Fashion hits & disasters from the Obama visit

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama bid India farewell yesterday after a three-day visit. Everyone talked about the renewed N-deal, the R-day parade and the town hall, but of course I’ll be talking about fashion. 🙂 Here’s my take on the fashion hits and disasters of the Obamas’ India visit. (More disasters than hits).

Disaster #1: Michelle Obama’s arrival dress

As her “arrival” dress, First Lady Michelle Obama wore a printed dress made by Indian-origin designer Bibhu Mohapatra. My take: not impressive! The floral print on the dress was too big, even for someone of her height and frame. Plus the lines across the dress added more confusion to the outfit. Maybe she could have skipped the matching jacket for a plain one.

Michelle Obama floral dres Bibhu Mohapatra

Disaster #2: President Obama names PM Modi a “style icon”

At the state banquet Sunday evening, President Obama stated, “The Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] is a style icon. I would also like to wear a Modi kurta.” Sure, while the Modi kurta is perhaps Indian politics’ latest contribution to fashion (remember Nehru jacket?), I don’t think PM Modi is a style icon. Yes, his wardrobe his carefully selected and he ensures he is well-groomed, but style icon? Nope! (one good reason below).

Disaster #3: Narendra Modi’s “selfie” suit

What looked like a pinstripe suit from afar at the chai pe charcha (evening tea), was actually lines and lines of the PM’s name all over. Take a look:

PM Modi suit tea with Obama

PM Modi suit tea with Obama

Now you know why PM Modi isn’t a style icon.

Disaster #4: … And the grey one

In the 1980s I remember all the male members of my family wearing grey “safari” suits, but the truth is that grey is not a flattering colour for most Indian men. But PM Modi wore light grey at the state banquet and well, didn’t carry it off. A darker grey or a navy blue would have looked so much better. And the tan shoes with the grey bandhgala? Oh no, no, no! :-O

Obamas PM Modi banquet

Hit #1: Michelle Obama’s state banquet dress

Ms Obama’s navy blue billowy dress with a gold and red print looked fantastic. She was a picture of poise and elegance as she greeted Indian VIPs. It was the right touch of colour, a pleasing print and totally appropriate.

Hit #2: Indian First Lady gifts FLOTUS a pashmina shawl

Awww… sweet gesture from Indian First Lady Suvra Mukherjee. I’m sure Michelle Obama receives plenty of gifts wherever she goes, but an authentic pashmina shawl is always special. I wonder if she will ever use it though? (No, don’t answer that).

 

WINTER SPECIAL: 15-plus winter essentials & style tips for busy men

Busy, busy men. You’ve got no time to shop, confused about what to buy, or simply hate shopping? In this mini-catalogue of winter wear there are over a dozen ready-to-wear, fuss-free choices along with some handy tips. So your shopping becomes easier, quicker and stress-free.

Happy shopping!

Cardigans and sweaters

Style Tip: Stick to basic colours, but experiment with textures and detailing.

Textured full-sleeved sweater from TM Lewin

TM Lewin sweater

Multi-pocket cardigan from Arrow

Arrow cardigan

Knit with buttons from Ed Hardy

Ed Hardy cardigan

Coats & Jackets

Style Tip: Look out for fur trims- they add a luxe touch to your coat. Belts look great, but look best on leaner guys.

Parka coat with faux fur trim from Zara

Zara men's parka coat

Belted coat from French Connection

Black coat French Connection

Jackets and vests

Style Tip: Puffed and quilted styles are classic winter outerwear, but if you’re looking for trendy pieces there are lots of styles- try a layered or colour-blocked jacket.

Puffed jacket from Calvin Klein Jeans

CKJ puffed jacket

Quilted jacket from Splash

Splash quilted jacket

Dual-layered jacket from Guess

Guess winter jacket

Leather jacket

Style Tip: Plain leather jackets are so dull. Try jackets with lots of zips, pockets or varying textures.

Leather jacket from Rara Avis

Rara Avis leather jacket

Shoes

Style Tip: High-top shoes for men are super hot right now. Wear them over skinny or straight-fit jeans.

Lace-up shoes and leather boots from Clarks

Winter shoes- Clarks

 

High-top lace-up shoes from Estd 1977

Estd 1977 Black shoes

Winter accessories

Style Tip: Neutral winter accessories- patterned or plain are worthwhile investments for this winter and the next.

