My Favourite Cheap, Cheerful and Chic Holiday Dress: And Shopping in my Closet

It’s officially the holiday season and dressing in our festive best is almost an official requirement. I know I speak for many of us when I say that there is a huge temptation to buy a festive dress or two when one is out shopping these days. The high street is full of gorgeous sparkly numbers and the sparkly sequins and decadent velvets almost seduce you into purchasing them by the allure of their colours and textures. Thank God I was never as easily seduced by men as I am by clothes or I would have been in big trouble!

This year, I decided that I was not going to purchase multiple festive outfits, alas, because my holiday social calendar just does not justify them.  If you have multiple opportunities to wear festive clothes then, by all means, the purchases may be justified. I find that part of the problem with holiday outfits is that often they seem unwearable once the new year starts and the whole country returns to the official January colours – grey and black.  Therefore, my plan for 2018 is to minimize my holiday dress purchase to one.  I then plan to concentrate on one of the principles that I often talk about on the blog – going shopping in my closet. I firmly believe this is an exercise that must be performed frequently  – treasures are hidden in our closets in plain sight. Furthermore, we need to shop in our closets not just for clothes but also to utilize our many accessories such as jewellery, belts and hats.

As a woman of Indian origin, I have amassed a variety of costume jewellery of an ethnic bent and I often forget how much I enjoy paring it with western outfits. This blazing red midi dress is my cheap cheerful and chic festive dress purchase of the season from H&M for £17.99.  It’s a beautifully vibrant colour and is made from a self-embossed flowy fabric.  The front is open and the waistline a bit low for my body, so I have redefined the waist with a wide belt that I usually flirt with on the hook without actually ever taking it down to wear.  The open front is a great feature of the dress as it allows for a variety of pairing and in this weather, a sparkly polo-neck top would look fabulous under this dress.

As I shopped in my closet for some accessories, I was drawn to these beautiful ethnic bangles; two gold and one black and gold that add a hint of the unexpected and match my dangling black earrings perfectly.  Last but not least, my closet yielded this embossed clutch bag, that along with the embossed belt added a perfect blend of textured leather to the outfit. A long black double-breasted coat and my trusty black heeled boots are the final touches to this festive outfit.  I love the classic black and red combination and I think the solid colours make for a chic festive outfit that works both at the office and out of it.

So that’s my personal tip for the holiday season: purchase wisely from the shops and with gusto from your wardrobe! I hope you enjoyed this lookbook and I look forward to your feedback.  Have a great last week before the holiday festivities really kick off and as always, thank you for visiting Isha’s verdict.

Clothes and accessories:

Red Dress – H&M

Belt – Karen Millen

Boots – Dune Black

Handbag – Ted Baker

Camisole – Uniqlo

Coat – DKNY

 

 

Jumping for the Jumpsuit: Boho Style

There is probably no clothing item that I have admired more on others than an amazing jumpsuit. A great jumpsuit bestows upon the wearer an aura of confidence that may or may not be truly present, however, if the perception is reality then they are halfway there.

I adore the versatility of jumpsuits! They come in a variety of styles – the culotte jumpsuit and the elasticized leg versions are some of my favourites. Jumpsuits make for great building blocks to create unique looks that allow me to use the entire repertoire of my scarf and jacket collections. They also seem to buck the ‘trend oriented’ fashion culture every 6 months; a good jumpsuit works season after season providing a great return on your initial investment.

In this lookbook, I am wearing one of my treasured jumpsuits that I have owned for many years.   As I am travelling in India, I was inspired to create a boho-flavoured jumpsuit look that would incorporate my new scarf and jacket purchase that I made a few days ago. I have added ethnic silver jewellery and a strappy sandal for a stylish ‘lunch with friends’ ensemble.

In my opinion, the key to looking good in a jumpsuit is to find one that fits well.  The fit element is more crucial with jumpsuits than it is with many other garments. I have mentioned the following in a blog 2 years ago and I am mentioning it again. These are the jumpsuit rules that I live by:

  1. If the leg is too long but it looks great – buy it and get it shortened by a tailor.
  2. If the jumpsuit has no sleeves and is too big under the arms and chest area – buy it and get it taken in by a tailor (this is easy to do by hand as well and I often do it myself).
  3. If however, the jumpsuit does not fit well around the waist area or the material pulls between the leg inseam and waist  – let it go it as fixing this is not so easy.
  4. Overall, I have found that if the fit is off on the top half of a jumpsuit – it can usually be fixed. However, if the fit is off between the waist and the bottom half, it’s best to leave it looking pretty on the hanger and ‘jump’ to the next shop.

Some of my personal favourite brands for jumpsuits whose styles and fit always seem to work include Warehouse*, Monki and  Uniqlo.  I hope you enjoyed this look and hopefully, it motivates you to add another jumpsuit or two to your wardrobe. Have a great rest of the week and as always, thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict.

