Summer Prints: Quintessential Sunshine Dresses

Hello everyone – it has been patchy but I am all geared up to be back with a bang.  This forty-something fashion enthusiast has finally resolved her time management problems – quite simply by just deciding that some things will have to wait.  This blog has been a labour of love for two years and it has been good for my soul – I am hopeful that this break will not be repeated soon.

One thing, however, is for certain – we will not be hearing this autumn that London did not see a proper summer!  It’s been a summer on steroids in the English capital and I have never seen so much positivity and animosity expressed towards the same weather pattern by disparate individuals.  It has been hot, hot and hot in a way that I cannot remember since I moved to London almost two decades ago.  The full-blown summer had been a great incentive for everyone to get out all their summer clothes and I have never enjoyed so much summer fashion on display in the capital as I have this year.

Summer dresses are my favourite summer fashion statement! Nothing says summer quite like brightly coloured dresses with gorgeous prints. I often find myself at Victoria Station and as may be evident by now – I can shop anywhere. I bought both these gorgeous dresses from the JOY shop at the station.  Yellow is my favourite colour and I knew I would not be catching my intended train when I saw this gorgeous floral number in the window.  A week later, I went into the shop again only to exit with this lovely fruit printed pink dress – the colour and the flared skirt are right up my alley. These summery dresses work so well with wedge heels and flats and I find that wearing these cheerful prints puts a smile on my face and spring in my step.

My message of the day – soon summer will be on its way out and a chill in the air will herald the arrival of fall.  Therefore, even when you are roasting in the heat for the next two days  – enjoy it because soon the heat will be gone and you will remember it so fondly on a cold and rainy autumn day in London!

I would love some feedback on the blog and what you would like me to feature in the near future.  As always, thank you for reading my blog and have a great week ahead.

Clothes and accessories:

Yellow sunflower dress – JOY

Pink fruit dress – JOY

Clutch – Michael Kors

Wedges – Coach 

Celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day: In a Structured Olive Green Coat

I often hear that once you enter your forties, there are certain clothes you just can’t wear anymore. This may or may not be true depending on the individual, however, my taste in clothes has definitely evolved since I entered the fourth decade of my life. It is easy to find lists of clothes that you are not supposed to wear after a certain age but it is harder to find a list of items you should try post 40.

On the top of my post 40 clothing styles to try would be structured clothing.  Clothes that are meticulously tailored and shaped make an instant style statement.  A structured shape lends itself to showcasing your natural curves and improves your posture.  Best of all – structured clothing helps you excude an air of confidence  that is much harder to achieve with free-flowing clothes.

To quote Dorothy from Jerry Maguire, this coat had me at hello! The structured drape and ruffle on one side of the coat is all this garment needs to be a standout.  I have paired the coat with simple black clothes to ensure that the coat is the star of the show. Bold jewellery and an edgy clutch add the perfect finishing touches to this outfit.

The truth is that I may not have worn this coat in my twenties but in my forties I have the confidence to try structured fashion that doesn’t get lost in the crowd. Therefore, while some clothes may be struck off post 40, the good news is that there are many styles that are just making their debut into my wardrobe.

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook and thank you so much for reading.  Have a great weekend!

(Clothes and accessories: Coat – AQAQ (Not sure if they still carry this coat), Bracelet, ring and earrings – Isharya, clutch – Zara)

Reuse and Restyle: A-Line Dress With a Faux Fur Statement Jacket

One of the great joys of living in Mumbai for five years was that given the warm weather year around, there was no need for my summer wardrobe to go into a biannual weather-induced hibernation. On the flip side, one of the great joys of returning to the UK was the chance to wear lovely winter clothes again, including a plethora* of boots and coats (*latest ‘word bank’ word from my son’s English homework that is now stuck in my head).

While not all clothes can be worn independent of season, I think that with a little thought and effort, many clothes can be ‘omniweather’ and exhibit more versatility than we may initially give them credit for. I have featured this dress on the blog before in the following blog post: Happy Dresses:  A-Lined and Ribboned. I find A-lined dresses naturally flattering and I like the grosgrain bow on this dress that helps to draw in the waist. I love this faux fur jacket and the bold white and black stripes that put the ‘statement’ in ‘statement jacket’. I have accessorized the outfit with a pale pink clutch to add a contrasting colour to the overall style statement. Finally, black tights and high-heeled boots add the necessary touches needed to make this a chic, yet playful winter outfit.

