Style Files | Are numbers more important than quality?

When I created my blog in 2011, I had no idea what I was doing and that there were a handful of bloggers in the same city doing the same thing. The digital landscape has changed drastically since then. Blogging is now a serious occupation which so many people are choosing. That's great because the growth in blogging has opened up new avenues for so many, creating healthy competition and high quality content.

Well, that's actually what should have happened. In reality, it didn't. Brace yourself, I'm about to drop some knowledge. Anyone who studied economics 101 will tell you that competition encourages sellers to battle for the top spot by producing high quality goods. In this case, sellers are bloggers/influencers and the goods; their content. So imagine what would happen if they didn't need to organically fight for their seat at the table; that they could just purchase it. That would ruin the balance of the cycle, right? Since the competition would be rigged, there wouldn't be any need to prove themselves and hence, there would a drop in quality.

An image of a woman taking a picture on her phone of a landscape with palm trees as the wind blows her hair

That's exactly what happened in the past 3 years. As the digital sphere got saturated, more bloggers and influencers naturally, wanted their recognition; which leads to big bucks, presents every time you enter the house and sponsored foreign trips. But to be good enough to organically earn that recognition takes incredible amounts of high quality content and patience. Ain't nobody got time for that, at least that's what a large chunk of the influencer sphere thought. Instead of playing the waiting game, they just went out and purchased a bunch of followers.

These are a bunch of bots that inflate the follower count and provide generic engagement. Remember those 'lovely pic' or 'great page' comments? In all likelihood, those are the work of internet robots. Purchasing followers is now pretty common and sort-of an industry secret. It's like plastic surgery - everyone does it but they'd never admit it. They write it down to hard work and strong content; which translates to good genes and 8 glasses of water in the plastic surgery parallel.

An image of macarons in flavours of chocolate, pistachio, caramel and strawberry on a white background being served for dessert

Photography: Raynor Pereira / Style File 

For newbies, fake followers are a starter kit to establish themselves as social media influencers. For more experienced ones, a high follower count is a stepping stone to the digital table which comes with its fare share of designer freebies and press junkets every month. This has led to viscous cycle of joining Instagram, buying a pack of followers, crossing a few thousands every couple of days and finally, being recognised without the realisation that the followers are nothing but empty space.

Saw that I didn't mention quality in the above equation? Because, there's none. Since there's no need to prove oneself, quality is redundant. Who needs to think about styling, shooting, editing and writing blog posts when you can directly upload a grainy selfie on Instagram and buy a few hundred likes for it. To answer my title question; yes, numbers are currently more important that quality.

The silver lining is that the above practices don't apply to every blogger and influencer in the digital space. Like me, there are those who focus on creating thoughtfully worded pieces, carefully shot images and sensibly styled looks rather than playing the numbers game. It may come at the cost of projects and big bucks but if one can afford that, having ethics in the blurry digital world is empowering. Today may be about numbers but tomorrow may not. A day will come where collaborators want accountability and quality, not just bots double-tapping. That day is almost here.


Personal style | Daily diary: edition 4

Getting dressed follows the same daily cycle. At night, I'm brimming with inspiration after browsing through Instagram and Pinterest. So I envision myself waltzing into work with perfectly coiffed hair, impeccable makeup and meticulous styling. In the morning, it's a whole different story.

A collage image of a young woman wearing a crop top and trousers, a blazer and leopard print skirt and a sequin dress and fur coat

Somewhere between snoozing my alarm for the 3rd time and taking sips of coffee, I usually fall short of my expectations and can't blame anyone but myself for it. Slowly however, I'm adjusting my morning person notions, sleeping more soundly and uplifting my daily dressing, one trouser leg at a time.

An image of a young woman wearing a cream blazer, black tank top and leopard print skirt with tong sandals, givenchy antigona satchel and curly long bob hairstyle

Here, I decided to take my style up a notch and blazer up for a work event. The end result of neutral tones and punchy leopard prints looked even better than I expected. Don't miss the curly long bob and peach tinged cheeks.

An image of a young woman wearing a floral printed off shoulder blouse and black wide legged trousers

While I love how these trousers [previously worn here] look on a hanger, I've always been apprehensive about drowning in their roominess. Somehow, that wasn't the case with this outfit. My billowy blouse [previously worn here] and flared trousers were perfectly in sync and surprisingly comfortable.

