Monisha Kapur can style you from head to toe without ever having to set foot in your closet, or your house. A virtual stylist is a great example of adapting to changing times like these crazy ones, and giving people what they need, on their terms.

“Whatever you’re going to put on that screen, that first thing they see is you. That doesn’t mean you have to dress for that person, or for that particular situation, it’s that you have to dress for who YOU are…So it’s really just honing in on who you are, and then showcasing it in your style”

– Monisha Kapur

Transcript:

Ok and we are live on July 30, 2020! Hey, it’s like day 15,375. Welcome. How are you? Um, I like to talk to people that have taken businesses and turn them on their heads. And especially at this time, I think it’s really, really interesting when you look at somebody who does something, you know, traditional, um, but figures out a way to do it differently to accommodate not only the needs of the audience, but also just the needs of the world right now, where things are just not possible. So I have Nisha Kapore, who’s a great friend of mine and she is a virtual stylist. Um, and a lot of you might think getting a stylist is really indulgent and it’s impossible and you don’t want people in your house and, you know, are they going to critique you? She is super cool, super down to earth. But what I love about what she did is she does everything via FaceTime or zoom. And she’s able to go through your closet and I’ll, I’ll let her tell you, but you know, and just fascinating concept, but welcome. And just tell us a little bit about your company “3:44 PM” and how you virtually style people.

Sure. Well, thank you for having me on Gabby, it’s great to be here. Um, yeah, I launched “3:44 PM” about seven years ago. Um, and seven years ago I was thinking, how am I going to do this differently; what’s it going to be, what’s gonna set me apart? Um, and I put out a whole bunch of surveys to potential clients I mean, I did it all; and the three things that kept coming up back then seven years ago was personalized, convenience, and affordability. Um, and it kinda came to, to me kind of in a way, actually, my, my daughter was having a telemedicine doctor’s appointment as we were heading out of town and all of a sudden it popped into my head and I was like, this is it. This is how I’m going to do my business. Uh, so back then there was like Skype and that’s about it. Um, but yeah, you know what I learned and I will absolutely say it was trial and error, like every business as I was working with my clients, um, The real thing as with every business is having that connection, whether you do it virtually, whether you do it in real life, so as long as I could get that connection with my clients, um, that was the first step and that was the success. Yeah. Other parts that I did, I have a proprietary style questionnaire that I work with my clients on to really be able to understand, um, by not being there in real life, but really be able to understand who they are, what their style is, what their needs are. And we really dig into things like lifestyle, hobbies, um, a lot of what makes the person them, and then I take it from there and then we finally get into styling the clothes and looking at the, at the colors and, um, which you could all do virtually. Um, and then finally, you know, as far as getting the clothing is I send out links to online items, whether it’s from small boutiques or a clothing store, literally any brand or company that has an online presence, I can make a recommendation for, for my clients and so that opens up a whole other plethora of not necessarily, you know, having to stay local, you know, there could be a small boutique in California, which there is, you know, that I have a relationship with that, that I can make recommendations if it fits my.

Yeah! You can acquire partnerships and you can also scale your business because it doesn’t have to be people just within a 20 mile radius that you can go visit. So I think that that’s kind of brilliant. Okay. I, I, I don’t know. I might’ve, you know, in my little world coined the term “quarantine chic”, but we are running out of options and I know it’s like we have a lot of stuff to worry about, but there’s still a little bit of vanity that creeps in, I think, with all of us and I think we’re having trouble understanding what is appropriate now for a Zoom call, like what do you wear? Like what should you be wearing our t-shirts? Cool- should you be getting dressed up? We were on a call this morning with a tourist, whatever season the guy had a three piece suit and we were dying. We’re like, Oh wait, is he like seriously wearing a suit? But it was so nice to see! What are people actually doing, you know, or what should they be doing, I guess, on zoom and what’s appropriate versus, you know, what do people come to you needing help with?

Yeah. You know, it’s and, uh, we’re all including myself, you know, sitting there and saying what’s happening and we’re all playing the mind games in our heads. So, you know, the ability to turn around and put a three piece suit on is a little tough. Now, setting that aside, if you don’t, your doing a job interview, that’s a completely different story. But if we’re talking about the every day, as hard as it is, I recommend to my clients and what I’ve heard back from them that works is actually dressing the best you can for work, and that includes head to toe. You know, the Zoom shirt is great and all, and we keep hearing about it. Yeah. What dropped you?

