Posts from the “Style” Category

Yoga

Posted on September 15, 2018

[ Known forms of meditation : Trance dancing, drumming, ritual body postures, yoga asanas, yoga breathing, yoga meditation, mantra, yantra, vipassana, zazen, zen in action, Haiku, brush painting, tai chi, quigong, prayer, sufi dancing, candle meditation, prayer beads, needle crafts, journaling, gardening, ….. ]

My chosen method of meditation is yoga. I am a beginner.

My yoga. It is an ever evolving relationship. It’s special. It’s personal. It’s free from capitalism. It’s free from cults that requires you to follow without asking questions. It’s ever evolving. It’s mine. I am no one to talk about the asanas or the philosophy. The masters should do the talking and I will listen. My teachers deserve to be put on a pedestal and worshipped for their way of life. Allow me :

My mother

As children, we would see my mother sleeps on the stone floor next to the bed in the night. No, it’s not some form of patriarchy at play. She meditates in shavasana and falls into deep sleep. She wakes up, does pranayama and a yoga routine that she has been doing for decades. She doesn’t show off. She wont preach. It’s personal. I understood the extent of it’s importance to her when she was battling cancer. It was stage 3. Chemo destroyed her body. Took the life out of her. Made her bed ridden. She would throw up a dozen times and faint from lack of energy by the end of the day. Given what’s been going, she refused to surrender to the disease. She would wake up in the morning and do yoga. 5 minutes on some days. 10 minutes on a good day. 30 minutes after a few months. She wasn’t going to give it up to cancer. Not her yoga. It gave her strength to face life during a rather dark period in her life.

James

I used to practice one-on-one with him in the studio where he taught. One breath, one movement and instrumental music. It was a dance. We would move in sync. You can move from pose a to pose b like a drill. You can dance into it with grace and rhythm. He made yoga a joy to practice. We became great friends. On one fine day, he bought a 1000$ motorbike and travelled around Arizona. The Canyons got to him. He got the travel bug. That next week, he packed his bags and moved to Asia. I never saw him again.

( His Instagram )

Alex Austin

“Dont recoil from the pain. Imagine you are a coma patient. This is the first time in years that you are feeling your legs. When you move them, it’s extremely painful. Do you quit the first opportunity to feel your legs in years and let them be limp ? Or move ? ”

I can be lazy and not go all the way. He showed me that pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. “No negative thoughts”, he would yell from across the room at me in his booming voice. I still hear it in the back of my head.

Dave

He designed a routine for me and said ‘do this for the next 6 months. We will add more later’. I was baffled. I was expecting a lot of hand holding. “This is not gymnastics. I am not going to teach you how to jump from pose A to pose B”, he said. He is a Zen practitioner and it reflected in his teaching methods. I am very thankful to him for giving me the freedom to discover my own path. Yoga can be a from of moving meditation.

Krishnamacharya

The father of modern yoga. This book changed my life. (I got interested in minimalism because of him). Sometimes, the tradition can be blindly followed while the underlaying intention/principles lost. He taught yoga like a doctor prescribes medicine – for healing. He personalized it based on the individual body type and the desired result. His way of life and thought process has a lot to teach.

( This fantastic book ! )

Know your body

I experimented on myself in my 20s. I tried every kind of exercise class I could get myself into. What are the weak links in my body ? What do sprints do for me ? What does long distance running do for me? What should I do to become lean ? What should I do to put on muscle tone ? What should I do to increase my upper body strength ? What should I do to build stronger legs ? What should I do to get the roundest backside ? What is the quickest way to disperse stress without the exercise tiring me out ? What can I do to slip into a thinking zone as I exercise ? What can I sneak in, during the day to refresh the mind ? If I had 5 minutes per day to exercise, what should I do? I have kept an exercise journal for the last 7 years. I have experimented with various ratios and proportions of diet. What does raw food do for me ? Whats the least amount of meat I can eat ? How does my body process gluten ? What sort of vegan food is satisfying to eat ? How much caffeine can I handle ? What does alcohol do to me ? What is my detox strategy ? What’s my ideal plant based diet ? Should I be spending the money on macro nutrients and exotic super foods ? How do I know what’s true from what I want to be true ? Because placebo effect is strong in this field. I think I have “some” understanding of what works for me.

