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A 30 something blogging about her love affair with Fashion.....among other things!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fashionably late

I was invited to a party at a lounge not far from my place. I was excited as anyone could be because it was a grown up party meaning no kids allowed. I panicked at first because I did not have a babysitter but a quick chat with my helper solve the issue.
Anyway the party was from 4 to 8 pm. I arrived fashionably late at 4:35 to discover the place half empty. Apparently India is like my home country Senegal, people show late at events. No fuss! I chatted with the people who were there and assessed everyone's style. There was no dress code but people dressed up. It was casual chic. Girls wore figure hugging or babydoll type cocktail dresses with lace, animal prints, floral prints, sequins paired with booties or pumps or platform. The preferred length was above the knee. But some girls showed up wearing Indian Anarkali and gowns. The boys were very casual with some wearing colored denim paired with velvet jackets or crisp white shirt. It was a young crowd so the outfits were trendy, sexy and colorful.
As for myself I went for my Leopard maxi dress with red accents.

Maxi dress - H&M
Shoes - thrifted
Necklace - Fidak fair back in 2002


I did not want to go buy something special as my wardrobe is bursting with dresses I never wore. I chose this dress because it hides my problem areas. Other dresses that I tried could not camouflage my butt and thighs. Moreover most of them being sleeveless, require a jacket, something I did not want to do under this heat. I did struggle with the accessories particularly my scarf. I guess I wanted something in the golden family. Anyway, it just made me realize that my wardrobe is not completely party ready. But that is alright because I party like once a year anyway.




Remind me never to take pics after the party when my make up is ruined by sweat...


Some girls at the party


This girl had the dopest Anarkali but what impressed me were her shoes. 7 inches platform with rhinestones. So cute yet dangerous....

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Alterations

I hate tailors. Ok, "hate" maybe a strong word, therefore let us just say that I do not like tailors. On one hand they never quite do what you ask of them. This one will make that midi skirt a maxi skirt just because he thinks it is modest, and that one will make that dress tight just because he thinks it will be sexy enough. I mean I need a tailor, not a designer so you can keep your input to the minimum please.
On the other they never respect deadlines. They will tell you come retrieve that dress on Saturday and when you show up, they have not even cut the fabric yet they are taking on new customers. They usually blame it on power cuts but I think it is just pure lazyness.
With all that, you understand why I prefer to shop retail than going to a tailor.
I thought things would change when I came to India. There are many tailors here and they do not ask for crazy prices. But how to decide if they are good enough. After procrastinating for many months, I decided that I needed to give them something to alter first and if I was satisfied with the result, I would move on to more serious business like a dress.
I chose one tailor across the street from my house. I liked it because it was so close. But the location is not that great for it is dirty and reeks of urine. The shop itself is nice and well organised. I met the tailor who barely speaks English and he was not friendly at all. On top of that he lacked vision. He would just look at a garment and say things like it cannot be altered, when I know for a fact it could. Finally he agreed to alter a tunic top that was getting too tight. The job took him two days ( or at least he asked me to come back in two days). And voila the result



Printed tunic - tailored back home and altered in India
Pants - Max
Shoes - Forever 21
Nickname necklace - DIY

The whole thing cost me 120 rupees (less than $2) but I did not like the experience. I would like for a tailor to be good and punctual but he needs to be creative. He needs to look at that jumpsuit and tell me "yes we could turn it into a maxi dress but you will need to buy more fabric" instead of " it can't be done".
I am still on the hunt for a tailor like that, and pray that I find it because there are so many things I want to design....my mood board is bursting....


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Happy Eid Al Adha

It is Eid and I am sad. I am in India, miles away from my family aka parents, brothers, cousins, aunties and uncles. I got my smaller family with me and we are going to make the most of it but it is not home. Eid for me was the ultimate festival back home. All my cousins, family friends ( mostly Christians) will come to hang for the day so the house was packed. We would cook tonnes of food: french fries, mustard onion sauce with olives and barbecue mutton among other delicacies. The entire day my Mother would busy herself making the house appropriate, first barking orders to the help and aunties to clean it entirely and then bask it in incense. My Dad who is allergic would retreat to the backyard washing the mutton with my brothers and uncles. Then before the guests would arrive, my Dad would have sacrificed the sheep, cleaned it, carved it and handed it over to my Mother who would season and cook it. It was a long process and often we would eat in the late afternoon. But we did not complain much as we had other entrees to snack on, and all these people to have fun with. Then around five, everyone would disappear. We would all wear our best attire and go visit relatives and friends. For women, it was a pleasure to walk around in high stilettos, decked in jewelry and fresh braids or Senegalese twists, they new dress recently stitched in the latest style. It was like a fashion show. The ambiance was peaceful and jovial. The children would go door to door asking for Ndeweneul or money offered during those occasions.
Over the last few years, I spent Eid at my in laws and although we were a smaller group, it was still fun. My mother in law would insist on getting us new clothes, oversee the entire mutton barbecue operation and throw us out of the house as soon as we finished eating and cleaning up so that we could go visit relatives. I would work all day and look like Cinderella before the ball because I had charcoal stains all over my clothes, and on my hands and sometimes face. But the fun part was turning into Cinderella afterwards. Dressing up the kids to match their Dad's clothes was so cute as well. And boy, they all looked so handsome.

