Weekend Vibes: In a Red Tie-Dye Kurta and White Palazzo Pants

Happy Saturday my dear readers! The anticipation of spring and warmer weather has me giddy with joy.  I am expressing my elation by pulling out the more casual Indian outfits that can be worn on a weekend to a casual ‘get together’ or just because they look so pretty and feminine.

I saw this beautifully bright red silk material in a shop in Mumbai and thought it would make a lovely kurta.  I had it stitched with silver piping in the traditionally men’s style of kurta making with the patch under the arm.  It is striking, comfortable and easy to wear; it turned out exactly as I had hoped.  I have paired it with lovely over the ear cuff earrings I found in Delhi.  The vendor went to great lengths to explain to me that the ‘fashionable’ thing to do was to wear only one.  I think he was a bit disappointed with my fashion acumen when I insisted on buying two.  Finally, my wool poncho does a great job of warding off the nip in the air while adding a relaxed and destructured layered effect to the overall outfit.

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

‘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!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Mirror Work ‘Jhola’ Bag: Vacation Finds With Everyday Wear

I thoroughly enjoy traveling and always have.  I also enjoy shopping on my international travels and bringing my precious finds home.  However, I am guilty of not using those finds frequently once I get home, especially jewellery and accessories. This holds particularly true of my many trips to India over the years. I have analyzed this peculiar pattern of inertia and come to the conclusion that I am often waiting for some magical outfit or occasion when these ethnic purchases will rise like the phoenix from the shelf of forgotten treasures and lend themselves to the occasion at hand.

‘Well, no more shall this sorry tale be repeated”,  I decided on my last trip to India. Not the sorry tale of purchasing things that I don’t necessarily need (lets not get crazy now) but the sorry tale of not using my purchases immediately and without delay upon my return.

Now for the back story – during my summer trip to the USA to see my parents, I had seen a beautiful mirror work ‘Jhola Bag’ (an ethnic fabric or leather tote bag) in the ‘Sam Edelman’ shop.  It glowed magically in the window display and literally beckoned to me to enter the shop. It was truly a stunning creation, however, unable to decide whether I needed another bag, I left it in the shop.  Alas, by the time I had come to my senses and returned, they had sold out of the few pieces of the bag they had.

Therefore, when I recently saw this bag in Khan Market in Delhi – I knew I had to make amends for my previous oversight and buy it immediately.  Upon my return, I was determined to use it and not park it in my shelf of forgotten treasures.  I have finally realized that the key to using ethnic accessories frequently is to use them as a part of my everyday outfits and not wait for a special occasion to pull them out (like the ‘Banjara’ theme party that, let’s face it, is never going to happen!).

So I have followed my own advice and I have been using my new bag frequently.  What is lovely about the bag is that is has two completely different mirror work panels on either side and it is roomy enough to hold everything! It adds a delightful ‘punch of colour’ to every outfit which is much needed cheer given the short and dark days of winter.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Mirror Work Bag – Khan Market (New Delhi),  Denim dress – ASOS (Monki), Orange Turtle Neck – Uniqlo, Blue Tunic – French Connection, Sneakers – Moda Pelle)

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)

 

 

Save

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

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!

Save

Indian Summer: Mango Yellow and White Outfit

In my last post, I had discussed how with age I had discovered a new found appreciation for the colour red. I further commented on how this had made me ponder the constantly evolving aspect of personal fashion likes and dislikes.  However, in that same vein of thought, certain aspects of fashion appeal to us from as far back as we can remember. Even when I was a very young lady (a teenager probably) and the seeds of fashion consciousness had just started sprouting in my brain, I remember loving the colour yellow.  My appreciation of yellow has held steadfast through the years and it is still my favorite colour.  I have always been drawn to a yellow and white combination and this is probably one of many outfits I own in those hues.  I am sure you also find that there are certain combinations you always seem drawn to over all others.

This outfit is poster perfect of a great summer Indian ensemble for me.  The white organdy material with the intricate yellow appliqué work is a great example of workmanship and the dupatta has similar panels to tie the outfit together.  The small silver border detail is a great finishing touch.  I was a bit dubious about the bright yellow palazzo pants when I first saw them – but once I put them on it was immediate acceptance.  I have added small jumkis from Fab India and my silver gungroo bangles to enhance the outfit without overpowering its simplistic elegance.  Last but not least, any outfit that I can wear juttis with is a winner in my book!

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog.

Save

Save