Saturday, 22 December 2018

Do You Care When Someone Copies Your Style?

Ever since I was a little girl, I've had issues when it comes to someone copying my style. I remember being so insecure that I used to lie to my girlfriends about what I was planning on wearing to a party or a get-together. I used to think of girls as mere competition. As someones who will take away my “it girl” outfit and will make me somehow seem regular. Up until now, I used to only take suggestions from my sister or my guy friends because they came across as people who were part of my escapades. Recently, two of my guy best friends asked me, “why do you have to be so cynical when it comes to girlfriends and clothes?” and that's when it hit me- I care when somebody copies my style.
I am a person who puts a lot of thought on clothes and every little thing to do with styling an outfit. My style is everything to me. It basically defines who I am. If somebody simply buys the same thing as mine or ends up styling something the way I did, it makes me crazy insane. This is so bad that even the thought of someone asking me what I plan on donning, makes me weak in the knees. When I took these concerns to my guy friends (in order to justify myself), they suggested that I should look at the matter in this way- the girls who do end up copying my style like it so much that they end up wearing it like it should be worn. Now, as well grounded as it sounds, it is not. Firstly, because of somebody else's liking, I don't have an original outfit left. Secondly, my hours and hours of creative thinking went in the bin. Either I'll have to find a new style or simply come up with something from scratch.

In my recent trip with my college friends, I decided to try and lose my guard. I tried to take suggestions from my girlfriends and even ended up wearing the same scarf as one of them. This little exercise helped me relax a bit and not put so much thought into creating a groundbreaking look. Something else that I realized from this was (probably the universal fact which everybody had accepted except me) that your guy friends will give a second thought to your outfit but won't feel the emotion you expect them to when it comes to clothes. They will adjust with a second-best or a third-best look but will never root for you to lead the game (again, because they don't care that much). In this sense, you can always look up to those girlfriends who don't intend on focussing on clothes or has an extremely different personal style than yours. You will get a girl's suggestion and would no longer have to worry about being spotted in something which isn't "it".
Deep down, I'm still not completely comfortable in sharing my sartorial choices with other girls but I really am trying.


Thursday, 8 November 2018

How to Make the Most of Your Impulse Purchases

I am a master of impulse purchases. If there was a competition between people who do the most impulse purchasing, I would win. As corny as it sounds, it is true.
So many people tell me, "to avoid impulse purchases, you need to ask yourself, 'do I really need this?' and you somehow wouldn't want it then!" I do not believe in this. When I am shopping, all I can manage to ask myself is, "will this haunt me if I don't buy it?" and that is how I almost always end up buying the things. (If you can relate even 1% to this, then you're a part of the Impulse Buyers' Club!)
I tried everything to avoid this habit of mine like taking my best friend along for shopping, deleting all fashion apps from my phone and even avoid going to the mall but somehow I always found my way back to the not-so-practical buys. Since nothing could be done about my purchasing habits, I decided to try different occasions/places where my buys could 'fit in'. Over time, I have come up with a few tricks and hacks which helped me make the most of my not-so-well spent money.
Maybe you too will be able to pick one or solutions from my list!

Fashion Weeks
If you have ever attended a fashion week based out of Delhi, you'd know that people are very open to experimentation there. This one time I got away by wearing these really funny sunglasses (which all of my friends hated). In fact, some of the photographers even considered it to be 'street style worthy' and ended up featuring me. Over the past seven years, I have spotted girls wearing skirts made out of potato sacks, tube tops made out of the yellow caution tapes and bags which have a face of their own. Basically, fashion week is the best place where one can pull off the silliest thing purchased impulsively. No judgment there.

Instagram OOTD
Instagram is a wonderful portal for experimentation. You can always dress up for that one eccentric OOTD picture for your Instagram. You're trying something new and your impulse purchase is out there for everybody to see. I make use of my impulse buys by pairing them up with something decent and then putting up a funny caption to go with my picture. In this way, I get to feature brands on my page and get content. You just have to somehow make it work.

Another place where you can get away from going all out when it comes to making the most of your impulse purchases is at events. By events, I mean art exhibitions (India Art Fair), fashion exhibitions, launch parties, pop-ups, diwali fairs etc. You can make a statement and utilize that fashion item which you can't wear to any other place.

Style it Completely Different
I use tons of my things in a different manner. For example, if I bought a scarf, I'll use it like a wrap around top, an accessory to put on my bag, a headband or as a belt. This helps me make the most of my impulse purchases which may not work the way I expected it to but is at least getting used. You'll be stunned to know that every single fashion item can be used in three different ways. Spend time with your impulse buys and you will be able to find that different way.

