DRAPES SO SENSUAL

All people from Kerala(India) know the allure of this drape called”Mundum Neriyathe” or MundumVeshti or “Settum Mundum”.Although  this beautiful drape which consists of two pieces of fabric ; one which is draped around the lower torso  called” Munde”and the other which goes as a drape around the lower and upper torso of a woman called the”Neriyathe”, typically belongs to the Hindu religion,now a days women from all religions wear it as it is looked upon as a traditional wear of Kerala.And during a main festival of Kerala ,”Onam”, all  malayali women wear it to some function over the span of these ten days .And so we can actually say that it does not anymore belong to any religion but to the beautiful women of “God’s own country”!

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This is such a beautiful dress and will actually appeal to anyone around the world who loves drapes as this is typically in a offwhite colour with Gold Zari border which looks extremely classy and has an aura of royalty. Any woman wearing this dress has a beauty of her own and looks complete with generally some gold jewellery and jasmine flowers on her hair and a red “bindi”(round spot) on her forehead.

The typical ” Mundum Neriyathe” comes in Off white and a flat gold Zari border called “Kasavu”, or the border will be in a flat colour or stripe called “Kara”and was always woven.But as in any other dress , this drape also has evolved over the ages and now a days come in all sorts of designs. The main change happens with the border mainly; it has gone from printed to embroidered to attached brocade borders. And the “Zari” also has changed from Gold to Silver or a mix of both. The body essentially remains off-white. But now a days, experiment is happening with the colour of the body too. And typically this drape is found in Cotton only ; but now  a days it is done in Silk as well ,due to demand for a more expensive look for weddings.

This drape is used by a lot of Hindus for a part of their weddings. Both the traditional and modern styles of the mundum neryathum are depicted in the paintings of the Indian painter Raja Ravi Verma. In olden times,the attire was worn with the “Neriyathu”wrapped around the bust and also a blouse was not worn . Women of Kerala also wear the drape for a traditional folk dance called “ Kaikottikalli” and “Thiruvathirakali”.

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 I have always been fascinated with this drape from a very young age. The best image that has been stuck in my mind is of my mother wearing this drape in the mornings after her bath and with “Sindooram on her forehead on her hair parting ! She would even wear a basal leaf on her long hair which sort of completed the look( both practices being done by Hindu women of this region). When I woke up in the mornings ,it was such a positive image to see…..for me she looked so beautiful like a goddess of love! And yes she was one, in her nature too.

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I grew up having this fascination for the drape and till date it is more alluring to me than a “sari”! I feel it is more sensual in look and very feminine too. It is extremely simple to drape it unlike the “Sari”! And thus convenient to move about as well as airy and breathable  in the humid climate of Kerala.

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When I talk about Mundum Neriyathe , another drape which comes to my mind and which has struck me is “Meghela Chador of Assam”. I came across this drape accidentally through a friend who was assamese and I saw her wearing this for my brother’s wedding. I was really surprised to see something so similar to our own drape of Kerala. Then I really got to know about this drape.There are two main pieces of cloth that are draped around the body. The bottom portion, draped from the waist downwards is called the mekhela (Assamese: মেখেলা). It is in the form of a sarong—very wide cylinder of cloth—that is folded into pleats to fit around the waist and tucked in. The folds are to the right, as opposed to the pleats in the Nivi style of the saree, which are folded to the left.The top portion of the two-piece dress, called the chador, is a long length of cloth that has one end tucked into the upper portion of the Mekhela and the rest draped over and around the rest of the body.

Ornamental designs on the Mekhela chadors are traditionally woven, never printed. Sometimes a woven pattern, called the pari is stitched along the sides of a chador, or along the bottom of a mekhela. These drapes come in Cotton as well silk traditionally but now a day are also produced as blends of Cotton and Silk with Synthetic Fabrics.

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I saw a huge collection of these beautiful drapes in my friend’s collection. And there is even an antique one which her grandma had woven by herself and handed it down. And surprisingly for their weddings also just like in Kerala , they wear the traditional colour of off-white and Gold. I was flabbergasted; how can two regions so far away from each other have the same kind of drape and follow the same colour scheme? Such is life!…..I conclude.

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For folks around the world who would like to see how a “Mundum Neriyathum ” is draped, here it is.

For folks who are interested to watch how a “Mekhala Chador” is worn, here it is.

Courtesy: Sameera Dipshikha Dowerah

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CLOTHES VERSUS RELATIONSHIP

Do Clothes regulate a relationship or does a relationship regulate clothes?

Tricky question nha?

