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

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Same same but different different ( One pants, two ways!)

Hello there!

Today I wanted to show you how I style one of my fave pants, the side stripe pants two ways.

I had these pants for a while now and I cannot believe they have not made it to the blog yet.  One time I wore it back home, and my Father in law asked me if I just came back from the gym. I am still not sure if he was serious or just teasing me. Anyway, the pants are super comfy but they really can look like gym pants.

 I style them like this to run errands on the week end:

Denim shirt - Aeon,  Japan
Pants - Max,  India
Shoes - Pratunam market,  Thailand
African prints bangles -  Sandaga market,  Senegal

These bangles were gifted to me by a vendor in Sandaga market  after I bought a lot of stuff from his shop

Mud on my shoes after walking under the rain 

But when I wanted to look nicer for a lunch with friends, I went like that:

Lace scarf - H&M
Crochet shirt - D-mart
Pants - Max
Shoes - Walmart (super old)
Ring -  H&M

Buttons at the back

Crochet yoke and cuffs 

These shoes were bought in 2008. They certainly one of the oldest shoes I own 

It is actually very easy to style these pants. For a casual look, just thrown on some tee and sneakers; but for a fab one, add an elegant blouse and pumps. But I wonder if I can push the envelope further and wear them with dresses?
What do you think?

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Monday, August 24, 2015


Hello my readers!  How are you all?

I am fine. It has been weeks now since I came back to Pune with the family. Coming back has not been easy. Everything was not as smooth but we are slowly settling back into our routine. I have to admit that I am a bit depressed. I am sure everyone feels the same way about going back "home" after a long vacation. But for me it is even worse because I am coming back to this gloomy Monsoon season. I have not seen the sun in days because it is always cloudy and rainy. I am not against the rain,  I understand the need for it all. Yet,  it comes with so much negative things like puddles, mud, dark days,  flood and so forth. Moreover, I cannot take my kids out to enjoy the playground or the pool. I myself have to think twice before going for a morning walk around the neighborhood. And the week ends are spent entirely inside eating or sleeping.

Everything was so much better back home with the sun. In fact it was hot everyday and I remember complaining about that too. And the fact that it was probably cooler back in Pune. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

The weather being what is it,  I have been dressing accordingly since I have been back. I am always in dark slacks and dark shirts. I do not wear fancy stuff and the less accessories I have on the better I feel. Furthermore I favor black and grey and it is so not me. I kind of like it because I always wanted to try a minimalist look. Yet, today I could no longer take it. I went colorful again but mind you it is still very subtle.

Denim dress -  thrifted, Chathujak week end market, Thailand
Tee -  Spar store
Pants -  A'gaci
Shoes -  thrifted, Don Don down on Wednesday,  Japan
Arm candy -  Pink city Jaipur and Vivre Japan
Ring -  Seibu Japan

Arm candy and pair ring. 
I met a Lady from Cameroon at the store today who told me that she had the same ring but that was her wedding ring. Coincidentally I bought this ring and a similar one for my husband almost 13 years ago.  

Dark red lippie 

The shoes are originally from Gap... Fyi: They are not suitable for the rain 

I bought this dress during my last trip to Thailand. I like my clothes to be a bit big and I could not resist a denim with embroidery. The dress cost me almost nothing but I did not know how to style it then. Yesterday I wore it as it was with black leggings and black jelly shoes to face the rain but today I added a bit of color with my red shoes and red lipstick. The dress was super comfy and I think I will wear it a lot this year if I find different ways to style it. How would it look with a white maxi dress for starters?

Friday, August 14, 2015

DIY Draped faux wrap skirt

Hello everyone!

 I have been away from my sewing machine for weeks and I really miss it. So today I decided to go back to making clothes. I have to confess that I almost gave up after being uninspired. Thankfully I always keep pictures of all the things I plan on making always handy ( Thank you Pinterest).  I went back to it and found several pictures of skirts in Leopard print. I was torn between circle skirt and maxi pencil skirt. I dug my left over fabric from my "studio"  and found out that it was long enough for a maxi pencil skirt which would be easier to style than a short circle skirt. But at the last moment I went for a draped pencil long skirt for I am getting a tad obsessed with them (read more about it here.)  I knew that my material was not as perfect as Jersey for draping but I wanted to just try.

The left over material must have been around 2 meters.  I wrapped it around my waist to see how I would drape it. I struggled with the draping a bit because I was not sure  of what I wanted. If I tried a " tulip"  wrap,  the pleats were pouffy and made my hips wider. Plus the hem was going to be shorter. Finally I tried draping it like Indian women drape their Sarees. I started pleating the left over fabric in the middle,  pinned everything and saw over it to put it in place.

