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Brooch - The Versatile Ornament

A Brooch is the most versatile ornament a woman can own. It is one of my favorite jewellery item of all. The dictionary meaning of Brooch is a decorative jewellery item designed to be attached to garments, often to hold them together. It was more of a utility piece when draped garments were more popular than stitched garments. Now a days, brooches have more of an ornamental value. It can be worn with almost anything from a woman’s wardrobe. Functional or decorative, they can never go unnoticed.

Traditional way of wearing a brooch is the classic way- on the lapel of your coat,jacket or blazer, or close to your heart over a dress, sweater or any other outerwear. But during winters, there are  unconventional ways of flaunting this decorative piece of jewellery. Some of them are:

1. On a hat or a cap:- Especially love this one to hide a bad hair day.

2. Hair:- On good hair days,a brooch just adds so much of glamor.



 






3. Over a collar:- Wear it to work on the collar of your classic shirt or blouse and be ready for the compliments.









4. With scarves:- Wear it on a scarf to add that extra element of interest to the normally boring or overused piece of garment.









5. On shoes:- Be it on ballet flats or high heel boots, a brooch on your favorite shoe? Too much I say!









6. On bags:- Brooches on bags look adorable if paired rightly so.

7. With necklace:- Throw on couple of your favorite necklaces and tie them together with a brooch for a trendy look for the evening.









8. With belts:- One belt with different brooches or one brooch with different belts, the ideas are unlimited.









Brooch - The Versatile Ornament

5 Things to Know Before You Buy Boots

Shopping for boots has been a nightmare for some of my friends and I thought I should share my wisdom to deal with specific issue which my dear friends, especially not so tall friends face while wearing their boots. It is true that tall girls look stunning in boots, especially tall boots but even petite structured girls can wear boots and look fabulous in them.
It is all a matter of form and proportion. Each of our body part has its own unique form and proportion and each article of clothing or accessory we put on our body, we are basically playing with the form, proportion and the game of finding the right balance between the two. Here are some tips which might help you find the right balance:

1. Fit is the most important thing for the boots to look good. Ideally they should fit like a glove. If your legs are too thin, do not buy boots which are too loose on your calves. There should be enough space for you to wear a leg warmer or thick leggings but if you are able to put your entire palm in your boots, it is not the right fit for you. Wide shaft boots make your legs look petite and our idea is to make them look tall. So if you do not find the right fit in tall boots, go for something that is just below the calves. Ankle length boots are the most flexible style whether you are petite or not. They go well with trousers and jeans as well as skirts,short skirts or calf length skirts.

5 things to know before you buy boots

2. Choose a color which you can mostly wear with your existing outfits.
Monochromatic palette creates a vertical line which makes petite girls look leaner and taller. So if you buy black boots,wear black leggings so that you create an illusion of long legs. If you wear brown or grey boots, match the color of your leggings to your boots so it creates a single vertical line from top to bottom, making you look tall.

5 things to know before you buy boots

3. When you wear skirts or dresses, the length of that item of clothing hitting your legs is crucial as it would create a horizontal line on your body form. When you are petite, and wearing knee high boots, the length of the skirt or dress should be touching above the knee or even shorter. If you are wearing ankle length boots, then the length of the skirt can go longer. When you are wearing mid calf boots or tall boots, do not wear oversized sweaters or long coats. Short jackets, fitted sweaters, tops and coats with princess seams are a much wiser choice with tall or mid calf boots. With ankle length boots, go ahead and flaunt your trenches and long coat

5 things to know before you buy boots

4. Wearing heels is ideally a great option for shorter girls. Boots with thin pencil heel make the legs look longer and leaner. But be careful with the weather conditions and give priority to the comfort of your feet as you do not want to fall or slip on the road just for the sake of looking sexy. Boots with wedge heels are also a great choice as long as you do not add bulk on your skirt or  dress.

5 things to know before you buy boots

5. Not only is it important to wear your boots the right way, it is also important to choose the right height of your boot . The boot should not end at the widest part of your calf. If it is, it will make your calves look wider as it creates  a horizontal line around the circumference of your calves which kind of draws attention to the widest part of your legs. The boot should be shorter or longer than the widest part of your boot.
Lets hope these tips help you wear your boots more confidently!

5 Things to Know Before You Buy Boots

Kolhapuri Saaj (Accoutrements)

This article is made possible by Gokhale Jewelers, Kolhapur, India. Contact Information: Vidyadhar A. Gokhale (Partner - Gokhale Jewelers), Phone Number - +91-8087355465.

