Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Best Red Lipsticks

Spring may not be a season we experience in Mumbai, however, spring cleaning is one ritual most of us perform year round. That time of the year where you decide to clean out everything with great gusto and energy.
I had my session of spring cleaning a few weeks ago. Amidst all the cleaning I discovered some lost treasure and, finally, decided to let go of things I have been hoarding for years.

I have always been a lipstick junkie and strongly believe one can not have enough lipsticks. But the sheer number of lipsticks I was holding on to, some over fives year old, was baffling. After sorting things out, I finally cut down my lipstick collection to half its size.

In the process of sorting my lipsticks out, I picked out my favourite ones- colour wise- and 
decided to put together a list of my favourite lipstick shades.
For my first list I decided to go with my most favourite shade: Red. A compilation of my best red lipsticks.
Some of the lipsticks mentioned here are pure reds, others belong to the red family and/or have a red undertone.

I know a lot of people who shy away from wearing red lipstick because they are not sure if it will suit their complexion. Trust me, red lipsticks suit all skin tone. You just need to pick a shade that complements your skin tone. 
I have consciously made and effort to feature red lipstick shades that suit Indian skin tones. So there is something for everyone. 

A warm red with coral undertones, Starlet Red adds an instant colour pop to your look. Styled in a crayon packaging, the lipstick is well pigmented and gives good coverage. It has a lovely matte finish and can easily last up to five hours without any touch up.
Due to the lipstick's strong matte formula it can dry out your lips. To avoid that, apply a lip balm before applying the lipstick and you don’t have to worry about your lips drying up.
Sadly, my lipstick broke while applying it. You need to be careful not to put too much pressure while applying the lipstick. Other than that, Starlet Red is a great shade and will suit most Indian skin tones.
Price: Rs 650

A vivid red with bright orange undertones, Pure Fire is an ideal colour for the summer season. The lipstick is well pigmented and has a smooth velvety texture making it easy to apply. It has a lovely matte finish and stays put for over four hours.
Price: Rs 995

A lush maroon tinted gloss with fine bronze glitter that is more deep than bright. This shade is ideal for those who are not comfortable wearing bright colours. A sultry shade of deep red gloss, MAC Courting Chic is perfect for those who want to play it safe with red.
Price: Rs 2,000

A perfect pink red shade, it instantly brightens your face. Pure Vermeil is one of those shades that look good anytime of the day. Like all the Pure Reds, Pure Vermeil is well pigmented, has a creamy texture and easy to apply.
Price: Rs. 995

Ruby Woo needs no introduction. Any red lipstick lover has used it at some point of time in her life. A well pigmented, classic blue-based red shade, Ruby Woo offers great coverage. However, as gorgeous as the shade is, its biggest draw back is, its matte formula dries out the lips. Ideally, always apply a lip primer or lip balm before applying Ruby Woo. 
This is one shade of red that looks good on all skin tones.
Price: Rs. 2,250

Lip lacquer are a category in themselves. They are not lipstick nor lip gloss, they are more like liquid lipstick.
Strawberry Topaz is a
 deep coral red with fine milled glitter and has rich finish. Well pigmented with a thick texture, Revlon Ultra HD Lip Lacquer can easily stay up to 4-5 hours. Since it is opaque, it can be worn without any base even on pigmented lips.
Price: Rs. 850

Pure Garnet is deep berry shade with plum undertones and a hint of burgundy. A maroon red, Pure Garnet is ideal for those who like to wear a subtle shade of red. Pure Garnet is well pigmented, offers full coverage and looks best on people with mind-tone complexions.
Price: Rs. 995

A bright, warm red, with coral undertones. It has a semi-glossy finish and can look more orange than red on application. It is soft and creamy and lasts a good five hours.
Price: Rs. 699

A heartfelt thank you to the team of My Glamm and for doing my hair and makeup. Thank you to Pallavi for all her support and a big thank you to the makeup maverick, Bijon, for doing my makeup and for all his inputs, wisdom and help. It was great fun working with the team of My Glamm.