On a slightly different note, this is the time of the year when the shops restock after the manic winter sales and display clothes that bring upon a ‘time and geographical warp’.  It is freezing outside and when you look at the new collections in the shops you could be forgiven for thinking you live in Bermuda! I think this early stocking of summer clothes may be a well-intentioned ploy to get us to hone our styling skills by finding a way to wear these clothes in cold weather before the warmer weather arrives.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and have a great week! Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – And other Stories, Coat – Mango (This is a similar one), Boots – Forever Unique , Clutch – Gucci)

At St. Ermin’s Hotel: In Flats and In Heels

Recently, my family and I had the opportunity to do something we have never done before – take a ‘staycation’ in central London.  We stayed at the St. Ermin’s hotel (an Autograph collection hotel) in Westminster, a central London hotel with an amazing history and a stone’s throw from St. James’s Park station.

The remarkable history goes as follows: In 1940 Winston Churchill held a meeting at St. Ermin’s Hotel with a group of people and asked them to join him in ‘Setting Europe Ablaze’ – they were to become the founding members of the SOE (Special Operations Executive). This unit carried out covert operations during WW2, from their headquarters which were an entire floor of St. Ermin’s Hotel, whilst MI6 were situated two floors above. The SOE agents’ printed coded messages on pieces of silk, of which an original sample still hangs in the Lobby.  In the 1950’s the spy Guy Burgess (part of the Cambridge five) handed over secret papers to his Russian counterpart in the Caxton Bar. Furthermore, it is rumoured that a tunnel runs from underneath the grand staircase in the Lobby all the way to the houses of Westminster.

I absolutely loved the character of this hotel and the unusual lobby with its gorgeous staircases and plaster work that were designed by the famous Victorian theatre designer J.P. Briggs. There is a lovely boutique charm about the hotel and I particularly enjoyed the cozy atmosphere of the Caxton Bar.  I have to say that enjoying a drink by a warm fireplace (with a real fire) in the bar was a lovely treat! We also decided impromptu to indulge in the high tea served in the tea rooms above the lobby and I thoroughly enjoyed the fare.  I found the high tea service friendly, without being pretentious, and one that seemed very child friendly.  Of course, our decision to indulge was sudden (like I was really going to say no when my husband suggested it!) but they are happy to make special provisions for kids if you book ahead of time.

I have always championed the case of ‘fabulous flats’ and there is something very refreshing about dressing up and not wearing heels. I love the shimmery elegance of these flat ballerina shoes and I think they work exceedingly well with the frill-bottomed cropped trousers.  The oversized faux fur clutch is a stylish nod to winter and is amazingly versatile in terms of styling.

I have mentioned before that I have rarely met a shirt dress I did not like and this one was no exception.  I love the simple yet sophisticated design of this dress and how the waist can be drawn in from both sides.  It’s full sleeved and appropriate for work and play – what’s there not to love! Plus, I think it would also look great with a nice pair of white sneakers.

I hope you enjoyed this ‘lookbook’ and thank you for reading.  Have a great rest of the week!

www.sterminshotel.co.uk

(Clothes and Accessories: Silver Jumper – And Other Stories, Trousers – Zara (similar), Clutch – And Other Stories, Flat Shoes – SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, Shirt Dress – H&M, Grey Bag – Salvatore Ferragamo)

Diwali Celebrations: In A Yellow And Pink Kurta And Cream and Gold Skirt

It is autumn, there is a chill in the air and it is Diwali time!  Beyond its religious and cultural significance, a festival that encourages you to buy new clothes and eat mitai (Indian sweets) as part of the celebrations is ‘tops in my book’.  On a more serious note, I am sure every generation feels this way but I think at the present time, given the state of the world, the message of the triumph of knowledge over ignorance and good over evil is perhaps more pertinent than ever before!

