7 fashionable Diwali inspirations

Come Diwali every year, and I’m usually digging into my wardrobe for a newish Indian ensemble. And it’s usually a safe style, very me, but also very, very typical of me. This Diwali, I’m trying to be a bit different, drawing inspiration from some new looks. So I’ve put together a lookbook of sorts to get me going on the ideas. There’s still a week to Diwali (and this weekend I will be in India, yay!), and all of these ideas are easily doable. 😀

Of course I can’t try all of these ideas, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Don a jacket

It can be short like a waistcoast or long like an anarkali, it could be embroidered or block printed… “A plain kurta paired with a printed or embroidered short jacket is the perfect alternative to a dupatta,” says Rahuul Jashnani, managing director of Jashn. “Button it or just let it loose, or wear it on your sari for a bold and edgy and daring look.” I agree.

(Looks from Jashn)

Jashn festive ethnic jacket

Jashn festive ethnic jacket

Go long, long, long

If you’re a vertically-challenged like me, then long silhouettes can be quite exciting. Plus longer the length, the grander you look, and the more elegant you feel.

(Kurta set from Anju Modi, long kaftan from Hemant & Nandita)

Anju Modi kurta set

Kaftan hemant Nandita

Or go very traditional

Gota, bandhini, leheriya—our cultural heritage has plenty of fabric, print, texture and embellishment options to choose from.

(Looks featuring gota and shibori techniques from Rangriti)

Rangriti festive collection Diwali gota

Rangriti festive collection Diwali

Wrap a gorgeous dupatta

I’m moving on from mere contrast dupattas. I’d rather wrap a stunning dupatta around me to draw the attention. I’m in love with these ones from Gaurang, or something embellished-border like this one below.

(Look from Sahiba)

Sahiba festive collection

Try a shirt-like blouse with a sari

It may seem that only Sonam Kapoor can pull off a shirt with a sari. Maybe yes, maybe no. Well, we won’t know till we try it, right?

(Sonam Kapoor wearing Anupama Dayal)

Sonam Kapoor in Anupama Dayal

Sport a bindi

I’m not even talking about Gwen Stefani here. It’s Indian, so why not place a cute bindi on the forehead? So feminine!

(Bindis from Bookmybindi.com)

Bindis for diwali

Bindis for diwali

Mix shades in jewellery

Gold and white are a classic combo, but well, it’s a little safe. I love admiring jewellery with coloured stones- blue, pink, green…. “A mix of diamond, polki and jadau jewellery with bright colourful gemstones in innovative ways and eclectic styles add appeal to any outfit,” says Aakas Barmecha of Yoube Jewellery.

(Earrings from Yoube Jewellery, Pendant-earrings set from Swarovski)

Yoube diamond earrings

Sarovski pendant earring set

Which stylish idea or trend inspires you most this Diwali?

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

Destination Wedding Guide: What clothes should I pack?

Headed to a destination wedding? If yes, you’re bound to be confused with what and how much to carry. I know, because I’m headed to one next week. I’ve travelled outside Mumbai and India a number of times to attend weddings (perks of a big family!), but packing for them can be quite a task. How do I decide what to carry, given the weight and space limit? The past couple times I attended a wedding out of Mumbai, I made some smart choices when selecting my outfits and what to pack.

My fashion choices for destination weddings are now quite different from weddings I attend in Mumbai. Here is a handy guide based on my experience. Hope it helps you select the right clothes for the destination wedding you’re attending! Happy packing and bon voyage!

Indian outfits for destination weddings

What to pack

Saris (preferably pre-stitched or draped saris): For the wedding, reception or sangeet. (Below: Gaurav Gupta Tribe collection available at Jabong.com)

Gaurav Gupta Tribe collection Jabong

Anarkalis or kurtas: These are easy substitutes for saris at weddings. If your family norms aren’t too traditional, anarkalis are the perfect option. BTW, they are my top outfit of choice for destination weddings! (Below: BIBA by Rohit Bal, Look from Shyamal & Bhumika)

Model Shot _BIBA by Rohit Bal Autumn Winter Collection 2014 _0060

Shyamal Bhumika

Kurtis and tunics: You need these for smaller occasions (like poojas or family gatherings). These can be worn without dupattas and with trousers. (Below: Tunic by Rena Love)

Rena Love kurta shirt

Selecting your outfits

Look for easy-to-wear, light fabrics that are weather-appropriate and won’t wrinkle easily in your suitcase.

