So I mentioned earlier how I’m on a Project Runway binge. It’s been a long time since I downloaded anything for myself and it’s been a long time since I consumed something frivolous. For months it’s been philosophy and pondering deep thoughts, and it felt amazing to fall into the bucketful of froth that is fashion as it were.

Project Runway is not what it used to be as diehard fans will tell you. For one, Marc Jacobs has gone, and Zac Posen doesn’t seem to have the same sharpness. It also seems like the producers have instructed the judges to the extent that they seem to say the most random things – gushing over mediocrity and saving someone simply because they’re committed to a certain story. I’m referring to Amanda and Char here in Season 13, which was the one I watched. At least the winner wowed us, even if he overused fringe.

Despite the fact that the show has gone downhill, I enjoyed watching it. V watched me watching it in fascination. I’m into fashion, always have been, but I don’t really look the part. I certainly don’t look the part when I’m consuming these shows clad in an old T-shirt that used to belong to V and ill-fitting boxers, my hair standing up in peaks and horns and my face shiny with oil. But I can’t claim to be on the cutting edge even when I make an effort. And nevertheless, I enjoy watching other people putting together ‘a look’ and carrying it off in style. I love the transformation from cloth to clothes, from plain Jane to glamour. This post encapsulates my relationship with fashion.

Switching from an office job to life in academia proper has marked a shift in how I dress. I had acquired a number of chic formal office dresses over the years but frankly, now I would look too neoliberal in them. When I said this to V, he laughed at me for five minutes. But it’s the truth. You cannot look like the worldview you aim to critique. Or maybe you can. I am not ready to give up my tailored jackets, but I need to combine them with something more casual, a melding of the two mes. Which is part of the point, that fashion is a masquerade.

Moreover, being a student, working in an office where one never really has to meet proper adults, with people whose style is eclectic, comes with freedoms that are hard to resist. Like wearing shorts and flip flops to office. Like tying ones hair up in a turban made from an old t-shirt (a colleague, not me). It means high heels are a no-no, but also weirdly, showing one’s toes is not considered de rigueur in graduate seminars. It means that I need to replenish the T-shirt pile in my closet.

So I rely on my tried and tested go-to site for online shopping ZALORA. It’s interesting in these matters, how I’m a creature of habit. I try something and if it works, I don’t want to look elsewhere. But this time, I’ve skipped the shoes and honed in on the casual wear, though I did detour through the bags section before firmly telling myself this is no time for accessorizing. I have my eye on a couple of T-shirts, and since I’ve lost a bit of weight, they just might work.

The weight loss also means I’m in desperate need of new jeans, but being a student on a budget means, I need to slouch around in my accidental baggies for now. A makeover would be great at this moment, but I just don’t have the funds.

For example, this month I had a haircut so good, it could only be too-good-to-be-true. I tried a new shop down the road because it was cheaper than both the other places I regularly go to. The hairdresser didn’t speak a word of English, but I figured my gesticulations to cut just a little (“siu siu” I said theatrically) would do the trick. Then I panicked as he hacked off a great chunk of hair from the back of my head. I ended up with a sleek bob, one of the best haircuts I’ve had in terms of effect, but alas I knew it would only last a day or two because my hair is not sleek and my patience is not up to the task of a daily blowdry. The only other option is to straighten my hair again, but for the first time, I found my hair not standing up to the damage as well as it used to. And considering the cost of applying for a visa, I don’t think I have can afford the more expensive treatments.

So it’s crazy hair and loose pants for now. But at least I have those T-shirts to look forward to.