My Uniform: Content Director, Nandita Khanna

My Uniform: Content Director, Nandita Khanna

LA-based Nandita Khanna, AKA Nan, was born on the West Coast, spent many years in New York working in fashion and now finds herself back in California, heading up content for subscription CBD company, Feals. Needless to say, if anyone has a perspective on the difference between a West Coast and an East Coast uniform, it’s her. She sent us snaps from her sun-drenched life in quarantine and divulged her style twists and turns, lace socks and puka shell necklaces included. Plus, Nan makes a pretty compelling case for investing in timeless design. We’ll let her explain...

ON EARLY STYLE

I grew up in Orange County, which was just idyllic as it sounds. Our house had a large swimming pool and lemon and lime trees in the backyard. I never realized quite how special it was to live there until I moved away. I am one of three girls and our mother L-O-V-E-D dressing us up, preferably in things that were matchy-matchy, or at the very least coordinated around a nautical theme. We all wore big bows in our hair, lace socks, and little patent Mary Janes. By age 16 I was firmly in a “surfer girl” phase and my Orange County upbringing could be detected from miles away. I remember lots of Roxy, specifically a pair of white corduroy shortalls that I begged my mom for, Lucky brand jeans, a Volcom hoodie that was a gift from an older boy I dated, oh, and most certainly a puka shell necklace and some Sun-In which resulted in my jet-black hair taking on a less-than-desirable shade of brassy orange. I’m sure I thought I looked very cool though. 

 

ON LA VERSUS NEW YORK

I worked in New York for magazines for almost a decade so I think there’s an element of fashionista that comes with the job description. For many years it was 5” Miu Miu or Prada heels, short, printed dresses with a long cardigan. I’ll watch Devil Wears Prada at least four times a year just for that hit of nostalgia. When I went to work at J.Crew back in 2012, we were all so inspired by Jenna [Lyons] and the brand during those years. So that’s really where I started to build my denim collection and that’s when I got into wearing men’s oxfords, shopping for men’s cashmere sweaters, and I developed a fondness for pointy  loafers. Many of those pieces are still in my closet today. Since moving to LA three years ago, I’ve leaned into a bit more simplicity and ease of dressing: flowy, midi-length dresses, jumpsuits, lots of poplin, silk camisoles, anything linen. People don’t get “dressed” the same way they do in New York,  things tend to be slower, softer, and more relaxed. Denim is a big part of my wardrobe— I’ve amassed a collection of vintage Levi’s the last few years —  and then lots of linen, supersoft poplin. I like things with feminine details, so a puff shoulder (my favorite), an exaggerated sleeve, or sweet ruffle, and I always mix it with something simple and tailored, like a straight leg, high-waist jeans, or vintage army jacket. 

 

ON QUARANTINE + THE HER NEW NORMAL

I still get dressed every morning. I find that daily Zoom meetings are holding me to a higher standard these days. Make-up, not so much, but I am getting dressed. It’s been a bit of an evolution, as the weather in LA has shifted from mild to hot: At the beginning of quarantine I cycled through a slouchy sweatpants and a bodysuit phase and now since it’s high summer, I’ve been wearing dresses and easy jumpsuits. Also, chunky cardigans, like the Nico from Alex Mill, which is the perfect weight for an evening walk. On days when my hair is in desperate need of a wash, I’ll throw it up and put on a headband to create a diversion. Emotionally I’m trying to be patient with myself. Some days I feel chirpy and high-energy, and some days it feels like I’m wading through quicksand. In my relationships, particularly with my boyfriend living in New York, I’ve been trying hard to be as judgment-free as possible since everyone is handling quarantine in their own way. Creating boundaries has been useful: I've tried to limit my news intake to twice a day. I listen to an episode of The Daily while I walk to get a coffee and then I don't check headlines again until the end of the day. I've turned off my New York Times notifications. In the evening, I head over to @JessicaYellin's IGTV for a recap of what's going on today. She's insightful and breaks down headlines (particularly related to COVID-19) in a way that's easy to follow. There's no sugar-coating, but I really appreciate her in-depth reporting. I've also been trying to expand on what makes me feel good, so sometimes that’s just watching old episodes of Friends (thank you, HBO Max), I’ve picked up natural dyeing, so I’m making things for friends, and then baking. I find that baking a loaf of something, whether it’s banana bread, or a citrus-y loaf with lemons from a friend’s yard, it’s nice to do on Sundays to make Monday morning’s breakfast feel like a treat. So basically, I’ve become a meme? ;)

 

ON GREAT DESIGN

I remember reading an interview with Milton Glaser in which he talked about new ideas. He said that new isn’t always the most beneficial, that there’s something to taking what you know and making it more significant. I think that concept applies to fashion too. When you think about the classics—there’s so much beauty in updating something that’s beloved. Whether it’s a new weight of fabric, texture,  tailoring. I think that’s why classics will always be just that, and there’s a real beauty to those building blocks. They never get old for a reason, which is why I’ve always believed in investing a little extra money in them.

 

THREE THINGS WITH NAN

3 things you never leave home without:

Tracy Feith cloth face mask, Jao hand sanitizer, Saie lip balm

 

3 people you’d like to have dinner with tonight IRL.

This is a hard question! Well, certainly, my boyfriend, Rob (who lives in New York) and my dear friends Olivia and Guillaume. Hopefully, their son Lalo would make an appearance before bedtime ;) So, I cheated, that’s 3.5.

 

3 things making quarantine a bit more joyful for you.

Peonies from Flower Truck LA, sunshine, sending snail mail to my friends. 

 

Your uniform, in 3 pieces.

Flowy dress, a wrist full of permanent jewelry (quite literally, I have six bracelets soldered on my wrist), and a small cross-body bag (Celine, Cesta Collective, or Staud).

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