White Noise : March Edition

Posted on March 30, 2017

Erin takes the discussion forward on what Alden wrote. You can always find that one article on how ethically made isnt 100% perfect or how it doesnt matter, and fixate on it as a excuse to buy products made in sweatshops. This conversation needs to be had and she does a wonderful job.

For every one who gets told you cant make a difference : This one woman helped reduce Denmark’s food waste by 25 percent.

For all the shirting lovers – anatomy of a vintage Brooks Brothers Shirt.

They called it dressed down. We call it chic and celebrate it. Thanks to the women of the past for paving the way for us to embrace simplicity in our clothing.

Do you love yourself more than the product you make ? If so – slap a big visible logo on it. But there are ones who resist the urge to turn us customers into billboards. 

We love our stuff. So much that the idea of others parting with it creates anger and backlash : Is minimalism another product for bored wealthy people ? Somehow, decluttering is being confused with minimalism. I wonder if I am involved in propagating this lie and perception.

My fav article on hygge. If you are a sceptic like me, this one may strike a chord too.

The most beautiful and functional cottage I have seen on the internet. Offline, I like my own cottage the best because its my home and we made it.

A new blog discovery. She has a voice.

If you hike or love nature or live on the planet, this article on ‘leave-no-trace’ is relevant.

“Using your favorite bone broth as a base, just add a small handful each of kale, spinach, bok choi, frozen cauliflower, and wheatgrass; half an avocado, a whole, unpeeled kiwi, a quarter cup of filmjölk, skyr, kefir OR plain organic yogurt (depending on your personal mucus type – to learn yours, see my e-book); two tablespoons each of chia seeds, flax seeds, pea protein, fresh pomegranate seeds, dried goji berries, resistant potato starch, turmeric powder, and collagen hydrolysate; one tablespoon each of ghee, coconut oil, coconut water, maple syrup, maca, lucuma, chlorella, spirulina, hemp seeds, moringa leaves, royal jelly, powdered durian fruit, activated charcoal, Manuka honey, ashwagandha powder, shilajit powder, local bee pollen, Irish moss, cordyceps fungus, chaga powder, reishi mushroom powder, matcha powder, and cacao nibs; two drops of lavender essential oil, a quarter cup of sprouted almonds, five soaked cashews, two soaked medjool dates, a Ceylon cinnamon stick, a whole nutmeg seed, four white peppercorns, three peeled and crushed garlic cloves, a cup of organic frozen blueberries, and a pinch of Himalayan salt. To really take it up a notch, add four acacia thorns and a half-teaspoon of Tibetan monk tears. Follow with a high-quality probiotic.”

This one takes the cake !

Outfit : Pink Loafers

Posted on March 26, 2017

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Navy shift dress : Goat, 100% woolMauve Loafers : ValentinoArmy green trench : Edun, 100% cotton.

#whoMadeMyClothes : Goat clothing is designed and made in UK. Maison Valentino hand stitches the shoes in a factory they own in Italy. Edun was a fair trade charity project intended to provide livelihood for African woman. It is now defunct. The shoes and the trench were second hand purchases.

Currently Reading : The Gentlewoman Magazine. (Its terribly overpriced. Wait and buy from eBay after a month? )

Tune on Repeat : Gustavo Santaolalla -The Last Of Us Soundtrack

Style Notes

ON PINK SHOES

The color mauve is the tone of nude that works for my skin tone. Most shades of beige : I dislike in general or dislike on me.

In 2015, I used to attend yoga classes at university. Most of the studio was filled with (retired) ballet dancers. (They moved like poetry and dancing their way through the class.) One day, we huddled around at the door to admire a pair of old ballet flats with a rubber sole stitched on the bottom. The girl said she missed dancing in them and found a way to keep them in her everyday life. I went home that day and impulse purchased these pink shoes.

Pink is a bad idea for shoes. I dont wear them more often because I dont want to get them dirty. But I love the way they look and what they bring to my outfits. Its a collision of practicality and letting the heart run wild. Dainty shoes have an element of vulnerability that I am not averse to.

I have no idea how to clean these … can I use the leather conditioner on it ? See why I don’t wear them often ? This spring, I take a resolve to wear them and not worry about ruining them. They are of no use to me sitting in the closet untouched.

Fav formulae : Small dose of mauve + mostly black outfit / navy outfit.


Question :

Do you wonder : what percentage of your preferences are a result of your surroundings and internet influencers ? I saw the pink shoes on the ballet dancer and bought mine. I saw something on someone, and immediately created a need that didn’t exist prior. Its not a bad thing. I dont make my own clothes. So I have to find inspiration and the pieces somewhere. But how much is my own personal style and how much is external influence ?Are your needs truly yours ?

Closet Talk : Spring Edition

Posted on March 24, 2017

Every season, I like to delve into my closet and pick out a capsule wardrobe. And then I designate myself as the expert stylist to give myself advice on how to do the season. I imagine I was hired by a store like Net-A-Porter asking me to write an article on style featuring the items in store. The result is this blog post. 1-2-3, Go :

1.  Stop with the all black outfits.

Three months is enough.

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I have other clothes too  …. enough with the hibernation. Whats the point of building a closet if I wear the same thing every day ? Frankly, I am quite tired of all black. Its my lazy to go outfit but I can make some effort ….

2. Bring back the shirting and the dresses.

Let the skin show again.

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Its warm enough to let the legs get some vitamin D. Its warm enough to wear a shirt not fully buttoned up. It took me years to find shirts in the shades I wanted. Let then make up my spring palette.

3. Wear light wash denim.

Lighten the palette.

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Black jeans are my go to state of inertia. I need to kick myself out of it. Stop being the lazy dresser that I can be. This season, I will lighten the palette. I miss wearing blue jeans. And the blue I own is my right kind of blue denim.

4. Find a way to wear these pink loafers. A lot.

Get the cost-per-wear out of them.

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I don’t wear prints or fabrics with standout texture. These shoes can add some depth and texture to my spring wardrobe. When ever I see a blogger showcasing pink and I am tempted buy something new … I want to reach for my pink shoes instead of doing the : “buying now, wear twice, hoard for years, declutter later” routine. Pink shoes aren’t exactly practical, going by how I destroy my shoes. But I decided : let them be destroyed. I will buy another pair of pink shoes when I wear them out. Let them get dirty. Let them get trashed. Let them wear out.

5. The trench coat is the designated captain of the wardrobe.

Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent said so.

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Rain coat cum cardigan cum tent. What a wonderful garment ! I should have got one years ago. Monsieur Yves gave women style. He talked about the perfect garment. A garment that works with what you already own, doesn’t look outdated with time, something that you can build a closet around …. If he were a rockstar, I would have been his groupie.

6. If wearing shades of gray, use a colorful accessory to break it up.

Its not cool to wear all grey in the spring.

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I know I will relapse into gray and black outfits. Its my nature. But then, a studded pink belt or a red scarf can liven the outfit. I plan to play around with the accessories. Even pile them on to learn if they sit well on me. I want my style to evolve and not be static.

7. Wear drop earrings everyday.

Let them tickle you when you move.

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I have avoided necklaces and earrings because they get caught up in the winter layers. Bracelets were a more practical accessory option. Now that I am mostly scarf free, drop earrings everyday ?

8. The shoe closet

Red, Pink & Black

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The lace up flats – was a fashion victim moment. Fell for the trend. I plan to use them and not be a victim anymore. The red flats add a pop of color and go well with my trench coat. The Jil Sanders square toe ballet flats are the best ballet flats I have ever tried. A review coming up soon.

9. The handbag closet

My old new bag is here !!!

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I found my vintage black bag. It feels a world different from my brown satchel when I wear it – so prim and proper. I have quite a few events to attend this season and some traveling on my calendar. I hope to use my clutch when I am out and about.

10. Continue to be nasty

Make fun of the trends.

I wont switch up my signature fragrance to some floral note. I wont do ruffles. The victorian blouses – no to them too. Mutton sleeves – no. All the pink online, I can resist. Those tshirts with feminist slogans, no to them too. Did you notice that the bloggers are now supposed to pick a favorite ear and wear one statement earring on it ? I will pass on that too. Big no to mom jeans. No to straw bags of any sort. The French girl cliches, no to them too. I put an empty Diptyque candle jar in the recycle bin and Instagram cried. One trend I am thankful for is the trench coat. On the other hand, those block heels are tugging on my purse strings. I will wait till the fashion crowd gets bored of them and dump them into the second hand market. Waiting is good. It will also give me the time to figure out if I really want them. Its too easy to get caught up in the moment.


Question : Do I offend you ?

When I use the words “too much color” or “visual clutter”. Every time I call a bright color gaudy … or confess to not liking prints … or when I reject mom jeans … If you like a current trend that I don’t and make fun of … Does it offend you ? ( I welcome anonymous comments, so feel free to speak your mind. )

Outfit: “The” Trench Coat

Posted on March 18, 2017

 

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Trench : Edun, Fall 2011 collection.

 Jeans : R13, 100% cotton

Tutleneck : Cuyana, 100% cotton. 

Ballet Flats : Jil Sanders

Necklace : Madewell.

#whomademyclothes : Edun is Bono( U2)’s fashion venture to provide livelihood to women in Africa. They eventually shut down but I adore the man for trying. R13 makes its clothing in Italy using high quality denim from Japan. Cuyana makes their t-shirts in a factory they partnered with, in Peru.

Reading : The Food Lab

Tune on repeat :  Valtari, Sigor Ros

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Style notes

ON TRENCH COATS

I like trenches once they are broken in. The new ones look preppy and detective like in the 80s’ hollywood sort of way. I need a year with mine to make it perfect.

New garments can be awkward. I need to learn how to wear this trench. All black is the safe choice. But its a start with the new garment. I have the spring season to experiment a little.

Details I like : gabardine cotton, lack of synthetic content, the hue of green, Bono, U2, the rugged look, the characteristics that make it casual than preppy, military details, …

Picked out a size that I can wear on top of my winter coat. Hence the oversized look.

Most popular outfit on the internet : striped top + black denim + trench + flats.

I am wearing the second most popular outfit with a trench : black turtle neck+black pants+ballet flats.

My style is going in circles and converging into it self. I am becoming the kind of woman who goes into a shop and asks “show me something that looks just like what I am currently wearing”. I wouldn’t call it a rut since I am very happy about it.

The people in my town don’t wear trench coats. They wear fleece hoodies. I always get mocked at, with references to old hollywood when I wear it. Last year, I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to invest in one. So tried it out with a short trench.

What did I do before I got it ? I cant stop wearing it. I wear it when I know I will get dirt on me – which living where I live with animals is everyday. This year, I took the plunge and got a proper coat.

Its not polyester. That really matters. The only polyester I own is in the form of exercise clothing. Every time I wash my yoga pants, I contribute to the micro-plastic pollution of our oceans. Its great that there exists waterproof clothing that is meant for movement and outdoors made from 100% natural fibers.


Question : If I were to request you to be my stylist for a day and you had access to what ever you need in the world, how will you modify my outfit ? I am very curious to see how our styles differ and overlap. What will you add or subtract ? 

Skin Care Closet ft Zadie Smith

Posted on March 17, 2017

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While I never had problematic skin, I am aware of how it will look if I do nothing. I could eat well and exercise, but all the sun I got in the last decade living in a desert caught up with me. Cinco (cat) and Hombre (dog) have been giving me facials on an everyday basis. But in reality, I prefer the man-made products in nice dark glass bottles. Especially the ones made by the scientists who are experts in their line of work. Truth be told, there are so many products that work. But I cant try them all or slap them on my skin in layers. I will always go with the proven science :

Vitamin C & E: 

I have tried so many products. Skinceuticals C E Freulic is the one. It stays in the body for 72 hours. Its expensive. Hence I use it once every 3 days.

Vitamin A :

I have a tube of retin-A that my dad prescribed. I use it once a week on a night when I know I wont be out in the sun the next day.

Wish List : 2017 Edition

Posted on March 11, 2017

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2 am email to Maanasa : “I am buying them ! even if they empty my checking account. I dont care. I am buying them”.

8am : What ! I sent that email huh ? Real life and the morning tea thankfully kicked in. I don’t want them.

#storyOfMyWishLists 

1. Black structured bag

Has to be vintage.

I am tired of my brown satchel. Its time to store it away for a year and use something else.

Slouchy bags are not that appealing to me anymore. I was always that girl who wore a distressed brown satchel. (My first blog was called theGirlwithABrownSatchel.) But think its time to look into a structured bag.

The shape of the Hermes Kelly is correct.

Coach and Salvatore Ferragamo used to make a similar model in the 60s. Looking to find one.

Outfit : #aDayWithOutAWomen

Posted on March 9, 2017

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I set up the camera and the photo bombers miraculously appear. 

Cashmere Sweater : Iris & Ink.  This was my first (cashmere) sweater. Took the safe route : trusted Net-a-Porter’s own label but its quality is very disappointing.

Jeans: R13. 98% cotton, 2 % stretch ( my fav composition for jeans ).

Boots : n.d.c made by hand ( Best quality shoes I own. I would rank them above Church’s and Saint Laurent. Sadly I cant find them anywhere. Apparently, they made 10 pairs in all, 3 of which I bought and then went out of business. )

#whoMadeMyClothes : Iris and Ink didn’t want to share beyond ‘its Made in China. Sorry we couldn’t assist you any further’. R13 sources Japanese denim from a century old mill and the jeans are made in a factory in Italy. NDC used to hand-make their shoes in Italy when I had purchased them.

Wearing Red : #aDayWithOutAWoman

Currently Reading : A Handmaidens Tale

Tune on repeat : Neelakasham Pachakadal Chuvanna Bhoomi

Random Style Notes

Sweaters, Red, Cashmere

My Indian heritage imparted a certain amount of fearlessness when it comes to color. But its fine tuned by the pared down aesthetic that I developed on my own. One brightly colored item is enough. One bright color per outfit is enough. #myPersonalStyle

I need red clothing in my closet. Especially in winter, it cheers me up. I refuse to buy a gray winter coat. I know it goes with everything and is the safest option. But I need the color therapy in winter. I never thought I would own more than one sweater. So I bought a red one first. Over the years, gray and navy followed.

Buying a sweater is a big deal. Its an investment. It comes from materials sheared off an animal. You wear it for a decade. I need to get it right. If you made a mistake, you are stuck with it for ages. Its definitely not a casual affair for me.

I still do not know how to identify quality based on appearance of the woolen fibers. Should they be long or short fibers? Should it be rough at the start ? How long should it take to soften ? I read that even the best quality wool pills during the first few years and stops later. The bad quality wool pills every year. Is that true ?

My husband never read a fashion blog in his life. He has never seen an outfit of the day post before I posted my first. He is flabbergasted that I can do something as vain as this. He cant seem to get over it. There goes my dream of making him an instagram husband.

When you dress in the morning, do you ask yourself :

  1. “is my outfit interesting enough?”.
  2. “is there a feminine touch to my garçon style ?”
  3. “let me add that one accessory that completes my outfit”
  4.  “let me add that special element to my everyday dressing”.
  5.  Let me wear what ever and go.
  6.  Will my instagram followers approve of it ?
  7. Is it blog worthy ?
  8. Is it simple enough ? Is it fuss free ?
  9. Is it chic ?
  10. Is it statement enough ? I need to provide visual interest to the lookers.
  11. Do I need to cheer myself up ?
  12. Am I hiding from the world and need a shell ?
  13. Who am I meeting ?
  14.  ???  … suggestions welcome

I am #4, #5, #11 and #13. What about you?