New ‘Wear Any Wear’ Purchase: Pleated and Polka Dotted Swing Dress

I know, almost for a fact, that we have all been there! We have all been gifted or acquired a gift card for a shop that we do not usually shop in and then proceeded never to use it.  Sure we make a half-hearted effort to stop by when we are passing that establishment – but there is never enough time or a determined will to find something we like.  So we continue to carry the gift card around, bemoaning the fact that we never find anything we like, and the cycle continues.

Well, I have done it!  I had a River Island gift card that had been knocking around my bag for ages and I finally spent it right before I went on holiday. I walked into the store and it must have been my day because I spotted this dress immediately.  I love the combination of the pleats and polka dots in an easy to wear swing cut. It’s an ‘easy to wear’ dress that works great with flats during the day, heels at night and soon tights and boots in the upcoming winter months.  It also has full sleeves so it can accommodate many a layer underneath.

Now you may question my rationale for taking a full sleeves dress to Miami in the summer but hey – it was new so it had to be done.  For it’s US outing, I had paired it with my trusted pair of low heels (perfect for holidays) and some dangly earrings.

It was a windy (hurricane expected) evening when I took these pictures so they are my first set of night pictures.  I hope you like this lookbook and as always, thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and accessories:

Dress – River Island (I am wearing a size 6 as they run a bit big I think)

How Can You Look Instantly Stylish?: Keep it Deceptively Simple

I am not going to lie – I love a fabulously put together, complicated outfit, where the juxtaposition of the print and strips works in perfect harmony with an expected pair of fabulous shoes, and is pulled together in a cohesive fashion statement by an extravagantly over the top coat in a gorgeous colour. Stylish – check; fashionable – check; trendy  – check; every day achievable – not quite!

A meticulously curated complex fashion statement is a delight to behold and is indeed an art form.  Is it a realistic expectation for the average woman who waked up early every morning to begin a new day of juggling a multitude of life’s expectations?  I most certainly think not; except for those of us who may be blessed with exceptional taste, it is near impossible to pull together highly stylised ensembles that require considerable thought on a day to day basis.

Let me share a small story – a few weeks ago, I started noticing that a particular polka-dotted white and black loose fit dress by Zara was obviously selling very well (I do not own one). The reason I noticed this was because I was seeing this dress quite often and often multiple times a day in London.  I remember making a mental note that it was so interesting that such a deceptively simple dress should be so well-liked.  I did not realize that I was not the only one to pick up on this independently – till I saw the following article on The New York Times website –  The $50 Dress That Conquered Britain

Only once I had read this article did I realize that I was late to the game but my observations were correct – this dress is a cult hit!  It is indeed a best seller and even has an Instagram page dedicated to women wearing it. Various articles have been written about the success of the dress and Zara is still selling it – back for a second season.

This begs the question – why is this dress so popular?  In my opinion, the single most important reason is that it is deceptively simple to wear in every sense of the word.  It is a relaxed fit, a comfortable midi length and can be dressed up and down with any combination of accessories. The print is a simple canvas that allows you to wear any shoe, jewellery, handbag, coat in your wardrobe and still make the overall effect look well pulled together.  This is the kind of dress that lets the wearer interpret it to work with their body, to their convenience and to their taste – not the other way around!

This is why I believe that one simple recipe to looking instantly stylist is to keep it deceptively simple. Simplicity can indicate a measured restraint and radiate a quiet confidence that translates into a formidable fashion statement; it shows that you understand that sometimes less is more and allows your personality to do the talking.

I am a huge fan of single colour dresses and they make up a good chunk of my wardrobe.  They stand the test of time well and they also present an unlimited opportunity to try out various combinations of accessories and shoes.

