Black Dress Series: In a Structured Workwear Dress

Hello everyone! Let’s discuss workwear today. When I started my first ‘real job’, many, many years ago, I am not sure that I paid much attention to my work wardrobe. Absorbing the general guidance provided on the internet and from what I saw around me, I bought a couple of suits and separates and stepped boldly into the working world. However, there was one problem.  Many of the clothes I had purchased were uncomfortable when worn all day long and frankly,  not very stylish.  Don’t even get me started on this bright purple skirt suit I once owned…

Today, if I had the opportunity to plan a work wardrobe, what would I do differently?

I think the three most important factors that I would consider in planning a well-functioning work wardrobe would be:

Are the clothes appropriate for my particular work environment?

Are they comfortable to wear all day?

Do they represent my personal style statement?

The dress code that is acceptable at a particular place of work is relatively easy to access after a few weeks of working there. While some environments are more rigid and formal, others are more easy-going in terms of what qualifies as workwear. In my opinion, even traditionally formal work environments require comfortable clothes on a daily basis.  I found being uncomfortable at work was  unsustainable – it had the potential to affect the quality of my work and as well as the quality of my life.  Everyone has a personal style statement but overall, showing that you take pride in your appearance is the underlying foundation of being stylish at work. In my opinion, workwear does not need to be dull but a certain restraint is necessary unless you work in a creative environment where you are encouraged to express your self through your clothes without hesitation.

As work wear, I am a great fan of the structured form of this dress.  It strikes a delicate balance between being chic and comfortable, which can be harder to find than one may think.  The lack of embellishments on the dress make it a great canvas for adding a few bold accessories to complete the look. I have added a bold geometric cuff to the outfit to channel confidence and style. I love the gradual ombre’ gold effect on this patent mid-heeled court shoe and as it is tastefully done, I think they can be worn to work.  Wearing heels to work is not be everyones’ cup of tea and even if they are, we all have those days when we are not in the mood to strut around in heels. Therefore, I have also ‘lookbooked’ the dress with flat brogues that are both comfortable and stylish at the same time. I have to say that brogues are my ‘most likely to go to’ kind of non-heeled work shoe.  They make any outfit look smart and there are so many lovely statement brogues available on the market.

I hope you enjoy this look and thank you so much for visiting my blog.

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – COS (similar), Heeled Shoes – Karen Millen, Brogues – Finery, Handbag – Prada)

Full Sleeved Red Dress: And ‘Smart Casual’ Dilemmas

A few days ago, I had a conversation with a friend where she declared that cold weather kills the fashionista in her! She lamented that in winter she finds herself in a repetitive loop of wearing jeans or tights in order to protect against the cold and dresses are completely off limits. I can completely relate to this dilemma as I have often found myself in a similar endless loop of jeans and tights in colder weather. For me, a key factor in considering wearing a dress in the colder months is finding a dress with long sleeves.  I am far more likely to put a dress on if I am sure that my arms are not going to be exposed to the elements at any time, including indoors.

On a different note, I find ‘smart casual’ the hardest dress code to decipher.  It lends itself to various interpretations and is very situation dependent.  Dress codes such as casual or black tie are far easier to follow as they leave little room for misinterpretation. Frankly, ‘smart casual’ sends a shiver down my spine and I find myself constantly on the hunt for that perfect ‘dressy casual’ outfit that I know I will need some day.

I love the dress that I am lookbooking today for all the reasons discussed above.  The colour is bold but the clean lines and lack of embellishments makes for a dress that can be dressed up or down. It is a versatile dress that can be easily styled for various occasions and would work well for a work to bar ‘smart casual’ look.  It also has long sleeves and therefore, paired with thick tights and boots, makes for a great winter dress.  On the other hand, I would use it as a tunic and pair it with jeans and sneakers for a far more casual look.  It’s the perfect length and its relaxed shape lends itself well to fluctuating weight – what more can a girl ask for!

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and have a great week.

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Karen Millen, Shoes – Nine West, Sleeveless Coat – Zara, Earrings – Alex Bitter)

Classic White Shirt Dress: Simplicity At It’s Best

I have always been attracted to the classic nature of a crisp white shirt. Therefore, a crisp white shirt dress had instant appeal for me. This dress is the perfect fusion of a crisp white shirt and a flowy white dress and I loved it the moment I saw it! I admire the stark simplicity of the garment and it provides the perfect blank canvas to build many a look upon.  In this instance, I decided to celebrate its simplicity and pair it with nothing more than a floral bag and colourful heels.  In my opinion, the spring colours in the clutch and the slingback heels add just the right drama to enhance the dress but not interrupt the overall pared-down style statement. The colourful shoes and accessories are also my nod to the approaching spring weather (hopefully)!

