Awesome shopping streets in South East Asia

Shopping (and window shopping) is one of my favourite things to do when I travel to a new city or country. It gives me a feel of the local fashion, an opportunity to discover ideas for new looks and a sense of how the people there like to dress.

I particularly enjoy walking through shopping streets because they’re so much more fun than malls. You get to the see the neighbourhood, the city’s architecture and of course, street life. In this two-part series, I’m listing my favourite shopping streets. The first part covers my favourite shopping streets in Asia.

Hang Gai, Hanoi (Vietnam)

Hanoi’s Hang Gai has everything a fashionista would want: cute boutiques, chic souvenir stores, French-style cafes, local art stores and even a tshirt-only store. I shopped all of these on Hang Gai and in the neighbourhood, stepping into side streets to discover embroidery stores, handcrafted goods and lots of silk! My top buys: A tongue-in-cheek Hanoi tshirt from Ginkgo (local fashion brand) and hand-embroidered pouches. Browsing at local boutiques in Hang Gai and Hang Trong for clothes and accessories is highly recommended! You may just stumble across some unique finds.

Hanoi Vietnam street shopping

Hanoi Vietnam street shopping

Hanoi Vietnam street shopping

Orchard Road, Singapore

Orchard Street is anyone’s dream destination to shop in Singapore, and the craziness begins when you step off the MRT. I bought two pairs of shoes right at the station even before I hit the shopping street above. 😛 The good news is that Orchard Street has a range of malls to suit different shopping budgets. The bad news is, you want to go everywhere. After a lot of disappointments at Orchard Street stores (international brands were cheaper in India and H&M was a disaster), I finally discovered a store at 313 Somerset called Valleygirl that had trendy dresses and tops at moderate prices.

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Singapore Orchard Road shopping

Bugis Street, Singapore

Yep, two places in Singapore! Bugis Street is a delight if you want to hog while you shop! I shopped there late evening, and bagged cool bargains on tops, lingerie, nightwear and souvenirs. Then we had a very Singaporean snack right on the street- the icecream sandwich. The restaurants on Bugis Street serve good local fare as well. I didn’t venture deep inside the market, which is where the best deals are to be found, but the street-facing and ground floor shops have some great deals!

Bugis street Singapore shopping

Bugis street Singapore shopping

Bugis street Singapore shopping

Bugis street Singapore shopping

 

Watch it. Get fit.

My Facebook feed these days is stuffed with friends, school mates, ex-colleagues, far-off cousins and random people achieving unbelievable fitness feats. They are running full marathons, cycling across the countryside, losing 60 pounds, climbing mountains and sculpting Hugh Jackman-like bods.

And so, the hubby and I have been bitten by the fitness bug too. It’s a good thing, of course, and discovering that the old jeans fit again is oh-so-satisfying. Mr S got into fitness mode first and August was his birthday month, so I went hunting online for a gift. On a whim, I googled “fitness watch” and that’s when I discovered THE PERFECT GIFT. The mind-boggling range of wearable fitness devices—watches, wrist bands and clip-ons—is enough to get any fitness enthusiast salivating.

These fitness devices are amazing—while the basic ones track how much you walked or ran, some of the advanced fitness wearables monitor heart rate, sleeping patterns and calories burnt.

And the good news for a fashionista like me is that they look stylish too. Designed as chic minimal pieces, fitness devices have plenty of features and colour options.

Anyways, if you’re looking to get fit and need just the right kick in the rear, investing your hard-earned salary in a fitness watch might just get you in the mood. Or you might just have found the perfect Diwali gift for a special someone, family member or friend.

