Fashion for good with MaalGaadi!

Festive season is coming up, and while it is a time to celebrate, it’s also a time to share the cheer.

As the days pass, I find myself drawn to good causes. I really want to make a mark in the way I approach and support causes close to my heart. This forms a large part of the revamp of my blog {coming up soon!}.

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On that note, I was invited to preview the KaMaalGaadi Festive Trunk Show on Wednesday. The show is in collaboration with Becoming I Foundation (a youth NGO that mobilises young people into engaging with community development issues), and a part of the proceeds from the show go towards the organisation.

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Top by Mango; Jeans by H&M

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The Trunk Show, scheduled for 30th September & 1st October (today and tomorrow) at their store in Besant Nagar, has a collection of brands across menswear, womenswear, accessories, and home decor— just in time for the slew of festivals starting next month.

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For men, there are fun patterned shoes, and blazers with rich embellishments — great for weddings, & parties. For women, statement-making Indian wear, with a touch of fusion, is a huge trend this season – dhoti pants and cold-shoulder tops, crop tops and lehengas, as well as masculine inspired jackets, to name a few. I even had the chance to try some clothes out!

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All the pieces are gorgeous, and unique — definitely worth checking out. I recommend picking up the Fizzy Goblet jootis if you’re looking for shoes — a great complement to your festive wear, with mirror work and embroidery. Glass and metal jewellery, embroidered velvet clutches, and beautifully minimal Indian accessories complement these outfits. My favourite accessories were the crystal headbands — Sabyasachi vibes, anyone?

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If you don’t want to pick up clothing, makeup organisers, home decor, stationery, & lifestyle accessories are also available at the show.

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Make sure you check out the new collections at the KaMaalGaadi Festive Trunk show #WithACause on 30th September & 1st October 2016, at the Maal Gaadi store. There will be an arts & crafts station set up by Becoming I Foundation at the Trunk Show as well. 

All photos by me (or) Maal Gaadi’s photographers. 

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A Silk for all occasions

I’m a sucker for a good silk sari. While I don’t wear silk saris much, it’s hard to deny how versatile saris are, and how elegant they make you look and feel. So needless to say, I was thrilled when Palam Silks invited me to the unveiling of their Diwali Collection – Light Up 2016.

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The collection revolved around bold designs and colours, but retained the artistry of a silk sari. It was targeted at us, the next generation, and had three major innovations, apart from the Diwali Collection itself.

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Corset & high neck blouses were a staple through the collection

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Adore the back on this sari blouse

A double-border (termed “Korvai”) was the concept behind their Double Delights collection. Featuring contrasting colours, these will definitely earn you a second look.

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My favourite  was an intriguing border placement to make people look taller; the High Rise collection is made for those who want to look taller in their saris. The model looked absolutely statuesque as she walked down the runway!

And lastly, their cocktail-wear saris (Blend n Trend 2) were a lesson in weave-mixing. The sari had a combination of Kanchi silk, jute silk, cotton and linen on its pallu and blouse. I love this concept because it makes silk more contemporary, while still retaining the tradition of the sari.

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I loved the pop of the blouse against this sari.

Here are some more photos from the event + my outfit too (because of course).

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W Kurta, Shoppers Stop pants, and a handloom dupatta

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ALDO shoes, Guess bag, Amethyst floor

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You can buy their new collection in-stores or online, at palamsilk.com

{I was invited to attend this event, all opinions are my own}

 

the BEST buys from the Jabong UCB sale

In case you’ve got a little money lying around and don’t know how to spend it, Jabong’s sale has got you covered. To be specific, the United Colors of Benetton offerings have been slashed up to 70% off, and some great pieces are up for grabs. The weather is changing & we could use a wardrobe refresh as well.

Scroll on to shop my favourite buys from the sale!

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This skirt is your next classic, wear-with-everything piece. Pleated skirts are my favourite kind, and the midi length makes it great for summer and monsoon alike. Blush is the next big colour for Spring 2016, so get on the bandwagon earlier!
Buy now at Rs. 840.

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Meet your next all-day dress.
Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you should stop wearing tropical prints. The leaf print here is subtle enough to be worn through the year, injecting a little colour into your outfit. Plus, the shift silhouette makes it versatile for layering.
Buy here for Rs. 990.

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Crop top meets appropriate lengths in this blue number. Add a monochrome print pair of trousers and a black blazer for your next dinner outfit. This is summer clothing at its best. I love how all the separates from UCB are practical, and great building blocks for your wardrobe. Buy this at Rs. 899.

