‘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 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

The Gift That keeps on Giving: Shopping in my ‘Indian Wardrobe’

I recently pulled this outfit out of my wardrobe and it got me thinking.  When it comes to Indian clothes, I find myself more precious about giving them away.  Having accompanied my husband on a 5-year assignment in Mumbai a few years ago – I have more casual and formal Indian clothes than I probably need. As a result, unfortunately, the less formal ones do not get the repeat wear they deserve.

I have always enjoyed wearing this outfit.  I bought this simple kurta and a set of matching bottoms at Westside in Mumbai many years ago (I love the Zuba brand of clothes in there which are beautifully composed and pocket-friendly).  Both the fabric and the pattern appealed to me and I thought I could match it with a dupatta I already owned. This traditional dupatta was a part of the goodies I received at my ‘mehndi’ when I got married and it has always had that special feel-good factor about it.

Indian outfits can be expensive and range from simple to the most complex of designs and handiwork and who am I kidding – I love them all.  Today, however, I wanted to give a shoutout to those more humble pairings that we all have in our wardrobes and pull out occasionally.  These ‘simpler clothes’ are a great reminder that an effective fashion statement is not dependent on how much money you spend, designer brands or the latest trend. I find that my personal fashion statement is most effective when I like what I have styled, I am comfortable in it and the clothes make me feel happy when I am wearing them. Wearing this outfit again was a great reminder that a simple style statement can be every bit as effective as a more complex one.

I hope you like this ‘lookbook’ and have a great week ahead.  Thank you for reading my blog and please don’t forget to follow it if you enjoy it.

 

Happy New Year: My Blog Aspirations and Maxi Dressing All Year Long

A very happy 2018 to you! By now we have all enjoyed a few weeks of festivities and both received and disseminated our best wishes for the new year. Now, it is time to march into the new year with renewed inspiration for life, love and hopefully fashion.

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone about what kind of dress I am most likely to wear all year around.  In my case, I came to the conclusion that maxi dresses are the kind of dress that will get the most annual usage in my dress wardrobe. I wore this lovely floor length maxi dress with trainers during my trip to Marrakesh recently and enjoyed it thoroughly. Not only are they uber comfortable and flattering but they also weather friendly and present fabulous styling options. This is my fashion wish for you and I this year; to enjoy wearing fashion that is comfortable, flattering and allows us to experiment with styling options, whilst retaining our unique fashion thumbprint.

What are my aspirations for the blog this year you may ask? There are three initiatives that are dear to my heart that I hope to pursue in the immediate future:

  1.  Home interiors and decor have always been a hobby and a passion. I have recently bought a new abode and I want to document my personal journey of home renovation, styling decisions and end results on the blog.  I am super excited about this real-life home lookbook documentary and I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as I will enjoy doing it.
  2. After constant demand, I am planning to unveil my ‘personal shopping buddy and stylist’ service – a friendly personal styling service, both in-person and digitally, for those of you that may need some help in fine-tuning your personal style and fashion statement.
  3. I would love to start an interactive styling gallery on the blog where my lovely readers send in pictures of outfits they feel they have styled really well and we can all benefit from their creativity and fashion acumen. We can also tell them what we loved and encourage their fashion streak – positive comments only of course!

I wanted to thank you so very much for all your encouragement and best wishes for the blog last year. I hope you have had a fabulous start to the new year and as always, thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict.

Clothes and Accessories:

Dress – Reserved (unfortunately, I do not see it on their website anymore but they may still have it in store) 

Sunglasses – Bobby Brown

 

 

Beautiful Morocco: My Holiday Trip to Marrakesh

A very happy Friday to everyone! It has been a few days since I have posted and my online absence can be blamed on a long and lovely family vacation. I had never been to Morocco before and I have recently returned from spending a blissful week in Marrakesh.

I found Marrakesh to be a charming city that was a perfect blend of the old world and the new. The old city within the walled medina was something out of a storybook.  After the first day of walking back and forth to the main square from our riad  – I told my husband that Marrakesh reminded me of Ludhiana (Punjab, India)! The small by-lanes in the medina resembled the lanes behind my grandmother’s house in Ludhiana that I remember exploring as a child.  Little shops selling dry goods, cobblers, electricians and even the people reminded me of childhood vacations long gone.  The best part – I got to Marrakesh a lot faster than I would get to Ludhiana.

What endears me to a city when I visit?  Good food, great shopping and friendly people are always a great start and Marrakesh offered all of these in abundance. Moroccan food was tagines and couscous galore and I loved all of it.  My sweet tooth was particularly indulged with all the pastries and biscuits on offer everywhere.  At the top of the fabulous list was Morrocan tea – a delicious blend of tea, mint leaves and sugar.  Sitting in a cafe overlooking Jemma el Fnaa Square and drinking tea, without any rush, was one of the many relaxing things we repeated often on this vacation. Marrakesh was a great reminder of the charm of going on holiday with no planned itinerary what so ever!

