‘Rescue Mission Series’: Floral Sari With a Crop Top Blouse

Over 16 years ago, I remember going to ‘Redondo Beach’ Swap Meet (like a flea market) in California because my mother and I happened to be in the area and decided to pop in as one does.  I remember wandering around and then stopping at a stand that seemed to have some interesting fabrics. At the back of one of the stall owner’s many rolls of fabric, was this stunning pure silk crepe yellow fabric with beautiful flowers that felt like butter in my hands.  I asked my mother what I could do with it and she suggested that it would look great as a sari.  I asked the man how much material he had and it must have been my lucky day because he had just enough for one sari.  I bought it on the spot!

Originally, this sari had a matching yellow blouse.  Like many women, I have been a variety of sizes through various phases of life and the blouse unfortunately, did not survive the many changes that I inflicted on it in the way of alterations. As a result,  I have this lovely sari with no blouse and I did not want to go to the effort to get another blouse made for it.

Given the abundance of beautiful crop tops that are currently on the market, I thought a contrasting crop top was the way forward . As the saying goes, ‘Somebody’s crop top is somebody else’s sari blouse’ – ok perhaps there is no such saying currently but there is always a first for everything.  I thought I would experiment with this green crop top as I especially like the full sleeves on it.  I loved the way it looked together and it was a great solution to my missing blouse problem .  This is a simple crop top, however there are some beautiful crop tops in the shops that I think would make great sari blouses.

Of course, a custom-made blouse for a sari is a match made in heaven and that is hard to beat. However, if you have a sari lying around that needs a new blouse or you just want to try something different with a sari in your closet, then a crop top from the hight street may just be the answer.

I hope you have enjoyed this lookbook and as always, thank you so much for visiting my blog.

(Clothes and Accessories: Blouse – TopShop , Bracelet – Ishariya, Earrings – H&M)

 

Below are some crop tops that I think would make fabulous sari blouses.

Mango Crop Top
Zara Crop Top
TopShop Crop Top

 

 

 

 

 

Italian Adventure: Holiday Wardrobe in Rome

Following a wonderful trip to Florence, I had the pleasure of visiting Rome for a few days.  I have been to ‘the eternal city’ before as a child and my most vivid recollection is one of walking and walking and walking, punctuated only by my constant question to my parents, “are we there yet?”

Rome is a history lesson on steroids – there is magnificent history on every street corner! I think it is impossible to run out of things to see in Rome (very similar to London) and we tried to see as much as we could, given the constraints of time and energy. Of course the Colosseum, the Vatican museums and Saint Peter’s Square were incredible and anything I write will not do justice to their immense grandeur. However, what took my breath away was the beautiful architecture all across Rome.  Beautiful buildings, ancient ruins, quaint alleys and stunning sculptures meld together to create a truly magnificent city that has to be seen to be believed!

Italians are renowned for their fashion prowess and in my opinion, it is a deserving reputation. A ‘fashion sixth sense’ seems to prevail amongst the residents of the city.  I witnessed great fashion on the street and both men and women were dressed incredibly well.  Most impressively, the styling of their outfits was exemplary and I couldn’t stop gawking at the many fashionable people who crossed my path. The language barrier was about the only thing that kept me from asking, ‘Excuse me, where did you buy that?”, on many an occasion.

Any article on a visit to Rome would be incomplete without mentioning the incredible food.  Be it the pizza, pasta or gelato – it was all fabulous and quite frankly perfecto!  However, for me the highlight of the culinary experience  was the coffee and pastries available at the many exceptional cafes around the city.  I have never had smoother coffee anywhere in the world and every sip was sheer joy.  The pastries – well let’s just say that one morning when I ate a cannoli I swear i could hear angels singing! My version of the iconic latin phrase attributed to Julius Caesar – Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) would definitely be – Veni, vedi, edi (I came, I saw, I ate).

I thoroughly enjoyed Italy and cannot wait to explore more of the country in the near future.  I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and boxing day.  As always, thank you for taking the time to read my blog!

