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.

Jo Chopra rocks the classic white shirt

everyday style, fashion

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“They” say you never regret a good quality purchase but I have regretted buying this Phase Eight blouse many times over. It is a good one and I love both the fit and the look, but I still can’t believe I spent ONE HUNDRED POUNDS on it.
That’s just an aside, however. I love this classic outfit – the well-fitting blouse (the belt was my daughter-in-law’s suggestion. She said “Without it, Mom, it just looks like a man’s big shirt.”), the closely tapered trousers (on sale at Global Desi from the AND line) and, of course, the amazing Cole Haan boots which automatically make me feel confident and dramatic.
The other thing that’s made a difference is makeup. My daughter treated me to a makeover while I was in the US recently along with an entire collection of judiciously selected products. Women have different needs as they get older and a few intelligent but small changes can go a long way in achieving a fresh, attractive look. I discovered Dominique Sachse’s older women video series on Youtube and though I’ve never been into makeup or glamour, I love the style tips she suggests.
They’re fun, easy and effective and at 61, I love being as excited as a teenager about getting dressed up, made up and heading out each day. I have a serious, changing-the-world job that is my passion and my mission so it’s a relief to have something silly and just plain fun to amuse myself with as well.

“I don’t believe in labels.” Bestselling author Preeti Shenoy on her personal style

everyday style, fashion

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“I’m a person who dislikes shopping—especially for clothes! It is extremely hard for me, to find a good fit in India. I think my body type is probably different from Indian women—I don’t know. In the UK, I used to find my fit very easily. Hence, when I find something where I like the fit, I tend to buy it in 2-3 colors. So, I’ve been told that I shop like a man. 🙂 I don’t mind though. I would rather paint or read than waste time shopping!”

I love boots, and I pick mine from various places around the world. When it comes to jeans—I find that Levis fits me well—especially their new revel shaping skinny, and that’s the one I wear. I also like some of the stuff from Global Desi and sometimes Ritu Kumar. But I don’t believe in labels. I have also got stuff from Max which fits so well.

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I love sarees, but am very choosy about the kind I wear.  I am partial to handwoven sarees. When I wear sarees, I like to be completely traditional—and  I will pleat the pallu neatly. I don’t like to drape it without pleats around and ‘carry it on one arm’ which is the trend these days. I also like my traditional black metal or oxidized silver jewelry.”

I never spend time thinking about clothes and planning ‘what to wear’ for any occasion. I open my wardrobe just before my event or the occasion and decide in about 2 minutes. I then spend about ten minutes to get dressed. Make-up is minimal: an eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. That’s it. I think the best fashion accessory is a genuine smile.

Fashion shouldn’t have an age tag. You can be fashionable at any age. For me, fashion is what makes me feel good and confident—not someone else’s definition of ‘right and wrong’ and ‘what’s in and what’s out’.”

Preeti Shenoy is one of India’s highest selling authors, also a speaker, illustrator, blogger, observer. Have been featured on all major media including BBC world, Cosmopolitan, and Conde Nast.  Website: Www.preetishenoy.com