Photography by Suraj Warrier | Edit and Creatives by Digital Daku
Makeup, hair and location: My Glamm

Till then, tra-la,
    Amena!!
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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2016: The Changing Face Of Indian Fashion

For most people, the heart of Lakmé Fashion Week is, well, the fashion. One attends it in pursuit of new trends, fabrics and designers. However, this season, amidst all the glitz and glam there were also some groundbreaking trends and feminist moments. In many ways, Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2016 represents the changing face of Indian fashion.
Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2016: The Changing Face Of Indian Fashion

For starters, not everyone considers fashion as a feminist industry. Many find it superficial and vain. What most people are not aware of is, the most iconic, fashion forward creations and trends have also empowered women. 
Like every industry, fashion too, has its flaws. However, fashion has been an ally to women and the LGBTQ community over many others. So, don’t be so quick to judge the fashion industry. There is far more to it than meets the eye.

My aim is to show just how socially relevant and feminist the fashion industry can be. 
Here are four, first of its kind, groundbreaking moments from Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2016 that prove just how feminist the Indian fashion industry can be.

Making A Pregnant Statement!
Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2016: The Changing Face Of Indian Fashion - Making A Pregnant Statement
At the close of designer Gaurang Shah’s show, supermodel Carol Gracias appeared on the runway wearing a green-and-pink sari. Now there is nothing new about a supermodel closing a designer show. However, Carol was not alone. She was accompanied by her prominent baby bump. Never in the history of Indian fashion has anyone walked the ramp with a baby bump. First of it kind, a pregnant Carol walking the ramp was nothing short of path-breaking and revolutionary.
For years, Indian women have been asked to cover their protruding pregnant bellies with layers of boxy and shapeless clothes. Breastfeeding a hungry child in public will get you more frowns and scowls than urinating in public. And only very recently we have become comfortable about discussing our periods openly. 
In India, like many other parts of the world, women have been told to either hide or be ashamed of everything and anything that is considered as a natural female experience.
Not anymore! This one move by Carol and Gaurang empowers women to get conformable in their own skin and enjoy all attributes of womanhood.

Welcome To The Plus Side
Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2016: The Changing Face Of Indian Fashion - Welcome To The Plus Side
As someone who has spent her adult life working in the fashion industry, I have dreamed and hoped that one day in my life I would see a plus size woman with visible body fat walking the Indian ramp. 
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen sooner than later!
Let’s be honest – India is one of the lest body positive and plus size friendly countries in the world. We barely see any positive plus size representation in mainstream. Our fashion magazines our completely thin-washed and finding ready-to-wear clothes over size 18 is as good as winning a lottery. 
So image my joy when I see a collection that categorically states, ‘Size No Bar’. Out walks comedian Bharti Singh to prove it, once and for all, that style is not restricted to a single body size. 
Bharti walking the ramp for Reliance Retail’s AJIO.com’s launch collection is a sign of hope for plus size women all over India. It sends a message that you can be stylish at any size and being fat and fashionable are not mutually exclusive. Take it from a plus size fashion blogger, Bharti walking the ramp was the need of the hour. It signifies that every woman, regardless of her size, is relevant, desirable, and utterly magnificent.
For a country that has over 60% of its population as plus size, to ignore their existence and needs is not only discriminatory but downright fool hardy from a business standpoint too.
This was the first step towards body positivity and diversity. Next season, I hope to see plus size models instead of thin models showcasing plus size clothes, more designer showcasing plus size clothes, and more plus size showstoppers.

Breaking Gender Binary
Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2016: The Changing Face Of Indian Fashion - Breaking Gender Binary
Androgyny has been the go to trend for fashion designers for a while now. Gender neutral and gender fluid fashion has been accepted and applauded. Aesthetically, the gender binaries have started to diminish. 
Sadly, the representation of the transgender community is abysmal. Often depicted as stock characters and frequently mistaken as drags and gays, most people are clueless about transgender people and their experience. Plus, lack of knowledge paired with age old prejudice makes it even more difficult for them to freely express themselves.
While Indian fashion industry has been more LGBTQ friendly than most, just like plus size, transgender people have miniscule representation in it. 
The applause when transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi walked the ramp for Reliance Retail’s AJIO.com’s launch collection with the words ‘Gender No Bar’ flashing behind, was a telling sign of the changing times.
Globally, we have seen transgender models and celebrities like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner being accepted by mainstream media and fashion industry. 
Laxmi walking the ramp is an indication that there is a hope for inclusion of transgender community in India. Also, it's very promising to see new brands breaking stereotypes and striving for more inclusion and diversity.

