Author and blogger Riti Prasad writes about her fashion choices

everyday style, fashion

A popular or latest style of clothing or a manner of doing things, what is your definition of fashion? I have never been the type for whom the latest style or cuts work perfectly. For me, fashion was and is defined by clothes in which one feels comfortable in one’s skin, confident to take on the world and challenging situations, and feeling that I look my best without worrying about unsightly curves on display or seams that could burst anytime. It is not just about high-priced labels but also about quality, workmanship and the right fit. My fashion choices have always been safer, hesitant and predictable so far.The forties, however opened the floodgates. I began to think bold splashes of colour, explore racks that I would have never stepped close to in the previous decade and experimented with different kinds of attire like skirts and dresses that I had not worn for nearly 10 years.
Look 1


The all-forgiving, ubiquitous sari. 
Saris to me was about if there is no matching blouse I cannot wear that sari. It was something that one wears on special occasions and only the fancy silk variety that looks grand and well-set on the body.In my forties, I learnt to step out in a sari that boldly draped over shoulders that showed a blouse with colours that had no connection with the sari. In fact I rebelled in the blouse does not match proclamation! I got a selection of blouses stitched in bold hues that could work with saris of colours that were either bright and flashy or dull. Blouses that lit up the sari in a manner in which the attached blouse we buyers are so fond of, would never do.
This look is put together with a bright rani pink Bengal cotton sari. which is buttery soft and cocoons the wearer in the folds. Nothing describes fuchsia as well as rani pink, a colour so named because it was a combination of rare purple fit for royalty and pink. This is worn with a yellow blouse that doesn’t really match exactly with the borders but still works. 
I teamed it with a chunky silver floral filigree necklace, an antique finish bracelet a setting of fuchsia stones, from GRT jewels, white gold and diamond hoops from Carat Lane and silver sandals from Clark’s. After years of snobbishly wearing only gold, I hesitatingly moved to rose gold and then white gold to try whether I could work with colours that only the fair-skinned people seem to feel confident with. One day, I graduated to silver- a metal I fell in love with all over again when I discovered the variety I could play with in accessories and style without draining my savings. 
I also discovered that I could no longer rely on flimsy footwear that gave up on me on the second wear and have permanently moved to sturdy brands like Clark’s and Hush Puppies.


Look 2
Simple, Smart and Comfortable The Kurta revamped.In my previous life, I always went with simple, straight cuts with side slits that in my opinion gave me the illusion of a better figure. I never touched those in which the side slits were given a miss. Fab India was my friend because of their cuts, prints and overall looks. I felt comfortable in their silks on formal occasions because of their no-nonsense cuts with three-fourth sleeves and sometimes high necks and prince collars. It made me feel in command in official meetings.
Then I stepped into Sanginee, a boutique that works with bold cuts; I have noticed inspirations from places one would not have imagined taking. I learnt to wear Anarkalis after 25 years and worked with bolder necklines and patterns.This mustard and red cotton number has been on my to-buy list for almost six months. I loved it yet never felt I could carry it off. In fact I bought it when other pieces of the same or similar cut were already sold.The kurta has pleats that are similar to box-pleated sports skirts of my school. I had instantly seen the possibilities of traversing this look to a dress however to do that I needed to live in the dress. I am glad I bought this, even though it needed a few tucks and stitches to get the cut lengths of the box pleats to my liking.The Kalamkari print also was not the run-off-the-mill kind and the material hugged the body well without being stiff in places. Bright red churidars completed the look.The wooden beads necklace is my go-to necklace for attires of all kinds – western or Indian. Yes, I graduated to wood, seed and cloth jewellery even, in my forties though I did team it up with a gold jhumka and bracelet because it was Diwali and the mood was celebratory.

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Swati Rai decodes her preferred evening looks

everyday style, fashion
As a blogger, a corporate trainer, Teacher-trainer I have events , workshops and commitments that require me to dress according to the occasion on multiple events. I am a great believer in dressing according to the event and mostly, the dress depends on my moodboard!
Fashion for me is inherent happiness and physical fitness, vigour or call it what you will- boils down to how you carry yourself, be it in the plainest of garment. It is a definite plus if a touch of your personality is reflected in your sartorial selections!
look 1
Look 1
An evening with a slight nip in the air mandated a cover up- a royal blue ensemble was chosen with a warm poncho over it but not without my touch of buckling up with a wide leather belt. I found, the drape worked well for contouring, without compromising  the warmth or the style quotient- easy-peasy look for a cold Delhi formal do! Threw in extra blue liner and mascara, left the neck bare and slapped on some danglers for a little bling!
look 2
Look 2
Who and how can you go wrong with a saree? A regular concoction of different textures of chantilly lace, net, in the baroque vintage style, got me a saree innovatively put together that gave it a designer look, without costing me a bomb! Black and grey is also  combination that I heart- finished with a  silver choker and I was ready, as ready can be!
(Swati Rai blogs at http://theinsiderviews.com)

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. )

 

Author Kanchana Banerjee shares her two fave looks

everyday style, fashion
I’m wearing black tights and a fitted full sleeve top; both purchased from somewhere I can’t remember. I’m a great value seeker and buy clothes from small shops tucked away in the local market. The long stole is Merino wool, bought from a shop in Shimla Mall road. It was love at first sight; just love the vibrant colours on it and the stole goes very well with most solid colours. On my feet are peep toes also bought online.
Pic 1
Look 2
When I was younger, I used to cut up the saris and make them into long dresses and salwar kameez. Mom told me then, stop doing this, one day you’ll love the saris and repent. She was right, like moms usually are. I’m insanely in love with saris now and look for an opportunity to drape one. This rich blue beauty is a gift from a very dear friend, who shares my love for saris and this was her gift to me on my last bday. I love experimenting with blouses and like to wear one in contrasting colour & pattern. The blouse is one of my favourites that I wear with many saris. The necklace I’m wearing also has a story. My friend was wearing it and I liked it so much that she took it off and insisted I take it. I’m very lucky to have such loving friends.
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(About Kanchana: Kanchana Banerjee is an author. Her second book, an edgy dark thriller will be released in summer of 2019 by Harper Collins. Her first book was A Forgotten Affair. When she’s not writing, she likes to read, play with her dogs.)
Thanks Kanchana, for sharing these looks with us.