharmisthabr of Kallidora but in India, you can find the little black dress in larger sizes at brands 109F, M&S, Latin Quarters and sometimes AND and Westside. I do own a few. And oh yes the red lipstick is Red supreme by Avon. Red Shoes from @bata.india (yes you heard that right)

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Look 3 – Striped Dress
I love stripes and the fun dimension they add to dressing. As a large woman, I have stayed away from stripes for a long time. Before I finally made peace with them and realised if you accessorize well, they do not add bulk contrary to what people normally think. This fun stripped dress is from Bangkok. I think I bought it from one of the shops in Paradise mall. Paired it with the iconic Ruby Woo by @maccosmetics , because there is nothing like red lipstick to cheer one up. Simple silver loops completed the look.

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Look 4 – Floral Dress

Is there anything better than dress with pockets?
Yes, floral dress with pockets ♥️♥️♥️ . Dress with pockets have all my heart and if they have
florals in it, nothing can keep me away. Also I love love the maxi dress, they are  omfortable and get me going through a working day at ease.
�� @westsidestores �� – Blazing Orange by Chambor.

(Monika Manchanda is a Food Consultant & Writer, Baker and Culinary Trainer)

I think royal blue is my colour….

Uncategorized

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Here’s what I wore to Gul Panag and Shruti Seth’s fabulous drinks and dinner evening to celebrate Festivelle some weeks ago.

The dress is a simple shift dress from AND by Anita Dongre, shifts are safe choices on them damned “I feel fat” days and when you know your waist is no longer the version that supports a fitted dress.

The bag is an old Guess I’d forgotten about and was languishing in the upper reaches of the wardrobe. In retrospect, a clutch would have been nicer, but I always have so much I need to carry in the bag, wallet, phone, charger, a lipper and a compact, and yes, my spectacles because I’m blind as a bat and don’t trust myself without my spectacles when night falls. I paired this with a rasta shopping find neckpiece from Lokhandwala market and blingiest pair of golden slides. Comfort uber alles, what say ladies? I find I’ve lost my patience to mince my way through the world wearing really high stilettoes. And I’ve finally made my peace with the fact that I’m going to be one of the tiniest people around if I don’t wear high heels. Perhaps this comes only with age and acceptance? What do you think?