Chic Guide: Fashion to invest in this season (for women)

Chic Guide: Fashion to invest in this season (for women)

October’s just begun and Autumn/Winter 2012 collections are in stores. But with so much choice and a limited budget, what should you buy this season? I’ve put together a guide to help you decide what clothes will take you through the season (hence a good fashion investment).

The idea is to select pieces that you can wear from October till January based on function, fashion and wearability.

The Winter Dress

Cold weather calls for knit or wool fitted dresses that can be paired with opaque tights or even slim-fit trousers. Depending on the weather in your city, choose a dress in a neutral or favourite colour in solids or simple prints, but with a great fit or interesting detailing.

Below: Cable Knit Dress from Mango

Mango Cable Knit Dress

The Evening Dress

It’s still too early in the season for bling, and heavy sequins are not something you really wear too often, unless you’re a party animal. So smartly choose an elegant luxurious and feminine dress that says it in style. Lace is the best bet- and it will take you from evening to night!

Below: Lori Lace Jersey Dress from French Connection

French COnnection Lace dress

The Knit Top

A knit top is the building block of winter layering. Before it freezes over, you can wear it under a light jacket or blazer, or as it is. A print, pattern or hint of embellishment would add some life to an otherwise basic piece.

Below: Knit top from Allen Solly

Allen Solly knit top AW 12

The Jeans

You can never go wrong with classic blue skinny or bootcut jeans. But with the range of options in colours, fits and textures, what should you choose? For daily wear, try a new fit you haven’t worn before- like the high waist or the flared styles.

Below: Bootcut skinny jeans from Levi’s.

Levisbootcut skinny jeans

The Light Cardigan

You’ll need plenty of light cardigans and sweaters over the next few months. Choose pieces with interesting details like zippers, buttons or even embellishments. Hot colours this season? Bold, brights, jewel tones!

Below: Cardigan from Sisley

Sisley cardigan

The Jacket

In the past couple of years, blazers have slowly crept their way into every woman’s wardrobe, and not just as office wear. For this winter, try a wool-based blazer to keep you warm and stylish. Choose either a subtle pattern or an eye-catching monotone. Androgyny is in so wide lapels and a slightly oversized fit would work well.

Below: Checked blazer from Zara

Zara checked blazer 3990

The Pre-Christmas Must-Have

Gold and silver metallic finishes will be hot this party season, not just on dresses and tops, but also on jeans! Buy gold finish jeans in the run-up to the party season (which means right now!) and get labelled a trendsetter.

Below: Liquid metal jeans from Calvin Klein Jeans

CWA702-EW1-PQ-D39-3 YES 6899

The Footwear

No more open sandals or chappals. Switch to boots, booties and closed shoes to avoid getting cold feet (sorry, pun unintended).

Below: Shoes from Vanilla Moon

Vanilla Moon booties

The Day Bag

I believe bags are seasonless, but there’s something about soft textured bags that say winter. Subtle prints make them all the more desirable.

Below: Bag from Lecoanet Hemant

Lecoanet Hemant bag

What are you investing in this season?




SS 2012 fashion: Trend repeats, misses and some AW 12 predictions

SS 2012 fashion: Trend repeats, misses and some AW 12 predictions

Trend repeats- from earlier seasons

Colour blocking

Yup, colour blocking was still around this season, appearing on dresses, separates and even swimwear.

Below: Bric a block tunic dress from French Connection

French Connection colour blocked dress

What’s in store: This trend is likely to continue into AW 2012-13, though with darker tones and stronger contrasts.

Tropical prints

Call them abstract florals or forest prints- the tropics have been spotted on ramps and high street recently.

Below: Skirt from Zara

Zara Tropical print skirt

What’s in store: Wait till next year for them to make an exit. (Or not!)

Trend misses- made it on the ramps, but not on high street

Sporty casual wear

Almost every fashion magazine wrote about sports-influenced separates and managed to put together editorial shoots based on the sports theme. While sportswear brands like Puma, Reebok and casual brands like Levi’s and Energie may have had the right separates for the look, most of high street missed out on this.

Below: Women’s Move long graphic tank top from Puma

Puma Graphic tank top

The twenties

The twenties were a high fashion trend this season (Gucci and Ralph Lauren). But flapper styles- drop waist dresses, straight silhouettes, neutral tones and jersey fabrics- were almost nowhere in the malls. Did you see anyone dressed remotely like a flapper?

