A Winter Must: The Go Everywhere Black Sweater Dress

We have all been there. You wake up on a freezing winter morning and you need to need to go somewhere; an important meeting at work or an equally important personal meeting and you have no idea what to wear.  You don’t want to go with the tried (tired) and tested ‘black trousers look’ and jeans are out of the question.  To add to your woes, you are not sure how you are feeling about your current body shape (for the record, I am convinced that we all look better than we give our selves credit for) and a form-fitting dress is definitely not up for consideration. Furthermore, it is imperative that you be warm in what you wear as you will be out all day and finally, it needs to work with the coats/bags/accessories/shoes you already have in your closet.

For the record, if it’s going to be public transportation, then it’s a no for me on the heels – the cold makes my feet ache in heels and the thought of tumbling down the escalator on the Victoria Line, at peak time, petrifies me.  You can’t even blame it on a drink at that time in the morning!

The question then is as follows: What do I wear that satisfies all these criteria and still makes me look well turned out for the occasion in question?

The answer: A gently A-lined black merino wool dress that is long sleeved and a midi-length allowing for thick tights and black boots to accompany it.  Other advantages include; a thin wool so that it doesn’t cause to itch all over, a price tag that won’t leave you without food for the next week and it comes in four basic colours.

I have recently purchased this black sweater dress from Uniqlo for all the reasons above.  It’s structure gently glides over my curves without sticking to me and the length is perfect for heels and flats alike. In this week’s lookbook, I have paired it with accessories from my closet to illustrate my point.  in the first look, I have accessorized it with a bold yellow silk scarf, a faux fur-lined sleeveless gilet and a plum coloured handbag.  In the second look, I have paired it with a checked trench and a red handbag.  I am guessing that I will be pairing this dress with something different each time I wear it. That is what I love about these kinds of ‘go anywhere blank canvas’ dresses.  They really do allow for experimentation without the risk of going overboard.

I hope you enjoy these looks and have a great weekend ahead.  If you get a chance, please do follow me on Instagram @ishasverdict.  I am going to be working extra hard on my account in the next few months (‘Isha conquers Insta’ is my new personal goals motto) so your support would be much appreciated.

As always, thank you so much for reading my blog!

Clothes and Accessories: 

Dresses – Uniqlo 

Sleeveless gilet – Zara

Plum handbag – Kate Spade

Red Handbag – Prada

Black Boots – Dune 

Silk Scarf – Uniqlo

Jumping for the Jumpsuit: Boho Style

There is probably no clothing item that I have admired more on others than an amazing jumpsuit. A great jumpsuit bestows upon the wearer an aura of confidence that may or may not be truly present, however, if the perception is reality then they are halfway there.

I adore the versatility of jumpsuits! They come in a variety of styles – the culotte jumpsuit and the elasticized leg versions are some of my favourites. Jumpsuits make for great building blocks to create unique looks that allow me to use the entire repertoire of my scarf and jacket collections. They also seem to buck the ‘trend oriented’ fashion culture every 6 months; a good jumpsuit works season after season providing a great return on your initial investment.

In this lookbook, I am wearing one of my treasured jumpsuits that I have owned for many years.   As I am travelling in India, I was inspired to create a boho-flavoured jumpsuit look that would incorporate my new scarf and jacket purchase that I made a few days ago. I have added ethnic silver jewellery and a strappy sandal for a stylish ‘lunch with friends’ ensemble.

In my opinion, the key to looking good in a jumpsuit is to find one that fits well.  The fit element is more crucial with jumpsuits than it is with many other garments. I have mentioned the following in a blog 2 years ago and I am mentioning it again. These are the jumpsuit rules that I live by:

  1. If the leg is too long but it looks great – buy it and get it shortened by a tailor.
  2. If the jumpsuit has no sleeves and is too big under the arms and chest area – buy it and get it taken in by a tailor (this is easy to do by hand as well and I often do it myself).
  3. If however, the jumpsuit does not fit well around the waist area or the material pulls between the leg inseam and waist  – let it go it as fixing this is not so easy.
  4. Overall, I have found that if the fit is off on the top half of a jumpsuit – it can usually be fixed. However, if the fit is off between the waist and the bottom half, it’s best to leave it looking pretty on the hanger and ‘jump’ to the next shop.

Some of my personal favourite brands for jumpsuits whose styles and fit always seem to work include Warehouse*, Monki and  Uniqlo.  I hope you enjoyed this look and hopefully, it motivates you to add another jumpsuit or two to your wardrobe. Have a great rest of the week and as always, thank you for reading Isha’s Verdict.