Sequins and stones tend to fall off, especially when crammed in a suitcase (I know, it’s happened to me!). Embellishments like appliqué, gota patti and thread work are great alternatives.

You will need to carry Indian outfits for each occasion at the wedding, but you can save space by carrying clothes that can work with more than one outfit, such as dupattas and churidars.

Choose outfits with minimal embellishments and fuss. They shouldn’t add too much weight to your luggage and be easy to drape.

Avoid packing lehengas since they are usually cumbersome to carry and occupy too much space!

Casual wear for destination weddings

What to pack

Dresses and tops: Maxi dresses are great for travel and can be worn for a family lunch or out shopping. Look at wrinkle-free tops and tees that you can pair with shorts or pants. It’s good to carry some fuss-free tops and dresses that don’t require special lingerie or camisoles. (Below: Maxi dress by Label by Ritu Kumar, dress by Being Human)

Maxi dress Label by Ritu Kumar

Being Human dress

Shorts and pants: Carry at least two trousers of which one could be cropped. Make sure they match your tops! (Below: Top from Forever New)

Printed Top Forever New

Selecting your outfits

Places with warm climes are usually the preferred destinations for Indian weddings. Keep the location in mind when packing your casual wear- it’s also a mini-holiday though you still need to look stylish.

Depending on the duration of your entire trip (and not just the wedding), you will need to carry multi-tasking clothes that you can mix and match, such as shorts and trousers in neutrals like black and beige.

If you’re carrying something that is a bit tough to match, either leave it behind at home or make sure you have at least two options to wear it with, which can also be worn with other garments. For example, carry at least two matching tops with your printed pants (they are usually tough to pair).

Avoid jeans. They are not meant for warm weather and add too much bulk to your luggage. Opt for cotton trousers or jeggings instead.

Beach wear for destination weddings

What to pack

Swim wear: One piece or bikini, it’s your choice! Of course, do keep in mind the culture of the place you are visiting. (Below: Swimsuit available at TheBeachCompany.in)

Swimwear Beach Company

Beach cover-up or sarong: Can be worn over your swim suit or as a dress. Make sure you carry one if there is going to be a poolside party or beach gig. (Below: Bikini and cover-up available at TheBeachCompany.in)

Beach wear for destination wedding

Selecting your clothes

There is almost certain to be a swimming pool or fun water sports at the location of the destination wedding. There might even be a pool party!

You ideally would need just one set of swim wear, but if you’re keen, you can carry two sets.

Don’t carry your “sporty” swimwear that you wear for your daily pool workout. It’s too boring for a holiday.

Have fun with fun prints, bold colours and sexy cuts- you’re on holiday!

 

Coming up next: Accessories to pack for destination weddings

CHIC RIGHT NOW: 16 super trendy wedding fashion looks to covet

It’s the wedding season, ladies! With so many options out there, I’ve handpicked my favourite pieces for this wedding season by theme- colours, styling, silhouettes etc. Take a look and let these gorgeous outfits inspire you for the sangeets, mehendis, weddings or receptions you attend this festive season!

Which theme is your fave and which outfit makes it to your must-have list?

Minimal embellishment and simple silhouette with a heavy dupatta (Shyamal & Bhumika)

Shyamal Bhumika wedding outfit

Print and embellishment worn two ways: on separate garments (Monisha Jaising) and on the same (Krishna Mehta)

Monisha Jaising outfit

Krishna_Mehta_LFW_WF 2014

Kurtas with pants: 3 ways! Worn with dhoti pants (Sva), with straight-cut pants (Anita Dongre), and with loose pants (Vikram Phadnis)

SVA kurta dhoti pants

Anita Dongre kurta pants

Vikram_Phadnis_LFW_WF 2014

And now for the colours…

Unusual colour combos: Red, beige and blue (Ritu Kumar), yellow and dark blue (Vikram Phadnis)

