Born and bred in the city of dreams, Heena Shah Dawoodi is everything you would expect a Mumbaikar to be. From her guileless yet feisty demeanour to her adoration for swanky styles, Heena seems to take it all in stride with her ever-so-welcoming charisma and pearly whites. Being a prosthodontist (and quite a voguish one at that!), her fashion preferences are extremely paradoxical yet, highly appealing. A part of her relishes bling and everything glitzy while the other side to her also reveres classic cuts and monochromes. In quite an unvarnished conversation with WM, she talks about being chic, urbane and unapologetically saucy.
WM: Can you walk us through your dentistry career?
HSD: I pursued my BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) and MDS (Master of Dental Surgery) from D. Y. Patil Dental College. I have been working since the past three years and I am currently practising as a prosthodontist, so I deal with dental crowns, smile designing and all cosmetic parts of dentistry. I also freelance with different clinics as a specialist and consultant. Apart from being a dentist, I am a real estate consultant as well.
WM:What was your first ever fashion realisation?
HSD: Since the very start, I have been someone who wouldn’t blend her outfits with anybody and everybody at a party or social gathering — I have always wanted to stand out, not liking to be a part of the ‘same dressing’ scene. Hence, fashion has always come naturally to me.
WM: What is your personal style like?
HSD: When it comes to dressing, there is no in-between for me. I would either dress up like I am going to a red carpet event or not care to dress up at all. Also, I am not much into traditional Indian wear. If I have to go to office wearing formal attire, I would rather be dressed up in smart formals than wear a kurti, same for medical exams where one is expected to dress up in an Indian formal attire. Also, I am very particular about the cut and fit of my trousers, since I believe that if it is not designed well with the right fabric and measurements, or if it is not from a good brand — it just shows. I end up buying more of trousers in almost every shade possible, than any other piece of clothing. I don’t compromise on my pants. They have to be perfect with a mid-waist fit and of an appropriate length. I often wear culottes with a crop top to work.
WM: What are the current trends pervading in your profession?
HSD: Doctors today are no more serious and uptight when it comes to dressing. It’s not just me, but even those I have worked with, are quite fashion forward. I have seen doctors and dentists at conferences in their late 40s dressing up really well. So, I am clearly not an exception. I think people from my field are quite over that phase now, especially in metropolitan cities like Mumbai.
WM: Is there anyone you derive your style inspiration from?
HSD: I am not big on accessories. I rather believe in dressing up smart, with cuts that accentuate my body and for that, I really admire Deepika Padukone’s and Kareena Kapoor Khan’s sense of style because they are not into accessorising and let their personalities do the talking.
WM: How do you usually dress up for work?
HSD: I usually put on formal pants and match them with different shirts. Also, I don’t work in the corporate field, so I don’t do three-piece dressing either.
WM: How would you describe your shopping style as — do you do street shopping as well?
HSD: I usually shop alone. I think more the people, more the suggestions and more the confusion. So if I like an attire, I would take my own sweet time thinking, imagining it 360 degrees and sometimes, it just clicks. Of course, I indulge in street shopping! Almost every girl in Bombay does (chuckles) because we’re more open about it. You don’t have to wear a brand to look good. What matters is how you carry it.
WM: According to you, why is it important to dress up according to the occasion and not be laidback?
HSD: I have always been extremely particular about what kind of clothes I wear and where I wear them. Moreover, you are young only once, so why not dress your best? And irrespective of one’s looks, body type and personality, I think everyone should dress up for themselves. You instantly feel great about yourself when you dress up, it’s like a confidence booster of sorts.
WM:Are there any brands or designers that you swear by?
HSD: I love brands, but who doesn’t? I don’t swear by any brand as such but I do tend to shop from a few brands. For example, if I am looking for formal wear, I would always go to Zara. I also like H&M in the States. I would go for a Guess or a Diesel if I had to pick a pair of denim. I like Masaba for her bold and vibrant prints. However, I usually do not buy expensive designer wear for many reasons.
WM:You said you believe in the saying ‘Work hard, party harder’. If you are at a party, do you go all out with your dressing or try adding a subtle element or two to it?
HSD: I go all out. I love experimenting with colours and I love bling. I’m not a sober dresser when it comes to partying. But so to speak, there should at least be one element that stands out and enhances the appearance of your outfit and gives a certain kind of pop or a fun side to it.
WM:What is your all time favourite travel destination to sport your best styles?
HSD: I love New York. I absolutely love wearing jackets and trench coats which I can’t wear here. I love dressing up for winters. Also, you get to learn about a lot of trends since there is a huge diversity among people. USA as a whole, I feel, is quite fashion forward as compared to Mumbai. So, it is always a good idea to sport your best styles there.
WM: Would you like to share any fashion advice with our readers?
HSD: You don’t need to accessorise much if you’re wearing a great outfit. Keep it simple and let the clothes, hair and make-up do the talking. Pants are a very important part of one’s outfit and you should not compromise on the cut and fit at any cost. Also, one must have variety – be it a white trouser, culottes or a pair of jeans.
WM placed a few hypothetical questions in front of Heena and here are her responses: