Indian Summer: In Easy-Going Ethnic Mix and Match Combinations

Hello everyone! I hope that you have enjoyed this glorious summer as much as I have. While there may not be too many days of summer left – I am enjoying my summer wardrobe to the maximum and making sure that I wear as much of it in the next few weeks as possible.

It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that my love of ethnic clothes spans across the entire spectrum of  Indian wear from formal attire to everyday clothes. I do find that sometimes, in our quest for formal Indian clothes, we overlook the beauty and comfort of everyday Indian-inspired fashion.  I am a huge fan of summery whimsical ethnic wear that epitomizes summer in simple prints and elegant cuts.  I have always championed the concept of mix and match across my wardrobe and nowhere do I enjoy doing this more than with the various Indian pieces that I have amassed in my wardrobe over the years.

I bought this pretty summer skirt with a bold border many years ago in Mumbai and I love pairing it with different tops for a great ethnic boho look. I have paired it here with a simple white kurta to create an uncluttered canvas for showcasing some of my lovely silver jewellery. I bought this blue kurta from Westside in Mumbai many years ago and I love the simplicity of the cut and the timelessness of the pretty print.  I want to bring your attention to the beautiful earrings that I am wearing with both these outfits that impart the perfect boho element to my overall fashion statement.  They are from Toraan and I cannot get enough of the feminine designs of these gorgeous pieces.

Like the many reminders we set ourselves, sometimes we have to remind ourselves to wear our simpler Indian clothes to everyday occasions – such as a family barbecue. They may not be your first fashion thought but given an opportunity, they always pack a powerful fashion punch and remind us that simplicity is always in vogue.

I would love to hear your thoughts on your daily Indian wear and how much use it gets during the year.  I hope you enjoy this styling and thank you so much for visiting my blog.  I am also stepping up my Instagram efforts so please do follow me on Instagram @ishasverdict

Accessories:

Earrings – Toraan 

+44 (0) 7850998335

 

Traditional Wear: My Five Rules for Effective ‘Mixing and Matching’

I have long advocated the idea of ‘mix and match’ on this blog – especially with Indian attire that never seems to get the wear it deserves.  Now I have friends who are happy to admit in the spirit of fashion honesty, that while mix and match is a great sounding idea to espouse – it is actually much harder to pull off in a desirable manner. I absolutely agree with this sentiment and my reply to them is always along the following lines.

‘Mix and match’ is an established fashion principle.  However, like most well-founded principles, there are some rules that help execute the look more effectively:

  1. Aim for an overall cohesive look – Regardless of what I am mixing and matching, I try and aim for an overall coordinated effect.  This helps tie the various elements of the outfit together to deliver a ‘sharp’ fashion look that highlights your fashion prowess.
  2. Complimentary or clashing colours – Either way, the combination of colours in your outfit should be pleasing to your eye.  If you look in the mirror and feel that these colours have nothing in common, trust your gut instinct and rework the outfit.
  3. Use different textures – Often a mixture of textures works wonders.  For example, silk and lace and linen and cotton are some of my favorite mix and match combinations.
  4. Single colour in varying shades – Creating a fashion look with a small variation in colour tone is a fabulously simple yet sophisticated look in my opinion. Different shades of grey and different shades of pink are great options to try.
  5. Combine patterns and prints – combining geometric patterns with floral prints is a key mix and match option.  I have never gone wrong with combing a striped blouse with a floral bottom – a nice black and white striped blouse is a staple in my wardrobe to be worn with a variety of combinations throughout the year.

The outfit in this lookbook is a true ‘mix and match’ ensemble that I loved wearing.  I bought this lehenga two years ago and I have featured it on this blog previously during Diwali time – Diwali Celebrations: In A Yellow And Pink Kurta And Cream and Gold Skirt. The green blouse is a recent delivery that a fabulous friend got me from Mumbai when I mentioned to her I was in need of one – it pays to know your ready-made Indian blouse size! The pièce de résistance of this look is the gorgeous jewellery set by Toraan deign. This set is everything I love about Indian jewellery – intricate in design and regal in look.  I love this entire look from head to toe as it caters to the passionate love I have for ethnic Indian outfits.  I have added some flowers in my hair to finish off a great summery ethnic ‘mix and matct’ look that would work for a vareity of occasions.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and I would love to hear your feedback.  Have a great week ahead and thank you so much for visiting my blog.