Marrakesh is a shoppers paradise with winding souks selling everything from carpets, lanterns, leather goods, clothes, food and much more.The souks are very entertaining, where bargaining is encouraged and guessing your ethnicity is a sport – even the kids had a great time! The carpet and rug stores were my favourite and the offerings were phenomenal. Of course, I bought a berber rug, some leather poufs, leather boxes, a necklace, a lantern or two and still had to drag myself away before I bought anything else that I could not carry back without leaving a child behind!

We were keen to stay in the heart of the medina and stayed at the ‘Andalla Riad and Spa’ for the entirety of the vacation. The riad was beautiful and the employees deserve an A+ for their impeccable hospitality and helpfulness. Andalla Spa offers a few family suites (including one that sleeps six) that allowed us to stay in the same room with our two lovely children.  This turned out to be a blessing and we really enjoyed spending time together as a family.  The riad also had a lovely spa with a hammam that was a wonderfully relaxing experience.  The scrubbing, bathing and massaging were a heavenly combination that I would be happy to repeat any time of the day.

There are many excursions on offer close to Marrakesh and while we did not attempt anything too bold, lest we take time away from relaxing, we did do a hiking excursion in the Atlas Mountains that was great fun. Marrakesh offers that perfect blend of winter sun and exotic travel that is easily accessible from the UK. It was a great vacation and I would heartily recommend Marrakesh for those that may be considering it as a holiday destination in the near future.

I hope you enjoy my holiday photo lookbook and as always, thank you so much for visiting my blog.

Hotel:

Andalla Riad and Spa 

Clothes and accessories:

White tiered dress – ASOS, Similar ASOS

Floral tunic – ZARA

You Asked: The Contents of My Makeup Bag

I want to start this post by saying – I am absolutely no professional when it comes to all things makeup.  When I was a teenager, I had a friend who was a great fan of makeup. When we would go to the mall, she would spend endless hours at the makeup counters, talking, listening and collecting makeup samples.  She would then bring all this information home and spend all her free hours trying on various foundations, blending eyeshadows and creating the perfect cat eye. By the time we hit our 20s – her makeup skills were off the charts. While the rest of us looked like we had been hit in the face by a flying eyeshadow palette, she looked like someone who had a professional makeup artist as her roommate. What’s the motto of the story?  Just like all developed skills in life, excelling at makeup application requires hours of practice and patience.

Unfortunately, I have never made the effort to sincerely practice or cultivate the patience to try out various samples and colours of makeup. I have always had a lazy and haphazard approach to makeup and that is why my results are never consistent.  Some days my make-up will come out really well and I will marvel at myself in the mirror. Next time, I will try to follow the same technique and when I look in the mirror – I see a rather attractive clown staring back at me!

As I have been asked a few times, I am happy to share the contents of my makeup bag and highlight some products that I have great luck with.  I have numbered the pictures below and listed the contents and comments accordingly.

Photograph I:

a) Nars Foundation  – Medium 4 Barcelona –   I love the light consistency of this foundation and I often apply it with my hands.

b) Nars Concealer Medium 2 Ginger – An airport discovery that works particularly well to achieve an even skin tone.

c) Bare Minerals Powder Matte Medium Beige (SPF 15) – Probably the longest consistently used product in my makeup bag.  I love the finish and use it with or without foundation underneath, depending on how much coverage I am looking for.

Photograph 2:

a) Neutrogena healthy skin primer (SPF 15)  – This is my favourite primer and I apply this after face cream and before I put on any makeup, especially if I want it to last.  For some reason, I always stock up on this product in the US when I visit my parents so I am not sure they sell it in the UK.

b) Urban Decay – Naked Skin Hybrid Complexion Perfector Medium (SPF 20)  – This is my go-to product when I am running out of the door and there is no time for makeup.  I apply this with my hands and if I have time,  I throw some of the Bare Minerals powder on top.  It looks as good as a full-scale foundation application in my opinion.

 

Photograph 3:

a) Chanel Powder Blush 260 Alezane – I love the colour of this blush and it offers the perfect hint of shimmer.

b) Revlon Ultra Sculpt & Contour Kit –  A young lady recommended the highlighter part of the palette in ‘Superdrug’ and it really is fabulous.  I had never used highlighter before and now really I enjoy adding it on occasionally.

c) Fan Highlighter Brush –  The same young lady recommended this brush to apply the highlighter on the top of my cheekbones and this brush has been a game changer in terms of ease of application. Genius!

d) Nars Bronzer Laguna – If and when I feel like attempting a bit of contouring, I apply this bronzer.

