Monday Mantra by Archana Walavalkar

In this week’s ‘Monday Mantra’, Archana Walavalkar, Creative Director and Co-Founder of StyleCracker, brings about a sea-change in your ‘9-to-5’ wardrobe.

“You spend half your day in your work clothes so make sure that they don’t spell ‘boring’. New season trends can be worked in to your corporate look with just a few changes. Here are some of my styling suggestions that work for all ages.”

PLEATS

forever 21 2

Knife, accordian, box or kick- no matter what variety of pleat you prefer, be assured this fabric treatment is all flattering. The key is to invest in softer textiles that drape curves well. 

Styling Tip: The best part about pleats is that they are super versatile and can be styled in any way. If you want lady-like, pair with pearls and a chiffon blouse, if you want corporate then pair with a structured blazer and brogues and if you want friday dressing, then pair with your favourite tee and white sneakers. 

LEG O’ MUTTON SLEEVES

Michael Korz

With tons of vintage drama and costume appeal, the leg o’mutton sleeve became popular in the 1800s and have been reinvented multiple times ever since. They’re a great way to add a bit of theatre to everyday silhouettes like the classic white button-down shirt. 

Styling Tip: I wouldn’t recommend this silhouette for everyone. If you have a petite frame or have been spending hours at the gym toning those arms and shoulders then yes but generally poufy sleeves add unnecessary bulk. 

PANTSUIT

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This is what I call a ‘new classic’ and should be a part of your 2016 wardrobe! Best part is that it works in the boardroom and for post-work drinks! 

Styling Tip: Instead of going with one solid block neutral colour like black or grey, go for patterns like gingham or monochrome checks. Experiment with the colour palette with shades like military green, burnt sienna or marsala. Treat a trouser suit or pant suit as an investment- so pay a little more but go for expert finishing and flawless tailoring. You won’t regret it! 

TRADITIONAL WEAR 

Fab India (13)

My advice to all Indian working women- when in doubt- go Indian! There’s really nothing more impressive or powerful than a crisp tussar-silk sari or a beautiful khadi-silk kurta with a pair of tailored pencil pants or churidar. We have a rich heritage of textiles and threadwork- we should celebrate it!

Styling Tip: Modern Indian wear has a come a very long way in the last five years. Earlier there were just a handful of stores that catered to the business woman, but now even departmental stores like Westside and Lifestyle have an incredible selection of everyday formal wear. The key to modernising these traditional silhouettes is by adding edgy accessories like an antique silver kada or a handmade jootis. 

SLING-BACK BLOCK HEELS

BALLY

As someone who is used to putting in over 12 hours of work everyday, I make the best case for flats in the boardroom. There’s literally nothing more distracting than painful feet, especially if you have a job (like mine) which requires a lot of running around. That was till I bought my first pair of block heels and I’ve never looked back since! 

Styling tip: Go for a single sole (not platform sole) block heel which keeps those embarrassing twists of the ankle at bay. Not only do these add height, do wonders for your posture and confidence but also pair beautifully with flared and wide-legged trousers. 

LIPS & CHEEK STAIN

Body Shop India

The one thing that I believe in when it comes to everyday make-up is that it should be fuss-free! So I always use and advice people to use products that multi-task. Like a tint that works for your lips and for your cheeks. 

Styling tip: Go for a shade that works with your skin’s undertones. Shades of red- from orange-y to Bordeauz – suit most Indian skin tones. I love The Body Shop’s Lip and Cheek Velvet Stain- it give you just the right amount of healthy flush and you can build on the colour for a more made-up look. 

THE STATEMENT BAG

Tory burch 3

All of us working girls have the same problem when it comes to office bags- it’s too heavy because we carry our world around in it! To avoid this, go for a structured shape like the new season bucket bag. 

Styling Tip: It’s chic, utilitarian and long-lasting. The bucket bag also doesn’t allow for stuffing like most totes do. So you have no choice but to de-clutter! Another handbag trick I use- everything goes in to little separate pouches- so I have a make-up pouch, a wallet, a pouch for my keys, a pouch for my headphones etc. This saves me a lot of time and effort from constantly rummaging. 

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