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A 30 something housewife blogging about her love affair with Fashion.....and travelling and food!

Monday, December 14, 2015

How to wear a Saree (Saree party bis)

I know! I know! I am probably boring you with all things related to Indian ethnic wear. But I can't help it if I am mesmerized by it. So bear with me just a little bit. It will be over soon.  (or not!)

I attended another Saree party recently. I was not about to go because I was busy. But the host told me that no one ever knew when it would be their last Saree party (In other words, as expats we never know ahead of time when we are about to relocate). Plus a friend wanted me to accompany her as it would have been her first Saree party. 

This time it was at Le Meridien hotel which is a fancier and bigger place than the Hyatt hotel, I think. The hotel is a bit far from where I live reason why I have never been. But it was just beautiful hence many places to take pictures. Even the ladies washroom was gorgeous. There were less women this time and no dancing which gave us an opportunity to just mingle. I met two beautiful ladies from Indonesia with whom I had a lovely chat. And just before leaving I discovered that the husband of one of them works at the same company as mine, and they even enjoy lunches together. How small is this world?

For this Saree party, I already had a Saree waiting.You would think that I would go for it but no! That Saree is way too precious. Plus I did not have a matching blouse. I had other options but in the end I settled for a royal blue Saree with gold embroidery I bought for my business. I tried it around the house a couple of times with a golden and cream Kurta. I wanted to wear it differently, like this below:



Rinku Sobti designs


However, the day of the party, my maid who dresses me would not have it. "It does not look nice, Madame!" She says. Quickly, I went for a fuchsia blouse I had for ages that is long enough to cover all the love handles but short enough to please my maid. She dressed me and my friend and off we went.


My maid "helping" me wear the Saree (to understand the process look at the pictures from left up, going down to right!)



Scarf - do not remember (probably Laxmi road)
Saree - Shivaji market
Blouse - HM
Shoes - Westside
Oversized clutch - Utsav fair
Earrings and necklace - Utsav fair
Bangles - half a gift from Hubby and the other half bought at Chandar Nagar
Ring - Fidak fair, Dakar 



Yes, this was the ladies room!





View from the top!



Golden! 


The look is very different. But the blouse could not stay in place. I had to tuck it in and readjust it from time to time. Maybe I should have pinned it in place like the Saree. I was grateful there was no dancing this time, otherwise my whole outfit would have unraveled. However, I was much more comfortable than the first time. Maybe I am starting to get used to wearing a Saree. Still it takes a lot of time and energy to wear one.
 And I am not sure how Indian women can wear them on the daily basis and even cook, clean, ride bicycles in them. I guess they had a lifetime of practice as opposed to me who just started.

So what do you think?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Replicate (DIY/ DIM: Yellow vest)

It is not mystery for my readers that I have been dying to own a yellow dress from sometimes now. However I never got lucky at finding the perfect one. A while back, tired of searching, I decided to make my own. But it turned out to be an epic fail. Once again the sleeves were too tight. I was beginning to give up when after checking pictures on Pinterest, I decided to turn it into a vest. The project took an entire Sunday afternoon and night because as easy as I thought it would be, adding a collar was a pain. I ended up with this:



Scarf - old but rarely worn
Top - Uniqlo
Yellow vest - made it
Skinny jeans ( that still fit, Yeah!) - HM
Shoes - Forever 21
Bag - M.G. road
Watch and ring- gift from Hubby
Necklace - Clover center

I absolutely hate the collar on the vest because it is a poor job. Also, the vest looks wrinkled just because I kept on stitching over and over the fabric, which kind of ruined it. But apart from that I think I did an OK job. Next time I will just stick to collarless vest which are way easier to make and look good with  (collar) shirts.



I finally wore the vest today after hiding it for so long to have lunch with a former classmate from fashion school. She gave me compliments on it which made me see the vest in a new light. Seeing fashion bloggers I follow wearing yellow vests also boost my confidence in mine.



If you want to make a vest without collar, you just need to cut an opening at the front of a dress that is a size larger, hem the opening closed on both sides and you are done. If you have better skills, try adding a slit at the back or some kind of embellishment to make it look like a coat. I added buttons in mine.


Look at the back!




I entered this outfit for an Instagram challenge a fellow blogger has initiated which centers around thriftiness. This outfit is not really thrifted but since I made the vest for peanuts, I reckon it was good enough to be featured. The challenge is over now, but you can always check the featured outfits by using the hashtag #ABCsofthrifting or go follow @dinasdays (she is super fun and thrifty) .

So what do you think of my vest? Do you like the way I styled it?


Accessory details!


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Monday Blues

Recently I have been getting the blues. I am stressed, anxious, depressed. I shout one minute and cry the next. One day I had to take a moment to think because my son was like "Mom! Are you anxious? You look stressed!". It was ridiculous. I have reasons to be stressed and anxious and depressed: when the present is not like you have hoped twenty years ago, and the future is as uncertain as the stock market, you would also have sleepless nights.

Thankfully, I have found a cure for those days I feel like standing in front of a passing car. It is belly dance class. I love to dance so joining a class to exercise was a no brainer. Plus I always wanted to learn Shakira's moves. But what I did not know in joining this class was that on top of learning killer moves and burning some fat, I would meet fun ladies. Our class is pretty cosmopolitan even if the majority is Indian. But we also have all different group ages, different social background. Yet those do not matter. We all come to have a good time and learn.

And we do have a good time every class. Truth be told, I used to be lazy to go because the hours were too late for me. The class is at 11 am but I am someone who likes to exercise earlier in the morning, otherwise I would not move at all. Therefore, I missed many classes. But what motivated me to come back was doing the choreography of a Filmi song I was addicted to. I have not missed many classes ever since. Even when I was sick I would go because I would feel so much better afterwards.

A few weeks back, we were supposed to be glamed for a Diwali party for class. I decided to wear this:




Scarf - I cannot remember
Dupatta and Kurta - Got in Japan 9 years ago
Skirt - Clover center
Maang Tikka ( that thing on my forehead) - Clover center
Bangles -Chandan Nagar market
Earrings and necklace set - Women 's Entrepreneur fair
Ring - Fidak Fair
Anklet - just gifted by my Belly dance teacher
Sandals - Fidak Fair









I got dressed in a short time because I knew I wanted to go for this look. I was just hesitating between this tunic and another one. But upon arriving in class, I realized that I went a bit overboard. Everyone dressed up but mind you, in a still casual, ready to sweat kind of way. I cared for a second and moved one. We danced to different songs and was even asked by the teacher to choreograph a few. Then we all took turns taking pictures, while making all kind of poses and faces. It was hilarious. And poof, just like that the blues were gone.


Golden 


All kinds of embellishment!


Lace or Embroidery? It is probably Mukaish (Google it!)


Some of my fave Indian jewelry
 Obviously my scarf came off during class so I had to change the style.

I do not know what the future holds, but one thing is for sure: If ever I leave this place, I will miss my belly dance crew and class.


We had to take a picture of us wearing the anklets the teacher gave us. Can you spot my foot?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

More is More (Dandiya night)

The thing I love the most about Indian ethnic wear is that like my home country's it is very colorful and full of embellishment. Furthermore, the accessories are also over the top. It is sometimes overwhelming but it is also a treat for the eyes.

Hi there!