(Clothes and Accessories: Pink Cashmere Dress/Tunic – H&M, Knitted Dress – H&M (similar), Black Brogues – Kurt Geiger, Checked Dress – Zara, Blue Striped Shirt – Topshop, Grey Jacket – Gap, Shearling Boots – Uggs)

 

 

Deconstructing ‘Effortless Style’: In a Leather Jacket and a Two-way Scarf

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me the following question: If I was to ask you how I could dress better, but you could only reply in a single sentence, what would you say? After some thought I replied,”For anyone to dress better they need to put some thought into it”. Personally, I have only ever met a handful of people who can just throw on anything they pull out of their closet and walk away looking like a million bucks. Dressing well may be an innate talent in a select few but for most well dressed people it is a talent they have worked hard to cultivate.

Most of the people I know who are consistently well dressed are individuals who put thought into  their wardrobes. They read, explore and experiment with fashion and over time they learn what works best for their bodies and personalities.  In my opinion, budgets and sizes don’t really play a big part in it – some of the best dressed people I knew at university were starving students in all shapes and sizes.  However, they all had one thing in common – they were not dismissive of fashion but rather used it as a tool to express themselves.

I have great admiration for people who look stylish and well put together even when they are dressed casually.  However, I find that ‘effortless style’ is rarely effortless! In fact, looking good in casual clothing often requires greater styling acumen than dressing up for a black-tie affair.

Fashion is not the most important or immediate concern for most of us but being well presented has many benefits. The following would be my list of ‘How to Dress better 101’ for my friend:

  1. We have heard it a million times before but do plan what you are going to wear the night before;

  2. If you love a look in a shop window – do not hesitate to buy it ‘as it is in the window’. Someone is paying the window stylist to put that outfit together so you may as well take advantage of it;

  3. Try putting clothes/colours together that you normally just wouldn’t pair together. This skill becomes better with practice – just like doing quadratic equations;

  4. If you have little interest in fashion and/or no time to think about your wardrobe but would still like to look good – hire a personal stylist. Pay someone for the knowledge that you do not possess and have no time to cultivate – just like hiring a plumber. You might not agree with everything they say but you may be pleasantly surprised at some of their suggestions;

  5. If you do not want to get advice from magazines, or shop windows or stylists then try to buy neutral staples and match them together – like a nice black jumper and basic black boots. It is not advisable to just throw clothes on that lack any sense of cohesiveness as an outfit. Dressing quirky is an art and not an exercise in wardrobe blindness.

This is a casual outfit that I have put together using the sneakers as a base and built on the styling from there. I love the bright blue of the jeans which are a recent purchase. I really enjoy wearing this two-way scarf and I have paired it with a light camel-coloured leather jacket that is harder to pull off in the colder months. Cross-body bags are an absolute favourite of mine as I find them extremely practical for everyday use and the light-weight nylon construction of this bag makes it perfect for being out and about. I hope you enjoy this look and thank you so much for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: White top – Topshop,  Bright Blue Jeans – River Island, Khaki Blanket Scarf – Uniqlo, Leather Jacket – Massimo Dutti, Sneakers – Aquatalia, Le Pliage Neo Bag – Longchamp)

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Two Of My Favourite Trends: Pleated Skirts And White Sneakers

Recently, I was privy to a conversation about trends in clothing. This discussion got me thinking about some recent trends that I have enjoyed and incorporated wholeheartedly into my wardrobe.

One trend that immediately sprang to mind is the pleated skirt.  The pleated skirt has now firmly established its presence on the UK high street.  Long and short, plain or printed – no high street retailer is without one in their autumn/winter collection and why not! The skirts have a beautifully feminine form, are easy to wear and are available in very conceivable material. I always enjoy wearing my pale pink midi pleated skirt and I have featured it on my blog before: https://ishasverdict.com/2016/04/18/pleated-skirts-and-ponytails-happy-days-are-here-again .

The other trend that is now firmly entrenched in ‘fashion do’s’ is the white sneakers trend.  I am not sure who exactly is credited with starting this trend but I salute their fashion acumen.  What may have seemed like a fad and attracted many naysayers has proved to be a brilliant fashion move.  Sales of white sneakers have rocketed and it has now become acceptable to pair them with just about everything – I do draw the line with Indian attire but I am open to being persuaded. Personally, I love the casual vibe they impart to the outfits they are paired with and who doesn’t enjoy wearing a pair of comfortable shoes all day! Currently, I am the owner of four pairs of white sneakers and while that may seem excessive, I must stress that they all have their own unique personalities and bring something different to my sneaker collection.

