Style Quotient

Posts Tagged ‘trends

Some years ago when I went to a store to buy a pair of blue jeans, size 34 and with a bit of stretchy fabric around the waist – and found that the waif-thin lady at the counter was appalled. What size did you say again, her eyes seemed to say as her lips curled into a sneer at the very idea of elastic bands on any part of a garment. I left the store with two decisions: to begin a fitness routine and to fight for my right to real fashion.

I did neither, of course, as time and work took its toll on me. But I was delighted to discover some months ago, when I went back to the same store and found that things had changed. A warm and lovely salesgirl now offered to show me a number of jeans in a spectrum of sizes and styles and beautiful, stretchy fabric everywhere. “The idea is to keep you comfortable,” she said and left me to make my choice, among sizes that ranged from S, M, L. XL, XXL and XXXL. Wow!

So, when I read recently about visionary fashion designers and stylists celebrating age, and employing models who are aged anywhere between 60 to 84 on the runways to show how cool older people can be, I was delighted. Fashion was finally embracing age, size and height and what a revolution it is turning out to be. Everyone has figured out, that men and women want to look good, no matter what their age, size or weight may be. Of course, there is a business angle to these developments because the report also mentions that fashion retailers have realized that people over 65 spend the most on fashion and are often the healthiest besides being the wealthiest.

The trend is trickling down across the world and through our country too. Several designers and stores now create clothes in all sizes and right from T-shirts, tops, dresses, fitness wear, trousers and shoes, there is a world of newly sized garments for the Indian woman.

So I am a happy shopper now, no longer looking for a tailor to customise the clothes that I have bought and no longer worried what the sales lady will think of the sizes I buy. What a long way we have come!

Beauty tip:

Get highlights in your hair this season as the bright sunlight of our hot summer mornings reflects off the colours and makes your face radiant too. Don’t be scared to experiment. I chose a mix of copper and bronze and my friend chose silver blond highlights and we were both right!





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.


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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