You have a uniform for whatever period you are going through in life. And you need a uniform to get your work done. ” – Charlotte Gainsbourg, writer, poet, singer, actor, style muse.
p.s : She does a lot more in life than wear chic outfits and pose.
Folks who have a non-fashion related profession and have great style are a rare breed. People who work in fashion all look uniquely the same. And have too much access to ‘stuff’. Most fashion bloggers look the same. Constantly buying new items is disgusting. I have very few people to look up to, for sartorial inspiration in real life. And whenever I find reading material that satisfies all of my constraints, it is a rare find indeed. Let me introduce you to the website : HowToSpendIt. It is a compilation of some very interesting people talking about their style and how they choose to spend their money. It is way interesting than “haul” videos that infest youtube or “monthly spending fasts” that consumption bloggers report. My favorite pages are of : Margaret Howell – part 1, part 2 and Bobbi Brown – part 1, part 2. When I read such websites, a form of narcissism takes over and I find myself answering these questions.
*She makes movies and art. Again, a lot more than play dress up.
My personal style signifier is navy blue. I seem to wear it all the time. I try wear a navy blue dress every chance I get. Or black denim with blue shirts.
The last thing I bought and loved
I got a lot of secondhand books from Amazon in the past two months. The Sartorialist, Tomboy Style, Minimalism and Fashion, Monocle, White by Kenya Hara, the Trench Book, Asian Street Style, … They are fantastic books and I do love them.
And the thing I’m eyeing next
I want a dusty pink silk necktie scarf. I seem to like a lot of things but have been successfully talking myself out of buying any. A vintage white tea cup with gold rim on Etsy, a book on Dior by Avedon, Chloe: Attitudes, a book on Ralph Lauren, a choker, etc. I am doing a shopping fast and hence been staying away.
The last meal that truly impressed me
We made shakshuka at home in a cast iron skillet. We used nitter kibeh from a local Ethiopian store instead of butter to make the toast. Together, they were a match made in heaven. We couldn’t help but be proud of our meal.
The people I rely on for personal grooming
No one. I save my money for buying great product and do everything myself. I have a dependance on Sk-II serum which is a facial in a bottle. When all hope is lost, turmeric honey masks can do wonders. Lisa Eldridge taught us about facial massage. Hair cuts are not such a big deal really if you need simple cuts. No one.
A recent “find”
Does a purchase from December count ? A navy blue silk dress by Celine. The silk is very thick and does not look like the thin silk from Equipment or Everlane or Banana Republic. Silk from APC is comparable in texture. It sits on the body without being clingy. Everything else I own pale by comparison. Once you see the quality, it’s impossible to shop frivolously.
The last items of clothing I added to my wardrobe
A gray t shirt. The one ! It took me years to find it. I am going to write an entire essay on the perfect gray t shirt one of these days.
The site that inspires me
The best gift I’ve received recently
Nobody gives me gifts anymore. My father gave me some money last year that I used to buy myself treats – a facial, some books, the Stella McCartney Pinstripe dress, etc. It was nice.
The best gift I’ve given recently
The yoga mat I gave my mum. She badly needed one and didn’t want to ask me. When I did take her one, her face lit up.
An indulgence I would never forgo
Creating time to read whatever I want. Ownership of my macbook pro – it’s the most well made piece of thing I ever owned. Everyday well made comfortable shoes that look beautiful should be something everyone should indulge in.
The last accessory I added to my wardrobe
A blush pink clutch by Cuyana. Perhaps it’s a privilege of growing older?, but I carry less stuff with me. I once wrote off clutches as this fancy thing that women who make other people carry their stuff carry. Not anymore. Everything I need fits into my clutch.
My style icon
Andrew Ng. Mimi Thorisson. Renu ( aunt ) … I like men and women who have professions that are not fashion related … and look put together with coherent style. I do NOT care for fashion bloggers who are all about outfits. If you think about clothes all day long and are always buying stuff, its not hard to dress well. They don’t inspire me at all.
The place that inspires me
My lab. Most research labs and work places. I love seeing people hard at work.
Any place with lots of trees/nature. My parent’s farm. My grandpas ancestral home. My home that I currently share with my husband and neighbours cat.
An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year
Yellowstone. I came back and I want to fight climate change. The difference between vacation and travel is the later changes you for good. You come back a more learnt person and live differently after. Every time I want to buy something, I feel the guilt and the burn. Not that it stops me entirely, but it does cross my mind. And saddens me.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood in one city, I’d choose
None. I don’t like going to the stores. I find everything online. If I have to choose, I will pick Banjara hills in Hyderabad, India. They have amazing fabric stores and tailors.
An object I would never part with
Love letters from my husband.
In my fridge you’ll find lemon, frozen berries, avocados.
The books on my bedside table
Nat Geo. Porter magazine. I do my reading online. So my before-bed-reading is via kindle app on my macbook pro. I am reading Rumi.
If I weren’t doing what I do, I would
Be an architect. Or become farmer under my grandpas tutelage. Or work with my father in his business ventures. Or start a yoga retreat center with my mother. Some many things I want to do.
*Not all stylish folk wear a look-at-me-cape, have blogs or post selfies. Jane Goodall has an amazing ‘safari’ style. As she grew older, she has shawls from Asia and jewellry from Africa that she added to the mix.
*Shannon Matas designs for Facebook and Apple. She has the graphic designer aesthetic and wears it brilliantly.
If anyone reading made it this far, could you pick your favorite question from the list and answer it ? I strongly believe that the comments on this blog have become more interesting than the content I write. I would like to hear about what you think is your personal style signifier. Or the last thing you purchased. Or your style icon. Or a place that inspires you.