Wearing Red

What does red signify to you? Anger? Power? Love? Do you wear red often? Or do you avoid it?

I never really liked the color in my teenage years. I considered it to be too loud, too bright, too in the face. But when I saw other people wearing it I thought damn that looks good!! But, on me? No way! I secretly tried on red lipstick in my bathroom and then quickly wiped it off.

So when I was 19 I decided to buy my first red lipstick. I walked into the store, tried a bunch of shades and walked out. I looked like a clown! Like a girl trying too hard to look good. I decided to start wearing red clothing and then move to make up.

After sporting a basic t shirt, I moved to kurtas and finally a jacket. Initially it felt strange but with time I started enjoying the way the color makes you stand out. I enjoyed the feeling of confidence it gave me and how I felt more free spirited whenever I tried it on.

When I was 21 I walked into the store again. This time I was prepared to make the purchase. I tried on 10 different shades until my lips felt cracked. I finally settled on one that I thought I looked okay in. When I got home, I tried it again.I liked how I looked but I was not certain I could go out in public wearing such a bold color lipstick.

It remained in my vanity until I graduated the following year and that’s when I used it. Until that year arrived, I had gone through weight issues, skin issues, friend issues, etc and I had to work on every little thing that came my way that by the time college ended, I had changed.

I realized that all these years I was afraid of what others thought of my looks and my opinion of fashion that I hid behind being a plain Jane and kept my opinion to myself. I was afraid of losing friends that I did everything people wanted to see me doing. I felt nothing would look good on a fat girl so I hid behind comfort clothes and dull colors.

When I graduated, I had changed. I had become more confident and less oblivious to what people thought of my looks. I wore what I wanted and I ate what I felt like eating. When I put on that lipstick, I noticed it complemented my skin color perfectly. It didn’t look loud, gaudy or mis matched like I thought it did for all those years.

A lot of people came upto me and asked me what lipstick it was and that it really suited me. To me, it was more than make up. It was more than a color, it was the beginning of something new.

The color symbolizes different things to different people. To me, it symbolizes confidence. It reminds me of how I changed and how I should continue to change.

Shopping at home – In collaboration with Casual 365

I used to be a very obsessive shopper. If i wanted a particular piece of clothing or I wanted to accompany my friends on their shopping trips, I would look through every shop at the mall or at the local shops, compare prices, quality and fit.

Over time, it got really tedious and expensive. Transport is not cheap in Bangalore and when you work full time, you don’t have a lot of time to experiment. I resorted to online shopping but was soon disappointed.

The popular websites had similar collections which means a lot of people would have the same clothes. Also the problem with the image and actual reality of the item, it looked very different online and different when it arrived.

I started experimenting with different lesser known sites and finally found the ones I trusted. I picked them out based on how identical the clothes look to what I see on their site, the quality, if the collection was different from the rest and the time factor.

Now, when I have an upcoming event or I just feel like buying something nice, I log onto the sites I trust and I look for something new, compare the collection and place an order. I don’t have to keep returning anything that way and I know that very few people will have my clothes since most people stick to the most popular sites.

I sit at home, don’t go from store to store, don’t face traffic and order the best stuff. The lesser known good sites offer lots of discounts as part of their promotion as well as easier return policies.

So if you face something similar, do the same thing I did. Order items from different lesser known sites and see which one you liked the best after a few times and stick to that. The next time you need an outfit in your life and you don’t want to trust the delivery and risk associated with online shopping stick to the ones you know arrive fast and exchange quickly.

Also, nobody at the party will walk up to you and say “Did you buy that on ….com? I have the same thing. It was on sale last week” So avoid the embarrassment and give something different a shot for a change.

Jewelry Simplified – In collaboration with Casual 365

When you look at look books and fashion magazines or even award ceremonies, simple outfits and styles make a statement when the jewelry is eye catching.

In your everyday life, you can’t always look glamorous or ready to party, you are in a hurry most of the time and still need to look good. You don’t have to wear chunky necklaces, head gear or long earrings if that’s not your style. You may really like jewelry but pairing it with different outfits and making it work might be too much of an effort for you so there is a way to break it down.

Small, delicate necklaces or chains are easy to wear. Look for those long thin gold chains with small pretty pendants or a thin necklace in plain gold or silver. These pieces can be layered together from long to short. Wearing multiple pieces that are very simple will not look like a lot as well as gives the outfit a nice twist.

