Ethnic Elegance

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Another Cotton silk saree inspired from style of traditional woven drape from Triveni silks. Shades of pink and off white with blouse matching up the borders to sync with the design. What I love about the fabric is the way it falls and the elegance it brings to otherwise simple attire with the mix of silk in it. This drape takes up the entire attention and hence teamed it up with chunky oxidised silver jumka and nose pin to bring focus to face….

My look for an evening party….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saree love

With the summer getting hotter and the humidity level going high if I can think of any other fabric other than cotton it had to be cotton silk. In Kerala there’s never a dearth of celebration and going by the culture of the land sublet and elegant colours have always won hands down.

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For my old student’s day, I wanted something subtle with a little drama. Plain solid grey cotton silk saree with hand woven boota in red and contrasting red pallu with matt gold border. Couldn’t ask for more 🙂

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Fashion for Political Leaders.

Getting your look right for all the different occasions in your life is all about knowing the art and science of clothing.

With all the fiascos about Justin Trudeau choice of attire during his visit to India, I guess a little guide line on what to wear, when would help.

No matter which country you are visiting, wear what you are comfortable in, provided you are aware of and respect the local customs. You don’t have to completely adopt their clothing style. Adapt what you like about their styles and make it your own, like what Michelle Obama and Ivanka Trump did with their colourful and printed dresses while their India visit.

Mr. Justin Trudeau’s look while meeting the Indian women’s ice hockey team, Good….  Mr. Justin Trudeau’s look while meeting the Bollywood stars, an absolute no …no… He looked a little too inspired by our Bollywood wedding attires.

While you are choosing attire the most important aspect to keep in mind is its appropriateness. In Image consulting we call the it 4 A’s of Image management. Appropriate, Attractive, Authentic and Affordable. If you get this right, you are bang on with your look no matter what the occasion.

If you are travelling on a business purpose never miss to layer to create a look of authority. It could be with a jacket or a cardigan or even a long scarf with detail.  During the course of your stay, if you are expected to attend different events which varies from formal to casual, the trick is to add on a layer for your formal look and taking off the layers and keeping it simple for the casual look.

If you are a person who loves colour, the dark muted colours are the way to go to keep it formal. Our Prime Minister Mr. Modi does it just right when it comes to clothing. Along with the colour make sure you get your patters right if you are found of prints. Small geometric patterns will give you a formal look . And floral prints or any curvy patterns give you a casual look.  Do it right and that will take care of the attractiveness ie,. the second “A” of Image management.

The third “A” Which is very important for me is the authentic look you create with your attire. Don’t let the attire wear you.  Make the attire your Own with your authentic style: This is where you bring in your personal style. Be it with your favourite colour or your favourite print or the way you layer with your favourite fabric. Do you have a trade mark style. Like Kate Middleton’s trade mark knee-high boots or Modi’s colourful tunic.

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The fourth ‘A’ being affordable:  Choose your brand based on your budget, roles and your goals.

The secret to appropriate dressing is to keep the four A’s in mind and apply your sense or colour and prints and you are ready to face any occasion in your life chins up.

And if you are still in doubt, call your Image Consultant.

Yours Truly,

Indu Venugopal

Rainbow moments with Autism

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Living with Autism is no easy feat. It is like being in a room full of people and still feeling you are all alone. All of them moving their body, making noise, the face changing with every word they speak and they also look at you. It is difficult to make sense of anything that’s going on. It is just too many things at once, and worse is all of them looking at you expecting you to look at them. All I do is stand as still as a rock not meeting their eyes showing I don’t care, but I am really scared.

Wanting something and suddenly feeling lost with words and not knowing how to ask for it. Out of desperation I cry out loud, throw things around and bite myself. Don’t know which of this behaviour got me what I needed. So I repeat all of those behaviours, whenever I wanted something.

I am interested in knowing everything that’s around me. And like to learn new things. But I have no idea how to tell you that. I don’t know how to tell that I am done with colouring cookers.

First time I met A , I found a child lost in a world of his own. His way of expressing anything was by throwing things around and biting himself and laughing aimlessly. But what I also found by the end of my observation was his willingness to learn new things. And also that he was done with colouring cookers.

We introduced Maths and English to him and slowly the “behaviors” started vanishing. He could speak or rather repeat whatever we tell him, but what changed was he also learnt to say what he wanted in one word. The reward we get for all these is an eye contact from him, time to time and a smile of acknowledgement. And that is our cue to know that we are on the right track, and we are in this battle together in a differently wired world called Autism.

Fashion Consultant

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I am often asked what I do for living. People do understand the role of a facilitator for life skills and leadership skills. Special educator is also understandable. But Fashion consultant, I just get a lost look…..

And hence this blog……

As a Fashion Consultant my job is to give professional fashion advice and recommendations to individuals, customers or companies. We use our knowledge of trends and fashion principles to help others in the realm of fashion. Well that’s somewhat of a definition. Now let me explain.

