Party dresses: Shimmer, shine and sparkle

Glisten like a jewel by blinging up your dress this Christmas or New Year’s eve. Show your shiny side as you let your hair down and dance the night away. Speaking Chic shows you the top trendy dresses to make you shimmer, shine and sparkle over the next two weekends.

Trend 1: Fabrics that shine

Opt for dresses in fabrics like jacquard, lamé, and even brocade. These come with inbuilt metallic shine that keep you in the spotlight. Some fabrics can bulk you up, so make sure you take a second (or third) opinion when you try on your dress at the store.

Dresses from Zara, Mango and French Connection.

Zara brocade dress Mango jacquard dress French Connection jacquard dress

Trend 2: Make sequins your best friends

Twinkle among the sea of partygoers with a dress that has the sequins in the right places and in the right dose. Or shine like the sun with a healthy overdose of sequins on your cocktail dress.

Dresses from Arpan Vohra and Mango.

Arpan Vohra dress gold Mango sequinned dress

How will you shine this party season?

Related Post:

Party dresses: Black is chic!

Bad Ads: Stars don’t shine!

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Mango and Dolce & Gabbana may be as different as chalk and cheese (one high street, the other a luxury brand), but both have got one thing in common—theirs are the chicest print campaigns this season. (See the Mango catalogue photos here and Madonna as housewife here). Both have got the casting right. And the photography, the wonderful clothes, and the art.

These campaigns befit the star status of these successful, gorgeous women—it’s money well-spent! But closer home, I can’t remember the last time a celeb fashion campaign made me go “Wow!”

Okay, that’s partly because our actors are busy endorsing fairness creams, biscuits and tea, but the few that sell clothes are part of banal and boring campaigns. Cases in point: Amitabh Bachchan’s Reid & Taylor TV spot that had ghosts, and Shahrukh Khan’s insipid Belmonte advertisement.

What I did somewhat like was Hrithik Roshan in Provogue’s print campaign. The handsome actor’s unconventional look  and intensity give a much-needed break from shaven chests and chocolate boy looks. Check out his “I-don’t-care” attitude in this print ad. (He may look fugly here, but that’s kinda the point, right?)


Speaking Chic wonders why we can’t make a star campaign really shine. There are plenty of big-budget campaigns and no dearth of talented creative  admen, photographers, directors etc, so why should the Indian public suffer from commonplace campaigns with their favourite actors? And besides, fashion and clothes should have an aesthetic appeal to make them saleable, right?  

Speaking Chic’s advice to fashion, clothing and luxury brands in India: Keep a chunk of your budget to get the your creatives right. We’re tired of our cricket captain MS Dhoni looking uncomfortable in Big Bazaar clothes.

Loved a fashion/ clothing campaign with your fave star? Tell us!

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Chic Micro-trend: Denim for your feet

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After years of being discarded as “too casual”, denim emerged as one of the key trends from the international Spring Summer 2010 catwalks. From Dolce & Gabbana to Jean Paul Gaultier, this fabric appeared from out of the blue in a variety of garments, other than jeans. There were edgy jumpsuits, hot shorts, mini skirts and casual dresses. Soon enough, denim hit the high fashion street, with Mango and Zara giving their summer collections a denim twist.

But if you don’t want to wear a denim dress, you’ve anyways worn jeans all your life, and we don’t need denim jackets in India (thank you very much), cash in on the trend with denim shoes!

Footwear made of denim can be surprisingly versatile. They can be sneakers, pumps or wedges. How do you want to wear it?

How to wear the trend

If you’re looking for dressy, sexy or stylish to go with jeans or a non-denim dress, then look out for the denim shoes at the high street stores. Mango has this chic pair of denim shoes at their Indian stores. I also liked this pair for guys, but Indian men are not too high on Mango’s radar.

Meanwhile, check out this really cute pair of denim lace-ups I found at a Mango store abroad.



If you’re sportier types, head to the nearest Converse store. This American and Indian teen (and post-teen) favourite is likely to have a pair or two of denim shoes on their shelves. Casual, smart and comfy.

What do you think of this trend? Are you waiting for lunch hour to rush to the nearest store? Or have you had enough of denim already? Tell us!

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Zara Review (with spy shots)

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I’ve just come back from a wonderful trip to Turkey, which included tonnes of shopping, including at Zara and Mango. So I thought it’d be a perfect time to test the Zara store in Mumbai. Here’s my honest review (with cool spy shots).

I’d heard scary stories the day before I visited Zara’s Mumbai store—there was a queue to go in, it was packed, long lines at the cash counter… you get the drift. But surprise! No lines to get in, enough elbow space, though Zara was a bit crowded for an Indian store.


Zara is a sprawling two-floor store, with men, kids and women’s casuals on the first floor, and the ground floor dedicated to women’s wear. The men’s section was unexpectedly crowded, which is good news, because it indicates that Indian men are acquiring good fashion taste. I spotted some basic guys’ tees for Rs 895.

Coming to the casuals range (the TRF line), there were basic half-sleeve tees for Rs 445, jeans-like-leggings (Rs 1590; not called jeggings here), graphic tees, leggings, and a couple of really cool jackets. One was a pink cotton ruffle jacket (Rs 1790), and the other a smart short-sleeved blue leather jacket. A lot of the garments reminded me of the Istanbul store, indicating that they from the latest collection.

DSC02096           DSC02097

I brought out my camera, but I’d only taken two pictures before an Oriental-looking guy called Mike said, “Sorry, photo not allowed.” I mumbled a sorry and put it back inside. Moments later, I saw an Oriental-looking girl, and guessed that Zara has sourced staff from other stores in Asia.

On the lower floor, I spotted formal blazers (useful for formal meetings), cocktail dresses, tunics, blouses, jeans and trousers.  

The striking trends in the Zara collection were floral prints in easy, flowing silhouettes, whites, graphic prints, and a bit of lace and cutwork. And then there was the key trend this season—denim. Besides the jeans, there were skirts (Rs 990), shorts, a dress or two and even denim-look slouchy pants (Rs 2190)! The party dress selection was more classic than trendy, but very wearable.


Among accessories, the stoles and bags didn’t deserve a second glance, but there were plenty of shoes to keep us girls happy, and several were available in my hard-to-get size (a tiny 36). Again, Zara had made an effort to stock the hottest shoes, such as strappy flats and gladiator-style stilettos. Unfortunately, the shoes are priced similar to or bit higher than Charles & Keith and Nine West. I even saw a pink pair for Rs 5000!

BTW, I noticed Zara had tried to give their collection a desi appeal with a FabIndia-like printed skirt on display and several tunics that were clearly India-inspired.

The Verdict:

Will I go to Zara again? Yes. Is it now my favourite store in Phoenix Mills? Nope, that’s still Landmark. Would I recommend the store to others? Yes.

BUT… Zara needs to get its pricing right, since I found prices undeserving, even surprising or just appalling! And if you’re an avid shopper abroad, then you don’t need this store.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping Zara’s mere presence in India spurs Mango to pull up its socks and give us better stuff.

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