Making my fear fuel me…at the IBM Security Summit today

everyday style, fashion

The wonderful Deepali Naair invited me to give a talk at the IBM Security Summit today and the topic was making your fear your fuel.

When I opened my wardrobe to pull out what I would wear, I thought of my topic. I had already pulled out a black lace top and black trousers. Safe, comforting, I always wear black when I have to give a talk, it makes me worry less about my clothes, about inner wear showing through, about stains, I like to think it slims me down a tad for the camera, and trousers are comfort wear. I can move around on stage, I can climb up and down with ease.

Then I stopped myself. What have I always been most terrified about I asked myself, when it came to what I wore when giving a talk. I would do anything to avoid getting into a saree. I’m terrible at draping, can’t fuss about to fold and pleat perfectly, I can never get it perfect at the hem, so it goes up and down like gently bobbing waves, I’m always terrified it will unravel completely when I’m on stage, and that I’ll be standing up there gathering yards of fabric. I’m terrified I will impale myself on those safety pins and die a horrible death from septicemia, basically all the worst case situations I fill my head with.

So today, I wore a saree. I eliminated all my fears one by one. Wore a soft paisley print Satya Paul chiffon filched from my mother in law’s extensive collection, so I could drape it easily. Wore a metallic bronze Zara round t-shirt so I wouldn’t panic about skin show, bra strap show, etc Wore flat Kolhapuri chappals so there was no stress about tripping. Wore the pallu around my neck so it didn’t trail behind me and snag on something, and topple me head first into the stage lights. It was a first. But I think I can conquer this mind block too, what say?

 

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Viji Venkatesh on how Delhi and Mumbai have influenced her style

everyday style, fashion
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“Delhi. Where I was born and brought up. I began wearing sarees fifty years ago. When I was 17. Cotton ones from Handloom Emporium and Cottage Industries. My mother helped me choose them and was my role model on how to wear them. She was always so well dressed and her cottons always starched.
I loved Bengal cottons and the Sanganeri prints. Till today these are my favourite weaves. And when I drape a cotton saree it is an ode to Maiji.
As for Delhi , my soul is there. Amidst the ruins of Lodhi Gardens, wrapped around the columns of Connaught Place.
A cotton saree, a Jamdani from Dhaka to match the ivory of this iconic landmark Delhi is famous for. Crisp and cool , teamed with a black crop top.
When I wear a saree I feel like a queen and remember my growing up years in Delhi.”
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“45 years of my 67 in Bombay. The city that taught me I could do whatever I wanted to no matter what.
Where I found myself. The city that helped me peel off the many layers life wrapped around my persona. Daughter, daughter in law, wife, mother …and when they came off, there I was. Bombay gave me the confidence, courage and creativity to do my thing. To be whoever, however…wear my attitude on my sleeve, wear whatever I wanted to. The sea and the sweep of the city told me there are no boundaries and nothing wrong in dreaming. For its part the city has made my dreams come true.”
(Viji Venkatesh is Region Head (India & South Asia), The Max Foundation, Managing Trustee – Friends of Max, Trustee – Being Human, The Salman Khan Foundation. )

Jasmine Khurana on why the six yards are her cape

everyday style, fashion

The six yards are my cape! Anyday!

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As a child, if you have seen your mother step out every single day for her workplace in the most graceful sarees, it is very natural to grow up absorbing a warm affinity towards the six yards. No wonder when I started working, saree it was every day to college. Years later too, with a small child and despite a war-like situation every morning, I remember wrapping myself in crisp cottons in summers and lush silks in winters in gross 5 mins and almost running to make it on time to be there for my school assembly every morning.  Delhi allows you to indulge in the luxury of having a different wardrobe every season and I made the most of the six years that we stayed there.

