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
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.