It’s been years beyond count since I’ve bought clothes in India. I gave up sometime in 2009, mostly because I was tired of being constantly disappointed and excluded. There are more plus size clothing options in India these days, especially online, but it’s still rare that I can find something that fits my style and budget. This dress was an unexpected surprise, even more so because I found it at the local mall while shopping for my sister. It takes a lot to overcome memories of feeling oversized and out of place while dredging through racks of tiny dresses and tops, but I’m glad I did it this once because this dress fulfills all my boho fashion dreams for summer. The bag is also a local buy from eBay India, and while it took a bit of TLC (oiling and polishing) before I could use it, I’m super happy with how it turned out.
Even though Bangalore doesn’t really have an autumn, it’s hard not to be inspired by all the cosy sweater weather looks of the season. Bangalore has three seasons - hot and dry, cold and wet, and a pleasant in-between state which passes for both autumn and winter. It never gets quite cold enough for sweaters, so I’m interpreting fall with dark florals and lots of black this year. Yes, I’m wearing black! Which is so unlike me, because it’s a colour I’ve avoided for years, almost a decade really.
A long time ago, I used to hide in swathes of baggy black. Black was ‘slimming’, it was my armour. I spent my entire second semester as an undergrad in one single black kurta with my hair scraped back in a bun. As I started growing more comfortable with my body in my third year of Uni, I gradually began to phase black out of my wardrobe. Black was a reminder of my body hating days, a part of my teens and twenties that I wanted to leave far behind. I had a long way to go before I could feel neutral about black again, see it as just another colour in my wardrobe alongside my beloved jewel tones.
I got this dress tailored last month with some Kalamkari fabric I picked up in Commercial Street. I’d stayed away from tailors for years as well, after some particularly horrendous fat shaming thanks to my last seamstress. I was finally convinced by my friend Ushshi to give tailoring another go, and I’m so glad I did! My current tailor is a kind, old gentleman with a very headmasterly aspect who puts me totally at ease. Ever since I’ve fallen in love with the bohemian aesthetic, I’ve found myself drawn towards traditional Indian fabrics and handicrafts too. It’s a roundabout route to take into my own culture, but I think that’s what being thirty-something is all about - reconnecting with the roots and parts of my self I’d been sundered from for so long. It’s a more reflective time, a contemplative one, a time to gather old threads and take stock of what I’ll pass on to the next generation. In a way, my 30′s are autumnal.
The circle bag and ankle boots are recent buys, from Boohoo who actually ship to India for a flat rate of £6.99! I’ve been looking for alternatives to ASOS after their lackluster performance with delivery this year, and so far, I’ve come up with Boohoo, New Look and River Island, which isn’t at all bad. The bobble beret is the same one I’d worn for my very first date with my fiance (6 years ago!) and the little puppo pendant is from Eclectic Eccentricity. It’s something I’d managed to break shortly after getting it in 2014 - and guess when I finally got around to repairing it? The day before yesterday, which speaks rather eloquently about my love of procrastination!
Happy Diwali everyone!! It’s been crazy here today with all the EXTREMELY LOUD NOISES but it’s finally beginning to quiet down, which is a relief. I took some photos of the lights as well, which I’ll post later!
I must apologize for the picspam, but I’m very terribly much in love with this dress! I tend to shy away from colours and cuts I know to be ‘flattering’ because I’m contrary like that, but when House of Fraser offered to gift me an evening dress from their Viviana range, I thought that maybe I could wear something age appropriate for a change. (Also I don’t really own ANY evening dresses which is a bit of an oversight mibby)
Anyway, I’m very glad I did because this is beautiful and amazing and I will love this dress forever. The Viviana range goes up to a UK24 and has lots of very Christmas appropriate dresses, even though this one in particular - the Adeke Dress - has my ❤❤❤
With regard to sizing, I feel this fits pretty true to size as the 14 fit me perfectly. However, if you’re used to a more relaxed fit, you could try sizing up! I did have to engage in a bout of acrobatics to get the zip all the way up - this is very much a dress you’ll want another person to zip you in if possible (the mesh around the shoulders is rather delicate.)
My rose gold bangle is also a gift, this time from Uncommon Goods - who have a wonderful section on handmade jewellery - and has an incredible history behind it. It’s also really special to me because of my own strange history with, or rather, around the periphery of jewellery. Jewellery is a huge deal in India, especially if you’re a woman. Most parents start hoarding gold jewellery the moment they know they’re having a daughter they can’t get rid of, even though dowries are illegal (because nothing really is illegal in India.)
A lot of the time these days though, that hoard of gold acts as a financial safety net that you can fall back on in hard times. My parents never hoarded any gold for me, mostly because they had all the financial sense of a dented teaspoon, but also because they never really cared. And it’s always been a sore point - not because I harbour a fervent and secret desire to be traded like goods, but because I’ve lived through some very bad times with nothing saved away to make those times bearable. And so I tend to stay from jewellery of any kind, because it’s a reminder of how little my parents cared about me.
This Uncommon Goods bangle isn’t precious by traditional Indian standards, but this alongwith the brooch my landlady gave me seems to mark the beginning of something new. Growing up maybe, shrugging off the burden of my parents’ apathy, reclaiming myself from them, and hopefully doing better when it’s my turn.