Now that Mr S’s Fitbit Charge HR has become an indispensable part of his life, he’s promised to gift me a fitness watch for my happy budday this month. Now all I need to do is get on the treadmill. 😉

My picks:

Starter fitness wearable for newbies: Jawbone UP MOVE (Rs 4,999)

Jawbone UP MOVE

Great value for money, critics’ pick and my favourite: Fitbit Charge HR (Rs 12,990)

Fitbit Charge HR plum

Feature-packed pieces: Fitbit Surge (Rs 19,990) and Jawbone UP3 (Rs 14,999)

Fitbit Surge black

Jawbone UP3 Ruby Cross

For serious runners who want GPS: Garmin Vivoactive (Rs 17,660)

Garmin Vivoactive

Bollywood Fashion Guide: Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu Returns

In my previous blog post, I did a look breakdown of Deepika Padukone’s indo-chic look in Piku. In Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Kangana Ranaut’s character Tanuja Trivedi (Tanu) is also seen in contemporary Indian wear but her definition of indo-chic is drastically different from Piku’s style.

Kangana Ranaut Tanu Weds Manu Returns

Tanu is a free-spirited quirky girl who loves having fun. As a married woman in London, she opts for Indian styles. So she wears saris in public, complete with mangalsutra and very noticeable sindoor. Her saris are mostly retro-style lacey ones, and in the opening scene she has bundled up in a beige trench coat over her sari.

Kangana Ranaut sari Tanu Weds Manu

Once back in India, the pre-marriage Tanu takes over, and she’s back to her colourful self. In the earlier film Tanu Weds Manu Kangana Ranaut opted mostly for greens and blues, but in this film her look is bolder than ever, choosing bright pinks and oranges.

Kanagana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu Returns look breakdown

Kangana Ranaut patiala Tanu Weds Manu Returns

Printed kurta or tee

Printed patiala

Bright printed or crushed dupatta

Accessories: Jhumkas (her favourite carried forward from Tanu Weds Manu), necklaces and stacks of bangles

Makeup: Lots of it, and usually very matchy-matchy. So if Tanu’s wearing a pink kurta, she’s applied pink blush and pink lipstick. And oh, there’s also a tiny bindi and tonnes of mascara and even fake eyelashes!

How to get Kangana Ranaut’s Tanu Weds Manu Returns Look

Kurta from Biba

Biba kurta

Patiala from Soch

Soch printed patiala

Dual-toned dupatta from Aurelia, available on Fashionara

Crushed dupatta

Sari from Pernia Qureshi

Pernia Qureshi sari

Jhumkas from Fida

Fida classic jhumkas

Pink bangles from Vidhya Kangan, available on Craftsvilla

Ethnic pink bangles

Style & Shopping Guide: Deepika Padukone’s Piku look

FOUND: Deepika Padukone’s kurta from Piku! (Read on to know more).

In Piku, Deepika Padukone has one of her most unglamourous on-screen avatars. Here’s a complete style breakdown of Piku and where you can shop Deepika Padukone’s look.

Deepika Padukone in Piku

Deepika Padukone as Piku

Deepika Padukone’s character Piku is a working woman and always in a rush due to her father’s morning drama. No high-end designer wear or heavy makeup for her. Instead there’s minimal styling and accessories. Piku’s look is relatable and girl-next-door and indo-chic but deliberately non-colourful.

Clothes seem to be thrown together, her hair is almost a mess, and there isn’t much time for makeup and accessories either. She carries one big bag in which she can dump everything.

Deepika Padukone in Piku fashion

Piku (Deepika Padukone’s) complete style breakdown

Minimal no-fuss kurta

Loose pants (salwar pants or palazzos), sometimes skinny jeans

Long printed scarf/ dupatta tied on bag or loosely draped on her neck

Footwear: Flat sandals/ chappals

Bag: Large leather carryall/ tote/ shopper

Jewellery: Small drop earrings that go with almost everything

Sunglasses

Makeup: Almost none. It’s mostly a nude-ish lipstick and a small bindi

Shop Deepika Padukone’s Piku look

Blue and white kurta-pants set from Biba

Biba kurta set

Black kurta from Aks (available on Jabong.com)- exactly the same Deepika Padukone is wearing in Piku (see the first picture above)

Aks-Black-Kurti with pants

Maroon palazzo pants from Soch

Soch Maroon Palazzo Pants

Bag from Elespry

Elespry bag

Glares from Titan

Sunglasses by Titan

Drop earrings from Tanishq

Tanishq- drop earrings with pearl

 

5 men’s summer fashion tips for newbies

This blog post is dedicated to all men who hesitate to experiment with their look (you all know who you are!). These mini-lessons will show you the way to an updated look for the season without stepping too far away from your comfort zone.

