Author Harshali Singh decodes her fave looks

everyday style, fashion

If God asks me on judgement day, ‘Name your vice?’

I would unabashedly answer, ‘Buying sarees…’

That is how crazy in love I am with them. They are like a six yard comfort zone. Just wrap yourself around in it …pin …tuck and one is set for the day. I watched my mother wear one, as far back as I can remember so it is pulls at my heartstrings as I do the same.

From a Jeans and shirt kind of girl, marrying into a Sikh family meant the advent of the struggle with the Dupatta. Refusing to rest on my shoulders it chose instead to play truant with my heavy, top side. For several months it flipped and flopped as if taunting my inability to control its willfulness till I would fume and wrap it around my neck…noose like.

It was in my late twenties  that I found my comfort zone. Without feeling awkward, one day I donned the saree and empowered myself. I don’t know whether it was the saree or the confident tilt of my head but I realized that day that the saree was my best friend, never once judging my waxing and waving weight, wrapping me in its embrace with the same enthusiasm each time.

Slowly I found myself in its folds, experimented with fabric with colour with drape. I had found my style. Now the Satya Paul store staff can sense me a mile away. Masaba’s fusion of two distinct and natural fabrics fueled my love for the quirky. I still zealously guard the heavy silks of my trousseau.

Here, I drape a favorite Satya Paul from their Om collection.

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 This sense of understanding what I liked was freeing.

And then Marks and Spencer happened. There was finally a store that carried elegance and sizes that fit this unrepentant foodie who loves her curves. Pet peeve… brands that stalk only Small, Medium and Large sizes. May I just say, even to some of the Indian designers, there are women of this country who can afford to wear you and are above size 12 and equally well dressed. Get real.   

Wearing my M&S Size 14 body con dress proudly, as I walk the cobbled streets of Paris.

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Recently however I discovered the elegance of Indo Western attire. I am of course still in nascent experimental stages, extremely wary of anything that does not ‘fall right’ but I am trying my best to step out of my comfort zone.

This Anita Dongre long Jacket with trousers was what made me come full circle to my troubled relationship with suits.

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As did this traditional Patan Patola in the colour that defines me.

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(Harshali Singh is a New Delhi based Author, former member at the Consumer Forum, an academician, a teacher trainer, a trained Occupational Therapist, an avid reader and a passionate Painter. ‘A Window to her Dreams’, a contemporary Adult fiction was her first novel published by ‘Readomania’ in 2016. It is a series of eight books, called the ‘Haveli Series’. Her second book in this Series ‘The Anatomy of Choice’ has been launched in January 2019. Her poems are part of a woman centric bilingual anthology of poems called ‘She The Shakti’. She has also won the Write India 2018 chapter for the erudite author, Ms Chitra Devakaruni’s prompt. )

 

Bundling up….

everyday style, fashion

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Winter in Mumbai might be non existent, but some days you just feel like play pretend it is chilly enough to bring out your woollies. For me, the go to look is always a chunky knit oversized pullover in cream worn over deep indigo skinny fits. Pair this with a taupe Da Milano structured bag, a leopard print scarf, huge sunglasses and tan suede boots, and I’m good to go.

And its a wrap

everyday style, fashion

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(Photo courtesy: Mansi Zaveri)

I have this terrible weak spot for wrap dresses. They are comfortable, forgiving and hide a multitude of sins. God bless Diane Von Furstenberg for having elevated them to cult status with her pioneering wrap dress brought into the high fashion scene way back in 1974. While I don’t have a DVF wrap dress yet (someday, someday, is the Universe listening in, with ear wax cleaned out? ), I do have a couple of others that I keep going back to over and over.

A different kind of wrap dress, this chocolate and rust version from Label by Ritu Kumar was perhaps one of the most comfortable dresses I’ve ever worn. I teamed it with a grey camisole, for modesty, because, erm, well. My shoes are a pair of trusted old really ugly but very comfortable chocolate block heels which I wore over and over till they finally collapsed on me mid event, I forget which brand though. Teamed this with a simple silver ethnic choker and red lips. Works?

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And yes, I was chatting with the gorgeous Tisca Chopra at this BackToTheFront Career Konneckt event a couple of years ago. Isn’t she absolutely lovely?

 

 

Long, flowing and so, so, comfortable

everyday style, fashion

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A million thanks to the kind soul who clicked it at the Women Writers’s Festival, Delhi in March 2018 and sent it across to me.

A lovely black flowing maxi dress from StalkBuyLove, with a cinched waist, a floral print and comfortable puffed sleeves elasticised at the elbow. (Have I mentioned that online shopping sites are my weakness, though I still can’t seem to get the fitting quite right, and end up ordering a size bigger most times).

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Wore this with a silver braided choker and my all time favourite platforms. Here I am with two fab authors, Aditi Mathur Kumar and Shuchi Singh Kalra.

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And because I am a firm believer in repeat wear, I brought it out again for the Bangalore Lit Fest in November 2018, where I ditched the choker (to be honest, I forgot to pack any accessories), and paired it with tan clogs, and a structured Hidesign bag in the same shade as the florals. This was a panel on the art of the crime thriller with Bhaskar Chattopadhyay, Sophie Hannah, Philip McLaren and moderated by Nilanjan Chaudhury. Nice?