Draping ideas 

Once done,  I had to make a waistband for the skirt to mask all the ugly stitches (lol). Believe it or not, I cut a waistband from an old maternity pants and sew it on top. VoilĂ  !

Turban- Fidak fair in Dakar,
Glittered cardigan -  thrifted
Tank top -  Dmart
Skirt -  I made it
Shoes -  Busy Bee in Koregaon Park

The nude wedges from Busy Bee

Bejeweled red turban

What do you think of the result? I kind of like it.  It makes me feel kind of sexy. In fact it makes me feel too sexy and self conscious. On top of that I am not even sure how to style it. Sure I tried here but I think I will need much more courage to wear it outside of the house.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The day before and the days after

Eid is officially over. It has been a very hot and tiring day but it was worth it when the entire family sat and shared good food and laughter. In my experience the days before and after Eid are less stressful maybe because there is not much to do. In my parents house,  the day before we do prepare the food. My Dad has done the shopping weeks before and my Mom does the prepping like cutting onions and garlic,  cleaning and marinating the chicken. This year I helped out a bit. The days after, the fridge is still filled with left over food so there is no cooking done. We just relax and welcome family or friends who come to visit.

For this relaxing day I opted to wear my newest dress, fresh from the tailor. My dad bought the fabric that I loved instantly because it reminded me of a Saree. The fabric is called "Voile"  back home and I am not sure it is 100% cotton but it is very light. I asked my tailor to make me a simple long sleeves dress with no ruffles and other add ons. He took his sweet time with it and delivered it a week late but upon seeing the result,  I did not complain. The dress itself is very simple and he used the border to make the bodice. He also added darts so the dress is very fitted, almost tight. Underneath it I have a wrap around skirt and it also comes with a matching scarf.

Dress -  tailor made
Shoes -  Westside
Earrings -  Tsutsumi Japan
Ring -  bought from my cousin years ago

I really really really like this dress. And I got compliments on it when I went out. My mom also likes it so much that she asked me if I was leaving it behind to be washed which is code word for " leave it behind so I can wear it!". But I did not fall for that so I am packing it. This baby is going back with me to India and once I get a real Saree,  I am going to reproduce it. It might even be better in pink or yellow, right?

Our vacation is coming to an end. School is about to start for my babies so it is time to head "home" to India.  Time flew by so fast. I thought six weeks would take an eternity. I did not do all the things I planned on doing but I do not stress much about it.
  Anyway our long vacation taught us many things.  The kids did settle easier into a routine. Obviously they did not have to go to school but they did many activities. Plus they were content visiting our families and finally meeting their girl cousins.  Personally I learned that coming back home would not be such a dreadful idea.  There are a lot of things we will have a hard time getting used to. But could it be worse than moving to a new country abroad with different languages and cultures? I do not think so. Therefore long vacations like these are a good way to test the waters.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Korite 2015

It is officially know as Eid El Fitr but you may call it differently in your neck of the wood. Where I come from- which is Senegal- we call it Korite. For some reasons, there never seem to be a consensus on when exactly we should celebrate it. Religious leaders are always divided and their followers do not known what to do. As for my family we try to follow the consensus but this year until the late hour of Thursday we did not know whether or not we would fast or pray the following morning. We finally settled on not fasting on Friday and attend the prayers of Saturday.

 Korite is major in Senegal but not as major as Eid El Kabir. That is why the level of dressing up is usually tone down. Or so I thought! Apparently it is not the case anymore. I watched a fashion show during Ramadan a few weeks back just to get a sense of what was trending in terms of traditional outfits Senegalese women would wear for Eid. I was blown away. There was a wide range of new styles, embroidery, embellishment, color play . It was a bit dizzying. I was like: "I cannot compete with that!". I had already planned to wear an embroidered tunic my mother gave me a year ago. She told me that it would be fine but after watching the fashion show I started to wonder if I would be a little dressed down. But I neither had the time nor the funds to go make me or buy a new outfit that would be up to par. Thankfully my mother in law who is a designer made a beautiful embroidered tunic that I wore.

Tunic, skirt and scarf -  gift from Mother in law
Clutch -  Harwin, Houston
Shoes -  Saturday market, Dakar
Jewelry - gift from hubby

As usual, I hate the way I tied my scarf. I really need to do something to learn how to tie it properly

From where I stand! 

