Personal Perspective: Where to Start When the Style Spark is Gone

We have all been there.  Now you may think it presumptuous on my part to assume a collective assessment but I really think when it comes to this issue, we have all been there.

There are times in our lives where our precious 24 hours a day are choked full and circumstances are such that we cannot deviate from an exhausting pre-set routine. These times are often coupled with key life situations such as rearing young children, caring for loved ones or intense work pressures.  Add to this mix a general displeasure with our weight or appearance and it is easy to fall into a fashionless or ‘severely style limited zone’ of everyday dressing.

I distinctly remember my routine when my older son was in nursery, the younger son was still at home full day and I was not working. The day started early with breakfast feedings and nursery dropoffs; continued with grocery runs, cooking, cleaning, baby groups, nap time; followed by nursery pickup, playtime, bathtime, dinnertime and ended with two exhausted parents sleep time.  Now while it was a glorious time in my family’s development, it was also a time where I couldn’t fit into half my wardrobe, was constantly sleep deprived and in a pre-set routine that didn’t leave much time for fashion.  More importantly, having reached the stage of wearing pyjamas and sweatpants in a comfortable circular loop, it had become tedious to even think about stepping out of this rut and reclaiming some style ground in my daily life.

I do want to make the point that this is perfectly fine and a loop I still fall into now and then. We don’t owe anyone a better appearance – I leave the house with my hair in a ponytail, no makeup and uninspired clothing all the time because I never want to ever feel imprisoned in any way by an expectation of appearance or lose the mental liberty to walk around as I please.

However, when you are ready, what’s the best way to get back into a better dressed daily self when you feel that the style spark is gone?  As with any rut, it can be hard to find a good starting point to climb out of it and reclaim some fashion ground.  So here is what works for me; I start with trying to upstyle my jeans look, one baby step at a time. I find that even when our daily style has hit rock bottom, we all have jeans and tend to reach for them on a regular basis. So I start by trying to better my jeans styling; by putting on a better top, trying a different pair of shoes from my wardrobe (that I am saving for no reason) and maybe adding a scarf or pulling out a different coat from my wardrobe. This ‘jeans baby step method’ of slowly improving your daily look is size and shape independent and that is why it works well for me as a stepping stone in the right direction.

I love the colour yellow so I have decided to wear this yellow tunic more often that has been sitting in my wardrobe for a while now. Yellow and blue is one of my favourite combinations, so I hope you enjoy this look and have a fabulous Easter weekend.  As always, thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Accessories:

Top – Massimo Dutti

Jeans – Uniqlo

Coat – Massimo Dutti

Scarf – H&M

Shoes – Massimo Dutti

Handbag – Dooney and Bourke

 

Destination Wedding Guide Part 1: The Preliminary Steps to Being a Best Dressed Guest

Destination weddings are really having their moment in the sun and it’s very likely that you will be attending one in the near future. Wanting to look your very best is an integral part of attending weddings and attaining this is easier than you may think.

The key factor to recognise is what you have packed in your suitcase is what you will have available to make an effective style statement throughout the wedding.  What does this mean?  In one simple word – organization.

Being a best-dressed guest at a destination wedding requires top class organization.  Nothing should be left to chance because you are there to enjoy the celebratory atmosphere, the company of other guests, and perhaps lend a helping hand if required.  No part of your planning should include, “I need to pop to the shops to buy a pair of gold heels for tonight”, once you are there.

As I discussed in the video, your best-dressed self for a destination wedding starts when you leave the house for the airport.  So what should you wear to travel in?

Now, of course, the choices are endless and dependent on many factors such as your travel companions (kids or elderly parents) and the total length of your travel.  My general advice is that unless you are very comfortable in heels, wear flat comfortable shoes that look good and can be worn on your return journey. If you live in a relatively cold country, travel with a light coat that may be necessary on both your way there as well as on your return journey home.  Carry a handbag that can hold your essentials and is smart enough to carry in case you have a leisurely day out with other guests at the wedding.

