Jul 22, 2014

touch of gold.

Dress: c/o Zalora Singapore, Bag: Mango, Heels: Charles & Keith 

Earlier this year, on one of my brief trips to sunny Singapore, I had the pleasure of shooting a series of outfit posts with the gorgeous (and extremeeely talented) Fiona Sng. The previous post, which featured a diverse range of renowned brands – both local and internationally loved – was published in April, and you can check it out here. This ensemble had a distinctly party-esque aspect to it, standing out against the gorgeous scenery that the heart of China Town (where we conducted the shoot) offered. Against delicately designed walls and a lush, green backdrop, the  The dress I chose is from ZALORA Singapore, my go-to online retailer for beautiful clothing and commendable quality. The nude tone, a subtle and natural choice, offers a certain versatility – it works for both day and night looks. With a cross neckline and a bodycon silhouette, the dress is a gorgeous choice for any semi-formal or formal occasion, depending on the styling. In this particular look, there is a balance between the formal essence of a nighttime look and the casual day ensemble fitting for a lunch party. The accessories – a striking Mango bag and golden heels – delivered such a quality to the look, one that Fiona captured perfectly. 

Charles and Keith has a long-withstanding reputation for being dedicated to sleek, effortless designs with sustainable quality and refreshing touches. What else could a girl want? To brighten up the look, the ideal shoes are, of course, a pair of heels from the brand. With an elegant, rustic gold coloring and sequin-encrusted design, the shoes were in sync with the essence of the outfit, while bringing a new element of sophisticated grunge. The heels are among the most comfortable I've ever worn; a definite plus when walking around the hilly location of our shoot! Comfort and style go hand-in-hand, and Charles & Keith delivers this quality to its clients always. A paper-thin Mango clutch was the final touch to the look, in a vibrant fuchsia tone and snake-skin texture. While in London and Spain this summer, the clutch was among the most used of all my accessories, constantly complimenting every #ootd and adding a dash of color to every monochromatic ensemble that I happened to wear. With such trusted brands by our sides, what more could we need to pull together the perfect party look?


Jul 18, 2014

the mango factor.

While traveling across sunny Spain, exploring the beautiful monuments and discovering little gems in each city, one thing has been more apparent to me than anything else: Mango is among the most loved Spanish brands. And for all the right reasons. Whether I was in Seville or Barcelona, it was hard to not spot a Mango outlet – and peek inside to see more of the brand's covetable pieces. The phenomenon of the store is all due to the Mango factor; the essence it holds which leads to its undeniable success. This factor consists of a important criteria, including versatility, design strength, and everlasting charm. All of which Mango executes with season after season. The brand's versatility is behind a lot of its success. Whether you are going for the bohemian look that summer demands or an elegant ensemble to mimic the models who don such clothes, Mango has it all. 

While the first look has a daring metallic edge, through the silver touch and iridescent accessories, the look above is just as fabulous – despite how different it is. Mango offers you the best of both worlds, and putting together these outfits has shown me just how evident this is. With boyfriend jeans (and a perfectly distressed touch on the denim) and a silk top which strikes the perfect balance between masculine and feminine ways of dressing, the androgynous outfit has never been more appealing. I've never been inclined towards this style of dressing, although it has made a wave through in the fashion world in the form of street style and off-duty wear. Mango's carefully striking pieces are the ideal components for such a way of dressing. 

In a look that best encapsulates my style at the moment, Mango has offered a airy, vicarious vibe in the majority of the summer collection. Putting together the different options allows you to dress in the bohemian way that so many brands have adopted as their main style – such as Free People, for example. The wonderful part about Mango is that it does not stick to one such style, covering a startling variety while maintaining consistency. Go for the paisley-print, India-inspired maxi, adding simplistic sandals and the touch of bold jewelry to complete the look. 

What do you think of the Mango factor? Which is your favorite look? 

– M

Jul 6, 2014

color of summer | urban outfitters lookbook.

