Shopping Day!

By Maasi Saba

A couple of weeks before Eid, I was able to go to a trunk show by Ummaima Mustafa.  She is a Karachi based designer whose style I really liked. I had been following her for several months on FB and Instagram, and was disappointed to learn that they didn’t take orders out of Karachi.  I was so depressed. So I had gotten in touch with a relative living in the city, and badgered her to go and have a look at her clothes. Were they as nice as they looked in the pictures, because usually, looks are deceiving. You see some designers’ pictures of work and think. “Wow! I think I’m in love! I have to have that!” (You know you have had those moments many times, don’t be shy). Since she was busy moving, she wasn’t able to check out the boutique, but luckily for Instagram, I found out that they were having another trunk show at Nishat Hotel and this was my chance.

I dragged a friend to go with me. Sometimes, you are so obsessed with certain items, you can overlook the flaws, so I needed help. I wasn’t sure that the cape that I wanted was actually worth it. We get to the trunk show and many women are already there. It looked very nice. We both felt out of place with everyone dressed to impress, and here we looked like loser mothers. I immediately saw the jacket/cape that I wanted and grabbed it. There was another one I liked, but my friend said that white wouldn’t look so good on my abaya. (That’s how I wanted to wear this item. On top of my abaya as a jacket to change the look a bit.) There were some ladies who were eyeing me, so I clutched my cape tighter and walked to the side to try it on. There wasn’t any full-length mirror near us so I asked my friend to see if I would look good in it. And she said yes! That made me smile, and smile big. The material wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was cute with tassels and a chain going around. The color was nice as well. But there were two other women who were holding onto a printed cape, and I so wanted to try it on. We both were waiting around for someone to put it back, but no, not while we were there. We also were too shy to ask if there were other pieces available in that style.  They weren’t adding any new items to the racks, and most of the racks were bare when we got there. So I tried the jacket on, and my friend said to get it. And I did. I also bought a dress that I saw. It was also cute. And I loved the fact that they were giving sleeves for those who wanted to add it. Which I will once I get the material for its lining.  Everyone who has seen the dress hanging in my closest wants it, and I just laugh it off. Well, I can’t possibly give my new thing to someone before wearing it myself. 

6f91f959a1411c2d721b6f7e05853be8At home, I tried the cape on and it was irritating me. It’s some imported linen material, which gives the cape structure, but I guess it’s too hot for me to wear it yet. I’m also having a bit of a problem dealing with the hooks at the ends. You see, it’s a long cape, and the designer has added hooks to bring up the corners however I want it to look. It looked so simple when she was explaining it to me. But now that I look at it, and I have tried it on many, many, times in my bathroom, I’m confused. And to tell you the truth, no one really liked the cape. So I keep thinking, maybe I wasted my money on impulse shopping again. (I’ll admit it, it happens at times with me). Or maybe one would call it obsessive shopping, since I have been obsessed over it for a while now and just had to have it. Either way, I own it now. I will figure out what the heck to do with the bottom.  On Instagram later that day, I saw the model Mehreen Syed wearing the same one in black. And she looked perfect! Models! Hmm, I will have to study that picture or wear really high heels because two ends are dragging on the floor when I wear them.  Something needs to be changed, I’ll figure it out eventually. 

 But the dress, its adorable.  I found a pic of someone wearing it and I’ve included that because I cannot wear it yet. I need to attach sleeves with lining before that is possible. But I do have a scarf that goes so well with it. I’m excited. Let’s just hope I get it to the tailor in time before another function, or I’ll miss out on wearing it again and again. 

BTW, my friend and I were wondering on the car ride there what the different was between a trunk show and an exhibition. When I sat down to write this blog, I decided to do some research online. Here is what I found:

A trunk show is an event in which vendors present merchandise directly to store personnel or customers at a retail location or another venue such as a hotel room. In many cases it allows store personnel to preview and/or purchase merchandise before it is made available to the public. (By Wikipedia)

An exhibition, in the most general sense, is an organized presentation and display of a selection of items. In practice, exhibitions usually occur within museums, galleries and exhibition halls, and World’s Fairs. (By Wikipedia)

To me, when it comes to our clothing exhibitions, they both seem the same, no? Maybe it’s the new way of stating an exhibition because up until recently, everyone was having exhibitions, with or without taking orders. Now its all about trunk shows. 

 Do check out Ummaima Mustafa’s designs. I like them. I wish she was around when I was still in high school because some of the things she is making now, were things I wanted my mom to get made for us from here, but alas, all good things come on their own pace.  Better late than never.  


Clothing Tags- Part 1

By Maasi Saba

Its summer time, and with schools finally closed for the school year, I finally have time to shop. There are sales everywhere these days, but only the people who are always out and about, profit from them. I, on the other hand, usually end up going when all the good items have been sold. It’s just my luck. I guess I am not a shopaholic. For the past few years, I have noticed some changes from our local amazing brands, such as Khaadi, Kayseria, Outfitters, ChenOne, etc. If any of you had noticed, their tags have changed. It not only says “Dry Clean ONLY.” I usually hate those words. I only like to read them on my formal outfits, not my everyday, or “going out” outfits. Who wants to dry clean their clothes on a daily basis? And who, reading this post, has a good dry cleaner who hasn’t ruined any item of theirs. I have gotten some things back from the dry cleaners and wonder what it had originally looked like. Because it looks different, in size, shape, and color. So I avoid them like the plague. Someone recommend a good dry cleaner in Lahore please. 

Anyway, my point here is that the tags on many clothing items have become informative, and more to cater to our needs. Things like how to wash them, how they were made, and a cute/interesting tag. I like these things. I remember when I had my first child and buying baby clothing was an amazing feeling. The tags and the adorable hangers or little accessory they added was an added bonus. Maybe it’s the artsy person inside that looks for these little things. A while back, I had bought my little one a few things from Outfitters. Their tags didn’t just have the price on it, it told me that I could wash these items in the machine if I was just careful to mind dark colors to be washed separately, and to not dry in direct sunlight. As a new mother many years ago, sometimes my brain wasn’t working properly and I would just throw things in the machine because you can never have enough clean clothes for a baby/toddler. 

The reason why I bring this up, is because living abroad, many don’t hand wash their clothes, it either goes in the washing machine and then into the dryer, or it goes directly to the dry cleaners. Having given gifts to many people, I would occasionally hear about items getting ruined after first wash. Our colors are more strong and permanent, and our stitching and embellishments are stitched to perfection.  I truly believe that our products could give major top designers a run for their money! Inshallah very soon “Made in Pakistan” will be a desired item for many. 

Our Mothers Taught Us Wrong! 

Bless our mothers for putting up with us and teaching us all that they know. My mother is always in my prayers for dealing with the four of us. Dealing with our tantrums, our bakwas, our moods, and listening to our stories which usually didn’t make sense.

My mom still does that for us. The work of a mother never ends and never gets boring. I’ve learned a lot after marriage as well. How to do laundry, how to fix my clothes that I was a bit careless in wearing and taking off. She has helped me with my cooking, giving me recipes and todkas. Alhumdulillah for my mother who is also living in Pakistan now. I can call her whenever I want and don’t have to worry about the time difference anymore. But we are always having to hang up on each other because someone else needs our attention at that moment, and we usually forget to say/ask what we had actually called for. But, I’m so grateful she is just a few hours away. Love you Momma Cherry!