Below, I have lookbooked an outfit that may work if you are travelling a rather short distance (say to Spain or Italy from England) for a destination wedding. I personally would not wear a dress on a long flight but a short flight presents a unique dress wearing opportunity.  I love the idea of showing up to a wedding wearing a fun dress with a lip print to echo the celebration of love and affection of the nuptials that you will be attending. I have teamed it with my trusted broken in black and white pumps that are uber comfortable and work with a myriad of outfits.  I have topped it off with a water-resistant beige trench coat (trendy yet classic) and a black tote that can be used for a day out and will hold your essentials for the plane. Make sure it has a zipped pocket for important documents (Pictures at the bottom of the post).

Even before we discuss the preliminary aspects of packing for the wedding, remember the following:

  1. Grooming: Plan to get your waxing, threading, manicures, pedicures, hair colouring and hair cuts done well ahead of the day you leave for the wedding.  Tempting as it is – I strongly advise not leaving these grooming aspects for your destination. Once you get there, it could be more hassle than its worth.  You may not like the haircut, the wax may burn your skin – the possibilities for minor disasters are endless (I know because I have been there so many times). Even, if you are going to your home town, try to go a day early and get it all done so that you are ready well before the wedding celebrations start.
  2. Luggage: Packing for a destination wedding is a masterclass in packing smart; every item you pack must serve a purpose and clothes and accessories must double up to be of service in multiple outfits/looks. It is hard to pack light for an entire wedding so plan to take your luggage allowance of at least a suitcase. Take a suitcase in good condition and preferably water-resistant in case it stands around on the tarmac in the rain with your glad rags in it.

Next time on the blog, I will discuss the key factors to consider in terms of outfit selection, accessories, jewellery and shoes. I will also share my handy packing list and other tips to help ensure your attendance is fuss-free, and you are your stylish self at the celebrations.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I would welcome any feedback.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress – Jolie Moi

Shoes – Karen Millen

Handbag – Longchamp

Personalised Wallet – Aspinal of London

Mac – Marks and Spencer

 

Merry Christmas 2018: Mixing and Matching Cheer

Hello everyone.  I wanted to reach out this morning and wish you all a very Merry Christmas. I hope that Santa and other benevolent beings bring you all that you had hoped for and you have a wonderful day filled with laughter, loved ones and lebkuchen (I love those treats).

A festival is a festival and festive dressing should be a celebration of style, occasion and special pieces that exemplify the festivities. I have made no secret of the fact that I am a fan of fusion dressing and mixing ethnic and western styles is an exercise I always enjoy. I often heard friends bemoaning the fact that Indian costume jewellery is underutilized in their daily lives. This Christmas, I wanted to attempt a festive look that combined the Christmas spirit with some complementing ethnic jewellery that many of us have in our wardrobes.

In this lookbook, I have paired an off the shoulder red jumper with black wide-leg trousers and boots.  I have topped it off with my favourite cream coloured teddy coat of the season and a trusty green clutch as a nod to Christmas colours.  Finally, I have accessorized with this beautiful jewellery from Torran design to help set the look apart.  This is not a pairing that I would wear every day but given the festive season  – it’s a great statement outfit and one that’s sure to stand out from the crowd.

Have a truly fabulous holiday season and I hope that you enjoy the festivities to their fullest. Thank you so much for reading my blog – your support is truly appreciated.

Clothes and accessories:

Jewellery – Toraan 

Teddy Coat – Warehouse

Jumper – Karen Millen

Trousers – Zara

Clutch – ASOS

 

 

 

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

 

 

Autumn Boho Style: and my Love of Steam Irons

I am a huge fan of boho style – the florals, embroidery, dangly earrings and heaps of bangles – all worn together to create a truly unapologetic feminine style statement. We often associate boho styling with summer, flowy dresses and flowing locks. While a bohemian look works fabulously in the summer, in my opinion, it works equally well in the colder months.

Autumn brings a rich bounty of dark floral dresses to the shops and I think they form the perfect starting point for a great boho outfit. All you need to add is all the other dangly bits and bobs, a great handbag and a pair of boots to complete your moody autumn bohemian look.