The outfit was exactly what I was looking for. It is fitted without being tight and long enough.  It is heavily embroidered but in a muted way. So it is not so in your face like other embroidery I saw. Moreover, it is a color I like. It is like my mother in law went inside my mind to dig out what I wanted.  She also made others for my sister in law and her daughter in pink and green that are very striking. I wished we wore it all at the same time so we could be twinning. The only problem with the outfit is that it is not in cotton but in a fabric called Bazin that my Senegalese people love.  It is very beautiful but not suitable for the heat. I wore it once and already developed a small rash. I had to change into cotton clothes.  I think that I will wear it again but only during cooler months.

Eid was uneventful. In my country, married women spend Eid at their in laws. The girls of the house aka me, my husband's sister, and my sister in law (my husband's brother's wife) took care of the lunch while my Mother in law cooked the porridge we all eat after the prayer. The taste differs from house to house but this time we had it with a peanut butter sauce that is super heavy but oh so tasty.  We call it Ngalax. As per tradition, people in the neighborhood or the family serve each other Ngalax. When I was a kid, my mother's fridge would be filled with Ngalax from our neighbors.  Moreover she also sent me to give her Ngalax away. Those were the good old days.
Anyway after we cooked lunch and ate, I went back home to rest. I had been cooking and cleaning under the horrid heat all day and I did not have enough energy to move. But we also had to visit my parents house. Truth be told I did not even wear my Eid outfit on Eid day. I was working all day so I wore clothes I could afford to get dirty. Then when I was off to my parents I was too exhausted to doll up. So I did all that the following day.

I have not spent Eid back home since 2002. Things changed for me but also for the country. But it is still a pleasure to see the gleeful spirit all around, this ambiance of love, the sharing of food and laughter around family and friends.  The Senegalese "Teranga"  we call it. God willing, it will always be present in Senegal .. And I hope it was present in your home and country my other Muslim brothers and sisters.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Friday best!

It is Friday and it can only mean one thing for Muslim people: it is Jummah day. It is the day that all of us go to the mosque and pray. Senegal, which is a country with a majority of Muslim people is no exception. And it also means that Senegalese people tend to wear traditional attire on Friday whether they go to the Mosque or not. It is actually interesting to see people in their Friday best. People in my country do favor the traditional garb even if by now it has been updated umpteen times and looks less and less like the original one. Therefore you would see people wear it for work or running errands on the daily basis. But on Fridays they wear their best ones.  Being stuck in town on numerous Fridays during Prayer time, I did notice a kaleidoscope of colors and fabrics and prints rushing to the Mosque.  The crowd is mostly men for few women tend to attend Mosque on Friday.

As a self respecting Muslim and Senegalese, I do wear traditional attire when I am home on Fridays.  I do not attend the Masjid (shame on me, I know!) but I try to dress up.  This Friday I am adorning this newly tailored dress.  I purchased the fabric during my shopping spree for my business in India. I was drawn to the color I do not possess, the print I found lovely but also the fact that the fabric was in cotton. I had wanted to sew a Kaftan but at the last minute I decided to wait until I arrive home to see what the latest fashion would be. Apparent it is all about dresses or "Robe"  as we commonly called it. Everywhere I look women are wearing this type of dress with empire waist and ruffled hem. They favor cotton as a fabric because Summers in Senegal can be pretty hot. But they add all kinds of embellishment to it.  I went the simple route and asked my tailor to make me something a tad embellished but basic.  He came up with this dress.

Scarf ( came with the fabric of the dress)  M. G. Road
Dress -  Taylor made
Shoes -  Zara
Necklace - some fair in Pune

I really like the embellishment consisting of adding what we call here "Jour"  but also some pleats. My only problem is the sleeves I find big and I am not a big fan of the ruffle at the cuff. It is the style here but I wanted something more simple so I could wear the dress even abroad.

When I tried it on,  my husband (my very own fashion police)  said that the dress looked like a dress his Grandma would wear. He was right for this was the fashion years ago, starting during colonial times. Mix raced Christians used to wear them but soon enough the entire country followed. The dress was known as Gourmettes then named after the women who wore it originally.

Gourmette style dress - source: http://www.farrakhanfactor.com 

The style went away but came back again in the 90s. I actually owned a similar dress in black with embroidered pink flowers gifted to me when I was a teen. I have not worn it in years. But  I think I could still wear it today and be trendy. Fashion trends come in cycles. What was outdated yesterday can become trendy today.

So what do you think of my latest dress? I am thinking of adding a few more to my collection using fabrics from India. What say you?
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