Clothes and accessories:

Indian Jewellery Set – Toraan design £150 (please email them about this set)

Lehenga – The Silk Tree

Dupatta – The Silk Tree

Blouse – Friend – Santa Cruz Market Mumbai

 

‘Rescue Mission Series’: How I Updated My Lehenga for Diwali (for £20)

This is the lehenga and dupatta I wore to my wedding Sangeet many years ago (with a different blouse that time has not treated very well).  I was going through a ‘less is more’ phase during that time in my ‘fashion life’ and pale colours and minimal embellishments were my clothes of choice.  How time changes us – I think if I was to get married today I would be wearing Sabyasachi, Anu Modi and Ritu Kumar to name just a few.  The only restraint I would be able to show is restraining myself from putting them all on together! Of course, that would just be for the engagement…

Despite my preferences for wedding attire changing from ‘less is more’ to ‘more is more’  – I had a great Sangeet and this lehenga rightfully holds the sentimental values of the start of a new life.  It is a pretty lehenga that radiates good vibes and I enjoy wearing it ever so often. This Diwali, I thought it is a great time for a ‘rescue mission’ of this lehenga to enable me to wear it in a more casual fashion avatar than I have done previously.

I was hunting for an embellished top to wear with this lehenga when I found this pretty beaded crop top, with gorgeous fringing, for just £20 online at ASOS.  While this may not be a traditional blouse, it is a statement top that adds a different dimension to the overall look and gives me a chance to rescue this lehenga from the confines of my wardrobe in a quick and easy manner.  There are so many pretty crop tops available on the high street that pair well with Indian clothes.  Of course, a made to measure blouse or top is always a great idea that looks fabulous.  However, sometimes when the situation dictates minimal time and effort – a crop top from the high street is a wonderful alternative.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and thank you for visiting my blog.  Have a great weekend and I hope you get to enjoy some pre-Diwali festivities in the next few days!

Clothes and Accessories:

Blouse – ASOS (£20)

Earrings – Ishariya

Beautiful Jewellery and Vibrant Sarees: In Collaboration With Soignné (Part 1)

I am a great admirer of Indian inspired jewellery and nothing captures my attention quite like a beautiful saree and blouse combination.  I remember spotting a vibrant floral saree blouse on my Instagram feed one day and taking the time to stop, admire and comment on it.  The next day I saw another stunning dhaka cotton blouse on the Soignné feed and I have been following Niru Keshwala’s elegant collection ever since.

Niru set out to create feminine clothes that could be worn to any occasion and would stand out without falling into the over-dressed or under-dressed category.  This is a concept close to my heart and one I can identify wth completely.  Soignné stocks ‘effortlessly elegant’ clothes that are uber feminine, easy to wear and timeless in their appeal. Her designs are unique and completely hand crafted  – every bead is stitched by one of the finest karigars in Nepal.

I found the quality of the blouses to be fantastic – well made, lined properly and they fit me like a glove. Her sarees and blouses allow for a variety of mix and match fashion; another concept that I am a great advocate of in all clothes. Her jewellery range is gorgeous, comprehensive and perfectly in-line with modern Indian fashion.

In this post, I am lookbooking a gorgeous floral blouse and saree in,  you guessed it, my favourite colour yellow.  I hope you enjoy this look and I look forward to presenting the next Soignné look in the coming week.  Have a great weekend and thank you for visiting Isha’s verdict. I would also like to thank Soignné for collaborating on this post.

All clothes and jewellery are from Soignné  – you can shop the range at:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SoignnebyNiruKeshwala/

Instagram: @soignne

Email: soignne@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Indian Summer Wear: Cotton Sari With ‘Khari Print’ Insect Motifs

Happy Friday everyone! It’s going to be a short one today – I find myself in that usual predicament of having too much to achieve and not enough hours in the day to actually achieve it.

The intense heat that we have enjoyed over the last few days in London has required ‘proper’ summer clothes. This heat wave reminded me of that lovely Indian garment that comes into its own in the summer – the cotton sari.  I have always loved the look of summer saris and the whimsical print on this one makes this sari both unique and delightful.

