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.

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Mariellen Ward of BreatheDreamGo on how she’s rewriting the script

everyday style, fashion
“Initially, as I aged, I felt a lot of insecurity about the signs of age, and not being a youthful woman anymore. This matters to me in several ways, professionally as well as personally. As a travel blogger, there’s a big emphasis on the attractive young women on Instagram who combine travel with modelling. However, I’ve decided at 59 to embrace my age, find a style that suits me, and feel confident no matter what. Who says that “older” women can’t be attractive? We need to rewrite the script!
 
I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes, usually go for the mid-range stores like Fabindia and Cottons Jaipur and Anokhi. I bought the Banarasi sari at a shop in Varanasi and talked sales person down from Rs 10,000 to Rs 5,000 rupees. I was travelling (as a journalist) aboard the Maharajas’ Express train, so I knew the store was touristy and over-charging. Still, consider this a great bargaining success.”
 

MW Khajuraho

Khajuraho: White cotton kurta and cream cotton trousers from Fabindia 

MW Lucknow 2
Lucknow: Teal and green silk-cotton blend kurta and chiffon palazzos from Cottons Jaipur, Special Collection
MW Wedding
 
Wedding: Black and silver silk Banarasi sari
 
MW Chittoor Kottaram sq 1

Chittoor: Gold silk kurta from Fabindia with cotton turquoise skirt from the market

 
(Mariellen Ward is a digital storyteller who publishes the award-winning travel site Breathedreamgo.com, based on her extensive travels in India. She has a BA in Journalism, has been published in leading media outlets around the world, and lives up in the clouds in Rishikesh, India.)