The girl with the global closet

Sanam Sippy, JSM Corp, General Manager, Marketing

When we meet at California Pizza Kitchen, Sanam Sippy was dressed simply – in a pair of jeans and shirt, sans make-up. The NYU grad was quite the opposite living in Manhattan for 7 years. “People there would dress up for an 8 am class,” she says. Otherwise going out to clubs, dinners etc also gave ample opportunity to play dress-up. “Since I moved to Bombay I started dressing down completely,” she says. So now at work, the only touch of that fashionista one gets to see on her is a cool leopard print umbrella.

Black dress with gold detailing, Stradivarius

Black dress with gold detailing, Stradivarius

As the general manager marketing for JSM corp that has restaurants and bars such as Shiro, Hard Rock Café, California Pizza Kitchen etc in its repertoire, Sanam is mostly dressed in long sleeved shirts, pants and high heels. She calls her style ‘conservative posh’ – day-wear is jeans and dresses are for dress-up. “I am not experimental,” she says.

Purchased in 2012

Purchased in 2012

Dressing-up all the time in NYC also meant shopping almost daily. “When Gilt had their flash sales or after I walked out of work, I would just go shop.” Now a trip abroad every quarter takes care of her shopping cravings – Alice+Olivia, Elizabeth and James and Elie Tahari are favourites. In Mumbai, she rarely buys clothes and when she does she picks western clothes by Indian designers for the attention they get her abroad.

But for the amount she shops, she confesses she has not discarded anything in the last six years! “Space hasn’t been an issue for me. My mum’s brother lives in NYC so I left my clothes there when I was moving. Otherwise I have a closet in Dubai also, where my parents live,” she says. The fact that her size hasn’t changed, helps her hang on to clothes in the hope of wearing them again. “And I do get emotionally attached to my clothes,” she says.

Number of times worn: 1

Number of times worn: 1

Sanam purchased the black and gold dress from Stradivarius. “I bought it because I was in Singapore – you go there and you just go crazy shopping,” she says. But after wearing it out once, it went back into her Mumbai closet. But this time she decided to part with something for the first time for Fuffabulous!

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The dress is perfect for a UK size 6-8. A lace jacket gives the dress a more soft and vintage-y look.

Model friend: Priya Pereira Chhabria; Styling: Rachana Nakra and Radhika Dhawan; Accessories: Stylist’s own; Photographs: Anand Wahane; Location: Kala Ghoda, Mumbai

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Write on trend

Interview with Anjali Kirpalani, Author of Never say Never + producer and anchor at ET Now

Like the protagonist of her novel, Anjali Kirpalani does not consider herself a ‘fashionista’. As much as she loves clothes and shopping, she says she is too laid back a person to have a very fashion forward style. Not one to sport anything that might be considered OTT, she loves wearing comfortable dresses in solid colours. Only recently, she has discovered a love for prints.

Beige and black dotted dress with a cape-like back

Beige and black dotted dress with a cape-like back

“The protagonist of Never Say Never is based on me. And like her, I know if I put in the effort I can look nice. But most days I am too lazy to do that,” she laughs. Anjali is not an impulsive shopper either. “I have been impulsive in the past, but I have learnt my lesson,” she says. She shops about once a month, or when she needs something in particular, usually from stores at Palladium or boutiques in Bandra. Otherwise her sister who is based in America sends her clothes regularly. “Also, I was in NYC last year for the July sale. It was fantastic,” she says.

Purchased in 2012

Purchased in 2012

Not averse to vintage or recycling clothes, having two older sisters the same size as her works to her advantage. “I end up taking a lot of their clothes,” says the author of the ‘chick-lit’ that released to positive reviews this year. Otherwise she says she is a bit lazy about maintaining her wardrobe and just ends up wearing the same clothes often because they are the first things she can reach out to in her closet.

Number of times worn: 1

Number of times worn: 0

However, when it comes to purging she has no choice but to be regular because her wardrobe is replenished often enough by her sisters and she has to make space for the new clothes. The dotted dress that she has decided to give away to Fuffabulous is also a gift from her sister. But since she didn’t end up wearing the dress even once, she decided it was time to let go.

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The dress is perfect for a UK size 8. A belt and chunky necklace can be added to give the dress a more structured look.