I look forward to styling this dress differently and presenting it again in a few months. I have always been a fan of white dresses in the warmer months and currently there are so many in the shops to choose from. As always, thank you for reading and have a great rest of the week!

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Cos, Slingback Heels – ASOS, Leather Clutch Bag – Karen Millen, Earrings – Follie Follie)

Black Dress Series: Pleats and Lace

I have yet to meet a lady who wears dresses and doesn’t own a single black dress. Over the years, I have amassed quite a collection of black dresses that includes everything from the little black dress (LBD) to the big black dress (BBD) and every other kind of black dress in between!  I think there are a variety of reasons black dresess are so popular: they are versatile and everything matches them, there are so many styles available on the market, it is the most popular colour for a black tie affair, someone has convinced women-kind that black makes us look slimmer and most importantly, you can wear them with black shoes!

I love black dresses for all the reasons above but also because they seem to work well for the most casual of looks to the most dressy ones.  It’s amazing that just when I think I must never buy a black dress again, I will see a design that will make my heart skip a beat. Given my love for black dresses, I thought it a good idea to do a black dress series.  As I had mentioned my fondness for pleats last week, I decides to start the series with this pleated dress from Karen Millen.  I like the way that the pleats and lace have been juxtapositioned on the bodice and I love the easy to wear length on this dress. I look forward to ‘lookbooking’ other black dresses in this series and hearing about your black dresses as well.  Thank you for visiting my blog and have a great week ahead!

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Karen Millen, Shoes – Vince Camuto, Clutch Bag – Gucci, Earrings – Banana Republic, Watch – Cartier)

Grecian Adventures: Part 2 – Santorini

In Part 1 of my Grecian adventure (https://ishasverdict.com/2016/03/31/grecian-adventures-part-1/) we had made it to Santorini and I had managed to traipse around the island wearing my blue Pankaj and Nidhi top! In this post, I am going to briefly cover the things to do in Santorini and most importantly what I wore in Santorini (OK that wasn’t the most important but this is a fashion blog!).

As Santorini is a relatively small island, we decided that the day bus tour would be a good way to see the whole island. The bus tour (which most hotels will be happy to arrange for you) left at a respectable 11AM (so plenty of time to tear kids away from electronic devices) and covered the highest point on the island, the various blue and white churches dotting the landscape and the historical ruins and excavations at the ancient city of Akrotiri. It then proceeded to the black beach where we had a lovely lunch and the kids got to play in the water for a short time.  This was followed by a trip to Santo winery, a local winery, for a wine tasting to make us happy but not drunk (tour guide’s words not mine!). The Vinsanto dessert wine was delicious and the views were amazing. From here, we went to Oia, the northwest side of the island, which is widely considered to be the best place on the island to view the sunset. The sunset from Oia has been voted the 6th best in the world by National Geographic magazine. It was spectacular and watching the sun literally disappear into the ocean was a humbling moment in terms of the sheer grandeur of nature. Following this, it was time to return to the hotel, where my children hugged their apple devices like they had just found the holy grail!

In the following days, we took the cable car down to the pier where you can take the boat tour to a volcano island off the coast of Santorini ( and hike up to see the craters) as well as hot springs where you can jump off the boat and go for a brief swim in the ocean. Donkey rides are also available up and down to the pier but I decided to save that for next time! My favorite part of the boat ride – the gentleman who, despite multiple announcements stating clearly that only people who are confident swimmers should jump into the ocean, decides to jump in anyways and then in order to save himself from a public drowning had to ask for a flotation ring to be thrown to get him back safely to the boat. He also had to withstand the pubic humiliation of having the whole boat crowd watch this and for a minute I did think that drowning may have been less painful!

Beyond the sightseeing, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and coffee shops to entertain yourself. In terms of shopping, there are all the usual island shops selling clothes, shoes and souvenirs. As Greece is a huge jewellery producer, there are multiple jewellery shops selling beautiful gold and silver jewellery. Did I buy anything you may ask – of course I did! Stay tuned for some pictures of my purchases in a following blog post.

I would like to give a special shout out to Sujata from Edgware, London who proved to me today that the world is indeed a very small place! On our way to the airport from Athens, we went to see the Temple of Poseidon located an hour away. On my way out from the restroom, a lady approached me and asked if I was Isha.  I said yes and she introduced herself and said that she reads the blog and enjoys it. We chatted for a few minutes and she became the first reader of the blog that I have met who I did not know previously! Thank you so much for approaching me and for your kind words Sujata – you made my day!

In my next blog post (which will be the last on post in this series) I will cover where to stay and what to eat in Santorini. I will also lookbook my new ‘rescue mission’ outfit. As always, thanks for reading and have a great Monday!