Gift it to Somebody 
Not all of my impulse purchases work out for me because some are just not practical buys. I always tell myself that I can make this work but sometimes, I just cannot do anything from it. When it comes to that stage, I think of somebody in my social circle who can make use of my impulse buy (after all, not all of us like the same things). It's a great way to not feel guilty and make somebody else happy with that purchase. Something that is not practical to you can be the most practical item for someone else.

I have a soft corner for every impulse purchase that I have ever made. It is because every single one of them has a back story. You'll find that one scarf was bought because I had a bad mood, or a pair of earrings were bought because I had money in my bank, or if I had worked hard and I wanted to pamper myself. Basically, these items are special that's why I make sure to make use of them. Try doing something similar and who knows, maybe these items are your most cherished items too!


Sunday, 30 September 2018

Things That NIFT Didn't Teach Me About Styling

When my NIFT course ended back in April, I felt that I've somehow become invincible and that there are tons of styling projects coming my way. Just after getting my degree, I got an internship at Cosmopolitan Magazine in the fashion department. When I assisted for my first editorial shoot was when I realized that I had wasted 7 months of my life studying something that didn't really need any bookish knowledge. Now, I sure did make up my mind with regard to the career path I wanted to opt for but I didn't know that it would cost me a good sum of money and plethora sleepless nights.
For starters, my curriculum did not involve any practical experience. To top it up, the faculty never shared their personal experiences and the shortcomings they faced, with the students. I was one of those students who were at a disadvantage because I did not come from a fashion background. Those who came from that background knew many terms and tricks that I didn't even know existed.

One stylist in particular at Cosmopolitan magazine helped me gain a lot of practical experience of how things work around. She taught me plenty of tricks like how to keep the sole of the shoes neat and intact, how you should always, always have extra safety pins and what all needs to be put in your styling kit. Yes, you HAVE to have a styling kit which includes all the necessary items that one can need during a shoot.
When I assisted celebrity stylists for shoots, they taught me how to work with celebrities. It may look quite glamorous and exciting but in reality, you have to take care of the small-small wants of celebrities along with doing your actual styling job.
The most important part about styling which NIFT never bothered to even mention was that it is a super risky career line. It is risky because when a stylist is sourcing for a shoot, they are borrowing clothes or jewelry from a brand. If even one piece goes missing from the borrowed lot, the stylist has to pay the money from his/her pocket. If we are sourcing from a local or high-street brand then the items are still affordable but when we are sourcing from luxury brands, the prices are a bomb.
A stylist has to know major things like draping a saree, tying complicated shoes, using pins without hurting the model, et cetera. You obviously cannot know so much from attending a three-hour lecture, thrice a week. But you do expect to get the gist of how this career path works. However, we were unfortunate enough to never gain that kind of knowledge. Many of my classmates from NIFT weren’t able to land any styling jobs because we never had any job fairs lined up (which should have ideally been the case).

I've attended plenty of seminars where leading fashion stylists are openly saying that a budding stylist doesn't need a degree or bookish knowledge to opt for this profession. You simply have to go with your gut feeling. If you ask me, I would say that there is no harm in attaining the basic know-how but what will keep you floating in this line is indeed your gut feeling.


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Is Instagram Affecting Our Personal Style?

On a normal day, I open Instagram at least 20-30 times. The number of hours I put into browsing on this app is countless. Some of my friends even say that I am obsessed with this app and that I'm hooked to it 24/7. But then who isn't obsessed with this app? If we are not browsing on this app, we're clicking pictures which are eligible for it. While this is a point which almost everybody can relate with, there is also the question of Instagram affecting our personal style (why this post came into existence).
I have noticed that over the past three months, my personal style has changed drastically (probably because I felt the urge to daily post OOTD pictures). I started purchasing clothes that were statement pieces but couldn’t be worn twice or thrice. Now, I did manage to ace my #OOTD game but I wasn’t left with any clothes that could be worn to college or to casual get-togethers with friends. I now know that those statement pieces were never really my personal style but they were my picks for ’insta-worthy’ pictures. But at times, it can be so maddening to plan every single outfit so meticulously and then doing it all over again with a different set of clothes. There is so much of anxiety I face at times when it comes to generating the content for this app because of the level of posts that is setup by people nowadays. The other characteristic which is a causing a major change in my closet is the explore section of Instagram. I come across so many cool streetstyle and outfit of the day posts that I too then want my handle to inspire one too many girls. It’s like the more options we gather, the more our outfitting routines take place. Obviously, you can’t just keep going with this. There will come a day when you’ll get fed up. I think I recently hit that point when one of my friends said that I’m always over the top when it comes to clothes. It wasn’t such a big deal but it sure did get me thinking that maybe my purchasing decisions weren’t exactly right.
To come out of this mess I got myself into, I decided to do a little experiment. I tried to go on an ‘Instagram detox’ which involved not posting for a while and exploring my personal style. In just about a week, my little experiment taught me that a mix of basic and statement clothes is the way to go. I also realized that having basic clothes help you save a lot of time for other things. Dressing up was never so effortless before, you guys!


