Style Quotient

Posts Tagged ‘beauty

Image Khadi Kool by Deepika Govind SS2013 IMG_5656aSummer is here and with it, all the sweetness of the season and the happy colours that bring in the sunshine. Well, I for one, am a sucker for all things bright and beautiful, and if is the not the lush mango and the balmy breezes of a Bangalore summer that make my day, it is always the trends of the season that thrill me each year.

The last time I did a recce of the stores, I found that summer had indeed arrived and there they were — the new collections. I ran my eye over the ubiquitous pastels, the pleasant florals, the cool sheers, the vivid motifs and the gorgeous reams of light as air fabrics. It was a moveable feast, as Hemingway would say — but it took me a while to find out what was trendy and what could be better.

I’ve just picked out some trends for you which you might like to keep in mind. And keep reading till the end, because I’ve got some beauty tips to offer too.

There were plenty of shirt dresses, A-line skirts and plaid that are back in style this season, black and white and all white ensembles in fitted and loose fitting silhouettes are the must-haves this year

And, guess what. Our humble darji, our neighbourhood tailor, could be back to doing some roaring business too. Tailored clothes are a huge draw this year, especially tailored jackets and jumpsuits. I think we can take this further and get some interesting skirts and dresses done by our tailors too.

But of course, there is an up and a downside to this suggestion. First the downside — while a good tailor might get the fit right and might follow your patterns to precision, it would need a very creative designer (try Bangalore’s hottest designer and my personal favourite- Deepika Govind, as shown in accompanying picture) to make something unique for you.

The plus point of using a tailor would be that you get clothes that accentuate your every curve and you are sure you will get something you are comfortable in at half the cost.

I would suggest the next best thing. If you cannot afford a fabulous designer, buy clothes from the malls or a regular store, but get them tweaked by your tailor. This will ensure a great fit and a few creative touches here and you might just look like you’ve stepped off the catwalk.

As for the other trends this year, flared pants are back again, but is doomed for failure perhaps in a country like ours where we swear by skinny trousers. Florals are always popular in summer but this time opt for larger flowery prints that are big and bold. No, they will not make you look oversized if you tone the bright motifs down with simple accessories or if you team them with monochromatic clothes. Hate flowers? Go for the dots instead that are also one of the most popular prints of the day.

Go retro with your accessories. I adore the small, structured handbags in softest pastels that are everywhere now. The brooch is back – and in case, you’re from a generation that has never seen them, a brooch is a decorative pin that can add a zing to your attire, and is usually created out of stones, crafted with filigree work and designed in dazzling colours.

And now for some beauty news–

Girls – don‘t forget to check out the Micellar water that is the big buzz now. It was once restricted only to Paris where beautiful Parisians used it to combat the effects of the hard water in their city. But now here it is, even in India and gaining popularity by the day. Experts say that it has been named micellar because of the oil molecules in its water-like formula. It is gentle on the skin and leaves the face feeling like a dream. So skip the wet wipes this summer and get a bottle of micellar water instead and watch your skin glow. And yes, there are brands that come with anti-ageing properties too!

As for makeup – skip the red lipstick for the season and go for the pinks. Did you know that there are pinks to match every skin tone? So spend some time trying out each pink tone against your skin and choose the right one.

Here’s to a fabulous summer and watch this blog for updates every week!


Girls, if you’ve been shopping of late, you would have noticed that the shops are inundated with printed trousers. I finally mustered up courage to buy a pair and sure enough, it has been totally liberating.

I guess I am one of those people, who associate prints with the laid back life. Printed pyjamas to lounge in, polka dotted shorts to sleep in and colourful pants with happy motifs for a day on the beach. However, the thought of going to work, shopping in the malls and walking down the streets in trousers printed with all kinds of patterns still gives me goose bumps — but hey, here I am – now one of the many fashionistas loving prints and ditching my jeans for the summer.

The big problem with wearing prints is being unsure of the right motifs for you. I mulled over this dilemma for a long time, and did my research by watching the best dressed women in the city. The options out there are mind boggling. Should I wear pretty floral trousers? Wide legged palazzos with animal prints? Skinny pants with abstract motifs? Or should I throw caution to the winds and buy a pair of striped pants?