Ladies, if you know such hesitant, reluctant and boring men (and I’m sure you do!), use this guide as an inspirational piece to experiment on the men in your life, or push them to try out something new. 🙂

PS: Don’t miss the newbie tips, specially written for very reluctant men.

Think beyond checks: Printed shirt

So, printed shirts have been around for a couple of seasons already. But of course you’ve been sticking to solids and checks, right? You know something? Prints are not bad. Chosen carefully, the right prints for your personality and body type will make a strong statement about you.

Newbie tip: Florals freaking you out? Opt for “safer” prints like little dots and squares, or tiny abstract patterns. Just make sure the prints aren’t too big, too colourful or too eye-catching.

Shirt from 16stitches.com

16 stitches printed shirt

Get summer-ready: Linens

Linen blazers are a no-brainer for summer. They can look formal, and can be dressed up for an outdoors wedding or dressed down for a summer soiree.

Newbie tip: Choose a light, neutral shade that will go with almost all your shirts- such as off-white or light beige.

Look from Arrow

Arrow beige linen blazer

50 shades and more: Coloured shoes

Too many men have only black and tan shoes in their wardrobe. It’s time to add some colour—greens, beiges, blues… they’re all there!

Newbie tip: Start with a colour that’s already in your wardrobe, such as blue. Select a pair of shoes that’s similar or goes well with the chosen colour…. And you’re set.

Shoes from Mochi

Mochi green loafer shoes

Be playful: Round sunglasses

Aviators are a classic statement, but everyone’s wearing them all the time. If you’ve got the pizzazz, you can carry these off. And no, it won’t make you look girly. But it might just make you look like the cute teen you were once. 🙂

Newbie tip: Play safe with a round-ish frame with neutral colour rims.

Sunglasses from Fastrack

Fastrack red round sunglasses

Go retro: Bow tie

Maybe it’s to do with the Downton Abbey craze (of course men love the show too). Bow ties are making a comeback. And not just with tuxedoes or black tie events. The 21st century bow ties are quirky, cheeky and easy to wear. It’s perfectly alright to wear the “readymade” ones.

Newbie tip: To start with, choose a no-frills bow tie without patterns or prints. Wear your bow tie with a light-coloured solid shirt (such as white or baby blue), and stick to a similar colour scheme.

Bow tie from The Bro Code

The Bro Code Blue Bow Tie

Chic Picks: Hot leather travel bags for a cool summer

Summer time is vacation time, people! And every summer I get on the hunt for cool travel accessories since I believe in travelling stylishly. This season, I’ve found some great bags that will last you many many trips.

For travel, I strongly recommend a spacious, sturdy, durable bag to stash all your stuff- whether for an overnight trip, a weekend getaway, a cruise, a flight or a very long vacation. These leather bags from Viari are roomy, good-looking and multi-purpose. They even come with a shoe bag, so you can later carry them to gym or work.

For women: Soho travel bag, Rs 11,900

Lots of colours to choose from, but the tan one is an all-season classic.

Viari Soho Travel Bag Tan

For men: Camper Bag, Rs 6000

Gotta love the rugged look.

Viari Camper bag small Khaki

Happy holidays!