Tuesday, 26 June 2018

What It’s Like to Work at a Fashion Magazine

Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to work at a fashion magazine- and not just at any fashion magazine; Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan was my dream magazine. I remember flipping through the glossy pages of the magazine and wondering what it must be like to create those beautiful looks and stories. When you grow up loving and wanting something so dearly, it has an uncanny everlasting impression on your memory. Last year, I had got the opportunity to intern with Cosmo but I couldn't join as I was juggling between two colleges. This year I applied again with a stronger CV and a decent portfolio and after weeks of following up and pestering the team, I was called for an interview. Now, I'd like to share a fact with you. I am really calm and confident during an interview. I've never had issues in communicating or putting my thoughts out there. But, when you're sitting in your dream office, your calm and cool vanishes in thin air. Although I was very nervous during the interview, I nailed it. Even before getting the mail which confirmed my internship, I knew I was in. Since NIFT had just ended, I was quite thrilled that something huge was about to happen again. As soon as I got the acceptance letter, I went to the mall and splurged on clothes and stationery (both super important at a fashion magazine) for my big first day.
I hadn't told a lot of people that I had got 'it' because I couldn't believe it myself. Only when I entered the office and got introduced to the team, did I digest the fact that I will be working in my dream magazine. 

Editorial Department
When I joined, I was asked to work in the editorial department. In this department, one has to work on anything and everything which is written in the magazine. I had no idea how difficult it can get until I started working on stories. I edited, proofread stories, wrote advertorials, transcribed stories and what not. This department is SO extensive that the work only ends if you regularly pull all-nighters. 
I won't say it was all work-work in the editorial department. I had a ball while organizing the Cosmo Beauty Weekend with the assistant editor-in-chief. Cosmo organizes a lot of events and the team (including the interns) only has to work on everything. From making the guest list to compiling a decent goodie bag, we did everything from the scratch. Although on some days I loathed the task of making lists, it was a good thing that I was made to do all that. We executed the planning quite well and the event turned out to be a big success. Apart from organizing events, when I worked in the editorial department, I had to sit with the art team and make changes in the layouts, images, fonts etc.
The three weeks that I worked in the editorial department were very nice. I had the most badass mentor (assistant editor-in-chief) because of whom I was able to grasp a lot of things. I also got to transcribe the cover interview of Kangana Ranaut for the June Issue, in this department. It is in itself a big deal because firstly it is the cover interview. Secondly, the transcription goes directly to the editor-in-chief.
For a brief period, I even reported to Nandini Bhalla (editor-in-chief) for a few days. I did flatlay shoots for her with interesting themes and backgrounds. I have done product shoots for my blog before but she was the one who taught me the tricks and hacks which make a flatlay shoot gripping to the eyes.

Fashion Department
After that, I asked the team to put me in the fashion department because that was the department I originally got selected for. In this department, my first task was to assist one of the stylists for the cover shoot of Jaqueline Fernandez. Cover shoot is the biggest deal in an issue at all the magazine houses, let alone a fashion one. For the shoot, we started the work by making selections from various high street brands and designers. After the selections were done, we went forward with the sourcing. The most exciting part (or I thought so) comes after sourcing. Those of you who are ardent followers of my Instagram must have seen the 'creating looks' part on my stories. The first time I created looks with my head stylist, the experience was both stupendous and horrifying. It was amazing because we had SO many clothes, shoes and accessories in one conference room.

On the other hand, it was horrifying because we had to stay till late to create looks, sort the sourced stuff and then put it all back in the closet. One time I had to stay till 1 AM and reach the shoot location at 6 AM. The other time I had to stay till 2 AM. Now I won't say it was all bad. Staying till so late has its own perks. Like you can cross off, being alone in an office from your bucket list. I also got to bond and do all sorts of crazy things with the other interns. The most important thing that you learn is that no work is small. You have to do every sort of work and you cannot budge even for a single minute. Apart from creating looks, I also had to courier, pack suitcases and dispatch parcels. There were days when I spent hours and hours packing couriers inside the closet (now I'm such a pro in packing that no matter how much stuff I put in my suitcase, it will close).

