Sunday Street Stories: Bogalayzay Street in downtown Yangon

Downtown Yangon was built by the Brits, designed like a grid with numbered streets going north to south, crossed by “named” roads going west to east (similar to the Manhattan grid). Sometimes, the numbered series is interspersed by a “name” street. Bogalayzay Street (pronounced bo-guh-lay-zay) is one such street in downtown Yangon that runs north to south.

Yangon street sign Bogalayzay street

Bogalayzay street is between 42nd and 43rd street, and is filled with places to shop, hip restaurants, and travel agencies and offices of well-known companies. So you can go to Hola dance Club to learn salsa, get your nails done at 88 Foot & Nail Spa, sample Mexican street food at TinTin, and shop at Gamone Pwint Shopping Center (lots of beauty products and electronics!). If you’ve got the travel bug, head to Khiri Travel to book your trip to Bagan, Mandalay or elsewhere.

Picture taken on: August 8, 2015

Location: Yangon, Myanmar

Device: Nexus 5

Sunday Street Signs is a series of images recording street signs from my travels. They could be significant in some way, funny, or have an interesting story behind them.

TREND ALERT FOR MEN: Style tips to go short or long

Since it’s halfway through the year (what? June already?!), it’s time for a guy to update his wardrobe. There will always be tshirts and shirts to help change a man’s look, but how about updating your style with fashionable shorts and pants instead? From easy going shorts to comfortable jeans, here are some top choices and handy tips for the boys.

Shorts

Prints, checks, or good ol’ solids. Great for chilling at home, stepping out in the sun or for a beach vacation.

Trend Alert: Quirky prints on shorts (and shirts) are really hot right now. Play safe with polka dots and textures or go crazy with florals, camo prints.

Military print shorts from Ed Hardy

Ed Hardy mens military shorts

Linen shorts from Selected Homme (available on Jabong.com)

SHDott dark blue linen shorts H RS 3995

Denim shorts from Superdry

Denim shorts Superdry

Chinos

They’re comfy, easy and available in a range of colours. Chinos are quickly replacing jeans and formal trousers as the “smart casual” alternative to everything!

Trend Alert: After building up your chino collection with basics like khaki and black, stock up on bright blue, wine and olive green.

Complete look from Arrow

Arrow SS15 - Arrow chinos

Trousers from French Connection

FCUK blue chinos

Red chinos from Breakbounce

Breakbounce red chinos

Jeans

A man needs his jeans, no matter the season, the shade, the style.

Trend Alert: Skinny’s still in style, but wider leg and relaxed fits are slowly making a comeback. Look fashion forward already!

Complete look from Killer Jeans at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015

Killer Jeans Lakme Fashion Week SR 2015

Jeans from John Players

Mens Jeans John Players

Jeans from Lee

Lee mens jeans

SUMMER CHIC: 20 pretty pieces you will love

Pastels, pops, prints and pinks,

All these chic choices make me blink,

In wonder I look at these summer faves,

Twenty reasons to make me rave!

Enjoy these drool-worthy picks for summer. 🙂

Pretty Prints

Dress from French Connection, Peplum top from Trendy Divva, Sling bag from Toniq.

French Connection printed floral dress

Trendy Divva Black Printed peplum top

Printed sling bag from Toniq

Pretty Pinks

Tunic dress from Label by Ritu Kumar, Shorts from Elle, bra from Amante.

Tunic dress Ritu Kumar, LABEL

Elle pink shorts summer

amante Serenity Bra, Pink Sherbbet,Rs.1395

Pretty Palettes

T-shirt from Being Human, Dress from Superdry, Bag from Holii.

Being Human tshirt

Superdry TIE DYE MIDI DRESS

Holii Hyacinth white orange bag

Pretty Pops

T-shirt from Ed Hardy, Studs from Fida.

Ed Hardy printed tshirt

Studs from Fida accessories

Pretty Pastels

Polo from US Polo Association, Pencil skirt from Miss Selfridge, Shoulder bag from Viari.

Yellow USPA tshirt

Miss Selfridge yellow pencil skirt

Viari Santorini summer shoulder bag

Pretty Pairs

Heels from Clarks, Ballet shoe from Melissa, Sneakers from Superdry.

