Chic Leggings: Going graphic

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I see graphic t-shirts everywhere I go. Girls wearing them, their moms wearing them, on the racks (including at Zara recently), in window displays… And then I came across a pair of graphic-printed leggings, at a high street store abroad. They were certainly eye-catching, though I found them a bit daring for me. I didn’t think I had the panache and confidence to carry it off.

Then I saw Sonam Kapoor sporting a similar pair in a recent interview. Yes, the same Sonam Kapoor who wore badly-fitted anarkali-churidar not too long ago. Surprisingly (or perhaps not), she carried off the graphic tights really well. Paired with a long black tee, it was a deadly combo that elongated Sonam’s super long legs. Check out the TV grab below and don’t miss Sonam’s bejewelled clutch.

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Needless to say, I’m giving these tights a second thought, but I think I’ll wear them only when I’m on TV. 😉 Would you wear graphic-print leggings? Tell us!

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Chic Reviews: Fashion films

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If you’ve leafed through a fashion mag lately, you would have spotted a Diesel ad. There’s a picture of a guy hanging upside down from a bus window kissing a girl, and the copy advises you to Be Stupid. Attention-grabbing concept, to say the least. But the campaign has caught the attention of UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, which recently banned the ads saying they were racy and indecent.

While some say the campaign was well… stupid, let’s move away from the Diesel debate and take a look at a recent trend in fashion campaigning—short films. Here are the Speaking Chic mini-reviews:

It started with the Chanel No. 5 ad, a story in the Orient Express, with glimpses of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. Starring Audrey Tautou, I found the ad (and the protagonist) mesmerising and enthralling.

Speaking Chic rating:  4/5

 

And then there’s Christian Louboutin’s Dancer in a Daydream with the designer tap dancing with two long-legged ladies. Great fun to watch, and their trademark red-soled shoes are a striking part of this film.

Speaking Chic rating: 3.5/5

Dior’s Lady Blue Shanghai has a dreamy, surrealist feel. But despite David Lynch’s direction and John Galliano’s creative touches, the film is very close to umm… boring. Marion Cotillard’s Dior outfits, the bag, the decor, are splendid, but not engaging enough.

Speaking Chic rating: 3/5

As for Prada’s First Spring: Love. The. Clothes. But that doesn’t make a film, does it? A motion picture has the power to tell a story,but this film didn’t do that. (If I wanted to see the Prada collection, I’d flip through their latest runway show.)

Speaking Chic rating: 3/5 (only for the clothes)

What do you think about the recent fashion and luxury ads? Are they high on high on fashion, low on substance?

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Chic Micro-trend: Denim for your feet

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After years of being discarded as “too casual”, denim emerged as one of the key trends from the international Spring Summer 2010 catwalks. From Dolce & Gabbana to Jean Paul Gaultier, this fabric appeared from out of the blue in a variety of garments, other than jeans. There were edgy jumpsuits, hot shorts, mini skirts and casual dresses. Soon enough, denim hit the high fashion street, with Mango and Zara giving their summer collections a denim twist.

But if you don’t want to wear a denim dress, you’ve anyways worn jeans all your life, and we don’t need denim jackets in India (thank you very much), cash in on the trend with denim shoes!

Footwear made of denim can be surprisingly versatile. They can be sneakers, pumps or wedges. How do you want to wear it?

How to wear the trend

If you’re looking for dressy, sexy or stylish to go with jeans or a non-denim dress, then look out for the denim shoes at the high street stores. Mango has this chic pair of denim shoes at their Indian stores. I also liked this pair for guys, but Indian men are not too high on Mango’s radar.

Meanwhile, check out this really cute pair of denim lace-ups I found at a Mango store abroad.

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If you’re sportier types, head to the nearest Converse store. This American and Indian teen (and post-teen) favourite is likely to have a pair or two of denim shoes on their shelves. Casual, smart and comfy.

What do you think of this trend? Are you waiting for lunch hour to rush to the nearest store? Or have you had enough of denim already? Tell us!

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Monsoon mini-guide: Must-haves and must-gags

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The rain gods have arrived, and they’re showering their love on us. It’s time to show some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. to them and to ourselves, overhauling our wardrobes for the next coupla months.

Here’s a handy tip: Come monsoon, and what you wear is not a question of trends, but of comfort and practicality with a chic factor. After all, no one wants to wade through knee-high water in six-inch stilettos.

