Clo.Outfit: Shiny Black Patialas

I have all these patiala salwars from my traditional Indian dresses that I rarely wear. Just wearing these once or twice a year does not do them any justice. So I slowly started incorporating my Indian dresses into daily wear and I got a huge dose of inspiration from Ranbir Kapoor's outfits in the movie Rockstar. Wonder why I didn't try this out before.. ahh well, it's never too late. I also like how these pants + boots combo make them look similar to Tintin's pants.

What I'm wearing:
Pants: Patiala shalwar worn as pants
White top: H&M
Sleeveless top: Bought in India (worn as a vest)
Belt: Vegan
Shoes: Steve Madden; Vegan
Chain: Handmade 'awkward robot' pendant (I named him K) from Etsy
Jacket: Kenneth Cole; Vegan

Clo.Chat: Towards a Sustainable Wardrobe: Step 2: Know What You Need and What You Don't!

This post is a part of the series: Towards a Sustainable Wardrobe

**Long Post Alert**

A while back, I counted all my clothes and shoes. The second logical stage of the Towards a Sustainable Wardrobe is Know What You Need or What You Don't!

In other words purge mercilessly!

In my case, I had purged 2 months before I counted my clothes (you see, the idea to count clothes did not yet take shape in my mind). So I took up Step 2 and then Step 1. Which is why I came up with 280 clothing items. I'm sure that the pre-purge count would easily be over 380.

Purging is not the easiest of tasks. But if you care to know, here is what I learned over a few years of closely observing my behavioral patterns:
  1. I usually purge when I'm slightly pissed off or angry (at the world, at large). This mindset, I have found to ignite an unforgiving streak; which, in my opinion, is the key to a good purge. 
  2. I believe in this rule: If I have not wore it in the past 1 year, I'm not going to wear it in the next 1 year. I don't apply this rule to clothes that could be reused either in a different form or as fabric. I also don't apply this rule to versatile pieces like scarves, sarees, well tailored jackets, vests, shirts, fabric with a paisley designs*. There are a few more exceptions, but you get my point.
  3. That's it :) 
* I'm a total sucker for paisley designs.

What do I with all those clothes after a purge? Here are a few things I have done before:

PASS IT DOWN: A very prevalent concept in India (and I'm sure in other countries, as well) where you get to wear your older sister's clothes and accessories. Pass it on, Pass it down, Pass it over :)

DONATE: Every city/town has its own clothing donation centers. The usual suspects in the US are the Salvation Army, Goodwill International Centers, Housing Works etc. The city of New York tied up with Housing Works on a textile recycling program called re-Fashion NYC . Under this program, you can sign up your building to keep a textile donation box on the premises. The idea is to make donating clothes as easy as dropping of recyclables. Most of these programs accept shoes also. But if you are looking for specific shoe donation centers, look up Soles4Souls, Nike.

RECYCLE: Wearable Collections has textile collection trucks/boxes around NYC. One convenient location: The Green Market at Union Square.

The Wearable Collections Philosophy.  Source: Wearable Collections.

RESELL: If you own well maintained branded/ vintage garments, you can sell them on ebay, craigslist, Big Wardrobe (swap/resell) or to local establishments. For example, in New York I found a shop called Second Time Around. They look for designer clothes and accessories in great condition and resell these pieces. You get a pre-decided percentage of the resale price when the piece you gave away sells. It is a cool shop, check it out. I found a Betsey Johnson hounds-tooth skirt in superb condition for $30 there. Woot!

Source: Big Wardrobe

REMAKE: If you got the skill of the needle and/or the creativity or know people who do, you can take an old garment and make something else out of it!

There I go again, I owe you more cookies now that I've made you read this super long post! Hit me up anytime to claim those cookies ;)

Ho.Guests: De-Plastification

by Minu Agarwal

Hi P, thank you for inviting me to foocloho. Loving it! I'm here to share my thoughts about something I dread: PLASTIC. A friend once told me about a product-designer friend of his, who was designing packaging for a disposable shaver. The packaging looked cool, but apparently the packaging had more plastic in it than the shaver! That just stuck in my head and since then have been trying to rid my life of all unnecessary plastic.

