Feature Friday: Meet Jida Kalai

Often times, I've stared at my closet wondering what to wear.  Do I wear this or that?  Should I get whole new makeover?  Well I had the privilege of interviewing Jida Kalai, a fashion blogger and interior designer.

Enjoy the interview.

Faten Abdallah (FA): What are three must have pieces every woman should have in her closet? Why?
Jida Kalai (JK): Our closet essentials depend on our lifestyle and where we are at in our life.  A career woman's wardrobe may differ than a stay at home mom for example, but the three must have pieces I think every fashionista should have are:
        1. A pair of well fitting jeans is a must.  As long as it fits perfectly and hits you in the right places, it will never go out of style.  Denim can be worn  in day time to run errands and for going out at night by throwing a dressy top over it and some heels. This actually makes it perfect for traveling too.
        2. A little simple solid color dress.  I am not going to say black, because as long you pick a neutral color you will get a lot of use out of it.  Every fashionista should have a classic short dress that she can wear with flats, with boots, and with heels.  I have one that I wear in winter and summer.  I throw a large scarf over it and a pair of tall boots or I wear it with heels and a nice necklace.  Invest in a flattering dress and you will wear it a lot.
       3. A pair of statement shoes: I think every fashionista out there should invest in one pair of classic, yet flashy heels that you can wear to a party with a dress or with your favorite denim and t-shirt.  It's an easy way to look fab when you don't have the energy to dress up.

FA: How much should one budget for clothes per year?
JK: I actually have read somewhere that your clothes allowance should not exceed 5% of your net income.  I think it varies year to year, and it depends if you are investing in essential pieces.  For instance,  if you are buying a coat and a pair of boots you might go over budget for the year, but you are not going to make the same purchase every year.  The way I look at it is that you have to shop like an investor.  Spend your money on pieces that will get you the best return on investment: pieces that are universal, classic, and can be worn a lot.  

FA: How often should a woman update her closet?
JK: I would say every six months.  I take the opportunity at the end of the fall season to declutter my summer wardrobe and I do the same at the end of winter.  Everything I didn't wear in six months leaves my closet.  The exception is cocktail outfits.  These I might go over every 12 months.  We tend to hold on to things that don't serve us and create clutter in our lives.  We need to practice to let go and create space to invite new fresh things into our lives and in this case our closets :).

FA: How does a woman pick the right style/fashion for her?
JK: This is a question that will take pages to answer.  In general, don't follow a trend unless it works for your body type.  Every woman can look super fashionable and trendy if she is to pick what flatters her figure.  Super tight clothes and hip huggers for instance are not for everyone.  Pick clothes that highlight your best body parts and hide your imperfections.  Even though they say age is only a number, don't expect to look sexy in a teenage outfit.  Our body changes and so does our fashion style.  Your eye is your best judge.  Don't buy a piece that looks good, buy one that looks good on you.
FA: Give some tips on how to eat healthy.
JK: My number one rule for eating healthy is to avoid processed foods.  Go for fresh produce.  It takes your body less energy to digest.  I created the Elegant Eats blog to help people create delicious recipes that are super healthy.  Anything that is in a can or a jar has some sort of preservatives.  I don't believe in deprivation or counting calories to lose weight.  All these energy or protein bars have tons of processed sugars that don't do your body any good.  Your diet should be rich in fresh fruits and vegetables in addition to a good source of protein and carbs.  When it comes to meats, fish, chicken the same rule applies, avoid anything processed.  Make sure to include fatty acids in your diet.  Avocados, fish, nuts are really great for your skin, hair, and nails.  If you are over 20, cut down your dairy intake.  Start your day with a glass of warm water and lemon to cleanse your body.  Fruits are better consumed on an empty stomach not after heavy meals.  Opt for baking rather than frying.  Include grains in your diet.  Make your main meal  at dinner time.  Don't mix too many proteins in one meal.  Treat your body as a temple.  
FA: What's your favorite recipe?
JK: Because I have a sweet tooth, my favorite has to be a sweet, delicious desert. ;) Check out my "Memorial Day Sweet Bites.  They satisfy my craving for sweets and energize my body at the same time with no processed sugars whatsoever.  I always have them handy at home.

FA: Anything else you would like to add
JK: Give your self a chance to do what you like and have passion for.  It is never too late.  As for any future projects, I have two that I need to work on.  The first is to create an online interior design shop (as you might know I am an interior designer).  My next project is to put a healthy cook book together for the fashionistas out there.  It will include all the recipes on my blog and maybe more.  Make sure to follow me on instagram, Facebook, and twitter and of course my blog at elegantfashionista.com   Leave me your honest comments and what you would like to see on my blog.

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