It is indeed a question which is

  1. Dicy
  2. Delicate
  3. Unnecessary
  4. Uncomfortable
  5. Lame
  6. Sick etc etc when asked directly on your face.

In my part of the world, this question would be faced not so comfortably by many especially (I am sorry guys but) by the men because dressing up is almost always associated with women. And dressing up sexy is always and only associated with women. They claim there is no question of a man looking sexy after dressing up.Now…just in case some of you could be confused; I say sexy not in a literal sense though at times it could be too. When I use a word as “sexy”, I am trying to convey of a state of “looking really good by dressing up and accessorising”! It could also mean appealing! Anyway I personally don’t agree to this arguement as I fiercely defend the concept of men looking terribly good after wearing appropriate and stylish clothes. In fact some of them even look damn sexy …in the literal sense!

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So coming back to the question….do clothes regulate a relationship?

I will speak from what I have seen around. Clothes do and has the power to regulate a relationship. The same person could be appealing or repulsive depending on the clothes she or he is wearing. Especially many a time a first impression is made based on the clothes that the person is wearing. Unconsciously , in our minds ,we feel attracted or abhorrent looking at the clothes the person is wearing. We will never admit it openly though. But nothing to worry…it’s just plain human!  This way, clothes regulate if a relationship has to even begin or not!

Amusing…isn’t it? Truth!

Secondly ,in case a relationship begins, the wearing of certain kind of clothes regulate the relationship. If a girl is her innate self and sometimes wears certain sort of clothes which are considered sexy, there could be a shift in the way the guy looks at her and feels about her. He could be intimidated and even feel  insecure taking her to certain places .

Lame!

That does change the relationship in many ways. He could change the way he feels about her if she continues to dress the way she wants or feels happy about!

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Now does a relationship regulate clothes ?

yes ,it could! If you were to have a relationship; be it a love relationship or a marriage, wouldn’t your partner influence the way you dress? Don’t we all change the way we dress to look good for our partners or spouses? We all do as we want to look appealing to our mates.So in case you were a girl who used to dress traditional and then realise that your partner loves western style of clothing,  wouldn’t you try wearing such? You would defenitly give it a try. Same way for guys too.

Now how does it actually reflect on a person’s confidence and self esteem levels? If the partner is liberating in thought and encouraging to wear what the person likes or would like to experiment, it’s a great boost to your personality; whereas if your partner cripples or limits your horizons on the choice of your already existing style and wardrobe ,then it becomes highly critical as far as your confidence is concerned. Your sense of well being and pride nosedives and hits rock bottom. You would be forced to feel bad about who you are and even worse you are made to feel like an object and your intentions to wear the so called “sexy” clothes could also be questioned. Not to highlight that it’s always women who are targeted. Your morality could even be at stake! It takes absolute maturity and confidence for a guy to let her dress the way she fancies He has to primarily have total trust in the relationship.

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Clothes form an integral part of any relationship; be it for good  or bad! So for people like me for whom clothes are like part of your soul…..good luck for a kewwl partner….or your life and personality could be screwed for ever! And if you are a very flexible person and don’t mind changing your entire wardrobe and style for someone…well!so be it; life could be easy.But choose black or white. Grey isn’t a great place to live for a long time though Grey as opposed to what majority thinks , is a strong and independent colour and like Black and White can be mixed with any colour brilliantly. Never choose to live in the grey though!

Live happy. Live Fashion!

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YSL QUOTE

There would’t be a better statement about the make-up of a woman. It’s so true that the cosmetics are easier to buy as passion doesn’t come so easy to a person. Passion has to ignite within self by default and can’t be bought or worn whenever needed. Ans it’s so true if  a woman has passion on her face , it shines so bright; it ignites her eyes; it makes her skin glow ; it plays as a beautiful smile on her face; her eyebrows will dance animatedly that she will attract attention from so many people. And this attraction will happen so spontaneously and genuinely. There is no effort ,no expenditure, no time lost on putting on a mask of make-up.  But then that has to happen naturally or at least a woman has to put some effort to build the right attitude to have passion for whatever she does.

If not, she should definitely  buy some of the best cosmetics and man it’s easy as there are tons of products and brands to kind of dip oneself in , to project a new you; a new face; a new look that you actually want the world to believe that you are.

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So women ….indulge in make-up but if passion happens, flaunt it and let cosmetics be just  an add-on for that extra bit of accentuation and fun in life.

I also take this post as an opportunity to salute one of the best designers of the world .Many of you are so familiar with  these three letters YSL as a brand and flaunt the designs , the fragrances, the cosmetics etc which come under this famed name.

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A few interesting facts about this legendary designer who is no more.

Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) was one of the greatest names in fashion history. He became the head designer of the House of Christian Dior when he was just  21. He moved on in 1960 and became an independent name creating designs that redefined the world of fashion.