5 awesome fashion ideas from The Grand Budapest Hotel

Among the spate of Oscar films this season, I enjoyed watching The Grand Budapest Hotel. Even though it wasn’t my Best Film favourite (that was Boyhood), it was a delightful comic and visual treat. The film’s Costume Designer Milena Canonera took home the Academy Award for this film. Me being me, I see fashion everywhere and in this film as well. And here’s how I thought we could use the film as fashion inspiration in our summer wardrobe.

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes

Soft Colours

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes- pastel colours

The visual theme of The Grand Budapest Hotel is soft, warm and fuzzy (production and costumes). Agatha wears light camel, pastel green and similar hues. With the arrival of spring / summer, it’s the perfect time to embrace pastel colours like salmon pink, sky blue and soft green. Luckily for us, plenty of brands will be stocking these lovely hues in their collections this season.

Luxe Fabrics

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes- TIlda Swinton fur coat

Velvet, fur and silks—all luxurious fabrics in The Grand Budapest Hotel to make you feel like a queen (or king). And Milena Canonero worked with Fendi to design fur coats and stoles sported by the actors, including Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton. I especially love Swinton’s hand painted, Italian silk and black mink cape- it’s gorgeous! (Disclaimer: Nope, I don’t advocate fur though it looks great).

Slicked hair for men and women

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes Ralph Fiennes

If Ralph Fiennes can get away with slicked-back hair, so could regular men! And as for the ladies, it’s great to keep the hair away from the face especially during the summer. An easy tip for the girls: Skip the hair gel, just pin up the front layers and keep the rest of the hair flowing. Great summer look!

Purple

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes- purple

The bright eggplant-coloured uniforms of The Grand Budapest Hotel staff stand out against the soft background. Purple is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea, but it can look awesome when you wear it, and purple is available in a range of tones- from eggplant purple (aka baingan) to soft lilac.

Details & accessories: Buttons and hats

The hotel jackets look like something straight from the high-fashion ramp, and those shiny buttons can be used on tops, blouses, shirts… you name it! Of course, the lobby boy cap is not exactly appropriate for daily wear, but I love the idea of stylish berets and fedoras for the upcoming summer months.

What is your fashion inspiration from The Grand Budapest Hotel?

Anushka Sharma’s style pick for a road trip

So, the NH 10 trailer starring Anushka Sharma and Neil Bhoopalam just hit YouTube and the film’s premise seems thrilling. Anushka Sharma is on an unexpectedly dangerous road trip, and luckily she’s dressed perfectly for it, with a HOODIE.

Anushka Sharma in NH10

Anushka’s bright yellow hoodie gets dirtier as dangers loom and she faces growing threats. The hoodie is perfect for a road trip because it keeps you comfortable and warm, and can be taken off when it’s hot. And a hoodie is totally fashion-appropriate as well: it’s sporty, outdoorsy and super stylish! Check out these chic options:

Hoodie from Superdry available on Myntra.com

Superdry-Women-Hoodie-Myntra

Treble green hoodie from American Swan.

American Swan green hoodie

Nike hoodie available on Koovs.com

Nike sporty hoodie

Wake Up Competition blue striped hoodie available on Jabong.com

Wake-Up-Competition-Blue-Hooded-Sweatshirt

And BTW, here is a complete breakdown of Anushka Sharma’s complete road trip look in NH 10:

Striped tee + light neutral cardigan + skinny jeans + light sneakers + brightly-coloured hoodie.

Anushka Sharma in NH10

And here’s the trailer of the film NH 10. After the hoodie, my eyes are on the sneakers. What about you?

INSTANT STYLE: Get Jacqueline’s looks from Roy now!

In her latest film Roy Jacqueline Fernandes plays a double role with each character dressed in a distinct style. Here are both the looks decoded, and how you can get them.

Jacqueline Fernandes as Ayesha Aamir, film-maker

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Clothes and accessories

This bohemian film-maker loves her crop tops, loose blouses and shorts (she is in sunny Malaysia, after all). Her accessories of choice? Geeky glasses (they come on and off), stacks of bracelets and open sandals. She also accessorises with dangling earrings or the quirky-cute studs. And oh, the few times she’s at work, she’s in a comfortable cotton shirt.