First one to go was liquid body wash (contained in a plastic bottle) replaced by the trusty old soap bar. Who wants to smell like a pomegranate anyway after a shower? So in the last two years, we (my husband and I) 'prevented' or at least reduced the demand for 24 plastic bottles. I now buy soap at all kinds of discount stores like Marshalls etc. which have awesome deals on high quality triple milled soaps. They last longer, don't dry out the skin and leave less scum. Also got me a nice soap dish to make sure they dry out after use. I do keep a small bottle of liquid soap for guests, in case they don't want to use the 'communal' soap.

Also, when I buy soap bars, I look out for packaging that can be used in some way instead of just tossing it out. I found soap bars packaged in pretty boxes (as seen below) at Marshalls. I reuse them as a jewelry boxes or just to store small knick knacks. But no matter where you buy or what packaging the soap bars come in, I think we can safely assume that the soap bar packaging is usually less wasteful than liquid soap.

I reused this box to store jewelry
All images taken by Minu Agarwal

About Minu:
Minu works in the field of Sustainable Design. She shares what she enjoys most with her family and friends on her provocatively titled blog: "What's wrong with the right things?". She recently discovered her passion for being an entrepreneur with a venture started in early 2011 called Minu lives with her husband in Atlanta working towards her way to a dream retirement in the Himalayas. When I asked her about what she likes to do in her free time, she said: 'apart from annoying my husband, I like to cook, snoop around the city on my bike and paint'.


Thank you for your contribution Minu, I'm sure foocloho-ians will enjoy this read!

Clo.Outfit: Galyat Sankli Sonyachi....

Does the song ring a bell? It is a Goan -inspired song from the movie Dil hai ki manta nahin. Today's outfit is inspired by Deepak Tijori's outfit in this song. Check out the video of the song at the bottom of this post. Deepak sports a striped short sleeve shirt and sleeveless vest over a "lungi". This was pretty much the look I was going for; I went with 3/4th sleeve shirt, added a slim belt and boots to the combo. The "lungi" is a scarf I wrapped around my waist. It was easy enough to walk in all day and I absolutely love the uneven hem of the 'skirt'. The socks are slouched knee highs.. with the weather being so unpredictable in NYC, if it gets too cold for bare legs, I can just pull up the knee highs and be warm :)

 What I'm Wearing:
Striped shirt: H&M; 100% organic cotton
Vest: Bought in India, 6 yrs back
Belt: Vegan
Skirt: Scarf wrapped around as a skirt (c/o of mum's travels)
Socks: Knee highs worn as socks ; 65% recycled cotton
Shoes: Vegan ; bought from
Bangles: Lac bangles from Hyderabad
Enjoy the song and the video!

Ho.Find: Food Paint + Green Depot

Yesterday, I told you that we moved into a new apartment, which, btw we lovingly named: "L'Aponeota" - stands for the Apartment of the Nerd and the Otaku. I am bent on making the interiors of this apartment very "green". In search of green products and finishes, I found a very interesting finish: Food-based paint. Anna Sova sells a paint that has 90% ingredients derived from the same ingredients that go into milk, chocolate, fiber bars and donuts! This paint is healthy and has zero VOCs! I personally get a very bad migraine with new paint smell and there have been times when a strong smell triggered an asthma attack. So I'm all for no VOC stuff!

Anywhoo, while looking for a place to buy these Anna Sova paints, I stumbled upon 'Green Depot', which is like Home Depot but only retails 'green' products. Isn't the concept amazing! Now I can find all green products at one place! Yay! Allow me to give you a quick tour of this shop:

View from the street
The Building: According to the Green Depot blog, the building at 222 Bowery St was built by YMCA in 1885 to be its Young Men's institute. From there on, the building housed a myriad of functions before becoming the LEED Platinum certified Green Depot Flagship store. (Apparently, this is the first LEED Pt. retail building in NYC and the second in the country)

The Architect: Studio Mapos LLC

What are VOCs? It is that new paint smell... See the informative sign below

Anna Sova food paint!!!

They have three more brands of paint that have no/low- VOCs and between the four brands you can pretty much find which ever color you are looking for.

An array of paint colors
They have another concept that blew me away! They carry their own cleaning supplies product line and once you empty your bottle, you need not buy a refill pack...