Photograph 4:

a) Maybelline Push Up Angel Mascara – Absolutely the best mascara I have found.  The application brush is fabulous and the mascara comes on smoothly with no clumps.

b)YSL Couture Kajal – Soft kajal that glides on easily on the rim of my eyes – totally worth it!

c) Loreal Super Slim Liner – The perfect liner for applying a slim black line above my eyelashes that can be built upon if needed.  Easy to apply and an essential in my makeup bag.

Photograph 5:

a) Bobby Brown Crayon Rouge Art Stick in Rose Brown – Absolutely my favourite crayon lipstick that I wear constantly, either on its own, or as a base for other lipsticks.  The colour is a beautiful dusty brown pink that is so easy to apply.

b) Urban Decay Naked II with matching lipliner – My favourite everyday nude lipstick which I wear with a layer of the Bobby Brown crayon underneath.  The matching ‘Naked’ lipliner is fabulous in helping achieve that perfect application.

c)Mac Lipsticks in ‘Silly’ and ‘Ruby Woo’ – I was not a red lipstick wearer at all till I discovered Mac’s iconic red lipstick – Ruby Woo.  This really is my perfect red and I wear it with the matching lipliner in ‘Cherry’.  ‘Silly’ is a gorgeous pink that look better on my lips than it does in the tube. I pair it with the MAC lipliner in ‘Candy Yum-Yum’ for a great pink lip look.

d) Nars Satin Lip Pencil – A freebee in a gift bag that turned out to be a fantastic product! I apply it on top of all lipsticks for an extra shimmer setting if I need it.

Photograph 6:

a) Nars Eyebrow Pencil – Perfect for a natural looking brow for an ‘everyday’ look.

b) Benefit Stay Don’t Stray Shadow Base in Medium/Deep – I use this on my eyelids before applying any eyeshadow and it helps keep it put for quite a while.

c) Kiko Milano 8 Hour Transfer Eyeshadow Stick 25 – I am a fan of these eyeshadow sticks for ease of application and lovely neutral colours with a bit of shimmer for the evening.

d) Bobby Brown Eye Shadow Ivory 51 – This is my favourite eyeshadow that I use as a base on my lids before I apply any other shadows or attempt to blend any other colours.

Photograph 7: I am wearing Mac ‘Ruby Woo’ lipstick.

Photograph 8: I am wearing ‘Urban Decay Naked II’ lipstick.

Photograph 9: I am wearing Mac ‘Silly’ lipstick.

I apologize for the condition of some of my makeup containers – I have had many spills in my makeup bag over time and I can’t wipe many of the marks away (I hope I am not the only one!) I hope you enjoy this post and perhaps find a useful product or two to try for yourself.

As always, thank you so much for reading my blog.  Have a great rest of the week!

 

In Hat and Boots: My Current Favourite Coffee and Sandwich in Town

Happy Monday everyone! One of the best parts of waking up in the morning has to be drinking that first cup of tea or coffee that gently nudges you awake as you propel yourself into the demands of a new day.  I am a lover of tea and coffee in equal measures  – they each have their rightful place in the day and my palate usually dictates which one I will have next. I have found that the weather has a definite impact on my hot beverage of choice and in the cold, my desire for a good cup of coffee increases manifold. The cold also increases my preference for hot food and a cold sandwich for lunch seems about as attractive as wearing opened toes shoes in the snow.

Recently, I have discovered ‘Black Sheep Coffee’ and I am bowled over by their coffee.  ‘Black Sheep Coffee’ have quite a few branches all over London (and apparently opened their first branch in Manchester recently) but I only tried it for the first time a month ago and I have been hooked ever since. I ask for an Americano ‘crazy hot’ with lashing of hot milk and it is made to perfection every time. I go for their lighter coffee (they offer a choice of lighter or darker coffee bean) and it the smoothest coffee I have had in a long time.  My cup of coffee at Black Sheep is always a great one so if you are a coffee enthusiast and have never tried their coffee – make sure you check it out!

Moving on to my current favourite hot sandwich of the moment – ‘Joe and the Juice’ may be famous for their fresh juices but their ‘Spicy Tuna Sandwich’ has my food heart at the moment.  They make it by toasting a thin crispy bread that is filled with a lovely tuna mix tapenade and whole jalapenos.  The sandwich packs a nice spicy punch and if you like that sort of thing – ask for extra-spicy (they will charge a bit extra for it). The warm toasted crispiness of the bread and the spicy flavours make for a surprising great tuna sandwich that has me wanting one every day. Even my husband, who doesn’t count himself as a great fan of tuna, finally gave in and tried it and now he is hooked as well!