In this lookbook, I am wearing a beige dress and a white dress that are simple but their cut and style are highly stylized in my opinion. I have paired my beige dress with an old statement cuff (animal print is still all the rage) and a bold bag to make for a sophisticated work look. I have paired the white dress with a gorgeous Indian necklace from @toraandesign and the simplicity of the white dress really provides a chance for the statement necklace to shine. COS is a great source of single colour dresses with a novel cut; in the summer and the winter – I am a fan!  I hope you enjoy these looks and have a great week ahead.  As always; thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Accessories: 

White shirt dress – COS (old)

Beige A-line Dress  – COS

Indian Necklace – Toraan Design 

‘Cult Dress’ – Zara

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 

Return of the Verdict: In Bold and Colourful Floral Palazzos

Hello everyone! I am not quite sure that anyone has noticed that I have not posted a blog entry for well over one month now.  This is the longest that I have gone without posting since I started this personal fashion diary and I have missed writing and your feedback.

This lapse of posting raises the obvious question  – what has kept me from posting? It’s been the sum of many parts rather than one colossal event that has deterred me from the blog I so enjoy. Like so many of us know, very occasionally life seems to burgeon beyond the confines of the 24 hours afforded to us in a day and this is exactly what happened last month. Between much-awaited guests, family, work and a ‘multiple times planned but not executed’ house move  – I finally ran out of bandwidth.  The last month has been one of the busiest months I can remember in recent years and thoroughly enjoyable. It has, however, reminded me of an important truth – don’t take on more than you can chew.  Am I the only one who falls foul of this simple yet profound piece of wisdom?

I loved these trousers the moment I set eyes upon them. The print was bold, colourful and the combination reminded of a 1970’s saree print. I hesitated for a moment before buying them, wondering if perhaps they were too bold, and then I moved swiftly past my hesitation to the payment counter.  I have paired them with a simple cream top and a colourful leather jacket.  A leather jacket in an unexpected colour is always a pleasant surprise and this one never fails to please.

It is great to be discussing fashion again and the humdrum of daily life that keeps us on our toes. I am happy to be posting again and I look forward to your feedback.  Thank you so much for reading Isha’s Verdict!

 

 

Clothes and accessories:

Trousers – Reserved (on sale for 14.99)

Top – Reserved

Leather jacket – Massimo Dutti

Handbag – Givenchy

 

 

My Top 5 Tips for Summer Holiday Packing : And My Current Favourite Holiday Dress

Hopefully, we can all find a way to take a few days off in the sun this coming summer. Summer vacations are a treat and for those of us who live in colder climates, they are a much awaited time of year.

Most of us have a good idea of what to pack depending on what kind of vacation we are taking.  These are my top tips for packing for a family summer vacation:

  1. Comfortable clothes above all else: When you are with family on vacation it is important that you are comfortable so that you can enjoy your time and be physically ready for a few episodes of intermittent sulking, possible tantrums, and accidental ice-cream spills. I find that my patience levels are intrinsically linked to my comfort levels – I am a better friend, wife, and mother when I am wearing comfortable clothes on vacation! This is not the time to pack that dress that may be too tight, too short, or you may fit into if you miraculous lose 5 pounds on the plane ride over.
  2.  Pack a few flowy dresses: On the other hand, I have often made the mistake of thinking a bit too practical and find myself in a beautiful location with linen trousers, t-shirts and not much else. Then I end up looking at women in lovely dresses and sandals and thinking I should have brought mine.  Living in London, there is not enough time for summer dresses anyway, so give yours that extra wear on vacation.
  3. Cotton: Natural, breathable fabrics look beautiful on holiday and are such a practical choice. Sometimes, it is easy to think that packing a few polyester items is a good idea to avoid wrinkles and ironing on vacation.  I always iron all my clothes at home (it really is worth it) and then a few wrinkles aren’t the end of the world.  Polyester is uncomfortable in the blazing sun and won’t absorb any perspiration, making for an awkward situation all day long.
  4. Shoes you have worn before:  I cannot tell you how many times I have made the mistake of packing brand new shoes on vacation and then bitterly regretting it. Therefore, I have a self-imposed rule – no shoes, that have not been worn previously, are allowed to accompany me on holiday. It’s natural to buy a new pair of shoes and save it for vacation – however, discovering that the shoes are highly uncomfortable or tight while on holiday is a joy-killer like none other!
  5. Cross-body bag: Absolutely the most useful kind of bag required on vacation and on most days for that matter. They look great, come in a variety of sizes and allow you two free hands to hold the baby and the drink at the same time.

