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Updated: August 25, 2013 15:52 IST

The essential wardrobe

Shvetha Jaishankar
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Shvetha Jaishankar
Special Arrangement Shvetha Jaishankar

Imagine this — every time you get dressed you have a chance to be creative. Caring for what you wear boosts your confidence. I cannot think of a daily exercise that can produce the same effect as quickly!

It doesn’t matter what your age, weight or shape is. You are dressing for yourself or for someone you love and the process can be thought provoking.

While each individual’s wardrobe is unique, there are some rules that have to be kept in mind before creating a wardrobe that will suit most occasions without getting cluttered.

Two ‘must-haves’ in every woman’s wardrobe is the salwar-kameez and the sari. The essential wardrobe will have three mix-and-match salwar sets, two dressy sets, and a few saris for different occasions. I personally prefer cotton and silk. I find artificial fabric irritating to the skin and heavy zari or stone work difficult to maintain. I recommend buying saris from travelling exhibitions that sell pieces from across the country.

In addition, invest in the following must-haves:

• Two pairs of jeans that flatter you, one dark and one light. Spend well on these, as they will last

• Two pairs of leggings, great under tunics and kurtas

• A well-cut white shirt. Wash it yourself or give it to the cleaners as whites don’t remain white otherwise!

• A flattering formal dress that can be worn for a party, on a date, or an event. Get one that is not inappropriately short or tight because those are not as versatile

• Trousers, a good black pair and a pair of khakis for work

• Earrings, bracelets, bangles or neckpieces lift up an outfit, but avoid coordinated jewellery.

• One pair each of sensible heels, flat ballerinas, open-toe sandals and a ‘pop’ pair in fun colours that will make you smile when you wear them!

• One sturdy day bag, one evening clutch for both Indian and Western wear, and a tote for holidays. (Check out www.asos.com and www.gap.com for ideas as well as shopping. They deliver to India.)

• I also love cotton dresses and skirts, which I rotate with tops, a shrug, and belts to create many looks

• Indoor spaces tend to be cold, so a neutral coloured shawl or something in a pretty Indian print like paisley is always handy

• If you live in a city with a winter or if you travel often, include a good jacket and boots to your list

• Last but not least, good quality sleepwear, exercise wear and inner wear are musts.

The best part of a starter wardrobe? You can add or recycle on the go, because you have space for impulse shopping.

Shvetha Jaishankar was once a top-notch model, Has an MBA from ISB, Hyderabad; and is a traveller, entrepreneur, experimenter and connoisseur of the fine things in life. Mail her at shvethaj@gmail.com

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