Clarks Coral heels

Melissa metallic ballet flat

Superdry sneakers

Pretty Purses

Tote from Hidesign, Tote from Accessorize, Cutwork bag from Lavie.

Hidesign orange tote bag

Accessorize mirror tote

Lavie cobalt blue cutwork bag

Which pretty piece are you buying on your next visit to the mall?

Picks of the week: Avengers Age of Ultron tees

Yay! The awesome supervillain-thrashing team (aka Marvel superheroes) is returning this weekend in The Avengers: Age of Ultron! Now if you’re a true fanboy or girl, of course you need a tshirt declaring your love when you go watch the film. VoxPop has more than 50 super cool Avengers Age of Ultron t-shirts:

Avengers Tee-shirt

Avengers Tee-shirt

Avengers Tee -Shrit

Inspired by the superheroes and moments from the film, there are enough choices to spoil the fans: colours, graphics and themes. I’ve been browsing for a while now and it’s difficult to pinpoint a favourite (liking too many of them!).

Iron man Tee-shirt

Hulk Tee-Shirt

Iron man Tee-shirt

Special note for fangirls:

Ladies, this t-shirt collection may be for the boys, but don’t let that stop you. Buy a size that will look like an oversized tee. Then throw it over a spaghetti or racer back top, and let it show. Or you could shorten the length to make it a crop top. Wear skinny pants or shorts with coloured sneakers, and voila! Here comes the fangirl. 🙂

Shop The Avengers: Age of Ultron tshirts at VoxPopClothing.com (Price: Rs 799)

The fabric you need to wear this summer- Liva

I have a whole list of summer clothing pet peeves- no denim, no clingy clothing, no itchy fabrics for me please. Of course, this doesn’t leave me with too many fashionable choices for summer.

Hopefully, this summer will be better because I’ve discovered a new age fabric that will make my summer (and other seasons) easier. This new age fabric is called Liva, made with natural fibres and developed by Birla Cellulose.

Fit for ‘Queen’

Liva’s ambassador is the talented actor Kangana Ranaut who wore this statement-making outfit at a Liva fashion show last week.

Kangana Ranaut for LIVA

Oh, Liva!

The fabric has got sheen, feels cool and soft against my skin, and is super comfy. Thanks to Liva’s fluidity, clothes won’t stick or cling to my body, nor make me feel warmer than it is. Luckily, several brands are already using Liva, and I got a closer look at the clothes.

Liva clothes

No more boxy looks! No more discomfort!

So what’s common among these dresses, kurtas and tees? For starters, they fall well, so no more weird fits or square shapes. And they’ve got a nice sheen that adds a luxe touch to any look.

Liva is being used by several fashion brands such as Van Heusen, Global Desi and 109 F (among others) and all Liva garments would be specially tagged so you can identify them while shopping.

Printed tops with Liva

Van Heusen dresses with Liva

New designs

Moving from high street to high fashion, fashion designers are already using Liva in their collections. Last week designers Anita Dongre, James Ferreira, Puja Nayyar, Sohum Dave and Narendra Kumar presented capsule collections made entirely of Liva. Their looks varied from easy flow to complex drapes, bold colours to vibrant prints. And the clothes? Tops, tees, tunics, kurtas, saris, pants… you name it, and it can be made with Liva.

Liva fashion show collage

If LIVA has you intrigued then please do get in touch with Media Moments for further details!

4 edgy styles cover Rolling Stone this month

Four talented female musicians are on this month’s cover of Rolling Stone India, and boy, do they look edgy or what?!

Rolling Stone India March 2015 (5)

The seventh anniversary special issue of the magazine features Monica Dogra of Mumbai electro rock band Shaa’ir+Func, Tipriti Kharbangar of Shillong blues band Soulmate, and Mumbai-based vocalists Anushka Manchanda and Vasuda Sharma.

Rolling Stone India March 2015 (3)

These stars of the Indian alternative music scene are in a never-seen-before avatar and I bet none of you have seen them in such looks before. According to the shoot’s stylist Roli Gupta, it was a fun experience and the women were open to suggestions making them easy to style. “I decided each look based on the personality of the musicians,” she says. (All clothes are by Tommy Hilfiger.)