Today I am going to present you my Dandiya outfit. India celebrated the festival of Navratri with prayers and fasts at the end of October. But for me the best part of the festival is the nine continuous nights of Garba dance. People dress up in Gujarati style (where the festival originated) and dance all night.
I have already experienced Dandiya since I arrived in India and it has never been disappointing. Although this year, I was invited to a few around the city, I preferred to attend the one at my kids school for it is safe and with people I know. The previous years, I dressed up a bit (read here) choosing comfort over fabulosity. But this time I wanted to go all the way. I thought about purchasing a complete Garba outfit with Embroidery mirror work and all that jazz at the market. However as gorgeous as those outfits can be, I could not see myself wearing them somewhere other than Dandiya nights. And how many more of those events will be coming my way, God only knows. Therefore I opted to get nice Indian ethnic wear that could be mixed with western wear in the future. Moreover I picked things that were already on my list that I could easily style separately.
  I got a skirt with golden embroidery at the hem that I have been ogling for a while (actually I already had a gorgeous one in white but since I was not so keen about the color, my brother convinced me to sell it for our business). I also purchased a white Kurta with Chikan work (I also had one of those but my Mom liked it so much I gave it to her). To jazz up the look, I added an embroidered jacket and a Dupatta (oversized scarf) because you cannot dance Garba without a Dupatta. It would not feel right. To complete the look I went all out with silver Indian jewelry: a choker, bangles, ring and earrings.  It may be a tad too much for people who are not used to the Indian way. But I promise you that even with all that, I was under dressed at the party.

Scarf - Blouse fabric from Saree bought in Jaipur
Chickan kurta and Embroidered skirt - Clover center
Embroidered jacket - Dmart
Tie dye dupatta and Maang Tikka (that thing on my forehead) - Chandan Nagar market
Clutch bag - Utsav fair
Glitter wedges - Saturday market, Dakar
Choker and ring - Mariplex flea market
Earrings and bracelet - M.G. road




I originally planned to wear a Senegalese dress I had made with Indian fabric but upon trying both outfits and taking pictures I realized that I looked leaner with the skirt than the dress. So I went for it.


The Senegalese dress on the right 

The Dandiya was great. At my kids school it is more a charity event with proceeds going to local organizations. This year there was a fashion show with school kids in which I volunteered to be a judge. I was treated like a royalty by being given food and other treats and being seated at the principal office with other judges before the event.


Judging away!

 The judging was a difficult because we had to see almost 150 kids all decked in Indian wear. It was hard to choose since every other outfit was so gorgeous. I wished I had time to take more pictures because the kids really went all out. All through the show I kept wandering where they bought all these outfits. I was also itching to take pictures but had literally no time. Thankfully me and my fellow judges did not have to deliberate at the end. We just had to rate the outfits and the math was left for someone else. After the show we were also treated to some dances by the teachers. It was fantastic and all colorful. I kept saying there were no sequins left in Gujarat for some outfits had embellishment on every inch.


Take a peek of the teacher's dance 

Finally the dancing started and I joined my belly dance crew (that I invited) on the dance floor. We got crazy and it was super fun. After 15 minutes I was sweating like a pig and went out for air. Then, I treated the kids to games and food. We went home at around 9:30 pm.


My accessories for the night 


With my Korean friend 

My biggest regret of the night was as usual not being able to take pictures of all the outfits I found memorable. But I kept a mental note.

I have to say that Dandiya is by far my favorite Indian festival and now you know why.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I wear what I want

Hello my readers! How are you all doing? Can you believe that 2015 is almost over?

Anyway, I was having a friendly exchange on Instagram with a blogger I follow. She posted a throwback picture of her wearing a high and low skirt (or a mullet skirt as she called it), and wished she could still rock it. Then she asked her followers what trends they secretly wished came back. I thought for a second and replied that nothing since I wore what I like whether it was trendy or not.

And it is the entire truth. I guess sometimes I wear things that are much outdated. I refuse to get rid of clothes because their shelf life have expired. I am up for trying new trends but would never give up on something I like too much because a bunch of designers who want to make money decided that it was outdated. No! And here are the reasons why:

Take the high and low skirts, they were popular a few years back. But I did not like them. Still, I decided to try one at Forever 21. I did not like it on me. A few months later, I came across a high and low dress shirt at a different store. I tried it on and it fitted me perfectly. I also liked the cut better. So I purchased it and I have been wearing it ever since. I took a chance on the trend but with a different approach. I went for what worked for me instead of blindingly following the trend.