Hair and makeup

Jacqueline’s hair is coloured and carefully unkempt to complement her boho look. Makeup is minimal in a number of scenes though sometimes you will spot a hint of lip colour.

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Get the Look

Girls on Film rose print crop top available on Koovs.com

Floral crop top

Denim shorts from Elle

Elle denim shorts

White open sandals from Footin

Footin Metallic Flats (White)

Necklace and cuff from Ayesha Accessories

Ayesha accessories cuff & necklace

Jacqueline Fernandes as Tia, socialite

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Clothes and accessories

This uber-rich socialite lives in a mansion by herself and has classy style- elegant flattering dresses, crisp white shirt with skinny jeans with killer heels and silk scarves. Her go-to jewellery pieces are her gold and diamond studs.

Hair and makeup

Jacqueline’s bold red lips are the most prominent feature of her “Tia” look, followed by her volumised blow-dried hair.

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Get the Look

Dress from Dorothy Perkins available on Jabong.com

Dress for Dorothy Perkins on Jabong

White shirt from Forever New

White shirt from Forever New

Sunglasses from Tom Ford

Sunglasses Tom Ford eyewear

Diamond studs from TBZ The Original

TBZ diamond in gold solitaire studs

7 awesome facts about Team India’s Cricket World Cup jersey

The Indian cricket team kickstarted their ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign this weekend with a big win over Pakistan, and we all celebrated! 🙂 As noteworthy as Virat Kohli and the team’s great performance on the field were the distinctive team uniforms.

Nike India team jerseys

Team India’s kit is high-tech, lightweight, comfortable, and much much more. So here are some wondrous facts about the Indian team kits and why they are totally awesome. Read on and boast these facts at the next match you watch with friends (February 22 against South Africa at MCG, Melbourne).

Fact #1: The kit is custom-made

The kits are designed by Nike, official apparel sponsor of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Nike has been designing team jerseys for years now, but this kit was especially developed for Team India.

Fact #2: Each kit is sustainable

Each Team India kit (jersey and pants) is made of approximately 33 recycled plastic bottles. Sustainable = Fantabulous.

Fact #3: The design is insight-based

The Nike team designed the jersey with the help of inputs from several cricketers including ODI captain MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.

Fact #4: Different strokes for different folks

There are separate shoes for batsmen and bowlers. The batsmen’s shoes are called LunarDominate. The shoes have an enhanced grip, ultralight soft and responsive cushioning, a toe “bumper” and plush sock-like fit.

Nike Lunar Dominate shoes for Team India

Fact #5: Special shoes for bowlers

The bowlers are wearing LunarAccelerate, whose main feature is the midfoot strap that locks down the ankle and prevents forward foot slide. That strap is the unmissable “pink stripe” you see on bowlers’ shoes.

Nike Lunar Accelerate for Team India cricket

Fact #6: High-tech kits for optimum performance

The Team India jersey is truly innovative. It’s got Dri-Fit Prime Lite lightweight fabric with laser ventilation holes and breathable engineered knit to keep players dry and comfortable during the match. (Dri-FIT is a microfiber, polyester fabric that moves their perspiration to the fabric surface, where it evaporates. (And hence, we have “cooler” players on the field.)

Nike Team India 2015 world cup jersey

Fact #7: The kits are loved all over!

Tennis ace Roger Federer owns a jersey! As do other famous fans. Take a look:

Roger Federer Bleeding Blue Nike

Deepika Padukone (actor)

DEEPIKA PADUKONE_BLEEDBLUE

Vikas Khanna (chef)

VIKAS KHANNA_BLEEDBLUE Nike

Subbalaxmi (cricket player)

SUBBALAXMI_BLEEDBLUE - Nike

Go Team India!

Team India kits are available at select Nike India retail stores and on nike.com.