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.
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)
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.)
“This is designed by Jesal Vora. I love her collection because she makes me look thin and stylish. I don’t have to worry about tight fitting, because it’s loose and cozy, and I can dress up in seconds. Shoes gifted by my daughter from Sydney.”
“I work in the tech industry (20 years and counting) , which in the name of “cool” has shed all sense of dress etiquette. So to keep my spirits perked up I love bringing a riot of colors to my wardrobe, and in my mind. It’s my way of dealing with the corporate madness within which I am deeply entwined.”
“My saree is a special gift from my niece who picked the hues of purple, orange and pink. It’s a very light Kanchi silk and I decided to pair it with a bright orange halter blouse and long earrings.”
“My summer dress is bring is a lovely lemon color, with patterns that reminded me of chikan craft, just gives a very refreshing vibe. While you can pair it with platforms or pumps, I have a simple white walking sandals on (we were touring Boston while this picture was taken).”
We love both Nandini’s looks, and the absolute confidence with which she carries both off. If you want to share your favourite looks do mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, with two full length pictures showing your outfit to the maximum advantage and a brief para on each.
I look for quiet and calm amidst chaos. Therefore, comfort rules my dress code.
And my wardrobe consists mostly of sober cotton, handloom and silk kurtas. I end
up wearing black more often especially when I don’t want to think through colour
schemes. My collection of traditional dupattas/stoles from all over India blends
perfectly with my salwar suits. And the latest addition to my collection is an
Assamese handwoven ‘tongali’ (worn by the farmer as a waistcloth). In this
picture, with a plain silver coloured kurta, I have wrapped a stole embellished with
kantha work around my neck. This stole is from Bengal.
For any kind of meetings and get-togethers, I prefer the Assamese mekhela sador
(mostly the handwoven ones). And for formal gatherings I prefer a paat silk
mekhela sador. Paat silk is probably one of the lightest silks. In this photograph
clicked on the streets of New York, I am wearing a white cotton mekhela sador
with blue and purple flowers. The flower motif is a traditional design called king
khap. The Halloween pumpkins in the backdrop almost seem like an art
(Teresa Rehman is an award-winning journalist and author based in Assam. She loves collecting ethnic accessories from different corners of India and the world.)
I have a soft corner for detailed prints, even though they’re really very tricky to carry off. This dress from Stylista is one from a collection designed by Monica Dogra and is in a comfortable soft crepe, with an intricate paisley print. The front slit that goes right up to well above the knees is paired with two side slits of the same length and I tackle this with a pair of brown or grey leggings within for the sake of modesty. Wore this with a wonderful ethnic neckpiece and a plain white quilted bag, and very high heels. Sorted.
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.)
Dresses. Long or short; flowing or crisp. I love them all. The little girl in me, fed on fairy tales, surfaces when I don a long flowing gown. A shorter knee-length dress, worn with high heels, feels more professional, efficient and brings a crispness to my day.
Blue jeans, Tee and Polo jacket. My all-time favorite. This look is natural, comfortable and my most sported. The Polo jacket gives it a style statement and the blue jeans keep me fit.
Saree. The quintessential grace that a saree brings to a woman, making her feel soft, sexy and complete. I wear this look occasionally as I feel a saree must be worn with an attitude to do it justice. Special occasions like school events will see me making that extra effort.
I rarely get into dresses that end at the knee or a little above it, but this is one that I do have. And I always feel grand when I wear this, so it ends up being my last resort dress when all else fails.
A grey wool blend that slinks on like second skin, but yet manages to be kind to the lard around the waist that could have me give real competition to the Michelin tyre man. The dress is an AND by Anita Dongre, one of my favourite designers for sensible comfortable clothes, that are size friendly to not so very perfect bodies.
Paired these with solitaires in my ears, (primarily because I couldn’t be arsed to keep changing my earrings so these stay on until they fuse with my damn lobes and then I need to do a song and dance to get them off, short of surgical incisions), a pair of high black strap ons and a bright red lipper, and yes a silver neck piece that I love. Like?
Black dress: For as long as I can remember, the little black dress has enchanted me as much as it has terrified me. Enchanted, because I love the way slim women look in it. Terrified because of the flab it displays. I love this pic because the wise cameraman has chopped off tons of flab from my waist and stomach. In it, I look the way I wish I was
Red dress:I love short red dresses. And that is not’ “cool” by Indian standards for a senior widow, who is supposed to be “sober, serious and spiritual”. In short, dead. But I love shattering stereotypes. I believe I am a Western lady trapped in an Indian body. So, on a recent trip to London, I rushed to Primark (the most affordable store) and jumped at this red number on sale. I loved the sense of freedom this Engish dress gave me. Later, I read its tag– “Made in India”. 🙂
Kurta with straight trousers.I believe this Indo-Western fusion dress makes me look glamorous. Once again, the photographer did a brilliant job of photoshopping away age-related problems. He also made me look very intellectual by digitally superimposing a full library behind me. Actually, he wanted to cover up the peeling walls of his studio. But who’s complaining?
I’m not much of a Biba fan, and haven’t really bought or worn anything from the brand, but this dress with its lovely print, and the fact that it had pockets changed my mind.
I love long dresses, as I’ve said before, and I have a particular soft spot for florals. I particularly fell in love with the flare and the colour combination of this one. I had already packed another outfit for the Women Writers Fest Bangalore, in 2018, but a flight delay meant extra time at the airport and this is what happens. Picked this up on an impulse and loved how comfortable it was. Yes, it is a size larger. In other circumstances, I would have preferred a higher heel with this, but had packed these trusted beige Tstrap Bata wedges so these are what I wore.
Here with the very wonderful Anuja Chauhan whom I was chatting with about her books at the event.