Hats and scarf from Aldo, gloves from River Island

Winter accessories-Men

WINTER TIME: 20-plus chic essentials for the ladies

Ahh, the lovely winter days. The mercury dips, you pile up on the layers and sip on hot chocolate. If you hate the cold weather, why not let these stylish choices perk you up? Indulge in one of these stylish knits, jackets, coats or accessories and look chic!

Knitwear- The basics

Long camel knit from Zara

Zara camel long cardigan

Round-neck sweater from Arrow

Arrow sweater for winter

Zipped white knit from Calvin Klein Jeans

Calvin Klein Jeans _womencardigan

Funky sweaters- for the teenager in you

Animal print sweater from French Connection

FCUK animal sweater

Christmas hoodie from B: Kind

B Kind hoodie

Jackets that spell C-h-i-c

Jacket from Splash

Splash winter jacket

Puffed jacket from Guess

Guess winter jacket

Statement coats- The real head-turners

Edith Wrap Coat from Forever New

Forever New- EDITH WRAP COAT

 

Greene Coat from American Swan

American Swan Greene Red Blazer

Furry styles- Faux, of course!

Animal print coat from French Connection

FCUK fur coat

Abstract print furry jacket from Guess

Guess winter fur jacket

Camouflage print fur coat from Splash

Splash- Winter special party wear- Fuzzy fur coat

Cool leather jackets- ‘Coz biker chicks rock!

Leather jacket from Calvin Klein Jeans

CKJ_women leather jacket

Boots to make your feet look sexy

Thigh-high boots from Clarks

Clarks Kendra Candy Black Leather

Fur-trim ankle-length boots from Clarks

Clark Lisette Blues Black Leater

Blue boots from Metro

Blue boots- Metro Shoes

Accessories- To complete your winter ensemble

Hats, gloves, scarves and snood from Accessorize

Winter accessories from Accessorize

SHOE STORY: A Day in Aerosoles

Like every woman on the planet, I’ve struggled with finding the right foot wear. Shoes are either too tight, too loose, too drab, too blingy. But mostly, they’re uncomfortable. And in my experience, the comfort of any pair of shoes is inversely proportional to how good-looking the shoes are. So the prettier the shoes, the less comfortable they will be. At least that’s what I thought before I got introduced to Aerosoles.

Aerosoles shoes India

Aerosoles are touted to be stylish and comfortable shoes (yep, both features in the same pair!!!). Given the dozens of shoe bites I’ve had, ill-fitting shoes I’ve worn and owned, and the horrible foot ache that shoes give me, I decided to put a pair of Aerosoles to test for its claims. The test was simple—I would wear a pair of Aerosoles for a day and blog about how my feet felt during and at the end of the day.

9 am: First impressions

These Aerosoles are a no-fuss pair with great texture and subtle metallic shine. Can’t wait to wear them. I’m already making a mental list of outfits I can pair my Aerosoles with, or where I can wear them. So far I’ve listed: shopping, errands, luncheons, meetings and parties. This covers a lot, doesn’t it?

Aerosoles shoes flats and heels

10 am: Meeting time, the first test

I slip into the shoes. First reaction: soft, natural, and great fit. Of course, that all means COMFORTABLE! But will they be just as comfy throughout the day? Too soon to say. Fingers crossed. I pair the Aerosoles with a shirt and black trousers for a meeting. The shoes go well with my formal attire and work bag.

12 noon: Shoe bite? Nah!

The meeting just got over and guess what, no shoe bites yet! The last time I wore a new pair of shoes on a Monday morning was a month ago, and I was in intense discomfort throughout the meeting and after- painful shoe bites! But in these Aerosoles I don’t even feel a slight pinch. Like I said, perhaps they were made for me? My phone buzzes, there’s a last-minute lunch plan with the ladies. I quickly rush home to change.

Comfortable Aerosoles shoes for shopping

1 pm: Lunch-time perfection

I changed into a peach light knit embroidered top (brand new!) and beige pants, but forgot to put on a matching pair of shoes, so I’m still in the Aerosoles. But as my mom points out, they look perfect with my outfit. Yay! Comfort level still high. (An aside: Little-known trivia- Aerosoles have been brought to India by Tata International. Yep, surprised me too!)

