Documenting my evolving personal style

Follow along as I think through and develop my personal style.

nikhil wearing all black

What is my style

Simple. I’m drawn to the process of breaking things down to their most basic, core components. I do this in my work as a software engineer taking things apart and putting them back together again until I get to the most basic core structure of a thing. I also do this in my work as an activist, drawing upon hundreds of years of human history to understand and make connections between the most fundamental of ideas. This can be seen in my personal style as I’m drawn to a style that is simple and uncomplicated.

Modern. At the same time, I am very forward-thinking in my beliefs, and hold radical visions of what our world can look like generations into the future. I’m a very patient person, and the work that I do today always has an eye towards an end goal that is 5, 50, and 100 years into the future. In my personal style, this is reflected by accents and flourishes that move my simple outfits away from a stuffy past towards a bright and brilliant future. My nosering, leather/metal bracelets, and “feminist as fuck” lapel pin all feel like a nod towards this, as well as the slim silhouettes I’m drawn to with regards to fit.

Comfortable. I care a lot about comfort—my own as well as that of others. In my personal style, I make it a priority to make sure I am comfortable and relaxed in what I wear. I feel I have a very warm personality as well that others are drawn to. My personal style reflects an invitation to others to approach me and engage with me. 

Creative. Every moment of my life is an opportunity to create something new. I’m always creative in my practice as an artist, engineer, and activist, and my personal style reflects this in small ways. 

Signatures

I’ve been thinking about the things that you will always see on me. Not as much the items I might always wear, but the things about my personal self that create a signature for me. Here are some thoughts:

Short trimmed beard. I’ve worn a beard consistently since 9/11. At first, it was as a show of solidarity with people who were targetted with anti-Muslim violence in the months following, and I ended up really liking the way it looked so I’ve kept it on ever since. I generally keep my beard trimmed pretty short, letting it get a teeny bit thicker in the winter months. I keep my neck shaved and the lines below my cheeks and under my nose crisp.

Nose ring. I’ve had a stainless steel nose ring for about ten years. Nose rings are typically worn by women in South Asian cultures, so I wear mine as a nod to my feminine qualities.

Red+pink glasses. The only color I consistently wear is my eyeglasses. They are metallic red with a pink accent.

Color palette

BlackGreyWhite
Pink
NavyBrownRed

Over the past few years, my color palette has really moved to black, grey, white, and pink. Black, grey, and white are the main colors on my face outside of my brown skin. Black and white in my salt and pepper beard, and grey on the silver nose ring I’ve had for the last 11 years. They have become my primary palette in recent years mostly to simplify my wardrobe to fewer high-quality pieces. Grey as a main neutral feels better on me than brown or navy. And my draw to pink has been to add elements that are traditionally seen as feminine to my style.

Looking back beyond the past few years, I do have some navy in my wardrobe that I really love, in addition to denim as a neutral. And I think in key places brown could look nice in combination with navy or grey.

Wardrobe basics

Following are what I consider basics in my personal wardrobe. These are things I can have good quality items of that I can mix and match for years to come. I noted items that I don’t actually have currently, or could use updating

Black pants
Gray pants
Dark jeans – don’t have

Black sweater
Grey sweater
Pink sweater – don’t have

White dress shirt
Pink dress shirt
Black t-shirt – don’t have
White t-shirt – don’t have

Black boot
Grey boot
Black sneaker
White sneaker – don’t have

Black dress shoe – don’t have
Brown dress shoe – don’t have

Brands to check out

Here are some brands I like to look at for finding new items, or just looking for inspiration.

Clothes

Shoes

Local

Where I find inspiration

And here are some other places online I look to for inspiration: