Saturday, 25 April 2015

RE-INVENT YOUR WARDROBE #1: Add a Jacket on Top

I'm a big advocate of re-inventing your wardrobe, whether it's just mix-and-matching your outfits, altering your outfits, or just changing a look so that it looks different to the original.

I thought I'd do a short series of posts about re-inventing your wardrobe - where instead of buying a whole new wardrobe, you just use what you have and make it look different and more in line with current trends.

(Although a quick side note to say that not all of these may work for some people, and I understand that not everyone has as many jackets as I found in my wardrobe!)

1. Wear a jacket with a jumpsuit.
I've posted before about experimenting with a jacket on top of a jumpsuit, and I loved the results. This was a simple embroidered jacket from one of my Eid outfits that I wore with a jumpsuit from the high street. I know the trend is also to wear wider-legged jumpsuits for a looser, flowier look, but I wanted to try the jacket with the one I had, and loved it.

I've had a really good response from a lot of readers about this outfit, with several people saying they wanted to try this - it's ideal for a night out as well as an Asian event, and it's also more of a fusion look. While it's not completely modest (the jumpsuit I had was quite fitted), it can be made to look modest and for a first attempt, I was quite happy with the style.

2. Add a jacket to a maxi dress or an abaya.
I know that maxi dresses and abayas are not the same thing, especially as maxi dresses tend to be more fitted and fashionable, whereas the primary purpose of an abaya is to hide the shape of the body. Nevertheless, they both are maxi length and come to your ankles (or longer), and adding a jacket is a great way to dress up both.

I don't wear an abaya but my eldest sister does, and she has worn embellished, loose jackets to dress up her abayahs for weddings or functions. I love the idea of a dressed-up maxi or abayah, particularly where it doesn't have to be a heavy jacket - one of my favourite looks has been a brocade, metallic jacket with a plain dress.

This jacket came from the outfit I wore to my sister's wedding, which was a little looser at that time! The maxi dress itself is a simple cheap one from an unbranded company (one of those random shops you find on the high street) and comes in various colours and styles, which I thought went with the jacket quite well in terms of colour and shape. I really like how modest this outfit was, and the flow of the dress with the jacket, which felt really swishy and girly one. I could have dressed the outfit up more with jewellery, like a long necklace or hijab jewellery, but I thought the jacket itself was heavy enough!

3. Add a jacket to a normal kameez and churidar or trousers.
It sounds obvious really, but it's a pretty way of layering without looking weird. It's difficult to layer Asian outfits the way we can with Western ones - where we can add a cardigan to a short sleeve top or dress, it's not always as chic with Asian outfits. This jacket came from another suit, which I wore with the outfit from my sister's mehndi - I haven't had a chance to wear either suits for a while, so I loved the fact that I could pull these out again!

I thought this outfit looked really girly and cute, it's really ideal for a mehndi function or even to wear to a dawat/dinner, without feeling overly heavy. Although there is a lot of corals in this outfit, I tried to tone it a little with maroon accents and nudes. The jacket really slimmed down my figure and gave it a longer look, and I liked the fact that this had a shorter hemline, which meant I could wear it with shorter kurtas to fit in line with current Pakistani fashion trends.

4. You can even add it to an anarkali outfit.
Rather than having a slim-line effect like the above, having an anarkali dress with a jacket gives more of an A-Line look. This might not be to everyone's tastes, but again, it's a new way to wear an an old outfit.

I chose this RDC indigo anarkali dress to wear with a jacket of a very similar colour I found in my wardrobe. I liked this look, but it wasn't my favourite, mainly because I thought the jacket was heavy and felt too much over a heavy anarkali. Having said that, the jacket blended perfectly with the dress and added to the flowy style, and emphasised the A-Line look. I would have liked to try this jacket with a simpler dress underneath, or even another colour to see how it varied, but I think it didn't look bad as it is below and it looked quite classic.

5. For a heavier, dressier look you could add it it a lengha and top.
I'm not sure this is something which wouldn't look too heavily layered, but I gave this one a shot anyway. I was going to try this with my mehndi skirt, which has a print to it and was a lot heavier, but I couldn't find anything that matched it enough for me to be happy with.