 

My Current Routine

I have taken yoga classes for years from various institutes in India, Arizona, Texas, Lousiana and California. I no longer do the style of yoga where a teacher tells you when to move from pose A to pose B. I want to move to my own breath. I don’t want to be rushed into it and out of it. I want it to be moving meditation. I have a routine that works for me. It’s a derivative of Tony Horton’s P90x yoga & Ashtanga primary series. On somedays, I move to it with delicious instrumental music in the background. On somedays, I need the quiet.

An ideal weekly schedule (never happens) :

p90x yoga inspired routine – 2 days

30 surya namaskar – 3 days

HIIT / hike – 1 day

Rest day.

If I get a 5/7, I consider it a success. Usually, HIIT days become rest days because I dread it. I either should plough through or find something more pleasurable to do. On an average, it’s a 4/7 and one day of house cleaning. I do a little gardening everyday.

Exercise, Not an option

I don’t feel good if I dont exercise in the morning. The day is less productive. I have less energy. I have no appetite. It’s a life lived with a veil put on.

The day one of my period is awful. I empty my menstrual cup 3-4 times. It drains me. It makes me want to stay in bed and never get out. When I exercise regularly, menstruation is a non-event and slips into the background. If I don’t exercise enough during the month, it takes a center stage and I become dependent on people around me.

I see the stats on sexual assault and it horrifies me. What can we women do in self defense ? Men are physically stronger by default. I won’t be able to over power and fight back given my lack of upper body strength. Taking a self defense class has been on my list for a long time. ( Being fit is a life skill for us women, in my opinion. )

White noise :

I found every form of exercise I did in the past, meditative after I reached a certain proficiency. But with yoga, I think you can tap into that mind space right away.

I watched the Twilight movie and came out inspired. I somehow saw it as a running movie. I was impressed by the agility of the vampires on screen. ( I downloaded the background score from the film and used it as exercise music. ) I don’t remember much else from the film. When I was running, I found inspiration everywhere. I now find inspiration for yoga when I see someone dance, when I see a child do cartwheels in the park, when my cat cleans his tail, when I see beautiful empty spaces, …. I see it everywhere.

On game day for Phoenix Suns, I used to watch basket ball games from the thread mill while wearing my Nash sports jersey. I would stay on the machine for as long as they are playing. It’s my way of showing support to my team. I know how hard it is to go through a game. It’s easier to scream at them and show disappointment from a couch/bar while snacking. Move with your team, is my motto.

I adore people who exercise/dance/climb/hike/move/…. I want an athletic dog. Cinco, my cat, thinks he is an athletic dog. My partner plays soccer, football, volleyball, badminton, racquetball and bikes.

The women in my family exercise. Lot of them are kick ass athletes. When we meet, we always schedule an exercise class that we can attend together. Some relationships are strengthened over sweat and play. Put us all on a couch and we get restless.

“You learn a lot about a person as a teammate in a sport. The camaraderie between players, the healthy competitiveness, the humor when lady luck ignores you, the gentlemanly conduct on the court, sportsmanship in defeat, magnanimity in victory.” I fell in love with my partner on a badminton court.

He is way fitter than I. When we go on hikes, he is like a rabbit running in the front while I play catch up. I exercise harder so that I won’t become the weak link in our team slowing us down. I get to take part in sporting activities because I tag along with him and his friends. He inspires me.

I once cried on a volleyball court. Not because we were loosing. I was the only woman on the court. The men in my team made a silent pact to cover me and didn’t let me play. After the game ended, an opponent came up to me and said “next time, choose a team who has more trust in you”. And the tears came tumbling down. [ Puts Serena’s incident in perspective. ]

My mother’s solution to every ailment is exercise. You can go to her with a problem and she will ask if you have been exercising lately, to begin her diagnosis.

I can’t do a single pull up. It’s been on my list for years. A few years ago, I couldn’t do a singe push up. I checked myself into a bootcamp and could do 7 at the end of 3 months in camp. It’s amazing as to how our bodies obey.

With style, in my opinion  : 1/3rd of it is in the way you think.  1/3rd of it is in the clothing. 1/3rd of it is body language and body confidence. Exercise, diet and sleep should get more coverage on this personal style blog. The way you stand can change the silhouette. Limbs look longer when they are toned. The way you slouch can change the whole demeanor and make the clothes look limp. I don’t wear a section of my closet when I am not feeling my personal best. If I don’t exercise, my calf muscle atrophies and I dislike how stick like my legs look in proportion to rest of my body. ( It’s all in the ratios and proportions. ) The organs that visibly put on weight when I do, is my bust and thighs. Shirts that gape and jeans that are constricting are no fun to wear. Hence the choice of boyfriend shirting and denim with stretch. I did the math and built my closet accordingly.

Zero-waste Exercise :

With yoga, I don’t have to travel some place or own equipment that needs electricity or need special facilities to get my workout. I also don’t think I need certain kind of clothes to do my routine. It’s a low waste activity. Since this is a style blog, I will list what I wear. I do yoga at home in my living room and we have our privacy. It’s him and I + an outdoor cat. I usually practice in a sports bra and running shorts. Unfortunately, they are made of synthetic fabrics that contribute to the micro-fiber pollution of our water bodies. In the future, I plan to look into cotton undergarments. If I go to a yoga studio, I wear running shorts and a tshirt. When I have guests over, I wear tights and a t-shirt. I try not to wear the polyester / technical clothing unless it’s really required. Every time you wash your polyester, you contribute to the micro fiber pollution of our water bodies. Hiking a mile or two, car camping, going for a walk, … etc does not require special clothing in my opinion. I reserve my exercise clothes for the harder/longer workouts.

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Inventory of my active wear closet

Short sleeve tshirt X 2

Long sleeve tshirt X 2

Tank top X 1

Cropped legging X 1

Full length legging X 1

Sports bra X 5

Running shorts with built in underwear X 3

This is the right amount for me. 

This is all of my athletic clothing. I haven’t purchased anything new in the last 5 years except for the yearly replacement of sports bras. Lululemon, during its nascent years was Made in Canada and had exceptional quality. I was gifted some of these clothes by Maanasa & my aunt. At university, i once had my laundry stolen,  lost most of my clothes and was very upset. My sister bought me some exercise clothes to cheer me up. The women in my life exercise and love the clothes like I do. At the height of it’s popularity, Lululemon were selling out their fresh stock in less than an hour on a weekly basis. I saw it as a sign and bought some stock. I sold it when it doubled and bought myself some exercise clothes with the profit. It’s the same clothes I wear today. I don’t think of clothes as investment purchases but this is a zero-loss purchase.

Notice all the color in my active wear closet ? I used to run on the street at 7pm and safety was a concern. I solo hike and I want to be visible. I don’t want neutral exercise clothing. It’s alright to not have it match. It’s alright for it to be too bright. I like my hot pinks and periwinkles when I sweat.

Mat, by Jade Yoga.

“Jade mats are eco-friendly as they are made with a renewable, sustainable resource – natural rubber, tapped from rubber trees. Jade mats contain no PVC or other synthetic rubbers. Perhaps most importantly, Jade yoga mats are made in the United States in compliance with all US environmental and labor laws. Finally, through its partnership with Trees for the Future, JadeYoga plants a tree for every yoga mat you buy.”

My mat was purchased from Yoga to the People, a donation based studio. They take orders on mats and get them in bulk on a monthly basis. Do check out your fav local studios for packaging free mats.

If you own any yoga mat, this article might be useful : how to recycle your mat at the end of it’s life.

Fav books on yoga 

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Left :  A 101 on meditation.

Right : Krishnamacharya, the mothership.

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Left : Kino’s experience in ashtanga yoga and the primary series. 

Right : Krishnamacharya’s son shares his understanding of yoga after a lifetime of practice under his father. 


[ Disclaimer : This post is by no means meant to be a prescriptive on yoga or exercise clothing or meditation or life. ]

 

To end this post, a parody video.

The Bill Jacket

Posted on August 12, 2018

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Illustrations by Joana Avillez

This is how my kind of style icons dress – in old clothes and in blue.

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Bill is the original street style photographer who sincerely believed that fashion doesn’t exist only on the runway, but as personally style in the streets. His simplicity while working in the glamorous industry is inspiring. I often hear “I love fashion. Hence I shop”. This man loved fashion too but he didn’t associate it with consumption. His apartment was lacking in furniture, a private bath and a closet ! He was known to not accept gifts from the PR. If anything did arrive, he would send it back. He did not eat or drink at the parties he attended. ( This is how you prevent bias, if you are a reviewer. ) His passion consumed him so much that he didn’t bow to the trappings of everyday life that domesticates most of us. In a documentary on his work, you see him put duct tape on a hole that develops in his jacket. “If you don’t need the money, you don’t let them own you”, he says with a smirk. He loved fashion enough to resign from a publication when they were using his photographs to make a column on who-wrote-it-right and who-got-it-wrong. He didn’t think there was a wrong way to wear a garment and it’s a matter of personal preference. Some quotes to remember him by :

“When I’m photographing, I look for the personal style with which something is worn — sometimes even how an umbrella is carried or how a coat is held closed. At parties, it’s important to be almost invisible, to catch people when they’re oblivious to the camera — to get the intensity of their speech, the gestures of their hands. I’m interested in capturing a moment with animation and spirit.”

“The problem is I’m not a good photographer. To be perfectly honest, I’m too shy. Not aggressive enough. Well, I’m not aggressive at all. I just loved to see wonderfully dressed women, and I still do. That’s all there is to it.”

“If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do.”

“Money is the cheapest thing. Liberty is the most expensive”

“It’s not work, it’s pleasure. That’s why I feel so guilty. Everybody else does work — I have too much fun.”

“I’m not interested in celebrities with their free dresses. Look at the clothes, the cut, the silhouette, the color. It’s the clothes. Not the celebrity and not the spectacle.”

“The wider world perceives fashion as frivolity that should be done away with. The point is that fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life. I don’t think you can do away with it. It would be like doing away with civilization.”

“I could never concentrate on Sunday church services because I’d be concentrating on women’s hats.” The best fashion show is definitely on the street. Always has been. Always will be.

“Fashion is as vital and as interesting today as ever. I know what people with a more formal attitude mean when they say they’re horrified by what they see on the street. But fashion is doing its job. It’s mirroring exactly our times.”

[ A documentary on him. His soon to be published memoir. ] 

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A similar one on the second hand market : 1, 2, 3.

This duster is the oldest garment in my closet. I tried to keep it off the blog because I do not want to sing praises of the fast fashion brand that makes it. But I adore it. In the last 6 years, I moved 10 times and decluttered a lot. It remained. Not as a garment that exists in the back of an overstuffed closet to make a guest appearance twice a year. But as a garment in heavy rotation during spring/fall season. It stopped me from buying more because I do not want to wear this one less often. I have gotten it mended twice. I will continue to wear it – in the spirit of Bill Cunningham. The photographers at Fashion Week wore a blue jacket to pay their tribute to the man. This blue jacket is my tribute.


 

Do you have a garment that honors the spirit of how he wore his blue jacket ? 

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Illustration by Wendy Macnaughton

New In : Indigo wrap dress

Posted on July 27, 2018

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Ingrid Dress : A.P.C

Lately, I have started to feel my 30s. That uncomfortable question ‘is the dress too short on me’ lingers on the back of my mind. If and when I hear ‘you look young for your age’ : instead of accepting it at face value, I wonder if I am not dressed like a 30 something woman. Midi dresses are a good option but they are not a flattering length on me. Dresses that fall just below the knee are an option but they don’t have that certain quality that makes dresses special for me. Slowly, maxi dresses emerged as the next best choice. A Pinterest board was populated – for research. I waited for half a year before I purchased one – for immunity from impulse purchases. I saw how my friend Marian wore her maxi dress with a leather jacket & boots to a Isabel Marant launch party she let me tag along.  I was sold. (I saw her wear a vintage kimono as a cardigan and want one too.) This spring, I got my first maxi dress. The second one arrived yesterday from NeedSupply‘s summer clearance. It was under a 100$. This maybe as good as it gets given the make of the garment.

Pros :

  • It works for American-Indian gatherings.
  • It has pockets.
  • Works well for date nights, dressy ocassions, house parties or whenever I am feeling up for it.
  • Bay Area is chilly. The length keeps my legs warm.
  • Indigo. It’s a shade of blue that I am exploring.
  • I tried to assess the quality of the garment but I have no idea as to how a wrap dress should be constructed. I trust A.P.C. The dress was originally priced it at 400+$ and I assume they didn’t take the short cuts. ( But as life has taught me, price is not an indicator of quality. I remain skeptical. )
  • Cotton-linen blend. I mistook the weave for denim. It’s chambray.
  • I have tried a lot of wrap dresses in the past and none worked. I had too much cleavage showing, boob fat spilling out, fabric clinging in a very obvious manner or clothes coming undone as the day progressed. This dress works because the drape does not go all the way across the dress. This one has hidden buttons on the inside to hold the drape in place. I can replace the buttons with ties in the future if needed.
  • The neckline has ruffles which are a bit over the top for my taste. I tuck them in and the dress looks great. I will get them removed by my tailor.
  • Another blue dress ! Always a joy. I want to frame it on my walls and stare at it all day. It’s that pretty.
  • This dress makes me want to go places and throw dinner parties – just so that I may wear it more often. Can clothing make you more social or anti-social ?
  • I can wear it with a gray sweater and boots in Fall/Spring.
  • The price. I will not be buying 3 things from a fast fashion store. It’s preventing me from buying more.

Cons :

  • The price. I will not be buying 3 things from a fast fashion store. I should be content with this one garment.
  • It’s not navy blue.
  • That little voice in my head says “do you really really need it?” I can use words like ‘mindful consumption’ and ‘well made garment’ to pad up my purchase, but I don’t need it. I want it. More I indulge in this, the sooner I will loose my right to talk about sustainability. I dread the day when my blog becomes a proof of my own hypocrisy.
  • It fits me just about right. It’s not immune to my weight fluctuations. ( But I am confident that I can sell it and recover the money. )
  • Will it stay put if I go dancing ? New silhouette, new territory.
  • I chopped off my long hair. This dress makes me miss it. I can use the ‘extra-feminine bits’.
  • I want to wear pants more often and phase out the dresses. Pants are more practical but dresses are what I am happiest wearing. I am having a “life is too short, buy that dress” moment.
  • I have a closet rule : 90% of my closet should be everyday wear. The 10% can be impractical and over the top. This garment belongs to the later category. Not something I can wear everyday. It’s hard to dress down given it’s length and how feminine it is. Alexa Chung can style everything effortlessly. She will effortlessly pair Chanel couture with converse sneakers and stroll on the streets. Unfortunately, I have no such talent.

Dear readers, I am open to suggestions. Please give me ideas on how you think this dress could be styled. Do you think it can be dressed down ?

Reading Material : Inside Closet

Posted on July 14, 2018

There are rules to look stylish. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. Nobody can help me find my personal style. They can point to some short cuts and get me to ape some IT girl who has discovered her own set of rules. But style is more in the intimate details. It is much more than what can be seen in an outfit. It requires a point of view. There is a relationship with the clothes, the culture, the location, the surroundings, real life, profession, fantasies, dreams, … It’s wonderful when we can see this connection between women and their style. An old favorite that I have been revisiting for inspiration is Insidecloset. All the featured people have beautiful apartments, good books and fantastic style. My favorites : AmelieVanessa, Audrey, Gabrielle and Julie. As always, I couldn’t help but answer the questions:

blueandblack

1. What are your favorite pieces right now ?

A blue maxi dress. ( OOTD on my instagram stories. )

2. What is missing in your wardrobe ?

I should NOT answer this question. If I make a list, it’s in my nature to find a way to procure the items on it.

( Hypothetically : I can use more denim.

My current wish list : overalls, wrap dress, work wear shirt, )

3. The Deco / Mode piece you dream of ?

I would like an antique full size mirror in my apartment. Maybe one of those big brown writing desks I see in restoration hardware catalogs. A vintage bench that I can use to display my indoor plants is also on my wish list. I like the look of aged terracota planters with olive plants inside. Where can I get myself one of those ?

4. Your style ?

It is inspired by the following: the color blue, nature, the chic Parisian women, the adventurers, worker wear, farmer’s frugality, old money when they go hunting, an idea of androgyny that YSL put forth ( not the office wear version ), the sci-fi movie heroines in mobility friendly uniforms, the samurai, the monks, the yogis, … Only the tip of the ice burg has been actualized so far. I seem to add more influences to this list every year.

5. Your fav brands

Cuyana for shirt dresses, Celine for outerwear, NDC Made by Hand for boots, Stella McCartney for her innovation in sustainability, A.P.C for it’s consistency, Citizens of Humanity for the fit of its denim, Current/Elliot for chambray shirts with interesting details, Everlane for its affordable accessible basics, Steven Alan for reliable quality, Frye for its combat boots, Jil Sander for the napa leather shoes, Margaret Howell for every damn thing, Burberry for the military inspired outerwear, Rosie Assouline for interesting silhouettes for evening wear, Dries Van Noten for doing brocade well, Helmet Lang for the cut of their trousers, Yohji for the philosophy, Eka for its floral print, The Row the luxury, Acne for those snuggly sweaters, Filippa K for it’s repair policy, Patagonia for its heart, 45 rpm for its french-japanese-amercian-workwear-ness, Vintage Calvin Klein Collection for its simplicity, Ralph Lauren Collection for making the color brown look chic, Lemaire for the silhouette, Dolce & Gabbana for the usage of lace without being vulgar, Valentino for its red & mauveMaku textiles for it’s sarees, OffOn for jumpsuits,  …

My list is long. You got to know what to look for on the second hand market. The more you know, the easier it is to find great pieces. My influences are numerous.

6. The most valuable piece in your eyes

I do not have any sort of sentimental attachment to clothing.

On the basis of monetary value :

The Ippolita jewelry that I bought for myself, Stella McCarney jacket, Celine coat, Zara leather jacket, Church’s boots, …

On the basis of irreplaceability :

The blue dresses that hang in my closet.
Most my clothes are second hand finds that I doubt I will stumble into again. I can’t afford to spend the time or money look for them for the second time. None of it is replaceable.

7. Your unfailing beauty tip

Inversions – head stand, shoulder stand, hand stand, …

Exercise that makes your heart pound and sweat. Sprints work well for me. HIIT workouts are the way to go. 8 hours of sleep.

Small portion of raw veggies as a side serving everyday. Good fats. Blueberries. Sunscreen.

Sensuous lingerie. Signature perfume. Signature style.

Simplicity in clothing brings out the natural beauty and is soothing on the eyes.

Navy blue on glowing tan skin. Time spent outdoors while wearing a blue dress.

8. A default outfit when you don’t know what to wear ?

Summer : Navy dress + black ballet flats

Fall/Spring :  blue shirt, black denim, trench coat

Winter : Black turtleneck, black denim, black boots, black coat

9. The unbearable combinations ?

Crocs, mules, clogs, flip flops, camel toes, panty lines, high heels, peep toed shoes, print on print, jewelry that sparkles more than its human carrier, logos as print, …

Conspicuous consumption – things we buy to wear only when everyone is looking.

10. Last Purchase

Gardening overalls.

11. Top 5 beauty products

Sk2, vitamin C serum, retin-A, honey turmeric masks, white tea with lemon+ginger+turmeric, sunscreen.

12. Worst outfit memory

The outfits from my wedding day make me cringe. Rich heavy silks, gaudy prints, chunky jewelry, flower braids, a big wide gold belt,  … the whole deal. It’s one way to spit in simplicity’s face, pray at the alter of conspicuous consumption and kneel for the traditional police.

13. Obsessions

Reading. Photographs. Elegant solutions. Solitude. Nature.

14. Items you never take off

N/A. I don’t wear a wedding/engagement ring. I don’t wear a watch. I like jewellry but don’t want to wear it. Maybe perfume is something I wear on repeat every single day ?

15. Dream trip

Kayaking along the grand canyon and visiting the Nankoweap granaries in the Marble canyon.

France & Japan.

Lost coast trail.

North East Indian villages and rain forests.

16. Your mantra

“It’s not who you are on the inside, but what you do that defines you.”

– Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins.

17. Your style mantra

We women constantly get told that we ought to look a certain way. Resist the brain washing.

Bright colors, printed fabrics & catchy logos – can visually clutter a space that the human resides in. Resist the urge to add. Keep it calm and simple.

Exercise has the same effect as haute couture. Simplest of garments look good on a toned body. Good fit is easier to achieve. Posture improves when the back is strengthened.

Buy less. Buy better. Make them last.

Clothes look their best after they are worn in and just before they fall apart. Wear them on repeat.

Color is therapeutic. Blue is the color of happiness. Red is the color of passion. Green is the color of the trees. Black is the color of universe. Wear them well.

Have fun with your clothes.

 

Knock, knock, if you are reading this, I welcome you to please pick a question of your choosing and answer it in the comments.

A Summer Closet

Posted on June 29, 2018

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Last year, I wrote some notes on my take on an ideal closet. It resulted in a discussion on if the ideal state is a myth we chase. Aren’t we in a constant state of growth which results in different wants ? Is a closet ever really built ? Can desire be contained ? I don’t know the answers to these questions. Instead of over analyzing the idea, I set some rules and a target. I have learnt to be contentment within my bounds. My closet is built. Let me explain :

The right amount

Once upon a time, I had excess and I was underutilizing the clothes I had. There was also a time when I have exactly what I needed but was not content. With time, I found my ‘just right’. I want it to stay clutter free and organized. I want the incoming and outgoing rate to be low. I like the current status quo.

( I won’t call myself a minimalist. It’s alright to not be one. )

The right garments

There is something in there for every occasion life throws at me. The purpose of building a closet is to be stylish. I am not interested in a closet whose only virtue is that it has less than a count “n” , with n being small. But at the end of the day, it needs to be cruelty free and responsible. It should be second-hand, vintage or ethically made. There should be some glamour and lot of pragmatism. There should be a balance of feminine and masculine elements. Some garments exist to be worn out in the next 2 years. Some are to be worn over a decade. Some are to be worn over two decades. Some have the potential to become heirlooms. Getting dressed should be joyful. Else, there is no point to any of this.

[ A silk blouse. A floral print blouse. A pinstripe shirt. A polka dot shirt. A chambray shirt. A shift dress. A shirt dress. A maxi dress. A midi dress. A t-shirt. Blue denim. Black pants. Charcoal denim. ]

A whole lot of navy blue

An ocean of blue. Opening the door to my closet is color therapy. I write this with a big grin : if you want to discuss the “right shade” of navy blue, I am here. If you want to talk “bad shades” of navy blue, I am here for that too.

Some army green, red and pink.

For the full moon days when I turn into a wolf and don’t want to wear navy blue.

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( Missing ) This trio of printed photographs : Charlotte Rampling for YSL, shirt dress by Yohji, sketch by Clemence Poesy. 

My interpretation :

Image 1 : There are two ways to do androgyny – the YSL muse and the office worker.

Image 2 : Yhoji-saan’s women :“Fashion cannot make you sexy. Experience makes you sexy. Imagination makes people sexy. You have to train yourself, you have to study, and you have to live your life”

Image 3 : “Don’t bother me.”

I have a straw and a wool hat on a hook on the walls. ( Not visible in this photo. )

Also missing : a hook right by the closet door on which I hang the garment that I consider most stunning piece I own.

Books

I want an eclectic mix of inspiration on my shelf. Flipping through the street style photos while sitting on the floor is a pleasure.