Scarf - Big bazaar
Fringe kimono - Thrifted
High and low dress shirt - G.U.
Pants - Fbb
Shoes - Sandaga market, Dakar
Watch - gift

Another reason why I keep my outdated clothes is that you could always refashion them. If they are really outdated you could always revamp them with your sewing skills, or style them differently. If they are well made clothes, you can keep them for years with a few alterations here and there.




Furthermore, it is expensive to buy trendy clothes all the time. Every year, designers come up with at least four different collections and brand new trends, which every other high street store will copy en masse and deliver to us. Do I have to renew my wardrobe every season? Who does have time and money for that? Plus, think about the ecological and economical repercussions it has around the world.



On top of that, I do like my clothes. Some of them hold sentimental value and I would not get rid them of them even if they do not fit me anymore. I would frame them or keep them for my future daughters to wear. Maybe that is the hoarder in me talking. But I would love someday to have grand daughters rummaging through my stuff, digging up treasures of clothes, and thinking of new ways to rock them.





 From the moment I could choose what I wanted to wear, I kept on wearing what I wanted: from the baggy pants and sweatshirts of my tomboy days,  the sexy and sheer tops of my college days, and the now more modest clothes. I picked them all. I would accept advice on what not to wear or on how to style a typical outfit but at the end of the day I would wear what I like. And it is easy to tell when I dislike a clothing item because I would never feel comfortable wearing it. And I guess that is what makes my style unique. I am pretty much unlike anybody you will see out there. For some people I may be stylish, other would call me bold and for others I would be completely weird. But that is okay because artists are always misunderstood (see what I did there!)



Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Palazzo or Trying something new

I admit it : I do not like change. I am perfectly happy in my comfort zone. I am confident in my routine. Yet,  I get bored easily so from time to time I like to try something new or do something different. It may be trying some new food, going somewhere unexpected. But the easiest change for me is to take a chance on clothing, which is what I did a couple of months ago.

It was bargain time and I was looking for clothes to score that I absolutely needed. I found a pastel pink cotton trousers that have been on my list for ages. But since it was "buy one get one for free" at the store,  I went looking for another thing to get. I spotted  a cute pinkish color Paisley maxi skirt. It is funny because I never really liked Paisley.  I tried them both but the pants were a tad too tight for comfort. The reasonable thing to do was to abandon both items because I definitely did not need another maxi skirt. But I kept the skirt and spotted a printed palazzo pants at the last minute. I went home with both items.

Truth is I always wanted to try palazzo pants. But unfortunately every time I wore them in dressing rooms, they never did anything for my figure. They made my hips and butt wider than they already were.  So I never went near them again. I just put them on the list of clothes I shall never wear like one shoulder dresses.  But this one was beautiful on me and did not make me feel like a giant whale. Interestingly, I was so happy that these palazzo pants worked that  even before wearing them,  I went and bought a scarf printed one several days later. I guess it proves to show that once you let go of your inhibition,  the world can really become your oyster.


Turban - Sandaga market
Blouse/ nighty -  Thrifted
Pants - Max
Clutch -  Sandaga market
Shoes -  Ross
Necklace - gift

Today is the emptieth time I am wearing the palazzo pants. The  first time I tried them, I did not know how to style them. But once I did I was hooked. I wore them non stop for a week. I was actually worried that people might think that it was the only thing in my closet. Today I wore them with heels and a blouse made for the bedroom. I was having a brunch with some friends and just wanted to wear something other than jeans and tee.








 I am not hundred percent happy about how I wore the pants today. I think a shorter top would accentuate the pants more and make me less bulky. Plus the nighty was not suitable for this hot weather. I changed as soon as I got home.