Tribal influences

Tribal prints were seen in several high fashion collections such as Burberry, but they didn’t catch the fancy of the high street folks.

Autumn/Winter 2012-13 trend predictions:


Lace all over, lace inserts, lace detailing and even some kinky/ fetishtic looks with lace.

Below: Lace dress from Mango.

Mango Lace dress


Tropical prints and abstract florals ruled over the pretty delicate florals of the past few summers. Expect head-to-toe prints coming season, especially Baroque styles.

What are your fashion predictions for A/W 2012?

SS 12 fashion trends and what to do with them next season

SS 12 fashion trends and what to do with them next season

Spring/Summer 2012 was all about being feminine, girly and cute- the colours (pastels), textures (chiffon and lace) and pretty prints- bows and butterflies. Here’s my take on where the SS 12 trends will be heading next season.

Pleats and pastels

I had earlier written about pleats and pastels- and they clearly dominated the high street and fast fashion brands.

I went pastel-blind this season, from spotting gazillions soft colours- baby pink, light peach, lavender, soft green, turquoise… Pastels left their mark on every garment- blouses, denims, trousers, shorts, skirts, summer jackets. While I loved the colours, by the fag end my eyes were craving for some brightness. (Yeah- call me typical Indian!)

Below: Dress with fantasy shirt style collar from Zara

Zara dress with fantasy shirt style collar

What’s in store: The coming season is likely to see some light hues as well, but mostly darker autumnal tones with some pops of colour.

Pleated skirts

Pleats were on skirts, skirts and some more skirts. I bought a pleated skirt too! 🙂

Below: Primrose stripe skirt from French Connection

FC Primrose skirt

What’s in store: Pleats are here to stay, ladies. So keep those skirts handy.


Speaking of skirts, they were the centre of attention this season, making an appearance in several styles and lengths, though the silhouettes remained soft. The hundreds of skirts I spotted this season were pleated, asymmetrical, striped or printed. They were maxi, mini and knee-length. BTW, I bought an asymmetrical black skirt and it’s super cute!

What’s in store: Skirts will stick around- but silhouettes will change. Think A-line and sixties.


Peplums made an appearance on high street, the red carpet and on Kate Middleton, so they were taken seriously. But not too many fashion brands stocked these styles.

Below: Dress from Mango

Mango peplum dress

What’s in store: They were on the international ramps this season, and they’re here to stay. Expect more high street peplum options this season.


Sheer was all over the world this summer and not just on blouses, tunics and shirts. Even skirts went sheer, either halfway or completely.

What’s in store: Sheer inserts, hints of sheer on winter clothes.

Citrus colours

Corals, peaches, oranges and yellows were as popular as the pastels.

Below: Yellow dress from Nun (available on


What’s in store: Autumnal colours with a pop of orange or yellow.

Chic Accessories: Jewellery inspirations and how to wear them (Part 1)

Chic Accessories: Jewellery inspirations and how to wear them (Part 1)

Like clothing trends, fine and art jewellery is inspired by everything around us- from popular culture to mundane objects to wild nature. Here’s a look at jewellery inspirations and how to wear them:

Inspiration: Safari

Choose an exotic animal or bird- tiger, rhinoceros, giraffe or kingfisher. Then wear it on your wrist, finger or neck.

Chic Tip: Wear with a loose blouse, feminine skirt and kitten heels. The idea is to look cute, rather than just cool.

Below: Elephant charm and Fantasy bird ring, both from Toniq

Elephant Charm from Toniq

Fantasy Bird- Ring from Toniq


Inspiration: Vintage

Oversized coloured rings and pendants are popular these days (I have a white stone pendant). So are faux and real diamonds designed in the 1940s style.

Chic Tip: Diamond earrings look gorgeous with delicate lace or net saris. Wear it to a cocktail, sangeet or reception. And don’t forget the red lips.

Below: Ring and earrings from Aldo Accessories

Aldo Accessories vintage ring

Aldo Accessories earrings vintage

Inspiration: Horror

Skulls remind me of exorcists in old Hindi movies. But they can be fun accessories!

Chic Tip: Don’t think so much! Throw on an old crew neck cotton tee and jeans. Or better, borrow your brother/ boyfriend’s graphic print tee.