Ritu Kumar red blue beige outfit

Vikram_Phadnis_LFW_WF_2014-yellow

Reds and pinks (Anju Modi, Anita Dongre, Anushree Reddy)

Anju Modi-buttoned jacket

Anita Dongre-red

Anushree Reddy LFW WF 2014

Turquoise (Shehlaa Khan and Sva)

Shehlaa-LFW WF 2014

SVA turquoise outfit

White and off-white, looks great with gold! (Ritu Kumar and Vikram Phadnis)

ritu kumar off-white and gold

Vikram_Phadnis_LFW_WF_2014 white and gold

Black… yes, it’s now a legit festive colour! (Arpita Mehta)

Arpita Mehta black

Happy wedding shopping and dressing! 🙂

5 top tips to trendy Diwali dressing

While we don’t usually put much though into our festive dressing, ethnic Indian wear is moving rapidly when it comes to designs and styles, with new trends coming every season. Here are some tips to help you wear these trends and look super-stylish this Diwali.

Tip 1: Experiment with embellishments

Embellishment sprayed all over your anarkali or sari are passé. The trend is toward embellishments on specific garments or sections of garments. This means pairing a heavy embellished dupatta from a lehenga with a simple kurta-churidar set, or heavily-sequined blouses with light saris. Embroidered borders on light saris and anarkali kurtas look great too. If you’re wearing calf-length anarkalis, opt for styles that have embellishments limited to the bodice. Also, look beyond stones or sequins—gold thread work, latkans (danglers) and shimmery thread can be great embellishments for Indian wear.

(Below: Look from Peppermint Diva and Anushree Reddy AW 14)

Peppermint Diva sari

anushree reddy look

Tip 2: Try prints for a change

We usually associate festive dressing only with embellishments, but why not explore the wonderful variety of traditional Indian prints? Block prints give a rich feel on luxurious fabrics, while leheriya saris with gota work are sureshot winners. Or try out any bandhini pieces lying in your closet, such as dupattas or saris. Of course, if you miss bling, look for pieces that have a dash of sequins or metallic embellishments.

(Below: Turi sari with gota border from Amazon, Block-printed suit set from Biba at Jabong.com)

Yellow leheriya sari with gota

Jabong Biba-Aqua-Blue-Cotton-Solid-Suit-Set

Tip 3: Mix and match

I know, mix and match as a fashion trend may be done to death recently, but it’s cool to create new looks from existing outfits. Mixing colours is easy, especially when you don’t need to match them. So pair the kurta of one outfit with the dupatta and churidar of another one. Or the gold blouse of your traditional sari with a new printed sari. Or throw a long or short jacket over your kurta. And who says you need to wear only traditional jewellery with Indian wear? Try diamond (or diamante) earrings with your ethnic outfits- you will be surprised how the fusion look works!

Below: Look from Ritu Kumar AW 2014 and Long jacket from Wrap Studio.

Yellow and orange suit by Ritu Kumar

Jacket from Wrap Studio

Tip 4: Update your accessories

You use your go-to metallic clutch all year round. This Diwali, try the batua instead (also known as a potli). They’re spacious, embellished and look great with ethnic Indian outfits, like saris and kurtas. When it comes to jewellery, you don’t need to follow the earrings-necklace-bangles routine. Instead, try on hair accessories like a maang tikka or clip, and ditch the bangles for a cuff and a simple gold-finish watch.

Below: Batua from Toniq, Jadau kada from Falguni Mehta

Toniq potli batua

Jadau kada by Falguni Mehta

Tip 5: Groom, groom, groom!

A gorgeous festive look is incomplete without the perfect makeup and hair, right? Go for fuss-free hair styles like a blow dry or iron for natural bounce and texture. As for makeup, make lip colours the focus—copper, champagne and burgundy are ideal for ethnic wear. And hey, red lip colours always work!

Bonus Tip: Always remember the basics of festive dressing (colours, fabrics, silhouettes)

Rich colours: Deep blues and greens, reds, pinks, corals, orange family. BTW, black is okay too.