Speaking of flowing dresses – there is nothing quite like the pleasure of putting on a recently ironed dress with no creases where the material sways gently as you walk – bliss! This blissful state would not be possible without my other love  – full powered steam generator irons.  The other day I went to get my eyebrows done – as one does when they start to shoot past their pre-set boundaries and take over your face.  The eyebrow lady and I were discussing what household chore we love and hate and we both said at the same time, “I love ironing and I am happy to iron anytime.”  What an amazing coincidence we thought, and decided to delve deeper into our mutual love of ironing.  Lo and behold, we quickly discovered that both she and I use full powered steam generator irons and would rather trade in our husbands before we gave up on the irons! I have been using a powerful steam iron for a few years now and I can truly say that it is among the best household purchase I have ever made.  They are more expensive than normal irons but worth every penny that I have ever spent on them. The creases just fall away and I always end up freshly ironing my clothes whenever I need to as they make the process so very easy and satisfying.

This is not a sponsored post on behalf of any ironing company and I have used multiple brands in the last few years. The eyebrow wonder lady and I were waxing eloquent about these machines and I told her that I owed it to my readers to share our mutual passion with them, in the case that someone had not tried one or was sitting on the fence about purchasing one.  Trust me, ladies, these machines are worth every penny and as Loreal tells us – you are worth it!

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook and I would love to hear your feedback.  As always, thank you for taking the time to read Isha’s Verdict and have a great weekend.

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress – Zara

Cape – Ted Baker

Handbag – Coach

Boots – Dune Black

 

Fall Fashion Trends: Classic Styles Revisited

It’s Autumn and the nascent winter chill is in the air. There are new fall clothes in the shops, beautiful fall clothes in our closets, and it is finally their turn to take the dance floor.  Autumn is the favourite season of so many of my friends and for good reason.  The weather is crisp and fresh, and the clothes are a refreshing three hundred and sixty-degree change from the summer clothes that have dominated the past months.  Autumn is the perfect season to show off cold weather fashion without it being so cold that all clothing is hidden by that extra thick and long coat!

So what’s new on the trend front for this Autumn? Animal print seems to be ruling the jungle at the moment – it is everywhere from dresses to coats and bags to shoes.  Animal print has always been a fall classic; however, the standout print is not without its critics.  It is probably one of the more controversial prints that people either love or love to hate.  Fans enjoy its boldness and critics find it harsh and overbearing.

I stand divided on ‘animal print’ love – for me, it depends on the fabric and the exact print that has been used on an item.  Generally, I find I enjoy wearing it most when I accessorize with it, rather than ‘go heavy’ with it covering the whole outfit.

Animal prints work well with classic fall colours and I find that pairing them with black, tan and red is a foolproof recipe for a sophisticated Autumn look. In this lookbook, I have paired my lovely animal print flats with jeans, an oversized cosy black jumper, a classic tan coat and a red crossbody bag.  I love everything about this look; it represents my personal fashion statement perfectly.

I think this time of the year is a great time to invest in some classic clothes that will carry you through the winter and into spring.  in my opinion, investing in classics such as black jumpers and tan coats will provide you with an effective canvas to build your winter look – whatever that may be.  I hope you enjoy this look and feedback is always welcome.  As always, thank you for reading my blog and have a fabulous weekend.

Clothes and accessories:

Premium Black Jumper – H&M

Tan Coat – Massimo Dutti

Flat Shoes – Zara, Similar – ASOS, and Massimo Dutti

Crossbody Bag – Salvatore Ferragamo

 

 

‘Lounging Around’ Dresses: My Guilty Summer Dress Purchase Pleasure

Are our fashion styling and purchasing decisions influenced by those near and dear to us?  Mine definitely are and I am a better stylist for it.  Many years ago, I met my best friend on the first day of university. We hit it off instantly and soon did everything together, including shopping. Often while shopping we would see dresses that were perfect for casual wear and ‘running around in’.  She would always pick these up to buy and if I countered the purchase by saying, “Don’t you already have a few that look like this?”, her response would be,”Yes but this is perfect for ‘lounging around in’!” “Yes, it would be actually”, I remember thinking and we would both end up buying the aforementioned piece of clothing. As college students, we probably did a fair amount of ‘lounging around’ so the casual wear purchases made sense.

They also became a habit.  As soon as I know summer is approaching, I find myself buying multiple casual summer dresses for ‘lounging around in’ purposes.  I wholly blame my BF for this. As I was telling her last time we met, “BF, considering our lives now run at breakneck speed and there is absolutely no time to ‘lounge around’, why the hell do I buy so many casual dresses?” Furthermore, while I find myself the proud owner of multiple ‘lounging around’ clothes, I never seem to have any clothes to do ‘proper stuff’ in!