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I typically work with individuals, or groups to help them make their fashion decisions, and also with corporates in their environments to help them build a brand/ Image that matches their companies brand/Image and their roles and responsibilities.

Now the question is how I arrive at the recommendations and advice for the client.

My core job is to advise customers and clients in making their fashion decisions. I make recommendations on clusters, entire outfits, colour palettes, styles and fabrics. This involves a lot of understanding about the customer’s needs in order to personalize and tailor suggestions to the client’s aesthetic preferences and personal style, body type, price range and the occasion for which the customer is looking for help.

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This also calls for a need to remain up-to-date with market trends and current fashions while maintaining a timeless knowledge of fashion principles and concepts so that it can be tailored based on the clients. And also analyse seasonal trends and implement them into the client recommendations.

We all need advice sometimes whether it is on finance, career, relationship, or for that matter style. So when it comes to style trust your fashion consultant….

Yours truly,

Indu Venugopal

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Happiness is having crazy friends!

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Maya Pillai, when I met you last month after a gap of 16 long years, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. We have had  crazy times together when we were roomies. You know what I’m talking about 😉 And let me refrain from explaining about those days here, I will save that for another time.

People change with times and that is inevitable with the lifestyle you choose to have, The jobs that we take up, the experiences life throws at us and for many more reasons. I believed I had changed. The things people have to say about me at times sounds like they are talking about a stranger. When I saw you walking in I could see few changes in you too. The obvious one being how you looked after 16 years :-P(that goes for both of us)  and then we were trying to be nice, with all that pleasantries . Gladly pretending to be nice did not last for long, as we are horrible actors.

One thing I realized the moment I saw you was how much I missed you. And I could see that in your eyes too. And both of us knew immediately that somethings….. Just don’t change!

It was that eureka moment where I realized few things about life.

  • It is very difficult to find someone with the same mental disorder.
  • If you are lucky to find one, don’t ever lose them.
  • And if you do happen to lose them, every second of your time spent to look for them is totally worth it.
  • Once you find them do not pretend that you have changed for good and everything now is normal. As it takes hardly a moment for them to read right through you. And remember they are the one who always knew that normal scares the crap out of you.

Friends like you often bring out the crazy, stupid, weird side of you. But when I look back, those are among the most amazing memories of my life.

Let me end it here by saying “Behind every successful woman is a best friend giving her crazy ideas”.

Let’s create a beautiful world with our differences

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Accept and respect our differences and prevent it from becoming the center of any relationships.

The world will be a better place to live in only if we start to embrace the differences and celebrate the individuality.

What children today need, is to develop the ability to function in this world beyond their classrooms. And to achieve this, mainstreaming and inclusion is the right way to turn to, where typically developing children and children with special needs are learning together. And in this space they get to learn much more than just academics as here an atmosphere is created of compassion, tolerance and understanding.  The beauty of this structure is to see kids who have no idea about all the labelling that we do, and yet how beautifully they understand each other. How they get along by adjusting to each other’s challenges and short comings, and how they help each other to cope with the situations and how they find their own way to coexist.

I also believe that a little knowledge and familiarity about Children with special needs will help in terms of better acceptance and more tolerance. So here we go..……..

This time about Autism

Before I list out things, let’s get few things right.

Fundamentally, all human beings are created equal, worthy of the same respect, dignity, rights and access. Equality regardless of race, sex, religion, gender, culture, disability, number of limbs, intelligence and the list goes on is the right of all. Being autistic and therefore neurodivergent does have some different outworking’s in the way they put their life together.

Commonly they have differences in communication, sensory, and social aspects of life. All these are difference and not a deficit.

Their communication is different because they process information differently. in the realm of both verbal and non-verbal. They process sensory input differently and so their emotional, physical and intellectual responses to that input are also different. Their social interactions are also different, because of the combination of the way they experience the world due to the different neurological build that they are born with.

Let me explain this further……

  • They may appear uncaring and unsympathetic to others, but believe me they are just simply waiting for you to enter their world so that they can show you how much they love you.
  • They might not make eye contact and so be unable to interpret facial expressions or sarcasm. They are totally fine with you telling them what you actually mean.
  • They may make social faux paus by standing too close while talking; all you need to do is let them know the right way of conduct in public.
  • They speak uncomfortable truths and embarrass you or others, if you are not ready for the truth, all you need to do is to not ask for it.
  • They might flap their hands or Stim because it provides a sensory input that helps them regulate the neurological state. Just like how you would bite your nails or shake your legs when you are tensed….
  • They just might cover their ears at loud noises or shut their eyes at pulsing flash lights because it helps them deal with the sensory overload. Yes their sensory issues are huge and beyond our comprehension, which means they see, hear, smell, taste and feel in different ways. For example, the feel of grass under their feet may make them upset, the sound of a car horn may hurt their ears, the smell of vinegar may make them cry, or the texture of upma in their mouths may make them gag. When they say no just respect their NO.
  • Their intonation might be less varied than others. But if all of us spoke alike the world would be so boring….
  • They follow certain routines and get anxious about being unable to complete a routine. Help them finish what they started.
  • They may become agitated at sudden changes to the agenda, so it’s a good idea to keep them posted on what’s the plan for tomorrow. Unlike us they don’t like surprises.
  • They may not use their mouth parts to talk. Not being able to speak is not the same as not having anything to say. They are communicating what they feel even without saying a word. All you need to do is watch.

