#MonsoonMemories: My Love-Hate Relationship With The Rains…

Bombay (yes, that’s what I still call it) is my home and always will be, no matter which part of the world I live in. It’s sights and smells, the chaos, the sheer insanity that rules its roads, the noise of incessant honking, the smell of drying fish along the seafront. I love this city for its contrasts. A steaming hot 7 rupee vada pav or chilled cocktails on the 34th floor of luxury hotel – here, you’ll find it all.

But what’s extra special about this country is its monsoon. I live in Singapore now, where it rains through the year, almost every day. I’ve also lived in London, a city known for it dreary wet weather. But there’s just no comparison! When it rains in India, it really does rain! The skies open up and the resulting downpour lends the city a newly washed, sparkly air. And the smell of wet earth? Unmatched!

As much as I love the monsoons, I’ve also hated them. The train rides on the 08:04 Bandra local to college carrying a heavy backpack were made quite tricky on days when the rain just wouldn’t stop. Or when I’d get caught in a sudden shower while walking my 4 month old baby along the seafront. Ever tried looking for a rickshaw or taxi when it’s pissing down? Seriously, medal worthy!

Here’s a list of thing I’ve absolutely love about the rains in India. And just so that you don’t think I’m an impractical, hopeless romantic, I’ll balance out each point with something I really really don’t like about my beloved monsoon.

1. Home And Abroad

Love: Sitting by the window, watching the rain, curled up in a blanket reading a book or watching a romcom on TV. Some serious ‘me time’!

Hate: Being stuck indoors when all you want to do is go out for a run, or finish off errands or have an important meeting that you just can’t be late for.

Smart tip: Ditch the run and try some surya namaskars at home instead for a great full body workout. If you can’t avoid stepping out, make sure you leave earlier than you normally would to budget for delays.

2. Rainy Day – Holiday?

Love: We all crib and cry about the city flooding, but who doesn’t wish for those few days of super heavy rains with high tide warnings to boot. Day off from work, yay!!!

Hate: Getting stuck when it’s flooded and having to wade home in knee deep gross water. Remember the nightmare of 26/07 when Bombay came to a standstill because of the insane floods?

Smart tip: Watch the news for weather forecasts. If high tides are predicted, make sure you’ve got an easy route home or an alternative back up plan. A fully charged phone battery, a spare set of clothes will come in handy if you do get stranded somewhere. A couple of small ziplock plastic bags will help save your phone, wallet and cash from the rain in case getting soaked is unavoidable.

3. The Romance Of Rain…And The Aggravation!  

Love: The romance of the monsoons. Shared umbrellas and sneaky little moments and a bit of a jig in the first rains of the season. Somehow the weather just makes everything so much more romantic, doesn’t it?

Hate: Everyone is always late for everything during the monsoons and you can’t really say much when they say “Madamji paani bhar gaya thaa” or “train cancel ho gayi” or “Sorry, my car broke down”. We’ve all been there!

Smart tip: If you’re running late, make sure you call and notify and apologize for being tardy. If you’re the one waiting, take deep breaths, look out of the window, grab a cuppa joe and enjoy the beautiful monsoon!

4. Raindrops On My Face

Love: Rickshaw rides in the rain!! Or long drives out of town. And walks along the sea face. Ever experienced the waves crashing against the rocky shore and spraying jets of sea spray on your face? Aaaah!

Hate: Walking home from work and get splashed by a passing car. There’s very little that can be as annoying as getting soaked from head to foot by a speeding driver. And the laundry bills just seem to sky rocket during the monsoon, don’t they?

Smart tip: Let the clothes dry out completely. It is easier to brush off the muck when it is dry. Once you’ve scraped all you can off, make a thick paste of Vanish Stain Remover and rub it into the fabric and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Now wash as you normally would in the washing machine (preferably in warm water) with an equal mix of your regular detergent and Vanish. Tadaa!

5. Chai Aur Pakoda Time

Love: Crispy, crunchy pakodas, piping hot masala chai and a bowl of steaming khichdi! Comfort food at its finest, courtesy our ever indulgent mums!

Hate: The flies that get everywhere!!! OMG, just leave us alone now, will you!

Smart tip: Put 3 whole lemons in a glass and top up with water. The flies seem to seriously dislike the smell that this emits and you’ll be rid of the pesky flies. Though this only works in the immediate area that the glass is placed in so you may need a couple spaced over the room.

6. Hop, Skip And Splash!

Love: Splashing in muddy puddles! Oh c’mon, admit it!! As much as you deny it, splashing in puddles on a rainy sunday morning brings back such strong childhood memories and nostalgia, you really can’t resist!

Hate: Ruining a fresh pedicure every time we step out! Bright pink nails to cheer up the gloomy weather, great! Mud stuck everywhere, yuck, not so great!

Smart tip: Soak your feet in a mix of warm water, a little soap liquid or shampoo with a squirt of conditioner every couple of days to keep your feet clean and mud free during the monsoons. Don’t forget to throw on moisturizing balm and socks before you go to bed for baby-soft feet in the morning.

7. That Chill In The Air

Love: How the weather just cools down and you somehow just forget the long hot summer. The scent of the earth after the first rains is just magical, isn’t it?

Hate: What the monsoon does to our hair! Frizz, frizz and more frizz!! The humidity is our sworn enemy!

Smart tip: Use a gentle shampoo to wash out your hair regularly. Conditioner and deep treatment hair masks are your new best friend for these few months. Remember to seal your hair with a shot of cold water and avoid blow dryers to make sure your hair shaft stays smooth and silky. A coat of finishing spray, leave-in conditioner or Moroccan oil are a must.

*This is a sponsored post for Vanish. Don’t miss the chance of creating some beautiful monsoon memories just to avoid the nightmare of mud stained clothes. With Vanish at hand, you’ve got no more worries! #StainsVanishMemoriesRemain!

#EasyGlam: How To Amp Up Your Look With MINIMAL Effort!

Dressing up for a night out with friends or a family wedding usually entails us squashing and squeezing ourselves into shape wear that we can hardly breathe in, to be able to look good in that body hugging outfit. We spend most evening trying to suck our tummies in, eat tiny bird-like portions of food and drink almost no water at all. Who can manage taking off that corset in a tiny, not-so-clean public loo, right?

Isn’t fashion supposed to be a celebration of your personal style? Shouldn’t comfort be the first thing you look for when you buy something new to wear? Why do we spend night after night, feeling like a stuffed sausage in those horrid high-waisted panties!

We women come in all shapes and sizes. While some of us love our fitted dresses, (no judgement, we love ours too from time to time) there are some days when we just can’t be bothered! Dear Lords of Fashion, please just grant us something to wear that’s easy and comfy, yet glam and stylish! We’re not suggesting you go out dressed in a brown sack, but there’s loads of options out there that are glamorous and flattering without being form fitting.

At the recent Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai, Tarun Tahiliani’s show, presented by Reliance Trends caught our eye for this very reason! Stunning colours, beautiful drapes, breathtakingly beautiful prints, all of which we just luuurve! We’re going to use this collection as inspiration to put together a few tips and tricks to help you look fabulous while still being comfy. Do your happy jig, girls!

1. Dapper Drapes

Tarun 1 amp up your look

Fluid and flattering, drapes automatically add room for movement. And because of the way the fabric falls, it gives you a super silhouette without adding any bulk at all. Just remember to pair with a fitted top or add a jacket to your look for some shape.

2. Layer, Layer, Layer

Tarun 2 amp up your look

Not in the mood to suck your stomach in all night? Add a jacket over your fitted top and exhaaaleee! Whew! Jackets, whether fitted or loose, in a classic blazer style, edgy bomber, traditional waistcoat or oriental kimono style, add an extra element to your outfit taking it up a notch on the fashion meter.

3. Accessorize Right

Tarun 3 amp up your look

When wearing a looser outfit, accessories play an important role in the styling of your look. A statement piece of jewellery will automatically become the centre of attention, adding that glam element to your outfit. If you really feel the need for some definition and shape, throw on a belt or traditional kamarbandhto nip and tuck where needed. (Pssst: Who’d have thought you could wear a belt over a sari? But doesn’t it look just fab?)

4. Colour Choices

Tarun 4 amp up your look

Choose your colours wisely! We all know that black is ultra-slimming so when opting for looser silhouettes, darker colours help add length and give you a leaner look. Plus, EVERYTHING goes with black, so putting together your bags, shoes and jewellery becomes as easy as pie!

5. Flowy Fabrics

Tarun 5 amp up your look

If you happen to be blessed with model genes, long legs and an itsy bitsy waist, you’ve got a world of fabric options out there! But like most of us, if adding bulk is way down on your priority list, opt for fabrics that fall and drape well. Silks, chiffons, satins and crepes are the perfect choice for their ability to flatter and accentuate your curves. The sheen and the richness of the material magically makes even the simplest outfit look ultra glam.

*This is a sponsored post for Reliance TrendsReliance Trends, India’s largest fashion destination with over 220 stores pan India, presented Tarun Tahiliani at Lakmé Fashion Week Festive Winter Resort 2015.  Inspired by the concept of Easy Glamour, Reliance Trends offers a multitude of options for the trend conscious fashionista.

#BreakTheRules: 10 Things You Absolutely CAN Do At Work!

We’ve grown up with clichés all around us (thank you Bollywood!)… from monster incarnate mothers-in-law to docile bahus and ‘bubbly’ chachis…you get the point! And bosses? Always mean, horrid task-masters who’d inspire terror in the the most brave-hearted. Office life? Unhappy, stressful and soul sucking. A bit unfair, we think! In today’s fast-changing world we’re seeing these stereotypes busted, and it’s high time! The professional world is so much more open, fun and rewarding than it used to be and we’re going to take joy in celebrating every little thing you thought you can’t do in the workplace, but actually CAN!

1. Form Lasting Friendships

With the amount of time you spend at work, it’s only natural that you form connections with like-minded colleagues. No one’s going to judge you for being social, share a joke and a few laughs over a cafeteria lunch. What’s great is, when you’re having a bit of a downswing at work, your friends will be right there to hoist you back up. And quick lunchtime shopping jaunts, sharing lunch dabba’s, post work drinks – all easily do-able!

can do at work

2. Be Friends with the Boss

While respecting your boss (AND colleagues AND juniors) is a given, you may find yourself having a great personal equation with your boss based on shared interests. While a few years ago, you’d be seen as someone purely trying to ‘maskaa maroh’ the boss, no one’s going to blink an eyelid now!

At POPxo we can definitely vouch for this! We’re constantly socializing as a team, with the bosses included! Helps that they’re young and hip!

3. Flaunt your Personal Style

If tailored shirts and trousers aren’t your thing, you’re not expected to stick by it like a uniform! You’re free to express your personal style, as long as it is office appropriate. No more boring brown-beige-grey-white-navy-black colour palette either! Feel free to add a heavy dose of colour to your wardrobe without feeling like a misfit.

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4. Accessorize Right

Jewellery in the workplace was earlier considered flashy and distasteful. While we’re not suggesting you wear chandelier earrings or cocktail rings to work, smaller pieces are totally acceptable! If anything, they add heavily to your style statement. We love Tanishq’s MIA’s range of urban-chic jewellery, created specifically for the working woman. Discreet, without compromising on design, they’re perfect to add a touch of class and sophistication to your look. And at prices starting at INR 2999, it’s the perfect little gift for yourself when you close a big deal, or ace a presentation or get a raise, or just feel like some jewellery!

can do at work

5. Don’t Fear Judgement

So you like a couple of cocktails to take the edge of the work week? Or are in a live-in relationship with your boyfriend? 20 years ago you’d probably be labelled ‘loose’! No one’s going to judge you as long as your personal life doesn’t affect your work!

