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.

Jasmine Khurana on why the six yards are her cape

everyday style, fashion

The six yards are my cape! Anyday!

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As a child, if you have seen your mother step out every single day for her workplace in the most graceful sarees, it is very natural to grow up absorbing a warm affinity towards the six yards. No wonder when I started working, saree it was every day to college. Years later too, with a small child and despite a war-like situation every morning, I remember wrapping myself in crisp cottons in summers and lush silks in winters in gross 5 mins and almost running to make it on time to be there for my school assembly every morning.  Delhi allows you to indulge in the luxury of having a different wardrobe every season and I made the most of the six years that we stayed there.

My long sabbatical from work was also a sabbatical of sorts from sarees. I’m back with a bang to draping them again in my second innings as a writer and Spoken Word Performer for most of my events now. Most of my collection of exotic silk and crepe sarees are hand-me-downs from my Mom and Mom-in-law. It feels like a fortune that I have inherited from them. Over the years, I have shopped myself mostly for cotton and linen sarees and love teaming them up with quirky blouses from ‘Muchukalis’. Their high necks, straight cuts and a comfort fit is just the way I want my blouse to be.

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Fab India suits and dupattas (silks and cotton both) are my other go-to attire. My wardrobe has dupattas as old as 16 years brought from Fabindia stores in Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Kolkatta- places that we kept moving to over the last 20 years of our married life. The one in the picture is an absolute favourite Lucknowi suit with a pink floral cotton duppatta. (Fab India)

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Lest I forget, once in a while when the mood is western, my inches oblige and I’m ready to make the effort of pulling a dress down my pleasantly plump frame, it’s always a Marks & Spencer. Cuts that camouflage my love handles and all that is buxom are the  best cuts- anyday 😉

(Jasmine Khurana was an economics professor and has now found her calling as a writer and a spoken word artist.)

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.)

What I wore today: That 70s show

everyday style, fashion

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(Photograph: Nikita Deshpande)

Oversized tinted aviators, hair that decided to part itself down the middle like it was suddenly channelising its inner Moses, a Ritu Kumar floral cotton kurti in mint green (a gift from my sis in law), Marks and Spencer jeggings, and my ubiquitous Kolhapuri chappals in cream and gold bought from Mahabaleshwar which I’ve been using forever and more. The pop of pink in the border I tried to echo with a pop of a similar shade in the lipstick, Lakme 9 to 5, Pink Ambition, which is looking strangely deeper here. Nice?

Madhumita Sinha shares her saree love

everyday style, fashion

 

“I can’t really call myself a fashionista but have always loved to look fashionable in every attire without being too obsessed about the idea. I have always been known as a pant/jeans/t shirt/top kind of woman since my teenage for both casual and work look mainly because I loved the comfort wear both at home and work. Even though I always admired women in sarees for me personally it was nothing less than a nightmare and then getting married to an Army officer and wearing sarees for every other formal parties became my biggest worry  I spent hours perfecting my drape and eventually lost interest in attending such parties.

With time things changed as I crossed mid forties having more time to myself with kids grown up and husband busy in his own world. I started enjoying the experience of draping the six yards to my pleasure and in the bargain collected sarees from different states, weave, material and work from all over the country wherever my husband got posted from Valleys to deserts to mountains. Having touched my golden era, the 50’s, recently I realised that I am absolutely crazy about draping a saree for any occasion matching them with beads, pearls, semi-precious and precious jewellery along with silver, gold and diamond. I do wear my long gowns and anarkalis for certain stage performances or semi formal occasions too but sarees are my all time favourite which I feel surely adds the feminine charm and grace at my age.”

(Madhumita Sinha is an HR professional and a corporate trainer by profession , a published author of a book of poems ‘Heartbeats ‘ 72 random beats , a performing poet by passion and contributes regularly to international and national literary journals. She is part of four anthologies published by different publishers so far. She is also an avid Toastmaster.)

Janaki Nagaraj speaks about the comfort in shifting to trousers

everyday style, fashion
For the most part of my adulthood I wore churidar/salwar kameez. I grew up in a modest middle class South Indian family where affordability and comfort decided our fashion.
But now I am most comfortable in denims or trousers on most of the days. I am not a “brand” person. It’s the confidence with which you carry off an outfit that really makes you look good.
And being a fitness enthusiast, gym wear is what you find the most in my wardrobe. I am yet not comfortable in working out with just a pair of tights and a sports bra, but I do hope to one day. It is super liberating.
(Janaki Nagaraj is a homemaker with two grown up kids, 3 cats and a husband. She has been a blogger, writes poetry and short stories. She is also a marathon runner and a powerlifter having recently won the silver medal in Maharashtra State powerlifting competition for the M1 (master’s 1) category.)

Hira Mehta on how she rocks the sixties

everyday style, fashion

Whoever said “dress age appropriate” has still not touched the 40+ or perhaps is not just comfortable with themselves. There is a big misconception in our culture that that we are no longer interested in looking stylish if we are over 40. I am 60+ and may not be a part of the corporate world since I have retired or even perhaps just not in tune with fashion, but I am an adventurous spirit. I dress for that face in the mirror. I love going out with friends and this style and casual looks (a kurta thrown over a pant too) makes me feel a younger, confident and happy ME.

Perhaps for me the most chosen outfit for formal events that I attend or host so frequently. Sometimes it may be an occasional Punjabi too. The sari makes me feel dignified, elegant and beautiful (and note, definitely not my age). Besides matching it off with matching coloured jewellery is something that makes me happy. A sari suits everyone, no matter what age and it never can go out of fashion ever! Rest of the time its the casual look with jeans, pants topped off with kurtas and tops.

(Hira Mehta, retired from ICICI Bank with thirty-eight years of service, is an effective administrator. communicator and a freelancer on various projects, with two published books “YOUNG AND SIXTY” and “TWISTED TALES AND MORE…” to her credit. Along with enjoying her passion for writing and blogging (crossleggedwithhira), she hosts events, mentors, organises workshops for women in her locality, contributes towards social service and indulges in her greatest love – Bollywood by making short films, interviewing people, acting in short films and studio hopping. Her motto is  “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, I used everything you gave me’.)

Pant and Top / Kurta photo

Whoever said “dress age appropriate” has still not touched the 40+ or perhaps is not just comfortable with themselves. There is a big misconception in our culture that that we are no longer interested in looking stylish if we are over 40. I am 60+ and may not be a part of the corporate world since I have retired or even perhaps just not in tune with fashion, but I am an adventurous spirit. I dress for that face in the mirror. I love going out with friends and this style and casual looks (a kurta thrown over a pant too) makes me feel a younger, confident and happy ME.

Saree

Perhaps for me the most chosen outfit for formal events that I attend or host so frequently. Sometimes it may be an occasional Punjabi too. The sari makes me feel dignified, elegant and beautiful (and note, definitely not my age). Besides matching it off with matching coloured jewellery is something that makes me happy. A sari suits everyone, no matter what age and it never can go out of fashion ever! Rest of the time its the casual look with jeans, pants topped off with kurtas and tops.

Pant and Top / Kurta photo

Whoever said “dress age appropriate” has still not touched the 40+ or perhaps is not just comfortable with themselves. There is a big misconception in our culture that that we are no longer interested in looking stylish if we are over 40. I am 60+ and may not be a part of the corporate world since I have retired or even perhaps just not in tune with fashion, but I am an adventurous spirit. I dress for that face in the mirror. I love going out with friends and this style and casual looks (a kurta thrown over a pant too) makes me feel a younger, confident and happy ME.