It is important to know your shortcomings while choosing your clothes, especially if you are going shopping for printed trousers. If you are heavy below the waist, keep the trouser prints dark and small. Remember your printed trousers will be making your fashion statement for you, so draw attention only to the features that will accentuate and enhance your look. Keep the top half of your ensemble simple, either by wearing solid colours or by wearing a black or white T-shirt. Throw on a jacket or blazer if you are off to work or if you want to look super sexy. But – please don’t use prints all over, unless you are below 12!

I must say, that once I had bought my printed trousers, buying the top to go with it was just as hard. The secret of making this look work, I discovered, lies in choosing the right colour from your printed trousers and buying a top in that shade to create a look of pleasant harmony.

Beauty tip:

Have you heard of the eye primer? I am sure you have but you may have been just as sceptical as I have about how useful it is. But girls—it is sheer magic. It smooths the eyelids, gives them a gentle glow and holds on to eye shadow all day. A must buy, I say! Get in touch with me if you want to know the brands I like best.

So, brighten up your summer days with a bunch of joyful prints and a dash of cool eye primer. It is time to bring in the season with a bit of adventure.



When I learnt the word ‘stuffocation’ last month I knew it was my ‘mot du jour’ – word of the day. You know how it is —  as soon as the New Year rolls around, everyone is telling you to toss out this and keep that in your wardrobe, in your home, in your car and in your life. Well, this year, they had a new word to describe the process – they called it ‘Stuffocation’—and I loved it at once.

Suffocated with stuff? Yes, that describes how most of us now live and never have we been more in need of simpler routines and choices. The problem with “stuffocation” is that we tend to forget the stuff we buy because we buy so much. The other day, when I realized that I had applied ‘Neck Cream’ under my eyes and smeared a luxurious marine creation on my feet that was supposed to illuminate my face into a rainbow of light bulbs, I realized that I was in drastic need of stuffocation therapy. There is just so much unnecessary stuff lying around now that the big question really is — why haven’t we got around to doing this earlier?

So, here’s a quick look at the beauty stuff you can get rid of this year. I call them my Suffocation Therapy (ST) Rules. Take a copy and peep into this list the next time you go shopping…

Do you own neck cream?

I never did till I wondered if it was the new and neglected kid on the block. The jars were irresistible too – there were tall and serious ones that meant business and the warm golden ones that promised many minutes of pampering. Could they really preserve the delicate skin around the neck for decades? I had serious doubts about that but I bought one anyway but the way it has been gathering dust for many months now, is an indication of how effective it has been.

ST Rule 1: Ignore the inviting neck creams on the shop counters. Use your face cream on your neck instead!

Do you own a lip exfoliator?

These look just like your lipstick tubes and promise all kinds of things – smooth, buttery lips in minutes. Lips that might get Angelina Jolie a tad jealous. Reality, of course, is something else. Skip now!

ST Rule 2: Step away from lip exfoliators. Good old Vaseline, Pond’s Cold Cream or petroleum jelly will do for the lips. Dermatologists say the lips are too thin and sensitive for the harsh abrasion of a lip exfoliator.

Do you own too many face cleansers?

The problem with face cleansers is that they sound so fabulous and promise so much. According to their makers they can erase age, lift the skin and make you a million shades fairer – all in the 10 seconds that it is in contact with your face.

ST Rule 3: Walk away from that delightful array. Choose a cleanser that does its job – cleanse your skin. Period.

Do you own a lash primer or lip plumper?

If you just decided to complicate your life with an eyelash primer, see if you can return it. A double coat of mascara should do for most social occasions.

ST Rule 4: Beware of anything that promises to prime or enhance any feature of the face, unless you are dying to use it. Lash primers can weigh your lashes down though they might hold on to mascara and lip plumpers work by irritating the skin of the lips that is far too delicate already.

Do you own a tube of Foot mask?

This is one product that sounds better than it is. You imagine a heavenly cocktail of ingredients seeping into your feet and sweeping you into an exclusive, self styled foot spa. Reality of course is something else – you end up with a lot of goop on your feet that takes ages to clean up.

ST Rule 5: Steer clear of all masks. If you need one, head towards your friendly neighbourhood beauty salon.

However—remember this…

Whatever they say about toners, moisturisers and serums – if you are above 30, you might need them. So in your new found enthusiasm for stuffocation therapy don’t throw everything out and then go around buying them again.

Let your mantra be: Keep it simple!


Event of the fortnight:

Love is Forever – Pre Valentine Jewellery Show

The sparkle of pure emerald, the fire of the ruby, the glitter of the diamond and the mystery of sapphire – nothing could quite match the beauty of these timeless gems that took the spotlight on the ramps last week.

Like most shows done by fashion guru, Prasad Bidapa nothing is thoughtlessly put together. Each element of the show, right from the lighting, the acoustics to the voice over was impeccable.

And so let me describe the event for you, in case you missed it…

Who was there? — Make a good guess? And you’re right. The whole town. No place to sit but who cared?

Where: At Fava, the fabulous, must-not miss restaurant in UB city.

What were the guests wearing: Many of the women were in beautiful saris and intricately embroidered salwar suits. Wise move. It proved to be a good backdrop to try the jewels on later if they needed to.

What I loved: The interplay of colour and light and music that was done so well. Like the sky blue backdrop to match the indigo coloured stones, the cool green lights to usher in the verdant gems, the stark black look for the white diamonds and finally the piece de resistance – the bridal collection.

What I learned:

Here is a list of all that you can do with jewellery now…

— You can design your own jewellery, using old stones, new motifs and fine metals.

— The necklace can take the shape of the neckline it is sitting on, so keep this in mind when you buy jewellery next.

— Try the very hot stiletto earrings.

— You can buy necklaces with two different strands and shapes on each side of the neck. So, there’s no need for perfectly shaped chains anymore.

— Certain interesting techniques are now used by jewellers to make random sized diamonds look like huge solitaires.

— Buy a ring that sits on two fingers of your hand for a change.


Till next time then!



They should call winter the silly season, because you end up doing all kinds of things you would think twice about otherwise. Maybe it is something about those crisp blue skies and that cool breeze that never gets too cold in Bangalore that sets you off and soon you are doing crazy stuff which you would never do otherwise. For instance, I found myself buying reams of pretty tinsel, a pair of crochet needles (a pointless buy since I don’t know how to crochet) another box of plum cake complete with plump raisins (not a good idea when you’ve set a target goal weight by December 31) and suchlike. And as if all this was not enough, I went one step further, and enrolled for a makeup class too.

I must say however that I learnt some valuable tips in this class and that’s where my story begins…


The classes held by this particular makeup company gives you total value for money (because you get back in products what you pay as fees) and you can opt for a one-on-one session or a regular class with many other students. Now, since this was an impulse decision, I decided on a solo class and how I enjoyed being a student taught by an efficient young teacher!

First things first and I had to ask my teacher this question. Why do women need to know how to do a bit of makeup? Shouldn’t a smidgen of kohl (or kajal) and a hint of lipstick/lip gloss do? Who needs so much makeup anyway? My teacher shrugged. It really is a matter of choice, she said, but on the other hand — she had noticed that most women use far too much kohol or kajal in their eyes and too much brown or red lipstick on the lips. Any more makeup than that is only reserved for special occasions. But today, life is all about making that great first impression at work or any social occasion. So, learn to do makeup well. Ignorance is not the answer – she concluded.

Well, here are a few tips I picked up that afternoon…

  • Do not apply any makeup without using moisturising cream first. Only well hydrated skin can hold other creams and powders.
  • Do not despise the fabulous effects of primer and sunscreen.
  • For dark blemishes that need to be camouflaged, use an orange corrector before using a concealer. Flaws disappear like magic.
  • Use feather like strokes of a brush or your fingers while applying makeup. Most of us use a very heavy hand and we end up taking off makeup, instead of adding it. Settle pigments by patting them down.
  • Your brushes should be of the best quality possible or you could tear or hurt your skin.
  • Do not use kajal or kohl in the eyes as it smudges under the eye. Use an eye pencil instead.
  • Lip pencil has to be used over the entire lip before applying lipstick.


For more tips, you will have to call me up or go for a class yourself, but let me tell you, it is totally worth it.

I know the big question in your mind is… did it all look good eventually? Or did I look like a walking paint box? My teacher seemed thrilled with the results of her craftsmanship, but I am not used to seeing all my flaws disappearing into thin air. For me, the biggest drawback was — I didn’t look quite like myself at all.

So I went into a dark and pensive mood once the class ended. I wondered– is beauty skin deep or does it emanate from deep within? Seeing the large basket of makeup that went into making the perfect face, I had no answer. When I think about it, some of the most beautiful women I know use no makeup at all. And yet, a little bit of makeup goes a long way for so many of my friends.

Therefore the makeup lesson I really learnt was this… whether you want a big kit or small bag of cosmetic products to do up your face every day is your choice… but remember that it is our small flaws that make us special. Don’t let too much makeup take that away!


ImageIt was one of those evenings when you get to enjoy yourself and also get to remember that life gets its most worth, only when you are working towards a cause. I am at Estee Lauder’s ‘A Pink Moment champagne soiree’ a fund raising initiative held in Bangalore and organised to spread the awareness of breast cancer. The guests who were supporting the cause had also decided to dress up for the occasion and how!

Well, since most of us love to know what everyone was wearing, here’s a quick update of what I noticed. Most of the guests  had either worn pink from head to toe or had decided to sport pink accents, by way of accessories or shoes. I soon realized that “backs” were the new décolletage, because while many of the women wore ensembles that looked modest and demure in the front, the necklines of these outfits plunged quite wildly at the back. Even those who wore sarees, matched them with cholis that ended in pretty bows or tiny buttons, way down their backs.

Though pink was the colour du jour, many opted for orange, and another hot favourite was white. One shoulder gowns were also very popular and I loved the way most of the dresses fell in soft drapes and were spun out of billowy fabrics.  Those who had opted for chic black ensembles wore their pink Breast Cancer support ribbons in style while others let their hair do the talking, by wearing their hair in curls that cascaded down their backs or in updos that brought into focus, their long and slender necks. Many carried glittering clutches that ranged from the smart purses to metallic boxes, all encrusted with diamantes that caught the overhead lights and flashed giddily all night.

As for makeup – here’s the new tip that seems to be the mantra in town. Keep your actual makeup subdued and concentrate on your skin. The clearer you can make your skin appear, the more fresh and gorgeous you look. And if you do want to try the deep back look, make sure you go for a back facial to cleanse, clarify and soften the back, before trying this trend out.

Back to the event. The venue was festooned with lights, in colours of lilac and softest pink. As for the dinner, whether the guests opted for the Moroccan Chermoula crusted spring chicken or the Beef Wellington or the Greek style fish, it was served to them by tuxedoed waiters who kept their plates full and the glasses brimming over. A live band, complete with guitars and drums played in the background and managed to coax some dancers onto the floor while other guests tucked into their dinners and savoured their wines. Conversation sparkled across the tables, music floated in the air and laughter punctuated the night. The hostess Manjusha and the other ladies in the Estee team remained indefatigable as they made every guest supremely comfortable. What a super night of style it was!

As for some more beauty news..

If you love the BB and the CC cream hold your breath, gals …and brace yourself for two more creams! The DD and GG creams are here. The trend of naming creams by the letters of the alphabet just seems to be getting more popular. The DD does more than the BB and CC which could give you flawless skin just by their properties of hydration, colour and built-in SPF, the DD, which is the Daily Defense cream, goes a few steps further by giving you anti-ageing benefits and pore minimisation. The GG (also called Gigi), on the other hand, has some lightening properties too.

How do you know which cream you need? The best way to do this is to go by what you need the most. Check your skin in sunlight with a magnifying mirror. Is dry skin or oil control your concern?  The BB cream will do the trick. Is an uneven skin tone your bête noir? The CC cream which is so named because of its properties of colour correction should help.

After trying out a bunch of CC and BB creams, I’ve realized that Colour Bar’s BB suits me best, mainly because of its brightening properties. If you are travelling abroad, try Smashbox’s CC cream that is available in a broad spectrum of colours and offers maximum coverage of pores and blemishes.

Almost every brand has a BB now, though some brands like Lakme have jumped to CC which is quite good too. The DD may take time to come here, so find one of the other creams to help you. But beware… with the sunlight as powerful as it is in our country, these creams might not offer all the sun protection you might need. So, don’t skimp on your sunscreen, no matter what. Also, foundation might also be necessary if you want to present flawless skin.