*This was a collaborative post but all writing/opinions are my own

Clothes and accessories:

Jumpsuit – Express

Scarf – Fab India

Shoes – Aldo

 

From Personal Experience: The 5 Must Haves For an Effectively Warm Winter Wardrobe

I have lived in London for well over a decade now and I have come to gracefully accept (not) that cold days are part and parcel of life.  When I first moved here from Southern California, I found the winter months quite unbearable.  Whenever I stepped out, I was cold and very quickly followed by miserable.  What further surprised me was that everyone else did not seem to be feeling as cold as myself! Over the years, I learned two things:

  1.  I am a naturally ‘cold’ person in the sense that I feel the cold faster than other people around me. It’s genetic – thanks Mom!
  2. I was not dressing effectively enough to combat the cold and truly enjoy the day without turning into an icicle.

Over the years, I have purchased various cold weather clothing and tried numerous brands promising a warmer me. I have now perfected my ‘warm winter essentials’ list – these products are the foundation stones of my ‘snug as a bug’ winter wardrobe. I know that there are others like me out there, and I wanted to share my list in the hope of helping other ‘cold victims’ like myself!

The essential items in my  winter wardrobe include:

  1. Heattech from Uniqlo – I am in love with the Heattech range of innerwear from Uniqlo.  It is the best ‘thermal’ range I have tried and their range of innerwear is extensive including sleeveless, half sleeves, full sleeves and turtleneck inner tops. The range also has different categories of warmth (HeatTech, extra warm HeatTech and ultra warm HeatTech) that allows you to choose the innerwear best suited to your needs. They occasionally carry pretty striped and patterned HeatTech tops that are perfect for wearing under half sleeves dresses and sweaters. I have the whole family hooked!
  2. Ugg Boots – When these shearling-lined boots first burst on the scene many years ago, I wasn’t sure if they would be worth the hype.  I am so glad that I tried them as they are singlehandedly the warmest footwear I have ever owned.  Their effectiveness in keeping my feet warm all winter long is nothing short of amazing! I now own a few of these beauties and they get constant wear throughout the winter.
  3. Velvet leggings from Primark – They claim that these are the warmest leggings you will ever wear and in my case, I found this to be entirely true. These thick fur-lined leggings are perfect for wearing under long-line jumpers, tunics and dresses.  They are one of my best winter wear discoveries that don’t cost the earth and make wearing dresses in the winter a pleasure!
  4. Down Coats – I am a huge fan of down coats. I personally find them more effective in keeping me warm than any other kind of coat.  The Ultra Warm down coat from Uniqlo is part my staple uniform once the cold truly sets in. Buy a long one with a hood and you will love going for long walks in the winter equipped with this cold buster!
  5. Jumper Dresses – Warm and cosy knit dresses are my absolute favourite kind of winter dress.  They come in so many designs and styles and their versatility makes them perfect for both the office and the weekend.  They also make great canvases for showing off your best winter accessories such as hats and scarfs!

These are items that have worked well for me and I hope that they can help keep you warm this winter as well.  I would also love to hear your recommendations of effective cold busting clothes that I might not have encountered yet.

Do share this with your friends and family members that may need extra help in dealing with the cold as I do. Have a great week and thank you so much for visiting my blog!

Clothes

Uniqlo HeatTech Range

Ugg boots

Primark Velvet leggings

Uniqlo Ultra Warm Down Coat

Cos Knitted dress

Ted Baker jumper dress 

Sweater Dress Love: With Knee-high Boots and a Kashmiri Shawl

Happy Halloween readers – unfortunately, I don’t have a costume to share today and hopefully, you don’t think this outfit is intended to be one.

It is getting cold in this part of the world and one can be forgiven for wanting to wear trousers/jeans for the entire season. Staying warm is the rightful priority in this weather and the idea of wearing a dress can be rather off-putting on a cold day.  This is where the genius of the sweater dress comes into play!

I find sweater dresses the easiest way to break the monopoly of the trousers in the winter and their versatility deserves a hearty applause.  A warm sweater dress, with cozy leggings underneath and knee-high boots is a great winter look that never leaves me feeling cold and miserable.  Sweater dresses provide a fabulous blank canvas to show off your accessories like a beautiful shawl or scarf.

This lambswool blend olive-green dress from Uniqlo ticks all the required boxes! I love the colour, the length and the material is warm and stretchy without clinging to your body.  It is a beautiful neutral dress that can be accessorized with most things in my closet and at £29 it won’t break the bank either.  I have paired it with stunning hand embroidered Pashmina shawl from Kashmir and my newly purchased pink coat.  Flat tan boots and a small crossbody bag are all that’s required for a look that can be worn to the office, to meet friends or to wander around on the weekend.