An image of a young woman in a striped tshirt, black shorts, black sneakers and pink tote taking a selfie in a clothing store mirror

I can't resist a good full length mirror; which is probably some of the reason daily diaries exists. In the men's department (yawn), I took a moment to snap my look, one I'm extremely comfortable in and prefer on weekends. A recurring item you'll notice through my pictures is my new girly pink FitBit and gorgeous Kate Spade iPhone cover. Over here, I've stuck to the classic black and whites while playing it up with my favourite pink tote [previously worn here]

An image of a young woman wearing a printed long sleeved crop top, high waist pegged trousers and fur sliders with red lipstick

Now this was a look that was a step apart from my regular personal style. Since I was feeling experimental for a dinner party, I brought out this printed crop top [previously worn here] which I hadn't removed in years, pegged trousers and chic fur sliders. Experimenting every once in a while can be a whole lot of fun.

An image of a young woman wearing a blue denim shirt with white jeans, tan sandals and a louis vuitton monogram handbag taking a selfie in a mirror at a hotel

For a particularly hectic day between events, work and meetings, I chose this no-brainer denim on denim outfit. Of course, the washes were different colours or else I'd end up looking like this. Along with it, neutral tones, my neverfull [previously worn here] and red lips that I can bank on. The end result of this look; with tan and denim coming together, was particularly satisfying.

An image of a young woman wearing a pink striped shirt, faux leather leggings, black sneakers and a pink fitbit

On a choc-o-block Monday at work, I kept on track with my schedule wearing an outfit that combines sporty and formal..sort of. I nicked my brother's shirt, slipped into my faux leather leggings (duh, it's autumn) and threw on my current favourite sneaks. Can you really go wrong with candy stripes and a leather finish? I think not.

An image of a young woman wearing a printed blouse with ruffled sleeves, black leggings and black tong sandals taking a selfie in a mirror at a fine dining restaurant

When heading for birthday date at a fine dining restaurant, I scrambled home from work and quickly spruced up. This look was the result, which hid the fact that I had been on my feet for 9 hours well. Along with my printed top with ruffled sleeves and basic leggings, I attempted to get beach waves with sea salt spray. I was out of the door so quickly with soppy wet hair that I ended up with Great Gatsby-like curls! Ah well, you can't win everything.
An image of a young woman wearing a black sequin dress, a white fur jacket, black ankle strap sandals with glitter heels and red lips

Yes, I did save my best for last. Although Mumbai winters are notoriously sticky, I did find one chilly day where I got to flaunt this wonderful combination of fur and sequins. With it, I also wore tight curls, red lips and Cindrella-like shoes with sparkling heels.


Style Files | 6 It girls you're going to be seeing a lot more often

The fashion industry is in a constant state of evolution. Whether it be cultural appropriation by celebrities, surprise exits at designer houses or risqué looks on the ramp, there isn't a second of stagnancy. Be it the clothes, the names, the faces or the labels, the industry is like the spin cycle on your washing machine—always on a roll.

Image of hollywood models and celebrity ashley graham, adwoa aboah, kaia gerber and dakota johnson

This very evolution also affects the hallowed it girl. The prestigious title has been bestowed to glamazons, socialites and supermodels of every decade, from Naomi Campbell and Elizabeth Taylor to Gigi Hadid and Paris Hilton. Thanks to the inclusive nature of the fashion industry, today's it girl isn't restricted by race, size or colour. She's bold as ever, incredibly stylish and an effortless trend-setter. Rest assured you'll be seeing these 6 it girls a lot more often.

Image of hollywood actress tracee ellis ross with an afro, brown eye makeup and red lipstick

Tracee Ellis Ross

If you thought Tracee was just the daughter of Motown legend Diana Ross, you couldn't be more wrong. Along with being a comedic actor in her own right, Tracee is also a certified style maven. She never shies away from flaunting a bright lip or her springy curls and wears them with pride and regularity. Whether its plunging necklines or dramatic silhouettes, this is one lady who pulls it off with panache.

Image of hollywood model winnie harlow applying lipstick at the back of a car

 Winnie Harlow

She may be a high flying supermodel today but it wasn't always like that for Winnie Harlow. As a sufferer of chronic vitiligo, Winnie knows a thing or two about bullying and overcoming insecurities. The best part is, she never let it come in her way. After breaking out in America's Next Top Model, Winnie has gone on to cover magazines, walk on runways and drop into film festivals. Started from the bottom, now we here—indeed!

Image of hollywood model kaia gerber in silver lame skirt and jacket for a photoshoot

Kaia Gerber

If you're genetically gifted by Cindy Crawford herself,  you know the end result will be good. And boy, is Kaia a good one or what! At the tender age of 16, Kaia is fashion's latest pet. With her legs for days, sunkissed hair and youthful glow, this mini-Cindy has already strutted down the New York and London runways. What's next for this apple who didn't fall far from the tree? We can't wait to find out!

Image of hollywood fashion model adwoa aboah in a t-shirt for a photoshoot

Adwoa Aboah

One thing's for certain—Adwoa isn't your conventional beauty, but that doesn't make her any less striking. I mean, just look at those razor sharp cheekbones, full pout and buzzed cut. And in a sea of leggy blondes and bootylicious brunettes, she's just the breath of fresh air we need. But that's not all. Besides her day job of being gorgeous, Adwoa also wears her Ghanaian roots with pride and is vocal about feminism. Who said it girls were all about the looks, huh?

Image of plus size model ashley graham sitting in a black bodysuit

Ashley Graham

It's safe to say that Ashley Graham has become a flag-bearer for plus sized woman. In a world where fashion standards lean towards waif-thin silhouettes, Ashley is a gorgeous contrast whose is turning conventional labels on their head. From covering international magazines to designing her very own line of swimsuits and lingerie, Ashley is an inspiration to so many plus sized women and is bringing the world's attention to them, in all their full figured beauty.

Image of hollywood actress zoe kravitz wearing a satin gown with short blonde hair on the red carpet

Zoë Kravitz

Zoë Kravitz is just one of those girls. She's the daughter of rock star Lenny Kravitz, a successful actress and a stylista yet she wears the titles with an effortless nonchalance. Whether she's flaunting her hair in dreadlocks or walking down the runway with a cape, being carelessly chic is her constant. Along with being a beaut, Zoë doesn't shy away from taking a political stance and looks unbelievably stylish in a buzzcut and head scarf—now that's something you definitely don't hear too often.

Image of hollywood actress dakota johnson wearing a striped shirt and red trousers for a photoshoot

Dakota Johnson

Before she was an it girl, Dakota was the enviable Anatasia from 50 shades of grey and daughter of Melanie Griffith. Steadily, her rise to the top of the trend charts began. Sure, her movie record hasn't been great but when Dakota's in a cocktail dress, winged eyeliner and strappy stilettos, none of that really matters. She's covered magazines, done a spot of modelling and now races up every best dressed list with her coy smile and layered bob.


Personal Style | Grey matter

To me, a good day always began with a crisp shirt, hearty breakfast and well-stocked bag. I believed that was all I needed to take on the worlda great outfit, a sense of preparedness and a full stomach. And it worked well for a while until I realised I needed more than that. Something that diligently ran the mental circuits; a great controller if you will. That's when it hit it mea steely mind was the answer.

The world is a wildly unpredictable place. You could step out in the morning and meet a thunderstorm, a lottery winning ticket, a horrible argument, a fantastic new eatery or a zoo of unleashed animals. The possibilities are endless and only a head that's sensibly placed on your shoulders can prepare you for anything. Something that avocado toast and pin striped button downs cannot do. Even with the worst outcome, a strong, secure mind can keep your wits about you and steady your stride. It's true, you knowmind really does triumph over matter. Once you've got a nut that's tough as nails, absolutely nothing can stand in your way.