Luxurious fabrics: Opt for silk and georgette over cotton and linen.

Flattering silhouettes: Anarkalis or salwar-kurtas to suit your body type, well-draped saris to create the illusion of height and curves, with thin borders for petite women.

Happy Diwali to all!

Bollywood Fashion: Is Alia Bhatt dressed like an IIM student in 2 States?

From her high-fashion costume stint in Student of the Year and minimum costume changes in Highway, Alia Bhatt had a completely new wardrobe to wear as Ananya Subramaniam in 2 States.

Alia Bhatt in 2 States

What Alia Bhatt wore

Styled by Manish Malhotra, Alia Bhatt wore a range of cotton kurtas—in neon shades, with jeans, or with a denim waistcoat. Her tees and tank tops were paired with ghagra skirts, and accessorised with jhumkas, cotton scarves and Kolhapuri wedges.

Alia Bhatt in kurta- 2 States

While Alia Bhatt looked great, I got a sense of déjà vu. I had spotted similar looks in other movies like Kareena Kapoor in Bodyguard (also styled by Manish Malhotra) and Kangana Ranaut in Tanu Weds Manu and Queen. All these looks are very Indo-boho / ethnic. You’d probably get Alia Bhatt’s huge collection of jhumkas, ghagra skirts and other such ethnic stuff Mumbai’s Colaba or Linking Road market and I’m sure every Indian town has such a market or two. There are also several local brands like Global Desi and Fab India who stock Indian-looking separates and accessories.

Alia Bhatt in 2 States

So what do girls at IIM wear?

While Alia Bhatt looks great and is styled well, I wondered what does a girl studying at IIM really wear? There is no definite answer of course- but I got some inputs from my hubby S (an IIM alumnus). While he claims he doesn’t remember much of his two years there (yeah, RIGHT!), and especially not what the girls wore, he add an interesting statement or two to make.

“The girls at IIM did not have time to accessorise or wear makeup.”

Packed lecture schedules, multiple projects and ongoing tests leaves IIM students with little or no time to do anything other than study. So for the girls there, there’s almost no time to find the right earrings before class or carefully apply liner to their upper and lower lash lines. But hey, I liked Alia’s nude pink lip colours.

Alia Bhatt- 2 States

“They mostly wore business suits to placement interviews.”

Alia Bhatt’s character Ananya wore a sari to her placement interview with Sunsilk (an HUL brand). Hubby confirms that almost all women wore business suits for their interviews- crisp shirt and trousers, blazer et al. Only one or two students chose to wear saris instead. Nice to know that Ananya was one of the rare ones!

“Only a handful of the girls were fashion-conscious.”

Ananya is clearly fashion-conscious- but while she doesn’t seem to follow trends, she has a flair for trying the quirky. Also, she seems to have a good fashion sense off campus as well. She wore a gorgeous sari to her boyfriend’s cousin’s wedding in Delhi- traditional but with bright colours. Given her fashion choices and cute looks, no wonder 11 guys hit on her on the first day at IIM!

Alia Bhatt in sari - 2 States

What did you think of Alia Bhatt’s outfits in 2 States?

 

Bride & Style: All the pre-wedding style madness!

Bride & Style: All the pre-wedding style madness!

Gentle reader, I am getting married! And needless to say, I will be blogging about it. OK, maybe not the wedding per se, but the fashion.

Bharavi Jaikishan at LFW SR 2013

Since I’m a fashion buff, fashion will play a HUGE role at my wedding and the related occasions. Clothes, accessories, jewellery, makeup, hair… it’s going to be a tremendous effort to sort these out, and the next few months will test my management and styling skills to the maximum. And I’m up for the challenge! 🙂

Of course I am hoping for a perfect wedding like every other bride, but mine isn’t going to be a grand Rajasthan wedding or a glamourous Bollywood affair. Nor will it be a super quiet affair with five people in attendance. You get the idea…

So what should I wear? How do I get the perfect outfit within X budget? How many outfits do I need in my trousseau? How do I match the accessories and makeup? Questions, questions and more questions a bride needs to answer, and I will be blogging about all of them (and more) over the next few months. So expect my experiences, rants, and the WOW moments, maybe a few handy tips along the way.

