Monday, September 18, 2017

Exploring fashion with Sue Mue

I spoke about this on instagram as to how I am yet to meet a soul who has not had the most impressive things to say about Sue Mue. A label that carries with it a lineage of three generations of pure fashion breed and a love for women's clothing so deep that it is almost synonymous with impeccable Indian wear in the country. What struck me as a pleasant surprise though was that Sue Mue manages to juggle a highly function Pret line with the most elaborate Couture range. 'Ariella', their fall winter 2017 line takes a global route with international architectural inspirations which also incidentally shines through in the colours and embellishments in the Couture line. My interaction with the clothing, from the time I first previewed it to the time I actually styled it has consistently surprised me. I could not believe how rooted in tradition, yet glamorous the garments looked in the store. The label really taps into the needs of a modern Indian woman who loves her off-shoulder style just as much as her nine yards of a 'paithani' saree. It's a need to wear her Indian garments in the most unpredictable of ways while still maintaining their austerity. 
The surprises did not end there. On putting on these garments I felt the instant connect with them. Not only did I feel like the silhouettes bathed my body in the most flattering ways but also just how stylish Indian garments could look without much accessorising. 
Without giving away any more of the magic, let me share with you my take on Sue Mue's Ariella.

Photography by Aditya Saxena
Location c/o: Tata Primanti
Hair and Make up c/o: Geetanjali Salon

All garments by Sue Mue.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How would you describe your style?

I came across this pin on Pinterest which redirected me to this '3-word rule fashion insiders use when getting dressed' by Who What Wear. You know how article headings just suck you in like a quick sand, this was one of those. It's just basic human instinct that when we see an article or a piece that offers us a quiz/engaging content that guarantees a better insight into any aspect of ourselves, we go for it hook, line and sinker. It's not necessarily a bad thing. I would go as far as to say that if it is not click bait, it is actually a legitimate style of writing which requires a certain skill. Back to the original piece that got me thinking, they have devised a little cheat sheet with twenty five adjectives largely used to describe someone's personal style. You pick your top three adjectives that you would use to describe your personal style and dress accordingly (or even shop accordingly).
I'm very engaging too. I shall only direct you to this cool cheat sheet to figure out and streamline your own style at the very end after you've read all I had to say. See? Skilled. 
I realise that I kept oscillating between 'cool', 'feminine' and 'effortless'. Then I felt the need to include 'clean' and 'minimalistic'. But then I was in a bit of dilemma as to what to eliminate. The key I have realised is to keep discovering and keep permutating, while at the same time dressing according to what 'feels right'. That's a lot of wisdom coming from a girl who barely goes by instinct. But no seriously, fashion and consequently personal style are so instinct driven and this little check list might help you get closer to discovering your personal style and working with it.

Dress: ASOS
Boots: Acne Studio
Bag: Cult Gaia

Photography by Aditya Saxena
Location c/o: Tata Primanti
Hair and Make up c/o: Geetanjali Salon

And as for the link, *drum roll* find it here. You're welcome.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Experiencing American Express with FTLOFAOT

The life of a shopaholic is almost tragic. We seek the most expensive pleasures and yet we look to make the smallest deals and discounts happen for us. At the risk of sounding cliché, I am hoping to delve into my experience of having been a part of the American Express family as a shopaholic. I started off my journey exploring the benefits of my MRCC(Membership Rewards Credit Card) on MakeMyTrip since I had heard of the travel benefits a lot. Lucky for me, I was planning a holiday with my best friend and American Express gave me up to 70% cashback on my hotel bookings through MakeMyTrip. Not only did I get a great deal on my hotels, I also found that I could use my card with the utmost ease across Europe with the kind of safety that comes with being an American Express Cardmember. For someone like me who enjoys a good holiday, good food is an obvious accompaniment. A cool tie up that American Express has with quite a few restaurants across the world allows you to get up to 20% off on your food bill on paying with American Express. If you are a fan of the good life then these two key features on the Membership Rewards Credit Card would make you jump with joy too.

The truth of the matter is that the American Express network is actually quite widespread. I figured that the Customer Care would be impeccable but my expectations were far exceeded when I found out that there exists an ECR (Emergency Card Replacement) feature where in American Express issues a replacement card within 48 hours almost anywhere in the world. And that to me is a huge relief (given my love for travelling and general scatter brain ways).

