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

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

 

 

Autumn Shirt Dress: And 6 Reasons To Follow a Fashion Blogger

I publish a new fashion lookbook blog post a few times a week. I am truly grateful to my readers who take the time to view and read them. Like most bloggers, I hope that in time new readers will discover my work and enjoy it as well.  To this effect, I thought I would put together some valid reasons for considering following a fashion blogger.

So without further ado, here are my top six reasons to follow a fashion blogger:

  1. Inspiration and Ideas: In most facets of life, we could all do with a bit of inspiration and some new idea generation. Fashion bloggers will often experiment with ideas that may get your creative juices flowing.  For example, I enjoy doing a column called ‘Rescue Mission’ where I discuss rescuing, updating and restyling my older Indian wear for a new spin on the block.
  2. Exposure to a different perspective: We all inhabit our own fashion worlds and our fashion outlook is often limited to our own experiences and those of the people around us. Following a fashion blogger will expose you to a different dimension of fashion that you may or may not have considered before.  I am still amazed that despite being a fashion lover for decades, I constantly encounter new styling ideas that have never occurred to me before that very moment. Taking the time to appreciate another look does not mean you have to adopt it or even like it.  However, I can almost guarantee that it will expand your styling horizons and soon you will find yourself considering fashion options you have never considered before. Think of it as fashion by osmosis!
  3. Free expert advice and free entertainment: As Malcolm Gladwell said in his book ‘Outliers’, spending 10,000 hours doing anything will likely make you an expert at it. Most fashion bloggers have a passionate interest in fashion and will spend many hours exploring it.  Eventually, many of them will become experts in being able to curate clothes and accessories in a uniquely attractive manner (I am still working on getting there). Following their blog allows you to take advantage of their knowledge and expertise for free. Think of a fashion blog as a free fashion magazine, delivered directly to your computer. You can look at it when you are waiting for the bus or your kids to finish their piano lesson.  Best of all, it doesn’t pile up in a corner and you don’t have to steal it from the dentist’s office!
  4. Keeping up with trends: Even if fashion is not your thing, it is always nice to be dressed in a way that demonstrates that you have visited a shop in the last 10 years. A good fashion blogger can help you keep up with the latest fashion trends, what’s new in the shops and what people are wearing on the street, without you having to make a concentrated effort to keep up yourself.
  5. Exposure to new designers and brands: Fashion bloggers will often feature collaborations with designers and brands that you may not have chanced upon yourself. Following a blogger you identify with, will expose you to brands that you may enjoy but would not have discovered on your own.
  6. Authentic fashion: Last but definitely not least, what I love about fashion bloggers is that I get a genuine insight into another person’s world and their fashion choices. Unlike models in a magazine, fashion bloggers style themselves and bring you an authentic view of styling that may or not work for a particular age or body type. Bloggers allow you to identify with a person versus a brand and you can accompany them on an authentic fashion journey that is influenced by their individual circumstances.  For example, I am in my forties with a husband, children, a job and live in a cold country.  My fashion choices and posts will reflect my realities and hopefully be more relevant and interesting for it.

So there you have it! I have laid out, perhaps not so subtly, my reasons for why you should consider reading my blog and if you are in a charitable mood, even following it. However, even if my blog is not your cup of tea, I would recommend finding a few fashion bloggers whose work you enjoy.  It is a great way to get different ideas about fashion that you can incorporate into your own style to maximize your personal fashion statement.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and have a great weekend! Thank you for visiting Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Accessories:

Tunic Dress (looking forward to wearing this with jeans in the winter)  – Stradivarius

Vest – Nordstrom Rack

Sandals – New Look

Handbag – Eliza and James

 

Come Fly With Me: In a Blue Dress and Pretty Flats

Happy Saturday everyone!

Ever since I was a child, I have always been an admirer of what I like to call ‘cabin crew chic’. Seeing smartly dressed cabin crew at the airport was always the start of an exciting adventure in the days when flying was still more fun and less laborious than it is today.

The irony is that while I love their uniforms, I would be hard pressed to come up with jobs that I would be less suited to than flying. I would miss many of my flights because I would be too busy browsing the shops at the airport and lose track of time – and frankly it would be all downhill from there…

I love the versatility of this loose-fitting blue shirt dress as it lends it self so well to wearing with a belt, wearing as a tunic over jeans or just playing doctors and nurses.  I am usually not a big belt wearer, so I have deliberately chosen to pair it with a navy belt and a red and white neckerchief.  Finally, I have paired it with these adorable blue and white flats that are as comfortable as they are cute.

Have a lovely weekend and thank you so much for visiting my blog.

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress – And Other Stories (on sale)

Belt – Massimo Dutti (on sale)

Shoes – Nine West (on sale)

Handbag – Karen Millen

Neckerchief – Mango

 

 

At St. Ermin’s Hotel: In Flats and In Heels

Recently, my family and I had the opportunity to do something we have never done before – take a ‘staycation’ in central London.  We stayed at the St. Ermin’s hotel (an Autograph collection hotel) in Westminster, a central London hotel with an amazing history and a stone’s throw from St. James’s Park station.