Indian women are very fond of ornaments. Every region in India has a particular fashion of design which is relatively different from the other states. Kolhapur, in Southern Maharashtra is well-known for an extraordinary type of necklace called the ‘Kolhapuri Saaj’. It is very popular among women from Maharashtra and bordering Karnataka areas. While the Saaj is created in all over Maharashtra, the Kolhapuri variety is the most popular. The first artisan of Saaj remains unknown to this day.

The Saaj depicts different kinds of human emotions in its design. It includes two vatis (small bowl shaped design) which symbolize the Sun and the Moon. These two vatis together make a pendant. It is called Ghat, and is surrounded by 23 small and big Ghagris. In the center of the Ghat is placed a Manik, a precious stone depicting the power of the Sun. Krishna’s image is the design on the surface of the Ghat. It symbolizes the long life for a married woman’s husband. The intent being that the husband should live longer than the existence of the Sun and the Moon. The traditional Kolhapuri Saaj includes the shapes of Sun, Moon, Koorma, Matsya, Narasimha, the latter 3 being the incarnations of Vishnu. There are 16 other designs and all the 21 designs make the complete Kolhapuri Saaj. The Even number of parts represent completeness and the Odd number of shapes in Saaj indicate growth. So generally, women prefer 11,13,15,17,19 or 21 shapes in the Saaj.

Every shape has some special meaning hidden in it. Actually these 21 shapes are in appreciation of a woman’s husband who is like GOD to them. Whatever is good should be offered to God. Similarly these 21 golden flowers (21 shapes) are offered to God.

The meaning of 21 symbols:

  1. Chaphekali (Bud of a flower named Chapha): This flower is very beautiful. Its fragrance is sweet. It indicates highest peak of growth.
  2.  Panch Panadi (Five Holy leaves): It symbolizes five holy leaves namely Bel leaf, Tulasi leaf, Betel nut leaf, Mango leaf and Trunakur leaf.
  3. Bel Leaf: Mahadev likes this leaf very much. Bel plant has three united leaves (i.e. tripartite) which indicates three gods namely Brahma the creator, Vishnu the Cherisher and Mahesha the Destroyer.
  4. Ridged Gourd: It symbolizes all plants.
  5. Bitter Ground: It symbolizes six types of juices. It is life giving herb or medicine.
  6. Sun: Sun is one of the important Gods. Sun is symbol of splendor. The sun is beneficial to all.
  7. Manik Panadi: It is Ravi planet’s gem. It symbolizes friendship, devotional service of Master i.e. Guru and symbol of high glow
  8. Matsya: There are 10 incarnations of Vishnu. This is the first incarnation of Vishnu and symbolizes strong reproduction power.
  9. Koorma:This is the second incarnation of Vishnu. It symbolizes longevity and humbleness.
  10. Narsimha: Narsimha is the third one. Narsimha is the special incarnation who appeared for saving his dearest devotee Bhakt Prahlad.
  11. Flower: Rose flower is king of all flowers. It is symbol of love and pioneer of scents.
  12. Beetle: Beetle is king of appreciator. Beetle is the symbolic power which never destroys the beauty and at the same time enjoys it. Even the God Dattatreya made Guru to Beetle. It symbolizes broadmindedness.
  13. Moon: It is symbol of coolness.It has got place on the head of Shankara.
  14. Emerald: It is symbol of Uranus. It is cool gem. It increases intelligence. It increases love between spouses. It indicates good richness.'
  15. Gandbhairi: The sign of Gemini. It indicates two bodies but one soul  It symbolizes oneness of wife and husband. It is one of the most important symbols in the Kolhapuri Saaj.
  16. Morchel: IT is the symbol of kingdom, richness and sovereignty.
  17. Peacock Feather: The peacock is our national bird. It is the symbole of prosperity and luxury. The superme personality of Godhead i.e. Krishna has feather of peacock in his hair. It is also a symbol of many colors and beauty.
  18. Conch: It is symbole of divine sound. It is favourite musical instrument of God Shrikrishna  and Shankar.
  19. Tiger Nail: It symbolizes weapons. The sound should have proper grip so it is nearby conch. It symbolizes power of weapon.
  20. Snake: It adds beauty in the sacred tie. It symbolizes union of husband and wife. It even symbolizes strict ruler, hermit. It strictly warns and reminds about the promises which has taken at the of marriage.
  21. Good Luck Charm: This is last symbol in the Kolhapuri Saaj. It is for the protection for the husband from the evil power and an evil eye.

