How I am fighting the SALE shopping temptation

How I am fighting the SALE shopping temptation

The mall is a bad, bad place to visit these days. The SALES are extremely tempting, and my upcoming wedding has given me the best reason to shop. So the question I’ve been asking myself is – should I shop during the end of season sale? I mean, everyone shops during sale, right? (And the cool gif from Hidesign below makes it even more alluring).

Hidesign Sale

It’s not an easy answer, so I’m just going to put you through a YES and NO debate that went on in my mind for the longest time ever.

YES, a bride should totally shop on sale, because:
She will get the best prices so she can shop on a budget. And there is so much choice because all brands stuff their stores till they overflow.

NO WAY, a bride should not shop on sale, because:
It’s old season stuff, honey. Not the right options for a stylish trousseau. You don’t have place in your cupboard to hold all the lovely new clothes. She will end up splurging on clothes and accessories she doesn’t need or want.

Still no answer to my original question. So here’s what I did:

Step 1: I made a shopping list of things that I need to buy. (The key word here is need, not want).

Step 2: I then struck off those things that I don’t need immediately, like a watch, clutch etc. (I own these accessories and can use them for a while).

Step 3: This left me with just a few things on my list, such as a pair of office shoes, a good moisturiser, casual slippers (for the house) and similar stuff.

Step 4: And then I went and bought these things– they were all important because I didn’t have a good pair of work shoes and my home slippers broke.  And what of the rest?

Step 5: I went back to my original list, pondering each item carefully. I figured out the things I didn’t need immediately, but would be a good price during sale, and were unlikely to change with “trends”. This included staples like black pants, classic white blouse and a pearl necklace. And oh, lingerie.

Step 6: Meanwhile, my mom added a few things to the list- gifts! Mom’s wishlist can’t be ignored, so it got added to my list.

Step 7: I will be heading to the mall as the discounts go deeper, armed with this list. And I intend to stick to it! (I know I will).

Now, is that the path to being a smart, stylish and financially-savvy bride? I say YEAH!

PS—Do try this at home (and the mall)! No expert guidance needed.

Chic Reviews: Beauty buys of the season

Chic Reviews: Beauty buys of the season

This summer I tried on several new skin care products. Liked some, didn’t think much of some, and fell in love with a couple of them. Here is my take on the products I tried. Would love to know what you think of them.

Sun care

Nivea Sun Light_Feeling_Face_Fluid
Nivea Sun Light Feeling Fluid SPF 50+
This sun screen fluid is Nivea’s attempt to stand out from other sun care products. For one, it’s really a fluid- the milky texture surprised me, and so did the saffrony tinge. The flowy liquid is easy to apply, and performs its job well (sun protection), though I found it a bit greasy initially. Also the price (Rs 449 for just 50 ml) is a bit steep.

Chic Score: 3.5/5

neutrogena-ultra-sheer-dry-touch-sunblock-spf-50-88-ml

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 50+
What can I say about Neutrogena?  The brand almost never disappoints, and this product lived up to its promise as well. The light fragrance and the equally light feel is just what I needed for summer. It has now replaced my Kiehl’s sun screen, which was four times the price! I use it on my face and rest of the body as well when I step out or go swimming.

Chic Score: 4/5

Face care

Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion

Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Day Lotion
I asked my friend to buy me this cream from the Sephora store in Delhi on a whim. All I had heard about Burt’s Bees was that the products were derived from natural ingredients. This cream is an excellent facial moisturiser for my dry skin, and I love the non-sticky feel. This cream has quickly made it to my top favourites list.

Chic Score: 4.5/5

NIVEA-Pure Effect-Total Face Clean Up

Nivea Pure Effect Total Face Cleanup
Despite the product packaging clearly stating that it’s meant for normal to oily skin, I was intrigued by the multiple uses (cleanser, scrub, pack) and the #just5mins claim. I’ve tried the face wash all three ways, and the product delivers on all its claims, from blackhead remover to visibly clearer skin. Despite my skin type, I just can’t stop using this “face wash”. If only they had a variant for dry skin, I would make it part of my daily routine immediately. (Anyone from Nivea reading this?)