Below: Touch skull bracelet from Mango.

Mango Touch skull bracelet

Inspiration: The heart and soul

If you’re a “thinker”, jewellery designs with metaphors and multiple meanings will appeal to you. For instance, Eina Ahluwalia’s recent collection presents the heart in a new form and perceives the eye to be the window to the soul.

Chic Tip: Wear unique pieces of jewellery with minimal looks, and make the accessory the centrepiece of your ensemble.

Below: Heart of Gold earrings,  Door to the Soul necklace, both from Breathing Space by Eina Ahlawalia.

Eina Ahluwalia Heart of Gold earrings

Eina Ahluwalia Door to the soul necklace


What jewellery inspiration are you wearing today?

More jewellery inspirations to come. Watch out for part 2.

Chic Guide: How to update your wardrobe for the monsoon

Chic Guide: How to update your wardrobe for the monsoon

The rain gods are here! And while we don’t have a “Monsoon/ Rain” Collection in India (why not I wonder?), a new season always calls for a wardrobe update. So here’s how I’m sprucing up my wardrobe for the four-month season. Hope my wardrobe transition tips help you too!

Add: Dark florals

Since the rains usher in lush greenery and blooming flowers, floral prints are monsoon-appropriate. But I’m restricting my florals during the monsoon to darker colours- like dark blues, black and deep reds. Florals have been big this season so there’s plenty to choose from.

Floral print blouse from Mango.

Mango floral print blouse

Delete: White and pastel-hued florals

Keep: Georgettes, polyester blends and knits

No more chiffons, cottons and sheers, please! Polyester and silk blends keep are stronger fabrics that provide a bit of warmth in the rains. Light knits (as tops or cardigans) are useful when the mercury drops after a long spell of rain.

Sarah Silk Top from French Connection.

FC-Sarah SIlk Top

Blouse from Calvin Klein Jeans.

CWI126-YB82T-R07 yes 3599

Delete: Chiffons, cottons and sheers. Wet chiffon sari, Mandakini in Ram Teri Ganga Maili. Get the drift?

Hold on to: Shorter lengths

If you hate mud stains on your jeans and trousers as much as I do, then continue wearing your favourite capris in the rains. And given the fabulous colour choices we have this season, you won’t run out of cool capris to wear! Of course, if you dare to go shorter, you can wear shorts and skirts too (midi-length ones are still around).

Capris from Zara.

Zara Twill Capri Pants

Don’t discard: Full-length trousers and jeans – you need these wardrobe classics for meetings, events, and the next season!

Add: No and low heeled shoes

On rainy days, I prefer closed shoes with non-slip soles and kitten heels for special days. I wore my Charles & Keith loafers yesterday during a drizzle, and they kept away the murky water and had a good grip on the ground. Even though I’m not a Crocs fan, a lot of people swear by them.

New Love Loafers from Tresmode.

tresmode NEWLV1

Hold on to: Stilettos- need them for parties and dance nights!

How are you updating your wardrobe for the monsoon?

Chic Trends: 4Ps for summer fashion (Part 1)

Chic Trends: 4Ps for summer fashion (Part 1)

Ladies, I’ve just coined a simple term to remember the hot trends for this summer: the 4Ps (not to be confused with the 4Ps of marketing!).

And the 4Ps for summer 2012 fashion are


  • Pleats
  • Peplums
  • Pastels
  • Printed pants

Now, repeat the 4Ps over and over again till you know the list by heart.

In this post, I’ve highlighted the first two trends (or Ps): pleats and peplums.

Trend 1: Pleats

Pleats this summer are all in the skirts! Long or short, bright or pastels, regular hemline or asymmetrical, wear pleated skirts with grace. The other day I saw a woman wearing a maxi pleated skirt that was transparent below the knee, and it didn’t look as funny as it sounds. Really!

How to wear: Wear a bright pleated skirt with neutral or printed blouse.

Chic tip: While accordion pleated skirts are hot right now, they may be fashionably far-fetched from some. You could opt for a formal box pleated skirt or a pleated dress instead.

Skirt from Mango

Mango pleated flared skirt


Skirt from United Colors of Benetton

Pleated skirt from UCB


Dress from French Connection


French Connection pleated dress 

Trend 2: Peplums

Peplums came in to serious public view after Michelle Williams wore a peplum gown to the Academy Awards in February, and Kate Middleton has been spotted at least a couple times in peplum-ed outfits.

