Tag: girl talk

Girl Talk: The Fashion Edition

From the evolution of style in our 30s to the outfit recipe we swear by, this edition of Girl Talk is dedicated to all things fashion. Read about our different shopping styles and the 5 must-haves Priyanka, Payal and I cannot imagine our closets without. And do drop a line on some of your fashion favorites!  

How has your style changed in your 30s?
Priyanka: I am less apologetic. I know what I like by now and am less worried about how I may be perceived for it. Given what I do, the irony doesn’t escape me. (But then, some of my favorites have always been women who have owned their individualism regardless of whether their style is personally relatable or not.)

Shradha: The biggest change is that I am definitely more comfortable in my body in my 30s, and that comes across in my style choices. I now choose silhouettes that flatter my shape, and they don’t have to be part of a trend report. 

Payal: In my teens, I was a tomboy. In my twenties, I lived in denims. ALL. THE. TIME. Now, that so much of my work is about fashion, I regret not trying new things back then like I do now.  But, I don’t foray too far from my comfort zone. I have a good idea of what I can pull off and what I need to stay far away from! :P

Via Priyanka’s Instagram

What’s your go-to fashion formula?
Priyanka: Preppie with a twist. A nice collared button-down with a pair of ankle-grazing denims topped off with either an obnoxious pair of Charlotte Olympia Kitty flats or an equally obnoxious bag. You get the drift.

Shradha: Cropped dark wash, skinny jeans + anything & everything and then I add a dash of drama via a statement print, earrings, big sleeves… sometimes it’s one thing, sometimes it’s everything. I am a maximalist at heart. 

Payal: Adding one eye-catching piece. Be it a piece of jewelry, top, bottom… whatever…


Via Shradha’s Instagram

What’s your shopping style?
Priyanka: Optimistic! I have bought many an item either hoping to fit into it magically three weeks from now or for that magical event whose invite seems to get inexplicably lost in mail, every time. Seriously though, am a cautious shopper. I don’t really do impulse purchases… I want to be 100% sure when spending my hard-earned money. (All bets are off during Birthday month though! :p)

Shradha: I go through phases of not shopping at all and shopping all the time. After years and years of questionable shopping, I don’t buy anything without asking myself this one question: Can I walk out the store wearing it right now? This rules out buying two sizes too small, dresses I will never need and those tops that need that magic bra which I will never find. After wasting too much of my paycheck and contributing to an embarrassing amount of landfill, I try very hard to avoid fast fashion. This has resulted in buying less, but better, which in turn has resulted in mindful shopping. Now, excuse me while I shine my halo ;) 

Payal: I didn’t pay much attention in my early 20s. I do regret that. Now, in my 30s, I try to buy an individualistic piece that I feel will stand the test of time. I appreciate new styles and trends but don’t care to run out and try it right away. I go with gut. Sometimes you see something that you absolutely fall in love with right away. Sometimes, it just takes a bit longer. I also joke how I am a Samantha (From Sex and The City). If there was a fashion equivalent word for “Trysexual”, that would be me! :P Once I’ve picked up a striking piece from one label, I move onto another. One Of Every Thing possibly sums up my closet! ;)

What’s that ONE thing you can’t stop buying?
Priyanka: Red lipsticks and bags. Those are two things but one does go into the other, so there.

Shradha: Black tops. Every time I meet a black top that I don’t need, I convince myself that it is the last time because I have found The One. So far, I have about 50 The Ones. (I really, really need an intervention.)  

Payal: Currently, saris! Otherwise, am always on the hunt for a striking piece of jewelry. 

Via Payal’s Instagram

Five fashion things you can’t imagine your closet without?
Balenciaga Denim Jacket: It goes with everything and drapes perfectly on my shoulders.
Payal Khandwala Zipper Tunic: Has rescued me from many tricky ‘what do I wear to this’ moments.
COS White Shirt: It is low maintenance, has a great collar and is a flattering length. Oh, and has pockets. What more do I need?
FabIndia White Kurta: It’s a classic white kurta that should be mandatory in everyone’s closet.
Charminar Bangles: They are anthracite grey, sparkle in the nicest way and work with almost everything. Besides, it’s like having a bit of home with me.

Zara Black Blazer: It’s wrinkle-free and has pre-scrunched sleeves. It pulls together every M-F outfit and makes me feel like a boss.
Striped Linen Top by Ruti: I discovered the brand Ruti when I moved to California 2 years ago and have invested in their basics every time they go on sale. The cost/wear of this particular top is definitely a negative number!
Block heel sandals by White Mountain: I found the perfect everyday heel in DSW and wear them to work almost everyday. It was the best $30 I spent.
Classic Chanel Handbag: It’s black caviar and I’ve had it a while. If my bags were on fire and I could save one, this would be it!
All Saints Leather Jacket: I found it after 1.5 years of looking. It’s beautifully distressed and a must-have in foggy San Francisco.

