Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months ~Oscar Wilde

There are some things in fashion that are so inexplicable that one should just enjoy it without questions. The vest jacket or sleeveless jacket is one such thing. No one can really understand its efficiency but also cannot ignore it completely. When the hubby dearest saw this in my wardrobe, he shook his head, ttched-ttched and called it the man-repeller jacket!

sleeveless jacket style

how to style sleeveless jacket

However, as I am a rebel without a pause, I still kept it. The vest or the sleeveless jacket is edgy, rebellious and effortless (just like my mood some days) throw is over a simple jeans and tee for a casual look or pair with suede mini, roll-neck and boots for added oomph or mix it with a pencil dress…the options are plenty.

how to style sleeveless jacket

how to style sleeveless jacket

Here, I have used it to give a pop of colour to my all black ensemble. I have thrown it over a black cardigan, ankle boots and black leggings. This is the kind of look I go for when I am spending my off-days running errands or when I am at work.

sleeveless jacket

sleeveless jacket

Cardigan+jeggings: H&M (old), Jacket: local shop also like this one, bag: Osprey London

Man-repelling or not; if I can throw just one garment to look put-together and fun it is a winner in my eyes.

Do you agree?

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It is the festive season finally and perhaps the best time to indulge in a bit of sparkle. As far as seasonal trends are concerned, one trend that has caught my eye is the molten metallics one. No, we are not talking about a war-zone here but metallic shades swept over eyes, cheeks and (if you have the audacity for it) even the lips. From Alexander McQueen to Donna Karan metallic shades were given a go this AW14. I road-test this trend and see how it translates in real life.

metallic eye trend

Here,I’ve used an icy shade of silver on my eyelids. The colour is from Rimmel’s Glam Eyes Quad Eyeshadow (silver shade) range. I have used it generously on my eyelids and a wee bit on my brow bone. To hide my dark circles (thanks to an active baby) I have used a wee bit of concealer on the bottom. I have used some kohl and mascara to seal the look.

My Verdict: I tend to take the safe route when it comes to eye shadows sticking to shades of brown and pink so this is way out of comfort zone but surprisingly it works. Who does not love a bit of sparkle and if you can use it on your eyes to give it a bit of shine yet an earthy appeal then why not? Bottom line: this is a trend that can be easily incorporated into real life. Hands down winner this festive season.

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“Create your own style…let it be unique for yourself and yet identifiable for others”—Anna Wintour

If there is one accessory that every woman should have in their wardrobe it is the nifty scarf. No matter what the trends say, a scarf is one effortless piece of garment that can up the ante of any ensemble, throw in some personality to an outfit and take it to another level. I personally prefer the large ones in vibrant hues. Scarves have certain insouciance to them; it shows that there is an effortless element to you and your style.  I also love the fact that with one scarf you can create zillion looks.

When Monica asked me to review one of her scarves, I was chuffed. This handmade silk beauty with an exquisite print came in a beautifully wrapped white box; a small postcard told the story behind the print. The attention to detail really blew my mind.

How to wear silk scarves

In today’s post, I’ve used the scarf in four different ways but as I said when it comes to incorporating a scarf in your outfit the only limit you can have is that of your imagination. So, ladies bring out those beautiful pieces of clothes that is gathering dust in your wardrobe (I know you have them!) and have some fun twisting, knotting and turning your scarves and breathe some new life to them.

The Drape:

How to tie silk scarves

For this look, I’ve made a tiny knot in the centre of the scarf and turned into a triangle. Then I have put it around my neck and have simply taken the ends to opposite sides. This is my favourite and every day look.

The Vest:

How to tie silk scarves

This is a great style for summer however with the festive season upon us; I would use this style with my evening dress to keep me covered yet not reduce the beauty of my dress. Simply tie two ends of the same side and voila you have turned your silk scarf into a DIY vest.

The head scarf:

how to tie silk scarves

Turn your neck scarf into a head scarf for some old style Hollywood glamour. Think Audrey Hepburn in 1963’s classic Charade. Turn a square scarf into a triangle and place the longest end on your crown. Take the other two ends to opposite sides all the way to back and tie a knot to secure it. Bring the left over bit from behind to front.

The Everyday Style:

how to tie silk scarves

Scarf: Monaara c/o, top: H&M old, White Jacket: Columbia (old), Blazer: Next (old)

Simply throw your scarf around your neck to keep it simply yet chic. I prefer this way when used with a blazer. It is power dressing with some down-to-earth charm.