  • Childhood was not easy as he appeared as a homosexual and was bullied often by mates and was a nervous wreck nearly everyday.
  • He shot to fame for his adaptations of tuxedos for women in 1966.
  • His signature pieces included the sheer blouse and the jumpsuit.
  • He is credited with feminising the male wardrobe.
  • He always mixed masculine with the feminine in the most rhythmic and peaceful manner.
  • He was the first designer to use black models in his runway shows.
  • A Saint Laurent campaign that ran in Elle ,U.K was banned for using an underweight modal.
  • His fragrance ,”Black Opium” shot to fame because of the name chosen and also because the designer himself had posed nude for the campaign picture.
  • A motion picture made on  the life and  and work of the designer was released in 2014 under the name Yves Saint Laurent.

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LAZY OVERALLS

The Overalls or Dungarees are classic fashion which has been there since fashion kind of originated or so I feel. This is a fashion so popular among children and in kid’s clothing. And there is no gender for this garment. There would be very limited children who wouldn’t have worn an Overall when they were kids in these times.

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But what amuses me is not the kid’s fashion, but the fashion of Overalls among adults. Actually as I said earlier, this is a genderless fashion, but we do not see the Dungarees being worn so much in my part of the World (India) beyond a certain age by boys. Maybe, they would wear it till they are like five or so. Beyond that, probably they consider it a little too feminine to be wearing one. But in reality, it is so cool to find a young boy sporting an overall. And if they would wear it in their teenage..Well, nothing like it. And men who can carry it off are rare yet awesome!

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Anyway, the fashion is more seen among women; but even among women, not every other girl embraces this classic piece of clothing. It is worn only by a select few, who i guess have a sort of emotional thing for it. Maybe wearing an Overall makes them feel very “kewll” and disparate.

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Well! If you ask me, my version of the story is , I was and still am completely fascinated with this item of clothing. I still remember the days , when I was terribly young ; say like sixteen, I had this major crush for Overalls. But then again, all these garments being western styles were not available at all in my region; especially, we are a little slow or rather we are less in number to embrace the world fashion. I have mentioned earlier also how our society is restricted to such fashion which is anywhere near modern or meagre.

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Anyway , my fantasy(I say fantasy, because it was highly improbable to happen)to buy and wear an Overall stayed inside the closet till we went for a family vacation to Mumbai; which was and still is the fashion capital of India….apparently I now live in this vibrant city. When we toured, we went to a street called “Fashion Street” which is dotted with lots of street shops and hawkers. It was like a very popular destination those days for tourists also. Anybody hitting Mumbai could hit Fashion Street for some very cool, casual fashion that too at dirt cheap prices.

While I was lingering around some very pretty stuff on the street, my eyes fell on a bright orange thing. I dug it out of the pile of clothes to find to my utmost amusement that it was a chequered dungarees! Wowww! My excitement leapt. I was on cloud nine. I behaved as if I had conquered the fashion world. And guys, you wouldn’t believe that I just paid Rs 100 for that thing .And it looked to me as if it was out of my sweet reverie.

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And i did flaunt that precious piece of clothing for a long time in College and even when I started working. In my times and space, I did stand out like an unusual thumb; just for the reason that I embraced fashion which was not seen regularly around.

Even today, after so many years, I still own a pair of very funky Dungarees … the Classic Denim Ones! For me, wearing an Overall means a few things,

• A dungarees makes me feel “kewll”!

• A dungarees makes me feel laid back.

• A dungarees makes me feel androgynous.

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In fact it is one of the coolest garments that I feel can be worn by a girl! Hey, get going gals…grab a pair of cool Overalls this season and make it versatile by teaming various stuff with it like a Tee or a Tank top or a shirt or a Western blouse etc.. So plunge.

A bit if history…

 Dungaree was mentioned for the first time in the 17th century, when it was referred to a cheap, coarse thick cotton cloth, often coloured blue but sometimes white, worn by impoverished people in what was then a region of Bombay, India a dockside village called Dongri. Hindi name of this cloth was “dungri”. Dungri was exported to England and used for manufacturing of cheap, robust working clothes. Everyone who needed clothes for hard work that would not tear after a short time, from workers to slaves, began to wear dungarees.Dungaree is often compared to denim but there is a difference. While denim is woven from uncoloured yarn and only coloured after weaving, dungaree is made from pre-coloured yarn. They became fashionable in the other half of the 40s and by the start of the 50s they gained wider acceptance as casual wear because they are comfortable, easy to wear and practical.And the garments that are trousers with an attached front patch that covers the stomach but leaves the chest uncovered and has shoulder straps which are made either from denim or dungaree fabric came to be called as “Dungarees” or “Overalls”.

