Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Walking by a rivulet in a rainforest

The cold is well and truly here in Sydney and winter has officially begun, which is why I am looking back at pictures of wonderful weather and of wearing bare minimum clothing. Here are some photos of our road-trip during a long weekend, leisurely exploring national parks, walking by rivulets, looking for waterfalls, drinking chilled beer and wearing block print wisps as swimsuit cover-ups.

Can you tell I don't do winters well? Ah well! Planning our next sojurn to the city of lights will have to keep my mind busy and away from the thoughts of puffer jackets and thermal underwear!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Let's talk about the saree

It is no secret that I love hand-crafted clothes in natural fabrics preferably sourced ethically. What is also no secret is my love for traditional Indian clothing worn in ways that feel good to me. Sometimes that means wearing long kurtas featuring high slits with denim shorts, sometimes it means wearing gaghras with sweatshirts or sometimes it means wearing a kediyu (that pre-pubescent girls from the Bharvad tribe in Gujarat wear) with a lovely hand-loomed cotton gamchaa saree wrapped around a denim mini.

I literally cannot say or write enough about my love for a simple cotton saree and would pick cottons over most other (natural fabric) sarees any day of the week. I wear them everywhere from work to the pub while travelling or hiking or just chilling at home. In fact I am so obsessed with sarees and documenting saree wearing feminists that I have even started a whole new blog just focussed on sarees. These photos were taken for a post on that blog but the saree and the kediyu are so pretty that we got a lot of good pictures and I decided to use some of them here. If you are curious about the various aspect of this particular outfit or want to know about sarees, are a newbie trying to incorporate more sarees into your daily wear or just someone that likes to look at colourful photos taken in Sydney and elsewhere please free to check us out on Pleats N Pallu blog or instagram.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cascades among mossy green rocks

This is a vintage men's angrakha or jama (I am not sure of the historically appropriate term) that I am wearing as a dress on an expedition to yet another waterfall.

The fabric feels like handloom-ed cotton, is definitely hand-blockprinted and is a flouncy dream of an outfit. The sleeves are too big and too long but that has never stopped me from enjoying an item of clothing. I love the fact that a lot of historical Indian costumes look gender neutral and they give me hope that one day we will evolve beyond this gender-based existence.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sunset by the beach in Lucknowi Chikan

After a long week when one goes to the beach to watch the waves crash framed by a gorgeous sunset, you want an easy outfit. This is my go-to for the in-between months during spring or autumn.

A bright crop with boy-friend jeans and a duster of some sort. This duster has white hand embroidery on a white muslin fabric, this kind of work is called Chikankari and the North Indian city of Lucknow is the heart of Chickankari today. Anything I wear always has a touch of home in subtle or non-subtle ways especially since I've moved to a country with absolute no textile heritage!

The earliest reference to chikankari dates back to as early as the 3rd century BC when Greek traveller Megasthenes mentioned the use of flowered muslins by Indians. You have seen me wear Lucknowi Chikan here in a post last year.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Tropical holiday staple: Block print headwrap

The hand block print scarf from Jaipur worn here as a head-wrap is a trusty friend on many of my trips and I never leave home without her or one of her many sisters. You have seen me wear it here as an after swim cover-up and I use it as a versatile classic that morphs into what I need for my every day requirements.

The fabric gets softer and the colours better with every wash, the soft hand-woven cotton dries easily and makes any outfit better and I genuinely feel like it is one of those must-haves I can't do without. This floral print on has been created using natural dyes on wooden blocks with light weight Indian cotton and the sheer weave of the fabric feels light and soft to the touch. Each scarf varies from piece to piece, even the same design in the same colours, making each scarf special in it's own way.

I was wearing it as a head-wrap here to dry my hair post a dip in the sea in Koh Samui. We left the beach to scoot up a hill to get to a water-fall and walked through the tropical jungle to get to this mossy little spot full of abandoned little homes and ancient life size figures.

Along with the scarf I threw on my every day island attire of a random cotton singlet, bright embroidered bag made by the Hmong tribe, denim cut-offs and canvas slip-ons. The scarf was also a little something to keep me warm after a day full of adventures.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hand painted Kalamkari duster

Last year a lovely friend in Pune (hey Archu!), bought this amazing hand-painted Kalamkari fabric and had this duster jacket made for me. It quickly became my most favourite thing to wear with pretty much everything.

I've worn it here with ripped light wash jeans, a Guns n' Roses tee, a vintage leather backpack and platform brogues from Jeffrey Campbell to go to a picturesque waterfall in a natural park in Sydney's north shore.

What is your favourite way to wear Kalamkaris?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

In a kediyu by the bay

This top that I mostly wear as a dress is a classic Indian silhouette, made from hand loomed organic cotton and hand block printed with wooden blocks with natural colours.

This style that is known by various names depending on where one is, lends itself to customisation and can be as traditional or as contemporary as one wants. It is called a kediyu in Gujarat and I have worn it here with a pair of denim cut-offs, I also wear it with skinny and relaxed full-length jeans/ pants, wide legged pyjamas and skirts in varied lengths as well.

The point I am trying to make is, it doesn't ever have to be a choice between traditional and contemporary, everything can be adapted to suit one's style. I find nothing more boring than looking head-to-toe like a mannequin from a shop window, even if it the most fantastic designer's shop window.

Putting things together to suit one's own style is wonderful and WoC should never have to choose between their culture and the fact that they need to fit-in. Fitting-in is over-rated anyway!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Block print jumpsuit in winter

As has been documented here, my love for traditional Indian block print cotton and silks know no bounds.

This jumpsuit in indigo is a great way to be casual and comfortable summer or winter. Perfect for lounging at home all day,going out for brunch or drinks, a stroll in the park or by the beach and even a little hike.

I love it styled with a bralet for hot weather and with a base layer and/or a coatigan for the colder months. The smooth cotton is printed by hand using carved wooden blocks in a stamping method.

Also these indigo prints in cotton just get better with wear and are easy to throw and go. The photos on this post were taken just before spring, hence the beanie and woollies.

Like a lot of kurtas/ kurtis I find them ideal to pack for travel since they require minimal outfit planning. I sometimes wear a cotton/linen button-up over it or a vest pair them with sneakers, booties, gladiator sandals or even jootis.