6. Experiment with Hair and Makeup

Red lips is for saturday night parties and shaadi’s only. Errrr, NO! Have an important meeting or presentation and need a boost of confidence? Putting on some make-up helps heaps in making you feel better about yourself. Keep the smokey eye and bronzer for post work, but there’s no need to hold back on all makeup.

can do at work

7. Encourage Extracurriculars

If you’re a salsa dancer, or take vocal training lessons over the weekend, or are doing a part-time diploma to widen your horizons, most organizations will happily encourage you! A happy, more stimulated you means a fresher and more productive mind at work.

8. Take Sabbaticals

If you feel like the daily routine is getting to you, and you just want to get away for a while to explore the world, or learn a new skill, or just spend more time with your family, take a sabbatical! An extended leave of absence is just what you need to open up your mind and come back with new, fresh ideas and tons of new experiences. The best thing is that no future employer will question the gap in your CV. They know that you’ll probably be wiser with the experience.

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9. Be a Lady Boss

If you’re assertive in the office, that’s because it’s your job! You’re in a senior position and just because you’re a woman, no one’s going to think you’re bitchy because you are not afraid to speak your mind.

10. Balance Family and Career

Yes, it is a juggle and a struggle, but most organisations are understanding of personal situations. If you’re recently married and need time off, or are having a baby, Human Resources will be more than happy to be accommodating and allow you to work flexi-hours or take a longer unpaid maternity leave. Some larger organisations also have a creche in the office so new mummies can work stress-free!

can do at work

Images: Shutterstock

*This post is sponsored by “Mia by Tanishq”

Mia by Tanishq has been particularly designed for today’s urban, independent women, who until now did not have much of a choice with formal jewellery. Inspired by the individuality of each woman, it truly projects power, confidence and taste. All the pieces are crafted in 14K gold, making the collection of over 300 designs durable and lighter on the pocket.

#LazyGirl’s Guide to Looking Perfect Always

Just ‘coz u can’t be asked to move your butt from that same spot on the couch for hours on end, and all your weekends pass in a blur of sleep induced fuzziness, you’ve still got to make it seem like you’ve made some effort to keep yourself looking good, right? We get ya! So this post is dedicated to all the #LazyGirls out there who, like me, need a cheat sheet to looking good with the least possible effort made! After all, the sofa snooze fest is just too precious!

Here are some tried and tested tips and tricks that I promise will make you look and feel glam!

Multitasking Masters

A regular beauty product loving girl will have an array of products, a different one for every inch of her face. But you, my lovely lazy girl, can make do with just a handful! The trick lies in picking products that are masters at the art of multitasking, just like us!

This Nivea Visage Pure Effect Total Face Cleanup claims to do not one, but 5 wonderful things to your skin!

Get yourself a tinted moisturizer of BB cream (depending on how much coverage you need) that contains SPF of 30 and over. No matter how lazy you are, you’re NOT allowed to skip the sunscreen!

Benefit’s Bene Tint Lip & Cheek Stain has seriously changed my life! Yes, it is pricey, but it lasts for ages! I’ll probably lose or break the bottle before I finish its contents!

Then there’s the trusty bronzer palette! Every celebrity’s favourite makeup product! Can be used as an eyeshadow or to contour your cheekbones or to highlight sexy cleavage.

And don’t forget good ‘ol Vaseline! Works as a lip balm, holds unruly eyebrows in place, adds a bit of sheen to your legs on a party night, rescues dry heels; this one’s a true magician!

On days I’m super lazy to get around to putting on full makeup for a night out, I take the easy route. BB cream, generous lashes of mascara and bright red lipstick! A red lippy just brightens up the face and immediately makes u look glam! The shade I absolutely swear by is MAC Viva Glam 1, totally perfect for the Indian skintone.

Get the Goop Off!

One thing I absolutely hate, and am guilty of skipping way more than I should be, is taking makeup off.  You come home with feet aching from wearing heels all night and a lot more wine in your system than there should be, you just can’t be bothered!  You know what I mean, right?

So what I now do is, plop on my comfy bed, use makeup removing wipes to mop up all the goop on my face, concentrating most on the eyes. Then a quick rinse off with water and I’m ready to hit the sack. My little trick is, I now keep a pack of wipes in my bedside drawer!

I’ve tested several brands, but I’ve found that Neutrogena’s Makeup Remover Towelettes can handle all levels of waterproof makeup, without having to rub and scrub too much. Handy tip: I’ve found that the oil-free ones don’t work as well so stick with the regular blue packet. And as with any wipes, you’re better off buying smaller packs to make sure the towelettes don’t dry out once it’s been opened up.

Hair Heroes

Too much effort to wash your hair? While we’re totally anti gross-ness, postponing a hair wash for an extra day is something we’ve all done. Often! It’s easy enough to get away with it if you’ve got access to a good dry shampoo. I prefer the sprays to the powders; somehow feel like I can control the residue better. I’m using the Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo that I bought after reading several fab blogger reviews, but I’ve seen many other brands that are available in India like Dove and Tresemme which should do the trick too.

And if nothing else, just put your hair up in a cute little bun and spritz a bit of body mist and no one’s going to know (and we’d never tell!)

Once you do get around to washing your hair, while it is still damp, tie it up in a loose braid or bun before you go to bed and wake up to soft beach curls the next morning! Work in some curl enhancing serum and you’re done!

Grooming Gurus

Sloppy grooming habits? This one we’re not willing to let you get off easy with! In India, it’s easy! Just call your trusty ‘parlour waali‘ for treatments in the comfort of your own home on days when you just want to watch back to back episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. It’s far more cost effective that going to the salon and no one’s going to try sell you extra products or memberships that you really don’t need (so annoying, right!). But the most important thing, that sofa loving butt need not budge an inch!

