Festive Dressing Series: In a Sparkly Copper Knitted Dress

The festive season is upon us and with it, the promise of festive parties.  Be it the office Christmas party, a family party, the school Christmas fair  – they all offer opportunities to dress up and indulge in wearing some sparkle that we may not consider at other times during the year. The stores are currently full of party wear that varies from the beautiful to the bizarre.  Given that we will be seeing so much party dressing in the run up to Christmas and New Year, I thought it would be fun to do a mini- series on festive dressing.

I love the idea of festive parties. Prior to a party,  in the recesses my mind, I am parading around in that lovely dress that I just bought, while having the perfect hair day and it just happens to be an unusually warm winters’ day.  However, as we all know, things don’t always work out quite as elegantly as one may have envisioned. In reality, it is quite possible that you are running late from work, there is no time to wash your incredibly oily locks and it just happens to be the coldest winter day in 50 years! In these situations, it is always nice to have an easy breezy festive dress in your wardrobe that you can throw on in five minutes and be out the door.

This sparkly knit dress is pretty without being garish, easy to wear, easy to style, easy to buy, easy to return, you won’t freeze, and most importantly easy on the pocket! I have paired it with thick tights  and heels for this ‘lookbook’ and added a green clutch for a pop of festive colour.  I think this dress would also look great as a tunic top with black cigarette pants and high-heeled boots. I hope you enjoy this look and thank you so much for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Zara, Handbag – ASOS, Cape (similar) – Ted Baker, Rings – Ishariya, Shoes – Bebe)

 

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At Syon Park: In A Black Velvet Top and Cape

A few nights ago, I had the pleasure of attending a black tie dinner at the Houses of Parliament.  The highlight of the evening was a guided tour of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords and all the glorious parts in between.  The official name for the Houses of Parliament is the Palace of Westminster as it is a former royal residence with Henry VIII being the last monarch to reside at the palace.  It was a phenomenal tour and I could literally feel the physical weight of history on my shoulders as I walked through the arteries of ‘the heart of British politics’.

The next day, I decided to visit Syon Park and House.  Many years ago, I used to live in an apartment overlooking the park and it’s tremendous beauty has always been a draw for me.  Syon House with its 200 acre park, is located in the county of Middlesex and is the Duke of Northumberland’s London residence.  There is a fascinating but macabre story about Syon House that also involves the last monarch to reside at the Palace of Westminster – Henry VIII.  The story goes something like this:

Syon House gets its name from Syon Abbey, a medieval monastery of the Bridgettine Order, which moved to the site in 1431.  It was one of the wealthiest nunneries in the country but was shut down in 1539 during the ‘Dissolution of the Monasteries’  (The Dissolution of the Monasteries was the set of processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded Catholic monasteries and other structures in England, Wales and Ireland. This was the result of his conflict with the Roman Catholic Church after the pope refused to grant him a divorce and he set up the Church Of England). The Father Confessor of the nuns, Richard Reynolds, would not accept the king’s supremacy and was executed in 1535 and his body subsequently placed on the Syon Abbey gateway.

A few years later in 1547, when Henry VIII died, his coffin was brought to Syon on its way to Windsor for burial. Apparently, during the night his coffin burst open and in the morning dogs were found nibbling at his body! It is said that this event was seen as a divine judgement for his desecration of Syon Abbey. I suspect that his considerable size also contributed to the unfortunate incident of the splitting coffin. Or, perhaps it was on account of the medieval sinner (and not the medieval dinner) and the bad vibes that his multiple ex-wives were sending him from their after life. You know what they say – hell has no wrath like a women scorned and he had scorned a lot of women but I digress…

Visiting these two historical places during the same weekend reminded me of one of the greatest privileges of living in London – living history at every corner and doorstep.  I think many of us live in cities and towns with multiple historically significant places to visit and yet we somehow overlook them in our daily lives. This weekend was testimony to the fact that visiting historical places is a great way to spend a weekend! I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the Houses of Parliament and Syon Park and I would highly recommend visiting both given the chance.

The grandeur and drama of Syon House and it’s estate conjures up images of lords and ladies in scrumptious velvets and elaborate capes parading the halls of the grand house. It seemed an apt backdrop for me to lookbook my all black outfit featuring the fabric of the season – velvet! Velvet seems to be all over the high street and there is a richness to the fabric that makes it ideal for winter wear. I particularly like the style and cut of this devoré blouse and there is an opulence to the pattern that draws the eye in. I have paired it with high heeled black boots and a back cape to add to the Gothic inspired styling.  I often find that adding pattern and structure to an all black outfit makes up for the lack of colour and considerably elevates the overall look.

I hope you enjoyed the brief history lesson and thank you so much for visiting my blog!

(Clothes and Accessories: Blouse  – Marks and Spencer, Leggings – Topshop, Cape – Ted Baker (Similar) – , Boots – , Handbag – Henri Bendel, Cuff – Vince Camuto).

 

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Channeling My Inner Movie Star: In A Bold Floral Maxi Dress

Happy Tuesday everyone! Every once in a while, I am drawn to clothes that are ‘larger than life’. I think a large part of the attraction is the over the top, almost theatrical element that dominates such outfits.  It could be the print, the cut and fall of the outfit or just the over all ‘aura’ of the piece that makes the garment stand out in a crowd of others. These kind of clothes lend themselves perfectly to the quote – ‘Life’s too short to wear boring clothes’ (the quote is attributed to Cushnie et Ochs – an American fashion house).

This ‘maximum’ maxi dress definitely falls into this category of clothing for me. The large black and yellow floral print reminded me of a 1970’s chiffon sari print at first glance. The falling ruffled shoulders, the criss-cross back tie and the flared skirt combine to make it a ‘statement dress’ in the true sense of the word.

This dress is a ‘bit over the top’ and herein lies its charm! It reminded me a bit of a movie star dress and therefore, instead of styling it to take it down a notch, I thought it best not to back down. Sometimes, ‘more is more’ and hence, I forged ahead and paired it with statement black heels, dangling earrings, a gold cuff, a black crocodile clutch and red lipstick.

Given the movie star vibe and my current location in Los Angeles, I decided to have some fun with this dress. It seemed the ideal dress to indulge in some ‘make belief lookbooking’, so I added a ‘statement’ convertible to the dress and drove around taking pictures and getting some odd looks from passersby.

For the sake of clarity, I must stress that I do not normally drive around Los Angeles in a Mercedes convertible, wearing billowing bold floral dresses and  fierce high heels (OK only when I am having lunch with a producer!) However, I must admit I had great fun doing this and I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them.

As always, thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – ASOS, Earrings – H&M, Shoes – Zara, Clutch – Ted Baker)

Grey and Red Sweaters: A Stroll Through Bloomsbury

One side effect of having lived in many countries for extended periods of time is that I often miss the places that I am currently not living in.  At times, I will hear an American accent and I will feel a great longing to be home in Los Angeles. Other times, I will catch a snippet of Hindi on the underground and memories of Mumbai will come flooding back (and subsequently I will often mutter to myself in Hindi). However, I always find that the cure to my temporary melancholy lies in wandering around London.  Meandering through the capital always reminds me of the breathtaking beauty of the city I live in.  London’s aura is phenomenal and every time I experience it,  I become thankful for this new adventure and grateful that I have had the opportunity to experience life in so many lovely places. I took a stroll through Bloomsbury yesterday and was reminded once again of how much I enjoy London! As always, thanks for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Cardigan – Forever 21, Sweater – Uniqlo, Handbag – Kate Spade, Jeans – Zara, Boots – Ted Baker)