*This was a collaborative post but all writing/opinions are my own

Clothes and accessories:

Jumpsuit – Express

Scarf – Fab India

Shoes – Aldo

 

‘Toraan’ Jewellery: Two Ways with a Saree and a Pleated Blouse

What’s not to love about Indian-inspired jewellery! From delicate filigree work to rich Kundan work – ethnic jewels are splendid and I am constantly amazed at the beautiful designs I come across. I am always keen to acquire Indian jewellery but it can be hard to find pieces that effectively balance quality, design, and craftsmanship with a price point that is not going to cripple your bank account.

It almost seems miraculous when you come across a company offering gorgeous designs at amazing prices – proving that ‘exclusivity of design shouldn’t come coupled with unaffordability’. This describes the essence of ‘Toraan’ – a jewellery and art store founded by the lovely Purti Bhatia. Toraan offers beautiful jewellery ranging from bridal sets to everyday wear that is not only gorgeous to look at but the quality of the pieces makes it a pleasure to add them to your jewellery box.

I love my Indian jewellery pieces and every time I wear them with Asian clothes, I am reminded that I must try harder to pair them with Western outfits.  I am a great fan of ethnic jewels paired with non-ethnic clothes and I think this combination creates a unique fashion statement that delivers the unexpected.  I have spoken to many of my friends about this and they all concur that we need to work harder on the above. This is why I decided to try something a bit different in this blog post. I have paired this beautiful green Kundan set from Toraan with a saree as well as with a pleated blouse and leather jacket.  I wanted this lookbook to deliver the message that Indian jewellery is exceedingly versatile and looks great with so many outfits.

I hope you enjoy this post and would love to hear how your thoughts on fusion pairings of jewellery and clothes. With summer approaching – I am planning to incorporate more of Toraan’s beautiful jewellery with my dresses so watch this space for more of her beautiful pieces.  You can view her range of jewellery and art at www.Toraan.com

As always, have a great day and thank you for reading my blog.

 

Clothes and Accessories:

All Jewellery by Toraan

www.toraan.com

Jewellery Set As Worn – Green Three Flower Kundan Choker with Earrings (£68 – also available in red) 

Pleated White Dress – Zara

Black Leather Jacket – Massimo Dutti (similar)

 

 

Supermarket Fashion: Gingham Skinny Trousers With Ethnic Silver Jewellery

A few weeks ago my younger child came to me with a grave face and in a serious voice said, “Mummy we need to have a chat.  My reputation at school is suffering because I don’t have something everyone else does!” Of course, he had my immediate attention as multiple thoughts raced through my mind simultaneously; What was he talking about? Why did he look so serious? Why and what was this ‘reputation’ he was referring to?

“What’s going on honey?” I said in my best ‘concerned and empathetic mummy’ voice. “Have you heard of a ‘fidget spinner’ Mummy?” he asked.  I confirmed that I had not.  “Well everyone at school has one except me Mummy – this tragedy cannot continue!” “Oh”, said I, mentally noting the effective use of his ‘wordbank’ vocabulary words.  “What is a ‘fidget spinner’?” I asked cautiously.  “It’s a toy that you can spin and do tricks with and apparently it is only £1 at the pound shop according to my friend”, he replied definitely.  “Well, if this £1 toy is going to salvage your reputation from being tarnished, then I must get it for you tomorrow.”  “Thanks Mummy – that would be most appreciated”, he said as he walked off triumphantly.

My son has learned at a young age that presenting requests with a bit of humour and dramatic flair will greatly increase his chances of encountering a receptive and obliging Mummy. I had a good giggle at his cheeky approach but it was also a reminder of being young and wanting something that all your friends had but you did not. I remember when ‘poison rings’ were the accessory of choice to have in your silver jewellery collection and everyone seemed to have one except me.  I wanted one so desperately but could not find one at any of the shops I went to.  I remember finally finding one and being so excited to wear it the next day. I am surprised that I still have it and have not lost it after all these years (my ability to retain items can be a bit lousy).  I still enjoy wearing this ring and hopefully I can hold on to it for many years to come.

I have been looking for a pair of gingham skinnies and I found this fantastic pair at Tesco. I have paired them with a white shirt and a black leather jacket for a simple and effective monochrome look.  Additionally, I have accessorised the outfit with silver jewellery including my chunky silver pendant in white and black beads to add a touch of the unexpected.

I hope you enjoy this look and have a great week ahead.  Thank you so much for reading my blog.  FYI: I did not find a £1 fidget spinner at any shop – it was more in the region of £4 so it would seem that my son has also learned that requests that come in at the cheap end of the spectrum are more likely to be attended to!

(Clothes and Accessories: Top – Marks and Spencer, Trousers – Tesco F&F, Leather Jacket – Marks and Spencer (Similar), Clutch – Modalu)