I hope you enjoy this look and have a great day with lots of sweet indulgences.  Check out my Instagram feed for my Halloween inspired outfit for the day.  As always, thank you so much for reading my blog!

 

Clothes and Accessories:

Sweater dress – Uniqlo 

Pink coat – Miss Selfridge

Boots – Massimo Dutti, similar Office

By The River: In a Cosy Oversized Coat and Faux Fur Boots

It turns out that yesterday was ‘Blue Monday’, supposedly the most depressing Monday of the year.  Apparently – rain, debt and divorce contribute to giving it this dispiriting title and an actual mathematical equation can be used to determine it. Well, of course I was not aware of this when I awoke with my usual cheerful disposition. I then happened to catch this nugget of information on the TV as I was going about my morning duties. Subsequently, I burnt my toast and spilled the tea. I then realized that it was raining outside and I was no longer in the mood to get any of my chores done. As the day progressed, I stared at my list of ‘to do’ things without doing anything and cursed the weather, the computer and the dryer in turn.  Upon deciding to work on the blog, I realized I had writer’s block and a headache. Eventually, the evening was upon me and I had not achieved anything worthwhile throughout the day!

Yesterday was a great example of the powerful influence (conscious or subconscious) of the hyper information that surrounds us on a daily basis. I had absorbed the idea that this particular Monday was supposed to be blue and allowed it to impact my day in a negative manner. It was a strong reminder that I am responsible for my own happiness and productivity and that my dryer is not ‘out to get me’! Therefore, I have labelled today ‘Tremendous Tuesday’ and I am going to finish my ‘to do’ list, write an article and perhaps even head to the gym!

Moving on to clothes – I am a huge fan of the ‘oversized’ look and I love the generous proportions of this pale pink coat. The ‘oversized’ faux fur on the boots makes for an eye-catching boot and I particularly enjoy wearing them in proper winter as they are hard to pull off at any other time of the year! I have always enjoyed the ‘shirt under the jumper’ look and it is a great way to layer effectively in the colder months. I hope you enjoy this ‘lookbook’ and thank you so much for visiting my blog.

(Clothes and Accessories: Dress – Marshalls, Shirt – Uniqlo, Coat – Per Una/Marks and Spencer (still in stores), Boots – Aquatalia, Bag – Banana Republic)

Italian Adventure: Holiday Wardrobe in Florence

I have just had the pleasure of visiting Florence (Firenze), Italy over the last few days.  Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region and the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. The city of Firenze has always conjured up images of breathtaking art and architecture and Florence exceeded my expectations in every regard. The Cathedral of Florence and the iconic Duomo must rank amongst the most beautiful man-made structures I have ever seen.  The sheer size and the beauty of the architecture really has to be seen to be believed.  The Galleria dell’Accademia houses Michaelangelo’s masterpiece – the original ‘David’ sculpture.  The whole family was keen to see this and gazing up at the statue it was instantly clear, even to someone with no knowledge of sculpture such as myself, that one was looking at one of the finest sculptures ever made.  The scale of the works (Masters including Botticelli, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio and Michelangelo) displayed at the Uffizi Gallery, a prominent art museum, was both humbling and uplifting at the same time. Perhaps the most amusing part of the tour was that with every masterpiece we viewed my younger son had the same question – Mummy, what would this cost? My consistent reply was, ‘Son, you do not want to know”!

What I discovered on my trip to Florence:

  1. My first born has an uncanny ability to read maps  – it is both a revelation and relief that we no longer have to rely on my husband to show us the way. For the record – he said that!
  2. I am a slave to the ‘Patisserie’ – if you have a sweet tooth and are a lover of baked goods as I am, then Italy is the stuff that sweet dreams are made of!
  3. Trip to Florence: expensive. Observing your children’s face when they see in real life things that they have studied at school: priceless.
  4. Seeing multiple nude statues with body parts on display will send children into fits of giggles regardless of place or persons around.
  5. The Italians make fabulous coffee, perhaps the best I have ever had.  They also make fabulous cakes, perhaps the best I have ever had. Italians, I love you!

Going on holiday in winter has often presented a fashion challenge for me.  Coats and boots take up a lot of luggage space and travelling with just one of each is akin to having a bad nightmare in my case. Great winter fashion requires achieving that perfect balance of making comfortable styling choices with warm clothing that keeps you well insulated. The one thing that is absolutely essential in a sightseeing trip are flat shoes and I just about managed with three pairs.  I also wore my Uniqlo extra warm Heattech vests under all my clothes and they kept me warm and snug all day. Finally, as I had mentioned in an earlier blog post, I managed to find a lovely bright yellow coat that I took along and greatly enjoyed wearing through Florence!