The bottom line: bare skin does not work anymore. If you don’t want to load on too many creams onto your face, go for BB or CC, add some more sunscreen too, and voila … beautiful skin!

Till next time then …

Image Khadi Kool by Deepika Govind SS2013 IMG_5656aTrend watching in Bangalore…

Are you making these style mistakes…?

The last time I looked at my shopping patterns, I realized that I had spent far too little on clothes and far too much on skin care. A quick peep into my friends ‘shopping lists showed the same. Many of us had just stopped buying clothes regularly. There were the many pairs of shoes, the odd trinket or two, a spot of fine jewellery, a roomy handbag, but buying clothes every now and then? Not much.

This would therefore be on top on my list of the style mistakes we make as women and one that we should change this year. We assume, and wrongly so, that our clothes will pass muster if our accessories are right. We think that radiant skin will make up for an ill fitting blouse. We think brown lipstick will go with everything and therefore need not be updated. The wrong bra is fine — after all it is under the clothes.  A baggy top will hide all weight issues. And so on.

If I were to compile a list of style mistakes,here’s where I would begin. Buy clothes more often, no matter how tempting skin care and cosmetics look. This would mean taking the effort to go to the boutiques, searching out interesting items of clothing and learning to wear them well. This could mean that you need to do some research too, as in checking out fashion blogs and magazines.

What a waste of time, you say! Well, I would have agreed some time ago, but the new enlightened me has just noticed that you cannot buy clothes off a rack anymore for a polished look. You need to wear clothes with structure and construction. It is important to wear the right fits and visit the tailor if you need a nip here or a tuck there. I know how comfortable an old pair of jeans can be. But a new pair of well fitting jeans can make transform your entire look. And updating your lingerie wardrobe is mandatory too!Image

Fashion wise, this is the year of brights (think radiant colours like greens and luxurious blues), whites (teamed with black or worn as in all its stark purity) and stripes (like striped skinny trousers), but don’t go overboard and buy a whole wardrobe of these styles. Add them discreetly to your look, like a vibrant scarf or a striped blouse and start there.  The idea is not to look like you stepped out of Vogue, but to make people think you might have.

Get Khadi cool:

I am a huge fan of Indian fabrics and every year, I find myself delighted at the kind of fabrics our local designers work with. This summer, I checked out the hugely talented  Deepika Govind’s Khadi collection and as always, this designer’s work is top class and ultra stylish. If you get the time, check out her Khadi Kool collection. I found this collection so fine and summery that just running my hands through each garment was akin to feeling the rush of a cool breeze along my finger tips.

If you had any doubts about khadi, here’s a short excerpt of an interview I had with her…

Can you tell us about how khadi has evolved over the years in general?

Deepika: From the roughly woven, slubbed khadi cotton that was woven as a symbol of protest by Gandhiji and freedom fighters of India during the Occupation years, today khadi can be found in finer avatars, in both cotton and silk. `The Indian linen,’ a finely woven khadi garment is a style statement. Khadi is perceived as much more than a fabric, it represents a way of life.

Why is it such a unique fabric?

Deepika: It is hand woven, using hand spun yarn. That makes it completely handmade….in India.

Tell us about how you made khadi ‘cool’. Do you see more and more young people wearing it?

Deepika: This collection is all about wearing Khadi the way it is: coarse, with missing weaves and slubs. Elements such as hardware zipper detailing, prints inspired by conversational art, artisanal kutch embroidery and lace cutouts make it trendy and atypical. Silhouettes such as the mul wrap trousers, the highwaisted pleated flared pants and the peplum top, knee-length dresses, all in pop colours, would definitely appeal to the young – at-heart.

What are the new styles you brought in this summer in your khadi line that are in line with the fashion trends today?

Deepika: High-waisted trousers.  Asymmetric tunics. Ladder-like textural effects. Peplum tops and of course, khadi sarees with prints following the lines of Conversational Art.