Hard as Nails

Opt for long wear nail paint and don’t forget the top coat to make sure you don’t have to end up spending time changing your nail paint every few days… I’ve just tried the Sally Hansen nail paints and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed! It’s been over 8 days now and no sign of chipping or fading!

If you want an even more foolproof option, get a Gelish manicure. It’s not great for your nails so don’t do it too often and always make sure you go to a salon with trained professionals to do this for you. Remember to slather sunscreen on your hands before you expose them to the UV light used to set the nail paint.

Lifestyle Changes That are Guaranteed to Make You Glow.

I could tell you to eat your spinach, drink coconut water, get regular facials, treat your Cleanse-Moisturize-Tone routine like a mantra. Yes, we’re sure your skin will glow. But how do you make sure you shine while you are in a crowd? How do you ensure that the peace you feel within translates into an aura that encapsulates you always?

  1. Be good. Stay true to your values. If you are at peace with yourself, it is guaranteed to show.
  2. Be happy. Surround yourself with people who make you smile. Those who know you need a hug before you know it yourself.
  3. Listen to music. Read books. Travel. Learn a foreign language. Try new cuisines. Open your mind and palette to different cultures. Keep yourself open to new experiences. Never stop learning.
  4. Learn to appreciate the silence. Stop. Breathe. Relax. Unwind.
  5. Love. With all your heart and soul. Freely. With no fear.
  6. Give. Openly. Wholeheartedly. Generously. Give without expecting anything in return. Not just money and gifts but time and knowledge too.
  7. Find something that gives you peace. Whether is is mediation or prayer or watching the stars or the sound of waves.
  8. Respect not only your parents, elders and teachers, but your peers and those not as fortunate as you too.
  9. Be an inspiration. Be a role model. Be someone who inspires others to be a good human being.
  10. Help those who need you. Charity and doing good deeds give you more of a high that any martini or shopping spree ever will. But do it because you want to, not to chase the high.
  11. Spend time with children. Their innocence and boundless energy will leave you invigorated.
  12. Spend time with elders. Their life experiences will teach you more than any Ivy League college can.
  13. Spend time with your parents. That’s the most solid relationship you’ll ever have.
  14. Chase your dreams. But don’t sacrifice your youth chasing material wealth and success.
  15. Spend wisely. Buy what you really need. Indulge yourself once in a while. Save for emergencies.
  16. Don’t take your body for granted. Health really is wealth.
  17. Sleep peacefully. Dream. With your phone switched off.
  18. Age gracefully. Gray hair and wrinkles brought on with age are natural and beautiful. Embrace them.
  19. Ditch the stress. Nothing is worth it.
  20. Finally, SMILE. And you’ll glow!

Who is your special someone? Who brings your inner radiance out to the front? Is it your mum, who puts you above everything else? Or your bestie, who knows you inside out? Or is there a special someone in your life who you think about and smile? 

#TailorTales: How to Get the Best Out of Your Tailor!

I have several tailors on speed dial. There’s Raees Bhai in Santacruz who does simple suits. I won’t trust him with expensive fabrics, but he can copy embroidery like a pro. There’s Anwar Master, who gives the best fit EVER, but the “bas abhi ready ho raha hai” saga which goes on for 10 days drives me up the wall. There’s this lovely, well-spoken gentleman who runs a little shop in the garage of a Bandra building. Very professional, has a fitting room, delivers promptly, with an SMS asking you to come and collect your garment, which will be ironed and packed in a sealed bag. If only he was slightly less opinionated – my outfit, my wish, Mister! Then there are the alteration experts. Salim Bhai, who is amongst my most favourite people on earth. There’s old Uncle Bob in Bandra who’s a real character.

It would be safe to say that I spend as much time with my assortment of tailors as I do with my friends. Over the years, I’ve picked up some small little tips and tricks on how to get the best out of your tailor when you want to get an outfit stitched – these are my little secrets. And because I love you all so much, I’m gonna share!

1. Most important, find a tailor who doesn’t creep you out.

He’s going to be taking measurements of your chest and hips and having to do little nips and tucks when you go in for a fitting. If he seems like a lech, steer clear.

2. Find a tailor who has a fitting room.

Don’t expect air-conditioning and fresh flowers and three-way mirrors – just a small private space with a full-length mirror should suffice. This will save you a LOT of time. Without a fitting room, you’ll end up going home, trying on your kurta and realizing it needs to be taken in at the waist, or that the neck gapes. And then you trek back to the tailor’s shop for alterations. Pain in the butt!

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3. Find a reputable tailor, not the one who gives you the cheapest rates.

The good chaps really know what they are doing. It’s all in the cutting of the fabric. And an inexperienced tailor may end up ruining expensive fabric while you’re focusing on a few bucks. Not a risk you want to take.

4. Figure out your tailor’s area of expertise.

Different tailors specialize in different styles. If you expect someone who makes bridal gowns to stitch an anarkali suit, you may be disappointed. Have a chat with the tailor and ask him what his speciality is.

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5. Listen to the tailor’s advice!

He knows his job, and if you tell him how to do it, it’s only going to piss him off. He also has a way better understanding of how fabrics fall and how to cut them best. Really, just listen. If you are not convinced that he knows what he’s talking about, find someone else you feel you can trust.

6. Don’t rush the poor chap.

This is something we’ve all done at some point. “Masterji, kal chahiye, please please please!” The poor chap’s going to have to push someone else’s job aside and do a seriously rushed job on yours, and there’s no way that the  finishing will be the same.

7. Don’t expect him to read your mind!

Again, a common mistake. “Masterji, woh Kareena ne jo woh waale picture mein, uss gaane mein pehna tha, mujhe woh same kurta bana do?” For one, he’s probably not watched the movie. Or he’s imagining the floor-length anarkali she wore in the first half of the song, when you’re actually referring to the fitted kurta and patiala salwar she wore in a fleeting 30-second sequence at the end. Take photos, screenshots, magazine cuttings, anything visual.