There you have it – two of my current favourite things to eat and drink – especially together. In today’s lookbook, I am wearing a festive hat and my gorgeous shearling lace-up boots and doing what I do best – eating and drinking!  Have a great week ahead and as always, thank you for visiting my blog.

Clothes and Accessories:

Jumper – H&M

Boots – Hudson, Similar – Mango

Jacket – Uniqlo Ultra Warm HeatTech

Hat – Reserved

Bag – Burberry

 

 

 

 

 

Seasonal Dressing: My Top 5 Tips to Add Festive Style to Your Daily Wardrobe

The streets are decorated, mince pies are on sale and you know the holiday season is upon us in London because it is finally very cold outside!  The following weeks up to the New Year are going to be a whirlwind of activity, even for the most socially sedentary of us. There are going to be school fairs, work parties, friends parties and shopping trips and they are all great opportunities to incorporate some holiday cheer into our daily styling decisions.

I find that one of the best ways to really get into the holiday spirit is to ‘dress up’ just a tad bit every day.  Even on a cold and dreary day, festive dressing puts a real spring in my step and naturally brightens my mood (if that doesn’t work, eating a mince pie definitely does the trick).

Below are my favourite ways to add some festive style to my daily wardrobe at this time of the year:

  1. Wear Mettalics:  Metallic clothes work perfectly in adding that bit of sparkle to your daily outfit.  I bought this metallic jumper last year and I have worn it ad nauseam ever since.
  2. Wear the colours gold, silver and bronze: These rich tones are perfect for this time of the year and I am amazed at how well they work together in a single palette.
  3. Wear red: Make red your accessory colour of the month –  I make it a point to incorporate my red bags and scarfs into my outfits this month because why not!
  4. Wear Jacquard: I am a huge fan of Jacquard and its woven richness really makes a great winter fashion statement.
  5. Dress up that little bit extra every day: This is the one time in the year that nobody begrudges you that little bit more sparkle and shine in your outfit. I bought this silver leather jacket in the sales last year and I have great fun putting it on this time of the year.

I hope you enjoy this lookbook and decide to dress up for that work meeting tomorrow (perhaps leave out the silver leather jacket).  Have a great rest of the week and thank you for visiting my blog.

Clothes and Accessories:

Jumper – And other Stories

Jacquard trousers – H&M

Shoes – Karen Millen, similar Karen Millen

Clutch Bad – Henri Bendel

Leather Jacket – Zara, similar – ASOS

Winter Boho: Asymmetrical Knit Dress With Aadheekta Jewellery

Happy midweek everyone! I am a girly girl and I have enjoyed wearing jewellery as long as I can remember. Jewellery seemed like such a grown-up indulgence when I was young girl; I had those little gold balis (hoops) in my ears for many years and it never occurred to me to ask if I could change them for anything else. I also have a clear recollection that artificial or costume jewellery was generally frowned upon and the accepted explanation was that it was a waste of money.  The sound and sensible advice that one always heard was as follows – save your money and buy some real jewellery as it is a great investment.

I am so glad those days are over! I love real jewellery as much as the next person but jewellery can’t always be about making a sound investment.  Sometimes, it just needs to be about accessibility, fashion and fun. I have always been a fan of Indian inspired boho jewellery and I am particularly partial to pairing it with dresses of any kind. Here, I have attempted a winter boho look with a black knit dress, a velvet kimono and some beautiful pieces from Aadheekta’s collection. These beautiful earrings and necklaces are an easy add-on that can be layered or worn individually. I also enjoyed wearing these versatile Aadheekta pieces with jeans and a leather jacket.

Aadheekta, defined as elegance and grace, offers a variety of jewellery pieces for everyday wear, bridal wear and custom designs to cater to their clients.  At Aadkheeta, all their jewellery pieces are handmade with care, attention and love.  Their latest collection features indo-bohemian designs that can easily be incorporated into traditional and western styling and add that extra fashion element to your overall look.

They also specialize in bespoke designs and custom-made bridal jewellery adorned with the highest quality of kundan, polki, crystals, beads and semi-precious stones. You can reach them and their products at the following:

Aadheekta

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AadheektaByM/

Instagram: @aadheektabym

Mobile: +447718278679

I hope you like this look and a big thank you to Aadheekta for partnering on this post.  As always, thank you for visiting my blog.

 

Clothes and accessories:

Black dress – Cos, Similar – Any other Stories

Boots – Dune Black

Jewellery – Aadheekta

Velvet Kimono – Mango, Similar – Zara

Leather Jacket – Marks and Spencers, Similar – Marks and Spencers

 

 

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