Model friend: Priya Pereira Chhabria; Styling: Rachana Nakra and Radhika Dhawan; Accessories: Stylist’s own; Photographs: Anand Wahane; Location: Kala Ghoda, Mumbai

The monk who sold her wardrobe

Interview with Arpan Gauchan, associate producer at Future East Films

Arpan Gauchan doesn’t believe in attachments, to material things. Whether it’s the daily yoga and meditation class she goes for that are an influence, or whether it is her nature she isn’t sure. But if anyone were to point out to a thing she owns and ask for it, she wouldn’t hesitate in giving it away. Which is why she also clears her wardrobe regularly every month, with her friends as beneficiaries.

u-and-down emline skirt, forever 21; black layered top wit old detailin, express

Up-and-down hemline geometric pattern skirt, Forever 21; Black layered top wit gold detailing, Express

In keeping with her calm, easy going personality, her style is also comfortable-boho with a touch of hippie. Dressed in long flowing dresses, long skirts, and lose pants all in natural fabrics, with no accessories – she is the kind of person who makes you wonder why you pulled on a pair of skinny jeans when you could be dressed in a breathable cotton Ikat dress.

“The way I dress also has a lot to do with the weather in Mumbai,” she adds. For evenings out, while the basic look remains he same, the quality and labels of the clothes improves and flats are replaced with boots or heels.

number of times worn: skirt - 0; top - 2

Number of times worn: skirt – 0; top – 2

Arpan bought the skirt with the up-and-down hemline while shopping at Forever 21 in New Delhi last year. “Actually my friend suggested I buy this, and I did without thinking or even trying it on,” she says. Later she realised the skirt is “just not her style” and never did end up wearing it. The top was also purchased on a trip to USA and she wore it a couple of times before she lost weight (all that yoga) and couldn’t fit into it any more. “I still love it though.” But it wasn’t difficult for her at all, to give away these clothes to Fuffabulous. Detachment from the material world as they say, does make life easier.

P1100819 (1)The skirt is perfect for a UK size 8-10, while the top fits a UK size 8.

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Photos and styling: Rachana Nakra; Accessories: Stylist’s own

Dress code: Comfort casual

Interview with Mallika Menon, Creative Director Highway On My Plate, NDTV Good Times

As the Creative Director of a food-travel show Mallika Menon has a job that many dream of. However, a job that has you deal with unpredictable conditions in various parts of the country, involves “running around all the time” is not the kind of profile that allows for fashionable choices in work wear. It is probably one of the main reasons Mallika loves it. “I would never be able to work at a place that dictates what I should be wearing everyday,” she says.

Black layered tulle skirt

Black vintage tulle skirt

Comfort dictates Mallika’s every fashion choice. Recently while shooting a season of the TV show in the hills, jeans, sneakers and sweatshirts was her uniform of choice. She still uses the sweatshirt from her first year of college at St Stephens, New Delhi. “It gets softer as it gets older and I love that,” she grins. Since living in New Delhi makes weather appropriate clothing a compulsion, cotton is her fabric of choice for the sweltering summers. Anokhi, Fab India and Cottons is the troika of brands that comprises all her work wear for the season.

Able to carry off ethnic and western wear with equal ease, in winter, the salwar gives way to denim, the kurta to shirts, jumpers and coats and the dupatta is traded in for scarves. “I really enjoy shopping for winter clothes,” she says. And it is probably the only time she ventures inside malls. Her summer footwear of jutis, Aldo flats and her favourite North Face flip-flops is exchanged for boots. Yes, she wears North Face flip flops with salwar kameez. “They are the most comfortable,” she laughs. Adidas, North Face or Puma accessories provide that signature sporty touch to her every day looks. 

Purchased in 2011

Purchased in 2011

The only time she gave up her Fab India staples was while studying documentary film making at Berkely, in sunny California. But jeans and tees were still her favourites (and of course, the university sweatshirts). From Banana Republic and Abercrombie and Fitch to H&M and Urban Outfitters she probably owns T-Shirts from every brand that makes them. “The only time I wore pants was when I was interning in New York and had no choice but to dress formally,” she says.

Number of times worn: 1

Number of times worn: 1

And in Berkely is where she bought this tulle skirt from a vintage store for a 80’s themed Halloween party. That was the first and last time she wore the skirt. “I have a couple of dresses and skirts that I wear on rare occasions, mostly when I am going out,” she says.  Although she purged a major part of her wardrobe while moving back home from Berkely, she didn’t let go of this skirt. But she is happy to give it away to Fuffabulous, and for someone who loves vintage finds to be able to put it use again.