Green Depot brand of cleaners

You can just go to their refill bar and refill your bottle! How cool is that? This is like one of those ideas where you go 'why didn't anyone think of that before'? Well, maybe they did, but this is the first time I'm seeing it in action. The initial purchase of the bottle costs about $6 and the refill cost is 12 cents per fluid ounce, so you can fill just how much you feel is necessary or about $4 for 32 oz. So no more plastic wasted with the purchase of the refill pack!

The refill bar
They also carry green building products such as OSB, tiles, counter tops, lifestyle products etc.. check their website for a full product listing.

Green Depot is located just opposite this iconic building: The New Museum. I love that rose!
Don't fret if you are not in NYC, they have other branches on the East coast. Click here to launch the store locator.

Clo.Outfit: And We're Back!

November has been a month of events! Big, happy, sad and crazy events! We moved into a new apartment, we celebrated our 2nd anniversary, said farewell to a good friend, partied out like there was no tomorrow and now excitedly step into the last month of the year.

Here is an outfit I wore on our 2nd anniversary... Last year, for our first anniversary, I wore a dress and this year I wanted to try on something different. I wanted to incorporated reds/pinks into the outfit and dug up this old silk shirt. I always keep a bunch of satin ribbons on hand. These are like instant belts, bracelets, hair ties etc. The boots I'm wearing are one of my Fall favorites. I love the color, the contrast tan piping and the shearling lining. We went to this really awesome vegan/vegetarian place called Dirt Candy and LOVED it! I will be doing a post on it for "foo" soon, so stay tuned!

About the back drop: It was raining cats and dogs outside so we decided to take the photos inside the lobby of our new apartment. More on the apartment and my DIYs coming soon too!!!

What I'm wearing:
Blouse: Allen Solly; Silk; Bought in Hyderabad 7 years back
Belt: Red satin ribbon tied as a belt
High Waisted Shorts: H&M
Tights: Uniqlo
Boots:; Vegan
Lipstick: Bite Beauty; Natural. I blogged about this lipstick before here

The shoes got a little wet from walking in the rain Towards a Sustainable Wardrobe: Step 1: Know what you got!

Source: Edited image

Welcome to the Towards a Sustainable Wardrobe Series. This series of posts looks at the different ways to going about greening your wardrobe - be it buying versatile pieces, scouring for second-life and vintage, shopping for eco-friendly outfits or just not buying at all.. whatever it takes to green your closet!

Here is Step 1 of the process:

Step 1: Know what you got!

I live in a 400 sft apartment with K.

My clothes live in a 9 sft closet. (about 65 cu.ft, thanks for checking!)

Along with most* of the clothing I own, I also store 3 queen sized quilts and all the bedding in here. There are two large suitcases standing upright at the back of the closet. These are my seasonal clothing storage solution. There is so much going on in the closet that it is always a mess and it is hard to find anything without a fight. There is usually a stack of clothes on the floor at the foot of the closet. I pick these up and dump them inside whenever we have guests over. This is starting to sound like a rant on lack of storage.. I promise that that is not the point I'm trying to make.. because I'm not complaining, just merely stating the facts.

*Doesn't include outer wear.

Anyhooo, all the stacking-rummaging-picking-dumping-stacking... and so on means that it takes a while to find what I want, not to mention the poor way I'm treating these clothes. There are times when I complain that I don't have any clothes to wear. K comments that I have one too many clothes; so many clothes that the closet is always overflowing and that I should find something in that pile to wear. My defense to this comment was always: "It is not that I have too many clothes, It is just that the closet is too small!!". Well, so yesterday to find the truth about who between us was right, I did what I seem to being doing quite a bit these days: Count. I counted all my clothes and created an inventory.

Any guesses as to how many clothes I own?

280!!! I own 280 pieces of clothing!

eeek, isn't that a lot?! I'm sure there are people who own more than I do.. but this number just seems too big to me!.. for those interested, the breakdown is:

This exercise helped me with two things:
One: I now know how much I actually own. The 'depth' of my portfolio
Two: I'm now aware of the "type" of clothing I tend to shop for. The 'width' of my portfolio

Based on this depth and width data, I can take strategic steps towards greening my wardrobe.

