Much before animal print was a trend, I was wearing this leopard print Zara shirt and this silk python print blouse everywhere, so much so that I am now completely done with the trend, right when the world is taking it up and how.
These are pics from 2018 and 2016. And now, leopard and snake is everywhere you look, in the stores, on the fashion instagrammers, on the catwalks.
What is the trend you’ve been bucking much before the world caught on?
While denim is my standard go to look for every single thing–I think I’m going to write it into my funeral instructions that I go off to the electric crematorium in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers-I try to jazz it up a bit for times when I’m on display. This is a royal blue empire line top in chiffon with some diamante at the waist, of indeterminate origin bought off some store in Lokhandwala market, worn with a pearl and blue stone chain (which of course has gone awry given I can never keep all parts of self in coherent assemblage). The bag is a huge black Zara which fits in everything plus the kitchen sink, and some more. Sometimes I suspect if I fall into my handbag, I might just emerge into an alternate universe. Does that happen with you too?
Hello. I’m a 43 year old freelance graphic designer, living in Bangalore, with my husband and my six year old daughter. After I birthed her, I developed Peripheral Neuropathy, which is a progressive chronic condition where the nerves in my body degenerate, starting from my toes, feet, fingers, hands and inwards.
So my fashion choices are largely informed by my health. I wear lots of long dresses in bright colours and prints, many of them from Zara to hide support shoes most of the time, and I accessorize with chic hats and sunglasses to match the gloves and walking stick that I have to use, to protect my hyper-sensitive skin. I have leopard print gloves, leather gloves with little bows, and many other designs that I have a lot of fun sourcing and collecting.
I also have to wear socks 24/7, so I think long and hard about buying awesomely cool socks, from Hong Kong based websites like Shein, and Lulu and Sky, among others.
The same with shoes. I need to wear soft flats that causes the least amount of pain to my damaged feet. I love Clarks. I was recently thrilled to be able to wear a really pretty floral shoe I found tucked away in Westside!
Fashion cheers me through my painful condition and keeps me positive and feeling youthful as I age.
Do you know what your body shape is? Well, broadly speaking (pun so not intended), they are apple, banana, pear and hourglass. As you might have guessed, the hourglass is the one to aspire to quite simply because it doesn’t make you feel like one of the key ingredients in a fruit salad.
Now, depending on hormones, The Bloat, last night’s all-you-can-eat-buffet and whatever evil, twisted mirror is fat-shaming my near-naked body, I alternate between apple and pear. In plain speak, that means “very fat” and “how are you not a meme yet”.
So, as you can guess, finding clothes which I look presentable in is a tremendous challenge. Lately, thanks to our Calcutta winters, I have been hiding my layers under layers. You know, shawls, ponchos, jackets, and the like.
However, as winter fades, the warm woollies must slowly start to make their way back to their hideaways, rooming with neem leaves and sandlewood sachets.
This Sunday, the husband and I had organised a garden party for friends. A winter lunch in the outdoors while it was still possible before the sweltering starts. Deciding the lunch menu wasn’t as difficult as deciding what to wear!
Luckily it is EOSS time, and I was able to lay my hands on this fabulous boxy dress from Zara. Perfect for my shapeless shape. Good for days when I’m an apple, a pear or a prickly pear-apple. Definitely good for all those days when I’m a pumpkin too!
So I wore this lovely, brown, boxy, checked number with tan shoes. I carried my red, handloom (Kesh) bag from Shantiniketan to add a pop of colour (and also because I’m as lazy as a sun-bathing pig when it comes to changing my bags — but luckily, this worked!)
So there you have it! Fruit salad wrapped up in a checked napkin
Of all the looks I love, jeans and a shirt must be right at the top. I find it a style that can be dressed up or dressed down as you wish, and is good to go everywhere possible, except perhaps formal work situations and black tie events.
Here I am, at an edition of SheThePeople.TV’s Bombaywaali last year, where I was chatting with the very fab Richa Chadha (Catch her in the forthcoming biopic Shakeela, where she plays the title role based on the life of the sultry siren from the South). A bright orangey red Zara crepe shirt with gold buttons, a pair of old Gap jeans, in a completely unfashionable NOW straight leg fit, so prehistoric that I am surely we’d all just climbed out of the primordial sludge when this came off the assembly line, not in picture but had worn these with my old fave brown platform heels, and of course, my ever favourite gold and stone choker which I have now realised I WEAR WITH EVERYTHING. And it was a rasta find! Talk about VFM, I’ve sure extracted that from this choker. What is your go to look with jeans?
I love tone on tone, and especially muted camels, ecrus, biscuits and the entire family of the browns. A quick look for a day, when I want to look a tad dressed up and yet comfortable is this one, a pair of stretch fit corduroy jeans in camel with a muted gold Zara t-shirt. There’s the no shine for day rule that I break with this one, but it doesn’t really become too bling or in your face because it is a muted gold.
I pair these with either my vertiginous leopard print block heels or suede tan peep toe stilettos if I know I’m going to be standing or sitting for most of the time. If I need to be on the go, then these bronze loafers are my preferred option. Perch those oversized sunnies on your head and grab a tan or a matt gold hobo or a bronze envelope clutch and you’re good to go.
Yes, the lip for this one is definitely a deep red. Never mind that it is day.
One of my easiest go to looks is incorporating animal print into a solid palette. Here is what I turn to very often, my all time favourite, in fact at any given point I have at least three to four leopard print elements in my wardrobe
I can wear head to toe leopard print, I love it so, never mind the shocked folk who might keel over and pass on in shock if I do ever dare to emerge in public dressed so. This is a love that has existed down the decades and is not one that I have discovered right now when leopard print seems to be all the rage across the fashion centres of the world, specially in street style. The high fashion catwalks are a land one does not visit.
Here’s one of my favourite no thought, get dressed and go versions when I want to make an impact and don’t have the bandwidth to think long and hard about what I should wear. A soft suede cropped black jacket, black fitted trousers, (yes, black is slimming and an instant upper of your game, head to toe black even better!) a Zara body fit leopard print camisole, or a black camisole, jazzed up by high Lulu & Sky leopard print block heels with safety pin details. Only one element of animal print in the entire look when worn, never two, it just gets too overwhelming. If I feel like it, a delicate neck piece, or nothing at all in terms of accessories, except a bold red lip, and some judiciously applied highlighter if the skin is channeling morgue chic. The leopard print is fierce enough.
When you live in Delhi, you spend most of the year for winter to arrive. When it finally does, you realise how tricky it is to keep warm without looking like a chowkidar on night duty.
These Ankle cut off pair of pants from Uniqlo is my favourite for its unique color. I have paired it with a short navy blue blazer from Mango and a black fitted top. Since boots are a big no with a length like this, I’m wearing Loafers.
God made winters so that women could wear boots. Mid length boots look better if you have thin legs like me. Mine look like spindles when I try wearing tights with short length boots. The hoodie from Zara has cuffs and the hood in silk and a nice contrast print and looks like something that you may not have flicked from your daughter’s wardrobe.
(About Purba: When Purba is not trawling the Internet for that perfect outfit, she writes for Arre and The Quint. Intensely vague, seriously funny, her humour is as bitter as the karelas she avoids. )
Thanks Purba, for being my very first guest blogger on FortyPlusFashion.