If you own chunky jewelry but you don’t know how to wear it and not look dressed up then there’s a solution to that too. If you wear a big necklace, ensure your top is plain and keep the rest of the look minimal. No big or dangly earrings, no flashy shoes and no other accessories. The look will define your jewelry without making you look made up.

If you want to wear long earrings, buy earrings in gold or silver without any colored stones in it to ensure it goes with a lot of your outfits. Avoid neck pieces and bangles and wear any outfit as you normally would and you will still stand out. There are certain rules to follow with respect to this. Round face shapes should avoid very long earrings and long face shapes should avoid very small earrings.

If you don’t seem to know how to add rings and bracelets, use bangles of the same color scheme and layer them up on one hand and keep it simple on the other hand. If you are wearing a big ring avoid wearing too many bangles or bracelets

Wearing rings can add so much glam to any outfit. A Big cocktail ring is great for a night out and use simple rings on a daily basis preferably with white stones to pair it with anything. Too many rings can spoil the look. Avoid wearing more than 2 rings even if its simple.

Coming to head gear. Indian weddings witness a lot of maang teekas and hair accessories. Use a single maang teeka in either pearls or white kundans for your outfit. Hair accessories can get complicated if you don’t know how much is enough. Stick to one hair accessory only and something which is not too small.

Jewelry can be made simple to fit into your casual attire by using neutral pieces that can go with everything like black, gold and silver. Colored jewelry can make it tricky so invest in classic pieces instead.

Your outfits can completely change based on how you add your jewelry so use it wisely!

Basic by being not so basic! – In collaboration with Casual 365

When you think of styles like simple, minimalistic, relaxed, laid back, etc you think of pyjamas, jeans, flip flops, etc you don’t think of well fitted classy looks.

It’s easy to throw on some clothes and appear for an event or go hang out with your friends. It’s also easy to just wear a basic tee or some sandals and assume you’re a simple person and you’re style reflects that.

Unfortunately in today’s world, even simple and laid back styles of dressing require some effort and just throwing a look together without thought is not viewed very positively, be it at work, college or a night out.

The art of keeping it simple and subtle revolves around smart dressing. Using different colors, fabrics and pieces may not be your thing but using what you have and know is the key.

Starting with jeans. Ensure your pair of favorite jeans fits you well next, tuck that top in and add a belt. Strap on your watch and a cute bracelet and slip on your best kept sneakers or ballet flats. Tie your hair up if you can’t handle the frizz and grab your best back pack or sling bag depending on the type you like.

If you wear Indian clothing. Wear your kurti and leggings or a patiala with some neutral silver jhumkas so you don’t have to bother matching it to your clothes. Strap on your best flats and carry a classy looking bag instead of bag packs.Bags in tan, black and white look simple yet classy and most importantly, they go with everything.

Have an old tee and you don’t want to change? Then get yourself a casual jacket that you can wear over all the tees you love but are falling apart. The jacket will give your frame a good structure and cover your much loved tee.

The key to dressing casual is wearing well fitted basic pieces. Matching it with different items that are neutral and don’t require too much effort, end up looking smart.

A black top looks nice, but quickly pairing that with simple gold earrings and a small clutch works even better. Or even a white salwar suit, a plain white suit looks easy to wear but pairing that with a printed black dupatta is even better.

Look for colors that are easy to match, neutral pieces that can be worked with the rest and most importantly how it looks on you ultimately. This way you can stick to your original laid back style by still looking very put together.

The art of being basic is by not being so basic after all!

It’s all about keeping it Casual – In collaboration with Casual 365

Ever wonder why you had to wear formals to events and sweat like a pig? Or heavy lehengas to every relatives wedding and loose weight by just carrying yourself around in it. Not to forget your killer heels when you have to go to a party and end up standing for ages!

As much as this might sound like a cliched add it’s still true. The solution is here!

There is a way to go around the way you dress for any occasion or even everyday by using your own comfort clothes and yet looking presentable. So let me introduce you to the art of keeping it casual!

First, analyze the event. Is it absolutely important for you to be decked to the nines or it’s all in your mind? Next, pick out an outfit that you are sure will keep you happy all day long. Let’s say it’s a party after work. You can still wear your work outfit, you don’t have to change into a skirt or a dress if you don’t have the time or energy. Instead, change it by rolling up your sleeves, adding a shiny pair of flats instead of killer heels, using some red lipstick and adding a fun accessory and you’re good!

Let’s say it’s a relatives wedding. It’s not your wedding or your best friend’s wedding so you don’t have to please everyone with your outfit. So ditch the heavy lehenga or saree and wear a simple suit that has a good mix of colors. Or a flowy chickankari work kurti and some dangly earrings and you will still look smashing!

Moving on to formals events. It’s not a rule that everybody has to wear a blazer or formal shoes or even formal pants. Unless that’s strictly the dress code of course. Opt for a white shirt or a pastel colored shirt, throw on some black jeans, plain black jeans would be your best choice and a pair of black/nude flats specifically the pointed ones and not open ones to keep it serious. Avoid the bright lips,keep the jewelry minimal and add a nice watch and there you have it, a formal outfit without the hassles of a blazer.

For all you college goers, a pair of jeans a cute tee shirt and white sneakers is the way to go. And for girls who like to dress up but cant be bothered with thicker fabrics or frills opt for light weight tops in bright colors and dark ankle length leggings with some pretty open flats. Add a cardigan to dress up the outfit if you are heading out.

Basic tops are very versatile and so is jewelry. Being comfortable with what you wear is going to get you through the day and keep you smiling.

So there you have it. Dress in your comfort clothes with a twist for any occasion without worrying too much.

It’s all about keeping it casual.

Glamming up the wedding season

When there is a wedding in your family, there is always chaos! Running around, shopping, tailoring, jewellery, etc         Recently it was my cousin’s wedding and I had to carry a million things to the wedding hall just for a few hours. I chose this traditional magenta colored silk saree that my mother owns and paired it with a gold necklace and earrings. Don’t be fooled by my elaborate hairstyle, I was running late so I just tied my hair into a bun and adorned it with flowers quick and easy I actually had a beautiful hairstyle planned out but alas I am always late! The make up is very simple but pretty. The weather was really hot so none of the contouring or shimmer highlighting would have survived.

Weddings are a lot of fun and a lot of work! I traveled to beautiful Tanjore in Tamil Nadu for this wedding, I will be sharing the pictures soon. The place has beautiful scenery and delicious food as well. The heat is a bit too much but when you take a walk once it cools down you breathe in all the beauty it has to offer.

Wearing your community’s traditional clothes for weddings is the best option even though you might have doubts like “I look old” or “I can’t carry it off” etc . Pick bright but not overly bright colors for a silk Saree, don’t overdo the jewelery and stick to minimal  make up to make the Saree stand out. You have to wear it and you will see for yourself.

Being Dusky In India

This is a widely discussed topic but nobody really cares after discussing it. The men go back to ogling at fair girls and parents go on to buy fair and lovely creams for their daughters. Nobody really genuinely discusses it and does something about it. I have been living the dusky life ever since I turned 5, every birthday people would tell my parents “Why don’t you try using turmeric or a pumice stone?”. My parents slowly got used to these annoying comments and did actually try some of them but unfortunately for them it didn’t work.

As I grew older the comments slowly became “How come your other daughters are fair and she is not?” and “It’s difficult these days to find boys for your complexion”, the best comment being “You have become so black”, its brown sister not black. When I started attending engineering I saw how boys would run after the white shiny girls and the white shiny girls would still use Fair and Lovely fairness creams to become more white and shiny! The sad truth being despite everything they were still insecure or rather made to feel insecure that they would lose their complexion, get tanned,etc and here I was proud of my skin tone and I tried all colors to prove it. Be it a neon top or a an electric blue kajal, I experimented with all styles irrespective of people saying this doesn’t suit your skin tone, you are too dark for this color, etc

As the years passed and the Dark is Beautiful movement started by Nandita Das I noticed a huge change yes but only for the moment as soon as the moment has passed people are back to their old selves again. I still see only fair models on e commerce portals and movies as well. Even the smallest add has a fair model endorsing their products not to forget the present rage for skin lightening! What is the reason behind all of this? Are you so ashamed of your skin? Are you defined by your skin? Why is fashion so fair skin oriented? These are some things I have never been able to understand.