Chic Score: 4/5

Body care

Forest Essentials Cream Vitamin_E
Forest Essentials Velvet Silk Body Cream (Vitamin E)
From the whole bunch of products I bought using a Forest Essentials gift voucher, this is my favourite! I have extremely dry skin, and this lightly aromatic cream is an absolutely rocking moisturiser. I loved the Vitamin E fragrance that lingered on my skin for hours, and the cream kept my body moisturised all day long. Unlike heavy creams, it was easy to glide over my skin. I’ve finished the 200 gram container already and I am very tempted to buy my next one, despite the price. The cream is worth every rupee of Rs 1,175 (MRP)!

Chic Score: 5/5

Makeup

Avon VitaLuscious lipstick

Avon VitaLuscious Lipstick

This affordable lipstick is deeply pigmented, has long-lasting colour (colour stays on even after lunch), and it really does soften my lips. I’m trying the Reviving Red shade, and it’s a lovely maroonish red—perfect for Indian skin tones! The best thing is of course, the price—Rs 329 wonly!

 

Which new skin products have you liked this summer?

Chic Holiday Guide: Top 12 Stylish Summer Vacation Essentials

Chic Holiday Guide: Top 12 Stylish Summer Vacation Essentials

Now that you know how you should be packing for your summer holiday, here is my list of holiday essentials- things you must carry for your vacation– from clothes to accessories. You will need a linen shirt to keep you cool, stylish sneakers to keep you on your feet all day and a bag large enough to hold your travel docs, among other things. For your swimwear needs, check out Speaking Chic’s recommended places to buy your bikinis and swimsuits.

So get packing, folks. It’s time for the holidays! 🙂

PS– You can buy some of the products featured here by clicking on the picture. The ones available online are marked with an asterisk (*).

Chic Holiday Guide (Part 1): 15 simple packing tips for a stylish vacation

Chic Holiday Guide (Part 1): 15 simple packing tips for a stylish vacation

If you’re packing for a vacation now, you’re probably confused and your room is a mess. What should you take and what should you leave behind? While I’m not the perfect packer, I’ve put together a list of tips to make the most of your space (and weight!) restrictions. Some of these tips I’ve picked up from reading travel blogs and websites, but most of them are my own. Let me know what you think!

Packing tips for holiday

(Picture courtesy: Arrow)

  1. Make light tops and tees the building blocks of your vacay wardrobe and try to plan the rest of your things around them.
  2. Try sticking to solids, light prints or tops with light detailing.
  3. Prints can be tricky to style. So if you’re carrying any, make sure you have the right pants / jacket or top to pair with the print.
  4. Skip the jeans, pack coloured trousers instead (or very light denim). They weigh less, occupy less space and are way more stylish.
  5. Make sure your trousers are matched with your tops before you pack. You don’t want to look mismatched, even if you’re on holiday!
  6. Linens are great as tops, shirts and pants!
  7. And so are maxi dresses.
  8. Light cotton and linen fabrics are best for all-day wear. Keep the synthetics at home.
  9. For footwear, you will need sneakers if you will be walking a lot, and comfy loafers that go with everything. Open flat sandals are great too.
  10. If you plan to party, carry an LBD or black sequinned/ embellished top.
  11. There should always be scope for interchanging looks and garments in case something gets soiled or damp. So make sure you carry a pair of neutral pants and a white or beige top.
  12. If you’re going to a shopping destination, travel light. You can always shop there, and plan your itinerary accordingly.
  13. The only accessories you need are a spacious bag, couple of cuffs and tiny studs. And a watch so you don’t miss your flight.
  14. I always carry a couple of tops or pants that I need to discard. So I wear them out and get rid of them while travelling.  This way, I have space for my shopping, and a reason to shop! 🙂
  15. No makeup please! Just a light compact powder, lip colour and mascara will do. Eye liner, if you must.
  16. Don’t miss the the sunblock and moisturiser. You will always need them.