3 pm: Easy peasy driving in Aerosoles

After lunch, I’m headed to a fashion bloggers event at Infiniti Mall. It’s a long drive with some serious traffic, which can be very tough on my arms and feet. Driving in heels is usually a pain, but today I’m wearing my Aerosoles. When I get off, I feel like I wasn’t driving at all. 🙂 I guess it’s the patented diamond pattern technology with the tiny shock absorbers and the cushion comfort that have made my long drive easier.

Driving in Aerosoles shoes India

4.30 pm: No pain, no problem!

At the mall, I’m running between the store and the press conference, and again to the store, but no problem! It’s like a mini-marathon, except that my feet are cooperating despite the heel. In Aerosoles shoes, the heel rests on a platform so your calves won’t ache.

6 pm: Fresh as a daisy

I head back home after the fashion event. It’s been an action-packed day but my feet are loving the soft feel of the leather thanks to the fine fibre structure. Why can’t I have more such shoes?!

Aerosoles shoes at mall

7.30 pm: Romance in Aerosoles

The husband’s booked tickets for a play so we head to NCPA at Nariman Point. Since we’re early, he suggests we take a stroll on the Marine Drive promenade. On any other day, I would have said a firm NO on account of the shoes, but today I say “Let’s do it!” We enjoy the sunset and gentle breeze while we walk down the picturesque stretch. A truly romantic moment at the end of a super busy day, and it was possible because of the diamond flex soles in the Aerosoles.

10 pm: My feet thank me (I mean, errr… the Aerosoles)

We head home after the play and I get into into my home slippers. It occurs to me that the Aersoles were more comfy than this pair. I get into bed with my book after dinner and for a change, my feet and calves aren’t screaming in pain. Also, the leather Aerosoles don’t stink or smell. And that’s when I realize- the Aerosoles shoes are not just any pair of shoes. My feet didn’t feel them at all, these are shoes like they were meant to be made.

Aerosoles are available at select stores of Regal, Inc 5, Metro, Mochi and Westside across India. Price range from Rs 1900 to Rs 5500.

Shoes courtesy Aerosoles.

Picks of the Week: The cool jackets you need this winter

While us Mumbai folks are sweating it out in the afternoons, folks across the country have a winter to face and dress up for. So for this week’s online picks, I’ve selected parka jackets to be your go-to outerwear options this season.

Available in neutral tones and with faux fur trimmings, these jackets will keep you warm while adding a classic touch to your style. Treat them well, and they could last you the entire season and even the next.

For women:

OASIS leopard faux fur collar parka jacket (available on Koovs.com). Price: Rs 5800

OASIS winter jacket- women

For men:

River Island Navy Faux Fur Duffle Jacket, Rs 5214 (available on Jabong.com). Current discounted price: Rs 5214

River Island winter jacket for men

PARTY TIME: All the fashion you need!

It’s party season, ladies! Before you venture out shopping for your party outfit and accessories and get all confused, it’s best to narrow down your choices. Do you want a dress or skirt? Do you want to look edgy or retro? Or how about a tux instead?

Here are a whole range of outfits and accessories to make your party shopping easier.

Sequinned Dresses (Dresses from Bebe and French Connection)

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Maxi dresses (Dresses from Guess and AND)

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Lace dresses (Dresses from Giovani and Elle)

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Tops (Metallic top from Calvin Klein Jeans)

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Jackets (Look from Label by Ritu Kumar)

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Knits (Elle and French Connection)

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Red Dresses (Dresses from Limeroad, Forever New)

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Party Clutches (Toniq and Aldo)

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Shoes (Aldo)

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Jewellery (Accessorize)

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WARNING: This wedding jewellery is seriously drool-worthy

Loved the wedding outfit ideas I posted a couple of days ago? The next step is to choose gorgeous jewellery to accompany the gorgeous ensembles you’ve picked for the wedding season.

While jewellery is not as fickle as fashion, there are some jewellery themes that are popular right now and of course you need to know what they are. I’ve handpicked the most representative jewellery pieces to guide your purchases and “what to wear” choices.

Ladies, get ready to bust the bank to get your hands on these.