I could also swipe my American Express for bonus membership rewards on almost all platforms I use, from Grofers to Zomato. Offline too, from my daily needs to random shopping sprees (including the irresistible Zara sales), I’ve been able to shop with American Express with the utmost ease. The game changer for me, however, was the Membership Rewards program. It opened up another world of madness for me as I used my membership rewards for everything from buying a new camera to even clearing parts of my bill (yes, that’s possible with American Express). It warmed my heart to see that I could also use my Membership Rewards points to donate to the charity of my choice. Hard to think of a more fulfilling way to spend my membership rewards accumulated to be honest.

There is also something to be said about how easy and safe all my transactions with American Express are. (It helps that if you have the slightest doubt, their customer care will address your worry within seconds). eZeClick for instance, ensures that you can book your movie tickets et al with a single id! No lengthy entering of numbers and CVVs, just a single id. I love the fact that this is an exclusive American Express feature and considering I spend all my time (and money) shopping online, it is perfect for me. Then there is SafeKey which is a feature most websites across the world that accept American Express work with. One password that is sent to your registered email and phone number needs to be entered to ensure the veracity of the user before going through with the transaction. In addition, I love the extra security SafeKey brings to ensure that my card does not get misused during online transactions.

I love the fact that everyday with using my American Express card has been a delightful surprise and I am honestly still discovering so many features that I possibly cannot begin to enumerate here. And most importantly, the Membership rewards program(where the MR points never expire), is now my safety net for my dangerously shopaholic ways. A girl’s gotta do what she’s gotta do. And if this wasn’t all, there is a one-of-its-kind offer on till 20th of September which gives you a lifetime free membership if you apply for the American Express Membership Rewards Credit Card. Along with Rewards that never expire. You’re very welcome!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One dress: two ways

Not everyday does one lay out a five dress change programme for oneself to get through a completely choc-a-bloc day. Not at all points of time do we realistically also have a new dress for every occasion ready to be changed into. So the frugal bit of me (which is an instinct found me in quite rarely), decided to use my ninja styling technique to HIIIIIIIYAAAAAA my way into a completely new look with the addition and subtraction of a few pieces. This summer for me is all about whites and eyelet details. I love cottons and linens and if they come in a cool anti-fit, bonus points. This little baby comes with a ribbon detail around the neck which goes through *surprise surprise* large metallic eyelets. I had been eyeing these Giuseppe Zanotti silver mules for as long as I can remember and almost nothing shook that love for me until I put them on. Cause then the love just grew manifold. They could turn almost any outfit into a show stopper and those heels tick all the right boxes for me. I decided to create one look with a tulle skirt worn underneath the dress because you know, layering is my jam. This I paired with my new Adidas Originals NMDs. If I had to take that look to town, I would just slyly yank that skirt off from under the dress, quietly sitting at a table (which is what I did, even though I think I did attract a fair amount of attention stripping in public like this) and add those Zanotti mules. I did my patent slick pony and added these large ass pearl stud earrings to finish off that look. I love how ideas like this help you reuse almost all your clothes, helping your resolve to shop less (do not even pretend that you have never made one) and use all your existing clothes in different permutation combinations. That to me is timeless fashion. Staying true to your aesthetics while still having fun with fresh ideas.
Tell me how you do that?

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Repeat offender: style edition

How many times have you shied away from wearing something knowing that you might get pictures taken that day that will make it to instagram and a photo of you in that particular outfit exists on the internet? I used to be that person. I still am at times, to be honest. And realistically, the pressure kind of quadruples manifold if you are a fashion blogger. But between trying to strike a balance between sponsored posts and personal style of my own( I wrote about it here), how many outfits per month can I actually be buying (and storage, how do people not think of that) to be seen in a set of different clothes everyday? I love the idea of 'do it for the 'gram' as much as the next millennial (kidding, I couldn't be a millennial even if I tried). But I don't think burning holes the size of Jupiter in my pocket every month is something I would want to do for the 'gram. And hence I decided to learn to restyle my clothes. Repurpose if you may. And the social responsibility of being able to teach my followers the same is high too so I really just had to (phew). I'm here going to attempt to list a few of my favourite ways to repurpose your clothes with illustrations to match. Okay, this isn't as scientific as I'm making it sound. So what are you waiting for? Open that already bursting at its seams cupboard and let's try a few of these tricks.
  • I love this newly discovered idea of knotting my tees at the waist. So easy to basically turn any old/new tee in a cropped tee or crop top if you like. While chopping it off is a little too permanent for me, I can totally live with trying this to add a little pizazz to my classic breton tee.
  • Classic straight leg pants. I refuse to get rid of even my old ones when it comes to these classics. If you have been around here for a while you know how much I love my trousers. Straight leg, palazzos, wide leg pants, cropped etc. So the key to making them look different every time is in how you pair them. If you usually pair them with long tunics or shirts or cool tees, try something sexy the next time. Like a sleeveless turtleneck and strappy heels. Cage/stripper heels if that floats your boat. You get the drift. Watch the pants acquire a complete facelift.
  • Layering. It is the answer to almost all of your wardrobe woes. This is my secret to Emergency dressing too. If I feel like I have worn a dress too many times as it is, I throw on a jacket on top. Or add a tee shirt underneath. Or a scarf like a cowl neck. Easiest to do this with classic elements of your wardrobe like denim shirts and white tees. I also added a bunch of necklaces here to completely disguise the 'seen-a-billion-times' element of this look.
  • This one is my favourite. The white shirt. I know it sounds too obvious but it really is the answer to so many of my repeat offender woes. Apart from pairing it with the classics. Pair a statement pair of pants or a statement making skirt like mine( with the lace tie ups on the side) with a solid coloured shirt. White for me simply because it is my favourite. It makes nearly any look clean and yet so different. So you could be repeating the white shirt a 50 billionth time but it will still manage to look so different paired with cooler, trendier pieces. Of course, shoes always cinch the look for me. 

