You don’t have to spend loads of money at one time to get your dream wardrobe. Collect pieces over time. Treat some as ‘investments’, such as jeans and shoes. Buy those first. The rest can be collected once you’ve saved up your allowance.
u The perfect pair of jeans could be skinny, boot cut, boyfriend or flared. They all work as long as they fit well. First, buy blue jeans, and when you can buy more, experiment with different colours and shades. Ideally, a pair of black jeans should follow your blue ones.
u Get a denim skirt in a length you are comfortable with. Short or above the knee, distressed or flat colours, all work.
u Pair leggings with oversized tops or a short dress or skirt. Branch into bright neon-coloured leggings to brighten your closet.
u Shorts have made a comeback in the last couple of years. Several stores (see Web pointer below) stock different fits and lengths. Pick from short shorts, tight-fitted, knee-length shorts, or loose balloon shorts.
u Racer-back tops or tank tops are a girl’s best friend. If a tank fits you well, get different colours in that fit. When in doubt, wear a tank top with a pair of jeans, skirt or shorts. Accessorize with earrings and a long necklace.
u Your closet should have some plain tees as they allow you to mix and match them with several accessories. Graphics and prints are another way to add some fun to ordinary T-shirts.
u White and black are essential colours. Sometimes, nothing looks more stylish than a pair of jeans with a well-fitted white T-shirt. Also, get yourself a pair of skinny black pants for those nights out with your friends.
u Look for ruffles in clothes and bags. They add a bit of flirty femininity to your wardrobe.
u A waistcoat makes a simple tank top or a plain shirt go a long way. It is stylish, and yet not as formal as a jacket.
u Shirt dresses, summer dresses, tube dresses, shift dresses are all in fashion right now and are a great addition to your formal-wear closet.
u Street shopping is the best way to experiment with different looks. And make “sale” your favourite four-letter word—it will make your pocket money go a long way. It is the best time to buy your “key pieces”.
u Use your mom’s tailor—like that pink shirt and wish you had it in black? Get some fabric and have it made. This is one of the joys of living in India!
u Your role models don’t just have to be celebs, look around you to find stylish people—your mother, sister or aunt. Go through fashion magazines and websites, such as Teenvogue.com, to stay current.
u When it comes to shoes, keep in mind the weather. You don’t want to be walking in the mucky rain in a pair of flip-flops. Rain boots (or Wellington boots, aka Wellies) instantly make a statement and they keep your feet clean. To add some drama, get them in colours other than black. They are not easily available in India yet, so keep them on your shopping list for when you or friends and relatives travel.
u Ballet flats and sneakers (Converse, Keds, Vans) are comfortable without being drab. These are great for college, when you spend a lot of time walking. Other styles to try are thong slippers and gladiators.
u Get one pair of heels to begin with. See if you are comfortable in them. You could start out with wedges as they are sturdier than stilettos.
u Metallic colours such as gold, silver and pewter are a great replacement for black.
u Accessories can transform a simple outfit into a fabulous one. Avoid too much bling. Decide on one main accessory and let the others be understated. Lots of bangles? Great. But don’t add a chunky necklace and huge earrings to that. If you’re wearing big sunglasses, don’t wear big earrings. Accessories are about accentuating your clothes, not overpowering them.
u Keep earrings basic during the day, like hoops and studs, but play with them at night, wearing long chandelier-type earrings.
u Studded belts add a punk edge to your look. If that’s not your style, stick to cloth or simple leather belts. Again, try an unexpected colour such as neon yellow or hot pink.
u Want to try Blair’s look from Gossip Girl? Go ahead, give the hairband a shot.
u Big sunglasses are very in right now, so are retro ones like Ray-Ban’s Wayfarer series. Don’t limit yourself to brown or black, get a colourful pair.
u If you wear spectacles, get the funkiest pair you can carry off.
u Don’t neglect your notebook. Get a cool notebook with a graphic design on it.
u The mantra for make-up is, less is more. If you play up one feature, such as your eyes, then go light on the others.
u For the day, a little bit of eyeliner and lip gloss looks great. Leave the blush and eyeshadow for the night.
u Night is the time to experiment with blue eyeshadow and peach blush. Experiment with these before a big night out, so that you aren’t too shocked by your transformation.
u Black, bright neon colours are all the rage for nails, but keep your nails short. Long nails and funky colours are overkill.
u Take care of yourself—give your feet a DIY pedicure. Smell nice—keep a small deodorant spray in your bag; it is handy in the summer and monsoon months.