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Facts about Overalls

  • Overalls as maternity wear look damn kewll!
  •  Overalls or Dungarees look very interesting in other fabrics as well and not just in Denims.

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WILDE ON FASHION

We all know Oscar Wilde as a poet, a writer, a playwright, an aesthete, a critic, but do we, I mean how many of us know he also quoted profoundly on fashion and clothing? Not many, I am sure! Maybe the folks working in the realms of fashion know.

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Well! Wilde’s writings on fashion have been collected in “Oscar Wilde on Dress”, released in a limited edition of 100 hand-sewn copies , the centre piece is a long-lost essay , ‘The Philosophy of Dress’, which is all about how fashion (at its most forward) is a feminist art .It appeared in the New York Tribune in 1885. The essay remained unknown to Scholarship until 2012, when it was rediscovered and published in the book form.

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Wilde himself was a dandy in his day; and a vision of beauty could move him to poetry, eg:
For in that golden dress
Of beaten gold,
Which is more golden than then the
Golden sun,
No woman Veronese looked upon,
Was half so fair as thou
Whom I behold.
But he was also a fashion activist and lived in an era when society demanded that women fit themselves, into repressive corsets, capable of forcing women’s waistlines down to 15 inches. He advocated women to be liberated out of the claustrophobic corsets.
“I care nothing at all for frills…but I care a great deal for the wonder and grace of the human form,” he wrote. “The beauty of a dress depends entirely and absolutely on the loveliness it shields and on the freedom and motion that it does not impede”.
In his lifetime, Wilde advocated the style of the Renaissance girl: the woman obliged to dress fashionably and yet who [is] of active habits, constantly walking, riding, bicycling, and dancing.
If you look at his quotes, they are so apt, even in this era, for egs:

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Well! I think, if you look at it in a certain perspective, it is so true! Although he has put it across bluntly, without any euphemism, it stands true, as any fashion, if stuck to, beyond six months continuously ,tends to get boring; in his words…ugly. We Indians actually do not practise a six month fashion season strictly. We do not adhere to a clean fall/ winter or spring / summer calender for fashion. But actually, if you look at the scene in scrutiny, you would see that there is indeed a change of fashion every six months or at least people have a tendency to buy something which looks different every six months!
Take a look at another one.

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It is so true! Think about it. If one person is over educated, we won’t give a damn if he/she is over dressed, because we look up at these scholars and would discount anything what they wear. We might even start following that as a trend!
Another brilliant quote of Wilde.

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Rightly said. Don’t you think we all think and behave in this manner? When we wear something, how much ever it looks out of fashion, we don’t care. We wear it with mighty attitude, but if it is someone else, we react and snub, fuss over a million things and say, “How can they”?
Let’s remember Wilde as also a Fashion Analyst as much as he was a Great Poet or a brilliant Writer and celebrate this multi faceted celebrity.
Let’s go wild on Wilde! Yippiee! Here we go…

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Image Courtesy: Pinterest

EARRINGS EXTENDED

There seems to be a sudden enthusiasm in the extended earrings now a days .These are very similar to the ear cuffs. I live in one of the most fashionable and trend following cities in India (Mumbai).This is one of the hubs where fashion gets released first and then trickles down to the other cities.
When I check out stores and bazaars , there is a rush of these earrings. And they are quite captivating and alternate. When you wear one of these, that kind of becomes the highlight and you don’t have to wear anything else in your ears.

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And also another tip for girls who would be using it is that it is best to put up your hair in some style than to let it loose for two reasons ; one being when you let your hair loose , it tends to get tangled with the earring. And secondly the earring tends to get covered and lost. The minimum that has to be done is pin-up one side of your hair or take a style where your ears are exposed totally.

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This style of earrings is such a value add for women with boy cuts, crew cuts and women with shaven heads. I wish I had these when I had shaved my head and dawned that look for some time.

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When I see these earrings,I am reminded of my earrings what I wore as a bride. It was a typical “Jumkka” or “Jimkki”(which is a very popular earring in all of India). And there was an extension piece like a Peacock design which extended up to my ear lobes and had to be clipped there. These earrings have been there from olden times. And it has been a Classic from time immemorial. So it’s just that the new earrings that we use now are a new “Avatar” of an old design.

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Amusingly there is also a collection of earrings that come as a single piece; in the sense only on one ear and nothing on the other. These are also severely attractive but the only thing I disagree on is that, there could have been a tiny piece for the other ear which will complete the whole dramatic look. Now, the other ear is lying vacant as there is only one earring and that kind of gives a little lost look. So what I suggest to women opting for these singular pieces is that just browse around and shop a tiny earring in the same colour scheme as the main one and team it. And voilà!…you have a killer look!

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