·        Java Beads: Each symbol (shape) has two beads. They are alike.

Ghagari: Each symbol has three to five ghagaris. Ghagar is Marathi word which means a big water container. It symbolizes Jal Kumbha. In every holy work first Jal Kumbha is worshipped. It is also the token of love.

Tassel: Kolhapuri Saaj  is woven into green colored silk. A few red colored brocaded silk tassels are used for decoration. So Kolhapuri Saaj is symbol of good fortune.

In Kolhapuri Saaj symbols starts with Chaphekali and ends with Good luck charm. Chaphekali means transcendental union of Sun and Moon. It is sacred thread of holy emotions of husband and wife. Kolhapuri Saaj is the token of dignity and love given to a wife by her husband.

Kolhapuri Saaj (Accoutrements)

Suits me suits me not

As unique as we are from the inside, we each are gifted with a unique structure from the outside as well. Something almost impossible  to put in numbers from 0 to 12 or 14 or eternity. The unfortunate world of mass produced items has tagged us all with numbers and these numbers have become our identity-unfortunately! Certain numbers are promoted as the “ideal” number to be at and certain numbers and beyond are supposed to bring you shame. This whole number game has played on the minds and psychology of women as they believe that if they are not the “ideal” figure, they are not beautiful and sexy! The fact is, to be beautiful and sexy, its not about the body, its about how you feel inside. The most important factor is confidence! No item of clothing or make up is going to make you beautiful if you do not feel beautiful about yourself. If we follow  a certain discipline in taking care of ourselves, our body ,our skin, our mind and our soul, we are in general ,beautiful people! Numbers in case of weight and size should not stress us so much that we get demotivated loose that necessary discipline.
As I have always said, there is no “one” rule in fashion. It is a lot about common sense, good sense of aesthetic , and most importantly great sense of balance and proportions. It is about correcting the imperfections of our body and balancing the whole look. Another important rule to follow is the “fit”. The most basic item of clothing like a black tee and a jean can look super hot if it is the right fit for you. It is not about how much it costs or what size it is or what brand it is, it looks good ,if it fits well.
Now we all have certain problem areas in our body and common sense says that we should dress in whats the most appropriate for our body.The struggle some people find is to figure out what exactly is the problem area and what exactly suits them. To help you figure that out,here is a break down of certain body shapes that are most common amongst us . Here I am talking about shapes and not about sizes as you could be any size and look fabulous if you dress appropriate to your shape.Of course,there are exceptions and I will try and talk about some of the exceptional problem areas as well ;).

So conventionally we are:

Hourglass: As the name suggests, visualize an hourglass over your body and try to get a sense of shape and proportion. So if your shoulder line and hip line are almost aligned and your waist is smaller and there is a prominent curve , you are an hourglass! A very sexy shape indeed. Now the idea here is to enhance your assets and hide your body’s imperfections. Assets being the waist and the curve. And the imperfection being the full figure look. An hourglass figure needs to create an illusion of a lean figure.  Now here comes the balancing act.
Suits me:-
- Wear things that accentuate the waist . For eg. big belts,dresses with a band at the waist etc.
- Darker colors for a slimming effect.
- Boot cut jeans, slightly flared or wide legged bottoms tend to slim you down and elongate the posture.
- Wrap dresses, wrap blouses and wrap skirts.

Suits me not :-
- Try and avoid focus on any one section of your torso.
-Larger prints
- Lighter colors like whites and beige ,especially not with larger prints.
- Shapeless clothing ,like baggy jumpers, t-shit too big for your size.
- Skinny jean is avoidable as it totally shifts the focus to the hips and thigh

alt

Apple : You may fall into this category if you tend to carry most of your weight in the middle area without a well defined waist. You may have great legs, narrow shoulders and smaller bust region but do not know how to accentuate all these assets because of your middle torso being out of proportion. Do not worry, there is style in every shape.
Suits me:-
- Simple cuts and straight lines will be essential to balance the proportion
- Long length blouses and tops which are fairly loose
- Empire line dresses and tops
- Low necklines which draws the eye upwards
- Straight cuts in pants and skirts
- Jackets that reach till your mid thigh or at-least below the waist
- Flowing fabrics
- Long necklaces and scarves
Suits me  not :-
- Avoid adding volume in the middle section so no ruffles or large prints on the top
- Avoid tight blouses and tops
- Avoid short and boxy jackets
- Avoid tight and narrow cuts in skirts and blouses
- Horizontal stripes are a no no
- No large belts