Lookbook: White it Out

In the midst of a scorching hot summer, the most valuable color a girl can have is a subdued, quiet tone to balance out the unrelenting heat and color that is synonymous with the season. Naturally, the fashion world has this color picked and perfected and it remains a summer staple year after year. All white ensembles bring elegance, comfort, and a chic factor to every wardrobe, with versatility and strength that is neither attention-seeking nor played-out. Urban Outfitters turned to the hue for their Spring/Summer lookbook – aptly titled, White It Out.  While I've been in London, shopping (along with sightseeing and enjoying the city's unpredictable yet usually lovely weather) has been a priority among other things. And of course, upon hitting Oxford Street, Urban Outfitter's gorgeous flagship store was one of the first places my sister and I decided to look into. So stay tuned for many outfit posts featuring my gorgeous UO finds. In the meantime, let's look at the brand's beautiful presentation of one of its most recent collections, featuring a color we should all be turning to this summer. Throughout the lookbook, in which there was no consistent theme other than the color that united each outfit featured, white was prominent and dazzling, no matter which form it was presented in.

UO is quite known for its cool, edgy take on clothing, more contemporary and relaxed than other labels that share its youth factor. More than anything, it is unapologetic and bold, as we all should be in the way we dress. These details are applicable to their summer lookbook, which intertwined thought-provoking creative decisions with emphasis on the clothing itself. Set in a sublime studio for most of the shoot, the UO models posed in a location with natural light seeping through large windows, reminiscent of the ideal ballet/dance studio. White walls were somehow the perfect match for an all-white ensemble, overall refreshing and soothing to look at. The atmosphere of the shoot is that of the clothing itself – casual but with purpose, effortless but able to turn a few heads. And the clothes? Delicate, opaque slips, bralets, boyfriend jeans with more than a few rips, made-for-summer cutoffs, and V-neck shirts. All of which are considered summer staples if there ever were some, and pulled through with a bit of extra Urban Outfitters charm. Whether you pick the slouchy sweater to stroll on the streets of Paris or don the quintessential shorts-and-shirt combination for a trip to the beach, giving the color white a chance this summer is Urban Outfitter's well-received message.


Jun 23, 2014

a moment with aayushi bangur | fashion blogger.

When I first moved to Bombay, I scoured the Indian fashion blogging scene to get myself acquainted with the stars of the game; those who impacted fashion in India in the digital age, whose presence shone through social media unlike any others. This description, without a doubt, applies to the beautiful and innovative fashion blogger Aayushi Bangur. Her consistently gorgeous outfit posts, displaying her distinct and personified sense of style, completely won me over and I have been a dedicated reader of her blog ever since. It is her versatility that is most admirable – there are elegant, sophisticated lace ensembles seeping from an assortment of loved labels but there are just as many edgy outfits created with the best of high-street brands. Simply put, reading her blog, Style Drive, allows for an endless stream of style inspiration. The photographs, which are captured by her other-half, N7Photography, also seem to encapsulate the essence of Mumbai – with locations spanning from the enchanting neighborhoods of South Bombay. Whenever I am feeling pangs of homesickness, I can turn to Aayushi's blog, for a beautiful portrait of Indian and contemporary fashion and a dose of Mumbai magic. I caught up with Aayushi to ask her ten quick questions about style and blogging – read on to discover what fuels her blog and more of her shopping secrets!

1. What inspired you to launch a fashion blog?
I was hooked on to fashion blogs as a teenager and romanced the idea of starting a blog for a while before actually gathering the confidence to do so. So it was really the fashion bloggers I followed back then who inspired me. Plus I was desperately looking at taking up a hobby to get away from my Economics books! This seemed perfect!

2. What sets Style Drive apart from other blogs?
I wouldn't want to compare but I do pay special attention to the quality of the content I put up. We work hard in creating content which is one of a kind. Thats why its hard when some people conveniently copy it left right and centre.

3. How has India, as a country, influenced your personal style?
I consider myself extremely fortunate to be living in Mumbai! It's the perfect depiction of India as a country. I come across all sorts of people from different stratas and different walks of life, every single day and that indirectly but certainly defines my style!

4. What do you consider some important milestones for your blog?
Ah! This is hard. There have been several moments where I have felt extremely fortunate. Working with some of the best national and international brands, getting such great support from my readers definitely remains a constant pride booster.

5. Three items in your closet you can't live without?
My Topshop Joni jeans, skater dresses and lots of skirts.

6. What are your favorite places to shop in Bombay (online or otherwise?
In Mumbai, I shop at Mango, Marks & Spencer, Zara and Forever21. There are a lot of stores like Chemistry, Veromoda and Only that also do some fun pieces. Online, I am addicted to Asos and Shopbop.

