Style Files | What not to do on Instagram Stories

No matter how early I mentally commit to sleep at; I always find myself a few hours later with my fingers busy scrolling down my phone. Not conducive to getting a full nights sleep, I know; but it feels like the only 15 minutes in the day that I get to lay low and browse at ease. So what do I spent those precious few midnight moments doing? Dropping it on Facebook, a little pinning and without fail, Instagram.

Now, let me confess that Instagram is possibly my favourite social media platform. That's quite an achievement coming from a girl who dabbles in a fair number of them. One, because it's an incredibly visual medium which allows for just the right amount of interaction. Two, it is backed by Facebook and well, who doesn't know and love those guys! So around a month back, I woke up to the roll out of a brand new feature on the platform called Instagram Stories. Obviously, being the Insta fan girl I am, I went ahead with the update from day 1 and it felt remarkable.

An image of a white Starbucks coffee mug filled with hot chocolate topped with foam, whipped cream and cocoa on a wooden table at Starbucks India

To give you a bit of a background, I don't use Snapchat. This is because I've never found the necessity of installing yet another app to announce to the world that I ate Eggs Benedict for breakfast. You're possibly a Snapchatter yourself so you'll know that the Instagram Stories feature dwells on the same lines. It's meant to be personal, narrate your life in the present and disappear in 24 hours. So obviously, my joy knew no bounds to see the birth of Instagram Stories. Not only could I indulge in a more current photo-sharing experience, I didn't need a whole new app, account and set of followers to do it. Win-win!

The first few weeks of using it was fantastic. I was Insta-ing my neighbourhood dog, my desk plant, my daily outfit - everything! What I didn't realise was that it was getting really boring, really quickly. Not only was I hunting for material to fill my Insta Stories, I was left swiping through my feed like no ones business. That got me thinking about the medium as a whole and what, as a viewer, I'd be interested in seeing. After working in social media and digital publishing for a fair bit, my own work and user experience taught me a thing or two. Regardless of whether you represent a brand, are a blogger, influencer or just someone who likes good content, there are few thumb rules that I'd suggest keeping in mind when using Instagram Stories.

Don't:  Do what everyone else is doing. Yes, we know you've got a spanking new make-up package /shopping bag /invite /goodies but watching tape being cut off a box can be exhausting very quickly. Hauls are great and make for the perfect humble brag but it takes more to reel in a viewer.

Do: Shed a little light on why you purchased that particular necklace. Strut your stuff in your new heels. Give us some swatch action with your new lip stain. Flaunting new goodies are one of the perks of having them in the first place so make sure you lend it a new spin rather than turn it into a left swipe-worthy snoozefest.

Don't: Waste those precious moments. As a medium, Instagram Stories is meant to be swift because moving to the next profile is literally on one's fingertips. Instead of taking the long road and rambling about how humid the weather is, use those few seconds wisely to catch your viewers attention.

Do: Dive into the topic. Whether you're zooming into the toppings on your pizza or gushing about Ranbir Kapoor's appearance at the event you are attending, fill those few seconds with something valid that will make a viewer want to keep watching.

An image of Loreal eyeliner and lip gloss being swiped and swatched onto a wheatish girl's wrist for a beauty review

Don't: Fake it. There are multiple mediums made especially for airbrushed photos with studio lighting and staged poses at your local breakfast haunt. Instagram Stories isn't it. Save that for the visually crisp Instagram or your highly followed Facebook page.

Do: Be real. Everyone has their fair share of annoying pimples, coffee spills or frustrating days when you can't choose what to wear. Simply sharing a few mistaken behind-the-scenes pictures from your shoot are actual realities which humanises you as an individual and makes you seem less like a Barbie.

Don't: Replicate. We've already seen the avocado toast you are eating for breakfast over Snapchat and Twitter. For Pete's sake, don't repeat it on Insta Stories too.

Do: Create fresh material for Instagram Stories. Tedious, I know but it's possibly to angle one situation in a few different ways like sharing your wrist candy which features boldly while you are holding your avocado toast.

Don't: Overdo. I know, I know, you love Instagram Stories and so do I. But no one deserves to see a mundane and endless stream of stories unless you've got a gripping storyline for each of them. In all likelihood, that will lead to a quick left swipe onto the next profile.

Do: Limit yourself. While it can seem exhilarating to feature every single detail of your life on the platform, restrain yourself because no one likes an oversharer. Also, that's reason enough to put your phone down and enjoy the family dinner you are at.


DIY | Denim pocket patch tutorial

I need no persuasion to admit that I am a denim lover. I could live in straight fit jeans and relaxed t-shirts, they feel like home to me. So even though denim doesn't have the best reputation in the monsoon, I was pleased at its sudden peak in popularity even in this sticky heat; all thanks to the patches trend. From jackets to jeans, the fabric got a redux with sassy slogans and smirking emojis adorning it. Obviously, being eager to join the the cool, patch-wearing gang, I decided to create a DIY project with a personal touch.

Follow this Do It Yourself Tutorial to try the Denim Patches trend in your closet from your home

After immersing myself in my closet, I soon found a way to bring together my love for denim and excitement for patches to create this project. If you're looking to add patches to your outfit without looking like yet another high-street clone, this tutorial is for you. Ok? So let's get down to business.

White t-shirt, denim shorts, scissors, fabric glue and needle and thread are the items needed for the DIY tutorial of the Denim Pocket Patch trend

The items you need for the project are commonly found in your sewing box at home. For the t-shirt to create the patch appliqué on, I've chosen a basic white tank since that will stand out best on the denim.

The denim pocket is to be cut out from an old pair of jeans so wisely choose a pair that you do not fancy wearing any more. In order to separate the pocket from the pant, use a blade to cut the stitching from inside the pocket. For my DIY project, I've chosen a customised pocket that I received as part of an invite.

Girl drawing on white t-shirt with pencil around denim patch pocket for the DIY tutorial of the Denim Pocket Patch

Next, place the newly separated denim pocket on the top right hand corner of your t-shirt and use a pencil to mark where it should be affixed. This is to ensure its steady placement through the process, even if your hand slips.

Quick tip: Before marking it, I wore my t-shirt and placed the pocket on it in front of the mirror. This allowed me to adjust the pocket placement according to my arm movement without blindly fixing it in place.

Woman's fingers with nail art cutting around denim patch pocket for the DIY tutorial of the Denim Pocket Patch

It's time to give your denim pocket some grooming. Most likely, you'll find loose fibres peeking out of the edges of the pocket so use your scissor to trim it thoroughly. We don't want any of those unsightly strands showing up on our pocket now, do we!

Women's fingers with nail art gluing the denim patch pocket with fabric gluefor the DIY tutorial of the Denim Pocket Patch

With the t-shirt marked and the pocket groomed, all that is left to do is affix it in place. For most projects, I always follow a glue and stitch method because it gives it double security to stay in its place.

To do that, I start by using fabric glue, one of my most important DIY essentials. Apply the fabric glue on the edges of the reverse of the pocket and follow the previous pencil markings to stick it in place.

Women's fingers with nail art stitching the denim pocket on a white t-shirt surrounded by a scissor and pencil for the DIY tutorial of the Denim Pocket Patch

While the fabric glue works its magic on it, start with the second part of the sealing method. Use a matching threaded needled to stitch the edges of the pocket at the sides and the bottom. Keep the stitches small in size so that it isn't visible on the t-shirt. Once done, leave the t-shirt to dry for 6 hours so the pocket is firmly secured in place and ideal to be used.

White t-shirt with denim pocket patch trend on the top corner placed on a colourful fabric with embroidery

 Photography: Raynor Pereira | Artwork: Leo Alemao
And you are ready to join in the patches trend, albeit with a bit of personalisation. Apart from being incredibly trendy, I especially like how practical this DIY project is. It's so wearable that it even found its way into my Lakmé Fashion Week outfit line-up!

Like me, I hope that you too liked the tutorial and get crafty with an old pair of jeans. So this weekend, you know what's keeping you busy - now get DIY-ing already!


Life | Snapshots at Lakmé Fashion Week W/F 2016

Covering Lakmé Fashion Week for the past few years has made it feel like second nature for Style File, yet it manages to feel fresh every time I step into the marble floored venue. It isn't only the clothing collections or the starry showstoppers that are responsible for this feeling, it's the atmosphere of that coveted week. So come those heady five days and instead of a morning cuppa, I'm watching a morning ramp walk. My trusty leggings and sneakers are replaced with a more fashion week-worthy wardrobe.

Routine is a long-forgotten dream and the week becomes a blur of heightened activity and excitement. No territory is left uncharted - from the buzzing backstage area to the celebrity vanity rooms. Once the furore of fashion week died down and I finally went through my camera roll; it gave me a peek into those busy moments. These included celebrity showstoppers, long hours spent shooting and of course, immense amounts of style, which I'm sharing with you today.

A model wears a traditional Indian saree in bright colours at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
Splendid shades of sarees at the Tulsi Silks show

Model wearing Runaway Bicycle fashion clothing and holding Tarun Tahiliani invite at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
(L) Sitting pretty before Tarun Tahiliani's opening show // (R) The final line-up at Runaway Bicycle
A model wears a Gaurang saree, a Shivan and Narresh swimsuit and Sabyasachi collection at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
(L-Top) Decadence at Sabyasachi's finale show // (L-Bottom) Beach ready at Shivan & Narresh // (R) Hello yellow at Gaurang's show

Keeping it light with red lips, fluttery lashes and a highlighted face on day 1
A model wears a traditional Indian sarees for Payal Khandwala and Tulsi Silks at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
The saree in 3 ways - (L and R) Tulsi Silks // (Centre) Payal Khandwala

Flatlay of Hazelnut Mochacchino from Starbucks with LFW pass at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
Fuelling up during fashion week with a Hazelnut Mochacchino

Bollywood celebrity Dia Mirza wears a traditional Indian saree for Tulsi Silks at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
(L) Raising the glitter game with sequin trousers and an all-black look on opening night // (R) Dia Mirza looking like the Indian dream girl she is at the Tulsi Silks show

Bloggers wearing Adidas Originals Stan Smith White Sneakers at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
Twinning in our Stan Smith's on day 3

Models wear women's fashion clothing for Suhani Pittie, Ashish Soni and Kallol Dutta at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
(L) Suhani Pittie ups the drama // (Centre) Backstage before Tresemme's 'Big Hair Don't Care' show // (R) Kallol Dutta keeping it airy

Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor walks the ramp for designer Kunal Rawal at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
Ranbir Kapoor gets a roaring applause and many wild screams for Kunal Rawal

Models wear women's fashion clothing for Indian designers Manish Malhotra and Atsu at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
(L) Going up close with Manish Malhotra's details // (R) Atsu goes chic in brights and achromatic shades

Models wear smokey eyes, gold lips and slicked back hair for designer Payal Khandwala at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India
Models striking a pose backstage at Payal Khandwala's show

 Photography: Leo Alemao / Style File




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