I bought this sari on my last trip to India when I was out shopping with a childhood friend.  She took me to a shop called ‘Nicobar’ in New Delhi and we were both drawn to this sari like ‘a moth to a flame’! It was a lovely shop filled with beautiful things and I would highly recommend a visit next time you happen to be in India or on-line. I have worn it with a blouse from a different sari that has a strip of Zardosi work on the back that adds to the overall charm of the look.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and have a great weekend! Thank you so much for visiting my blog.

Clothes and Accessories:

Sari – Nicobar (www.nicobar.com)

Summer Clothes: Casual Indian Wear With Capri Pants and a Salwar

It seems like nature decided to announce the approach of summer in spectacular fashion by giving us a few gloriously sunny days in London (with a lot more sunshine due this long weekend). I am someone who loves truly warm weather and can’t remember uttering the words ‘it’s too hot’ more than three times in my life (two of which were probably said after wandering around Chor Bazar in Mumbai for four hours without food or drink but it was worth it!).

Hot weather also brings with it the season for probably my favourite kind of Indian clothes  – summer Indian fashion. Summer heralds in beautiful Indian clothes in summery fabrics like cotton, mal and chiffon.  Combine these fabrics with delicate embroidery such as Chikaankari work and embellishments like mukaish and the clothes become beautiful pieces of art. Formal summer clothes are gorgeous, however, there is a distinct beauty to completely casual summer Indian wear that really appeals to me. The fabric, designs and colours always remind me of summer in my grandparents house and evoke memories of lassi, mangoes and the comforting noise of a ceiling fan.

Casual Indian wear doesn’t have to be bling and its everyday simpleness makes it extra special.  I have lookbooked two casual Indian outfits in this post that I enjoy wearing.  The first is a pale blue handloom kurta with some white roses embroidered on the yoke.  I would always wear this with a white chikan-cloth pair of pants and a white dupatta to ward off the heat in Mumbai.  Here, I have paired it with a pair of woven silver slip-ons that I would normally not associate with Indian clothes but they seem to work and add to the overall comfort quotient of the outfit.  The second outfit is a typical summer salwar kameez with a short kameez and a Patiala salwar.  Nothing sings summer like a white patiala salwar and the lovely colours and patterns of the embroidery join in the chorus. Juttis are my flat footwear of choice here but I am partial to a pretty pair of kolapuri chappals in high summer.

I enjoy combining a variety of casual summer kurtas with various trousers, palazzos, salwars and churidars. I would love to hear about your favourite outfits to wear in the summer.  Thank you so much for visiting my blog and have a fabulous weekend!

Designer Lookbook: Indian Wear With Jewellery From Kyles Collection

I first had the pleasure of being introduced to Kyles Collection and meeting Rav Dadi at the Asian Bridal Show last year. As I meandered around their booth and admired the jewellery on display, I got the opportunity to speak with Rav. When I explained that I was a general ‘jewellery enthusiast’, he was happy to tell me about their offerings as well as invite me to visit their workshop to see the jewellery being made.

Recently, I took up Rav’s kind offer to visit their showroom and workshop in Forest Gate, London. Visiting the workshop was a unique experience and gave me a real glimpse into the intricacies of making jewellery from scratch. Kyles Collection offers a large variety of fusion jewellery including their signature bridal collections as well as ranges suitable for brides on a budget. They also sell ranges that are perfect for parties and other events.

I am impressed by Kyles ability to cater to the individual needs of their customers and offer a truly bespoke service. They are a great example of what true customization of a product entails. Kyles offer Swarovski crystal combinations in over 80 colours and they are happy to craft their jewellery pieces with the crystal colours that compliment your outfit perfectly. Add to this the 7 plating finishes they offer (all nickel free for sensitive skin) and frankly I am not sure that it gets better than this! This is especially true for Asian brides who may have multiple bridal outfits, with multiple jewellery pieces, to contend with. Kyles encourages brides and their families to make an appointment and bring their bridal outfits into their bridal lounge at their showroom. In this way, they can provide an individualized service to help brides determine the exact jewellery pieces that will work for them, within the confines of their personal taste and budget.