I  first encountered ‘The Silk Tree’ at an exhibition in Mumbai while I was living there and fell in love with their range of beautiful kurtas.  Back then, I purchased a gorgeous white kurta with pin-tucks and raised flowers which I had featured in an earlier blog post – https://ishasverdict.com/2016/02/05/minor-obsessions-lovely-white-kurtas/ . Recently, when I was in India for my old school reunion I had a single free day in Delhi.  It did not take me long to decide how to spend my day  – I decided to go shopping! I contacted ‘The Silk Tree’ and Darshan Dhupia, the lovely designer behind the brand, informed me that they happened to be having an exhibition on that day and I was welcome to drop by.  Now this was as strong a sign as any that the universe wanted me to go and shop, so off I went very happily to view her latest collection.

This beautiful kurta had me at the colour! I know I have professed my love for the colour yellow before and combined with gorgeous gota work – it literally made me weak in the knees (sticky toffee pudding also has a similar effect). There were so many beautiful kurta’s on display but I kept coming back to this one and could not decide whether to pair it with trousers or this cream and gold paneled skirt.  As it was approaching Diwali time  – it seemed only right that I should buy some clothes and so I decided to purchase this outfit and a few more items (which I will lookbook in the near future).  I could not decide if if the outfit needed a dupatta, but Darshan suggested that this pink one would add a pop of colour and then kindly gifted the dupatta to me.

I must say that I have a bias for traditional Indian handiwork and I loved the striking colours,  intricate designs and the beautiful handloom fabrics that the ‘The Silk Tree’ has brought together this season. Each piece had a distinct look but the brand has captured the ‘mix and match’ idea exceptionally well , giving customers the versatility of allowing many pieces in their collection to be paired with each other with great ease.  They are happy to make their pieces in different colours and sizes depending on the customers needs.

Diwali is a great time for maximizing my ethnic look, so I have paired my outfit with big Indian earrings, a beautiful bracelet and an ethnic fabric clutch. I hope you have enjoyed this Diwali ‘lookbook’ and made some lovely Diwali purchases as well. You can follow my blog by hitting the ‘follow’ button on the page and follow me on Instagram by clicking on the Instagram icon in the main side bar.  Thank you for visiting and have a great Diwali week!

(Clothes and Accessories: Outfit – The Silk Tree (Contact: darshan@thesilktree.in, Instagram: @the_silk_tree), Earrings and Bracelet – Aquamarine)

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Stripes Galore: Wrap Dress For Many Seasons

It is the 1st of August when I write this post  – it is hard to imagine how quickly the first half of the year has already flown by!

Over the course of my vacation at my ‘maika’  (maternal parents home), I have had the opportunity to meet family, old friends and acquaintances. While family and good friends are almost obligated to offer positive feedback on the blog (which they kindly do), what has been truly humbling has been the appreciation from acquaintances! Acquaintances, from the very definition of the word, are people who know you, but the relationship is not deep enough to be obligation driven and thus, they are not under any requirement to compliment you on your endeavors.  Genuine compliments from them about the blog have been very gratifying and I am very thankful for their appreciation.  Most importantly, it has been an eye opening reminder of the amazing effects of positive reinforcement. I am an adult, and hearing positive feedback not only makes me happy but fuels in me the urge to do better work in the future.

I am currently preparing one of my dear children for certain entrance exams for school. Personally, this reminder of the tremendous effects of positive reinforcement could not have come at a better time for me. It has illustrated to me, as a parent, that strong messages that reinforce the strengths of children are the most effective way to influence children to approach learning with a smile on their faces – OK a smile may be asking for too much but at least it will reduce the moaning considerably!

I have enjoyed wearing this wrap dress tremendously over the last few months.  I find that this dress is one of those perfect pieces that is not overly feminine but a dress for all times of the day and can be dressed up or down to lend itself to all kind of events.  I find that wearing it with some fierce heels and a reptilian cuff gives it a certain edginess that conveys just the right amount of dressy confidence.  It is an easy to wear, no-nonsense dress and I love it for these qualities! I am in sunny California and the while the hot weather here offers no hint that the second half of the year has begun, I know that by the time I return to the UK, it will be time to consider adding transitional pieces to my wardrobe to see me through to the colder months. I think wearing it with this leather jacket will work well when the weather cools and add a touch of masculinity to the outfit that elevates the entire look.  Wearing the leather jacket now for the pictures was hot and uncomfortable but these are the sacrifices I gladly make for fashion!

As always, thank you so much for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Topshop , Cuff – House of Harlow, Shoes – Halogen, Leather Jacket – Marks and Spencer (this jacket is very similar), Clutch – Topshop)

Save