“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

Geetha Balsara on her saree and casual avatars

everyday style, fashion

 

“I love wearing saris. Thanks to this 6-yard love of mine, my wardrobe consists of saris from practically every Indian state. When in a sari I sense elegance, and sub-consciously grace is infused in the way I carry myself. Having been a Tanpura accompanist to Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia ji, I have had a myriad opportunities to flaunt my collection on stage. “
“Comfort takes precedence over vanity, especially on vacation. Palazzos, a shirt over patiala salwars, harem pants, flowing skirts or even a churidar-kurta, are what go with me on a holiday. I must add here, despite being a plus size, I’ve never shied away from creating my own style quotient.”
(With over 2 decades of an advertising background, Geetha chose to follow her passion and explore the space of artiste management and event planning. Her close proximity to classical musicians opened new doors and she was approached to organise corporate shows. She has worked closely with Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia ji, Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma ji, Shubha Mudgal ji, Pt. Ajay Pohankar ji, Sonu Nigam ji, Shankar Mahadevan ji, and a few others. Geetha is also a writer and has co-authored a book wherein she’s written English synopsis for the 101 poems originally written in Hindi. Besides writing sleeve notes for over 200 classical music albums for Saregama (hmv), she has recently edited a soon to be launched book for a first time author.)

Smita GLK Parikh on her love for comfort trackpants and the saree

everyday style, fashion

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“My most comfortable look is sporty clothes, track pants, T-shirts and sport shoes. I really wish I could wear them all the time. That makes the running around in Maximum city much better especially with the weather right now. Driving or sudden plan of taking a long walk at Bandstand or Marine Drive in the evenings.”

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“A saree is my all-time favourite too which is the most elegant attire according to me. It suits any occasion if accessorised well with bangles and trendy earrings. A beautiful
Kolkata saree with Indian flag tricolour bangles is one of my favourite looks.”

(Smita GLK Parikh is an awarded Author, poetess, radio jockey, video jockey, actress, entrepreneur and Litofest Mumbai festival director)

Dipali Taneja on her love for handloom sarees and traditional jewellery

everyday style, fashion

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“For a person who is not really interested in fashion or trends, the saree, evergreen and eternal, can become the default garment, especially as formal wear. If the said person is lazy and hates going to her tailor, mismatched blouses are a life saver! I also rarely buy sarees for myself: this beauty here is a gift from my daughter-in-law. I’m not sure of the fabric, but it is very soft and cool, and I was happy wearing it with an ancient Ikat blouse and dangling silver earrings.”

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“Handloom sarees are my great love: silks, cottons, even polycots, all have a special appeal. Weaves of different kinds fascinate me, and we have a huge range of weaves across the country. Traditional prints and printing techniques are fabulous too. I end up being given many wonderful sarees. The few that I buy for myself are often impulse purchases, bought when I’m buying a gift for someone! Silver jewellery, beads, pieces with exquisite craftsmanship all speak to me. I truly cherish my antique choker, made from my great-great-grandmother’s bajubund.”

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“My mother had a pair of ‘ponchiyaan’, kundan pieces strung on thick golden thread, worn as bracelets. My sister and I got one each, which we converted into necklaces by stringing them on pearls. Most of the blue and green meenakaari has worn off. I don’t really know how old these were. My parents got married in 1943, but I’m not sure if these were made then or earlier. I also love all my ‘junk’ jewellery!!! Come winter though, I am usually found in jeans and pullovers! Comfort is usually my highest priority! ”

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Madhumita Sinha shares her saree love

everyday style, fashion

 

“I can’t really call myself a fashionista but have always loved to look fashionable in every attire without being too obsessed about the idea. I have always been known as a pant/jeans/t shirt/top kind of woman since my teenage for both casual and work look mainly because I loved the comfort wear both at home and work. Even though I always admired women in sarees for me personally it was nothing less than a nightmare and then getting married to an Army officer and wearing sarees for every other formal parties became my biggest worry  I spent hours perfecting my drape and eventually lost interest in attending such parties.