7. Goals for the future?
As clich├ęd as this may sound, I rarely plan ahead. But I do have a checklist in my head which includes starting my own brand at some point.

8. What are your favorite trends for the upcoming Spring/Summer 2014 season?
Pastels, pencil skirts, maxi outerwear and everything maxi actually.

9. Favorite fashion magazines?
I rarely buy magazines but when I do it's either an Elle or a Grazia.

10. Your greatest tips for aspiring fashion bloggers?
Be yourself in the truest sense. Its very easy to lose yourself and get stuck in this chase game. The challenge is to actually stay out of it and rise above it all.

Follow Aayushi on Instagram and Twitter for more!


Jun 10, 2014

bombay diaries: part 1.

I came to India looking for something that was missing, looking for a way to connect to the culture that was always a part of me but so far away from me. There was never a doubt in my mind that being Indian was who I was, but in some sense, I couldn’t tell if it was through obligation or deep-rooted values or genuinely who I was. Making the decision to move to Bombay for six months was a way to see how played a role in my life and how strong that role was. I came here looking for something and I got so much more. No matter how explicitly I state this, it won’t live up to my real emotions but here it is: I have had the best six months of my life. Through friendships and exploring the city and connecting to the culture in ways I couldn’t even imagine; through finding pieces of myself in the struggles and the uplifting moments; through understanding India better, with each new day, with each new memory; through all these experiences, I have gained more than I have in a lifetime. I couldn’t be more grateful for those who made it possible and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the first half of 2014. Not only has this impacted my year, but it has influenced who I am and the way I live. And most importantly, no matter where I am in the world, India will be a part of who I always was, always am, and the person I will continue to be for a long time.

Now that the difficult part of this post is over, I can launch into all the beautiful moments which made this past semester what it was for me. I owe so much of it to my friends, friends who I was not expecting to have but who have become such a large part of my life. There have been countless school days, lunches, dinners, parties, Bollywood movie sessions, ubiquitous Starbucks trips, and explorations of this city – all of which have enhanced my time here by indescribable amounts. A large part of why I love Bombay is that I love the people, something which I wasn’t looking for from the start. But it is a factor of my time here that I will always cherish and this post celebrates that.
There have been hundreds of Instagram-worthy pictures that perfectly encapsulate my time here. If you have been keeping up with my Bombay adventures on Instagram, many of you have already seen them in a more timely manner, as I've been chronicling all these events constantly. For a better look, head over to my Instagram account here! From the parties to the amazing girls trip to Aamby Valley to the wonderful Festival of Nations day at school, there have been so many events here that have defined each month in the best way. 
 "Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it." –  L.M. Montgomery

Prom was, if nothing else, incredibly memorable for me and something I truly enjoyed. All the typical prom pictures are included above – it was a great night for photographs. Both the dresses I donned, for prom and after-prom, were from ASOS, the ever-reliable brand I turn to when looking for outfits for any occasion. For the actual prom dress, I opted for a vivacious red ensemble, with a body-con silhouette and subtle sweetheart neckline. When it came to the after-prom dress, body-con was again the way to go, but this time with a textured fabric and a beautiful indigo hue. 
A few weeks ago, my friends threw me a surprise leaving party – something I was not expecting at all. It was possibly one of my best nights here in Bombay, with so many little memories I will never forget. Every single detail – a plethora of maxi dresses worn by all the girls, music that has been constantly played throughout these past five months, and hundreds of photographs to capture it all – resulted in an incredible night, hard for me to describe. 
This post has honestly been written in vain and I hope it can do my time in Bombay even the slightest bit of justice. It is hard to encompass all these memories – and portray the significance of it all in my life. Leaving India, all these memories, this home I have built for myself – it will be the most difficult thing I have to do. There is some beauty to be found in the temporary nature of the situation; leaving was inevitable. Though I wouldn’t describe it as fleeting, the months went by more quickly than I could have imagined. I realize now that this was a difficult decision from the beginning but there is nothing to be lost. I have gained more than I can adequately express. There are memories, there is a basis for a future, there is so much holding me to this country. I am leaving now but there is a part of me which will always be here, compelling me to return to the home I will always have. Thank you to everyone who made this time so special to me.