My long sabbatical from work was also a sabbatical of sorts from sarees. I’m back with a bang to draping them again in my second innings as a writer and Spoken Word Performer for most of my events now. Most of my collection of exotic silk and crepe sarees are hand-me-downs from my Mom and Mom-in-law. It feels like a fortune that I have inherited from them. Over the years, I have shopped myself mostly for cotton and linen sarees and love teaming them up with quirky blouses from ‘Muchukalis’. Their high necks, straight cuts and a comfort fit is just the way I want my blouse to be.

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Fab India suits and dupattas (silks and cotton both) are my other go-to attire. My wardrobe has dupattas as old as 16 years brought from Fabindia stores in Delhi, Chandigarh, Mumbai and Kolkatta- places that we kept moving to over the last 20 years of our married life. The one in the picture is an absolute favourite Lucknowi suit with a pink floral cotton duppatta. (Fab India)

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Lest I forget, once in a while when the mood is western, my inches oblige and I’m ready to make the effort of pulling a dress down my pleasantly plump frame, it’s always a Marks & Spencer. Cuts that camouflage my love handles and all that is buxom are the  best cuts- anyday 😉

(Jasmine Khurana was an economics professor and has now found her calling as a writer and a spoken word artist.)

Nandini Srinivasan rocks both the saree and the little summer dress

everyday style, fashion
“I work in the tech industry (20 years and counting) , which in the name of “cool” has shed all sense of dress etiquette. So to keep my spirits perked up I love bringing a riot of colors to my wardrobe, and in my mind. It’s my way of dealing with the corporate madness within which I am deeply entwined.”
“My saree is a special gift from my niece who picked the hues of purple, orange and pink. It’s a very light Kanchi silk and I decided to pair it with a bright orange halter blouse  and long earrings.”
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“My summer dress is bring is a lovely lemon color, with patterns that reminded me of chikan craft, just gives a very refreshing vibe. While you can pair it with platforms or pumps, I have a simple white walking sandals on (we were touring Boston while this picture was taken).”
We love both Nandini’s looks, and the absolute confidence with which she carries both off. If you want to share your favourite looks do mail me at kiranmanral@gmail.com, with two full length pictures showing your outfit to the maximum advantage and a brief para on each. 

Saree Swag and litfesting…

everyday style, fashion

I’ve already confessed I have a mortal terror of wearing sarees. I’ve tripped too often and sprained my ankles, ripped exquisite ones to shreds, pinned them ineptly and have had them uravelling visibly in a public situation, had horrific experiences of going to the bathroom in public places where the floors are literal swamps, and more, and so have actively avoided wearing them for all my 47 years. Let me also confess that I am most disorganised a dresser, so the effort of coordinating saree, blouse and petticoat, not to mention, having appropriate number of safety pins at hand is something that has been one of my perpetual failings.

Last year, I think I wore a saree just once, and that too for one of the functions at my niece’s wedding, for the other three functions, I made do with salwar kameezes. This year though, my resolution is to wear more sarees, especially for formal occasions and especially for litfests. I love being in long dresses in the regular course of affairs, but realise that one doesn’t quite have the gravitas needed on stage, something that a saree effortlessly endows one with. And as for the horror of all my Michelin man waist tyres being on public display, thank god for the new style of traditional blouses being dispensed with and anything and everything being okay in place of it.

For the Times of India Bangalore Lit Fest on Saturday, I borrowed this exquisite soft silk Ajrakh saree off my sister in law, Tara (in pic with me), wore it with simple double chain of silver beads and a black shell top. Works?

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Priya Saxena makes for a chic grandma

everyday style, fashion

Sent in by her daughter Deepshikha, this is Priya Saxena’s style

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Pic 1: Homemaker by choice, her life revolves around her two daughters. She has always had a simple life and that’s what she wants in her dressing style too. Graceful and Chic as she puts it.
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Pic 2: Once done with the daily chores, this grandma of one beautiful girl likes to tune into Cibaca Geetmala on her latest music gadget with a kadak adrak chai. Her style is comfortable, sustainable and classic.