My most favorite shoot was the Big Fashion editorial shoot that we did in a tennis court. The shoot took place on a Saturday. It started at 6 AM and ended at 6 PM. The concept was pretty cool and we had invested a lot of energy and effort in creating 8 beautiful looks. It's my favorite shoot out of all because of the way it was executed. It was all so exciting and so surreal- to watch the make-up and hair artists work their magic on the model. Even the photographer did a hands-down job that day. It was just perfect.

Cosmo's June '18 issue will always be a special one for me because I worked on plethora fashion stories and shoots for that month. Not just in editorial and fashion, I even worked with the art team for that issue. If you go through that issue, you'll be able to spot my name on a lot of pages.

In total, I assisted for two cover shoots, two editorial shoots and 5 small shoots in two and a half months. Apart from that, I also assisted in many fashion and trend stories.
I still remember the first time I saw my name in the cover shoot and interview. That's something so special that you can only feel and not be able to describe. When I had completed my course at NIFT, I wasn't sure if fashion styling was the road I wanted to take. But, Cosmo gave me a direction and the boost that I needed. This company taught me how to get the work done, take charge, get after what you want and tons of other things which will help me all my life. Every second in that office was overwhelming for me because I had to learn SO much in so little time span. On my last day, I remembered the line that my boss had told me when my interview was going on. She'd said, "it may all seem very glamorous to you but in reality, it's much harder than it seems." I remembered this line because every bit of it was true. Some of you asked me if it was similar to the movie, 'Devil Wears Prada'. If I am completely honest, it was far more brutal than what happens to Andy in the movie.

All in all, working at Cosmo was a dream I made true. Let's just say that it was a surreal pinch-me phase.


Saturday, 12 May 2018

What Happened When My Shopping Became an Addiction.

Even before I started blogging, I was a shopping addict. I remember trotting into various stores talking to myself into buying something which I probably would never use twice. Then there was also the era of online shopping where I had to put no efforts except opening a fashion website and adding items to the cart.
Every second day, I had an urge to shop. On days when I couldn't shop, those clothes which were in my cart haunted me in my sleep. The thing is that once I started blogging about fashion, all I wanted to do was explore new trends and try them on myself. I wanted to experiment and make those looks real that I created in my mind. I created a bubble in my mind that it will be pretty simple- I'll buy one piece of clothing every week and everything will work out. 
But in that bubble, I forgot to add one major thing- YOU CAN NEVER REALLY HAVE ENOUGH CLOTHES.
It took me a LOT of time to understand this simple fact. At first, it was all good. I was buying one item each week and creating a look that made heads turn. Then the toll went to two items per week. Before I could realize, I started shopping after every two days. I spent hours everyday browsing websites for clothes. Just like a smoker believes that he needs a cigarette to survive, I believed that shopping will be my daily survival. I got the reality check I needed from my mom. She had enough of my shopping frenzy (after all, she was the one funding me). She made sure that all the shopping apps were gone from my phone and her cards were unsaved at all the websites. It was like the detox I was forced to do. We took baby steps after that. Every time I wanted to shop or order something from a website, she sat down next to me and asked me to stick to a budget. If I exceeded the budget, she would simply not pay for anything. 
Some of you will find this really funny while some of you will relate to my addiction. The ones who can relate know that it's a wonderful feeling until you've worn that outfit once and then your interest moves to some other item. Thanks to my mom, I got a grip on myself and went few notches down on my shopping addiction. It's hard for the both of us- for her to say no and for me to not be able to shop every day. But, we've definitely made progress. 


Saturday, 24 February 2018

One of the Final Submissions at NIFT!

Yesterday, I had one of my final submissions for NIFT. We still have about a month more until the course finishes but yesterday somehow left a sad feeling inside me. In just six months, I got more attached to NIFT than I ever could to Amity University. Although I've had a wonderful time till now in Amity and got hold on a bunch of nice people, I could just not connect to it. On the other hand, NIFT gave me much more to remember in just a span of six months.
For this final submission, we had to buy anything that we could find in Chandni Chowk and make something out of it. After creating something, we had to style our outfits in unconventional ways. After weeks of brainstorming, I came up with so many ideas that it all just got confusing inside my head. Because I had to start from somewhere, I purchased a glue gun. Trust me on this dear readers, you wouldn't want to get burned from that because I did (that too thrice) and it was pretty painful.

I don't have a designing background as most of you would know but a lot of thought and effort went into the designing and styling of this whole look. Becuase I wasn't familiar with the concept, it took me a longer time than the others. 
I wasn't happy at all with the background of the studio because it completely ruined my shoot as well as of my fellow classmates of NIFT. I mean just look at the background. It feels too green, doesn't it? Nonetheless, I've had a blast preparing for this shoot and during the preparations, I learned so much on my own that I'll definitely try my hand at designing more things!