Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee ~ Muhammad Ali

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am celebrating fitness and strength in my blog this month. When I re-started my fitness journey, post my baby, I had a really tough time sartorially speaking. As I have mentioned in this blog many times, the changes your body go through post pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding is more shocking than most of us realise (at least for most of the women, out there). Not only did any of my previous stuff fitted me but also I had lost all my confidence in myself. Internally, I had become so weak, that even walking with my 2.95 kg baby (birth weight) had become an herculean task for me. That’s when I decided to get my act together and really get fit. My goal since then remains the same: to be fit and strong (not skinny).

Of course, when you are trying to become physically, mentally and spiritually stronger at gym/outside, you need to do it in style. During my fitness journey, I have re-discovered fitness fashion and how to look cool whilst killing them with your strength.

 

Get the right material:

First thing first, do not underestimate the kind of material/fabric you use at gym. Whilst cotton is great outside personally I feel it is a no-no at gym (speaking from experience). Cotton absorbs sweat faster making you uncomfortable, sweaty and prone to chafing and irritation. Synthetic materials on the other hand repeal sweat faster, dry quickly and does not cling.

Choose the right sports bra: 

No prizes for guessing, investing in a good sports bra is a must. It has to support you and offer you flexibility.

Top: Red Herring (Debenhams) also like this one, Leggings: TK Maxx, Shoes: Adidas

Form fitting not baggy but not too tight:

When I re-started my fitness journey post baby, I would wear my husband’s baggy old T-shirts. I wanted to completely hide myself, needless to say it did little for my confidence and my form (whilst working out) while I stay away from to tight and clingy clothes, I also do not dress myself in baggy clothes. Form fitting clothes serve an important purpose: it helps you to see your muscles and curves as you exercise. Also, it helps you to feel good which in turn will help you to keep on exercising.

Layers:

Your workout wardrobe should be versatile, carrying you through from the hottest months to the coldest months. Build your gym wardrobe by choosing the right base layer—a moisture wicking dry layer such a vest or a t-shirt, add a warmer layer such as fleece pullover and finish with a protective outer layers such as a windbreaker. A handy tip: shop during off season for best deals.

Right clothes for right activity:

Keep in mind the activity you do the most. Baggy pants aren’t great for biking or strength training whilst for yoga you need roomy pants. Harem pants are my favourite. Generally speaking fitted ankle length leggings and a well fitted top would serve you well no matter what. Another handy tip—try out few signature workout moves in the dressing room to be absolutely sure.

Footwear:

Again no prizes for guessing, a good pair of footwear will serve you really, really well and keep you injury free that means no no to old worn out shoes. My rule of thumb is to wear shoes that support my feet and ankle well and I can walk as comfortably in them as possible.

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week? Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

Money talks, style doesn’t have to: Rue Lala

Victoria Beckham has done it. Jourdan Dunn has done it. And  so has Hadid sisters. I am of course talking about the athleisure look. The trend took baby steps way back in 2014 (remember my Sports Luxe maternity style post?), kept its head up in 2015, grew stronger in 2016 and now in 2017 does not seem to be dying out. Athleisure, as the name suggests, means combining athletic and leisure apparel that transitions seamlessly from gym to post workout plans and if carefully executed even work.

Obviously, this does mean you take your tatty t-shirt and short shorts and hop around the town. What it means is combining sporty elements to your everyday repertoire. It is about giving your unassuming athletic wear a certain je ne sais quoi charm.

Adidas and British designer Stella McCartney are often touted as the brainchild behind this trend because they had a long-term collaboration long before the term athleisure entered the fashion dictionary. It has grown stronger each year, partly because fitness has become a bigger and more democratic niche and if all the green juices recipes on Instagram and Beyonce’s Ivy Park are anything to go by, fitness is now a very fashionable topic.

The Athleisure trend

All this is very fine and dandy seen from the filters of Insta perfection but how does the athleisure look translate in real-life? I have been toying with this idea for long but every time I felt like styling this look million questions crossed my mind: I am NOT a young celebrity model, I am a mum, I am working mum with 1000 things on her mind, yes, I love fitness (and even burpees) but would I really want to walk around the town in my gym wear?

After a lot of thinking, brainstorming the idea with my friend, I decided like any trend athleisure is also all about personalising it. Whilst I do want to channel my “post workout zen/cool look”à la Gigi Hadid, I also feel the obsession with sweat-wicking leggings, bright sports-bra-cum-crop-tops and white sneakers is definitely not hot news. 

To give this trend, my signature feel I have paired my Adidas legging with lace-sleeve sweatshirt, I have added a statement silver necklace and dainty earrings to keep it simple but I have gone way out of my comfort zone with my make-up and hair—double bun and bold lipstick—to seal the deal. Lastly, I have added heels to give it some added oomph. My variation to keep this look strictly casual is to add sneakers, a varsity jacket and a colourful bag.

The Athleisure trend

The Athleisure trend

In the beginning, I have mentioned that this trend can used for work. How? Add a nice, dark blouse, delicate jewellery, blazer, ankle boots/heels and nude makeup to finish the look and voila from slaying that burped you are ready to crash that glass ceiling in one powerful move.

The Athleisure trend

The Athleisure trend

Last but not the least, do not forget the fearless girl stance because ultimately everything boils down to those two things—fearlessness and faith. 

The Athleisure trend

The Athleisure trend

Leggings: Adidas, Sweatshirt+Pink bag: Guess (similar), Trainers: Adidas, Heels: Next, Jewelery: Street shops India. 

Photos by @tsaiki

Thank you for reading. Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a lovely week? Don’t forget to follow me. You can also follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

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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