A key factor that is instrumental in Kyles being able to offer this level of customization, is the fact that all their products are made in their London workshop. This has a tremendous impact on them being able to deliver your customized jewellery on time, exactly when and where you need it. Rav told me some hair-raising stories of helping frazzled brides with their jewellery when their original providers had let them down days before the wedding!

What I admire about Kyles is that the passion for their craft is clearly visible in your interaction with them. If you can dream it and articulate your vision; they will try their best to turn your vision into reality. They enjoy what they do, cherish their customers and have a genuine desire to help – that is exactly what I am looking for as a customer!

In this post, I have ‘lookbooked’ two of my favourite Indian outfits with pieces of jewellery from Kyles collection. I adore this pale green and blue suit as it brings together the unusual combination of Lucknow chickankari work with a bandhini dupatta. The pale green beads of the Kyles passa, earrings and hand piece match my outfit perfectly. I can imagine wearing this outfit to one of those ‘minor’ morning wedding functions that are invariably a part of so many Asian weddings. I bought this sari in Delhi on a trip and I absolutely love the bright pink and clean cut crystal work on the sari. One of my special tailors in Mumbai made this lace blouse and I have to admit that it might be one of the best fitting blouses I have ever owned. Unfortunately, he told me that he was going home to his village for a few weeks and then completely disappeared – hope it wasn’t me! Kyles statement crystal chandelier earrings and bracelet are exactly what this sari needs to make a bold style statement.

A big thank to you for visiting my blog and a big thank you to Kyles Collection for collaborating on this post with me!

www.kylescollection.com

Telephone Number:+44 (0) 208 586 0204

 

‘Rescue Mission Series’: Blue Sari with Kashmiri Hand Embroidery

This month, I waded a year deeper into my forties.  I am not quite sure what to make of aging physically – it seems slow and steady but then you wake up after a night of minimal sleep and lo and behold  – you look like you have aged 10 years overnight! On the flip side, ageing mentally is proving to be an enjoyable experience that only seems to get better with every passing year.  Age has  brought about a deeper admiration for the beauty and brilliance of human ability and innovations. I have a greater appreciation for history, including my own, and the need to preserve ‘beautiful things’ that have been acquired over time and serve as symbolic markers of my life.

I have spoken about the concept of ‘Rescue Missions’ in my previous ‘Rescue Mission’ series posts:

‘My mother would often take some of her older clothes with her on trips to India and return with new outfits that were different permutations of an older outfit or two. As a teenager, I dubbed these her ‘Rescue Missions’, where she would salvage elements of an older outfit by pairing it with something new. I must admit I thought it was a waste of time and would tease her about these ‘projects’! However, as I grew older I realized that Indian clothes are so beautiful (and often so expensive) that they cannot be left to languish in a suitcase simply because the style may have gone out of fashion. The gorgeous handiwork that makes Indian wear so beautiful rarely changes; it’s the cut and style that fluctuates and then the outfit is relegated to the back of the closet and forgotten about. During my time in India, I decided I was going to embark on some of these ‘Rescue Missions’ myself!’

This crepe sari was a gift from my mother-in-law when I got married and is over 15 years old. The sari was plain blue crepe with no border or embellishments except for the column of beautiful Kashmiri embroidery on the pallu (long trailing end of the sari). The Kashmiri embroidery is truly a work of art and I would admire it every time I saw this sari in my ‘sari suitcase’ (as I always say – you can never have too much money or closet space and sadly I don’t have enough of either). Despite my admiration of the handiwork, the sari with its plain blue blouse left me uninspired every time I contemplated wearing it.

Then one day, while living in India, I decided that the time had come to perform a ‘rescue mission’ on this sari.  The sari and I went to meet a lady tailor recommended by a friend and after much deliberation she convinced me that the sari needed a border and a new blouse to increase its ‘wearability prospects’.  I wasn’t sure I fully bought into her vision but I am so glad I went with it because I think the dual coloured border and the self-embroidered blouse surpassed my expectations.  I think the ‘rescue mission’ was a success and brought this dull sari to life.

The sari is a rather unusual blue and I love the colour combinations used in this sari. The handiwork on it is exquisite and the there is a certain nostalgia associated with it as it was a wedding present .  I hope you enjoy this renewed version of this sari and thank you so much for reading.  Have a great weekend!