So what is a peplum? It’s a strip of pleated, gathered or flared fabric that is attached to the waist line of a skirt, dress, jacket or top. It could even be an overskirt of sorts.

How to wear: Wear a peplum on a dress or skirt that ends at the knee or just below. When wearing a solid dress or skirt, wear classic jewellery.

Chic tip: A peplum can be unflattering if you got zero curves around the waist and hip area- so wear with caution. Also, choose a peplum dress or skirt that is sleek and sculptured rather than slouchy or loose.

Dotty peplum dress from Fever London (available on

Fever London peplum dress-


Zara skirt with frill

Zara Pencil skirt with frill


What’s your choice among the pleats and peplums?

Coming soon: The other 2Ps- pastels and printed pants!

Chic News: Mango gets serious about India

Chic News: Mango gets serious about India

Were you surprised to see the Mango Spring/ Summer 2012 ad featuring Kate Moss on TV? It’s probably the first time I saw an international fashion brand advertise on Indian television. In the advert (called the “Spy Game” commercial), Kate Moss slips into a variety of looks, from casual to party.

Do any of you remember seeing ads by competing international brands earlier? Probably not.

Also, if you’ve noticed the Mango website recently, they’ve opened shopping for Indian users though shipping costs are high for orders below Rs 5000. And oh, the folks at Mango have recently roped in the agency OMD India for media buying and planning across traditional and online media.

Mango SS 2012 61304553 VOLARE amarilla

Mango SS 2012 accessories _LRS1205

All this is good news, of course! Because it means the Spanish brand Mango is getting very serious about expanding in India and making it big in the country.

So we get better collections, more variety and hopefully a better shopping experience (online and offline). And the best part—the competition will up the ante as well. I’m waiting for Zara (another Spanish brand) to come up with an answer!

Chic List: 5 things that should not be on sale (because everyone’s wearing them already)

Chic List: 5 things that should not be on sale (because everyone’s wearing them already)

Almost every fashion brand in the country worth its salt is on sale as you read this (see list below). Sales are an easy way for brands to get rid of old stock and for shoppers to buy stuff they don’t really need, but think they want.

Meanwhile there are some things that should never go on sale, mainly because they are almost everywhere and selling them cheap would lead to everyone wearing the same clothes or accessories. And as I wrote earlier, who wants a nation of fashion clones?

So here’s my list of five things that should never go on sale.

Angry Birds tshirts

Every day I pass by a couple stores in my neighbourhood that have proudly displayed Angry Birds tees, shorts and briefs in their window display.:-P And a young shopper at Zara was wearing such a tshirt as well. While I’m addicted to the game, I’d really be pushing fashion boundaries by wearing the cute birds. And so would everyone else. No one ever wore a Monopoly or Ludo tshirt, or did they?


Oversized / statement pearl necklaces

True, pearls are classic accessories. But I’m talking of the long necklaces with larger-than-usual pearls that every other woman seems to own. They come in different colours, sizes and strand lengths, but essentially they’re the same.

Quilted bags

Chanel’s quilted bags are not really Chanel’s anymore. They belong to almost every accessory brand and woman across the world. At the mall recently, the only good bags I came across were quilted, but in different styles. And while I don’t regret buying a rose red Mango quilted bag last year, I think it’s time to stop buying it and move on to other textures. (BTW, I had recommended quilted bags as early as 2010, so it’s time to kiss them goodbye).

Below: Bag from Charles & Keith

Charles Keith quilted bag

Polo tshirt with horse

In late 2010, the guys who wore the Ralph Lauren polo tshirt with the Big Pony symbol on the left and back were smart and suave. In 2011, every Rahul, Raj and Rohan was wearing a spin-off. And some women donned those tees too. If those tshirts are on sale somewhere, stay away from it. Please!

Ralph Lauren Big Pony Polo tshirt

Fit flops

Every woman who wears a fit flop swears by it. And yes, they’re comfy, cute and stylish (especially the ones with baubles and other trimmings). Unfortunately, my love for them faded when I saw all five women in a group wearing them. Sorry, fit flops weren’t supposed to be part of the uniform.