Now back to our mothers teaching us something wrong! It’s truly not their fault because the product is marketed in that fashion. With the wavy side up! So naturally, our mothers wore them that way, and taught us to wear them that way. I’m talking about bobby pins ladies!!!! Such a simple product that is always missing when you need them, but help us whip us some major hair styles! IMG_8046

I came across an article that my sister sent stating that bobby pins aren’t supposed to be worn with the waves on top. They won’t stay put that way. Which I already knew since they are always slipping away (and making my hair look untidy by the time I get to my destination). In that article, it also gave some tips on how to wear them properly to get the style you want. I thought it was quite helpful and informative. It was like reading about the hack on how to use a soda can top the right way so that your straw doesn’t fall out. Duh!!! So simple! Yet it never occurred to me that there was another reason for the can tops to look that way!


I also learned  a few other tips on using bobby pins.

Tip #1 was to spray them with hair spray before using them in your hair. This also causes friction and the pins won’t slip down.


Tip #2 was another simple idea, and that was to use nail polish to color them. So I did! I bought some cheap Medora nail polish in a nice magneta shade and painted a few bobby pins. They looked nice. I just hope they will help them stay in my hair. (I not only painted the outside but the inside. I thought that it would help them stay on, but since I don’t wear nail polish, I didn’t realize that it’s quite smooth and it might have the wrong affect. So, maybe only the outside needs to be painted. Any feedback is welcomed plz! IMG_0921

I tried a few styles on my daughter’s hair and this is how they came out. You might have noticed that I didn’t use the painted bobby pins.

The reason is that they didn’t dry in time. I might have put a bit more nail polish than needed in my excitement. You can paint them in different designs and colors and fashion them in amazing ways. Have fun!

The Perfect Stitched Trousers!

By Maasi Saba


I’m in search of a pair, or few pairs, of trousers. Stitched nicely, material not see through, and comfortable to run around in after my toddler.  Being a mother of four, whose weight fluctuates often, I don’t have extra time to hop from shop to shop and find material at a reasonable price, shrink it, and then get it to my tailor for it to be given back about a week later. I’d like to just pick something up and wear it at my convenience. I remember buying pants in America, and most of them fitting nicely, as if they were made for my body type. Now, I feel they are loose in areas I don’t need them to be, and fitted in other areas where it looks unattractive. Just makes me feel even more lopsided than I hope I actually am.

I wish shops here would also make trousers in different lengths; regular, long, extra long, short. Wouldn’t it help their sales if these sizes were available? Don’t they know we all don’t look the same?! I’ve recently heard that the Pathan vendors at liberty are selling trousers in a cotton material for a cheap price. Stylish as well, with either buttons on the side, or some embroidery work. I must go there this weekend and do some shopping. Rupees 400 are nothing for a stitched piece of clothing to be worn for a season. My tailor doesn’t even take that little amount for anything. And these men are selling stitched trousers for that price!

I always get my trousers stitched. I like them to be long and not have my ankles show at all. I wear my pants below my bellybutton so I hate high waist pants. And I especially don’t like it when I’m in sujood, as I feel as if my butt is exposed because the pants are riding even lower now. Who models for these stitched trousers for the branded shops?  Do they not have butts or hips that need a bit of room?


Recently, I bought a few pairs of pants from Khaadi. I bought the cuffed ones, thinking if they weren’t long enough, I’d unstitch the cuff part. Well, I had to not only unstitch the cuff, I had to unstitch it all and then turn it in once to get the length desired. It was annoying, but at least the material isn’t see through. But I also came across another problem with the stitching— the sujood problem. They didn’t feel different when I tried them on, but when I bent down for Salah, I was very uncomfortable and it was distracting. Thank goodness my shirts are long and cover my butt or God help the person who would have walked behind me. My daughter, who is skinny and tall, also complained of the pants being quite uncomfortable while praying. So it makes me wonder who cut the pattern for these trousers? I was very disappointed in Khaadi’s fitting as I am an avid buyer of their stitched and unstitched clothing, even their home items as well. But their pants were a disappointment. Please someone alter their patterns to fit the Pakistani woman.

I’m still in search of some decent pants. Where o where are you? I need lots of you!