How? I'll cover that in another post! In my opinion, knowing what you got is the first step towards a sustainable wardrobe.

Chew on this: According to, the more number of dresses, leather shoes and running shoes you have, the greater the number of slaves working for you! Take the quiz and find out how many work for you.. I have 39 slaves working for me! yikes!

Note to my dearest readers:
I know I've been a bad blogger. I intend to update the blog everyday, but off-late I have cut down on on computer usage to give my aching right hand a rest. It still hurts, but not as much as before and I'm typing with my left hand now :)

P.S: I have super exciting news to share with you tomorrow so stay tuned!!!

Clo.Outfit: Color, Prints and a New Accessory

You must have noticed that I have been missing in action this past week. That is because I have acquired a new accessory - Yes, the one you see in the pic below. It is a cool ninja accessory with secret blades hidden it with which I can rid the world of its scum.......or... something like that.... ummm (right, keep dreaming, P). Anyhooo, as you guessed, It is a wrist brace. So after bearing with the pain in my wrist and right hand for a week and a half, I went to the doc. He confirmed what I feared I already knew I had. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Ughhh. I have to wear a wrist brace now every time I'm working on the system and the doc asked me to stop using the mouse and get a track pad.

Later, sulkily I told K that I do have CTS and felt like my body was giving away, one part at a time... K, (with that smirk on his face) says... ummm well, you are getting old. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhh! You can imagine what happened next...

Coming back to the outfit, I had to run a couple of errands around the house and I had decided I wanted to wear my argyle print tights, so I planned the entire outfit around them; I'm amazed by the n number of things you can do with scarves! I'm wearing two scarves today. One around my neck, can you guess where the second one is?? right, the skirt! the zebra print skirt is actually a scarf wrapped and tied around my waist :) 

What I'm wearing:
Scarf: c/o mum's travels
Jacket: North Face Polar Fleece jacket (Poly-based fleece)
Shirt: Gap 
Skirt: Scarf worn as a wrap skirt; c/o mum's travels
Tights: Uniqlo
Bag: Vegan from Lulu
Shoes: Vegan from Modcloth

Clo.Chat: Towards a Sustainable and Natural Cosmetics Kit

Get a cup of coffee or tea or whatever it is that you prefer. Settle down and read on.... this one's a long post.

Today evening I lined up all the cosmetics/personal care products I own. Then I counted them all. The count? More than 60 products! Can you believe it? I sure as hell can't. I never thought I owned these many especially since I use about 10 of these regularly and maybe 10 more occasionally. That's about 20 products, which means I own about 40 more products I don't really use.

How did I end up with so many?
  • Bought a bunch of products to try for hair/face to find "the one" (rendering the ones that are not, useless)
  • Freebies/Samples (Who doesn't love free stuff?)
  • Impulse purchases (Oooh, look that shade matches the dress I'm wearing tonight; ka-ching)
  • Very old stuff still lurking around eating up space (For supposed future use; useless hope!)
I'm curious though, is it me or do you also find yourself surrounded by so much stuff you don't use!?

These are all the reasons I could come up with to make my cosmetics/personal care products kit more sustainable:
  1. In this post, I found that my leading brand hair care product has high hazard toxins it. Applying that same calculation to the my entire collection means x50 the chemicals I'm inputting into my system!  
  2. Cosmetics and personal care products have a shelf life and it is really not a good idea to use them beyond that period. Read more here.
  3. I live in a 400sft apartment with my husband. I really don't have the luxury of space to keep the stuff I don't use.
  4. I'm moving towards using only natural and vegan products; So cleaning up and getting rid of all the synthetic and chemical products means I can add natural products to my portfolio as needed.
Now all of this is nice and dandy. Here is my question: How to apply the three R's (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) to the cosmetics/personal care products? I've jotted down what I came up with below. I'd appreciate your ideas/suggestions/advice.