The gorgeous print on this dress is glorified summer printed on cotton cloth.  For me, the dress evokes visions of me on a Caribbean vacation, with beautiful flowers and fruits surrounding me, as I walk along a bustling market. As far-fetched a vision as that may be, this dress is ideal for making a statement at home and abroad.  The length, the full sleeves, the pockets and the waist tie make for a good-looking yet practical dress. I have paired it with tan wedges and a rattan clutch on this occasion, but I also think it would great with white sneakers for a casual holiday vibe. I wore this dress recently to a royal wedding street party and the many compliments had me feeling a bit royal myself – highly recommend!

I hope you have a fabulous long weekend and thank you for visiting my blog.

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress – Marks and Spencer

Clutch – Michael Kors

Hat – Marks and Spencer

Three-Tiered Lace Pencil Dress: And My New Shopping Guide Services

Happy Wednesday everyone! There are few dress styles that flatter the female form the way a pencil dress does. I generally don’t tend to wear pencil dresses quite simply because I can’t find ones that fit correctly.  Once in a blue moon, however, the dress Gods take a shine to me and I will try on one that will fit perfectly. This three-tiered lace midi pencil dress is gorgeous in every way – I love the colour, the structure, and the length. I normally would give this a pass in the store, but I went out on a limb and tried it on (it helped that it was on sale) – once again proving that the ‘fitting room’ is our friend and we must visit it more often before arriving at a ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ decision! I have paired it with these absolutely beautiful Toraan earrings – these Three Stone Teardrop earrings are so versatile and I can see them working perfectly with Indian and western clothes.

Isha – Shopping Guide Adventure

As many of you are aware, I have been running this blog for over two years now.  Fashion is more than a hobby – it is a passion that I truly enjoy. I am a huge advocate of the British High Street and I always champion their offerings every chance I get. London is one of the greatest shopping experiences on the planet and I am a dedicated fan.

I wanted to announce that I have recently become an Airbnb Experience Host and I will be hosting a shopping/fashion experience called ‘Shopping Tour – Oxford and Regent Street’ on the Airbnb platform.  The link to my experience is below:

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/experiences/156287?euid=10f65107-3fe6-4d39-b02c-fced7e7818a9

What will we do in this shopping experience?

We will take an exciting whistle-stop walking tour of the heart of London’s bustling retail shopping district which includes Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby Street. I will provide guidance on the many big department stores on these streets as well as many of the smaller retailers present. I will discuss in detail what kind of fashion, price points and designers are available in each of the stores we pass. I will also introduce you to some of the smaller shopping gems located off the many sides streets and share special tips that will optimize your shopping experience. If you want to shop these streets but are overwhelmed by the variety – this tour is a great introduction to the what, where and hows of this shopping paradise. This tour will equip you for a more targeted and productive shopping experience during your stay. I am also happy to offer styling advice from a blogger’s perspective as we shop. Are you ready to shop?

So if you fancy a shopping tour or have family and friends visiting who are avid fashionistas and think this is something they would enjoy during their visit to London – then please check out my experience on Airbnb.  More details can be found on the website and I look forward to meeting a lot of new people

If you have any questions or need any further information, feel free to send me a message or an email at sodhiisha1@gmail.com.

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook and thank you for visiting my blog!

Clothes and accessories: 

Dress – Warehouse, similar Warehouse

Earrings with Swarovski crystals  – Toraan

Always a Favourite: An All-Purpose Printed Shirt Dress

Happy Friday everyone! The Friday before a long weekend is always extra special; just like clothes that actually work for multiple purposes.  I have always loved a great shirt dress and have many in my closet.  I find that shirt dresses straddle a middle ground between casual and dressed up better than most dresses and therefore, seem to work in so many situations.

I love the busy crane print on this dress and the easy flowing light fabric is ideal for the coming months. I have styled it here with a striped clutch for contrast and a leather jacket for the wind. I look forward to wearing it with sneakers on the weekend and boots on colder days (hopefully, there will not be any soon).

Have a fabulous long weekend and thank you so much for visiting my blog!

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress- Ted Baker

Dangling Bracelet – Follie Follie

Clutch – Dune

Jacket – Massimo Dutti

 

 

‘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)

 

 

Fabulous Flats: It’s Almost Time for Shoes Without Socks

Beautiful, elegant and easy on your feet – what’s there not to love about flats! ‘Flats’ can mean a variety of shoe types but I am referring to close-fronted flat shoes that can be worn with or without footsies (those tiny invisible socks). My eyes are instantly drawn to a fabulous pair of flats. Personally, I find an outfit styled with statement flats the epitome of everyday sophistication. I always feel that there is refined confidence exuded by a woman who looks fabulous and does not need a pair of heels to lift the outfit. I do love heels as much as the next person but given a finite amount of money and asked to choose between a gorgeous pair of flats and a gorgeous pair of heels – I would put my money on the flats every time! I have written about my take on building a great ‘flats’ collection in an earlier blog post – The ‘Fabulous Flats’ Series: My Take on Building a Great ‘Flats’ Shoe Collection.

Flats exhibit great versatility in terms of looking great at work and on the weekend, and can actually be worn to and from work without ‘under the desk’ shoe changes. In colder countries such as England, there is a defined window of time that flats can be worn in perfect sync with the weather.  For me, ‘flats time’ is the period between spring and ‘proper summer’ (when we have one) paving the way for summer sandals. Therefore, while the weather outside may seem very cold to think sockless shoes, it will soon be time for flats.  So dust off your flats, plan some outfits around them and if you need some new ones  – Easter holidays would be a great time to shop! I have linked some great ones on sale below.

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook and as always, thank you so much for visiting my blog.

Clothes and Accessories:

Jumper – Warehouse (similar Whistles)

Trousers – Massimo Dutti (similar Zara)

Flat Shoes – Massimo Dutti (Other flats in the shops that I am loving at the moment – Massimo Dutti, Zara, Dune)

Coat – COS

Handbag – Doone and Bourke

 

‘January Fashion Slump’ : The Devil Is In The Details

Happy Thursday everyone! Is it just me or do some of you also find that you need to put more effort into styling your clothes at this time of the year?  By the time January draws to an end  – I find that my energy and desire to put some effort and oomph into everyday styling has waned considerably.  I think there a few good reasons for this including:

  • Dressing up multiple times during the holiday season leaves us with a bit of ‘dressing up fatigue’
  • The treats consumed over the holidays can result in some clothes being a tad bit uncomfortable to wear (such as some of my jeans!)
  • The sales have left us overexposed to what’s in the shops and yet there is little that is new and noteworthy to buy in the shops
  • The cold weather has started to lose its charm and basically is getting old – fast!

So what do I normally do about my ‘fashion slump’ in January?  I find that I try harder to concentrate on the finer details of clothes to up my casual style game. I have said this before and I will say it again, ‘effortless style’ is rarely effortless!

The key to ‘everyday styling’ is actively paying attention to the finer details of the pieces that constitute the overall look. Have you ever noticed that people who are always well dressed are never wearing just a striped t-shirt.  Even their simple striped t-shirt will have an edge – maybe an exaggerated cuff or a slanted neckline – the point is that it is these small details that add that layer of polish to their everyday fashion statement.

I think this velvet hoodie from Tobi is a great example of everyday wear with an added twist.  The cold shoulders and the back tie add a layer of detail that takes an everyday item up a styling notch. I have paired it with an oversized scarf for warmth and my favourite pink coat that I have been wearing all season.

A big thank you to  Tobi for sponsoring this post!  I hope you enjoy this lookbook and have a great weekend ahead. As always, thank you so much for visiting my blog.

 

Clothes and accessories:

Velvet cold shoulder hoodie – Tobi

Scarf  – Mango

Coat – Miss Selfridge

Bag – Rebecca Minkoff

Sneakers – Aquatalia