I miss all that. I miss my family the most during those times. I could celebrate on my own but it will never be the same. And since I do not have friends to invite or visit here, I just went out for a nice lunch.  Here is hoping for a better Eid next year Inchallah.


Anyway, wishing you all Happy Eid Al Adha wherever you are and whomever you are spending it with.


Kaftan - Zara
Pants - H&M
Shoes - Sole to Soul
Necklace worn as headband - thrifted
Bracelets - gift from Hubby



This Kaftan is super old, more than 10 years. It is pure silk so even after all the years, it is still good. I am planning to make me another one using scarves. 


Played with Henna again

T- straps sandals





Thursday, October 10, 2013

100 dresses

- New dress says my oldest son as I walk out of my bedroom, dressed and ready to take them to school.
- No, I replied, this dress is as old as you.
_ 7 years! he cries

For some reasons, this is the only maternity dress I own and I bought it after giving birth to my first son. I always liked dresses like this one and after seeing the blue and brown combo at the mall in Houston, I decided to treat myself. And I really like this dress for it is comfy, automatically classes you up, and still fits after all the weight I gain. It is almost a perfect dress for due to the material, you never need to iron it. So why is it that after 7 years, this is only the 3 rd time I am wearing it? Well, it is sleeveless and plunging which means that I need to layer it with something, plus I am not a big fan of black leggings with the brown and blue combo. Nevertheless, I think that this baby deserves to be included in my Mommy routine for it has a slimming effect.

Dress - Motherhood Maternity
Cardigan- thrifted
Leggings - Star Bazaar
Shoes -

- Mommy? How many dresses did you buy after L. ( my second son) was born asks my oldest
- A hundred, I replied
- A hundred!  they both exclaimed with incredulous eyes

Ok, I am probably exagerating. Or am I?




Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pimp that shirt

The hubby and I cleaned our wardrobe after we moved to India. Among the thing he discarded was this olive green heavy shirt with a faded collar. When I saw it in the throw away pile, I retrieved it thinking that it would make a great jacket or cover up for fall since it is big enough. I wanted to pimp it with studs but I looked everywhere and could not find it. Sequins, yes! Beads, plenty but studs...never heard of it. I was even tempted to buy a studded shirt I saw at the mall and get the studs from there but they were not enough. So I just gave up and decided to use some green glass beads I had for a while. I sew the beads on the collar and the pocket.

And here is the result. What you think? Pretty cool, right? I hear it never gets too cold in Pune, so this shirt will come in handy when the temperature drops. 



All you need is needle, beads, thread, scissors ( optional)


Just saw one bead at the time forming a pattern 


End result








Saturday, October 5, 2013

Zardosi Embroidery


Today I wanted to tell you about Zardosi Embroidery. I participated in this two day workshop at Koregaon Park. An expert in the technique tought us about it. Zardosi is a form or embroidery that involves something like a crochet needle. The fabric is laid flat on a wooded frame and held with threads. Then the expert takes the needle and pierces through the fabric on top to take out the thread that he holds underneath the fabric and makes pattern. It is so fast and small that you can make intricate designs. But what I loved the most was that you could easily use beads, sequins, mirrors with that technique. And the result is that you obtain a professional sequin design that lays flat on the fabric just like machine work. I love sequins and had been killing myself adding them to tees without having the desired effect. After the workshop I realized that I would get a better result for my DIY if I used the Zardosi technique.
 However there is a small problem: it is hard. In all two days I barely managed to make a small pattern. And you should have seen my fabric, it was covered with holes. The speaker told us that we needed to practice to become good. After all he has been doing it for 12 years so we should not expect to be at his level in just 2 days. 
I am not sure I will keep on practicing Zardosi embroidery. I just started normal embroidery and it is hard already. But I kept the contact of the speaker. Who knows? I may hire him for another workshop or to do some work on a dress.