 

Hope you enjoy the bridal “special” and learn from my mistakes. Do leave your advice and tips for me. Thanks!

(PS – Picture from Bhairavi Jaikishen at LFW Summer Resort 2013)

WIFW AW 2013: B&W to be around next season too?

WIFW AW 2013: B&W to be around next season too?

Maybe we should hold on to our black and white prints end of this season, ladies. For black-and-white promises to be around next season, according to Anupama Dayal and Masaba Gupta among others.

(Below: Looks from Anupamaa by Anupama Dayal)

Anupamaa WIFW AW 2013 Anupamaa WIFW AW 2013

Islamic and Mughal art inspired Anupama Day’s zigzag and checkerboard prints on sharara-like trousers, jamas and angarakhas creating a flowy effect; while Masaba Gupta’s watercolour prints were true to the Satya Paul DNA.

(Below: Look from Masaba for Satya Paul)

Masaba Gupta for Satya Paul WIFW AW 2013

Are you wearing black and white yet?

WIFW AW 2013: Masaba is more offbeat than ever with Satya Paul debut

WIFW AW 2013: Masaba is more offbeat than ever with Satya Paul debut

Designer Masaba Gupta finally made her debut for Satya Paul on the first day of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2013.

Masaba Gupta for Satya Paul WIFW AW 2013 Masaba Gupta for Satya Paul WIFW AW 2013

Masaba’s creations were quirkier than ever with lipstick prints and paint splotches. Lipstick motifs were all over the clothes and accessories—saris, dresses, vanity cases and clutches.

Masaba clearly made Satya Paul appealing to her fans and beyond with her offbeat prints, neon trims, and contrast jackets with saris. I can already imagine copies of the lipstick prints everywhere. Maybe nail paint is not too far behind? 😉

Masaba Gupta for Satya Paul WIFW AW 2013 Masaba Gupta for Satya Paul WIFW AW 2013

Take a look at Masaba Gupta for Satya Paul (WIFW AW 2013) in this video:

Chic Recap: Sabyasachi is okay with fakes, wants to be more affordable

Chic Recap: Sabyasachi is okay with fakes, wants to be more affordable

It’s not often that a seemingly-reclusive fashion genius steps out of his workshop to share philosophy on work,  design and life. Last night, Sabyasachi Mukherjee had a heart-to-heart conversation with Boman Irani on Teachers’ Achievers’ Club (Star World). Take a look:

The designer, in his trademark white kurta-churidar and black waistcoat amazed me with his bluntness, sharp wit and unconventional views.  Some fun fashion-related tidbits from the show:

After Sabyasachi’s first collection, ace designer Rohit Bal complimented him, saying Sabyasachi was “the best designer ever”. Unfortunately, his second show got bad reviews and Sabyasachi made sure that didn’t happen again.
As we already know, Sabyasachi is a proponent of Indian textiles and handicrafts and has always said that Indian women look better in saris. He insists our traditions and past should be embraced, and more Indian women should wear traditional garments and weaves. I’m inspired, really. I’ve promised myself I will wear a sari on one day of Lakme Fashion Week.

During the interview Sabyasachi panned the West’s over-arching influence and approach to fashion. He said: “[I don’t like] the West’s patronising attitude just because they’ve mastered marketing and packaging.” That’s perhaps the most politically incorrect statement a designer could make.

Sabyasachi’s five-year plan is to make his label affordable for everyone in India. Can’t wait for that day!

He also hopes to direct a movie some day– and the costumes may not be designed by him.

The designer may be dressing Vidya Balan, Rani Mukherjee and Sridevi, but his mom doesn’t wear his saris. She says they’re unaffordable, especially “when there are other good saris available for Rs 800”.

Sabyasachi knows there are tonnes of fakes floating around, but he doesn’t mind that, as long as it “empowers karigars in some way.” Noble thought, no?

Sabyasachi-Star World

One word for this creative genius: R-E-S-P-E-C-T.