 

Author Kanchana Banerjee shares her two fave looks

everyday style, fashion
I’m wearing black tights and a fitted full sleeve top; both purchased from somewhere I can’t remember. I’m a great value seeker and buy clothes from small shops tucked away in the local market. The long stole is Merino wool, bought from a shop in Shimla Mall road. It was love at first sight; just love the vibrant colours on it and the stole goes very well with most solid colours. On my feet are peep toes also bought online.
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When I was younger, I used to cut up the saris and make them into long dresses and salwar kameez. Mom told me then, stop doing this, one day you’ll love the saris and repent. She was right, like moms usually are. I’m insanely in love with saris now and look for an opportunity to drape one. This rich blue beauty is a gift from a very dear friend, who shares my love for saris and this was her gift to me on my last bday. I love experimenting with blouses and like to wear one in contrasting colour & pattern. The blouse is one of my favourites that I wear with many saris. The necklace I’m wearing also has a story. My friend was wearing it and I liked it so much that she took it off and insisted I take it. I’m very lucky to have such loving friends.
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(About Kanchana: Kanchana Banerjee is an author. Her second book, an edgy dark thriller will be released in summer of 2019 by Harper Collins. Her first book was A Forgotten Affair. When she’s not writing, she likes to read, play with her dogs.)
Thanks Kanchana, for sharing these looks with us.

In work mode

everyday style, fashion

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When I’m at work, and this involves interviewing gorgeousness like Tisca Chopra, I prefer to keep it non fuss. This means jeans and a blazer, or a shirt most times, paired with comfortable practical shoes.

For this shoot for an episode of SheThePeople.TV’s BOLD, I opted for a simple white cotton cutwork blazer from Banana Republic with my old, old, old, perhaps prehistoric pair of GAP jeans, paired with simple T-strapped wedge heels from Bata. Yes, Bata is one of my all time favourites for solid, durable shoes that are comfortable and last forever and ever and ever. This pair I find I end up wearing everywhere when I have a long work day in front of me, and know I will be on my feet forever.

I know I’m lucky I can wear jeans for work, and I count my blessings every single day. What is your go to outfit for work?

 

Yellow, yellow….

fashion

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I normally shy away from bright colours. Left to my own devices and without the mater yelling about me channeling Morticia Addams and looking like something the cat dragged in, I’d happily dress in head to toe black every single day. It is only when the spouse accompanies me on shopping trips that I pick up colour under duress, and that too, the kind that could inflict retinal damage on the unwary eye. This was one of those picks.

I wore this back in March on a very special day. It was March 8th, International Women’s Day in Delhi. The Indian Council of UN Relations (ICUNR) supported by the Ministry for Women and Child Development, Government of India, was awarding me the International Women’s Day Award 2018 for excellence in the field of writing. For a change, I decided to go Indo-ethnic, and picked this colour blocked fluorescent yellow long fusion outfit, wearing it over golden tights, which weren’t seen given the length of the tunic, and purple satin and Swarovski cluster embellished ankle strapped stilettoes, which also weren’t visible much. A pink and white Murcia clutch echoed the embellishments on the cuffs of the sleeves, and the royal pink of the bottom patch of the tunic. And yes, I paired this with my all time favourite neckpiece that I seem to be wearing every single time I want to look absolutely kick ass — a stone embedded golden collar picked from a Lokhandwala rasta stall. I realise in retrospect I mashed up two trends at the same time here, flourescent and colour blocking.

I love this photograph because it is fuzzy and unclear enough to hide my wrinkles, and also because my hair seems to be behaving in this one. I take no credit for that, it is all the complete lack of humidity in Delhi that is a lifesaver for my frizzy hair.

How Purba Ray stays chic in winter

everyday style, fashion
When you live in Delhi, you spend most of the year for winter to arrive. When it finally does, you realise how tricky it is to keep warm without looking like a chowkidar on night duty.
These Ankle cut off pair of pants from Uniqlo is my favourite for its unique color. I have paired it with a short navy blue blazer from Mango and a black fitted top. Since boots are a big no with a length like this, I’m wearing Loafers.
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God made winters so that women could wear boots. Mid length boots look better if you have thin legs like me. Mine look like spindles when I try wearing tights with short length boots. The hoodie from Zara has cuffs and the hood in silk and a nice contrast print and looks like something that you may not have flicked from your daughter’s wardrobe.
Look 2

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(About Purba: When Purba is not trawling the Internet for that perfect outfit, she writes for Arre and The Quint. Intensely vague, seriously funny, her humour is as bitter as the karelas she avoids. )
Thanks Purba, for being my very first guest blogger on FortyPlusFashion.

Posing for the paparazzi

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I don’t do it well, and I have the very rare outings where I need to, but this was one of them. At the launch of Saransh Goila’s wonderful book India On My Platter a couple of years ago, this was me trying to figure out where I needed to stand and how I needed to angle myself three fourth as the kind photographers shouted out helpful instructions. Not a very good pic but the only one I have of only myself of that evening, heaven knows where the pics the paps clicked are.

What I wore : fitted tan trousers, a biscuit coloured satin shirt and golden Catwalk wedges with a bronze envelope clutch. What I love most about this shirt is that it is fitted and it has these generous bishop sleeves. And yes, wedges, as I’ve said before, I’ve quite given up tottering around on stilettos and half cricking my ankle every single time. I find staying in the same colour family is a safe bet most times when you’re confused about what to wear, and a touch of shine in the accessories adds all the glamour you need.

Edited to add: Here, found a couple of the pics the photographers took. Due credit to Hamara Photos.com and SantaBanta.com.

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I think royal blue is my colour….

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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?