How Can You Look Instantly Stylish?: Keep it Deceptively Simple

I am not going to lie – I love a fabulously put together, complicated outfit, where the juxtaposition of the print and strips works in perfect harmony with an expected pair of fabulous shoes, and is pulled together in a cohesive fashion statement by an extravagantly over the top coat in a gorgeous colour. Stylish – check; fashionable – check; trendy  – check; every day achievable – not quite!

A meticulously curated complex fashion statement is a delight to behold and is indeed an art form.  Is it a realistic expectation for the average woman who waked up early every morning to begin a new day of juggling a multitude of life’s expectations?  I most certainly think not; except for those of us who may be blessed with exceptional taste, it is near impossible to pull together highly stylised ensembles that require considerable thought on a day to day basis.

Let me share a small story – a few weeks ago, I started noticing that a particular polka-dotted white and black loose fit dress by Zara was obviously selling very well (I do not own one). The reason I noticed this was because I was seeing this dress quite often and often multiple times a day in London.  I remember making a mental note that it was so interesting that such a deceptively simple dress should be so well-liked.  I did not realize that I was not the only one to pick up on this independently – till I saw the following article on The New York Times website –  The $50 Dress That Conquered Britain

Only once I had read this article did I realize that I was late to the game but my observations were correct – this dress is a cult hit!  It is indeed a best seller and even has an Instagram page dedicated to women wearing it. Various articles have been written about the success of the dress and Zara is still selling it – back for a second season.

This begs the question – why is this dress so popular?  In my opinion, the single most important reason is that it is deceptively simple to wear in every sense of the word.  It is a relaxed fit, a comfortable midi length and can be dressed up and down with any combination of accessories. The print is a simple canvas that allows you to wear any shoe, jewellery, handbag, coat in your wardrobe and still make the overall effect look well pulled together.  This is the kind of dress that lets the wearer interpret it to work with their body, to their convenience and to their taste – not the other way around!

This is why I believe that one simple recipe to looking instantly stylist is to keep it deceptively simple. Simplicity can indicate a measured restraint and radiate a quiet confidence that translates into a formidable fashion statement; it shows that you understand that sometimes less is more and allows your personality to do the talking.

I am a huge fan of single colour dresses and they make up a good chunk of my wardrobe.  They stand the test of time well and they also present an unlimited opportunity to try out various combinations of accessories and shoes.

In this lookbook, I am wearing a beige dress and a white dress that are simple but their cut and style are highly stylized in my opinion. I have paired my beige dress with an old statement cuff (animal print is still all the rage) and a bold bag to make for a sophisticated work look. I have paired the white dress with a gorgeous Indian necklace from @toraandesign and the simplicity of the white dress really provides a chance for the statement necklace to shine. COS is a great source of single colour dresses with a novel cut; in the summer and the winter – I am a fan!  I hope you enjoy these looks and have a great week ahead.  As always; thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Accessories: 

White shirt dress – COS (old)

Beige A-line Dress  – COS

Indian Necklace – Toraan Design 

‘Cult Dress’ – Zara

Summer Prints: Quintessential Sunshine Dresses

Hello everyone – it has been patchy but I am all geared up to be back with a bang.  This forty-something fashion enthusiast has finally resolved her time management problems – quite simply by just deciding that some things will have to wait.  This blog has been a labour of love for two years and it has been good for my soul – I am hopeful that this break will not be repeated soon.

One thing, however, is for certain – we will not be hearing this autumn that London did not see a proper summer!  It’s been a summer on steroids in the English capital and I have never seen so much positivity and animosity expressed towards the same weather pattern by disparate individuals.  It has been hot, hot and hot in a way that I cannot remember since I moved to London almost two decades ago.  The full-blown summer had been a great incentive for everyone to get out all their summer clothes and I have never enjoyed so much summer fashion on display in the capital as I have this year.

Summer dresses are my favourite summer fashion statement! Nothing says summer quite like brightly coloured dresses with gorgeous prints. I often find myself at Victoria Station and as may be evident by now – I can shop anywhere. I bought both these gorgeous dresses from the JOY shop at the station.  Yellow is my favourite colour and I knew I would not be catching my intended train when I saw this gorgeous floral number in the window.  A week later, I went into the shop again only to exit with this lovely fruit printed pink dress – the colour and the flared skirt are right up my alley. These summery dresses work so well with wedge heels and flats and I find that wearing these cheerful prints puts a smile on my face and spring in my step.

My message of the day – soon summer will be on its way out and a chill in the air will herald the arrival of fall.  Therefore, even when you are roasting in the heat for the next two days  – enjoy it because soon the heat will be gone and you will remember it so fondly on a cold and rainy autumn day in London!

I would love some feedback on the blog and what you would like me to feature in the near future.  As always, thank you for reading my blog and have a great week ahead.

Clothes and accessories:

Yellow sunflower dress – JOY

Pink fruit dress – JOY

Clutch – Michael Kors

Wedges – Coach 

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

Three-Tiered Lace Pencil Dress: And My New Shopping Guide Services

Happy Wednesday everyone! There are few dress styles that flatter the female form the way a pencil dress does. I generally don’t tend to wear pencil dresses quite simply because I can’t find ones that fit correctly.  Once in a blue moon, however, the dress Gods take a shine to me and I will try on one that will fit perfectly. This three-tiered lace midi pencil dress is gorgeous in every way – I love the colour, the structure, and the length. I normally would give this a pass in the store, but I went out on a limb and tried it on (it helped that it was on sale) – once again proving that the ‘fitting room’ is our friend and we must visit it more often before arriving at a ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ decision! I have paired it with these absolutely beautiful Toraan earrings – these Three Stone Teardrop earrings are so versatile and I can see them working perfectly with Indian and western clothes.

Isha – Shopping Guide Adventure

As many of you are aware, I have been running this blog for over two years now.  Fashion is more than a hobby – it is a passion that I truly enjoy. I am a huge advocate of the British High Street and I always champion their offerings every chance I get. London is one of the greatest shopping experiences on the planet and I am a dedicated fan.

I wanted to announce that I have recently become an Airbnb Experience Host and I will be hosting a shopping/fashion experience called ‘Shopping Tour – Oxford and Regent Street’ on the Airbnb platform.  The link to my experience is below:

https://www.airbnb.co.uk/experiences/156287?euid=10f65107-3fe6-4d39-b02c-fced7e7818a9

What will we do in this shopping experience?

We will take an exciting whistle-stop walking tour of the heart of London’s bustling retail shopping district which includes Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby Street. I will provide guidance on the many big department stores on these streets as well as many of the smaller retailers present. I will discuss in detail what kind of fashion, price points and designers are available in each of the stores we pass. I will also introduce you to some of the smaller shopping gems located off the many sides streets and share special tips that will optimize your shopping experience. If you want to shop these streets but are overwhelmed by the variety – this tour is a great introduction to the what, where and hows of this shopping paradise. This tour will equip you for a more targeted and productive shopping experience during your stay. I am also happy to offer styling advice from a blogger’s perspective as we shop. Are you ready to shop?

So if you fancy a shopping tour or have family and friends visiting who are avid fashionistas and think this is something they would enjoy during their visit to London – then please check out my experience on Airbnb.  More details can be found on the website and I look forward to meeting a lot of new people

If you have any questions or need any further information, feel free to send me a message or an email at sodhiisha1@gmail.com.

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook and thank you for visiting my blog!

Clothes and accessories: 

Dress – Warehouse, similar Warehouse

Earrings with Swarovski crystals  – Toraan

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

 

 

‘Toraan’ Jewellery: Two Ways with a Saree and a Pleated Blouse

What’s not to love about Indian-inspired jewellery! From delicate filigree work to rich Kundan work – ethnic jewels are splendid and I am constantly amazed at the beautiful designs I come across. I am always keen to acquire Indian jewellery but it can be hard to find pieces that effectively balance quality, design, and craftsmanship with a price point that is not going to cripple your bank account.

It almost seems miraculous when you come across a company offering gorgeous designs at amazing prices – proving that ‘exclusivity of design shouldn’t come coupled with unaffordability’. This describes the essence of ‘Toraan’ – a jewellery and art store founded by the lovely Purti Bhatia. Toraan offers beautiful jewellery ranging from bridal sets to everyday wear that is not only gorgeous to look at but the quality of the pieces makes it a pleasure to add them to your jewellery box.

I love my Indian jewellery pieces and every time I wear them with Asian clothes, I am reminded that I must try harder to pair them with Western outfits.  I am a great fan of ethnic jewels paired with non-ethnic clothes and I think this combination creates a unique fashion statement that delivers the unexpected.  I have spoken to many of my friends about this and they all concur that we need to work harder on the above. This is why I decided to try something a bit different in this blog post. I have paired this beautiful green Kundan set from Toraan with a saree as well as with a pleated blouse and leather jacket.  I wanted this lookbook to deliver the message that Indian jewellery is exceedingly versatile and looks great with so many outfits.

I hope you enjoy this post and would love to hear how your thoughts on fusion pairings of jewellery and clothes. With summer approaching – I am planning to incorporate more of Toraan’s beautiful jewellery with my dresses so watch this space for more of her beautiful pieces.  You can view her range of jewellery and art at www.Toraan.com

As always, have a great day and thank you for reading my blog.

 

Clothes and Accessories:

All Jewellery by Toraan

www.toraan.com

Jewellery Set As Worn – Green Three Flower Kundan Choker with Earrings (£68 – also available in red) 

Pleated White Dress – Zara

Black Leather Jacket – Massimo Dutti (similar)

 

 

‘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

 

‘Watching My Fashion’: Why This Wooden Watch Is My Current Top Accessory

I have always loved watches for as long as I can remember.  As a young impressionable girl, I remember observing grown women talking and gesturing with their hands to make a point, with a fabulous watch on their wrists.  Somehow, the beautiful time-pieces seemed to add gravitas to their  conversations and subconsciously I remember making a decision that when I grow up – I will always wear a nice watch!

Without a doubt, a watch has been my favourite ‘everyday’ accessory as an adult. Of course, watches serve a function of telling time and undoubtedly that is very useful.  However, more than their time-telling abilities, what I truly enjoy about watches is the fact that you can view them all day long on your wrist. When you wear a watch, you actually ‘watch your fashion’ as you perform the precious rituals of daily life. From eating food to drinking coffee, from working to spending time with our families, our wrists are constantly in view and so is whatever adorns them. My first birthday present from my husband after we were engaged, was a beautiful watch. That present further cemented what I already knew – that I had the made the right decision!

The unique women’s watch in today’s lookbook is from JORD (Reece series) and is my current favourite wrist companion. I am throughly enjoying the many compliments I get on it daily and have found myself wearing it all the time.  It is a beautiful watch made from wood, with a stunning navy interior.  I absolutely love the unusual walnut watch band, the modern face and the sophisticated design on the dial.

I wear a watch everyday and I love adding bracelets and rings to accessorise my hands.  If you have never given watches a chance or are a full-blown watch enthusiast like me – these gorgeous wooden time pieces are a great one for your watch box. JORD offers a great additional service – personalized watches for him/her and my mine is engraved with ‘Isha’s Verdict’.

A big thank you to JORD for sponsoring this post.  I hope you enjoy these pictures and as always, thank you so much for reading my blog.

Watch – JORD

The particular watch I am wearing – Reece Series Walnut and navy

Men’s watches 

Women’s Watches


Wooden Wrist Watch
//www.jordwatches.com/widget-article/ishasverdict

Fashion Forward: Dresses to Wear When the ‘Beast Of The East’ Leaves

As I look out of my window at the snow-covered streets of London, two thoughts come to mind.  The first is that the snow is beautiful and I am so happy the children get to experience snow play such as building snow men/women and snow ball fights.  My second thought is a polar opposite frustrated rant!  I can’t wait for this snow to disappear so that I can go back to pining for spring and walk around without looking like I am doing the moonwalk.