What’s a good to do shirt. Like what plays? Well, what, what, you know, I know most people around shorts, you know, underneath are kind of like yoga pants like I am right now, but what do people, you know, what’s a good, I think for a woman or a man, what’s a good choice?

Yeah for women, you know, I would go with something very simple that you can then accessorize and layer. Um, so it could be, you know, we’re in the summer now it could be a nice, tee shirt that has some sort of flex, uh, or I’m sorry, some sort of stretch in it like spandex or something like that, cause that really helps with the fit and it’s not kind of this bulky t-shirt so it could be a tee shirt and then you layer it with a necklace or some earrings. If you’re going on a meeting, you know, the big thing now is just really the layering or cardigan or a blazer. You know, you are doing a work presentation you just have that t-shirt and you put on a blazer. So just keeping like your Zoom shirt, or even just waking up in the morning and taking out your nice well-fitting tee shirt or a wealth committed, um, cotton shirt, um, it could be a button down if you want, or it could be a cotton blend pullover that you can then go ahead and layer depending on your day. If you’re just sitting at your desk and working all day, that’s fine. You have a meeting, you just grab that blazer or that cardigan or jewelry or earrings. Um, so just having, I think I would just say plain and simple and in summer now that it’s cut and blend and likewise for men, um, You know, honestly, the easiest thing is to keep one press button down shirt. It doesn’t have to be your suit shirt. It could be a nice, um, print and look prints are okay. You know, I know everyone’s like, Oh, does it have to be solid? If it speaks to who you are and you want to be comfortable, it’s okay to have a print. You know, if it’s some crazy check, print that as you look at yourself from the camera, even you make yourself dizzy. No- but you know, print, if it’s a nice color, if it’s a nice button down that you just keep on a hanger, you know, on a hook on your side every day, that’s great, that’s cool. And the same thing goes for men. You know, you want to add in that blazer or go all out and do that three piece suit. That’s that’s good for you. Um, or even you can do something that not only showcases who you are to everybody else and that you’re in work mode, but really helps you BE in that workspace. You know, we are now.

Well then no, that’s an important point. Like how you might know that scientific stuff on this. I just know how I feel. What does it do for you when you actually get up and get dressed? Because we’re all hopeful. I mean, some people have gone back to work into an office, not many, but I think, you know, there’s, there’s such a difference in the day when you actually have to put something on, like you said, that somewhat fitted, um, for that you feel good in, I mean, I would imagine there’s, there’s gotta be a scientific thing about this, but I mean, it’s gotta make you more productive, I think, right, or maybe happier?

Absolutely. There are tons of studies out there. Um, you know, just really quickly, including one day that was a few years ago, doesn’t it Northwestern that, you know, to the conclusion was it’s not only dressing and getting ready, but it’s what, what you wear that kind of helps put you in that mindset. I mean, I can go on and on about the studies, but there are definitely studies out there that what you wear has an effect on your mood, your productivity, um, and really just again, it puts you in that mindset. And when we’re in a space where we’ve got families and kids all over the place, you know, I’m not, I’m going to be honest and say that doesn’t mean that they go away and like you’re in this like perfect mindset, um, but it puts you in that zone. It puts you in, I’m going to work now. And I know for me, you know, I have a preteen and when my daughter turns around and sees me in my, you know, nice printed blouse, she’s kinda like, Oh, Mom’s got something going on.

Same here, if she sees me plotting along with my heels on downstairs, for me it just makes me feel better in the house but, um, or maybe I’ll, you know, I’m going somewhere and I just want to put them on. Um, I think it’s, you know, it’s the same, it definitely helps me. And you know, you brought up something before and I want to talk to you about it because I think so many of us dress for our brand if we own businesses, right? We try to wear some people wear logoed items. Some people, you know, you know me, I travel and every time you see me I have some sort of piece of jewelry, or I have a bag I got somewhere, then somebody might say, where did you get that? You know? And it prompts a bit of conversation. Sometimes I’m able to talk about my business through that. When you are presenting or when you’re having like a, you know, just a call or a pitch or something, what are some of the ways that you can sort of, you know, get your personality communicated or your brand communicated when you’re in a little bit of a, you know, a small square box here?