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Reinventing the OOTD in style

It leaves me part abashed and equal parts proud that I am a part of this OOTD generation. For the uninitiated, OOTD stands for Outfit of the Day. And if you are still around and have not fallen off your perch out of shock/amazement/hilarity et al, then I recognise a true blue millennial in you. Just kidding, you could be as archaic as me but still love a good dose of millennial vocabulary now and then. As usual, there are two sides to the story and trust me to put a good debate into words right here served up for your weekly consumption. The idea of documenting style germinated from something a lot more editorial than an OOTD. It was simple: it could not be basic. But over time we saw an incredible evolution of style and how it was documented and now we are at a point where literally, anything goes. It takes someone like me to appreciate the kind of freedom and creativity this allows fashion lovers like myself. I could want to go all guns blazing with my accessories one day (read Annie Leibovitz's legendary Dior shoot for Vogue) or I might want to stick to my minimal yet emphatic roots the other (read the wave of fashion Seinfeld ushered in). It allows me the sense of privilege to create a diary of sorts that not only documents my whims but it also marks my evolution as a fashion person. So yes, an #OOTD is an uber quick way to serve up your most mundane look with style. An OOTD is the fast food for fashion bloggers and yes, you may quote me on that. Here is the catch though. I have begun to strongly see a pattern here, i.e. the downfall of a well thought out shoot or a well written piece. A phone camera is such a powerful tool in this day and age (what with a snazzier camera out every single day), that all it takes is a phone and an instagram account to create an OOTD. You and I can have a judgement about what qualifies as a good OOTD but that again remains subjective. What on the face of it could appear as trashy styling could strike a chord with a niche audience and that is just how powerfully this OOTD can impact the fashion social clout. But that again leads me to an upside. The fact that the diversity of edits, personal style, geographical locations, type of OOTD creates such a colourful fabric of fashion that there is space for nearly everybody to do their thing and find an audience for it. There are accounts that do not claim to be fashion bloggers but work on an OOTD format and do a bloody fine job of it. In the end it boils down to the authenticity of your content and how you use OOTDs to your advantage. I hope you enjoyed this little lecture on fashion gabbing with Shreya and that would be Rs. 1 lac for one lecture. Just kidding. Or not.
Here's a recap of some of my OOTDs that were just too good to be left only on instagram.

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project


Thursday, June 1, 2017

FTLOFAOT takes on Westin Pushkar

It wasn't too hard to make the connect. Pushkar: a beautiful (yet holy) city known to amass thousands of tourists every year for it's intrinsic sightseeing value, coupled with the embodiment of luxury and hospitality; The Westin group finding themselves a spot there. What I did not however anticipate, is that this particular property under the Westin umbrella would find itself a niche of being one of it's kind (read: Resort and Spa). If you're in Rajasthan or any other state, north of the Vindhyas, getting here is easy peezy. Train to Jaipur and then a three hour drive. Flight to Jaipur and then drive down. If you're coming from Delhi like we did, a Shatabdi to Ajmer and then a drive is advisable but if, like me, long car drives are your jam then an 8 hours long car drive is not a bad option either. Now that I have the technical stuff out of the way, I wish to wade right into the fabulous details of this property, you know the G-life (good life). 
This sprawling large property, i.e. The Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa is literally, and I mean literally everything you want to pack into a holiday. I wouldn't deny that it serves as a great business hotel too but with 36 Premier Villas, 24 luxury villas and 20 Royal villas, you really could do with the princely treatment on a holiday or otherwise. In a style which is patently mine, let me take you through the top 10 things that you would not want to miss at this splendid property:
  • Breakfast in the pool: I know what you're thinking. Is something as frivolous as a breakfast in pool really unmissable in life. But you know what, you wouldn't know till you try it! Granted, now my normal breakfast in bed will pale in comparison everyday but this luxurious spread of the best continental breakfast on a floating table while you dip away in your private pool (mind you, we stayed in the Royal villa), is definitely what dreams are made of.