BTW, if you’re still interested in knowing what’s on sale, here’s a quick look at some brands offering discounts right now:

  • Zara
  • Mango
  • Promod
  • Charles & Keith
  • Tresmode
  • Pepe Jeans
  • AND
  • Chemistry
  • Latin Quarters

What fashion item do you think should not go on sale?

New Year Fashion: Dress your best to welcome 2012

New Year Fashion: Dress your best to welcome 2012

It’s time to party and ring in 2012 in style! Dresses, makeup, accessories—confused? Here’s our party style guide for you.

Little Black Dress

I’m not going to bother saying the LBD never goes out of style (you already know that). But you can wear it differently: wear it in tiers or with detailing like lace, sequins and beads.

Below: Dress from Esprit, dress from Zara

Black dress from Esprit

Zara open back dress

Bling for 2012

Bling works if you want it to work. Metallics, rhinestones and faux crystal embellishments are perfect for the party night of the year.

Below: Jacket and dress both from Vizyon

Party jacket from Vizyon

Metallic finish party dress from Vizyon

Party in prints

Crazy, funky, colourful prints have been the rage in 2011 and they will be around next year too. Choose a bold print that reflects your attitude.

Below: Look from Pria Kataria Puri Lakme Fashion Week W/F 2011, dress from S&N Drape by Shantanu-Nikhil at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week A/W 2011

Pria Kataria Puri at LFW W/F 2011

S&N Drape WIFW A/W 2011

Long-drawn beauty

If you’ve got the right figure (lean) and plenty of confidence, choose a light-coloured gown for a dreamy feminine look.

Below: Look from Wendell Rodricks at Lakme Fashion Week W/F 2011

Wendell Rodricks at LFW W/F 2011

Skip the dress…

… And wear trousers instead. Or a jumpsuit. Or even shorts. And don’t be surprised when the heads turn in your direction. 😉

Below: Look from Hemant-Nandita at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week A/W 2011, look from Nachiket Barve at Lakme Fashion Week W/F 2011

Hemant-Nandita at WIFW A/W 2011

Nachiket Barve shorts at LFW W/F 2011


Wear high heels, even if you hate them. Come on, it’s only one night a year!

Below: Partyy shoes from Steve Madden; Veruschka sandal on

Partyy R- Fuchsia from Steve Madden

Veruschka shoes from BeStylish

Party. Clutch. Need we say more?

Below: Amoures clutch from French Connection, Lucy sequinned wallet from Toniq

Amoures Clutch from French Connection

Lucy- Sequinned wallet- Gold from Toniq

Jewellery- dangling earrings, cuff and a long necklace.

Below: Cuff from Mango

Mango bracelet with stone

Bonus party tip: Inglot’s “Crazy Nails” nail enamel gives your nails the salon look with funky patterns. Can’t wait to try this.


What are you wearing on New Year’s eve?

Shopping News: Phoenix Market city opens in Kurla, but will we see new brands?

Shopping News: Phoenix Market city opens in Kurla, but will we see new brands?

The mall Mumbai shopaholics have been waiting for is now open! Phoenix Market City had a quiet inauguration last week, and our fashion radar tells us that a few stores and restaurants are open (no specifics yet, but I’ll update you as soon as I know more).

Here’s an early-stage visualisation of the mall:

Phoenix Markey City Mumbai

Phoenix Market City is technically not located in a “prime” shopping area—it’s in Kurla, but it’s huge. With retail area of over 16 lakh square feet, wonderful atrium for special events, and an Adlabs multiplex, this mini-city is bound to get shoppers from all over Mumbai.

As for the fashion brands that will open at Phoenix Market City, I expect the usual suspects like Zara, Mango, Benetton, and the rest of the gang to open there. After all, there will be plenty of room for everyone. BTW, we have confirmation that Vero Moda and AND  have opened at Phoenix Market City.

Could be a lovely mall, but…

While a new mall is always good news, I really wonder if Mumbai needs another one. Especially if it’s going to be like any other mall.

What would really excite me is if we get some new brands, concept stores or a new whole new look. Things we haven’t seen before, stores we haven’t explored before. And of course, the mall’s layout would play a huge role in deciding whether Phoenix Market City will be a comfortable place to shop and hang around. I don’t want this mall to be yet another giant structure that looks like every other mall, only larger.

What say, shopping lovers and mall rats? Anyone been to Mumbai’s Phoenix Market City yet?