DSC_4649-1

The tulle skirt is perfect for a UK size 8-10 and can be dressed up with a white shirt and heels or down with a tee and neon accessories. 

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Location: Worli seaface; Styling: Rachana Nakra and Radhika Dhawan; Accessories: Radhika Dhawan; Photographs: Karan Nevatia (karan1981@outlook.com)

Ring in the old, ring out the new

Interview with Nayantara Kilachand, founder and editor Mumbai Boss

“What was I thinking?” – a question women ask themselves often, about the men we date, desserts we consume, exercise classes we sign up for and well, the clothes we buy. Nayantara Kilachand asked herself a similar question when she went home and tried on the pleated peach skirt she had just purchased from Zara. “Every now and then when I decide to experiment with my look I end up with clothes I don’t wear,” she laughs. And a habit of buying things without trying them doesn’t help.

Peach pleated skirt, Zara

Peach pleated skirt with slanting hemline, Zara

‘Making sense of the city’ for the people of Mumbai, at work the busy editor is most comfortable in her now almost uniform of a T-shirt/ shirt and jeans. Even with the dresses and skirts for evenings out, she likes to keep it simple and classic. “I would much rather have one Chloe jacket that is ‘seasonless’ than buy trendy clothes every week,” she says. As an occasional shopper, she is quite unlike the stereotype of the impulsive, shopaholic woman – she knows exactly what she wants and only buys that!

New York is her favourite for the variety and value for money, while Paris for the boutiques and vintage. Nayantara shops for everything she needs once in a year from her favourite brands – Cos, Uniqlo and J Crew for basics and Topshop for denim. “But when I am travelling I actually don’t like to spend too much time shopping,” she says. Back in India, online stores with easy delivery and return policies are favoured.

Purchased in 2013; Number of times worn: 0

Purchased in 2013; Number of times worn: 0

A lover of all things vintage, Paris is much-loved for the jewellery and New York for those special finds like a jacket from Chloe from the house’s Phoebe Philo days. “I still use my mum’s bag from the 70s,” she says. The small brown leather Hermes bag after being repaired by the company is now in mint condition. “Since I mostly have classic pieces in my wardrobe, I don’t throw away things quickly.” Otherwise she purges her wardrobe twice a year and the clothes go to charity.

DSC_4616-1

For UK sizes 8-10, the cute pleated skirt with a slanting hemline is perfect for summer and a fun look to style easy or dressed up.

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Location: Worli seaface; Styling: Rachana Nakra and Radhika Dhawan; Accessories: Radhika Dhawan and Rachana Nakra; Photographs: Karan Nevatia (karan1981@outlook.com)

When shopping is an addiction (Fuffabulous is rehab)

Interview with Radhika Dhawan, fashion entrepreneur and consultant

Founding one of India’s first fashion e-commerce portals was a gift and a curse for Radhika Dhawan. As an entrepreneur it was a dream come true, as a shopaholic it was a nightmare (OK maybe also a dream) to have so much great fashion so easily accessible to her. She eventually became one of her own best customers.

DSC_4541-1

Green crepe-silk shirt with neon and metal detailing by Rajat Tangri

“I think I have an actual shopping problem,” she acknowledges, laughing. Having sold off her company First Row a year ago, she doesn’t have as easy an access any more, but since she “almost lives” in Palladium, it isn’t too difficult either. As someone who first buys and then thinks about it, a conversation about her shopping habits is like Confessions of a Shopaholic. It doesn’t matter whether she needs it or not, if she will use it or not, if Radhika likes something it almost always ends up in her shopping bag.

SS'12 collection

SS’12 collection

“I used to be bad and then, I went to UK,” she says about her year away for a Masters where she bought clothes, accessories or shoes every day. Maintaining an exceptionally active social life only adds to her shopaholic ways. Today she owns 109 pairs of shoes, 13 plain white shirts and a wardrobe full of clothes and accessories that she may or may not have worn even once. It includes skirts and waistcoats passed on by her mum and nani, which she used to recycle in her college days.

Number of times worn: 0

Number of times worn: 0

A purging exercise that she undertakes every three months usually starts off well. But since she finds herself very emotionally attached to her things, “the next day when I re-asses the pile, I just end up keeping back most of the clothes”.

