New Year, New You, New Look

When I was younger, I was not into fashion at all. To be blunt, I was a nerd and wore whatever my mother bought me. Due to my extremely poor eyesight, I had no option but to wear hideously oversized magnifying glasses. Not to mention, the unsightly acne so many of us deal with. You could easily have mistaken me for Ugly Betty’s long-lost brother. Fortunately, I do not even recognise that person anymore – on the inside or the outside. At some point, I decided it was time for a change. And boy, did I change!

As soon as I came of age, LASIK (Laser eye surgery) fixed my eyesight. A good dermatologist improved my skin. I bought hair gel and hair sprays to style my hair. And I finally started noticing what the cool kids around me were wearing and adjusted my wardrobe accordingly. I craved a fresh start. I shopped for new additions to my closet that ranged from ‘kind of cool’ to borderline cringy to downright wild – but never boring! Let’s be honest, in the beginning, I probably looked a bit silly. My sudden change was hard for my family to digest, but fashion became my way of expressing myself without speaking.

This change was necessary, and soon enough, I used fashion as my statement to rival the evils of the world.

Fast forward 20 years – I am now a fashion designer with nearly 8 years of industry experience under my belt. I don’t just follow fashion anymore; I am blessed with the opportunity to create it. For me now, a wardrobe refresh is for different reasons, but still necessary from time to time.

Here is what I do – at the end of each year, I assess my clothes and decide if I need or want any changes. I reflect on my goals, how I have changed, and how I want my personal style to evolve in the coming year. I also consider current trends and which garments and accessories will elevate my style while being versatile enough for many occasions. I also decide whether these new pieces I am about to acquire are made well and follow ethical protocols.

Appearance matters. It is the first impression we make on the world. Whether we like it or not, people form opinions based on appearances. A wardrobe refresh is not about conforming; it is about leveraging the power to express ourselves authentically. It is about aligning our outer appearance with our inner vibe, allowing our unique personality to shine through.


Paying attention to how we present ourselves is not just for external validation. It is a form of self-respect. So, when you groom yourself, choose your attire mindfully, and feel good about what you see in the mirror. It sets the tone for your day. It is like a pep talk in the form of a tailored suit or a stunning dress.

By no means am I encouraging a full wardrobe overhaul. By now, we all understand the financial and environmental implications of changing our wardrobe every year. Maybe just let go of those jeans you have worn for a decade and replace them with something more fitting for 2024?

Remember, this is not just about clothes; it is about becoming a better version of yourself all around. Look in the mirror and ask if the person staring back matches who you want to be in the coming year. Based on the answers, decide what are the absolute essentials you can add to your wardrobe to elevate your personal style. It might seem daunting to step out of our comfort zone and explore the intimidating world of fashion, but take risks and experiment with clothes.

Wear whatever your heart desires. You may end up getting some looks and stares like I have on many occasions. But I can promise, you are about to embark on a new and fun journey of self-discovery. Who knows? You may end up loving something you have always avoided in the past. If not, think of it as trying out a new and improved avatar of yourself to put forth for the world to see. So go ahead, embrace the adventure of revamping your style and witness the transformative power it holds. Have fun!

Photograph: Collected