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8. Ask friends who are in fashion for recommendations.

They’ll know tailors who can do a great knock-off, and possibly people who worked for designers in the past and have now branched out on their own.

9. Once you find a great tailor, stick with him.

Give him regular business. He’ll come to understand your style and the fit you prefer. And when you seriously need something the next day, he’ll happily oblige!

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This post was published on POPxo.com on Wed, 11 February, 2015

8 Kurta Mistakes You Are Probably Making Right Now!

We sure do love our LBD’s, and distressed denims, and shirt dresses, but there are some days when western wear just doesn’t cut it. The comfort of a cotton kurta is a welcome break from the fitted jeans and oh-I-can’t-breathe tops. Paired with leggings, or a roomy, breezy patiala, the kurta is the sartorial equivalent of comfort food!

You’d think, how wrong can one go with a kurta? Its literally the easiest, most straightforward thing to wear, right? Well no! We’ve seen one too many ladies sporting kurtas that have made us wince. And just so that you don’t make the same mistakes, we’ve put down a bunch of non-negotiable no-no’s for you to keep in mind. Pay heed, peeps!

1. The Long and Short of It

Unless you’ve been working out pretty seriously, and have legs in incredibly good shape (who are you?), you would be better off avoiding short kurtas (trust us!) with stretch leggings. It only accentuates your curves in the wrong way, and does not make for a very flattering outfit. Stop. NOW. Please!

Kurta Mistakes

2. Fabric Woes

Ladies, if you have a tendency to sweat too much, select natural fabrics like cottons, voiles and linens that breathe. Avoid colours that make the sweat patches under your arms stand out like neon signs. And stay miles away from synthetic fabrics.

3. Choose Styles That Work For Your Body Type

Yes, we agree that Deepika looked stunning in that floor length anarkali. As much as we hate to give you this reality check, you’re probably not 5.11 inches tall and you’re waist isn’t really 24 inches. If you’re curvy, and about a foot shorter, you’re better off in a straight cut, slim fit kurta that will give you the appearance of being taller and slimmer.

Kurta Mistakes

Image: https://www.facebook.com/DeepikaPadukone

4. Lining Troubles

Lining peeking out from under the hem of your kurta is a strict no-no. We’re definitely going to report you to the fashion police for this one! Don’t say you weren’t warned!

Kurta Mistakes 4

5. Office Appropriate

We’re the strongest advocates of Indian wear in the workplace. There’s seriously nothing as elegant as a crisp, well draped sari in the boardroom, or a well cut kurta in the office. But be occasion appropriate. Leave the embroidered and sequined anarkalis for weddings, and opt for straight or A-line kurtas for work. Be mindful of the necklines – plunging necklines do not look professional, and are definitely distracting.

6. Inner-wear

Just because you’re not in a bandage dress, doesn’t mean you ignore your innerwear! Stick with seamless bras for casual wear. Good quality shapewear will tuck in your tummy and smoothen out your love handles for a smoother silhouette.  If your kurta has heavy embellishments, wear a push-up bra instead. The weight of the fabric tends to make your twins look like they’re on a trip down south.

7. Darting The Issue

Dahling, yes, we know you’re after a movie star fit, and darts at the bust and back are just what you need to give your kurta the right shape. But the darts at the front are best left to the the movies of the ’70s. Unless you want it to be the centre of attention!

Kurta Mistakes

8. Off The Rack

We love the Indian wear selections Westside, Global Desi, Biba, Shopper’s Stop, W, Pantaloons and the likes, bring out season after season. You get value for money, contemporary designs, and wash and wear fabrics. All good! But sometimes the fit isn’t what it should be. Particularly if you’ve got wider hips, the shoulders and chest tend to sag.  Buying an ill-fitted kurta is definitely a bad idea. Make sure you get it altered, or better get one stitched.

GIFs: Giphy

This post was published on POPxo.com on Wed, 04 March, 2015

15 Types of Aunties That Spam Our Universe

In our world of The Great Big Fat Indian Family, most have us have an assortment of aunties including on an average about 4 chachis, 6 maamis, 3 buas, and one too many maasis. Now add on the first cousins of your parents. Then add on the second cousins too, since “your papa and I went on family summer holiday together 2 years in a row so that makes us as good as immediate family”, then add on your mums college besties. And her kitty party/rummi ‘frrands’. Plus all the neighbourhood ladies who regularly send ladoos home and yearly invitations to Ganpati puja. If your total count is anything under a 103, consider yourself blessed!

Statutory warning: The descriptions below are entirely a figment of this very dysfunctional writer’s mind. Any resemblance to people living or dead is definitely not incidental. The writer understands and accepts that this article may cause to stop receiving above mentioned ladoos and/or Ganpati invitations.

1. ‘OOOOh my Beta’ Aunty

Of all the aunties, we like this one the best. They pamper you, make excuses for you, make you Sindhi Kadhion Wednesdays when you ask, even though everyone knows its an only Sunday lunch meal! This is the house you to go when you are slightly broke, in need of a loan, or have had a massive temper tantrum and are hiding out from your parents. Their own progeny is possibly much much older than you are and they are glad of the chance to baby someone else.

‘OOOOh my Beta’ Aunty

2. ‘My Daughters So Fair/ My Sons A Genius’ Aunty

When you see one of these, don’t forget to mentally switch off. This aunty genuinely believes that her kids are the cat’s whiskers. Her daughter is the epitome of grace and elegance and good manners and intelligence. And her son already has a sea-facing flat in Worli and works with Sachin Tendulkar as his lawyer. And they both have just travelled to Greece and their kids just got into the exclusive private school. Yada, yada, yada. What she doesn’t know is, her daughter’s kitty is the most hated in their locality and her son is involved in an online gambling racket. Touche!