Hira Mehta on how she rocks the sixties

everyday style, fashion

Whoever said “dress age appropriate” has still not touched the 40+ or perhaps is not just comfortable with themselves. There is a big misconception in our culture that that we are no longer interested in looking stylish if we are over 40. I am 60+ and may not be a part of the corporate world since I have retired or even perhaps just not in tune with fashion, but I am an adventurous spirit. I dress for that face in the mirror. I love going out with friends and this style and casual looks (a kurta thrown over a pant too) makes me feel a younger, confident and happy ME.

Perhaps for me the most chosen outfit for formal events that I attend or host so frequently. Sometimes it may be an occasional Punjabi too. The sari makes me feel dignified, elegant and beautiful (and note, definitely not my age). Besides matching it off with matching coloured jewellery is something that makes me happy. A sari suits everyone, no matter what age and it never can go out of fashion ever! Rest of the time its the casual look with jeans, pants topped off with kurtas and tops.

(Hira Mehta, retired from ICICI Bank with thirty-eight years of service, is an effective administrator. communicator and a freelancer on various projects, with two published books “YOUNG AND SIXTY” and “TWISTED TALES AND MORE…” to her credit. Along with enjoying her passion for writing and blogging (crossleggedwithhira), she hosts events, mentors, organises workshops for women in her locality, contributes towards social service and indulges in her greatest love – Bollywood by making short films, interviewing people, acting in short films and studio hopping. Her motto is  “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, I used everything you gave me’.)

Pant and Top / Kurta photo

Whoever said “dress age appropriate” has still not touched the 40+ or perhaps is not just comfortable with themselves. There is a big misconception in our culture that that we are no longer interested in looking stylish if we are over 40. I am 60+ and may not be a part of the corporate world since I have retired or even perhaps just not in tune with fashion, but I am an adventurous spirit. I dress for that face in the mirror. I love going out with friends and this style and casual looks (a kurta thrown over a pant too) makes me feel a younger, confident and happy ME.

Saree

Perhaps for me the most chosen outfit for formal events that I attend or host so frequently. Sometimes it may be an occasional Punjabi too. The sari makes me feel dignified, elegant and beautiful (and note, definitely not my age). Besides matching it off with matching coloured jewellery is something that makes me happy. A sari suits everyone, no matter what age and it never can go out of fashion ever! Rest of the time its the casual look with jeans, pants topped off with kurtas and tops.

Pant and Top / Kurta photo

Whoever said “dress age appropriate” has still not touched the 40+ or perhaps is not just comfortable with themselves. There is a big misconception in our culture that that we are no longer interested in looking stylish if we are over 40. I am 60+ and may not be a part of the corporate world since I have retired or even perhaps just not in tune with fashion, but I am an adventurous spirit. I dress for that face in the mirror. I love going out with friends and this style and casual looks (a kurta thrown over a pant too) makes me feel a younger, confident and happy ME.

Saree

Perhaps for me the most chosen outfit for formal events that I attend or host so frequently. Sometimes it may be an occasional Punjabi too. The sari makes me feel dignified, elegant and beautiful (and note, definitely not my age). Besides matching it off with matching coloured jewellery is something that makes me happy. A sari suits everyone, no matter what age and it never can go out of fashion ever! Rest of the time its the casual look with jeans, pants topped off with kurtas and tops.

Pant and Top / Kurta photo

Whoever said “dress age appropriate” has still not touched the 40+ or perhaps is not just comfortable with themselves. There is a big misconception in our culture that that we are no longer interested in looking stylish if we are over 40. I am 60+ and may not be a part of the corporate world since I have retired or even perhaps just not in tune with fashion, but I am an adventurous spirit. I dress for that face in the mirror. I love going out with friends and this style and casual looks (a kurta thrown over a pant too) makes me feel a younger, confident and happy ME.