Some pictures of the workshop. (Sorry for the low quality as they were taken with my phone) 


The instructor and some of his work 

Friday, October 4, 2013

Best places to shop in Pune

As a shopaholic, I am never quite at home in a new location until I find a great place to find good deals on clothing. I have been in Pune for more than 6 months now and I think I know my way around town well enough to share a few tips. So there it is: my favorite places to find a bargain in Pune.

Malls
For a small city like Pune, there are way too many malls (Inorbit, Central, SGS, Ishanya to name a few). I should not really complain because they did not exist a few years ago. I usually do not like malls because they are way overpriced but once (or twice like August and January) in a while, during sales times, the prices are slashed. Then the mall becomes a one stop shop for everything you need. I am very partial to Phoenix market city mall located in Vinam Nagar because it has cheap shops I like such as Max, Reliance trends, and Much More. It also has Zara and Mango if you are into high street fashion. As a mall, you can find everything under one roof for the entire family: clothes, toys, books, grocery. It is packed with fun things like a cinema, a bowling alley and game arcade. But really the mall is so huge that it is perfect for a power walk.

Markets
There are many markets in Pune. But I prefer the following:

M.G. (Mahatma Ghandi) road market is a market located at the street with the same name. It has many shops lined in arcades on both sides of the road but also street sellers. You can find everything in MG road but it is great for Indian wear. Depending on where you shop, prices may differ so never buy at the first shop you enter unless you feel it is a unique piece. Plus you can always bargain with the shop seller. M.G. road can be pretty overwhelming because it is big, and it is never easy to find parking for your car. Nevertheless, the shopping experience there is fun.

Not far from M.G. road is a small shopping arcade called Clover Center. It has two floors lined with shops selling Indian and western wear at affordable prices. However what makes Clover Center special is that it is home to many tailors, fabric stores and materials stores. If you are into DIY or tailoring, that is the place to visit.

F.C. ( Fergusson College) road is another market that takes its name from the street it is located. F.C. road is located in Pune's college district so the market is designed to please college students. One one side you can find shopping malls and name brands shops and behind them you have street sellers and smaller shops in tiny alleys. If you want to find a good bargain, I suggest you ditch the mall and arcades and go for the street sellers. They have the good stuff sometimes mixed with the lower quality one. So you have to take your time and browse well. In one of my trips to the market, I found Zara buttoned down and H&M tops for 200 Rupees each. I could not believe it. F.C. road is also a great place to buy accessories such as clutch bags and Indian bangles. But bear in mind that being a market in a college area, it is chaotic. Moreover traffic to get there is a pain at all hours. So do not go there when time is an issue.

Koregaon Park
Koregaon is an oddity in this post as it not a mall ( There is Koregaon Park Plaza located on the opposite side), nor a market. Koregaon is a posh area of the city that many expats enjoy to live in. It has many restaurants and bars but also a famous Ashram. It is also home to Pune 1st and only posh Starbucks coffee shop. On the main road but also on many different lanes perpendicular to the road are small boutiques filled with trendy wear. Often these boutiques offer clothes from overseas like Oasis, Forever 21, even Ross. But there are also a wide variety of knock off items. The prices are between the mall and the market and you cannot really bargain. But I say go there if you want to find that trendy Zara lookalike dress you do not want to pay full price for at the mall. My favorite shops there are Cupid on the main Road and Brandmart on Lane 7. I really like the later as they offer name brands for 80% off. However, since they are small boutiques, do not expect them to have new items every two weeks like the mall. Give them at least 3 months before returning there. Often they will even ask for your contact so that they can email you when they have new arrivals or sales.

Fairs
I said it before and I will say it again: Fairs are the best way to shop in Pune, particularly if you are looking for that special something to decorate your house or that special Indian dress. Pune has fairs fairly often in all parts of the city so do not feel bad if you miss one out. I usually buy Indian accessories, dress material, ornaments for the house and Chappals there. The atmosphere is very fun as you can discuss and bargain with the shop owners who come from all over India sometimes.

Do not overlook grocery stores
Some grocery stores like Big Bazaar, Star Bazaar or Dmart have nice collection of clothes for a cheap price. I found almost all my cotton button downs at Dmart for less than 300 Rupees. However those places are often packed and disorganized. On top of that the staff will harass you to enter this way, or to keep your big bag secure in their lockers. But what I hate the most is that there are only two cashiers open when there is a huge queue. That is why I often think twice before shopping there even if it is cheap. If you have the patience for all that crap, go there.

There, I share all my knowledge with you. If someone has something to add, please holla. This post may be updated as I venture in the city more.



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