‘My Daughters So Fair: My Sons A Genius’ Aunty

3. The Always-in-Pain Aunty

This poor lady is about 45 years old yet complains of aches and pains that the medical community has yet to discover. It’s either her arthritis (imaginary), a knee cap that needs to be replaced (eerrm, Moov should do the trick, its a sprain most likely), Osteoportitatis (Osteoporosis but the poor lady just can’t pronounce it). She’s always pain, every single time you see her, and she makes no bones about complaining to everyone she sees. Hypochondriac alert!

Tight fisted aunty

4. The Tight-Fisted Aunty

No reference to boxing here. Just terribly stingy. She recycles EVERYTHING. Curtains turn into bedspreads which later turn into a kurta and then a handkerchief. We’ve seen fruit sellers run for dear life when they see her. She’ll insist that mangoes cannot cost 600 per dozen. She’ll pay 150 and thats that. Ok, maybe there is a reference to boxing here, after all, if that fruit seller argues, he’ll get boxed in the ears for sure. Invite her to a celebration and be sure to receive a old envelope (with a label stuck over the previous receivers name) and a crisp 50 rupee note inside with a one rupee coin for good luck.

Tight-Fisted Aunty

5. The God-Fearing/God-Loving Aunty

This lady has a rosary beads/mala permanently attached to her hand. You’ve literally never seen her without them. Expect her to start her mala jhappo-ing in the middle of a conversation. Every flat surface of her home has a figurine or frame with her favourite deity on it. Start a conversation about Sajid Khans Humshakkals(really, are you mad, you watched it? Why would you??) or the latest twist in Balika Vadhu and watch how artfully she veers the subject to the Bhagvad Gita or the Ramayana or passages from the Gospel.

God fearing

6. Still lives in the 1960’s – Nostalgia Queen Aunty

In clinical depression since Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna’s passing, this aunty will regale you with tales on how channa cost 5 paisa and bus fare was a couple of annas and picnics meant spending the day at Chowpatty beach and going out of town meant visiting Juhu beach. She still views life in black and white Sayajit Ray cinematic style.

Nostalgia Queen Aunty

7. Talcum Powder Aunty

Aaaah! You are giggling now, aren’t you?? Everyone knows one of these!!! These sweet ladies cover themselves in old school Ponds talcum powder (SRK’s thanda thanda cool cool is definitely not working here). You’ll always see how powder stuck in the folds of their neck. Coming from someone with asthmatic tendencies, I can tell you, they are a certified health hazard! With every step they take, they leave a tiny, sweet smelling little cloud of white in their wake.

Talcum Powder Aunty

8. The Lift One Bum Up and Let Go Aunty

Ok, picture this. You are visiting your Dad’s grand aunt. You are sitting on a brown and orange absolutely hideous floral printed sofa. Aunty ji is going on and on about how the nurse hired to help her is plotting to kill her. She’s very anti Modi, though she’s got him slightly confused with Advani. She’s very anti Tulsi. How could she leave poor Baa and go off to Delhi like this? Now in the middle of all this very mixed up melodrama, she’ll very matter of factly lift one bum and let go, not pausing her monologue for one second and with clearly no comprehension that we are wishing that nurse just kills us instead.

The aunt who lets one go

9. Doting Grandmaa Aunty

“Did u know Chimpoos potty was green today because he ate spinach for lunch?” Er no, and thanks, I’m off spinach for life now.

“My chutki si Babli is so clever. She got 6 on 10 in school”. Hmmm, Genius really.

Yes, we realise that your grandchildren are the centre of your world, and while thats cute, we’d rather focus on the centre of our world. Shoes and chocolate.

Doting Grandma

10. Rockstar Aunty

This aunty flatly refuses to grow up. Her kids are off to college or possible married and she’s caught the second wind of youth. She’s dyed her hair brown with gold highlights, got herself a hottie personal trainer (thats the clever front! She’s definitely had a variety of work done), insists on wearing age inappropriate clothes, takes selfies at all the happening night clubs. Who are we to judge! She’s great fun to hang out with, will take you shopping and partying and she’s a hoot to be with!

Rockstar aunt

11. Matchmaker Aunty

Aaah, how we dread bumping into one of these! She’s got a database embedded in her brain with lists of all the eligible youngsters in the community. Her aim in life is to see a couple she’s paired off married happily. She’s a regular fixture at all weddings and social gatherings, with eyes like a hawk, theres no singleton that can escape her radar.

Matchmaker Aunty

12. The Fabulous Cook Aunty

While there’s very little to beat maa ke haat ka khaana, this aunty’s cooking makes us want to bite our fingers off. You’d be a fool to turn down an invitation to her house. Her kids stayed skinny through school and while everyone wondered how that was even possible, we know that their tiffin boxes were always stolen by the bullies.


13. The Professional Aunty

With a job in a bank, insurance firm or multinational company, this aunty has always been someone you’ve looked up to. She worked hard not just to supplement the family income, but because she believed she had the right to a career and future too. She’s always immaculately dressed, in starched saris or crisp kurtas and smartly cut shirts and trousers with her super stylish salt and pepper hair in short bob or neat chignon. Role model to most, she’s the go to when you’ve been undecided on which course to take or which college to apply to.

Professional Aunty

14. The Socially Inept ( Read ‘The Always Inappropriate’) Aunty

This lady has a heart of gold but no idea on what is appropriate table conversation and what’s not. Expect inappropriate sex jokes, constant nudging and winking while she asks when you are making your next baby. And she’ll do this in front of your grandparents, in the middle of a puja. She makes you wish the ground beneath you parts and swallows you up.