A Matter Of Modest Choice
Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2016: The Changing Face Of Indian Fashion - A Matter Of Modest Choice
When it comes to modest fashion I have been on both side of the fence. Like Pierre Berge, I too was “scandalized” by the concept.
Mr Berge stated: “Designers are there to make women more beautiful, to give them their freedom, not to collaborate with this dictatorship which imposes this abominable thing by which we hide women and make them live a hidden life.”
As I nodded my head to every word Pierre Berge had to say about the whole concept of modest fashion that has its roots in Islamic and Orthodox Jewish culture, a small part of me was just not ready to write it off.
After some much needed research I started seeing it for what it really is: A choice.
If nudity empowers some women, they why can’t we accept that others are empowered by modest clothing. Why is one a feminist symbol while the other is seen as a sign of oppression and patriarchy? If a woman chooses to dress modestly, should we deny her that right? 
Recognizing the need of some women who aspire to dress stylishly and modestly, Gen Next designer, Aqdus Saleem, presented her debut collection aptly titled, The Modest Chapter.
A first of it kind, it has opened a whole new and untapped side of fashion. Plus, it has made people aware of the concept. Contrary to popular belief, modest fashion doesn’t just mean hijabs and abayas. It includes maxi skirts, tunics and flowy silhouettes. The beauty of modest fashion is  its appeal expands beyond a specific religious faith. 
While the concept of modest fashion is still a new one, with many still doubting its intention, I, for one, see it as a sign of progress. It empowers women with more choices than they ever had before.

The Indian fashion industry, like many things in our society, has a long way to go on many fronts — staring with diversity, body positivity and feminism. But this season of Lakmé Fashion Week has show us, that fashion is not just about physical appearance but also closely connected with self-expression. While it is going to take time to see a complete change, the good news is, the seed of change have been sown.

Lakmé Fashion Week is all about rethink, redefine and reinvent fashion. The Summer/Resort 2016 edition proves just that.


Till then, tra-la,
    Amena!!
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Friday, 4 March 2016

Plus Size Layering

After avoiding it for years, finally, in 2014, I found the courage to experiment with layering. Prior to that, I was afraid somehow layering would make me look bulkier. (FYI, this is a major plus size fashion myth!)

The first time I did a layered look was by coincidence. I was at an event where I got to try out the new collection. Lucky for me this was one of those few plus size friendly brands. After finding the courage to wear a sleeveless sheath dress – not a silhouette I generally wear - I needed something to layer it with. In the spur of the moment I picked up a light weight beach kaftan.
While the two pieces were absolutely opposite - one a cocktail dress the other a cotton wrap – together, they looked great. With that one look, I started my love affair with plus size layering.

As a plus size fashion blogger I am always trying out new ways to layer pieces - mix and match and create new looks. 
When I like a piece but it tends to be a tad bit snug, I generally use it for layering. That's how I manage to make the most out of the limited available options.
I have tried innovate and interesting ways to layer my outfits. I have paired a maxi dress (styled as a sleeveless jacket) with a kurta, done a kurta on kurta lookdress, tunic and palazzo pants combo and many more. 
The options are limitless. You just need to find the combinations that works for you.

Plus Size Layering

Images via: Girl With Curves | Gabifresh | Curvy Girl Chic
More information on the pieces here

My biggest source of inspiration are some of my fave plus size fashion bloggers. Their effortless layering and chic styling has inspired me to try out novel looks that I would have earlier been too scared to try.
Along with inspiration, they give me the confidence to not shy away from experimenting with fashion.

Till then, tra-la,
      Amena!!
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