life

Fashion for everyone

Less is more

Want to Look chic in a simple black and white combo or a multicoloured saree? Want to develop a bold yet elegant approach towards fashion? Are you a minimalist already but not confident yet? Whatever, wherever and however you are, we all want to look good and feel good about how we dress up. While each of us want different things from fashion, there are a few basic rules we can all follow to feel confident everytime we step out.

Before you find out what key rules I might share today, here’s what I think of the idea of Minimalist fashion.

Minimalism is not the lack of something, it’s the perfect amount of something. Sticking to limited colours and keeping accessories to a minimum. Basically, creating a classic stylish look with less clutter no matter whats fashionable at the time.

In an era where most of the things are fabricated, you begin to wonder when and where did simplicity fade out?!

As Indian women, we have a huge task of balancing our wardrobe to the many occasions that spring up. We are definitely spoilt for choice due to the diversity – be it the kind of fabric to choose, the number of outlets our city has to offer or of course – online shopping. To up the glamour quotient, try these simple hacks –

1. Mix and match the right way

One of the golden rules – ‘wear no more than 3 colors per outfit’ will set any starter up for experimentation. Keep in mind not to don busy prints with bold colors. For e.g. – if you plan on wearing a loud busy print, subdued the other layers. Another way to go about it is mixing styles which is getting way too popular among Indian women – how about a denim blouse and a chiffon saree with traditional earrings? Sounds about right, isn’t it? Don’t be afraid to venture out on new ideas, you never know you might be starting a new trend 😉

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2. You can never go wrong with the classics

Remember Deepika Padukone on this years Cannes? A simple knotted white tee with a pair of jeans and the retro circular glasses with nude heels, such a simple and classic combo that was. We girls can always simplify the whole attire according to our personality. So when there are days when you just feel like toning down or just grabbing something from your closet in a hurry, this trick saves your day. Few of my favourites are –

  • Black and white with a pop of red or any other bright color.
  • Denims – This trend is back with a bang. Always remember to wear just a single piece of denim, or if going with two pieces – use two shades.
  • LBD – “One is never under- dressed or over- dressed with a Little Black Dress” I would consider this as a ‘must have’ in your wardrobe. You can team this up with numerous accessories like blazers, stoles or funky footwear. To add some personality you can also have fun patterns, different cut or sequins and make it unique
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3. Pattern and Prints to dial up your style

Don’t find yourself in a store wondering what to pick up, instead try understanding your body type and be self- assured. If you’re lean go for daring, large or horizontal prints since they add more volume and if you are on the healthier side like me, go for smaller, thin prints to bring the volume down. Either ways try to embrace prints as they showcase your personality and also complement your beautiful body shape. There’s no shortage of patterns and prints, talking from Indian prints like ikat, block prints, Dabu, tie and dye, kalamkari etc., to global ones like bohemian, floral, stripes, animal, tartan, polka dots, checkered etc. Try to be adventurous by mix and matching pattern at once, sometimes the best combinations happen by accident. A bright floral top with black and white checkered skirt, different pattern but same hue shirt + trouser with a solid- coloured big belt can make you look so dashing and spunky.

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4. The Indian goddess

How many weddings or events do we attend in our lifetime as Indians? As a cultural and festive hub, we celebrate each occasion with grandeur which means major dressing up. I personally love wearing sarees, it has such a traditional charm that no other outfit can give you. But you can also try something out of the box and stand apart from the crowd. Try these tips –

  • Mix and match the blouses with the same saree to make it look different each time.
  • Dig in to your mother’s wardrobe and call it vintage.
  • Drape sarees in an unconventional way.
  • Sport a heavy embroidered belt in fabric instead of gold waist belt
  • Wear a crop top instead of a blouse.
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5. Accessorise the right amount.

An accessory can either accentuate or kill your overall outfit, so choosing them along with your outfit is the best way to go about it. What is the right amount you ask? I think it’s easy – do not go overboard with earrings, neck piece, bracelets all at once. Pick one powerful piece (a geometric scarf, a statement necklace/ earring, over – detailed footwear, a sculptural cuff) and let it pop against something basic. We can go desi too, like choose something entirely traditional like silver jhumkas to go with a monochrome shirt, tie a vibrant printed stole to a denim trouser as a belt or wear an uber- cool headgear with an A-line skirt for an event. Accessories can be your best friend at any age and try to have fun or go wild with them.

Finally, I’d like to say don’t be too hard on yourself by reading the do’s and dont’s or taking fashion advice from everyone, instead just believe in yourself and have fun dressing up.

“Clothes mean nothing until someone lives in them” – Mark Jacobs

 

Post written by Aashitha. 

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Teary Tuesday! 

It was a rather painful Tuesday morning this week. My child(now 3 years old) has started nursery very recently and still gets upset on and off while I drop him. And on this day, he cried like never before. I was standing there not knowing what to do really. I just bravely put up a smile and decided to be cool and composed. But it wasn’t helping. I had to leave anyway. He saw me through the window while I was trying hard to smile and wave bye bye but all I could see was a face that was begging for me to not go. But he still waved back!

At that point, I loved him like never before simply because he was able to wave bye bye while he was full of tears at the same time because he is trying to keep his mummy happy. Oh what a lovely little boy I thought! 

 I quickly got back to the car and guess what I did??? I cried for a good two minutes after which this silly mummy felt good! Here’s what was going through my mind. I now know I cannot have him next to me forever. I have to learn to let him discover things on his own some day. And these days are just the beginning of it all. And I headed off to a spinning session at the gym which is the only reason why I like getting exhausted at the gym to be honest. I love spinning. It helps me focus and helps me think through things from a nicer perspective. A good 30 minute workout helped me get through the morning after which I got home to cook some lunch and went back to pick him up only to find him sitting in the reading corner engrossed in books. And so involved that he didn’t even notice I was standing there for about five minutes. And, I then had to get his attention by whispering a hello and that smile he had on his face when he looked up to see me made everthing so worth it…. 

If anybody ever asks me,  I think It is this part of motherhood that has been the biggest challenge so far. The part where they grow up to do such things like going to school and being on their own…. 

Tiramisu

We are back in London after a rather long holiday in India. This week has been busy as we have had a lot of things to clear out and also do all the unpacking. We are almost done and slowly this change is starting to feel more normal. I even managed to whip up some dosa batter in between all the de-cluttering. Last night I was the tired mother who was sipping on a glass of Merlot and also trying to make dosas for the half pint who was happily sat on the kitchen counter to see his mum in action. Somehow, those few moments I shared with him while I served him and watched him eat made me feel oh so nostalgic. I was the little child in my mother’s kitchen who always sat on the counter and enjoyed having food off the stove while mom and I spoke random things. Yesterday, I saw myself sharing a slice of my childhood with Neil while he enjoyed his dinner just like the way I used to. This whole scene from last night made me feel something that pretty much sums up life for me. All I want to do is cook for the family with a bottle of wine perhaps….

It may only be appropriate to share one of my favourite recipes while I am talking about how much I love to cook. The recipe is only a matter of getting things in order and layering them up to form a Tiramisu. This is a non-alcoholic version only because I find the existing amount of coffee and cocoa is enough for me to go bonkers. So feel free to add a bit of rum to your coffee decoction if you are more grown-up than I am.

 

Ingredients

Cocoa powder to sprinkle the tiramisu

Coffee to wet the sponge fingers

Mascarpone -500 g

Eggs- 6 medium

Sugar -120 g

Finger sponge -it depends on the size of the box/tin u will use

 

This is the dish I like to use so it is easy to build a neat layer. The wider the better!

First prepare the coffee like you would normally do.( enough to soak the finger sponges , I usually fill a pasta plate) pour into a bowl and let it cool.

Whip the egg yolks with half the sugar to obtain a very light and creamy mixture.

Add the mascarpone to the mixture and work the whole thing with a whisk (or wooden spoon until creamy with no lumps, At this stage it should be very creamy

Whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt, add the sugar (the remaining half), with a wooden spoon, add them gradually and gently into the mixture of mascarpone and egg yolks, so you now have the cream for the tiramisu.

Soak the sponge fingers one by one in the coffee and start to build your layers.

Cover the fingersponge soaked with a layer of mascarpone cream adjusting with a spoon.

Sprinkle the surface with cocoa powder. Go ahead with  the second layer of fingersponge, cream and cocoa. Also, if before you have them arranged vertically, then place them horizontally (and vice-versa).

Complete with plenty of cocoa powder to cover the surface of your Tiramisu and Store in refrigerator for a few hours before serving.

What I discovered about my body…. 

Many years ago,  I found soft lumps near my armpits (quite close to my breasts) so, I naturally got worried. But the fact that I was only 25 years old then was a good enough reason to feel convinced that it may not be a dangerous symptom. I anyway got it checked by a doctor who said it was due to improper circulation and asked me to stay away from some foods temporarily and there was nothing to worry about. Feeling a little relieved, I decided to move on with life. And then I got married at 26 and had my boy at 28 whom I breastfed for just over a year. So, I didn’t feel the need to worry and simply ignored those bits near my breasts.

Worrying comes to me naturally. I find reasons to worry and sometimes I worry that there is nothing to worry about too. However, now that I am on a vacation in Madras and I have a lot of extra time, I started to look at the mirror more often and those soft lumps were kind of disturbing me. Having heard enough about this, my husband and my mother forced me to get it checked again. So, I spent sometime online looking for a specialist doctor here in Madras and managed to book an appointment too. Instead of feeling good about the upcoming meeting with the doctor, it only felt like the world had stopped in my mind. I started to put all the if’s and but’s to my future. I wasn’t sleeping well either. So, the day arrived for the check up and I hurriedly and forcefully swallowed a couple of spoons of something for breakfast and left home.

There, at the clinic, were so many women (some very depressed looking and some normal) waiting to be seen. I knew it was going to be a long wait. I went up to the receptionist and had a kind word with her and also told her how horrible I was feeling and all that stupid talk that I do when I am stressed. Although she first said it was going to be an hour or so before I can get checked, I was called by a nurse within five minutes of talking to the receptionist. The nurse asked me a few questions about my overall health and also reassured me that I was going to be ok. But immediately she also said if needed we may take a biopsy. And she left the room.

Just then came another friendly nurse who took me to the ultrasound room.As soon as she saw the lump like thing I was worried about, she smiled and said you are going to be fine. This only looks like fat. I was smiling too but I couldn’t believe it either. She quickly did an ultrasound for my sake and showed me those tissues on the monitor and they looked like any normal tissues and we also did comparison to lump/fat free areas on my breast. It was only then I started to feel better and ofcourse happy. And now all that was left was to see the doctor and get a written note signed from the doctor herself to say everything was fine.

The doctor arrived in another few minutes and gently examined my breasts and again pointed out that it was only an extension of axillary tissue. These tissues can be prominent when one puts on weight. So, the bottom line was do not gain weight. Holy moly! After One quick hug to the lovely doctor that she was,  I left the place feeling rather embarrassed instead of relieved.

Although I love being a woman, certain things about it make life difficult at times. That doesn’t mean we have to hate ourselves and our body. No doubt this whole episode has got me feeling relieved but it has also reminded me to love my body with all the fat, undone eyebrows, frizzy hair and what not…………………………………. it’s all in the mind!