Diamonds

Yep, this one’s a no-brainer. Wear diamonds with absolutely anything and you’re bound to look and feel elegant, beautiful and stunning. (Bracelet from Hema S Kothari, Feather palm bracelet by Social Butterfly by Laila Singh, Regal multi-diamond necklace from Velvetcase.com)

Bracelet by Hema S. Kothari (2)

FEATHER PALM BRACELET - SOCIAL BUTTERFLY BY LAILA SINGH WINTER 2014-15 (5)

Regal Mutli- Diamond Bridal Necklace, Rs 11,60,187

Jadau

Okay, so another no-brainer. India’s traditional jewellery can make any woman feel like a princess. And jadau is giving serious competition to diamonds as the go-to jewellery style. (Earrings from Dwarkadas Chandumal Jewellers, cuff by Falguni Mehta)

Jadau earrings

Jadau Jewellery by Falguni Mehta (3)

Diamond + jadau

You’ve got the best of both worlds in a single jewellery piece. Your jewellery choice just became easier. (Set from Dwarkadas Chandumal Jewellers, set from Gehna Jewellers)

Jadau and diamond

GEHNA JEWELLERS(7) - DIAMOND JEWELLERY

Red and green

The Indian festive favourites! Whether it comes to diamonds or jadau, jewellery with red and green precious and semi-precious stones (or other elements) will always be a handy accessory! (Bracelet by Hema S Kothari, necklace from Velvetcase.com, set from Jagat Jewels)

 Bracelet by Hema S. Kothari

 

 

Majestic Ruby Diamond Necklace, Rs 4,90,012

DIAMOND NECKLACE SET IN 14 KARAT GOLD WITH OVAL AND PEAR SHAPED GREEN ONYX

Versatile pieces

Flexibility is the need of the hour whether it’s your work timings or jewellery. Jewellers are now giving us options— such as detachable pieces and neutral designs (can be worn with western and ethnic outfits). So a single jewellery investment gives you a lot more returns! (Earrings from Sonal’s Bijoux, detachable jhumkis from Pink City, solitaire pendant from TBZ)

Ocean Drop Earrings with Swarovski Surround from Adawna by Sonal's Bijoux

detachable jhumkis- 2,84,000

Maheshk__TBZ_neck4_0273

Pearl story

Pearls are another classic jewellery style, but they need a 21st century makeover (Gen Y doesn’t like to wear pearl strings), so now they’re being incorporated into other jewellery styles like diamonds and jadau. (Set from Dwarkadas Chandumal Jewellers, set from Jagat Jewels, earrings from Falguni Mehta)

pearl necklace

ILLUSION SETTING DIAMOND BRACELET WITH SOUTH SEA PEARLS SET IN WHITE GOLD

Jadau Jewellery by Falguni Mehta (1)

Colours

To copy the most over-used fashion cliché—it’s a riot of colours. When your clothes are colourful, why why not your jewellery? Besides red and green, there are sparkly purples, oranges and peaches to add some hues to your jewellery box. (Earrings from Minawala Jewellers, ring from Jagat Jewels, earrings from Sonal’s Bijoux, pendant and earrings from Farah Khan Ali for Tanishq)

Festive Collection By Minawala (14)

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Pear Drop and Floral Motif Danglings with Swarovski Crystals from Adawna by Sonal's Bijoux

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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! 🙂

Wedding Fashion: Some serious style tips from Bollywood

When Salman Khan’s sister Arpita got married recently, a host of Bollywood actors attended the Mumbai reception, some looking great and stylish, others not so much. But each of them had a style tip to share, and here’s what they were.

Sonakshi Sinha

Red is a great Indian festive colour. Sonakshi toned down the brightness with a light lip colour and minimal jewellery (the bare neck also showed off her recently-acquired sexy collarbones!).

Lara Dutta

A well-draped sari can easily cover up post-baby bulge. Brighten up an all-gold look with coloured gem stone jewellery.

Dia Mirza

A sharara is perfectly-acceptable wedding attire and a shaded one adds to the charm. While Dia Mirza chose a pastel palette, the embellishments and jewellery ensured she didn’t look washed out.

Huma Qureshi

With a dramatic silhouette, you don’t need too much embellishment. A bold border and accessories should do the trick.

Malaika Arora Khan

Malaika Arora Khan Arpita Khan's Wedding Reception

She’s sexy, she’s fashion forward, she’s from the bridal party and she’s not afraid to make a statement with a dhoti-sari and mesh blouse.