An image of a female fashion blogger wearing a sheer cutout bodysuit, a khaki jacket, high waist denim shorts, boxer braids and gladiator sandals for her style blog

An image of a female fashion blogger wearing a sheer cutout bodysuit, a khaki jacket, high waist denim shorts, boxer braids and gladiator sandals for her style blog

An image of a female fashion blogger wearing a sheer cutout bodysuit, a khaki jacket, high waist denim shorts, boxer braids and gladiator sandals for her style blog

An image of a female fashion blogger wearing a sheer cutout bodysuit, a khaki jacket, high waist denim shorts, boxer braids and gladiator sandals for her style blog

An image of a female fashion blogger wearing a sheer cutout bodysuit, a khaki jacket, high waist denim shorts, boxer braids and gladiator sandals for her style blog

An image of a female fashion blogger wearing a sheer cutout bodysuit, a khaki jacket, high waist denim shorts, boxer braids and gladiator sandals for her style blog

Bershka cutout bodysuit {London} | Nuon olive shirt | Topshop high waist denim shorts {London} | Kazo neon sling bag [Previously seen here] | Forever 21 enamel badges {Paris} | Aldo ankle strap sandals  |Forever 21 chain link bracelet | Maybelline Colorama 'Absinto' | Lakme x Masaba Lip Pout 'Caramel Toffee' 

Photography: Leo Alemao / Style File

Keeping in tune with my newly resolved mind was my tough girl look. The sexy cutout bodysuit adds a touch of oomph to the rugged outfit. Along with it, gladiator sandals with gold hardware and a neon bag lend a bit of charm.

Right from the time Hilary Swank threw a few punches on screen in Million Dollar Baby, I associated boxer braids with a no-nonsense beauty look. So obviously, I used this outfit as an excuse to braid my bob length hair into meticulous boxer braids and give my forearms a workout in the bargain. Creamy peach lips, metallic cat eye makeup and bronzy cheeks finished it off with a chic touch. Nothing spells out fierce quite like this, my friends.


Beauty | My 5 favourite purple lipsticks for every occasion

It's a well known fact that red lips have had more than their fair share in the limelight. A rouge pout is now every girl's Saturday night staple, hand bag must-have and no-fail celebrity beauty trick—haven't we all heard that before! So don't you think another shade deserves a spin in the spotlight? Well, I most certainly do!

A makeup image of purple lipsticks from MAC, Miss Claire, Colourpop, Lakme and Look Beauty

Over the past year, I've begun wearing more purple lipstick and unintentionally, trying and testing it as well. Whether they've been in cool lilac tones or deep plums, something about purple lipstick gives my face a bright, dazzling look. Before you think it's one of those niche shades to save for a daring day out (blue lips, I'm looking at you!), newsflash: I've flaunted a pair of purple lips to work meetings, birthday parties and event launches with elan. So without any further ado, here are 5 of my favourite purple lipsticks which look divine on Indian skin tones for every occasion.

For Friday night dancing

An image of purple lipstick by MAC Flat Out Fabulous in a women's hand with purple nails with a lipstick swatch and review

If you ever had a doubt about purple lipstick, the MAC Flat Out Fabulous will clear all confusion. It is a gorgeous vibrant plum shade that can complement absolutely any complexion. In fact, it was once my last resort when I was wearing a sunshine yellow dress and would you believe it—it looked amazing! As with any MAC retro matte, it sits comfortably on the lips and gives them a velvety matte finish.

For no-fuss rushed mornings

An image of purple lipstick by Miss Claire #15 in a women's hand with purple nails with a lipstick swatch and review

It isn't news that I'm a Miss Claire fan—what they lack in originality, they make up for in pricing and shades. The shade 15 from their lip cream range is one such winner. The rosy purple shade is a subtle upgrade to everyday mauve tones and gives just the right hint of matte colour that's easy on the lips. Especially on rushed mornings when you can't afford to give your lip colour a second thought, make this your go-to purple lipstick.

For a lunch date

An image of purple lipstick by Look Beauty Berry Blast in a women's hand with purple nails with a lipstick swatch and review

If this pleasant lavender hue reminded you of Aishwarya's infamous Cannes outing, fear not because that was much cooler toned than this. An unusual shade, I'll admit but Look Beauty's Double Hit Lip in Berry Blast does justice to it. One side of the tube houses a creamy lilac lipstick and the other, a sheer gloss in the same shade. If it's intense purple or a glossy hue of it, this is the answer. Plus, it has a delightful coconut fragrance to boot!

For a work meeting

An image of purple lipstick by Lakme Enrich Satin W273 in a women's hand with purple nails with a lipstick swatch and review

If you thought purple lipsticks were all fun and games, the shade W273 from Lakme's Enrich Satin range will prove you wrong. It's a burgundy toned violet that glides smoothly on the lips and lends it a soft, satin finish. The best part is, it isn't outrageous or loud so it's the perfect choice for a day at the office if you don't want to raise any eyebrows. Although it isn't very long lasting, it's an affordable starter to enter the purple lipstick family.

For the mid-week blues

An image of purple lipstick by Colourpop Lychee in a women's hand with purple nails with a lipstick swatch and review

Lychee by Colourpop signifies the beginning of many things to me—it was my very first Colourpop product, my first matte liquid lipstick and my first true purple colour. It was definitely risky selecting such an adventurous shade online but once I came to terms with the electrifying violet shade, there was no going back. It's incredibly pigmented and sits put once it sets but it can feel dry after a few hours. However for a daring purple lipstick that doesn't move an inch, it's all you need.


DIY | Mini crossbody bag

Through the years, I've had my fair share of phases. There was the heels one where I couldn't resist a spanking new pair of pumps. Even hats and nail polishes had their moment in the sun. The past couple of years have been about bags and I'm starting to suspect that it isn't just a phase—it's a love story for the ages. Whether it's a clear sling I whipped up on the wave of the transparent trend or a monogrammed tote I stuff to the gills on busy days, I'm slowly and steadily finding my bag staples and making them my own. However, the mini crossbody has alluded me for far too long.

An image of a cream mini crossbody sling bag with tassel made with a do-it-yourself project on Style File
So I decided to take things into my own hands and make one myself. It's tiny, can hold the essentials and barely takes a half hour. If you want to make your own mini crossbody bag, here's how to do it.

An image of materials and tools needed for a do-it-yourself mini crossbody sling bag project on Style File

The main components you'll need for the bag are two large pieces of slightly thick canvas cloth with one of them being in a rectangular shape. If the material is too thin, the bag will go limp so choose your fabric wisely. To assemble the bag, you'll need fabric glue, a pair of scissors, a needle and a thick thread. To hold your bag, you need a matching cord with tassels attached or you can add them separately.

In place of the rectangular piece of cloth which forms the body of your bag, I'm using a basic fold up cloth pouch from 11.11. To make your rectangular cloth in its shape, fold 1/3rd of the its width over the centre section. Stitch the sides together to close the ends and keep the top flap open as the mouth of your bag.

  An image of canvas cloth being measured by a woman with orange nails and a pink FitBit for a do-it-yourself mini crossbody sling bag project on Style File

Once the main body of your bag is ready, place the second piece of cloth inside it, roughly measure and cut it according to its size. This additional piece of cloth is meant to reinforce the strength of the bag so that it doesn't fall flat. That's why it's important to choose a cloth that's of a similar colour and fairly sturdy in size.

An image of canvas cloth being glued for a do-it-yourself mini crossbody sling bag project on Style File

Then over one side of the loose cloth, apply a layer of fabric glue. Be generous with the glue because we want it to stick to the inner side of the bag properly without any loose edges coming out.

An image of canvas cloth being glued by a woman with orange nails and a pink FitBit for a do-it-yourself mini crossbody sling bag project on Style File

When the glue is wet, carefully layer it on the inside of the main body of the bag and stick it in place. If you find the edges coming out, add more glue and press it in place. Once you're done with the fabric glue step, allow it to dry completely for 15 minutes before you proceed. 

An image of tassels being sewn onto cream cloth by a woman with orange nails for a do-it-yourself mini crossbody sling bag project on Style File

Measure the length of the cord according to your body and snip it to that length. I usually wear my crossbody bags somewhere near my thigh so I used that as a measure. Use the needle and thread to sew either end of the cord on the uppermost point on the side of the bag's body. Over the point of stitching, stick or sew a tassel in place on either sides. Over the top flap of the main body, add a matching cord or ribbon which can be tied to close the bag.

An image of a cream mini crossbody sling bag with tassel made with a do-it-yourself project on Style File

There you have it—a mini tasseled crossbody body that you can carry for a fun outing. Since it's fairly lightweight, I'd advise you not to overstuff it. It'll be just right for your phone and a few cards so take it for a spin on your next girl's brunch.





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