This post is sponsored by Monaara. The opinions are my own.

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For my second post in the Spotlight series, I bring to you the really talented Monika D. Kalra, a London based painter and art designer. What drew me to Monika was her really vibrant and eye-catching designs that looked great on the canvas as well as on textiles. Needless to say, I got curious and started this conversation to know more about her and her work. Don’t forget to check out Monaara  if you want to know more about her exquisite designs.

fashion designer

Tell us more about your background and what is your specialty?

My father used to trade and curate fabrics across the Indian sub-continent. Growing up in fashion context, I ended up studying fashion and then worked for around ten years in Delhi with Indian Haute Couture brands like Satya Paul. My specialty is playing with colors and intricate patterns; it sort of comes naturally with Asian lineage. I have experimented with embellishment & surface texturing both manual and with modern machines, and of late I started applying my paintings in the fashion context.

How did an interest in painting and designing develop in you?

I always used to paint as a kid and I continued to do it as a hobby all along. After creating elaborate and detailed designs with skilled artisans & modern machines for many years, I attempted to use my artwork in the fashion context. My current focus is in treating fashion as an extension of art. It’s always been on the back of most of my fashion creations but more focused now.

How did you start your business? And what encouraged you to do so?

Moving to London was the trigger point, I always wanted to create a fashion brand, but London with an eclectic mix of art, fashion & undercurrent of expressing one’s individuality did the trick. And then it was the hard yards of creating the right product with the right quality. I started painting much more and with varied subject. And then spent numerous nights, weeks, months on design and production. I feel very happy with the outcome.

fashion designer

 fashion designing

What were the challenges you faced/face and how did you (or do you) overcome them?

Challenge is always finding enough time to do justice to each task. Being a boot-strapped business, where you end up doing everything on your own; it is a learning process day in and day out. But London also provides a very supportive & nourishing environment.


What is the most interesting aspect of your work?

 Concoction of colors and patterns on otherwise usual subjects and then making people feel special and delicate with the scarves. Yes its feels good to create something unique especially when people come back with positive feedback.

What about the most challenging part?

The challenging part was product development itself. Each Monaara scarf is a piece of art, an actual piece of my painting. It carries intricate hand drawn (and not digital) patterns and is different at each corner. Getting the colors to come out well on Satin silk took a lot of experimentation at very different type of printing setups. So, we have a specialised QA process and each scarf is done as a sample (in the fashion design context).

fashion designing

What is your vision for Monaara?

It is still early days, and I see the process evolving already. People come and ask for my designs to be done on different type of garments and I get queries from different parts of the world especially from rest of Europe & US. Monaaraa  is for those who love art and want to look different & feel special. Next few years, I will look to develop & strength relationships in the UK and in parallel evolve my designs into dresses.

How do you balance work and personal life?

When you have a self-sustained business, work & personal lives pretty much merge. My husband also helps me whenever he gets time from his hectic schedule. And we make sure we have our productive breaks now and then.

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“You cannot fake chic but you can be chic and fake fur.”- Karl Lagerfeld

While we may have bid our adieus to summer and sunshine; I am clinging to one thing that is usually considered a spring/summer staple—the classic floral dress. However, this winter I have given my perennial love a decidedly darker edge with a moody, dark floral palette.  I chose this dress to celebrate my anniversary last week. Floral dresses have a definite fun vibe but when it has a moody quality to it then it becomes a floral dress with gravitas—exactly what you need when you are celebrating a special occasion after becoming a mom.

Autumn winter fashion

Autumn winter fashion

Of late, faux fur has become a darling material with style seekers as well as fashion gurus. I certainly think that this cruelty free material exudes luxury and gives me unrestrained gratification. So, to add a level of opulence to my moody floral dress, I have paired it with a tiered faux fur coat. I have also used my woolen hat to keep the cold and wind at bay. To keep the focus entirely on my clothes, I have chosen a simple court style shoes and covered my legs with dark tights because to be honest, I just did not have the temerity to go bare legged in this cold.

autumn winter fashion

autumn winter fashion

autumn winter fashion

autumn winter fashion

Dress: Simply Be, Coat: Select Fashion, Shoes: H &M, Tights & Hat: H&M

With its vibrant, fiery and smoldering appeal, a dark floral dress should be just the dress you need for the upcoming festive season. Add a lavish style coat and I bet there is no stopping you from becoming the show stopper wherever you choose to go.

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