Weather reports tell us that by next week, the cold snap will be gone and we will return to normal weather patterns for this time of year. Today’s lookbook is a nod to the kind of outfits that I love wearing around this time of year.  Relaxed shaped dresses with long sleeves are perfect for gradually getting back in into the mind frame of wearing dresses again, after a long winter.  Their cut is also perfect for wearing fine and chunky knits underneath, thick tights below and coats above, as the weather still has a sharp cold bite that requires warm clothing.

I hope that you are enjoying the ‘beast of the east’s’ snow offerings and are making the most of it. On a side note, lots of the pieces I am wearing here are from Massimo Dutti. I am a big fan of their clothes and style aesthetic (their leather jackets are beautifully constructed like the green beauty I am wearing).  Their ‘mid season sale’ started yesterday so check out their website if you are planning on some retail therapy today.

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress – And Other stories, similar – Stradivarius

Boots – Massimo Dutti

Handbag – Longchamp

Leather Jacket – Massimo Dutti, similar Massimo Dutti

Glasses- Tiffany

Yellow Sari Love: With a Blue Velvet Blouse and a Grand New Idea

Hello everyone! As I have mentioned many times before, my long held interest in fashion and styling is what gave birth to this blog. Perhaps the aspect that I love most about styling is that the creativity is boundless. There are endless end results to be had, all as unique as the individual who put them together. There are no limitations to the creative side of our brains and i am reminded of this every time I see a person on the street and think, “Wow what a great way to style that outfit – I would have never thought of pairing those items together.”

On this platform, I have always championed that one of the best ways to improve your personal fashion prowess and styling acumen is to observe what others are wearing. For two years now, I have lookbooked styles that I enjoy in my daily life and I have hoped that they have persuaded you to consider new and different styles along the way.

Now, I would love for myself and our other readers to benefit from all of your great styling moments.  I would like to start a section on this blog where we can see pictures of our fellow fashionista readers in outfits that they have styled for themselves.   We can call it the ‘Fabulous Fashionistas Daily Style Lookbook’ or something better. This is how I envisage it working:

  1. Take a picture of yourself in your fabulously styled outfit (all kind of outfits are welcome from casual to formal to ethnic – after all, inspiration comes in many forms)
  2. Please send it to contact@ishasverdict.com with two or so sentences explaining what you particularly liked about how you put the outfit together – the styling quotient (Feel free to include links to where you bought something  – especially if it is still available to buy).
  3. I will post it in the section and we can all draw inspiration and comment on what we liked about the outfit, the styling and other helpful input. It will be a constantly moving section with new pictures added as they are received.
  4. As all the comments will be moderated by me – no negative comments will be welcomed or published. The idea is to generate a positive and helpful forum at all times.
  5. I will not be sharing the pictures with any other entities.

So there you have it – my idea of a creative way for all of us to inspire each other, improve our styling game and look at fabulous clothes!  I truly believe applying a fashion focused lens to everyday life is the best way to become a better dresser and stylist and I hope this forum will help.

On a different note, I am lookbooking a yellow sari (my favourite colour) with a bling midnight blue velvet blouse with net sleeves.  The absolute truth is that I am not a fan of an overtly blingy look and did not particularly care for the blouse when it first came my way.  I was at a loss of what to wear with it till one fine day, I decided that I needed a sari that would let the blouse dominate but in a colour that could match the boldness of the blouse.  I subsequently paired it with this plain silk shaded yellow saree, and even though I am still not sure what to make of the entire outfit, there is no danger of me blending into the background in this number.

I hope you enjoyed this lookbook (as I almost froze into a popsicle trying to take the pictures) and thank you so much for reading.  I would love to get your feedback on the styling forum idea and even better, your lovely pictures.