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

 

 

All Winter Staples: My Black and Red Dresses

As the cold months progress, for all the winter clothes I have accumulated over the years, I find myself constantly turning to solid staples in my wardrobe. With the goal of constant warmth on my mind – I find single colour staples are the best foundation blocks on which to build diverse winter looks.

In today’s post, I am look booking two of my current favourite staple winter dresses from Tobi – a black knitted dress and a red over sized hoodie that doubles as a dress. Tobi is a great on-line shopping destination (oh how I love on-line shopping) that is both affordable and trendy.

The black dress is one of those all-purpose pieces of clothing that looks great with trousers as well as with tights. For this look, I have paired it with a pair of checked kick-flare trousers and heeled boots.  The boots provide the necessary lift to show off the kick flare and the loose drape of the dress to perfection.  I have finished off the styling with my long-line and long serving leather jacket. I love the feel of this outfit and the winter chic vibe it generates.

The red over-sized hoodie is my idea of perfectly laid back weekend wear. The bright red adds a cheerful note and I have finished it off with a check lambswool scarf and furry lace boots to walk around town comfortably.  I love the giant oversized sleeves that provide a cocoon for my hands and the hood that offers an extra layer of protection from the elements.

I want to thank Tobi for sponsoring this post – these dresses are definitely on repeat this season!  I hope you enjoy this post and thank you so much for your kind support and encouragement.  Have a great week ahead!

Clothes and accessories:

Black Dress – Tobi

Red Oversized Hoodie – Tobi

Checked lambswool scarf – COS

Checked Kickflare trousers – Zara

Dangle Bracelet – Follie Follie 

Leather jacket – Urban code

Black heeled boots – Zara

Black Lace Up boots – Hudson

Long Black Coat – DKNY

Black cross body bag – Marc Jacobs

One-Shoulder Maxi Dress: With a Statement Necklace

Many years ago, we visited Bali on our honeymoon. My husband and I had never been to Bali before and it was the destination we were both looking forward to the most. We arrived at our resort late at night and it looked so beautiful in the darkness, with small lights glowing in the various cottages dotted around the landscape.  The humidity in the air, the smell of the flowers and the chirping of the crickets all seemed so welcoming as we were led down the winding path to our cottage. Just before we reached our destination, a beautiful woman seemed to miraculously emerge from behind the bushes and  startled us.  “Good evening Mr. and Mrs. Singh”, she said with folded hands, in the most sing-song voice I had ever heard and then silently disappeared into the night again.

For the rest of our stay, every time we would be walking around the resort at night, she seemed to magically appear from behind a bush to greet us.  Just when we were least expecting her, she would be standing before us with folded hands, a lovely smile and her sing-song voice. After a few days, her appearances became a kind of comedy horror show where we found ourselves on the constant lookout for her every time darkness fell. She unnerved me with her silent appearances and equally sudden disappearances. My husband and I came to the conclusion that she either worked very long shifts and appearing silently from behind the bushes was part of her job description or perhaps…just perhaps… she was a figment of our imagination!

For some reason, this one shoulder dress reminds me of her.  Perhaps she was wearing a garment similar to this but for some unexplainable reason every time I put this dress on I feel the urge to fold my hands and say, “Good evening Mr. Singh”, to my husband.  I haven’t jumped out at him from behind the bushes yet but that would be a real laugh! I love the free-flowing nature of this dress and it moves beautifully when I walk.  I have paired it with an ethnic statement necklace that I have lookbooked before (Statement Necklace: With a Peplum Top and a Trench Coat) and I think it is amazing how well the necklace works with two very different outfits.

I bought this dress from H&M last year but I have included some examples below of lovely             one-shoulder dresses that are available now. I hope you enjoy this look and have a fabulous weekend! Thank you so much for reading.

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – H&M, Sandals – Payless shoe Source, Necklace – Khan Market (New Delhi)

Massimo Dutti
Coast
Mango

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)