alt

Pear /triangle:- A lot of Indian women fall into this category where we are blessed with big hips and thighs, have a wide pelvis area and are small around the chest and shoulders. A pear shaped woman may also have fairly flat stomach and small boobs. The idea here is to draw the eye upwards and move the attention away from the bottom.
Suits me:-
- Bold prints, bright tops and shiny  blouses
- Tops with large collars, lapels or sleeves
- Medium length jackets
- Shorter necklaces
- Pants and skirts in matte , solid and preferably in darker colors
- V- neck and boat neck tops which creates an illusion of a broader shoulder
- Cowl neck are suitable ,especially if you have small bust region
Suits me not:-
- No pencil or fishtail cuts in skirts and dresses
- Nothing that is tight below the waist
- Avoid larger, brighter and bold prints or any bottoms with volume
- Pleated skirts are best to avoid
- No high waist pants

alt

Rectangle :- As the name suggests, this figure has minimal or no curves and can carry any item of clothing pretty well. A shape most commonly found in fashion models. Of course , they are slender and rectangular but the principles stay true for a bigger frames as well. So do not frown that you are not thin as fashion models , you still can wear a lot of looks! The challenge with this body shape is not to move away focus from any particular section of the body but to add an illusion of curves for a sexier look as this shape may look a little boyish and not feminine.
Suits me:-
- You can wear prints, stripes, floral motives etc.
- Structured coats and jackets that cinch at the waist
- Clothing with some shape and contour like a waist band or seams
- Skirts and jeans with seam around the hips that adds some shape to your assets
- Drop waist dresses that sit not at the natural waist but a little lower
- Pleated skirts in all lengths depending on your height
- Ruffled tops and dresses
Suits me not:-
- Skinny and straight cut tops and dresses
- Solid colors on the top
- Belts at the natural waist attract attention to the thick middle area so avoid     
  focusing on the natural waist move a little lower.

alt

Strawberry /inverted triangle:- By now common sense would tell you that this body type is bigger on the top, i.e. broad shoulders and/ or big bust,with small hips, resembling a strawberry or an inverted triangle. To soften the shape we need to add volume at the bottom.
Suits me :-
- Flared and wide legged pants
- Voluminous skirts
- Dresses that are slimmer on the top and fuller below the waist
- Bright colors below the waist
Suits me not:-
- Skinny jean and tapering trousers are an absolute no- no
- Pencil skirts
- Large prints and patterns on the top
- Ruffles and frills on the blouses
- Avoid puff sleeves and epaulettes
- Avoid halter tops and dresses

alt

So all in all, being stylish is not that difficult is it?

Suits me suits me not

Winter essentials

This winter has been crazy with the predictions of fierce weather where as in reality it has been all spring which has led to a major loss to the retailers resulting in discounts and sales all over. It is a good idea to stock up on some of the winter essentials and be ready for the colder spring!

From scarves to gloves to coats to jackets, winter does ask for more and more of outerwear and accessories. After all it is all about layering up in winters. Personally,I have a check list of winter must haves which keeps changing every year depending on what the season offers. But there are certain styles which I think would never go wrong. I love having classic pieces in my wardrobe and here is a peek to my wish list.

Trench Coats

1. Classic tailored trench: Undoubtedly my most favorite! Once invented for the British army during the first world war, this style is now a fashion staple. It usually is a knee length rainproof coat with detachable insulated lining, perfect for the harsh winter days. A classic trench can be described as a double breasted coat with belted waist and cuffs with front buttoned pockets and epaulettes and a gun flap. Over the years there have been various versions of this style, which are all popular. It is a cut that fits all body types so everyone should have a trench in their wardrobe. It will always remain in style come what may!

Parka

2. Parka: Invented in the arctic, Parka is originally a weather proof jacket or coat with filling of down or synthetic fiber with a fur lined hood to fight the extreme temperatures. With the prediction of extreme temperatures ,this style is very much bang on trend. There are various versions of a Parka, some with zippers,some with buttons and belts and some are made of wool with a fur hood. Good thing about a Parka is that you do not need to carry any other accessory to protect your head!

Personally I prefer to see it on slim figures as they can afford to have puffed up jacket around them and not feel like a balloon ;)

Pea Coats

3. Pea coat: Originally worn by the Navy, is another classic which is essentially a double breasted woolen jacket with side slash pockets and metal buttons. A must have in anybody's wardrobe especially as it can be thrown on anything and anywhere and is of course stylish.

Excellent for all body types. Shorter women should avoid wearing coats longer than the knee.

turtle neck

4. Sweaters:

Turtle necks: Variety of ways to style this staple piece. A great base to show off your statement accessories. If you are big into high impact accessories like necklaces, belts,big earrings, clutches etc.,this is a must have in your wardrobe. Not too great on a round face and heavier upper body but don't you frown, you can still carry it off if you layer it up stylishly using some of your tops,dresses, vests and jackets with other winter accessories like scarfs and snoods.

V-necks

V necks: Another winter essential especially in a working women’s wardrobe. You can attain a classic look by wearing a button down shirt under a v-neck sweater in a contrasting color with a pair of trousers or jeans or can also team it up with your formal skirts. Something that never goes wrong. If you are looking for a more casual and relaxed look to play with , wear a contrasting tank under a deeper cut V-neck with your skinny jean and accessorize the look with chunky belts and necklaces. This cut is especially popular as it is most flattering and easy on all sorts of faces and shapes. It elongates the round face, creates an illusion of a longer neck, awesome for heavier upper bodies as it totally slims down the torso and is sexy to expose a bit of decolletage!

cardigans

Cardigans: A sweater with a front opening, either buttoned down or zipped up! A sweater which comes in various styles and color options is a wardrobe staple. Wear it over a blouse or a dress, a cardigan offers an option to dress up your outfit. Great for all body types as it comes in a variety of cuts and styles. I like to decorate them with exclusive buttons of my choice which turns a basic cardigan into a chic sweater.

sweater dresses

Sweater dresses: Who said you cannot wear dresses in winters? I love to wear dresses all year round and I think women look gorgeous in dresses and should wear them all the time. Sweater dress is a great invention as you look chic while being warm. Wear it over leggings with knee high boots if you are tall or wear it with booties if your are short. Wear it with your favorite skinny jeans and style it with statement belts. The options are numerous. A leather jacket or a denim jacket looks great on a sweater dress with leggings and boots. Tall or short, skinny or plump, all girls must have dresses in their wardrobe just be careful with the length you choose before you buy them.

cable knits

Cable knit : I love cable knits as they are versatile in terms of styling. Wear it long with a tiny contrast belt over a skinny jean along with a snood and a denim jacket and you are ready for a casual day out with your girl friends or wear it with a shirt under and a leather jacket and you are ready for work. This stylish knit is an excellent option for layering up in winters. Cable knits are available in different styles such as turtle neck, cardigans, v necks and also in sweater dresses which could be worn over tights and knee high boots for a very stylish and warm look.

cashmere

Cashmere : Wear it once and feel the love! I agree that it is a little too high maintenance and pricey but its all worth it. Cashmere sweater and a cashmere shawl is a must have in a woman’s wardrobe.

hats

5. Hats: Beanies, berets, chullo hats ,flat caps and ushankas, hats off to this season! Not only do hats keep you warm but also helps you finish the look in winters. The classic masterpieces amongst these are the beanies and the berets. Beret is a round knit hat that sits snug around the head and falls on one side of the head. It is flat on the crown and so can be worn in various ways. Add a brooch and dress it up or wear it simple and casual and look stylish. Beanie is a classic knit hat which is necessarily worn to cover up the head and ears during winters. Some beanies fit right on the ear or some have an ear flap. They are always tapered on the top but some may have pom-pom on top and they are called bobble hats. Ushankas are Russian fur hats with ear flaps that could be tied on the chin. They are good for extreme weather as they offer maximum coverage. Chullo hats are similar to ushankas but made from wool. They also have ear flaps which could be tied on the chin and are tapered like a beanie on top. They come from the Andean mountain region and so are great for extreme cold temperatures.

I love wearing hats as they help me look stylish even on my bad hair days!

scarves

6. Scarves: Scarves are an amazing versatile winter accessory. It adds an element of interest on a basic attire by either giving a pop of color or by incorporating texture in the outfit. If you are especially not into the mood of necklaces or flashy accessories, then grabbing a scarf is an easiest way of being stylish during winters. Weather you like cashmere or silk,the ties and twists are fun and chic. Another version of scarves have been popular in recent times called a Snood. It is a hybrid of a scarf and a hood. Or in simple terms it is a tubular scarf worn around the neck twisted once or twice depending on the length of the scarf and can be taken over the head as a hood to cover our precious ears!

So have fun shopping for these essentials as I hear that the Spring is going to bring us some cold surprises!


Winter essentials

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