I have combined both these trends in the outfit I am lookbooking today and I hope you like it as much as I enjoyed wearing it.  Below are two pleated skirts that I currently have my eye on – I love the satin and metallic look for winter.

Thank you so much for reading!

ASOS Pleated Skirt - Satin
ASOS Pleated Skirt – Satin
Warehouse Pleated Skirt - Mettalic
Warehouse Pleated Skirt – Metallic

 

 

 

 

 

(Clothes and Accessories: Skirt – TopShop, Top – Trouve , Sneakers – Converse, Coat – COS, Handbag – Rebecca Minkoff)

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

White Summer Wear Outfits: And My Memories Of Attending The Olympic Games In Atlanta

The last two weeks have provided exhilarating entertainment on tap in the form of the 2016 Olympic Games and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them on TV.  As I am currently on vacation in the USA, I have had ample opportunity and time to watch athletes perform at the peak of their ability while I perform the arduous task of making myself another cup of tea to further enjoy their accomplishments. The great thing about having a geographically varied life is that it gives you even more countries to cheer for!  I can’t help but marvel at the physical and mental hardship and unswerving efforts required to reach the pinnacle of  athletic success. What I love most about the Olympics is that for every event and match that you watch – for a brief moment of time – you metaphorically become one with the players and you can really feel their pain in defeat and joy in victory.  It has been a great reminder of the commonality of emotions shared by the entire human race and how we really are more similar than we are different!

I have had the great opportunity to attend the 1996 Olympics games in Atlanta, USA in person.  My father and I traveled to Atlanta for the games and what a memorable trip it was!  We were lucky enough to see quite a few events including a Hockey game between USA and India, a rowing event and a Badminton match between Indonesia and another country (my memory has failed me on this point). Watching the badminton match live at the Olympics gave me a whole new appreciation for the standard of Badminton required to participate at the Olympic level, let alone win a medal!

The highlight of our Olympic adventure was getting track and field tickets that included the 200 meter finals  – I can say I witnessed Michael Johnson run the 200m, in gold shoes, in 19.32 seconds establishing a new world record at the time. It was such an exhilarating moment and one that I will always remember.

While watching the games, I could not help but notice the lovely dresses that many of the news anchors stationed in Rio were wearing.  The colour white seemed to dominate and it was a reminder of how lovely white looks in the summer time.  I am a big fan of wearing white myself and I have added pictures of two relatively simple white inspired outfits I have enjoyed wearing this summer. I love the bell sleeves and paisley print on this playsuit and I have enjoyed wearing these green tie-up sandals with many outfits – they seem to go with a lot more than I had initially given them credit for! The plain white maxi dress is like a blank canvas – I just add different color accessories to it every time I wear it.  This time I decided to go with some giraffe stripe flats and big beaded earrings.

I hope you like these looks and are enjoying your summer wardrobe to the fullest before it will need to be put away for the next season. Thanks so much for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Playsuit – Debenhams (Quiz), Green Sandals – Joie , White Dress – TJ Maxx, Giraffe Print Sandals – Halogen , Clutch – Topshop, Bracelets – Isharya)

 

 

Evening Wear: Red Palazzo Pants And A Sequined Crop Top

With age, I have a new found appreciation for the colour red.  For many years, I always found red quite a brash colour and I would shy away from wearing it because I was convinced it did not flatter me in the least.  Post 40, I tried on red and voila – I thought it brightened my face considerably and looked rather striking if I might say so myself. So pleased was I with my new fondness of the colour red, that I decided to give red lipstick a try. Wonders will never seize because I really liked the look of that as well and now I am happy to put it on readily. I think this is proof that discovery of new fashion likes and dislikes is a constantly evolving process.  Age is not a barrier to new self discoveries, in fact I think it has quite the opposite result. Age brings with it the courage to try new things and not be intimidated to stand out in a crowd rather than wanting to melt into it.