Coming Soon: Chic Holiday Guide (Part 2): The old and new vacation essentials

Chic Workshops: Personal beauty discoveries with Divo and Dermalogica

Chic Workshops: Personal beauty discoveries with Divo and Dermalogica

Couple weeks ago I attended a fun bloggers’ meet hosted by Divo (of hair accessories fame) and Dermalogica (the “white” skin care brand). At their workshops on skin care and hair, I learnt some new things. (Thanks to Akshata Honawar and Avni Amlani).

image

Some things seemed common sense, some were a bit surprising.  Here’s what I discovered:

Mom was right about not stepping out with wet hair, and not just because it gives you a cold. When hair is wet, the cuticle is open and cortex is exposed. The sunlight can then de-colour your hair, making it turn a couple shades lighter.

Brands now selling “hair oil” are mostly selling serums packaged as oil. That’s because oil would be used a bit differently and wouldn’t wash off that easily.

BTW, oil is not so good for hair, but the massage is.

Henna changes the texture of your hair, making it rough and frizzy. Use ammonia-free hair colour instead.

Even those with dry skin can get acne. I’m not the only exception!

Everyone thinks they have a round face and sensitive skin. But not all of us do.

Exfoliation is the most ignored part of our skin care routine.  But regular, gentle exfoliation is a must. I need to stop being lazy now!

Lastly, I also discovered a Dermalogica product called Pre Cleanse. I thought it was another of those beauty company gimmicks, but I’ve tried the product a few times now and it’s awesome. It’s like a face serum that becomes a cleanser once you add water. It cleanses skin beautifully without drying it. Loving it! 🙂

Beauty Review: Maybelline Baby Lips

Beauty Review: Maybelline Baby Lips

I’ve always loved lip balms- even before my tryst with lip glosses and creams, so I checked out Maybelline’s Baby Lips.

Maybelline Baby Lips

Available in Care and Color ranges (in seven cleverly-named flavours), my friend Lincy tried the Mango Pie (Care- Rs 125) and I tried the Cherry Kiss (Colour- Rs 150). Here’s our experience with the lip balms.

Are the lip balms as moisturizing as they should be? Yep, they’re soothing and my lips feel moisturized immediately after application. I particularly like the smooth, thick texture of the product. And as the product packaging claims, the balm actually does keep my lips moisturized for hours. I only need to apply it once in the morning and it’s good enough for rest of the day.

Maybelline Baby Lips

The colour of the Cherry Kiss is a light tinge of pink and almost looks like a lip gloss, but without the heavy-duty shimmer. Unfortunately the flavour is not too potent, with just a slight hint of mango and cherry that lasts barely a few seconds.

Lincy loves the balm so much to admit she’s almost addicted to it, running to re-apply it every couple of hours! And I love it too. I can’t wait for the Cherry Kiss to get over so I can try Coral Flush! Mmmmm….. 😉

Chic Guide: Top 5 things to do this week (Sep 24-30)

Chic Guide: Top 5 things to do this week (Sep 24-30)

Indulge in a “precious” bag

Each piece in Hidesign’s Blossom Collection by Alberto Ciaschini takes more than 30 hours to create, and the delicate ‘flower buds’ are embedded with Swarovski crystals. With only 60 pieces available of each design, this is luxurious craftsmanship at its best. If you’d like to indulge some more, check out Audelade’s bags of handcrafted and hand-woven fabric made of gold / silver in combination with finest quality natural leather.

Below: Blossom Collection from Hidesign, bag from Audelade

Hidesign Blossom evening bag_black

 

Audelade BA00006 INR 202000 - Copy

Blossom Collection available at select Hidesign stores across India. Prices Rs 12,500 (clutch), Rs 18,500 (evening bag). Audelade available at Skyzone, Phoenix Mills, Mumbai. Prices start at approximately Rs 25,000 for clutches.

Cheer in style

Skip the team jersey this T20 World Cup, and opt for more stylish clothes to show your support for your favourite team. Check out Sher Singh’s country polos that “represent” India, Australia, South Africa, West Indies and other T20 teams. And then there is FreeCultur’s T20 range of crew neck cricket-centric tees. While these tees are designed for cricket-loving men, I don’t see why women can’t wear them too!

Below: Regular fit India Polo in Nawab Blue from SherSingh.com, Tshirt from Freecultr.com

The Regular Fit India Polo in Nawab Blue INR 1399

Freecultr-cricket tee

Available at SherSingh.com (Rs 799 onwards) and Freecultr.com (Rs 599 onwards).

Get updated

Here’s the latest news from the fashion and shopping world:

Furla’s first India store is now open at Palladium, Mumbai. It’s got brightly coloured bags, clutches and wallets in its launch collection.

Accessories brand Stuart Weitzman will soon be in India through a long-term franchise agreement with Reliance Brands. The India launch will be early next year with stores in Delhi and Mumbai. The price range is expected to be Rs.25,000-Rs.75,000.

Stuart Weitzman RESERVE_DPS

Also, Myntra now sells saris from a dozen brands like FabIndia, Satya Paul and Satyavee Designs.

And Amit Aggarwal now makes has saris too- under his eponymous label (available at Ensemble). Expect his expertise in fluid drapery in his saris too.

Amit Aggarwal sari

Doll up your eyes

Highlight your gorgeous Indian eyes with some interesting products- Lakmé Eyeconic kaljal and curling mascara. The Eyeconic Kajal claims to last 10 hours, while Eyeconic Curling Mascara comes with a curling brush for defined lashes. The more interesting mascara is from Maybelline New York- it’s called the The Falsies Mascara which hopes to give a false-mascara look with more visible and fuller lashes.

Below: Lakme Eyeconic kajal and mascara, Maybelline New York Falsies Mascara

Lakme Eyeconic Range    Falsies V E_Product

Available at leading department stores across the country. Prices: Lakmé Eyeconic kajal Rs. 199, Lakmé Eyeconic mascara Rs. 250, Maybelline New York Falsies Mascara Rs 425.

Discard old season styles

I’m bored of the overtly feminine look of spring/ summer 2012. So pack up the girly prints, pastel blouses, pleated skirts and pussybow blouses. The new fashion season is here- enjoy it!

Chic Guide: Top 5 things to do this week (July 30-Aug 5)

Chic Guide: Top 5 things to do this week (July 30-Aug 5)

Follow: Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2012

It’s time for Lakme Fashion Week again, fashionistas! There’s a great mix of establish and upcoming designers for the Winter/Festive 2012 edition, so stay tuned to this blog for updates from fashion week. 🙂 Some designers to look forward to: Ritu Beri, Pallavi Jaikishan, and first-timer Pernia Qureshi (of Aisha fame). BTW, Kallol Dutta and Pankaj-Nidhi are the grand finale designers.

Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2012 is from August 3-7, 2012 at Mumbai.

Below: Kallol Dutta and Pankaj-Nidhi with Purnima Lamba, Head- Innovations, Lakme.

LFW WF 2012 - Copy

Buy: Kitsch Umbrellas

I’m bored of black umbrellas, floral print umbrellas and the kiddie umbrellas. If you agree with me, then opt for a fun umbrella that expresses the quirky side of your personality. Nida Mahmood’s new range of umbrellas is 100% Bollywood, with visuals and one-liners from classic movies and songs. I like the “Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi si” umbrella.

Nida Mahmood ek ladki bheegi bhagi si

 

Nida Mahmood pyar hua

Umbrellas by Nida Mahmood are priced Rs 2000 onward, available on the designer’s website.

Ogle: Vu-Tarun Tahiliani Couture TV

In a unique fashion-technology collaboration, veteran designer Tarun Tahiliani has designed a high-end TV for Vu Technologies. The 3D, 55-inch TV has been designed with unusual ornamental patterns constructed through the use of calligraphy and geometry. The fine use of latticework in muted Swarovski elements adds a subtle luxury feel to the TV. And tech lovers will enjoy the in-built PC with Windows software, graphics card and other cool stuff. Technology as art, anyone?

The Vu-Tarun Tahiliani Couture TV will be showcased at the Tarun Tahiliani Couture Exposition in New Delhi and Mumbai. Price on request.

Protect your eyes: GUNNAR Optiks

GUNNAR Optiks eyewear is finally available in India! GUNNAR’s Advanced Computer Eyewear and Advanced Gaming Eyewear lines are designed to protect your eyes from the harsh glare of computer, mobile and other screens that are part of our daily lives. Their products should be on the must-have list of all stylish cubicle dwellers.

Below: GUNNAR Optiks Advanced Computer Eyewear

Gunnar Optiks eyewear

You can pre-order GUNNAR eyewear in India at Infibeam. Prices Rs 4,500 onward.