The Socially Inept

15. The Hit-Where-it Hurts-The-Most Aunty

She’s graduated from looking at you when you were in your early teens and saying “ittu-si thi jab maine dekha tha, itni badi ho gayi hai” and patting your head till the pins holding your hairdo in place get embedded in your skull. As if that wasn’t painful enough, every time she sees you now, in your thirties, she’ll say “kuch zyada healthy ho gayi hai, na? Exercise-vexercise nahi karti?” Ooooouch.

The one that hurts

Gif courtesy: Giphy.com and bollywood gifs

This post was published on POPxo.com on Tue, 01 July, 2014

Glitter, Glimmer and Glow: Bling it On!

With Christmas parties and New Year’s Eve bashes just around the corner, we’ve brought you a wonderful little guide on how to wear glitter and shimmer and sequins – without looking like a Christmas tree ornament or a disco ball! As much as we love this trend, we’ve gotta warn ya, gals, you gotta be aiming for Beyoncé, not Rakhi Sawant.

Before we take you through some super-awesome looks and beauty products, let’s go over some important pointers, shall we?

  • Remember: less is more!
  • Warm tones tend to go better with Indian skin tones, so opt for golds, bronzes and coppers over silver sequins and glitter.
  • When using glitter makeup products, remember to use a primer beforehand to prevent the coarse bits from being too harsh on your skin. And when you’re taking it off, strictly no rubbing and scrubbing!
  • When using nail paints with a heavy dose of glitter, bear in mind that sometimes taking this off can be a whole lot of effort. You don’t want to be soaking your nails in damaging acetone, so get a gentle remover.
  • When wearing a sequinned sari blouse or sleeveless dress or top, remember to make sure it is lined well, particularly around the armholes. The sequins can be very uncomfortable if they end up poking into your delicate skin.
  • The embellishments tend to add a bit of weight to the garment, so remember to wear a good push-up bra to make sure the ladies don’t get weighed down!

Sequins, Shimmer and Shine

Vero Moda

To make things super-easy for you, we pick out five absolutely fab buys from Vero Moda and tell you what to pair these pieces with.

Look 1: Pair this rockstar top with a soft, flared tulle midi skirt. The contrast of the edgy top with the ethereal skirt will do the trick. This look is very strong, so remember to go easy on the embellishments. Put your hair up in a high messy bun for a rock-meets-ballerina look.

Look 2: Comfy, easy pants with a black cami spell casual chic. Throw on a gold sequinned jacket and go from sporty to glam in an instant. We’d suggest scrunching up the sleeves and adding on a leather-n-stud cuff for a very, very chic look.

Look 3: This dress is so stunning, it literally needs nothing else. But accessory-obsessed that we are, we’d pair this with a very simple, elegant gold haath phool. Dark berry lips and soft vintage-y waves, and you’re good to go!

Look 4: A personal favourite, this one’s channelling a very South-East Asia style. A long, loose black or off-white boyfriend shirt in silk or crepe paired with these shorts is sure to earn you mega style points. The shorts show just a couple of inches, playing peek a boo from under the shirt. Va va voom!

Look 5: For those of you not convinced that you can pull this trend off, this one’s ideal. With the embellishments just on the bodice of the maxi dress, you’re introducing glitter and shine in a small, manageable dose. Add on a maang tika in a contemporary style and a couple of delicate gold chain bracelets, and you’re a walking-talking goddess!

This post was published on POPxo.com on Mon, 15 December, 2014

How to Be a Budget Fashionista (And Yet Not Look Like One!)

Hola, 2015! We’re mighty happy to see you! It’s a new year, a new set of resolutions (which we’ve sworn to stick to, for at least the first quarter!), a new exercise regime, a new vigour to reach our professional goals (finally get that promotion?), a new aspiration to travel and explore the world, and a new decisiveness to balance our professional and personal lives.

Amongst our many lofty ambitions for 2015, we’re hoping to tackle more basic, everyday issues too: like de-cluttering our closets and revamping our wardrobes, while not blowing up most of our paycheck or pocket money!

We’re going to let you in on a bunch of secrets that will help you look like a film star and feel like a million bucks, without breaking the bank. Don’t believe us? Read on to find out how to shop on a budget and still be a fab fashionista!

1. Understand the capsule wardrobe concept


Buy classic cuts and quality pieces to create a perfect capsule wardrobe. If you work 9-5, owning 25 sparkly dresses is just silly! Well-fitted pants, shirts, skirts, a couple of blazers and shift dresses for work, plus simple (non-logo) T-shirts, jeans that actually fit, a fun skirt and a black cocktail dress are the starting point for a classic, stylish wardrobe.

POPxo loves: MANGO Women Black Essential BlazerPaper Dolls Black & Beige Tailored DressLevis Women Blue Revel Bold Curve Skinny Fit JeansDressBerry Women White & Black Printed TrousersMast & Harbour Women White Ariel Formal ShirtMANGO Navy Sequin Mini Skirt.

2. Aim for quality, not quantity

how to shop on a budget - myntra sale

The most obvious trick in the book, but the hardest to implement! How do you resist the temptation to fill up your wardrobe with bargain buys at the neighbourhood export surplus stores? At 200 bucks for a maxi dress, you can’t go wrong, can you? But that’s the mistake most of us make! Think of your clothes as an investment. Yes, you won’t have 10 new things to hang up in your cupboard every month, but the one thing that you’ll be buying instead will make you feel like a princess.

POPxo loves: Paper Dolls Black & Pink Strapless Bodycon DressGAS Pink Hillery Fit & Flare DressVero Moda Marquee by Karan Johar Black Sequinned High Low Dress

3. Mix and match is everything

3 copy

Stick to a colour palette that is complementary – with a few accent colours. Black, navy, white, beige and a hint of red is the way a lot of chic people live. Ditch in-trend colours like neons and big prints for classic solid colours and good weaves.

POPxo loves: Arrow Women Beige Printed Slim Fit ShirtSisley Black Tulip SkirtMANGO Burgundy Robe Rainbow Shift DressDressBerry Coral Red Maxi SkirtAND by Anita Dongre White Maxi DressInmark Women Grey Melange Crop Top.