Step 1: Put a breaker on the buying for a while. Fix the current mess, then you can do some need-based shopping
Step 2: Reuse, reuse, reuse. I read somewhere that someone mixed blush to white paint to give it that faint pink color - some innovation huh!
  • Use old shampoos and conditioners to clean up combs and brushes. Apparently, conditioner makes for a great shaving cream! More tips here
  • Look at the number of nail polishes I own! I'm seriously planning to setup a Nail polish swap:  A group of friends get together, buy natural, chemical free polishes in different colors and exchange them! You get to try different colors and  it will cost less. Interested friends in NYC, ping me!
  • Still trying to come up with good reuse for hair styling products (curl products) - Any ideas??
Step 3: Recycle the empty bottles. Many times you can recycle cosmetic packaging curbside but a lot of this packaging is made up of plastic#5 which is often left out of curbside recycling initiatives. Fret not, many companies have come up with cosmetic packing recycling initiatives such as Origins (accepts all types of packing irrespective of brand), Back to M.A.C (accepts only MAC products) etc.
Step 4: Buy Less!!!
Step 5: Buy natural and organic products. Safe for the body and the earth (couldn't resist the cliche)

In summary,

So I'm going to clean up my kit and will keep you posted on the updates.

...and now friend, if you have read through this entire post, I owe you a brownie to go with that coffee or tea or whatever that is that you are drinking.

Clo.Outfit: ComicCon'd

K surprised me with tickets to ComicCon (featuring the NY Anime Festival) and I was super duper ecstatic that we were going! I thought of cosplaying like my fave anime characters, but since we were short on time instead decided to be inspired by Japanese fashion drawing from anime and Harajuku. The pledge of not shopping meant digging up the closet and coming up with a outfit that was J-inspired yet still "me". 

For the dress, I stuck to the basics - white shirt and black denim skirt. I accessorized with an obi belt, a hand-knit beanie, striped socks and striped leg warmer (worn as an arm band). Since we'd be walking a lot, I went with vegan Oxford flats from Melissa. 

What I'm Wearing:
Shirt: Express
Skirt: Denim (Too old to remember)
Belt: Vegan; Obi style; ASOS
Thigh Highs: Polka dot;
Socks: Cotton; Gap
Shoes: Vegan Oxfords - Alexandre Herchcovitch for Melissa
Bag: Woven; Crossover; c/o mum's travels in India
Beanie: Woven - handmade by Nepalese tribals, c/o mum's travels
Fake eyelashes: Make Up For Ever

Completely off the topic for this blog, but while we are on the topic of comics and anime...

If you are new to the world of anime and would like to get introduced, I'd suggest starting off with movies/series from a couple of great directors: Satoshi Kon and Hayao Miyazaki. Google them and you'll find lists of their works. I have watched all of them and totally recommend them. Along with these, here are some of my favorite shows, in no particular order:

Samurai Champloo
Cowboy Bebop
Ouran High School Host Club
Rurouni Kenshin
Tekkonkinkreet (movie)
Paprika (movie)
12 Kingdoms
Last Exile
Darker Than Black
Fullmetal Alchemist
Soul Eater
Sword of the Stranger (movie)

Where to watch: Hulu has a lot of these shows, mostly English dubbed and some subbed (I ONLY watch subbed versions, well, I'm a purist and hey that's how I improve my Japanese :D ). Netflix also has some titles and you can always borrow DVDs and Mangas from NYPL.

See how I styled the same skirt and polka dot tights differently here.

Clo.Outfit: Girl About Town

So far, October has been a month of weekly park visits. Last week was Bryant and Central Park, and today we went to the High Line park. We are trying to get as much sun as possible before it starts getting too cold. There was a chill in the air so I decided to bring out my warm, comfy and eco-friendly bamboo tights. These tights are made up of 80% natural fiber -56% bamboo yarn and 24% cotton, and the remaining is polyester and spandex. I tried something new today; wearing a fedora backwards. It gives a very different yet stylish look. That's two styles in one! :)

I'm liking the idea of matching my tights to shoes whenever possible; makes one look tall, I think. What do you think? Would you match them?

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: H&M
Tights: Eco-friendly; 80% natural fibers;
Shoes: Vegan Oxfords;
Belt: Vegan; Target
Fedora: Natural fiber - cotton; flea market; worn backwards
Earrings: Flower petals enclosed in plastic; gift
Rings: H&M, Flea market
Bag: Vegan; Waterproof; Bought it 8 years back in India. One of my favorites.


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