Rolling Stone India March 2015

Rolling Stone India March 2015 Monica Dogra

Ladies, if you’re looking for edgy inspirations for your looks, take a tip or several from these pictures. Here are my fashion takeaways from these pics:

  • Wear a pair of sexy knee-length boots
  • Pair black with another strong colour like red.
  • Mix prints and colours without hesitation!
  • If you’ve got it, flaunt it! (I mean a great bod, of course).
  • Don chunky metallic accessories.
  • Keep your hair wild.

Rolling Stone India March 2015

Rolling Stone India March 2015 Anushka Manchanda

Photographed by Ashish Shah

Clothes by Tommy Hilfiger (Spring Summer 2015 collection)

Styling by Roli Gupta

Hair and make-up by Jean-Claude Biguine

Rolling Stone India March 2015 is available on stands for Rs 100.

Are cricket players more fashion-conscious?

In the past century, fashion has evolved tremendously—from corsets to crop tops, and coat tails to tshirts. With hundreds of fashion brands vying for attention, people across the world have become more trendy and fashionable. Not surprisingly, two of the most glamourous fields in the world- fashion and sports- have collided and sports persons have turned into fashion icons. This global trend began with football player David Beckham early in the 21st century.

Just like fashion, cricket has evolved as well since the 1800s, and from being role models, cricketers have become style icons as well. Unfortunately, this seems to have come at a cost. The cost of True Style.

Imran Khan cricketer

Days of cricket past: When style went beyond fashion

Your personal style is a means of expression of your personality and is an all-encompassing concept, going beyond what you wear. Style reflects in your clothing and hair, the way you speak to someone, hold your fork, or write a letter. This traditional sense of true style was something the gentlemanly cricket players of the previous century possessed and practised. You couldn’t be dressed to the Ts and use abusive language like a drunken slob at the local pub.

For instance, the dignified Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was known as much for his quiet charm as for his understated luxe clothing. The dashing Imran Khan made women swoon with his smart shirts and suits, thick wavy hair and his elegant conversation.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi

Cricket players have also sought different means to express their individuality and personality. With his carefully groomed side burns à la Elvis Presley, India’s “Brylcreem boy” Farokh Engineer was a vivacious, talkative man and continues to be one. While Sir Viv Richards with his swagger, doffed cap and murderous smile, epitomized Caribbean cool much before a certain Mr. Gayle.

Days of cricket present: Cricket and fashion in the 21st century

Some of the younger Indian and international cricketers are eager to try new trends or even forge their own trend. So Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh carry off grungy jeans with elan, while Kevin Pietersen’s super confidence puts him equally at ease in a printed tee and chinos, as well as in a tailored suit. His versatile style is the envy of a lot of young men.

Virat Kohli tee and jeans

Off duty, most cricketers like to play safe with their fashion and opt for well-known international fashion brands (a number of them often go shopping on their overseas tours). Of course, there is more focus on personal grooming, along with hot trends, high street and premium fashion. Famous cricketers have been spotted in brands like Ed Hardy (Harbhajan Singh), French Connection (Shikhar Dhawan), Lacoste (Michael Clarke) and H&M (Virat Kohli). At formal events several cricketers sport designer suits from luxury brands.

Current off-duty styles

Off the field, the gentlemen (and fashion icons) of today’s cricketing world have opted for a range of looks and styles, such as:

  • Classic– Neutrals like white and black with straight cut jeans (favoured by Kumar Sangakkara, Alastair Cooke)

Kumar Sangakkara

  • Grungy – Distressed jeans, acid washed denim, printed graphic tees (loved by Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, AB de Villiers)
  • Sporty– Polo shirts with badges, casual shirts with chinos and jeans (such as Brendon McCullum, Graeme Smith)

Graeme Smith polo tee

  • Versatile– Wear a range of looks (like Kevin Pietersen, Brett Lee)

Kevin Pietersen

On-field fashion

The current crop of cricketers also set out to express their individuality on the field as well. Despite being in uniform, their distinctive features stand out:

  • Tattoos: Brendon McCullum, Kevin Pietersen, Dale Steyn

Brendon-McCullum

  • Hair: Lasith Malinga’s coloured locks, Brett Lee’s spikes, MS Dhoni’s ever-changing hair styles

Lasith Malinga hair

  • Sunglasses: Chris Gayle, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh

Chris Gayle

  • Facial hair: Shikhar Dhawan’s curled moustache and stubble, Mitchell Johnson’s handlebar moustache, Ravindra Jadeja’s royalty-inspired moustache

Mitchell Johnson

Style, fashion and “uniforms”

In the first decade of this century, the idea of style has given way to “fashion statements”, and thus style has become equated only with what you wear. Men and women have become clones when it comes to sartorial choices (solid or graphic tees, skinny jeans, chinos and sneakers). These off-the-field “uniforms” may make you feel part of the peer group, but they don’t express your personality or style.

This limited definition of style has unfortunately percolated to current cricket players as well. While some of them may make a strong fashion statement, their unique style is lacking and invisible. Let me explain: I have never met Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, nor do I recall watching or reading any interview with that legendary cricketer. Yet, one look at his off-duty picture and I am convinced that if I were to meet him, he would be a true gentleman- courteous, respectful, benevolent and, of course, charming. That is the magnetic power of True Style.

True, we shouldn’t judge a wearer by his or her clothes, but what about style as a holistic concept? Somewhere in the past few decades, individual, meaningful True Style has almost disappeared.

Bodyline (sorry, bottomline): Style vs Fashion

Yep, cricket players these days are smart, suave and well-groomed. Some of them endorse fashion brands, appear on fashion magazine covers and sell beauty products, while others are trying their hand at fashion themselves (Virat Kohli’s fashion line WROGN and Zaheer Khan for Sher Singh).

Shikhar Dhawan GQ India

With the overwhelming number of clothing and accessory options for cricket players today, the bright young lot these days is more fashion-conscious than ever. Despite this, the timeless appeal of the erstwhile cricket players is universal, eternal and magical. Young people across the world may want to copy the current players’ clothes, but how many can truly emulate the charm of Pataudi, the playfulness of King Viv, or the elegance of Imran Khan? Now THAT is True Style.

This blog post is an entry for the Blogger Dream Team activity run by Blogmint. (Check out #BloggerDreamTeam on Twitter.)

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?

BIG NEWS: Amazon.in gets fashionable

JUST IN: Amazon.in is the official title sponsor of the 25th edition of India Fashion Week, to be held this March- it will be named Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) this season.

Amazon.in India Fashion Week

Surprising? Not really.

This is a giant step for Amazon.in to make a mark on the Indian fashion scene. With the title sponsorship, the website will strike a chord for shoppers of premium and high-street fashion. And oh, Amazon.in will now be ready to face its rival Jabong.com head-on. (Jabong is the associate sponsor of the Lakme Fashion Week held in Mumbai).

Yay! More shopping!

Amazon.in has to compete with Jabong.com which has several brands and designers on board for exclusive collections, like G Star Raw, Dorothy Perkins, Vikram Phadnis, Rohit Bal for Jabong, Gaurav Gupta Tribe and Alia Bhatt.

To attract customers who are label-conscious rather than price-sensitive, Amazon.in will need to offer more exciting fashion choices on their website. The “exclusive” options are currently limited (Holii, Bulova and Imara, among others) as are the high street brands and designers already on the Indian website (Steve Madden, Hemant-Nandita).

Amazon-Fashion-India

All of this means one thing—more shopping choices for us!

My Amazon.in fashion wishlist

Internationally, Amazon retails several premium brands and designers on their website such as Kate Spade, Nanette Lepore and Calvin Klein. I would be delighted if Amazon.in could bring such brands for us. Now that would be exciting!

Also, I’m not a fan of Amazon.in’s interface for browsing clothes and accessories. They’ll need to make it slicker, cooler and more stylish if they want me to shop with them for my fashion needs.

End note

All this talk of shopping reminds me- bet you’ve already seen the Amazon.in Fashion ads on TV. It’s all part of their grand strategy to be taken seriously in fashion. Enjoy!

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