So I tried this instead, this hot pink jacket from a Gul Mohar outfit, with a plain silk maxi skirt (which is actually from Zara, of all places!) and a short kameez. The kameez itself was altered from a longer pink slip kameez which I got cut and shorted, for the lengha-choli look. Because the outfit was quite blocky, I wore my bridal jewellery with it, which looked perfect on top, with a printed pink and gold hijab scarf to finish off the look.

I loved this outfit, it's simple but embellished enough for a outfit for a wedding (I'm actually considering this for a family wedding next month!). I haven't worn a choli-style short kameez like this in years - probably not since I was a young teen, so it felt weird having this on, but the jacket made the whole look really wearable, and also modified enough to feel modest. I've love to try this look with other skirts/tops to see if it looks as nice, but I was quite happy with this look, and it was my favourite out of all the ones in this post.

All of these styles were using outfits I already had, I didn't buy anything new and simply mixed and matched (or in the case of the last one, did some slight alterations to a silk kameez!) You will be amazed by what you may find in your wardrobe - I know some of you may think that there's not much to work with, but believe me, there is!

I have a few more posts coming up to show how to mix-and-match pieces and re-invent styles, and I've even found a few more jackets since doing this post. I didn't get the opportunity to try shorter jackets, or even Western jackets from the high street for a more funky, modern look, but I'm sure I'll give it a shot!

What did you think of these outfits? Would you try wearing a jacket on top for a new look?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

KAPRAY SHAPRAY: The Maxi Shirt Dress Trend

I've been seeing a big trend recently of maxi shirts and maxi shirt dresses recently, following on from the kimonos and long jackets I've been seeing. The thing I love about this is how easy the maxi shirts are for people like me to wear, who look for long-length dresses and tops which feel more modest and are amazingly comfortable.

I've seen these hitting the high street over the last few months now, and love the styles that are out there - a lot of them do remind me of kameezes though! 90s fashion seems to be hitting the industry - first with the marsala colours and the dark, brown lipsticks, and now these flippy shirts which were big in that decade.

Here's a few examples I've seen on the high street, and which are available to buy at present - there's lots more but the main similarities I've seen are the long styles with slits on the sides, some with buttons and some without.

I saw a really pretty floral print maxi shirt in high street store H&M, and snapped it up, as it looked perfect - it's long, has full sleeves and is very easy to wear. I wore this on a day out a few weeks ago and found it idea for the warm weather, it's slightly sheer so I wore a vest under my shirt and accessorised with a maxi cardigan, but I loved the look.

I've seen a lot of girls wearing this, and I'm not surprised, it's comfortable and it's a good intermediate for those who want to wear modest clothes or want to transition to to longer hemlines before they start wearing an abaya. And of course, it's very flattering on the figure, it certainly made me look slimmer and longer!

It's also given me the idea to make one of my own pieces like this. I haven't been able to find more printed long shirts like this that I like, there are a lot of plain ones out there and quite frankly, a lot of them were quite boring! So I've been hitting the local fabric stores and markets for some pretty, printed fabrics, and I've already seen a few that I like which I want to get stitched for summer. I'll be sure to post the results of any dresses I end up making, I love the idea of making my own and having a more of a unique touch, and would love to see what I end up with.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

OUTFIT OF THE DAY: The Gold Maxi Dress and Raani Haar Outfit

I've been going through my wardrobe recently, clearing out outfits I won't wear anymore and looking at outfits I can get more use out of. One outfit I definitely will be keeping is this one, a creamy-gold maxi dress with pink and purple accents, given to me by my mother-in-law as a gift when I got married.

I wore this to a family wedding a couple of weeks ago, and decided to make the most out of my wedding jewellery by re-wearing the set again (although I didn't wear the gold choker necklace this time!) I'm glad I did, it really made a difference to the outfit and added some glamour to it.

This is the dress I wore, which apparently came from Mohsin & Sons from Islamabad, Pakistan, which I was really happy to hear as I've been wanting to get something from them since one of my friends bought a gorgeous bridal outfit from them. The dress itself is amazingly stitched, not only did it have proper lining which was sewn properly, the embroidery and metal work was good quality and very tightly-knit. The necklace itself is a saat-lara haari (seven-layered necklace) style, although I opted for 5 layers instead of 7 to make it more manageable, which is why I also would call it a raani haar (queen necklace) which seems to describe most long-chained necklaces.

This is what I accessorised with, I went a little heavy with the accessories (partly because I have so many gold-coloured things!) to give a heavier look, this was for a close family wedding so I wanted something which felt appropriate without looking too bridal. I used my jewelled clutch as well as most of my bridal jewellery and some bridal bangles, finished off with a peachy hijab scarf to bring out the pink accents of the dress.

This is me wearing it, it's hard to see the several kaliyan or pleats, which add to the volume of the skirt, giving a very pretty A-Line shape. You can see though, that the pearl necklaces were low enough to not be hidden by the hijab and stood out well with the work on the neckline are, which I loved.

I loved the fit of this dress and the fact that it went well with the pink accents - I don't often wear light colours so it was nice to go with something like this and layer on the gold jewellery, as well as the lovely jewelled clutch.

I thought I'd also post a picture of the eye-makeup I did to go with the outfit, using peach and gold tones to go with the outfit. I don't always get my eyeshadow blending right (YouTube tutorials always make it look so easy) but for once I was happy with the way it looked, the colours worked well and weren't too heavily smokey or dramatic, with worked for me.

I don't think I have a lot of weddings coming up this year, so it was nice to dress up and spend time with all of the extended family, and see everyone all glammed up (not to mention a lot of naughty toddlers in pretty dresses running around!).

I'll be posting more of my casual outfits soon, as well as some budget tips (for those of you who are waiting for more of my wedding posts, I'm sorry for the wait, some of my files and pictures from the wedding have been messed up and I'm still working to recover them, but the posts are still coming!)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

THE WEDDING POSTS: The (Other) Wedding Clutch

I already posted about my wedding clutch, but I also wanted to post about this clutch which I ordered first. I ordered this from Aeysha of Kapray Shapray, who also got my wedding jewellery customised and ordered for me via Lahore, which was a huge help.

I've been hankering after a jewelled clutch for a while, and the ones I've seen around London and online were not really amazing, either they were too clunky, the stones didn't look great quality or the prices were too high.

The clutch below was sent to be after I selected from a bunch of designs (I nearly went for a gold one with gold and silver stones, but I can't resist colourful things), and is actually smaller than it looks, which I love because it looks so much more delicate and pretty.

I didn't go for this clutch on the wedding day in the end, because the colours didn't pick out the accents of my wedding skirt (the blues and the greens), so I kept it as a back-up. I considered using this clutch with my mehndi bridal outfit instead, but I wanted a simple look for the mehdni and didn't think a clutch bag would be much use.

I have used this clutch bag a good few times though, and I love the workmanship and the beautiful stones all over the clutch - it's an ideal statement piece for a simple outfit!

Monday, 6 April 2015

BOLLYWOOD ISHTYLE: Sonam's Bridals in Dolly ki Doli

I watched Sonam Kapoor's latest offering Dolly ki Doli yesterday, (making the most of my bank holiday!) and loved the different outfits being showcased in the film, so thought I'd post about them. The film features Sonam playing a con-artist who marries-em-and-leaves-em - it's entertaining enough, and thankfully not a long film, although I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you like it!

There are several bridals and pretty dresses featured in this film by style icon Sonam (I think there were meant to be around 16 bridals, although there may be more!) although I won't post all of the outfits. The one thing which struck me about the outfits in this movie is that unlike other films, a lot of them have come off the Indian catwalk (as opposed to being designed specifically for the film), highlighting Indian-based designers and making them more accessible for the consumer who wants to buy the same thing.

My first example is this purple and silver Anita Dongre bridal worn by Sonam, which is available to buy from Pernia's Pop-up Shop, (although the blouse seems to be a little less heavier on the website). I also noticed that this is the same, or very similar to one of the bridal outfits Dia Mirza wore on her wedding functions.

I've noticed an increase of choli and crop tops with embellished lenghas coming into fashion again, in both Pakistani and Indian trends, and while this isn't one I can I can see myself wearing, it suits Sonam a lot, the colour is a classical one and the look is certainly very bridal.

One of my favourite dresses in this film was this simple, bright azure blue dress by a smaller company called MadSam TinZin which is a simple cut dress with a layer of printed (or maybe jamwar) fabric underneaht and work on the collar and cuffs. Like the dress above, it's available for sale on Pernia's Pop Up Shop, and looks pretty much the same. It's ideal for a dress dinner dress or even an elegant party outfit, I love the shade of blue and the fit of the dress (although I do remember having a similar cut dress like this back in the 90s, with buttons on the front!)

Another outfit that's also from the same designers MadSam TinZin is this yellow sharara outfit, which is more old school in style (and not available on the website to buy), with a sunny yellow top and bottom and embellished orange dupatta. It's a lot more like something my mum would have worn in her youth (although maybe not in yellow) and makes a perfect mehndi outfit, which Sonam carries well with her jewellery and simple make-up.

An outfit I thought was quite adventurous was a lengha from Manish Arora's Couture collection in 2014, which is a brilliantly rainbow-coloured skirt, which Sonam pairs with a gold jacket and blouse instead for a funkier, elclectic look (especially with her shades!)

Another outfit I loved was this old-style pistachio green and gold maxi gown and jacket, which Sonam created a muted, classical bridal look (which also reminds me of some Pakistani vintage bridals) complered with gorgeous pearl jewellery and jhoomar on her head.

This outfit is by Ashima Leena, and like some of the outfits above, is also available to buy from Pernia's Pop-up Shop. I love the leaf motif pattern all over the jacket, and the pretty shade of green with the gold, for a glamorous dress which would be perfect for a nikah ceremony or even a vintage-themed mehndi.

Sonam also sported a Punjabi bridal look for this film, wearing an embellished tunic with striped pants and chunky gold jewellery, for a classical red and gold look, below.

This outfit was sourced from Anupama Dayal's collection, although the one that was showcased was in yellow and parrot green, and looks a little funkier than the red and gold one above. I actually preferred the kurta in green and though it made a more stylish look with the flowy palazzo pants, but I love that Sonam's bridal look re-invents the look for a more Punjabi style. I tried to look online to see whether this top was on sale anywhere, but couldn't find it, although the designer is selling her other designs on Pernia's Pop-up Shop.

Another quick view is of an Mayyur Girotra skirt and choli, which I didn't spot myself but found through another blogger's sharp eye, I love the colourful embroidery on the top of this, contrasted with a beautiful rich silk hot pink skirt for a colourful, contemporary outfit. With this outfit, however, Sonam uses her silver jewellery and styling to create a more Gujarati look, along with pink lips and an updo.

This was another bridal which Sonam carried off, I'm not sure who designed this one, but the gold chantilly lace is pretty in-line with current trends, and with the high-necked blouse, it's done quite well with Sonam's simple jewellery.

The last bridal I wanted to post about was this pink and blue one by Jade, another Indian-based label by designers Monica and Karishma. The outfit is pretty traditional in it's style (It looked like a lengha-sari to me), with the top part being draped under the bridal necklace like a sari, and the bottom being a pretty pink and gold embellished (or perhaps gota-work) skirt, and being finished off with the dupatta in pink. I thought this was quite a pretty wedding outfit, the colour combination is lovely and the jewellery and styling works together pretty well for a soft, feminine look.

Throughout the film Sonam wears (and steals!) some really lovely jewellery, and keeps the focus on her face rather than being too blingy with jewellery or big hair. I really liked these earrings which she wears below in a chand-bali style, which look really lovely on - and means no other jewellery is needed for a dressy look.

I definitely think Sonam captures a lot of styles in this movie, she plays a Muslim, Christian, Hindu bride and branches off to Punjabi, Tamil and Gujerati in lovely styles, which are put together quite well. I also love the fact that the film promotes a lot of home-grown Indian designers, showing a diversity of style and playing with colours and looks - not to mention that a lot of the outfits above are available to buy as well, which is great for getting the look!

All images of Sonam taken from Dolly ki Doli and do not belong to me