The remarkable history goes as follows: In 1940 Winston Churchill held a meeting at St. Ermin’s Hotel with a group of people and asked them to join him in ‘Setting Europe Ablaze’ – they were to become the founding members of the SOE (Special Operations Executive). This unit carried out covert operations during WW2, from their headquarters which were an entire floor of St. Ermin’s Hotel, whilst MI6 were situated two floors above. The SOE agents’ printed coded messages on pieces of silk, of which an original sample still hangs in the Lobby.  In the 1950’s the spy Guy Burgess (part of the Cambridge five) handed over secret papers to his Russian counterpart in the Caxton Bar. Furthermore, it is rumoured that a tunnel runs from underneath the grand staircase in the Lobby all the way to the houses of Westminster.

I absolutely loved the character of this hotel and the unusual lobby with its gorgeous staircases and plaster work that were designed by the famous Victorian theatre designer J.P. Briggs. There is a lovely boutique charm about the hotel and I particularly enjoyed the cozy atmosphere of the Caxton Bar.  I have to say that enjoying a drink by a warm fireplace (with a real fire) in the bar was a lovely treat! We also decided impromptu to indulge in the high tea served in the tea rooms above the lobby and I thoroughly enjoyed the fare.  I found the high tea service friendly, without being pretentious, and one that seemed very child friendly.  Of course, our decision to indulge was sudden (like I was really going to say no when my husband suggested it!) but they are happy to make special provisions for kids if you book ahead of time.

I have always championed the case of ‘fabulous flats’ and there is something very refreshing about dressing up and not wearing heels. I love the shimmery elegance of these flat ballerina shoes and I think they work exceedingly well with the frill-bottomed cropped trousers.  The oversized faux fur clutch is a stylish nod to winter and is amazingly versatile in terms of styling.

I have mentioned before that I have rarely met a shirt dress I did not like and this one was no exception.  I love the simple yet sophisticated design of this dress and how the waist can be drawn in from both sides.  It’s full sleeved and appropriate for work and play – what’s there not to love! Plus, I think it would also look great with a nice pair of white sneakers.

I hope you enjoyed this ‘lookbook’ and thank you for reading.  Have a great rest of the week!

www.sterminshotel.co.uk

(Clothes and Accessories: Silver Jumper – And Other Stories, Trousers – Zara (similar), Clutch – And Other Stories, Flat Shoes – SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, Shirt Dress – H&M, Grey Bag – Salvatore Ferragamo)

‘Reworking’ Workwear: With a White Shirt Dress and a Textured Coat

It is Monday and the weekly cycle of life starts afresh. Work is a large part of this cycle and for many of us work clothes are an integral part of our wardrobe. Workwear can mean different things to different people depending on their profession and country of residence. However, I think most of us would agree that the clothes we wear to work must be ‘authentic’ to our work environment, our audience and most importantly to our personalities!

In traditional work environments it may not be possible to make grand sweeping fashion statements. There is little to be gained in dressing like you work at ‘Vogue’ and showing up to your banking job in a yellow mini skirt and purple fur coat (it might be worth it just to see the look on your co-workers face!). Avant-garde dressing may not be the order of the day but it is still possible to style work wear in a way that champions your fashion prowess and helps you rise above the ‘blandness’ that can often plague conventional work wear. I believe that one of the best ways to be more fashion forward with workwear is to remember that the ‘devil is in the detail’.

For this outfit, I have chosen a white shirt-dress instead of a traditional white shirt to add volume and an element of the ‘unexpected’ to the outfit. I have accessorized it with jewellery that may be minimalist but packs a sophisticated punch. The design on the black coat adds texture and richness to the overall look. Finally, my red bag adds a much needed dose of colour to the traditional black, white and grey colour scheme.

I hope you enjoy the styling of this outfit and thank you for visiting my blog. Have a great week!

(Clothes and Accessories: Shirt Dress – ASOS, Trousers – Zara, Shoes – Vince Camuto , Coat – Uniqlo/Carine Roitfeld (Similar), Handbag – Prada, Necklace – Michael Kors, Watch – Skagen)

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Maxi Shirt Dresses: In My Top Favourites

I have ‘maxi’ love for the maxi dress! Maxi dresses are definitely in the top three kind of dresses that I love to wear.  I don’t seem to remember maxi dresses being around much till about ten years ago when they exploded onto the dress scene and soon took their rightful place as a major category of dresses. I remember coming out in a maxi dress in those early years and my husband asking me if I was going to the movies in my night clothes? I was tempted to say yes, as given the movie we were watching the chances of me falling asleep post popcorn were very high!

I enjoy wearing all kind of maxi dresses from casual t-shirt material dresses to fancy evening dresses. I have spoken about my love for shirt dresses before and maxi shirt dresses are just the icing on the cake for me! I loved the bold print on this maxi and the fact that it was a monochrome shirt dress with pockets  – it practically jumped into my basket and sold itself to me! I thought the faces looked a bit Greek so I built on that theme by pairing the dress with gladiator sandals. I am not quite sure where the ancient Greeks stood on denim jackets but nonetheless they are a great coverup in milder weather.

On a different note, I thought it may be useful to provide some links to clothes available in the market that are similar to the silhouette that I am lookbooking in a given post. Therefore, in this post I am including pictures of three other dresses that are currently available in stores. Below are three maxi shirt dresses that I love the look off – do check them out (they will go straight to the site if you click on them). As always, thank you for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Monki (http://www.monki.com/) and ASOS, sandals – Zara, Jacket – Target)

 

Mango
John Lewis
Dorothy Perkins