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Can we talk about this bodycon dress? The lace back veers it into party wear by adding a bit of an edge, while the front keeps it casual and versatile. The t-shirt material ticks the comfort box too. And at 70% off (yes, 70!), this is something you don’t want to miss. Grab it before it goes, it’s Rs. 870!

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No shopping roundup is complete without a button-down for me. The delicate flower print and relaxed fit make it a winner. Long sleeves are for rolling up + a cotton shirt is the only thing you feel like wearing on a hot Chennai day.
Rs. 480 on Jabong.

Hope you liked this shopping roundup! What is your favourite piece? ~

Casual Fridays, deconstructed

I figured it’s been a while since I published a menswear post, so today we’re going to talk Casual Fridays.

I think always dicey where “semi-formal” or “business casual” is considered. Are jeans a part of it? Do I have to wear a tie anyway? What about shoes and belts? To answer these questions, I have four outfits that even the strictest HR won’t have a problem with (I think). I’ve deconstructed four combinations that are classy + timeless, along with the products to buy to achieve the look. Plus, these will work for any semi-formal occasions you attend.

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Can we take a minute to appreciate how great this outfit is, while being simple? Powder blue is a classic colour that should be in everyone’s wardrobe, irrespective of gender. It’s universally flattering + versatile. Here, the cool blue is given some warmth with light brown chinos. The brown is played off with dark leather accessories- a belt, watch, and shoes (shoes must match belt). Add a fun striped knit tie- knit gives off a less formal vibe than your regular silk tie- and you have
nailed casual meets formal. (outfit photo from iamgalla.com)

Shop now: ShirtChinosTieWatchBeltShoes

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Cool blues are also a safe combination to reach for. A subtle print like a gingham check is suitable for the office without being boring. Beige khakis ensure the shirt isn’t bogged down. The neutral palette is livened up with bright blue loafers- vibrant colours can work for a formal setting if you wear them right. Emphasise the cool tones by adding a silver accent–
a chunky watch. (outfit photo from iamgalla.com)

Shop now: Shirt | Khakis | Loafers | Watch

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A white shirt is one of those essentials for everyone’s wardrobe. One of my favourite ways to style a white shirt? Dark jeans + a pop of colour. That doesn’t change when you’re dealing with male fashion either. Dark straight-cut jeans (please, no skinny jeans) and a crisp white shirt tucked in is effortlessly stylish. Experiment with collar styles- the slim Mandarin collar is more flattering than you think. Deep brown belt + shoes echo the dark jeans. Add a touch of red with a watch (stick to analog, though), or with a pair of funky socks, and you have an outfit will take you from office to dinner.
(photo from the J.Crew catalog)

Shop now: Shirt | Jeans | Shoes | Belt | Watch

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Thanks to the labelling of pink as a “feminine” colour, not too many guys experiment with it– which is a shame because it’s a lot more flattering than you’d think. A pastel pink shirt rolled up + a light cream pair of chinos is a failsafe combination. To counter the lightness out of the outfit, accessorise with dark leather. A woven belt adds interest, while a pair of
Ray Ban Clubmasters ties the whole outfit together.
(photo from pinterest.com)

Shop now: Shirt | Chinos | Belt | Shoes | Sunglasses

And there you have it. I hope this demystifies Casual Fridays/Business Casual for you.
Hope you found this post interesting! Let me know in the comments if you want me to do more menswear posts.
This was written at the request of one Mr.Ashwin Ravichandran. Thanks for the idea! 

5 Fab Sale Skirts to shop now

The sudden outpouring of rain in the evening makes it safe to say that Chennai is slowly moving away from the blinding heat, and into more pleasant weather. July, coincidentally, is SALE month! Almost all stores (brick-and-mortar & online) are offering great discounts on their summer collections. This is the best time to stock up on a summer staple- skirts.

More brands are veering away from extremely seasonal & on-trend designs, choosing instead to stock pieces you can wear through the year. This is good, because we have a more versatile wardrobe in the end (if you shop wisely, that is), and weather doesn’t fluctuate much in Chennai from January to December.

So, if you’ve got some money saved up, here’s the time to spend it– on one (or all 5?!) fabulous skirt that you’ll wear all year.
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1. 9rasa slim maxi skirt

This skirt is different from your regular fare. Rather than a flare, it falls slim, giving it the structure and chic-ness (is that  a word?) of a pencil skirt, but with the comfort of cotton. I love this silhouette, and think it’s a good change of pace from regular ethnic cotton skirts.

I would wear it with a slim gold choker + relaxed, off shoulder black top.

Buy now for Rs. 1049.

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2. StalkBuyLove coral wrap-around skirt

This skirt falls in the sweet spot of neither maxi nor midi– which I love! The wraparound gives you versatility– you can choose at which part of your waist you want to wear it. Wear it high with a crop top, or low with a half-tucked white t-shirt.

Buy now for Rs. 899.

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3. The Closet Label digital print skirt

What’s a skirt selection without a printed pencil skirt? The print on this Closet Label skirt is bright enough for summer but can be worn through the year, especially for dressy occasions.

You could pump up the print with a yellow t-shirt, as pictured, or let the skirt speak by wearing a cream or white sleeveless button down.

Buy now for Rs. 870.

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4. Global Desi Mona skirt

I actually own this skirt, and let me just say, I love it. It falls right below the knees, and the print is adorably chic. The high waist flatters all body types, and the flare is girly but not over-the-top.

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I wear it with a jade green sleeveless blouse and white flat sandals, but it would also work with a very light green v-neck t-shirt, tucked in, and strapped heels.

Buy now/in-store for Rs. 850.

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5. Zara front pleat printed skirt

Shopping at Zara is tricky, because most of their pieces are created for the svelte, European populace that isn’t afraid to take risks. But this skirt is an exception. Again, meant to be worn a little high on the waist, the demure flower print can be worn for all events, and can be dressed up or down.

I would wear it with a white blouse and a multi-layered delicate gold necklace under the collar.

Buy in-store for Rs. 2290.

Six noteworthy Facebook boutiques

Facebook, our original destination for stalking, has quickly become a force to reckon with in the world of online shopping. And for good reason– anyone can set up a store with little effort, the interface is familiar because we interact with it everyday, and it serves as a means for social media marketing while being the forefront of the store.

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Today, I’m going to highlight six Facebook shops that are a mix of new, and old stores, but all of them are noteworthy. From accessories to matching sets to tailoring, there’s something for everyone! Scroll on!

1. Mogra

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I found Mogra through a random Instagram browse, and from then on I’ve been in love with their aesthetic. The brand is centred around fair trade practices– they support weavers, and craftsmen through their work, by making Indian textile contemporary. Think ikat print crop tops, hand block-printed lehengas, and much more. Add dreamy campaigns, and throw-on-and-go dresses to the mix, and you have a new favourite store to watch out for.

https://www.facebook.com/mogradesigns

2. Inch by Chintya

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A Chennai-based label, Inch by Chintya offers Indian, and Western wear, along with accessories. They sell through Facebook, but also have a brick-and-mortar store that curates other brands alongside their own. They also offer customised clothing, to fit your needs– it’s like having a fashion designer in your pocket! I love their co-ordinated set in the picture above.

https://www.facebook.com/inchbychintya

3. i v o r y

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My mother should be credited for this find. i v o r y is a boutique in RK Salai that also allows for shopping online. They exclusively sell Indian wear, fabrics, and accessories. Some of my favourites are their silk kota sarees, and mix-and-match salwar sets with stunning Benaras silk dupattas (both pictured above). I visited the store to buy the latter, and immediately fell in love with a bright orange silk kota saree that I cannot wait to wear.

I like bright colours and I cannot lie #nofilter

A photo posted by Varsha (@varshamohan) on Jun 25, 2015 at 3:10am PDT

Find them here: https://www.facebook.com/ivorydesigns

4. Zarbaft

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If you’re looking for ornate, wedding-ready clothing, Zarbaft is definitely an option to consider. Their prices do veer on the high end but looking at the handiwork and the designs, this could be an option for shelling out some money. They also offer customisation– necklines, sleeves, colours, the works. Anarkalis, lehengas, and sarees are aplenty. And their clothes look ‘designer’– just look at that red and green lehenga. What a stunner.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zarbaft/378653348874159

5. Pleatz

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A tailoring store that hit it big on Facebook, Pleatz was introduced to me by my sister. From unique blouses and ombre sequin sarees, the store has come a long way, and now also offers western wear– crop top + maxi skirt sets, to be specific. Testimonials sing their praises, and while I haven’t tried their store, I’m definitely enthused by that bow-back blouse.

https://www.facebook.com/Pleatz

6. Kshetra – place where tradition meets elegance

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My mother’s find yet again, Kshetra brings classic Indian jewellery to the mass market. Harams, chand-baalis, those coveted ‘Ram-Leela’ earrings that Deepika wears in the movie– you name it, and Kshetra probably has it. Their jewellery is good-quality, and looks fantastic when worn. Their earrings are beautiful; I highly recommend them, and the store as a whole.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kshetra-place-where-Tradition-meets-Elegance/221633717994524

And that’s all for today! Hope you liked the post! What are your favourite Facebook boutiques that I’ve missed?

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