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.

Mariellen Ward of BreatheDreamGo on how she’s rewriting the script

everyday style, fashion
“Initially, as I aged, I felt a lot of insecurity about the signs of age, and not being a youthful woman anymore. This matters to me in several ways, professionally as well as personally. As a travel blogger, there’s a big emphasis on the attractive young women on Instagram who combine travel with modelling. However, I’ve decided at 59 to embrace my age, find a style that suits me, and feel confident no matter what. Who says that “older” women can’t be attractive? We need to rewrite the script!
 
I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes, usually go for the mid-range stores like Fabindia and Cottons Jaipur and Anokhi. I bought the Banarasi sari at a shop in Varanasi and talked sales person down from Rs 10,000 to Rs 5,000 rupees. I was travelling (as a journalist) aboard the Maharajas’ Express train, so I knew the store was touristy and over-charging. Still, consider this a great bargaining success.”
 

MW Khajuraho

Khajuraho: White cotton kurta and cream cotton trousers from Fabindia 

MW Lucknow 2
Lucknow: Teal and green silk-cotton blend kurta and chiffon palazzos from Cottons Jaipur, Special Collection
MW Wedding
 
Wedding: Black and silver silk Banarasi sari
 
MW Chittoor Kottaram sq 1

Chittoor: Gold silk kurta from Fabindia with cotton turquoise skirt from the market

 
(Mariellen Ward is a digital storyteller who publishes the award-winning travel site Breathedreamgo.com, based on her extensive travels in India. She has a BA in Journalism, has been published in leading media outlets around the world, and lives up in the clouds in Rishikesh, India.)

What I wore today: That 70s show

everyday style, fashion

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(Photograph: Nikita Deshpande)

Oversized tinted aviators, hair that decided to part itself down the middle like it was suddenly channelising its inner Moses, a Ritu Kumar floral cotton kurti in mint green (a gift from my sis in law), Marks and Spencer jeggings, and my ubiquitous Kolhapuri chappals in cream and gold bought from Mahabaleshwar which I’ve been using forever and more. The pop of pink in the border I tried to echo with a pop of a similar shade in the lipstick, Lakme 9 to 5, Pink Ambition, which is looking strangely deeper here. Nice?

Deepali Naair on her love for antique silver jewellery

everyday style, fashion

deepalinair

How did I start collecting antique silver jewellery?
Back in 80s and 90s, I used to be a kathak performer, very often on stage. Big and bold jewellery was a key accessory to the Kathak costumes. Because the glass bangles would break and I would get hurt during performances, my mother bought me silver jewellery which would not get stolen during costume changes and would also not break. The jewellery in those days was not finished in antique look but was the shiny silver glaring look ideal for the stage. Then came circa post MBA of the sales stint which took me travelling to villages in Orissa and also Tier 2 cities in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Once again the silver jewellery came to the rescue of the young Marwari bride who cannot be not wearing jewellery. This time it was worn with work clothes and not costumes and finished in antique style (polish). The silver jewellery from Rajasthan was a rage in Mumbai and the pieces were unique. Thus started a life-long habit of acquiring pieces which are unique. The collection is now my pride as it also reflects timeless taste and my sense of design. The best compliment I have received is from a young friend who requested that I include her in my will to inherit at least one of my pieces!

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(Deepali Naair is Director, Marketing, India and South Asia, IBM)

Rajeshwari Jain shares her favourite looks

everyday style, fashion

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Rajeshwari wears a creamish ivory cotton silk saree from Pallam Silks with a blood red and blue border accessorized with Kemp temple jewellery, sporting the traditional South Indian look and finished with a mogra gajraa hair accessory for her bun.

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A pastel yellow chiffon shirt with minimal accessories defining her Corporate look.

 

(Rajeshwari Ashish Jain runs an organisation that empowers women.)

Josephine Goveas and her saree swag

everyday style, fashion

Janice Goveas, Josephine’s daughter writes about her mom’s style:

“My mum attracts some lovely sarees. And she has a penchant for matching it up with some perfect blouses. This is mum in coffee shop in South Mumbai looking very elegant in her Kolkata cotton silk saree. Again note the no makeup look and hair tied in a bun and only her interesting saree blouse as accessory.

As a teacher her cotton sarees were her hallmark and all her students identify with the impeccable way she drapes her saree. This is my mum in her Kolkata cotton saree which has thread ‘butis’. One thing to note is my mum will never wear make up but ties her salt and pepper bun in her signature style to look understated by yet oh so chic. “

Ruchita Dar Shah shares her love for Kolhapuri chappals

everyday style, fashion

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I may not understand everything about fashion but I do understand colour well . I may not get style but I know comfort . I think I can call myself a comfortably colourful dresser!  Over the years I have figured that comfort for me wins over whatever is trending or not. I like traditional or classic looks over anything else. And in my 40s I have also realised that some amount of ‘ Desi’ in my clothes , footwear or bags works best for me. I feel most comfortable in Indo western, desi chic, fusion or whatever the fashion police might wanna call it . The popular hashtag #NeverNotWearingSomethingDesi has become my mantra too! And among all the desi accessories I own and wear, like neck pieces , tunics and dresses one that has organically emerged is my love for Kolhapuri chappals. They are super comfortable, colourful  ( most of them are super cheap too ) and so damn universal that they can be worn with just about anything . I wear them with dresses, jeans and of course sarees. They have definitely become a staple in my humble shoe closet and completely liberated me from wondering if a particular outfit demands wedges, stilettos or closed shoes.

(Ruchita Dar Shah is the founder of First Moms Club)

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.

Of Paisleys and prints

everyday style, fashion

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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.