Beauty Buzz

Girls, you know what BB creams are finally, but do you know what the CC cream is? Read on…

Looks like it’s time to bid goodbye to the multi-tasking BB cream (Blemish Balm) that had a triple effect — as moisturiser, serum and primer and say hello to the new CC cream. CC — which stands for Colour Correcting (or Colour Control), which is in many ways, one step ahead of the BB. Besides doing all that the BB does, it also corrects your complexion, by hiding your flaws and brightening your skin tone. It is supposed to be lighter than the BB and therefore far lighter than a regular foundation. It can supposedly all kinds of miracles for your face, like hiding your blemishes, making your face more luminescent, removing surface oils and correcting your colour related flaws instantly.

The bad news: it is not yet easily available here. Pick up one on your next trip abroad or get a friend or relative to send you one this season! But remember — you have to buy a CC cream in the right colour,preferably closest to your own skin tone.

Trend watching in Bangalore…

Hello gorgeous people…

I hate to get bookish in a fashion-slash-beauty blog, but I just have to tell you about this fabulous book I found on the history of fashion by Manmeet Sodhi.  The book was published some time ago but I discovered it recently (also partly because most bookstores hide these gems in some obscure portion of their shelves, under some generic category called ‘Clothing’.) But there it was, this informative book, and if you managed to look beyond its rather unprepossessing cover and the reams and reams of copy, you would find many nuggets of information, tucked away in its pages.

I discovered through the narrative all about the fabrics of India. From the fact that the brocades of Banaras flow into many weaves, like The Amrus and the Himrus, the origin of the world art fabric, the patola or the precious heirlooms of Bengali homes, the Baluchari, there is so much to learn about the weave of India. There is the vibrancy of the Gadwals. The sophistication of the Chanderi. What a rich tradition of fabrics our country has to offer. It is just a matter of finding the time to explore it all.

So, when I got to meet a designer-entrepreneur duo who work only with the pure natural fabrics, I was fascinated and intrigued.

I’ve done a little interview with them, which is below, but first, a bit of beauty buzz too…

Did you know, ladies that the neck is the first to go? By which I mean, that if you don’t look after your neck now, you will be wearing turtle neck sweaters and scarves by the time you hit your 40s. According to the famous fashion writer Nora Ephron, there are all kinds of necks, among women, like “chicken necks, turkey gobbler necks, necks with wattles, loose necks, crepey necks, banded necks, wrinkled necks, stringy necks, saggy necks, flabby necks and mottled necks.” According to her, you can shoot collagen and Botox and Restylane into your wrinkles and creases but there is very little you can do about the neck once it goes and that, she says “is always a dead giveaway.”

So, do we resign ourselves to fate and forget all about our necks? No, because today, there are many special neck and décolletage creams out there in the stores. Check them out next time. They are super rich in texture and should be applied across the chest, right up to the shoulders. Too costly ? Then skip the neck cream and use your regular body lotion instead but make sure you apply it religiously and without forgetting about it even a single day.


And now, my interview with Mona and Neelam of Mogra

These ladies who have been dressing women in exclusive Indian ensembles for nearly a decade are quick to say that Indian artisans and weavers have inspired their work and that they have worked closely with them.

According to them, wearing pure fabrics next to the skin is sheer luxury and knowing that you are partaking of the rich fabric history of our country makes such ensembles even more special.

Their advice: whenever possible, buy natural fabrics, wear them well and enjoy the fabulous weaves of India.

What would you say is special about your work?

We are passionate about the purity of the fabrics, especially pure cottons and pure silks. Everyone does mixed fabrics these days. But our work is limited because the fabrics we procure are limited too. We use organic dyes only. So each time you wear an ensemble like this, it is very exclusive.

What are some of the fabrics that you work with?

Be it ajrakhs from the Rann of Kutch, prints from Bhagalpur, silk cottons from Coimbatore or Chanderi silks, we have worked with all of them. It is important to us, both culturally and aesthetically to create magic with the many magical fabrics of India. We have regular interactions with the artisans while creating these fabrics too.

Are you offering anything special in your summer line?

We work with a lot of plus sizes and create clothes for women of all shapes and silhouettes. This summer, we have introduced a lot of flow and drape into our garments. Our line this year, comprises suits and tunics in traditional ajrakh prints on muslin and we also have some exquisite linens.

What do you love most about your work?

We love knowing that we help women understand and enjoy thImagee wonderful fabrics of our country. And the most uplifting feedback we get is that our clothes are the perfect balance of comfort, style and stress free maintenance, besides being exclusive too.




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