Saree

Perhaps for me the most chosen outfit for formal events that I attend or host so frequently. Sometimes it may be an occasional Punjabi too. The sari makes me feel dignified, elegant and beautiful (and note, definitely not my age). Besides matching it off with matching coloured jewellery is something that makes me happy. A sari suits everyone, no matter what age and it never can go out of fashion ever! Rest of the time its the casual look with jeans, pants topped off with kurtas and tops.

Pant and Top / Kurta photo

Whoever said “dress age appropriate” has still not touched the 40+ or perhaps is not just comfortable with themselves. There is a big misconception in our culture that that we are no longer interested in looking stylish if we are over 40. I am 60+ and may not be a part of the corporate world since I have retired or even perhaps just not in tune with fashion, but I am an adventurous spirit. I dress for that face in the mirror. I love going out with friends and this style and casual looks (a kurta thrown over a pant too) makes me feel a younger, confident and happy ME.

Saree

Perhaps for me the most chosen outfit for formal events that I attend or host so frequently. Sometimes it may be an occasional Punjabi too. The sari makes me feel dignified, elegant and beautiful (and note, definitely not my age). Besides matching it off with matching coloured jewellery is something that makes me happy. A sari suits everyone, no matter what age and it never can go out of fashion ever! Rest of the time its the casual look with jeans, pants topped off with kurtas and tops.

(Also see Jo Chopra Shares Her Favourite Look and Archna Singh Shares Her Fave Looks)

Ruchita Dar Shah shares her love for Kolhapuri chappals

everyday style, fashion

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I may not understand everything about fashion but I do understand colour well . I may not get style but I know comfort . I think I can call myself a comfortably colourful dresser!  Over the years I have figured that comfort for me wins over whatever is trending or not. I like traditional or classic looks over anything else. And in my 40s I have also realised that some amount of ‘ Desi’ in my clothes , footwear or bags works best for me. I feel most comfortable in Indo western, desi chic, fusion or whatever the fashion police might wanna call it . The popular hashtag #NeverNotWearingSomethingDesi has become my mantra too! And among all the desi accessories I own and wear, like neck pieces , tunics and dresses one that has organically emerged is my love for Kolhapuri chappals. They are super comfortable, colourful  ( most of them are super cheap too ) and so damn universal that they can be worn with just about anything . I wear them with dresses, jeans and of course sarees. They have definitely become a staple in my humble shoe closet and completely liberated me from wondering if a particular outfit demands wedges, stilettos or closed shoes.

(Ruchita Dar Shah is the founder of First Moms Club)

Atika Gupta shares her Bohemian style

everyday style, fashion

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Bohemian Fashion
I love to combine gypsy style skirts/ghagras in earthy block prints or bright chintz prints with smart shirt style kurtas, jackets etc. Tribal accessories such as big glass work rings, gypsy earrings & necklace, anklets with shells and bells, and Doc Marten Boots complete this look. I have a tribal dots tattoo on my chin and like to paint more of those on my neck. The idea is to keep it fun, bright and eclectic to keep the girl in my alive!
My most usual way of dressing and also my favourite- combine a simple handloom saree with a contrast, bold and colourful blouse. I play with tartans, floral and Kutch mirror work. Also seen in the photos here is a backless blouse (which is very bohemian and playful) which I wore with a plain lime green linen saree.
All the sarees in these pics are traditional weaves from local weavers of Kerala, Bengal and Rajasthan.
I usually wear antique or arty silver earrings and a big statement ring with this ensemble.
This style brings out the sensual woman in me while asserting my love for the local and everything Indian ️

(Atika Gupta is 47 years young. A Corporate PR Communications professional with a keen eye for innovation  and detail, she has successfully spearheaded launch of luxury boutique hotels, bookstores and an art gallery. Her passion for art and literature has led Atika to effectively curate and strategise events across various international platforms. She is a self-proclaimed workaholic, perfectionist and foodie. When not working, she likes to pursue her interests in singing, dancing, cooking and reading. She’s the proud mother of two sons, 24 and 18 years old.)