Autism is not, and never has been a disease; it is an expression of human difference and diversity. The world needs all kinds of minds.

Autism has always been around us only the numbers are increasing by years.

It is time we know that it is not our differences that divide us, it’s our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences that do.

The retro look

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80’s were defined by the unique blend of different styles, especially the over –the-top clothing in bold colors and patterns. Everything in the 80’s had to be big, bold and loud. So any outfit that includes bright color contrast, extravagant designs with shoulder pads or puff sleeves will nail the look.

The old school fashion fascinates me. It helps us reconnect with a past which was not nearly as complicated. I feel it’s amazing the way these designs can be showy and casual at the same time.  The classic cut and design of many retro style dresses makes them very easy to wear as well.

I am a huge fan of belts. A belt is an easy, versatile way to really make your outfits look unique and interesting. A wide belt is one of the most flattering and eye-catching accessories when paired with the right outfit, especially worn with a poodle or swing skirt. Keep in mind that wide belts won’t work with every outfit, but if paired well they look awesome.

Here I went for Unique Vintage cocktail polka dotted dress with poodle skirt and fitted bodices.  I had accessorized it with a wide buckle waist belt, which looks absolutely perfect for hopping across the dance floor.

 

If not now, when?

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Women Empowerment refers to increasing and improving the social, economic, political and legal strength of the women, to ensure equal-right to women, and to make them confident enough to claim their rights, such as:

  • freely live their life with a sense of self-worth, respect and dignity,
  • have complete control of their life, both within and outside of their home and workplace,
  • to make their own choices and decisions,
  • have equal rights to participate in social, religious and public activities,
  • have equal social status in the society,
  • have equal rights for social and economic justice,
  • determine financial and economic choices,
  • get equal opportunity for education,
  • get equal employment opportunity without any gender bias,
  • get safe and comfortable working environment,

Coming to think of it I fail to understand when and how women ever lost these rights? If you see decades back women always had these rights and they knew they have it and used it appropriately. A seismic shift in the attitude of people should have happened over a period of time. Now whatever was the cause of it, religious, political, situational… the sad part is nobody saw it coming. Even worse, it was let to happen.

Women’s day is celebrated every year, where one day in a year everybody talks about women empowerment, treat them with respect, show love and it goes on and on……. Next day it is forgotten and everyone eventually minds their own business. We rather celebrate a human day. And we all decide to act like humans, so that the whole issue of inequality doesn’t even exist. Man and woman are both born with different characteristics. Both stronger in their own way and that’s how it is meant to be, Nature likes to keep the balance.

 A women is born physically different from a man, she has the right blend of strength with grace, courage with compassion, wisdom with vision and tenacity with tolerance above all this a nurturing instinct. Nobody can take these qualities away from her unless she gives it up herself. All the messages talking about giving a woman confidence, courage, back them up to prove themselves etc.… etc.…. amuse me. Why should we wait for someone to give us what is there within us? Why should we lose ourselves and then try to find ourselves again? So ladies and girls, let us stop expecting others to stand up for us, instead stand up on your own. And if you fail, it does not matter, bounce back. Let it take time, it does not matter. Nobody is keeping a count. Do not play the victims card.

It all starts with a decision how you choose to live your life. There are lifestyles that either support or damage success.  Create lifestyles that support your success. Do not get addicted to approval and have a thick skin when it comes to rejection.( no” is just someone’s opinion, anything is actually possible.)

To all the women out there, just remind yourself that you are good as you are. You don’t have to wear a designer dress to look good, but when you walk in, look like you own it. Stand as tall as you can, shoulder back, head held high.

Never miss to make eye contact with everyone in a room when you enter and when you do it, do it with an engaging smile. (Remember you are a woman, grace and compassion is what you are born with)

Hand shake, make it strong and firm even if you get a wimpy one.

Sit down with grace and don’t hesitate to take space. Never cower.

Be resilient and admit that you are not perfect. (That’s the law of universe; nobody is born perfect admitting that does not make you small.)

Be the best in what you choose do!  Being a homemaker does not mean being jobless, it is also a decision, I would say, a rather tough one.

There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise!