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Silver & Style At HippieHolly-SimpleSally's Place

I love silver. It’s so versatile! Rings, pendants, eartops, hoops, bangles, bracelets, charms, chains, necklaces, stone-studded, filigreed, engraved. The only challenge with silver is keeping it gleaming in a humid city like Mumbai. My open secret is to use ash (the kind that temples give you with kumkum; they’re available in stores if you ask for vibhuti). Scrubbing with coconut coir is even better than your fingers or a toothbrush or any other implement. It doesn’t scratch the silver but makes it gleam instantly. Drinking from a silver cup is said to calm fiery temperaments and promote good health. So, in a nutshell….I love silver!

Which is why, I found Hippy Holly & Simple Sally’s giveaway contest irresistible. The prizes are a pair of smoky-quartz studded eartops, filigreed hoops and a silver pendant on a woven-thread necklace (shown below). The challenge is to write how I’d wear them.

Here’s how I’d do it:

My current look is fusion with a lot of cotton/silk, Indian designs/prints on western garments and kohl’d eyes. All three pieces of jewellery fit the look perfectly.

1. The filigreed hoops are pure tradition. I’d wear them with my chikan-and-hakoba white kurta which is sheer and has a deep neck. I usually wear it with a navy blue singlet inside and team it up with dark blue jeans, mojris or embroidered chappals for a classy fusion look.

2. The smoky-quartz eartops, more versatile could look modern or traditional depending on what they’re worn with. I’d wear them with a full white chuddidar-kurta ensemble for a traditional look. For a modern feel, I’d team them up with  my block-printed miniskirt, a white singlet and black jacket with embroidered sleeves. Alternately, these could really work with a plain black blouse, black harem pants and a dupatta tied around the waist like a belt. Or a plain navy blue dress with other silver highlights in jewellery.

3. The necklace would work with all the looks I mentioned above. Independently, I’d also wear it on a plain tee-shirt with jeans/ cotton pants/skirts. The pendant looks detachable so I’d also try wearing the thread chain around my wrist with charms (or a lighter pendant or two) attached to it.

I found this blog mentioned on Purple Peep-toes (spreading the link-love, as they suggest!). If you like dressing well (but not outrageously) and with style (but not necessarily high expense), this blog is for you. Holly & Sally’s blog, on the other hand, appear to focus more on accessories and creative ways of dressing. I enjoyed the Back to Black (well, almost) post particularly for its grey/black/blue themed illustrations. Check them out and participate in the contest if you love silver too!

Everyone Wants To Get Into My Wallet!

Late one night as I was driving down the city, I looked up at a huge billboard of Sushmita Sen, an advertisement for Kiah jewellery, which said,

You are the occasion
You are the celebration

I told him,

I really love that ad!

He smiled and said,

You would. It celebrates you, after all.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Earlier in the month, I wrote about my first experience with luxuriant self-indulgence, the retail therapy way. I wear my diamonds with pride, a pride that comes not exactly from their aesthetic value but from the knowledge that I earned the power to buy them for myself.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

A few years ago, I wrote about the Superwoman. I don’t know whether to be happy or not that it’s turning out to be prophetic. Take a minute to think about my words..

I am the center of a marketing model titled “High income single decision maker”
I am the brief given to fashion houses when they design the new Prada suit
I am described as ‘Joan of Arc meets Helen of Troy’

We are indeed, the hot new consumer demographic. Urban women, financially self-sufficient with all the trappings of our successful professional status – the need for new status symbols combined with the ability to pay for them.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Our parents’ generation saw the upsurge of women at work and all the initial beginnings like the glass ceiling, women bosses et al. Our generation in contrast is the one that gets to enjoy it (and be taken advantage of). We’re prominent for our purchasing power and marketers have been quick to pick up on the need for our own set of status symbols and paraphernalia. I speak as the target group of a woman who earns and has the independence to spend. I also speak as a marketing professional, seeing the other side of it, so to speak.

Successful men who earn well have been well tapped into as a market and are induced to spend on everything from their own selves (personal gadgets, cars), social settings (restaurants, pubs, sports activities) and all sorts of dating-related paraphernalia (presents for women, tokens of what makes them an ‘ideal partner’). What do their opposite numbers in our sex have?

We have shoes, clothes, bags, accessories, jewelery, make-up and personal grooming services. If the men-targeted products homed in on the traditional masculine need to be macho and an alpha male, we are being targeted for our vanity and need to be ‘the babe’.

Of course, the more complicated dynamics of women actually competing with each other in these stakes is well played out. What else do you think Bhala uski saadi meri saadi se safed kaisi is?

The more expensive products are obviously affordable only to a certain type of woman – she has a career, she’s ambitious and wants to be respected for her intelligence, she doesn’t want to stand in anyone’s shadow, she has a personality of her own. And hence diamonds, super-expensive shoes and clothes come with the messages that they respect your individuality, celebrate your independence and will take Visa as well as American Express.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I was invited to the premier showing of the big Hollywood release of Confessions of a Shopaholic. I saw the movie with a group of girlfriends and all of us identified with the heroine. We would, she’s based on us after all. While the movie is meant to be a really light-hearted comedy, it points to something deeper.
I got to wondering about the phenomenon of shopaholism. Is it a reality that we’re likely to be facing very soon? All manner of excess is driven towards filling a need that hasn’t been satisfied earlier. So women who binge are thought to be unconsciously compensating for a lack of affection in their lives. What unmet need are we trying to plug with this excessive buying?

Becky Bloomwood in the movie nails it on the head when she explains her addiction,

Because when I shop, it feels so pretty, so nice, so good! And then it doesn’t so I have to shop even more!

True to all successful marketing strategies, this one also gives us a taste of what we like and then leaves us begging for more. Shinier hair! Higher heels! Bigger (and smaller) bags! Cooler sunglasses! Brighter make-up! Lotions, creams, gels, powders, liquid liners, sticks, brushes, concealers, colorants, rinses, crayons, cakes, gloss, sequins, beads, rhinestones, denim, silk, linen, velvet….the list never ends.

So for all our gloss and gorgeousness, we are nothing more than the product of a very successful marketing program designed to relieve us our newly-minted paychecks. ‘Fabulous’ is the bait they use to lure us in and the looming bill at the end of the month is the hook.

It used to be about too many people wanting to get into my pants.
Now everyone wants to get into my wallet!!

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