  • The sprawling greenery: Believe it or not, the hotel is like an oasis in the middle of the barren desert. While not so barren in season (where it is supposed to be covered by rose bushes on all sides), most parts are the real sandy dunes of Pushkar. In the middle of it all, the most beautiful manicured bushes, palm trees, hedges and patterns that make you think endless lush greenery are definite components of a beautiful, green getaway.

  • The dome: It never suffices to say 'the dome'. But it might suffice if you saw this magnificent structure created right in the middle of the main swimming pool with a little bridge that carries you across to it. Straight out of a Yash Raj movie set, the dome plays a key role in a lot of weddings that take place here and I would think so too! Having my little dramatic moment right in front of the dome myself.

  • Gastronomical delights: It didn't take me too long to dive right into the real stuff. I honestly would not ever recommend or venture out myself to a destination where I wasn't sure I was going to be fed with utmost sincerity. Westin Pushkar, like all other fabulous Westin properties across the world does just that. We had the good fortune of experimenting with different cuisines at every meal but the clincher for me would have to the Asian lunch at Seasonal Tastes, their restaurant.

  • The 'Crafted at Westin' Experience: If you follow me on instagram, you obviously already know about my sojourn behind the bar with Chef Ajay where I made two kick ass cocktails in one night. Its nice and dandy to have make-your-own-cocktail nights once in a blue moon but here's the important bit: here at Westin Pushkar, this is a daily feature at Mix, their bar. Permanent. For good. Whenever. You get the point. And that to me is extremely impressive. It helps that they have an immaculate presentation of the whole concept at their bar with the chalk boards and signages that help you get cracking on your own potent concoction. An accompaniment of the world's finest cheese (again, with names scribbled alongside) did not hurt.

  • Recreational offerings: I usually do not do extensively vegetational holidays but when I really want to vegetate, spas, yoga classes and the likes are high on my agenda. A great spa with their Signature Balinese massage (the spa is new so it's not exactly free of hiccups but they are definitely getting there) was all that I needed to culminate this fabulous vacation. It helps that there is the option of a movie hall (on the property, yes!) for private movie viewing and the option of ordering in all your favourite food and drinks right to your seats all at Westin Pushkar. Next time though, I'd love to take one of the yoga classes that they offer.

  • The comfort of the villa: Safe to say, that nothing apart from a suite is going to cut it for me after my stay at the Royal villa at Westin Pushkar. From the most thoughtful welcome snacks to my own private plunge pool and a treadmill right inside my villa along with the heavenly bed, there really wasn't much left to my imagination (in this case, a brilliant thing that was!).

  • Entertaining the idea of this being your next corporate offsite and/or large scale party set up destination: I know I know, this sounds a little pushy. But let me tell you exactly why I feel like this is a value addition and how I verified it. Over the weekend that I spent there, I saw at least two huge groups of corporates who were there for a conference and it seemed to go off seamlessly for them. Given how the property is, it is not hard to imagine why they would be comfortable bringing their families along. The structure and architecture of the property itself provided a fillip to its business customers. Away from the city yet, in the middle of it all. Quite clever, if I might add.
  • The peace and the quiet: There really is no alternative to a peaceful getaway even when you're in the plains. With only the sounds of pool splashes and the birds twittering away, I could picture why a family looking to get away for a weekend would want to head here. Or a couple looking to just spend some quality time with an uber luxurious set of options for treatment would choose to be at the Westin Pushkar. The construct of the property is such that it transports you to an ideal sort of a holiday spot. See for yourself.

  • The added advantage of being in Pushkar: My relationship with Pushkar goes a long way back. Almost from the time I was in high school I have harboured a special sort of a connect with this town of sand dunes, camels and magic carpets. A trip around this cornucopia of history, spiritual relevance (like the only Brahma temple in the world) and just the sheer amount of colour and food is perfect to complete that holiday reverie. Who says you cannot step out of the property on a holiday if you so wish.

If I haven't told you enough, there is always the website to find out more about The Westin Pushkar Resort and Spa.
Find them on faceboook and instagram. If you do end up visiting, do share your experience with me (so that I may gloat!) and also more seriously, if you have any questions, feel free to ask away. 



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