So here’s our guide to monsoon wear must-haves and must-gags, with some super chic options marked with an *:

Clothes

Must-haves

  • Capris, foldable jeans for omniscient shallow puddles
  • Comfy blouses and shirts that don’t cling to you
  • Kurtas and churidars in georgettes (minus the dupatta)

Must-gags

  • Extra-long trousers
  • Transparent and translucent tops
  • Loose-flowing skirts (remember the strong winds?)

Don’t forget

  • To carry your windcheater. Umbrellas are useless in gusts of wind.
  • To bring out your boleros  and shrugs. They’re perfect for the now-hot-now-cold weather*
Shoes

Must-haves

Gum boots(if you can!) or non-slippery ballet shoes

Crocs* (not the ones with the holes, but the comfy chic styles; they’re a tad expensive, but worth every paisa)

Crocs for monsoon 

Must-gags

  • High heels
  • Your brand-new or old Jimmy Choos, Manolos etc

Don’t forget

  • You can always do what the New Yorkers do—change into your heels/ formal leather shoes in office*
Hair, Makeup and Accessories

Must-haves

  • Hair clips and pins to keep your hair in place*
  • Moisturiser

Must-gags

  • Layers of makeup
  • Too many hair products

Don’t forget

  • To use a good anti-frizz serum after washing your hair. It works wonders!*
  • To carry a comb with you, to smoothen our messy hair. Wet hair rarely looks good in real life.

What do you think of this mini-guide? Share your suggestions and tips in the comments box, or write to us at speakingchic [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Zara Review (with spy shots)

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I’ve just come back from a wonderful trip to Turkey, which included tonnes of shopping, including at Zara and Mango. So I thought it’d be a perfect time to test the Zara store in Mumbai. Here’s my honest review (with cool spy shots).

I’d heard scary stories the day before I visited Zara’s Mumbai store—there was a queue to go in, it was packed, long lines at the cash counter… you get the drift. But surprise! No lines to get in, enough elbow space, though Zara was a bit crowded for an Indian store.

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Zara is a sprawling two-floor store, with men, kids and women’s casuals on the first floor, and the ground floor dedicated to women’s wear. The men’s section was unexpectedly crowded, which is good news, because it indicates that Indian men are acquiring good fashion taste. I spotted some basic guys’ tees for Rs 895.

Coming to the casuals range (the TRF line), there were basic half-sleeve tees for Rs 445, jeans-like-leggings (Rs 1590; not called jeggings here), graphic tees, leggings, and a couple of really cool jackets. One was a pink cotton ruffle jacket (Rs 1790), and the other a smart short-sleeved blue leather jacket. A lot of the garments reminded me of the Istanbul store, indicating that they from the latest collection.

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I brought out my camera, but I’d only taken two pictures before an Oriental-looking guy called Mike said, “Sorry, photo not allowed.” I mumbled a sorry and put it back inside. Moments later, I saw an Oriental-looking girl, and guessed that Zara has sourced staff from other stores in Asia.

On the lower floor, I spotted formal blazers (useful for formal meetings), cocktail dresses, tunics, blouses, jeans and trousers.  

The striking trends in the Zara collection were floral prints in easy, flowing silhouettes, whites, graphic prints, and a bit of lace and cutwork. And then there was the key trend this season—denim. Besides the jeans, there were skirts (Rs 990), shorts, a dress or two and even denim-look slouchy pants (Rs 2190)! The party dress selection was more classic than trendy, but very wearable.

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Among accessories, the stoles and bags didn’t deserve a second glance, but there were plenty of shoes to keep us girls happy, and several were available in my hard-to-get size (a tiny 36). Again, Zara had made an effort to stock the hottest shoes, such as strappy flats and gladiator-style stilettos. Unfortunately, the shoes are priced similar to or bit higher than Charles & Keith and Nine West. I even saw a pink pair for Rs 5000!

BTW, I noticed Zara had tried to give their collection a desi appeal with a FabIndia-like printed skirt on display and several tunics that were clearly India-inspired.

The Verdict:

Will I go to Zara again? Yes. Is it now my favourite store in Phoenix Mills? Nope, that’s still Landmark. Would I recommend the store to others? Yes.

BUT… Zara needs to get its pricing right, since I found prices undeserving, even surprising or just appalling! And if you’re an avid shopper abroad, then you don’t need this store.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping Zara’s mere presence in India spurs Mango to pull up its socks and give us better stuff.

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