Whenever I travel internationally, I love to shop for clothes that are authentic without veering into costume territory. In Paris, I bought a St. James striped T-shirt. In Morocco, I bought a djellaba, which I later shortened into a little dress.
Now that I’m in India, my shopping list is pretty straightforward: Tunics, tunics and more tunics.
One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new city? Visit the mall. I know it doesn’t sound terribly “authentic,” but malls (or a lack thereof) are eerily accurate barometers for a city — how sophisticated or wealthy it is and even how safe it is.
In Mumbai, I visited RCity, the biggest mall in Mumbai. It was massive — at least four floors of American, European and Indian brands, from Steve Madden and Marks & Spencer to Biba and Baggit. Anything you could dream of was in this mall, including a bowling alley, Santa’s village and a specialty donut shop. (I couldn’t resist the latter.)
My favorite stop was Pantaloons, an enormous department store focused on fashion. Everything was 40-50% off, and I walked away with four tunics for less than $50. Today’s black and turquoise get-up is one such tunic.
I wore the outfit to Juhu Beach, a suburb of Mumbai.
The bustling beach is on the Arabian Sea and is crowded with vendors selling grilled corn and inflatable beach balls on sticks. The hub of the action are rows and rows of street food stands piled high with local delicacies and desserts.
Because my immune system was still new to India, I was forbidden by my hosts from eating anything from the stands. (I’m hoping I’m deemed strong enough by the time I get to Bangalore!)
The all-cotton tunic’s long sleeves were perfect for strolling the breezy beach. I paired the top with Uniqlo’s Heattech leggings, which look a little sheer in the photos, but were perfectly opaque in-person. The scarf, surprisingly, did NOT come with the tunic, despite the perfect color match.
The scarf was actually given to my husband as a party favor at a birthday party a few years ago. (Thanks, Jason and Rabiya!)
One thing I love about Indian clothes? (Other than the brilliant colors and fabulous prints, of course.) The sheer comfort. All the clothes I purchased walk the fine line between tailored and billowy, which means you can wear them after a few too many dosas without a problem. (Side note: I think I need dosa rehab.)
Here are some snippets of beach life at Juhu.