There’s something about Preetma Singh that really caught our attention— not just her lawyer turned Vogue fashion editorial career move but her ability to make you feel at home yet the utmost respect for her story. Most people say they love fashion, but Preetma is one of those gals with a genuine interest for high fashion, plus we wouldn’t mind crashing her old timey wardrobe or joining a book club with the girl.
After spotting this well dressed and polished woman during fashion week wearing a quirky pair of Prada sunglasses, flatforms and a killer mixture of bold prints on to boot, I was enamored with her style and story. Preetma’s Ivy league education, professional yet eclectic style on street style blogs like The Sartorialist and Citizen Couture, her blog The Working Girl Esq where she gushes about Dries Van Noten, and previous internship stint at Refinery 29 made her stand out amongst the sea of bloggers that I normally come across. Newcomer to the fashion scene, Preetma is quickly making the top of my “bloggers to watch” list. I asked Preetma about her style, mixing passions with work and going from attorney to fashion Editorial Assistant at Vogue.
AMETHYST: How would you describe your style?
PREETMA: I think there’s no better word than eclectic—I don’t like to be limited by one specific category or type of style. I just love to experiment with whatever inspires me at the moment. I also love to be comfortable, so I would add easy and effortless (at least I hope!).
AMETHYST: What made you go from being an attorney to working in fashion editorial?
PREETMA: I went straight to law school from college so I didn’t really get to explore any other careers when I was younger because I thought I was definitely going to be in politics. After working as an associate for a couple years at a large corporate law firm and having second thoughts about the politician career path, I decided I finally needed to take a risk and pursue my lifelong interest in fashion professionally.
AMETHYST: I actually spotted you during New York Fashion Week after the Yeohlee show, getting your photograph taken. I thought of asking you for a snapshot myself! How does it feel to be asked to take an outfit photo for street style blogs like The Sartorialist or Citizens Couture?
PREETMA: It’s extremely flattering and very surreal. I always dress for myself—no one else—but it’s great when other people also respond to your sense of style. It was also a little anxiety inducing at first because I’ve always been a bit camera shy (starting a style blog took a lot of convincing!), but all the street style photographers are so talented and such wonderful people that they definitely put you at ease. Notwithstanding, I never do get over the shock that someone actually wants to photograph me! I always think “Me?”.
AMETHYST: One of my best friends is applying to law school but also loves high fashion and street style. She’s very well educated and always wanted to be a lawyer, but has interests in these other parts of life—she’s said that she hopes to be you in 10 years! What kind of advice would you give her in terms of balancing her interests and her career?
PREETMA: I think it’s really important to make sure you reserve time for yourself and your non-professional interests. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a LOT harder to do than one would think. When I first started practicing, I let everything else fall to the wayside. As someone who has always loved dressing up without fail throughout my life, I even stopped caring what I wore to work and on the weekend! At that point I realized I had to do something—and the blog was a good way of keeping me on track while allowing me to explore my love of writing. It really took a constant conscious effort to keep up my other hobbies when I was working in a profession that expects you to dedicate the majority of your time to it. So, in a nutshell: stay vigilant!
AMETHYST: A lot of people who are recent grads and in their young 20s are experiencing a tough job market—you need 3-5 years of experience just to attain an entry-level position and on top of that, entering the working world can be dispiriting. As a young woman recently landing a job at Vogue, do you have any advice?
PREETMA: Perseverance and faith! No matter what your experience level, it’s a tough world out there and persistence and a well-founded confidence are your best friends. As someone who didn’t have years of experience interning in fashion, I definitely questioned my decision to change careers on numerous occasions and found myself in some discouraging situations along the way. But, I just had to keep reminding myself that in this new job landscape, everyone is having a difficult time and to have faith in the fact that I did have something to offer to employers. It also helps to think long-term—even though a position or networking opportunity may not seem ideal, you never know where or to whom it might lead you. Just get yourself out there and be resilient—you’ll hear a lot of “Nos” but it only takes one “Yes” to change your life!
AMETHYST: How did your interests in fashion begin?
PREETMA: I can’t even remember a time I didn’t love clothes and/or fashion! It kind of runs in the family—my dad probably has more clothes than either my mom or I do! My whole family has always been very aesthetically inclined, so it was just natural for me to develop an interest in fashion, I guess.
AMETHYST: What are some pieces that you saw during fashion week that you need to get for your wardrobe?
PREETMA: I really love the California desert-inspired prints at Derek Lam. The purple printed shirt and trousers look is divine. I also really enjoyed Richard Chai’s neo-raver look. I thought it was very fresh. And, although I unfortunately did not go to the Paris shows, I absolutely loved Dries Van Noten’s collection. The collage of photo prints were infinitely inspiring. I hope to be able to save up enough to get some pieces from those collections for sure.
AMETHYST: What books are on your shelves— to-read, currently reading, and read?
PREETMA: I am a sucker for the classics—the only problem is you end up running out of them! I’m planning on re-reading Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons. Russian literature is a love of mine—I love the intensity, sense of history, and philosophical nature to them. Since it was such a censored culture for so long, the novels really carry a lot of weight, especially when it comes to political and metaphysical issues.
AMETHYST: Do you have any favorite blogs?
PREETMA: I really love all the street style blogs—haven’t OD’d on them yet! Jak and Jil, Street Peeper, The Sartorialist, Citizen Couture and beyond! I still gobble it all up voraciously. Susie Bubble also always has a refreshing take on fashion and is a great source for info on new designers. Style Like U is another inspiration go-to. I recently came across a site called The Genteel, which I am absolutely loving! It approaches fashion in such an intelligent, yet fun way. It’s exactly the kind of site I would love to write for!
AMETHYST: What’s something that most people don’t know about you?
PREETMA: I’ve always wanted to be in a band. I took guitar lessons when I was younger, but never progressed beyond mediocre. I’m finally learning to play the drums and think I’ve finally found the right fit! So perhaps my dream will come true soon. Better late than never, right?
AMETHYST: If your fashion career really takes off, would you still continue to update your blog in the future?
PREETMA: Definitely! I think blogs are such a great forum through which to document what’s going on in your life at any given moment. As someone who was perpetually starting a diary, but never committed enough to keeping one, I think this is the closest I’ll ever get!
AMETHYST: Finish this sentence: “Life is…”
Thanks so much for the interview, Preetma! We’ll be following your blog and we’re sure we’ll see you popping up on street style blogs for fashion weeks to come. Can’t wait to see what you do in your career!
_By Amethyst Wang