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Diwali 2016: In a Floor Length Floral Indian Gown

My earliest memory (hazy of course) of Diwali is at my maternal grandparents’ home in India. I distinctly remember being in a room, off the main verandah in their house, with all my cousins.  All us girls and boys, of a similar tender age, had devised a game where we were jumping off the main bed onto a smaller bed, which had been placed in front of it. Directly in front of this small bed was a water cooler embedded into the facing wall.  A distinct feature of this water cooler was that it had large handles sticking out of the front to help move the vents in different directions. So there we are – taking turns to jump from one bed to another free-standing bed…before I go any further with this story, a few clarifications may be in order:

1) Where were all the grownups?  I believe they were celebrating Diwali, like many Punjabi families, by playing cards in the main living room. This was before the days when entire generations had fallen prey to perpetual parental guilt and children could be left unsupervised to play among themselves in their own homes.

2) Why were we playing this silly game? – Well, these were also the days before the internet and bored children used their imagination to come up with games that could be potentially dangerous while playing together (yes those were perilous times we lived in!) Luckily,  given a similar situation now, all the children would be glued to their handheld devices, all movement would have seized and hence all physical danger averted.

To continue – as you may have guessed, running and jumping, pushing and shoving, we had worked ourselves up into a frenzied bundle of energy.  Soon enough, one of my cousins jumped onto the smaller bed, the bed moved and he was thrust forward towards the handle jutting out of the cooler.  The handle slashed his head, he was bleeding profusely and in turn, we were bawling loudly.  The adults were duly summoned and pandemonium ensued.  It was Diwali night, doctors were contacted on big red dial phones and he was quickly whisked into a car and taken to hospital.  We were all given a stern talking to and felt terrible about our poor cousin brother’s head.  We waited and eventually the big red dial phone rang again and thank the Gods, he was going to be OK.  He had required stitches but he was doing well and they would all be home soon.  The hospital party returned, dinner was served and soon the shock dissipated into the mountain of delicious food set before us.  Everyone ate, made merry and the children were finally put to bed so that serious ‘teen pati’ could be resumed.

Is this meant to be a Halloween story or a Diwali one?  No, I do not have my stories mixed up and there is a Diwali message here.  The point of this story is that despite the mishap, I have the fondest memories of  that childhood Diwali imprinted in my mind. It is that kind of Diwali I wish for all of us –  a Diwali filled with love and loved ones, heaps of laughter, lots of fun and a little bit of chaos. I hope that you create Diwali memories that remain with you long after 2016 has passed and enrich your life in the way only truly happy moments can.

During my recent trip to Delhi, I had a chance to go to Shapur Jat , an area I have heard much about but not had the chance to visit before.  I loved the various shops that dot the area and it is a great shopping destination for a determined shopper. I found this beautiful floral floor-length outfit at a shop called Kalista. The show-stopping print and elegant cut were right up my alley and I decided to add it to my collection as I did not own anything quite like it.

I hope you like this outfit as much as I do and thank you very much for reading my blog.  Here’s wishing you and your families a fabulous Diwali!

(Clothes and Accessories: Outfit – Kalista (https://www.facebook.com/kalistafashions/) , Bracelet and Rings – Isharya, Earrings – Fab India, Sandals – Dune)

 

 

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A Salute To The Sun: Bright Yellow And Pink Sari

It is only natural during the last few days of summer holidays to think about all the lovely things you have enjoyed in the past few weeks of vacation. Other than the obvious pleasures of good food, entertainment and time well spent with family, the thing I have enjoyed the most in California are the endless days of sunshine. The sun has been wonderful, however, I am now looking forward to the seasonal change in weather I will experience once I get back to England.

This is the last sari I bought in Mumbai before moving back to the UK.  My love of yellow is no secret and the beautiful combination of yellow and pink in this sari instantly called to me. I think this combination of bright colours symbolizes the vibrancy of hues that can only be witnessed in India! I feel instantly cheerful when I wear this sari. I love the two halves of this sari and the middle cream net portion works perfectly with the yellow and pink to keep the colour palette proportionally balanced.

I hope you enjoy this look and have a great rest of the week.  As always, thank you for reading!

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