I find a great thrill in shopping on the proverbial ‘roadside’. It doesn’t matter what country it is or what is being sold – if it’s make-shift stalls on the edge of a road, edge of a beach or even the edge of a cliff, then I am very interested in browsing their wares. I think it has something to do with the ‘thrill of the chase’. The almost primal response I feel upon seeing things being sold on a curb-side is that they are going to be cheap and nobody else will have the same thing. These factors make for a heady combination and the only way forward for a shopping enthusiast such as myself is full speed ahead. Of course, the sensible part of my brain knows that this may not be true but this desire to browse curb-side offerings is the literal application of the term ‘curb appeal’.
I bought this kurta top on the side of the road in Bandra, Mumbai. It was my first year there and a fellow expat friend and I decided to go exploring near Linking road. As we walked along, we spotted a man on the pavement selling stuff from a big potli (bag) on the floor. His goods looked interesting and as we got closer we realised that he had some rather lovely looking clothes in that mysterious bag of his. He was pulling out various kurtas and we slowly edged closer in order to get a better look. However, our initial politeness swiftly gave way to a more assertive shopping approach and soon we were asking him to pull out kurtas in every shape and size. A few minutes later, all bets were off as other women crowded around and soon everyone was trying to help themselves while ‘Houdini with the magic bag’ was trying to keep control of his customers by slapping their greedy grabbing hands away. Eventually, the gleeful grappling led to two kurta purchases by me and one by my friend.
Luckily for me, this impulse purchase fit well and I paired it with a black churidar (leggings) I owned. One day when I was tidying my cupboard, I found this beautiful Kantha work dupatta that I had been given as a present many years ago but had nothing to pair with. Seeing the kurta and dupatta together, I realised it was a match made in heaven and voila! I had myself a complete outfit!
On a separate note, I have often found that pairing outerwear with Indian clothes can present a unique styling challenge. While it does get brutally cold in many parts of India, much of Indian wear is designed for warm weather and frankly, I prefer a sari without a big puffer coat on top! I am a fan of the ‘long coat on a sari look’ and of course there are lovely shawls available in every colour and size to help with the cold. A few years ago, I decided to expand my Indian clothes outerwear repertoire by experimenting with non-traditional options such as leather jackets. The result is that I no longer hesitate to pair conventionally western outerwear with Indian clothes. Sometimes, my pairings look great and other times maybe not so good but at least I can say I tried something new.
I hope you enjoy this look and thank you for reading. Have a great day!
(Clothes and Accessories: leather Jacket – Marks and Spencer, Sandals – Dune)