[ The Sartorialist (my fav), Tomboy Style, Trench, It’s Vintage Darling, Paris Street Style ( must-read) , The New Garçonne, Many of Them, Asian Street Fashion, Men in this town, Women in this town, Elegance ( This book is an abridged version of finishing school for women. Made me cringe a little.) ]

Maintenance gear

Vodka refresher spray. A clothing brush. Some shoe conditioner.

Perfume

My 4 year affair with Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir continues. I sometimes wear it to bed.

Shoes

I have the most used and the really dirty ones by the front door. The ones in my closet are the least used and are reasonably sanitary to bring into the bedroom.

A dresser

Something to hold the scarves, slips, belts, t-shirts, sweaters, pjs, workout clothes, gardening overalls, underpinnings, socks and handkerchiefs.

Collections !

I have lots of shoes but I am not interested in collecting them. They come on a need/want basis. They go when they are worn out. I am not interested in collecting luxury handbags. I carry a canvas backpack or a cotton tote on most days. I want to collect blue dresses …. which I sort of do.

The Trinket box

I wear a tiny gold dot necklace on most summer days. It gets the most accessible hot spot.

Jewellry box

This is where I hide my clutter. I have trinkets from my teenage years. The tacky metal butterfly ring, color changing talismans, plastic beads, silver plated “peace” pendants, ‘I am grown up’ pearls, coming-of-age presents from relatives, heirlooms that I don’t know what to do, unworn wedding rings, ……  I am not okay with owning things that hardly get used – that’s hoarding ! Do you guys declutter your jewellry ? I don’t have the guts.

 

Peace. 

There is no scope to ponder if a certain garment is of the right vibe, the right kind of trendy, the right kind of classic, the right kind of chic, if the French woman would approve, if American woman would approve, if the Indian women approve, if I am rebel, if I am a conformist, if I am a contrarian, ….. There are no “if”s and “but”s waiting. These garments won’t be culled next year. Most of them have been around for years and are old friends. They will be worn till they are worn out. I can walk in, choose something, get dressed and get on. I am at peace.

A Good Purchase

Posted on March 17, 2018

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A good buy

  1. Words often used to make peace with an indulgent purchase when the item is new and shiny. 
  2. An item bought for a good price.
  3. Serendipitously finding an item you wanted on the second hand market and acting on it.
  4. Saving up and buying a high quality item while resisting the temptations.
  5. Not buying things you don’t need.
  6. An item that give you lot of pleasure and a good cost per wear. 

I am not immune to lust at first sight. Most of my clothes are haphazard accidents that I couldn’t pass up, on the second hand market. I bought these shoes 3 years ago & worn them 400+ times. I think I am now qualified to rave about the product. (This is not a review.) The title of a good purchase is not something I take lightly or bestow upon too many things. But the truth is revealed with time and wear.

A good buy

When a ‘worn in’ blog post is more exciting than the ‘new in’ blog post, you know that it was a good buy. When you cant shut up about all the details that make it special, 3 years after the purchase date, it’s a good buy. 

These shoes were a good purchase. This pair may be the benchmark against which I compare all other ballet flats I will wear in the future. I learnt that it can be done : you can make dainty looking shoes that are sturdy and are made to aide movement. Let me make my case ….

Top Shelf

Posted on March 11, 2018

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Saw an image on tumblr and am impulse blogging. These photos look so much more effortless when French woman do it.

FIRST ROW

Earth Sciences tea tree lavender deodorant.

Dior Balm De Rose lip balm.

Menstrual cup in a cloth bag.

SECOND ROW

Tooth powder

Bamboo tooth brush

Safety Razor

THIRD ROW

Jo Malone Pom Noir Perfume. ( My signature for this decade. )

Molecule #1 ( I dislike it. It was an impulsive fashion victim moment. )

Face oil by May Lindstrom

Jose Maran Sunscreen

DIY toner

SK-II, my dearest.

BOTTOM ROW

Flour exfoliator

Almond oil for the body

Bar soap for face by Drunk Elephant.

A glass container that holds scissors, tweezers and a foundation brush.


I got it all figured out ! ( Wish I could say this about life … )