Nevertheless I see more wear out of these pants. Next I want to try them with a white long tunic or dress shirt.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Saree Party

Have you ever heard of a Saree party?

Well, in India a Saree party is party where a group of women (mostly expats) dress up in beautiful Sarees and party. It could be for a birthday party, a charity event or just for pure fun.

I have always wanted to attend a Saree party but in my two and half years in Pune, I never got the chance. The number one reason is that I am not connected. I do not know the right people, the people who organize these events. For that you have to join expats clubs and I never officially did. Once, a friend of mine invited me to go to one but it was very last minute and I did not have a Saree at hand.

This time, I got the opportunity to attend. A nice Thai lady I met in Belly dance class was having a Saree party for her birthday and she invited me ( I guess going to those belly dances classes I was so lazy to, finally paid off). Apparently she is the organizer of Saree parties around town.  This time,  I had enough time to prepare for the party. I went saree shopping with the Hubby the previous week end. He helped me pick up two gorgeous Sarees. I am used to buying Sarees for my business since I arrived in India. But somehow I never got to buy one for myself because:
1- I do not know how to wear it
 and
 2- I never had any opportunity (party, wedding..) to wear one till now.

Even while buying I was having second thoughts but my husband convinced me that I deserved a fancy saree after all. Moreover, I discovered that even if I cannot drape a Saree by myself, I can get it tailored to look like I did which will save me a lot of hassle if I want to wear it again. For this party, I did not have time to take it to the tailor but I ended up making a matching blouse by myself which I was very proud of.

I bought my Saree at a place in Shivaji market run by an old couple who are super lovely and give great discount. I fell in love with the color and simple embellishments. Whenever I go shopping for Sarees, there are a lot I do not pick because there is either too much color mix, pattern mix, embellishment or all of the above. You know I  love colors, patterns and embellishments but sometimes I think Indians overdo it.
Furthermore,  I probably got my Saree at a fraction of what my other expats friends did. A friend of mine told me that she went to the Mall before a Saree party and got every thing at almost a $150. And by everything, I mean Saree, blouse, petticoat (to wear underneath the Saree), and accessories like Saree belt, Indian earrings and matching necklace.  I understand why she went to the mall, it is easier. But I am more of a frugal person. I will never put a hundred dollars on a banging outfit that I am more likely to wear only once. So to the market I went and got mine for less than 2000 rupees ($30). I made the blouse myself using lace fabric that I had bought ages ago and never used. And as a petticoat I used a black one I had bought at the same shop to wear under my sheer skirts. I already owned some Indian jewelry so I did not have to get any. I was pretty satisfied with my frugal shopping.

Here is how I styled it:


Blouse - Made it myself
Saree -  Shivaji Market
Shoes - Marche du samedi (Saturday market) in Dakar
Head Accessories - Clover Center
Bangles - Harwin, Houston
Bag - Thrifted in Japan






My maid helped me dress up for the party because even though I tried it myself (following instructions on Youtube videos), it is hard.



Sequin details


The accessories.
 I had plan to wear high heel sling backs but since I was going to dance, I opted for my glittered wedges instead.


The lace blouse I made 


Women from all nationalities dressed up Indian style


Most of these ladies's husbands work in the same company as mine. How fun it was to bump into them! 
 

My belly dance group after our performance (yes, we danced but I will not let you see it!)

The party was held at a Chinese restaurant that I love for the decor is breathtaking. There were many women there from all continents, some I knew, others that I got to meet, all decked up the Indian way. Everybody was dolled up from head to toe. Some chose subtle colors, others went all the way. But it was so beautiful to see. It is true that playing dress up is so much fun at any age.

I left the party early, way too early for my taste but I was exhausted. Dressing up may be fun but it takes a toll. I went home happy and grateful. Yet, I cannot wait to attend another one of these gatherings. And lucky me, I already have another Saree waiting...
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