Gift: Chic stuff for Raksha Bandhan

Boys, here are some chic gift suggestions for your lovely sisters:

Diamonds: Always a favourite, it’s for those who can afford it! 🙂

Beauty products: Always a favourite with women, gift boxes are easy to find n most stores such as The Body Shop. Opt for those with more than type of product, like the Armani Code Gift Box (it’s got a fragrance, shower gel and body lotion).

Accessories: Choose art and semi-precious jewellery based on your sister’s style statement. Watches and bags are great gifts too, and you get great options for every budget.

Chic or Eeks? Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla at Cannes

Chic or Eeks? Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla at Cannes

Dear Mommy Aishwarya,

I’m happy you haven’t bowed down to the pressure of losing your post-pregnancy weight immediately after birth.

Aishwarya Rai Bachhan Cannes 2012

So while you can’t carry off a body-hugging evening gown (or more importantly, the snobbish designers won’t have samples in your size), at least choose an outfit that’s stylish and flatters you.

The gold work on this Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla outfit is a bit too jarring for me and the genteel folk at Cannes. You could have done with a lighter blouse  for instance.

Or how about trying on a looser silhouette- there are so many flattering designer dresses for heavier and curvier women. The A-line is always flattering.

Also, how can you wear an Indian  outfit and leave your ears bare? Earrings are the one accessory that pull an Indian ensemble together.

BTW, the makeup is gorgeous! Loved the eyes.

What do you think of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s ensemble at Cannes 2012?

It’s Women’s Day today! So let’s talk about men

It’s Women’s Day today! So let’s talk about men

It’s International Women’s Day today, but I’m not one to celebrate it. You can read my rant against Women’s Day here.

So to “celebrate” Women’s Day, I’ve decided to focus on men. This is a special post especially for men, based on inputs from girl friends and Speaking Chic readers. They’ve shared their views on what they like best about men (from the fashion POV). In short, they answer the question—when and how do men look their best?

This post is meant for the guys, so I’ve addressed the men, not the ladies.

Guys, here goes:

Start with the jackets: Women love men in dinner jackets, formal jackets and stylish casual jackets. My personal favourite these days is the light linen jacket like the one SRK wore in Don 2. Tres chic! (Below: Jacket from Zara)

 Zara jacket with buckle collar

Impress with your fragrance: Not one, not two, but three women told me they love fresh, clean, aquatic scents (I do too)! Which means CK’s Eternity for Men Aqua is a hands-down winner.

CK Eternity for Men Aqua

Dress down once in a while: While women love men dressed formally, they also like the guys to chill out once in a while. So wear casual shirts with sleeves rolled up, geeky tees with reference to popular culture and coloured polo tees. (Below: T-shirt from Guru).

Guru tshirt A/W 2011

Don’t forget to groom yourself: Well-groomed nails are a must. One reader even recommended manicures for guys. Also on the list are soft hands, shaven face and moisturised lips. (Below: L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream, The Body Shop lip balm).

Body Shop lip balmLOcccitane hand cream

Hair is important: Shiny, glossy hair is awesome. So is the neat and clean gelled look. But not too spiked, thank you!

Accessorise: Sport classy belts with brands/ logos, and wrist accessories like bracelets/ kadas. My current favourite is an oblong dial watch with a leather strap. (Below: Watch from Fossil)

Fossil Roman Leather Watch Black

Rock those jeans: If a guy can pull off well-fitted jeans (not the skinny ones), the woman will be super happy! That’s because it shows the guy is healthy and fit. And we all like that, don’t we? (Below: Look from Diesel)

Diesel jeans

Try on new trends: Women like to see men who are “with it”. Think coloured shoes, boots, fresh colours, slim fits, grunge and lots more.

Health is wealth: Toned biceps, flattish abs, muscular legs. A good body and confidence can pull off almost every look. So being healthy and strong will make you look young, haute and happening! Drool… 😉

Models at LFW S/R 2012

Ladies, what are your fashion and style tips for men?

PS—Thanks to Florence, Tanveer, Harlein and Kanika for their inputs.

PS 2 —There’s a hidden message in this post. Can anyone find it?