(Clothes and Accessories: Yellow Coat – Mango, Grey Dress – ASOS, Black Brogues – Kurt Gieger , Check Heattech Leggings – Uniqlo, Bag with colourful Stripes – Milly, Black Coat – Uniqlo, Black Hat with Pompom – Tu at Sainsbury’s, Floral Dress – Newlook, Short Black Boots – Rachel Zoe)

‘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)

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

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

Winter Essentials: Pretty Puffer Jacket and Effective Thermals

The holiday season is upon us! Christmas adverts on TV have started and supermarkets are laden with scrumptious Christmas fare.  I went to the local supermarket to get some bread today and came home with a Reindeer Christmas jumper and a few boxes of mince pies.  Of course, I forgot the bread but perhaps it is time the kids started eating cereal for breakfast!

It is lovely to walk down the street and see the tinsel lined window displays beckoning the Christmas shoppers.  The only down side to this fast-approaching festive frenzy is that soon it is going to get very cold! ‘Proper’ cold (as they say in the UK) where your face freezes, you can’t feel your ears and your hands refuse to function.  When ‘proper’ cold arrives it is time to either purchase or pull out your ‘proper’ jacket and lets face it – this is usually a puffer jacket that is more industrial than it is pretty.   Of course, a ‘proper’ padded jacket is the need of the hour but there is no reason that it cannot be that tad bit more stylish.

This thick puffer jacket has a lovely big black bow at the neck – think Michelin Man with a bow. The bow is pretty, feminine and by puffer jacket standards – over the top.  For all of these reasons, I am thoroughly enjoying wearing it and I am so glad that my best friend insisted that I buy it when I went to visit her in Las Vegas.

I am a huge fan of wearing thermals and find that they are the most effective way for me to feel ‘as snug as a bug’ throughout the day.  I have tried many brands but my personal favorite is the ‘Heattech’ range by Uniqlo. I have been wearing them for many years now and I love the fact that they come in many shapes and sizes so that I can wear warmer ones as the weather gets colder.  This striped full sleeved ‘Ultra Heat Tech’ is my latest purchase and I can see myself using it to help layer so many outfits this winter.

Below, are some padded jackets that I think are lovely. Have a great weekend and thank you so much for reading!

(Clothing and Accessories: Coat – Kate Spade, Boots – Cole Haan, Crossbody Bag (Similar)- Elizabeth and James, Sweater Vest – Uniqlo, Striped Top – Uniqlo (Heattech Extra))

karen-millen-padded-jacket
Karen Millen
warehouse-padded-jacket
Warehouse
uniqlo-padded-jacket
Uniqlo

Save

Save

Save

‘What Should I Wear To…?’ Series: Coffee After School Drop Off

It’s that momentous time of the year again – in the next few weeks (give or take a few days), those of us with children of school going age, will see our darlings returning to school. It’s high time really, family and friends have been visited, summer camps have been attended and copious amounts of sugary foods have been consumed. I can almost hear the computers at home begging for relief and I for one have exhausted my ability to answer any more complicated questions about how the universe works or why I can’t leave one sibling on the corner of the road somewhere! (yes that request has been made).

Children going back to school can often present the opportunity to meet new parents and the dilemma of ‘What do I wear to…?’ to meet new people straight after school drop off.  I have always found that in reality my attention on a school morning is almost entirely focused on getting the children ready, leaving little time for me to worry about my styling choices. For those of us who are heading to work straight after, work clothes save the day. However, if you are not working or work from home, the dilemma of what to wear to school drop-off is a very real one! In a busy morning situation, I find that comfort is key and my go to clothes are almost always a pair of jeans and a t-shirt.  Adding a nice pair of flats and a low-key statement piece such as a nice jacket can elevate that simple look to a more polished one.

In this instance, I have added this adorable embroidered linen bomber jacket to my t-shirt and jeans combination. Adding some leather slip-ons that are not sneakers, a cross body bag and a nice pair of sun glasses takes this look from ‘casual’ to ‘I just throw on stuff that happens to all work together’ in my opinion. I hope you like this look and I also hope that you meet some lovely new fellow parents this start of the new school year.

Thank you so much for reading!

(Clothes and Accessories: T-Shirt – Uniqlo, Jeans – Gap, Jacket – H&M, Shoes – J slides, Cross-body Bag – Modalu, Ring – Ishariya, Sun Glasses – Dior)