Pattern and denim- a classic combo

everyday style, fashion, Flat lay

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A quick smart go to day look. A satin blouse with an intense print–here I have houndstooth and polka dots, in black and white. Black pump sling backs. Deep indigo skinny fit. Small sized sunglasses. Good to go for lunch or just a day of work meetings, you could substitute the denim with fitted black ankle cropped trousers if you want to get a wee bit more formal.

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Jeans and shirt-style

everyday style, fashion
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Of all the looks I love, jeans and a shirt must be right at the top. I find it a style that can be dressed up or dressed down as you wish, and is good to go everywhere possible, except perhaps formal work situations and black tie events.

Here I am, at an edition of SheThePeople.TV’s Bombaywaali last year, where I was chatting with the very fab Richa Chadha (Catch her in the forthcoming biopic Shakeela, where she plays the title role based on the life of the sultry siren from the South). A bright orangey red Zara crepe shirt with gold buttons, a pair of old Gap jeans, in a completely unfashionable NOW straight leg fit, so prehistoric that I am surely we’d all just climbed out of the primordial sludge when this came off the assembly line, not in picture but had worn these with my old fave brown platform heels, and of course, my ever favourite gold and stone choker which I have now realised I WEAR WITH EVERYTHING. And it was a rasta find! Talk about VFM, I’ve sure extracted that from this choker. What is your go to look with jeans?

How Monika Manchanda aces the plus size fashion game

everyday style, fashion, Uncategorized

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Look1 – Blue Saree
I love Sarees, have loved them since childhood. They are my comfort garments in many
ways. I picked up this blue Cotton saree from Vana Handlooms popup in Gurgaon a while
ago. The colors and simplicity of this was what attracted and it is great for corporatish formal saree too. I paired the saree with an old peach blouse and a fabric and papier mache neck piece I picked up from @barefootceylon, SriLanka.

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Look 2 – LBD
Three Words – Little. Black. Dress. Said to light up most women’s eyes. Red lipstick and the Little Black Dress have been long associated with sensuality and looking what we call as “Sexy”. It is the ultimate in femininity, considered essential for every woman to complete her wardrobe. It’s also easy and simple to dress up. And as always, larger women have had a tough time taking to it…short lengths n all. Could we really wear anything that is called Sexy? Me, I care a damn and embrace the LBD with the love it deserves.
Here I am wearing a bespoke LBD by @sharmisthabr of Kallidora but in India, you can find the little black dress in larger sizes at brands 109F, M&S, Latin Quarters and sometimes AND and Westside. I do own a few. And oh yes the red lipstick is Red supreme by Avon. Red Shoes from @bata.india (yes you heard that right)

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Look 3 – Striped Dress
I love stripes and the fun dimension they add to dressing. As a large woman, I have stayed away from stripes for a long time. Before I finally made peace with them and realised if you accessorize well, they do not add bulk contrary to what people normally think. This fun stripped dress is from Bangkok. I think I bought it from one of the shops in Paradise mall. Paired it with the iconic Ruby Woo by @maccosmetics , because there is nothing like red lipstick to cheer one up. Simple silver loops completed the look.

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Look 4 – Floral Dress

Is there anything better than dress with pockets?
Yes, floral dress with pockets ♥️♥️♥️ . Dress with pockets have all my heart and if they have
florals in it, nothing can keep me away. Also I love love the maxi dress, they are  omfortable and get me going through a working day at ease.
�� @westsidestores �� – Blazing Orange by Chambor.

(Monika Manchanda is a Food Consultant & Writer, Baker and Culinary Trainer)

Why Sudha Menon loves her sarees

everyday style, fashion

There is something about turning Fifty that empowers and liberates you. I
don’t know about others but for me crossing the Big 5-Oh was the turning
point, the defining moment when I decided to shed my inhibitions, stop
worrying about judgements and wear what I want.
I have been wearing sarees for the last decade or more of my life and I love
how it makes me feel all elegant, poised and confident. I walk differently when
I wear a saree and I am convinced the world communicates with me differently
when I wear one.
In 2018 I significantly upped my saree quotient by moving away from my near-
addiction to block printed Tussar-my designer friend Indira Broker has made
me feel like a goddess in them for the last 2 decades- and decided to
experiment a bit. The result is a wardrobe full of sarees, most of them
handloom, from Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal , Jharkhand and
many other parts of the country.
I also gave up my traditional blouses for funkier ones, many of them bought
on-line, featuring bell sleeves, embroidery, three quarters sleeves, some of
them crop tops and one with a Chinese collar. It made all the difference and
gave my saree a contemporary, fun new avatar.
2018 is also when I got myself a few trendy, smart western outfits- LBDs, smart
linen casuals and gifted myself burgundy highlights in my hair, all of which has
lifted my spirits and given me my mojo back. I love the changed woman I see in
the mirror.
Change is always good and even though we need not be fashion victims,
tweaking our sartorial choices is a great way to reinvent your look.

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The mustard linen saree is from Anavila, teamed with a traditional Maharashtrian Khan blouse. The peace/ orange saree is from bai lou and I have teamed it with a lime green raw silk closed neck princess cut blouse. I teamed up the mustard sleevless kurta from Plantation House with a raw silk, multi-colored checked stole I picked up at Dastakari Haat.
I love silver jewelry and have been collecting them for a few years now. I find silver much more versatile and easier to dress up an outfit or to even step out casually with friends for chai or a girl’s lunch out.

(Sudha Menon is the author of five non fiction books including Feisty At Fifty and Legacy. She is the founder of the writing workshop series Get Writing and Writing With Women. She is a saree addict and loves silver jewelry and photo shoots.)

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. )

 

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?

 

 

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?

 

I think royal blue is my colour….

Uncategorized

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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?

The Journey Begins

Uncategorized

This blog begins a journey for me, where one ended recently. I began my blogging journey back in 2004, with a parenting blog, Karmickids and a personal blog, Thirtysixandcounting. I stopped both a few years ago. The offspring had grown up. And I’d begun writing books and lucky for me, they got published. I now have nine books out and a couple I’m writing and count my blessings everyday for this journey that blogging set me off on.

This is a different journey. This is a journey in a knee jerk response to becoming invisible once one hits forty as a woman. I refuse to become invisible. I am a real, tangible, breathing, dreaming, wonderful woman and I will through this blog, fiercely champion and advocate forty plus fashion and beauty.

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Photo credit: Pooja Dhingra