Similarly, when I was getting my Master’s, I became friends with a Chinese girl.  She was the first person I had ever met who would put on a ‘neckerchief’ with anything and everything. She always tied it so well and it made a lovely unexpected statement. I have her to thank for showing me how a neckerchief worked and I have enjoyed wearing them ever since.

I have always advocated that observing and experimenting with fashion looks we see around us is one of the best ways to improve our own fashion statement over time. I would love to hear about how your fashion decisions have been influenced by those around you.

When I saw this floaty summer dress in these beautiful stripes – I could not resist buying it.  The spring colors and the drop waist is exactly the kind of dress I am looking forward to wearing once the warmer weather finally arrives.  A printed neckerchief and comfortable brogues are the perfect additions to this outfit along with a staple denim jacket.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and thank you so much for reading my blog.

 

Clothes and accessories:

Dress (I am wearing an XS as comes up big)  – Uniqlo U

Jacket – Target

Neckerchief – Pucci (similar House of Fraser)

Brogue Shoes – Dune Black (similar Dune)

Crossbody Bag – Karen Millen

 

‘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

 

 

All Shapes Staple: Floral Swing Dress With a Cropped Coat

Happy Tuesday everyone! We are all aware that women come in various natural shapes (so natural that many are fruit-based such as pear and apple) and there are many guides available on how to best dress to enhance your personal shape and form.

In my opinion, there are a variety of styling tips and techniques that really do work in helping to showcase our individual body shape in the most flattering way possible.  The most important lesson I have learned over the years is that learning what not to wear is even more important than figuring out what to wear.  Certain styles are completely unforgiving on certain body shapes and once you can figure out what does not work  – you are more than halfway there!

The good news is that certain shapes work well on most body shapes and the swing dress is one of them. There is a uniquely feminine quality about a dress that moves with ease around your body and the swing dress is one of my all-time favourites.

I love the bold floral print on this dress and orange and blue is a great winter combination. The orange crop coat provides balance to the swing and the vivid pop of colour helps the outfit truly standout.  I am a huge fan of this beautiful leather satchel and the leather only seems to get better with age and wear.  I wasn’t sure how often I would wear blue suede boots and an orange coat when I bought these items, however, I am constantly astounded by how easy it is to incorporate colour into my winter wardrobe now that I am making an effort to do so.

I hope you enjoy this styling and thank you so much for reading my blog.  Have a great week ahead!

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress –  ASOS (Traffic People)

Satchel Bag – Dooney and Burke

Blue boots – Charles and David, Similar – Zara

Orange Coat – Therapy, Similar – Mango

 

 

 

 

Friday Comfort: In a Floral Tunic With Wide-Leg Trousers

Happy Friday everyone! I often find that by the time Friday rolls around, I am ready to luxuriate in a comfortable ensemble to see me into the weekend.  However, it is important to remember that the fifth day of the week is still a working day and therefore, a relaxed yet stylish outfit is called for.

I love the proportions of a loose tunic paired with wide-legged trousers.  Even though the form of both of these pieces of clothing is loose-fitting, and at first one might think that this wouldn’t work, I find that it always works a treat for me.  The key is to add a slight heel, to give the trouser a much-needed lift and allow the relaxed tunic to flow.

I am naturally pear-shaped and with a smaller top half, I often find tunics can be too big along the shoulder seam and end up looking awkward and lopsided on me.  I have solved this dilemma  – by buying dresses from the girl’s section! Dresses meant for girls are cut narrower at the shoulders and work exceedingly well as tunics on me.

This pretty floral tunic is a girl’s dress from Zara.  I have teamed it with my over-sized pinstripe trousers and mid-heel blue boots. I have added my oversized yellow jacket to complete the relaxed vibe and the belt at the waist does a great job of adding some definition to the overall styling. Finally, I have accessorized with an oversized bag to complete my Friday look.

I hope you enjoy this look book and have a great weekend ahead.  As always, thank you so much for visiting Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Accessories:

Foral Tunic – Zara (13-14yrs) 

Wide-leg Trousers – Bershka 

Coat – Mango

Boots – Massimo Dutti

Handbag – Dooney and Burke