Saree

Perhaps for me the most chosen outfit for formal events that I attend or host so frequently. Sometimes it may be an occasional Punjabi too. The sari makes me feel dignified, elegant and beautiful (and note, definitely not my age). Besides matching it off with matching coloured jewellery is something that makes me happy. A sari suits everyone, no matter what age and it never can go out of fashion ever! Rest of the time its the casual look with jeans, pants topped off with kurtas and tops.

(Also see Jo Chopra Shares Her Favourite Look and Archna Singh Shares Her Fave Looks)

Atika Gupta shares her Bohemian style

everyday style, fashion

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Bohemian Fashion
I love to combine gypsy style skirts/ghagras in earthy block prints or bright chintz prints with smart shirt style kurtas, jackets etc. Tribal accessories such as big glass work rings, gypsy earrings & necklace, anklets with shells and bells, and Doc Marten Boots complete this look. I have a tribal dots tattoo on my chin and like to paint more of those on my neck. The idea is to keep it fun, bright and eclectic to keep the girl in my alive!
My most usual way of dressing and also my favourite- combine a simple handloom saree with a contrast, bold and colourful blouse. I play with tartans, floral and Kutch mirror work. Also seen in the photos here is a backless blouse (which is very bohemian and playful) which I wore with a plain lime green linen saree.
All the sarees in these pics are traditional weaves from local weavers of Kerala, Bengal and Rajasthan.
I usually wear antique or arty silver earrings and a big statement ring with this ensemble.
This style brings out the sensual woman in me while asserting my love for the local and everything Indian ️

(Atika Gupta is 47 years young. A Corporate PR Communications professional with a keen eye for innovation  and detail, she has successfully spearheaded launch of luxury boutique hotels, bookstores and an art gallery. Her passion for art and literature has led Atika to effectively curate and strategise events across various international platforms. She is a self-proclaimed workaholic, perfectionist and foodie. When not working, she likes to pursue her interests in singing, dancing, cooking and reading. She’s the proud mother of two sons, 24 and 18 years old.)

Teresa Rehman shares her comfort looks

everyday style, fashion

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I look for quiet and calm amidst chaos. Therefore, comfort rules my dress code.
And my wardrobe consists mostly of sober cotton, handloom and silk kurtas. I end
up wearing black more often especially when I don’t want to think through colour
schemes. My collection of traditional dupattas/stoles from all over India blends
perfectly with my salwar suits. And the latest addition to my collection is an
Assamese handwoven ‘tongali’ (worn by the farmer as a waistcloth). In this
picture, with a plain silver coloured kurta, I have wrapped a stole embellished with
kantha work around my neck. This stole is from Bengal.

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For any kind of meetings and get-togethers, I prefer the Assamese mekhela sador
(mostly the handwoven ones). And for formal gatherings I prefer a paat silk
mekhela sador. Paat silk is probably one of the lightest silks. In this photograph
clicked on the streets of New York, I am wearing a white cotton mekhela sador
with blue and purple flowers. The flower motif is a traditional design called king
khap. The Halloween pumpkins in the backdrop almost seem like an art
installation.

(Teresa Rehman is an award-winning journalist and author based in Assam. She
loves collecting ethnic accessories from different corners of India and the world.)

Journalist Mrinmayee Ranade shares her everyday style

everyday style, fashion

I am not a brands person, except handloom perhaps. 

The saree is from Co-optex, my long time favourite, just like my mother. Aai gifted this saree for birthday last year, so more special. 

The jacket is from Mahalaxmi Saras exhibition many years ago, my annual shopping pilgrimage where I get stuff made/sold by women’s self help groups. The pic was clicked on 31st December last year, as if waving bye bye to 2018! 

The blue long dress is from streets of Dadar 
 Have recently started wearing such dresses. No longer bothered about what others – read in laws – think or will say. (on second thoughts, i am more concerned about what the daughter will say now 😛 )

The teal dress is Biba, fits me perfectly. Clicked on 47th birthday. The pocket is added my myself from some leftover material.

( Mrinmayee Ranade is a journalist, reader, traveler, who has recently found love of crochet and making simple jewelry. )