Karisma Kapoor

An off-white anarkali can be as regal as any bright colour, especially with a high collar. Give it a royal touch with the right shoes, and go easy on the accessories. BTW, the statement watch is a nice touch!

Jacqueline Fernandes

Yes, it is okay to wear black to a reception, and a bindi can brighten up your look instantly.

And a useful tip on what NOT to wear: Zarine Khan

Avoid tacky embellishments, please. Some designers are trying to use mirror work in wedding fashion, but it DOES NOT WORK! Also, you may want fuller lips but don’t go overboard with your lip liner and look like a clown.

All Photos Courtesy: TheCreativeAccess.in

Fashion lessons from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

I’ve been hooked to The Hunger Games series since I first read the books four years ago. Fashion has played a key role in the films, highlighting the contrast between the impoverished District 12 folks and the privileged Capitol dwellers. Jennifer Lawrence’s costumes (she plays Katniss Everdeen) make a significant and often startling statement about her background, her situation and her firebrand nature.

Mockingjay poster

In Mockingjay Part 1, the rebellion is gaining strength and Panem is on the brink of civil war. The costumes in the movie contribute greatly to the mood of the film and there are plenty of style inputs for everyone, if you watch closely. Here are my top fashion lessons from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1.

Androgyny can be good.

Everyone in District 13 (where most of the action takes place) has to wear standard-issue grey shirts and pants, so the women seem devoid of curves. But there’s a pragmatic touch here. The multiple pockets add a functional element, the outfits are designed for practicality (a woman wouldn’t want to get evacuated while worrying about her flying skirt), and the high-waisted pants are flattering and comfortable. So ladies, why not give androgyny a serious shot?

Mockingjay Gael

Always, always, always personalise your look.

Personalising doesn’t always mean adding your initials to cuffs or ripping your jeans. It could mean a small detail that only you notice or a noticeable accessory. For example, the cold and calculating rebellion leader Alma Coin (played by Julianne Moore) wears her standard-issue ensemble with her top button fastened, while Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) keeps it unbuttoned. Effie (Katniss’s stylist- Elizabeth Banks) is dissatisfied with the military-style clothing (she calls the outfits “jumpsuits”), but she personalizes her look with a printed turban, or by wearing long shirts as dresses. Cressida (Natalie Dormer) has a half-shaved head with a tattoo snaking down her scalp, shoulder and arm. What could be more striking than that?

Natalie Dormer Mockingjay

Effie Elizabeth Banks Mockingjay Part 1

Develop a memorable trademark look or style.

While appearances are often deceptive, they are also the most impactful. If you show consistency in your look, it reinforces your personality and your public image. For instance, while on the brink of war, President Snow speaks to the nation looking well-groomed, calm, composed, and dressed in his luxury suits. While Caesar (TV host played by Stanley Tucci) asks questions about violence with his trademark backcombed hairdo and flamboyant styling intact. People will always remember how you’ve been dressing, so even a slight deviation is likely to be noticed and can lead to confusion or doubt.

Caesar Mockingjay Part 1

Accessorizing is crucial.

Accessorizing is not just about jewellery. The Mockingjay (Jennifer Lawrence) in action is never seen without her bow and arrow, while her close friend Gael is always with his crossbow. Effie ensures she is wearing at least one of her accessories, such as hand ornaments or cuffs, while Philip Seymour Hoffman is always with a messenger bag. Whatever your tools are, trade or otherwise, you need to make them visible so people can identify your personality traits. For example, at a job interview, would you rather be seen carrying a dark leather folder or an Angry Birds file?

Film Still 1 Mockingjay Part 1

Most important: What you wear says a lot about who you are.

For Katniss, the key accessory of her exclusive outfit is the Mockingjay pin-it is what makes her the Mockingjay. President Snow’s granddaughter looks up to Katniss and so wears her hair in a plait (like her heroine), and Effie (Katniss’s stylist) feels misplaced without her grandiose wigs. So even if you don’t realize it, your “personal” statement may have a larger impact than you think. You can show your solidarity with a cause, express anger, or protest an ideology with your clothes. Think of ordinary people wearing Modi jackets or caps that state “I am Anna (Hazare)”- they are making a very strong public statement about their ideological choices. So whatever you wear, you are saying something. Choose carefully and wisely.

President Snow Mockingjay Part 1

May the odds be ever in your favour!