Yeah, no, definitely. And I think now more than ever, as lots of people are either pivoting from jobs to starting businesses or from businesses to going back to work, or, you know, there’s so much happening right now that it’s all the more reason to be putting yourself and your brand out there and really just, just honing in on what is a personal brand and who you are. What, what makes you, you, and that kind of goes back to what I was saying before, as far as the style questionnaire and the reason that I spend a lot of time on; well, what is it? What are your interests? What is your life, the style are you, um, you know, are you an entrepreneur? Do you work in an office? What makes you, you, what are your likes, what are your dislikes? And really just stopping and thinking about it and what I tell my clients; just go through magazines or just jot down throughout your day and say, Hey, this is what I like, and this is what I’m interested in. And then once you know that, and you understand your business brand, like you said whether it’s in travel or fashion or whatever, it’s what are those elements of you and your business that you can bring out? So maybe it’s your brand color, you know, maybe it’s the name of your brand. There are different elements and ways that you can bring this out. And maybe it’s just, again, going back to, Hey, how do I connect and how do I connect with people and how do they get to know who I am? And maybe they get to know who I am because I like printed blouses or I wear. A certain accessory, or I’m always known to be that person that wears those fabulous glasses. So it’s always incorporating those things that are part of who you are. Um, and I do want to just, you know, make sure that that’s that, because I do hear sometimes from people that. Well, I want to be like “That”. And I kind of have to stop them and say, well, you’re not X and what makes you, you, you know, at the end of the day, you’re your best marketing tool. So really it’s what makes you, you and how can you then be visible? And you could then be visible all in this tiny little box that we’re now in with your clothes you know; that’s really the best without unfortunately being able to do those in real life things, right? What’s the first thing you do when you meet someone, you put your hand out and you shake them with a really good handshake, right? We can’t do that anymore right now!

Yep, you give them a card or something, you know..

Whatever you’re going to put on that screen- that first thing they see is you. And that doesn’t mean you have to dress for that person, or for that particular situation, it’s that you have to dress for who YOU are. And, you know, you could be the person that wears the blazer, or you could be the person that you know, wears the tank top because you have a yoga business, you know, so there’s so many things to kind of take into account of who you are, what your lifestyle is, what your business is. And then once you have that and you look through again, like I suggested, you know, look through magazines and kind of get some inspiration and say- that outfit resonated with me, or, you know, that color resonated with me or you know, my business, I use purple because it’s one of my favorite colors and I’ll kind of split that in and a lot of things. So it’s really just honing in on who you are and then showcasing it in your style.

No. Great. All great points. Now, what do we do about kids, especially- you have a preteen. I have a preteen and they’re going to be spending more time at home than ever. I’d say at school doesn’t look very likely and if it is it’s it’s halftime, um, How do we make sure? I mean, I am like, I am a kid that goes between tomboy, ultra fashion Eustace, or, you know, but some days it’s just, I just want to wear shorts and pajamas. How, how can you get them? I think, because like you said, if you’re dressing, then you’re accountable and you’re, you’re feeling better. What are some tips, I guess you could offer for people battling with preteens to get dressed in the morning, especially when they have to do online school?

I know. It’s hard and I’m not going to say that I’m sitting here with all the answers, but the one thing that I made purposeful with my daughter at an early age was to get dressed for the day. You know, I, I wax and wane a little list of what that is for her…

Just not what you slept in, perhaps, right? hehe

Your pajamas. You’re starting a new day. You’re starting. Whether you can go out unfortunately or not, or it’s virtual camp or virtual school, we don’t know. But again, just helping her and all of us put us, put you in that mindset of now, now there’s a separation. You’re not sleeping anymore. You’re actually starting your day because, okay. Like you started this program off with like any time it’s 900 bajillion day that we’re on this and there’s no separation. So even just that act of I’m going to get ready for my day and I’m going to start my day. Works. Um, you know, I have a preteen I’m going to be honest and say it doesn’t work a hundred percent of time, but no, but you know, I know for her and when I see her, same thing, it’s like, all right, I’m starting my day and I’ve got my whatever on. Um, and I think that that’s really the biggest thing. Um, then of course, it’s, it’s let them.. from my viewpoint, it’s express really who they are, because I think a lot of times we get to our age and when, even when I work with clients, it’s kinda like, you know, okay, tell me about you. You know, you never stopped to think and say, well, what is my style? You know, what do I gravitate towards? What does it look like? And I feel like the earlier you can start with that the better. I mean, there are times my daughter’s like- with a yellow shirt and a blue, this and blue that, and I’m like, okay, maybe not wear that to school, but am I letting some of that stuff go now? Sure. You know, it’s a self expression and we’re all kind of going through that. But to answer your question, I think the biggest thing like that would also go for all of us, it’s really just getting dressed and whatever that means for you.

I get it. Now, this is like an odd year, but to put you on the spot here, what is cool for fall? I mean, is it, I, I’m not even sure how that all works. I mean, I follow a lot of artists on Instagram. Yeah. And they’re like, well, we can’t release music. We’re doing other things. Like nothing is the same. So what, what do you suggest, I guess, for pieces and styles that are coming down the pipe for the fall. What’s cool. You know, for the limited times that you spend out of your house?

Yeah. Um, and you know, it’s like you said, it’s hard, right? So the biggest thing really, I think, is to first start off with anything essential and then take it from there. So if you have your essential wardrobe, you know, even for spring, like the big there, isn’t sorry for summer, the big trend right now is puff sleeves. Like that’s great for zoom, right? It gives a little bit of personality if that’s who you are but I think corporating that into your everyday so that you can layer, we don’t know what it’s going to look like. It may be that you’re going back to the office. Okay. Maybe not. Um, I think it’s first just starting with those essential pieces and then layering it with some really fun trends that speak to who you are. Um, color is, is coming up. I mean, it’s funny. Neutrals is big for summer, which is great for layering because you can always just add on something fun, funky that you want to wear on top to help put you in a better mood, but for fall, we’re starting to see a little bit of color. There isn’t a lot out for fall right now uh, because unfortunately what’s happening is the stores are packed with inventory that kind of have to, has to go. So, um, the focus right now is to spring & summer and kind of making it through that but what I am seeing about fall, which looks really interesting is color. So maybe it’s getting that essential cashmere sweater, let’s say, and, but you get it in a nice color or a nice bright color. Cause as we go into to a pandemic and you know, like us in the Northeast, if we all then have snow, color can also help bring your out, or put you in a better mood. Um, yeah, I would say like, yeah, for right now, that’s what I’m seeing as far as well, but for spring and summer, there’s linen out there, which I know is tough when you’re on Zoom cause you see all the wrinkles, but, um, I would recommend getting a linen blend like linen and cotton poly. That just helps with the wrinkles, but that’s like another nice, cool fabric that you could just wear and it’s comfortable that you could just wear now. Um, that kinda just, you know, gets you out of that, that run a little bit and it’s just, you know, a nice linen top or something. Nice linen pants or something.

No, absolutely. It’s going to be interesting. You know, I think we’ve all been so used to like doing the same thing and wearing the same things every day, except for when we have to go meet that quick change. Um, so I, uh, I’m going to hope for the best, but I think, you know, like it has been getting easier now that we go out a little bit more just to actually, you know, think about putting an outfit together. And I think, you know, keeping kids on track is definitely important because, you know, as we continue to lose track of the days, um, I think like you said, it sets the day apart and it gives you a chance to reboot yourself, you know, especially on days that are more difficult than others. Where can people find more information about you and where can they connect with you?

Yeah. Uh, you can come right onto my website, which is 344PM.com And any questions you could just email me @monisha@344pm.com Or I’m on Facebook, Instagram, um, Twitter, you know, at @344PM and, uh, I usually I post blog posts up there, or you could set up for my newsletter, which you could do right on, um, on my website. So lots of places to find it, me. And, uh, yeah, you know, again, just to reiterate: I think the biggest thing about dressing is not to really think about it as, Oh my gosh, I have to get ready and it’s styling. It’s just, what is that added thing that I can help to make me feel better to get through the day?

Absolutely. And you’ve helped me a lot personally. So it testimonial here, you found me, you found me a way to look really cute in joggers and I thought that that was impossible, so kudos to you! A big staple in my wardrobe, so thank you so much and we’ll chat with you soon and hopefully we can have him back when winter comes and maybe we’ll be out of this and in all wearing something completely different, who knows! Well, stay well and stay healthy. I’ll talk to you. Great. Thank you. Thanks for having me on.

Follow Monisha Kapur @344pmstyle on Twitter and check out her website, which is 344PM.com And any questions, email her at monisha@344pm.com She’s also on Facebook and Instagram.

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