When I think evening wear, I usually think dresses.  I enjoy wearing dresses but every once in a while it is nice to put together an evening outfit that is something different. I loved these palazzo pants the moment I saw them (it seems I fall in instant love quite quickly – probably a result of a lifetime of watching Indian movies) and once I tried them on I had to marry them and bring them home! The black and white sequined crop top was the perfect monochrome addition to help the red stand out.  What can I say about these lovely black and white heels – it is compliments galore every time I wear them and they are in my top ten Primark purchases of all time!

I hope you enjoyed this look and thank you so much for reading my blog.

(Clothes and Accessories: Palazzo Pants – Topshop, Crop Top – French Connection, Shoes – Primark, Clutch Bag – Topshop, Watch – Michael Kors)

Stripes Galore: Wrap Dress For Many Seasons

It is the 1st of August when I write this post  – it is hard to imagine how quickly the first half of the year has already flown by!

Over the course of my vacation at my ‘maika’  (maternal parents home), I have had the opportunity to meet family, old friends and acquaintances. While family and good friends are almost obligated to offer positive feedback on the blog (which they kindly do), what has been truly humbling has been the appreciation from acquaintances! Acquaintances, from the very definition of the word, are people who know you, but the relationship is not deep enough to be obligation driven and thus, they are not under any requirement to compliment you on your endeavors.  Genuine compliments from them about the blog have been very gratifying and I am very thankful for their appreciation.  Most importantly, it has been an eye opening reminder of the amazing effects of positive reinforcement. I am an adult, and hearing positive feedback not only makes me happy but fuels in me the urge to do better work in the future.

I am currently preparing one of my dear children for certain entrance exams for school. Personally, this reminder of the tremendous effects of positive reinforcement could not have come at a better time for me. It has illustrated to me, as a parent, that strong messages that reinforce the strengths of children are the most effective way to influence children to approach learning with a smile on their faces – OK a smile may be asking for too much but at least it will reduce the moaning considerably!

I have enjoyed wearing this wrap dress tremendously over the last few months.  I find that this dress is one of those perfect pieces that is not overly feminine but a dress for all times of the day and can be dressed up or down to lend itself to all kind of events.  I find that wearing it with some fierce heels and a reptilian cuff gives it a certain edginess that conveys just the right amount of dressy confidence.  It is an easy to wear, no-nonsense dress and I love it for these qualities! I am in sunny California and the while the hot weather here offers no hint that the second half of the year has begun, I know that by the time I return to the UK, it will be time to consider adding transitional pieces to my wardrobe to see me through to the colder months. I think wearing it with this leather jacket will work well when the weather cools and add a touch of masculinity to the outfit that elevates the entire look.  Wearing the leather jacket now for the pictures was hot and uncomfortable but these are the sacrifices I gladly make for fashion!

As always, thank you so much for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Topshop , Cuff – House of Harlow, Shoes – Halogen, Leather Jacket – Marks and Spencer (this jacket is very similar), Clutch – Topshop)

Save

Lucky Sale Find: Beautiful Monochrome Dress

It is the second time this week that I am lookbooking a monochrome outfit with faux leather. I think my colour palette is being influenced by the relentless summery weather we are having in London – ya right!

The summer sales are now in full swing and there are so many great bargains to be had.  I thought this was a good time to model a dress that I bought last year that I would characterize as a true  bargain, in that, I paid a fraction of the price of the original cost for a dress that I really wanted. I loved everything about this dress when I first saw it in the shops, except the price tag. The dress was beautifully cut with a flattering and easy to wear shape, it was fully lined and I loved the print.  The only thing that prevented me from purchasing it immediately was the approximately  £160 price tag that accompanied it (I can’t remember exactly what the original price was but it was in that ball park).

Like a well seasoned internet shopper, I would look up the dress ever so often to see if the price has budged.  Eventually, the price did come down, however, I still could not justify the price given that I had multiple monochrome dresses and not enough opportunities to wear them all. Then one final day, I saw the dress was reduced to £30 and it was available in my size! Of course, now I had to purchase it and I am so glad I did because I truly enjoy wearing it.