Metal and thread embroidery

Metal and thread embroidery around the collar and cuffs

A perfect candidate for the Fuffabulous project, Radhika detaches emotionally from a Rajat Tangri shirt that she bought off the runway last year while she attended the shows at Lakme Fashion Week. “If I don’t wear something I buy within a week, I don’t end up wearing it at all.” A year later, having gained a few inches it has become further impossible for her to use the shirt. The necklace is something she bought from her own merchandise at First Row. The Periwinkle neck piece, though gorgeous, has never been on any of her social outings. “Hopefully someone who loves fashion as much as me but will actually use these things will be able to buy the stuff.”

DSC_4674-1

Metal and bead necklace by Periwinkle

The fabric of the shirt is beautiful and colours striking. It is perfect for a UK size 8-10.

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Location: Worli seaface; Styling: Rachana Nakra; Accessories: Radhika Dhawan and Rachana Nakra; Photographs: Karan Nevatia karan1981@outlook.com

Rocking the cradle, adding to cart

Interview with Meenakshi Nair, food blogger and mom

As a producer at Bloomberg TV until three years ago to now as a full-time mother Meenakshi’s shopping and dressing habits have seen a dramatic change. From haunting the malls buying skinny jeans and summer dresses as a single fashionista about town, to now shopping for Storksak at Hopscotch, she is today as much an expert at maternity wear as she is about high fashion. Meenakshi burns through fashion glossies as quickly as her 2-year-old does with the cupcakes she bakes, and with biting sarcasm and insight can discuss everything from Kim Kardashian’s red carpet choices to Chanel’s legacy.

Pernia's Pop-up Shop skirt with pearl detailing

Pernia’s Pop-up Shop skirt with pearl detailing

“I now have an entirely different wardrobe from two years ago,” she says. Besides the fact that the new wardrobe had to accommodate her post pregnancy curves, as a mom her priority is now to dress for comfort. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is her love for mixing ethnic wear into her look. “I love Anokhi and Cottons and the only time I wear prints is when I purchase clothes from these stores,” she says.

Number of times worn: 0

Purchased in 2012; Number of times worn: 0

Online shopping has been a boon for the busy mom. She loves shopping on Asos, Hopscotch, First Row (till a year ago when it closed down) and Freecultr for basics. “They have an easy to follow size chart and their return policy is also convenient,” she says. Otherwise she likes to surf the brands’ websites before heading to her favourite stores so she knows exactly what she wants and just has to quickly try it on and leave. “One thing I don’t have since motherhood is the luxury of time,” she says.

On one such virtual shopping trip to Pernia’s Pop-up Shop she fell in love with a white pencil skirt with pearl detailing around the waist. “It is a classic silhouette and I thought it would be perfect for my best friend’s pre-wedding brunch,” she says. She ordered it hoping to lose weight in time for the wedding, but the inches remained on her and the skirt stayed in the closet. “It is criminal for the beautiful skirt to just stay in my wardrobe! I hope someone else will be able to enjoy wearing it.”

Pearl detailing around the waist

Pearl detailing around the waist

The cotton skirt fits a size 8 and can be as easily worn to work as a brunch.

PHOTO CREDITS

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Location courtesy: Le 15 Patisserie, Bandra; Styling: Rachana Nakra; Accessories: Stylist’s own; Photographs: Morvarid K.

Shoppinguilt and wardrobe-karma

Interview with Manju Sara Rajan, magazine editor and mom

When is the one time that a brilliant writer, a confident editor and mother of two doubt her choices? When she casts a critical eye over her wardrobe and realises that many of the clothes she bought have not been used more than once. Back from work dressed in a beautiful silver grey tunic and chunky silver necklace, Manju is enjoying time with her kids while we chat sitting in front of her wardrobe. Her closet space is meticulously maintained and not wastefully vast, but “guilt” is a word dropped often. She “feels bad” about not wearing and also not being able to get rid of certain pieces in it.

Morphe by Amit Aggarwal grey dress; Number of times worn: 1

Morphe by Amit Aggarwal grey dress; Number of times worn: 1

Mostly a thoughtful shopper, she does most of her purchasing while travelling overseas. But  certain shopping choices of her own leave her baffled. “I don’t know why I bought this,” she says, picking out a Gucci jacket by the hanger. Some beautiful jackets and dresses were bought on impulse or just because they looked good, but don’t really fit into her style repertoire. Through the years her style has evolved into something that can best be described as ethnic-chic with a western touch, and clothes bought long ago don’t fit into her look any more. Also, pieces bought as occasion-wear can not be used more than a couple of times.

Burberry jacket; Number of times worn: 1

Burberry jacket; Number of times worn: 1

As someone who is not a hoarder, she gives away many of her clothes to friends and colleagues at least twice a year and keeps her wardrobe-karma light. But not surprisingly, it’s sometimes hard to give away certain things of high emotional or monetary value. For Fuffabulous, Manju takes the dry cleaning packaging off her beige Burberry jacket that she has worn only once. The gorgeous Morphe by Amit Aggarwal dress was worn for a party and never saw the front of her closet again. “The jacket is very easy to wear and the dress will look beautiful on someone taller,” she says.

photo (6)

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Photos and styling: Rachana Nakra; Accessories: Stylist’s own

H&M, finally! But will it mean more young people dressed alike?

Hennes & Mauritz plans to spend around 100 million euros ($130 million) on an initial 50 stores in India.

Read the full story here: http://www.businessoffashion.com/2013/04/hm-prepares-130-million-drive-to-crack-indian-market.html

So what happened when Zara launched in India? Running into people wearing the same jackets, dresses etc became routine, you knew exactly the place everyone was shopping. Although fast fashion gives us access to cheaper and trendy clothes, it tends to take away individuality and uniqueness in dressing.

H&M flagship in New York, source NY Mag

H&M flagship in New York, source NY Mag

In countries like the UK you have a lot more brands on the high street, which is why even though people are shopping at the same places you can create an individual look with separates. Even so, last season when the camouflage print was popular, I often spotted at least five people on Oxford Street wearing the Zara camouflage studded shirt or the checkered studded shirts. Remember those?

But this is where vintage comes in. My friends in Europe, who don’t want to look like walking ads for Zara or H&M or River Island, scour vintage stores and markets for one-of-a-kind pieces (available at high street prices) and stand apart from the crowd. The most interestingly dressed folks were the ones mixing it up with vintage, high street and key luxury pieces. And like I keep talking about, vintage shopping is necessary to  help reduce wastage, an inevitable result of fast fashion.

PS: H&M has some really cool brands like Monki and Cos. Cannot wait for them to bring in Cos – with their impeccable tailoring and easy to wear, unique styles it is one of my favourite brands!

Cos collection

Cos collection

Cos collection

Cos collection

Fringe benefits

Interview with Virginia Holmes, make-up artist and co-founder Fat Mu Pro make-up and academy

As a make-up artist for big-ticket films such as Slumdog Millionaire, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and Zero Dark Thirty besides various other movies and ad campaigns, Virginia Holmes is constantly surrounded by all the trappings of ‘glamour’. Perhaps the reason that off-duty, she doesn’t like to talk about make-up or clothes. Or go shopping for them.

Jimmy Choo for H&M black fringe dress

Jimmy Choo for H&M black fringe dress

As a sporadic shopper who doesn’t end up buying clothes more than once or twice a year, you would imagine her wardrobe to be limited. You would, however, be wrong. “I am a hoarder,” says Virgina, laughing. There is a pair of pedal pushers from 17 years ago, her mum’s leg warmers from 1978 and a couple of tops from a shooting trip in Ladakh in 2003. She has a quirky sense of style and since her work takes her to different parts of India and abroad, her wardrobe is bursting with fun picks from all around.

Number of times worn: 0

Number of times worn: 0

On a rare shopping spree in London she bought a black fringe dress from the Jimmy Choo for H&M collaboration in 2009. The launch of this collection saw hundreds of fashion lovers around the world queue up for hours to get their hands on the merchandise.

But four years later the dress hangs around in the fringes of her wardrobe, price tag still in place. “I love the dress, but realised it doesn’t fit me too well. I’m sure there is someone else out there with the same style sensibility who will be able to put the dress to good use

photo (4)In the process of learning to detach herself from material posessions, Virginia cleared her wardrobe of a number of accessories and clothes for Fuffabulous. She wants to pass them on to “some young hipsters out there” who will love the clothes as much as she does. But there is one dress she is not able to part with. A stunning, white La Perla frock she bought 13-years-ago that still finds pride of place in her wardrobe, price-tag intact. “I’m saving it for my wedding in Vegas some day,” she grins

The dress is a UK size 12 but fits a UK 10 better. Paired with neon accessories or impossibly high strappy heels, the dress is a definite conversation starter.

PHOTO CREDITS

Model friend: Kadambari Sadekar; Photos and styling: Rachana Nakra; Accessories: Stylist’s and model’s own