4. Cuts and fits and the little details

how to shop on a budget - myntra sale

While you can’t match the cuts and the fits of high-end brands and couturiers, you can certainly cheat! Choose fabrics that have a bit of stretch so that they mould your curves and give you the most flattering fit. Stay away from shimmer and satin. If the fit isn’t perfect, it will only accentuate the little bits and bulges you’re trying to conceal. And remember to pay attention to little details like the length of the trousers, the width of the cuffs on a work shirt and the lining of a lace dress.

Make your tailor your best friend. If what you’ve bought needs a few minor tweaks to make it perfect, head straight to a trusted tailor who can nip and tuck and make your buy look like it’s been custom-made.

POPxo loves: Dazzio Women Pink Modern Fit Casual ShirtMast & Harbour Women Grey TrousersFabAlley Burgundy Lace Sonnet Sheath Dress

5. Pick classics over trends

how to shop on a budget - myntra sale

As much as we love incorporating every trend the we read about in the glossies, it isn’t always practical! Think about how much wear you’ll get out of a neon crop top when compared to an LBD. No-brainer, right? You’ll be using your classic pieces over and over again, with new accessories, different hairdos and makeup – and everyone will be none the wiser! Really do love neon? Add a necklace to your dress and have the perfect balance between trendy and classic.

POPxo loves: Vero Moda Black Wrap DressGinger Wine Coloured Pencil SkirtElle White Textured Shift Formal DressNautica Women Navy Ankle Length Slim Fit Trousers

6. Focus on fabrics

how to shop on a budget - myntra sale

We’re big on natural fabrics – silks, cottons and linens. But if you’re on a budget and can’t really afford the real stuff, there’s no harm in going for blends. However, stay away from 100% synthetics like polyester, which trap body odour and make strange, swishing raincoat-y sounds! Following our advice in point 2 of this list and buy one silk dress instead of 3 fake chiffons. Remember to follow the care instructions on the label. Or, better still, get them professionally dry-cleaned to ensure that they look new and fresh for longer.

POPxo loves: Fabindia Women Blue Tussar Silk TunicONLY Women White Linen Blend TrousersFabAlley Women Pink Midi-Skirt.

7. Shop at sales

how to shop on a budget - myntra sale

Keep an eye out for sales. Or make sure you stay friends with us – we always know when the good deals are just around the corner! Fairly obvious: you stand to save a whole bunch if you can buy what you want on discounted prices.

POPxo loves: Femella Women Black CoatN-Gal White Crochet Pencil SkirtPuma Women Formlite XT Ultra DipDye Multi-Coloured Training ShoesTokyo Talkies Women Black SweatshirtMandira Bedi Pink Georgette Fashion SareeVITASTA Black & Metallic Gold Leather Bea Woven Box ClutchFort Collins Women Rust Brown JacketGUESS Black Viola Bodycon Dress.

8.  Designer collaborations


If a Rohit Bal outfit feels a bit heavy on the pocket, opt for his capsule collections in collaboration with other brands instead. Lusting after a Manish Arora outfit? Totally affordable now! Check out his brand Indian by Manish Arora for some great-looking pieces at prices that won’t cause your heart to stop! Other cool collaborations like Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna for Wills Signature enable you to own designer wear at high-street prices.

POPxo loves: BIBA by Rohit Bal Women Navy Cotton Silk Anarkali Churidar Kurta with DupattaIndian by Manish Arora Multicoloured Printed Tiffany Lamps Sleeveless T-shirtLabel by Ritu Kumar Women Navy Printed JumpsuitWills Signature by Payal Pratap Women Cream Coloured & Blue Embroidered Linen JacketWills Signature by Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna Women Charcoal Grey KurtaWills Signature by Pankaj & Nidhi Women Black & White Embroidered Peplum Top.

9. Don’t compromise on inner wear

how to shop on a budget - myntra sale

Yes, ladies. This is make-or-break time! Unsightly peeking bra straps or VPL is a big no-no. Total downer. We urge you to go have yourselves professionally fitted by trained shop assistants so you know your size. If you’re lazy, watch a YouTube video on how to measure yourself. Once you do, shopping online is a breeze! And remember, body-shapers are not just for larger women. Women of all sizes and shapes need the them to help smoothen out bumps and bits and bulges. Though we love some delicate lace and embroidered lingerie sets, for anything that is fitted or made of fabric that has a tendency to be clingy, we recommend seamless underwear all the way.

POPxo loves: Amante White & Pink Vintage Rose BraHeart 2 Heart Beige Strapless Silicone BraHeart 2 Heart Pink Animal Printed Strapless Silicone Double Push-up BraHeart 2 Heart Black Embroidered ShapewearPrettySecrets Nude-Coloured Floral Tummy Tucker ShapewearTriumph Black Thigh Shapewear.

10. Accessorize right

how to shop on a budget - myntra sale

Look for a really good day bag for work – pure leather and with no obvious logos. If you fancy a splurge, this is where it should be. A good quality bag will see you through at least a couple of years, and if the leather is genuine, the weathered leather will look uber-chic too. Though black is the most obvious choice of colour, deep burgundy, dark brown, tan or navy will also work with a lot of your work clothes.

Shoes are key. Browse designer websites to understand what’s good shape and proportion – and then go hunting for an affordable version. A strappy black sandal, a classic beige pump and gold heels can pretty much see you through everything in life! To this you add your fun chappals and juttis, and you are totally stepping out in style.

POPxo loves: United Colors of Benetton Navy Shoulder BagAdamis Women Tan HandbagHidesign Leather Sling BagStudio S Women Black HeelsGUESS Women Beige Leather WedgesMast Harbour Women Blue Sandals.

This post was published on POPxo.com on Thu, 01 January, 2015