These are my top five ‘purchasing in sale’ tips that have served me well over the years:

  1. Do your research on what’s on sale on-line before you actually hit the shops. This way you can spend your time wisely and actually make sure you visit the shops where you really are interested in buying something rather than wandering aimlessly from shop to shop and then running out of time.
  2. It works equally well in reverse – if you love something in store but they don’t have your size – come home and check on-line. Often you can find your size in a different shop on-line that carries that brand. Also, if it’s a ‘like to have’ but not ‘must have’ item then wait it out.  Many times, after a few weeks the item will be reduced further. If waiting results in the item (or your size) being sold out – check on-line retailers such as ASOS which may still carry the item. That is where I found this dress!
  3. I find the sales a great time to buy expensive neutral footwear such as black strappy heels or tan flats – shoes that I know I will use even if I don’t need them right away.
  4. The summer sales are the ideal time to buy bigger ticket items such as wool coats, leather jackets and winter boots.  I find the last season winter wear greatly reduced by this point and frankly a great leather jacket is a great leather jacket – it is not going to go out of fashion anytime soon and will serve you well for many seasons to come. I bought a lovely black woolen cape coat the other day that I know I will love wearing this winter (or next week if the weather doesn’t change!)
  5. Only buy an item on sale if it fits well or it will fit well with minor alterations.  It is pointless buying a garment that is 80% off but doesn’t really fit well because you will  end up never wearing it – it has taken me years to finally learn this lesson!

As always, thank you for reading and happy shopping if your are hitting the sales!

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Whistles (ASOS), Clutch Bag – Topshop, Tan Wedges – Ivanka Trump, ‘Leather Look’ Jacket – Marks and Spencer)

 

Save

Pleated Skirts and Ponytails: Happy Days Are Here Again

For years, I avoided skirts like the plague – in fact they almost completely disappeared from my wardrobe for nearly a decade.  Then, a few years ago on a significant birthday, I decided that fearlessness in all things was the order of the day! This fearlessness had to extend to my wardrobe choices and I decided to analyze in-depth my disdain for skirts. My introspection revealed that I had somehow convinced myself that skirts were not flattering on my particular body frame and did my ‘Punjabi’ hips no favours. As a result, even though I enjoy wearing skirts, I probably started avoiding them and eventually they faced extinction in my wardrobe.  I am so glad that I rediscovered skirts a few years ago.  Wearing them again has made me realize that many of us often form clothing alliances based on convenience of familiarity and fit.  We convince ourselves that certain garments don’t suit us and as a result our fashion experimentation declines and we fall into the trap of wearing the same silhouettes all the time.

While there are definite advantages to wearing what suits us  – I find I almost always up my fashion game when I convince myself to try something different. It’s surprising how often I have shopped with  friends who will not try a particular kind of garment on because they are convinced it will not work on them.  Then they do, and voila – they look lovely in it! I am enjoying skirts all over again and in particular I am loving the pleated and midi length skirts that are in all the shops at the moment.  I love the way this pale pink pleated skirt from Topshop moves and I look forward to styling it many more ways in the coming months. Thank you for reading and I would love to hear about your experiences with avoidance of certain clothes.

(Clothes and Accessories: Top – Ben Sherman, Skirt – Topshop, Shoes – Calvin Klein, Watch – Philip Stein)

One Star Clutch: Two Outfits I Have Been Carrying It With

This oversized ‘starry’ clutch really does put a smile on my face every time I see it in my closet. It makes me feel happy and when I wear it with my ‘starry’ sweater dress I feel ‘star struck’! I love the juxtapositioning of the stars on the bag with the stars on the dress. I also enjoying carrying it with a simple grey sweater dress  – it elevates the look from drab to fab and adds a hint of playfulness to the outfit. Speaking of playfulness, I hope everyone has a fun-filled Easter holiday and thank you for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: Sweater Dress – Maison Scotch , Tall Water Proof Boots – Cole Haan, Clutch Bag – TopShop, Greay Sweater Dress – Zara, Short Shearling Boots – Rachel Zoe, Watch – Baume and Mercier)