With time things changed as I crossed mid forties having more time to myself with kids grown up and husband busy in his own world. I started enjoying the experience of draping the six yards to my pleasure and in the bargain collected sarees from different states, weave, material and work from all over the country wherever my husband got posted from Valleys to deserts to mountains. Having touched my golden era, the 50’s, recently I realised that I am absolutely crazy about draping a saree for any occasion matching them with beads, pearls, semi-precious and precious jewellery along with silver, gold and diamond. I do wear my long gowns and anarkalis for certain stage performances or semi formal occasions too but sarees are my all time favourite which I feel surely adds the feminine charm and grace at my age.”

(Madhumita Sinha is an HR professional and a corporate trainer by profession , a published author of a book of poems ‘Heartbeats ‘ 72 random beats , a performing poet by passion and contributes regularly to international and national literary journals. She is part of four anthologies published by different publishers so far. She is also an avid Toastmaster.)

Priya Narendra shares her quirky style

everyday style, fashion

Inspired by a father who loved being stylish even when impoverished or restrained by the demands of a government job, I have always enjoyed putting my own spin on style. Bandanas around my hair, scarves around the knee, dresses worn with churidars, dramatic earrings etc were all part of my hatke take on fashion back when I was in college. When I began working in advertising, salwar kameez was the norm, and wearing business suits or pants and formal shirts with a tie was considered avant garde (!) but I did it anyway. To me, getting ready every morning is almost like putting on a costume for a role in a play – who am I going to be today?

A few years ago, the saree pact rekindled my love for the saree – at one point in time, I had vowed to have one saree of each type woven in India, before I realised the number of distinct weaves India is home to! But I was determined to own the saree look in a way that made it super comfortable for me. So I discarded the ubiquity of the saree blouse and took to wearing sarees with whatever top felt convenient – fitted white shirts, t shirts, crop tops and the like. It was a great way for me to make the saree as easy a choice as western wear when dashing out the door every morning.

One of my fashion dreams was to start a label that made western wear out of Indian fabrics suited to Indian weather, especially our never-ending summer – jackets with a muslin lining, not synthetic, and dresses that wouldn’t hug me too close for comfort in our sticky monsoons. Now there is a host of fashion labels has sprung up which does this with panache. In the hot Delhi summers, if I’m not in a saree at work, I’m usually in one of many anti-fit cotton or muslin dresses, Ikat pants and the like.

A constant challenge, thanks to an auto-immune problem, is that my size varies hugely – between water retention, weight gain and a bad gut. As a result I have found that if I pre-plan an outfit, typically on the day I will find it’s not fitting well, feels uncomfortable, makes me look fatter etc etc. So serendipity plays a huge role in helping me pull an outfit together for any occasion. At least, that’s my excuse for an ever-expanding wardrobe J!

My Must Haves:

accessories

Accessories – they can make or break an outfit. Shoes, bags, jewelry, scarves, hats – and the more expressive of your unique style, the better, be they never so weird. They add so much pizazz to the most sober outfits, and make the outfit you! Plus they make the same dress or jacket look so different each time. One of my prized possessions is a necklace made of zips with temple motifs – it looks so rich and distinctive. Another, a nod to my love for writing, is a necklace made of fountain pen nibs!

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Dresses – drapey and anti-fit for the most part, since my size varies and we have 8+ months of gruelling summer

sarees and tops

A variety of sarees, especially in ikats, and an array of versatile crop tops, Tshirts and fitted shirts to pair with them

Just being me

Most of all, my mantra is that I must feel comfortable and confident in what I am wearing, and it must express my identity. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t considered ‘in vogue’ currently, I’ll still wear it if I love it. And if it is in vogue but I don’t love it, I’m never going to wear it.

(Priyadarshini Narendra, 48, is a marketing professional with over 25 years of experience in advertising, consulting and trend spotting. She is currently Head of Brand Solutions with the Hindustan Times group. A published author, she is also a moody chef, serial hobbyist, fashion aficionado and mother to three human children and two canine ones.)

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. “