(Clothes and Accessories: Blue shirt – Uniqlo, Blue Handbag – Karen Millen, Intials Bracelet – Azendi, Yellow Dress – H&M, Clutch Bag – Henry Bendel, Green Maxi Dress – Dosanjh Shroff)

 

Osterley Park: A Great Day Out With Cake Involved!

These pictures were taken at Osterley Park; a National Trust property in West London. I have been to Osterley Park numerous times but the grandeur of Osterley House never fails to amaze me.  The original house was built in the 1570s for banker Sir Thomas Gresham and 200 years came under the ownership of Sir Francis Child, the owner of Child’s Bank. The house eventually passed to his grand daughter who married the Earl of Jersey and the Osterley estate passed into the Jersey family. The 9th Earl of Jersey opened Osterley House to the public in 1939 and the National Trust took charge of the house and gardens in 1991. It is a beautiful place and a great day out for the entire family with lots of space for the kids to run, ride their bikes and kick a ball around.  An audio tour of the house is available, and is a fascinating peek into how the wealthy lived in the years past.  My children loved the various rooms and the enormous kitchen that have been preserved immaculately and it proved to be a fabulous living history lesson for them! An interesting piece of trivia for the Bollywood buff is that a song from the Hindi movie ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ was shot in front of the house.The best part – it has a fabulous tea house located in the original stables that serves a variety of lovely treats.  Nothing will get me faster to a location than the offer of tea and cake!  I would highly recommend visiting Osterley Park if you are looking for a fun day out with the family or just happen to be in the area. Unfortunately, it was an overcast day and I hope to go back in the following months for some better pictures.

On a different note, I love my black and white ‘penguin shoes’ and this newspaper print tote bag always brings a smile to my face! Thanks for reading.

(Clothes and Accessories: Trench Coat – Marks and Spencer, Hand Bag – Kate Spade, Jeans – Zara, Shoes – Karen Millen, Top – Marks and Spencer)

Olive Dress and Black Leather Jacket: Eagerly awaiting Spring Weather

There is a very interesting dichotomy between retail offerings and the weather this time of year in London. The clothing rails scream warm weather, the skies bellow cold and the streets form the battle ground where people are desperate to shed their thick coats for something lighter. I am still wearing my warm ultra-down Uniqlo coat most days but when I enter a shop I could be forgiven for thinking I lived in the Bahamas with all the itsy bitsy bright floral dresses on display. The stores are already peddling their summer best and what a clever strategy it is, as most of us are ready for some warmer weather and buying summery clothes is a first step in that direction.  In the meanwhile, I am endeavoring to wear many of my dresses with warm tights to give the jeans a break. Speaking of warm tights, I must give a shout out to Primark for their Ultra warm fleece lined tights.  Touted as their warmest, the fleece lined tights really are the warmest I have ever worn! Have a great day and thanks for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Karen Millen, Leather Jacket – UrbanCode (Asos) , Boots – Forever Unique (Asos), Fleece Tights – Primark , Bracelet – Esprit, Hangbag – Marc Jacobs)

Mothers Day Tea Party: With Mother’s Things

I have always enjoyed celebrating Mothers Day, both as a mother and as a daughter. I do believe that you do not need a special day to celebrate great mothers but if it falls on a Sunday and leads to extra well behaved children bearing presents then why not! I get to celebrate two mothers days every year as my mother lives in the USA and my mother-in-law in the UK. For those of you who may not be aware, Mothers Day falls in different months in the two countries. We went to my mom-in-laws to celebrate and that was especially nice as I always get to eat food that I don’t make at home due to lack of eater interest.  Today’s star food was Bharta (Indian eggplant scramble of sorts) that more than makes up for the way it looks by the way it tastes! Later in the day, we decided to have a family tea party at home since due to certain commitments it was not possible to go out. Since we were celebrating Mother’s Day I decided to use my mother’s table linen set that she gave me.  I love this set because it was purchased in 1970 for her wedding trousseau (and made my nuns in Calcutta), making it over 45 years old. It features shadow work embroidery and the finesse of the work is mind-boggling. Shadow work is a type of embroidery that is usually done on semi-sheer or sheer fabric such as organdy, with most of the work done on the back of the design so the shadow shows through on the other side.  The delicate skill required to create high quality shadow work is evident in this linen and just looking at it brings a smile to my face and reminds me of my mother. We then had cake, hot-cross buns and added samosas and cham-chams to ensure that our daily calorie content did not suffer in any way! It was a lovely Mothers Day and as I always tell my kids – hugs and kisses are always the best present which I received in plenty.  Thanks for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Top – &Other Stories, Jeans – Zara, Cardigan – Karen Millen, Cups and Saucers – Good Earth)