Can I say I hate this question: it’s like asking who is your favorite child! I love every piece in my closet. Even my tattered tees and pyjamas that I really should be retiring! :P
Proenza Schouler PS1: Between the color and functionality, it’s just such a versatile piece. I will cry the day it completely breaks down on me.
Aldo pumps: Nude pumps that are just the right height, match my skin tone and go with every outfit.
Flared Denims: I used to wear ‘em in my early 20s and can’t stop wearing them again these days. I love how they can make you look so tall and statuesque. Which I am totally not.
White shirts: Have a variety of them: Linen, crisp cotton, over sized. You can create so many outfits around the one basic piece. They also help in highlighting all my beloved jewelry pieces.
Raw Mango sari blouses: Given my sari obsession these days, am glad to have scooped a few of them up. I am able to mix and match non-stop.

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Girl Talk: Making A Home Away From Home

In this edition of Girl Talk, we talk about being away from ‘home’. Payal came here as a student two decades ago, Priyanka moved 13 years as a young bride and I came more recently as a not-so-young bride. Read our adventures (way too many are food-related) and do share some of your stories :) 

When and why did you move to the US?
Shradha: I left India in the end of August 2014 and moved in with my fiancé. We got married in December that year and the US has been home since. I’m relatively new, but what’s strange is some days it feels like I’ve been here forever and other days I feel I JUST moved!

Priyanka: I moved in August of 2004, right after my wedding. (Yup, been married a while now!) Dallas is home now. As a kid, I moved around a lot when I was in India but funnily enough, Dallas has been the longest I have lived in anyplace. That strange feeling you were talking about, that doesn’t seem to have gone away for me even after all this time. Some days I feel like this isn’t home, it’s temporary, that I just moved and will move again. And some days I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

Payal: I came to the US for my undergrad way back in 1998. I stayed in Michigan for four years, got tired of the extreme winters and moved to Texas when I got my first job. Have been in the Lone Star State ever since! Can’t believe it will be 20 years in the US next year!


Via Priyanka’s Instagram

What’s the toughest part of being away?
 I hate being so far from friends and family. And eating home cooked meals NOT cooked by me is a pain point too.

Priyanka: Can I just say Ditto? Friends and family are a big part of it. Considering my sister moved back to India and sees my parents more often than I do, I can’t shake off that FOMO. And friends too! I have been incredibly lucky in finding awesome friends this side of the pond. That said, there’s something about pre-adulthood friendships that makes them invaluable. Oh and I have major bai/dhobi/cook envy.

Payal: I grew up in the Middle East so I’ve been away from India since I was 12. I also lived in a hostel for a while. Being away from home was something I was used to. When I moved to the US, I guess I missed food the most. Indian food wasn’t so readily available back then let alone good Indian food. But, it’s different now. Dallas has us spoilt for choices. Now, if only I could find a restaurant catered towards Oriya/Bengali style of cooking, and I would be a happy girl! The only thing I miss now are the festivals. Like the mood around Eid in the Middle East. And Diwali and Dussehra while I was in India.

How long did you take to adjust to life away from your roots and how did you build your new support system?
I think I’m still adjusting. The first year in New Jersey was rough. I tried the whole house wife thing but it wasn’t as glam and I wasn’t really lunching that much with any ladies! My husband had a group of friends who gave me the 411 on life in the US — everything from how to boil dal to what masalas to stock in the kitchen! Some of those friendships clicked and have grown to be real, solid relationships. Two years ago, we moved to San Francisco and I had to start the process of building friendships all over again. I’ve met people through my day job and through the usual friends-of-friends route. It’s probably going to take a long, long time to consolidate my core group but I’m grateful to have found some amazing new friends. So yes, the new support system is underway!

Priyanka: I was lucky enough to walk in to a social situation I could easily adapt to. The women I met nearly a decade and a half ago are today some of my closest friends. I also reconnected with some of my friends who had moved away and had somewhat drifted apart. Getting to know them again was fantastic! I also quickly realized that when you meet someone you hit it off with, make it a point to stay in touch with them or at least see if there’s a friendship to be had there. Making friends as adults is hard and it will serve us all well to remember the other person is no different from us, and it’s just as hard for them. It wasn’t all easy but I let things take their time and it all eventually fell in to place. Big shoutout to a very supportive husband who let me rave, rant and whine when I wanted to and helped me snap out of my funk when I most certainly needed to.

Payal: College wasn’t so hard as I had a class-mate from high-school also attending the same college as mine. That made the first semester a whole lot easier. When I first moved to Dallas after graduation, I decided to get a roommate. Best decision ever! Our social circle pretty much grew from us two meeting new people (including Priyanka) from the day we roomed together and this was almost 15 years ago. Till date, she and I still hang out if not every weekend, every two or so. I don’t even think I can ever think about moving out of Dallas because of the strong social circle here. My inner friend circle is family. We’ve gone through ups and downs together.

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