To be the first Coco Chanel who loves Jesus—that was this pastor’s daughter’s dream.Ever since she was a child, Fashion Blogger, Nika Diwa, had a precocious interest in fashion. Diverging from her father’s expectations of a traditional, simple girl, Nika broke out like dynamite full of fun, energetic individuality… exploring happy ways to put her outfits together. At first, her father tried to give her what he thought was the proper perspective but soon, it was his that changed when he realized his daughter was wired differently… with even a gift and calling for this field.
She, in turn, realized that it was he who influenced her. He lived simply but he carried himself with dignity. One day while looking at his always painstakingly cleaned shoes and neatly arranged clothing, Nika thought, “His clothes look like they’re saying something.” And in that moment, she saw that fashion was a way to express oneself.
Along the way, fear turned into faith and Nika’s parents, in time, released her to move to New York City to get a degree in the business of fashion at the prestigious LIM College where she worked her hardest, taking extra credits trying to finish her degree in a shorter period of time while taking on part-time jobs. She ended up graduating Summa Cum Laude. This kickstarted her career in the luxury fashion industry working for her dream companies including Barneys New York, Ermenegildo Zegna, and The Real Real.
Everything went well… but as she rose in rank and seniority up the executive ladder as a buyer, she started realizing that the industry of her dream career was driving girls and women to unhealthy self-doubt from impossible standards of perfection. And it struck her that she was participating in sending out the lies and fears that derail women into thinking they are ugly, less, unworthy, inadequate.
After a major soul search, even with the sadness that comes with letting go of something one has held on to dearly, she decided to leave the corporate world at the height of her career and as a woman on a mission, she started her blog, www.diwadollhouse.com, with the intent to empower women “through a revelation of their worth.” She is active on her Instagram account, @diwadoll, delivering messages of light, grace, truth, inner value, and worth.
Women, girls (and even men) are looking for fashion trends, ideas, tips. Nika delivers them with the bonus of the inner robe of a person’s biblical identity of being fearfully and wonderfully made as is where is, being precious in God’s sight, and redeemed by grace.
Sharing the secrets to her fashion principle, “Buy Less, Choose Well,” she helps women be stylish while being good stewards of their resources.
During her latest visit this quarter to Manila, Nika had Fashion Afternoon Tea Talks at Karen’s Kitchen Kapitolyo. Here is SolarTV‘s Business and Leisure feature on the first event:
Nika also guested together with her husband— former actor/ fashion model turned Michelin-rated Restaurateur— Emeka Ihedigbo at 702 DZAS Family Matters:
“How Clothes Can Make Us Feel Better, Smarter, and Empowered” with Ms. Haydee Sampang and Bishop Jonel Millan. Please click HERE to listen to that feature.
And another DZAS feature with Emeka on purity before marriage, “Worth the Wait” with Ptr. Clem Guillermo and Ms. Haydee Sampang. Please click HERE to listen to that feature.
The finale of her talks was a lovely evening graciously hosted by Anthony and Maricel Pangilinan at the fashionable Manila House attended by business people, artists, designers, change advocates, students, and friends. Nika shared practical tips on styling, accessorizing, looking for flattering options for individual body types, a deeper look into the root of fashion, and a Q&A portion until the last guest left.
Here are excerpts:
Nika had promised to answer some leftover Fashion Questions from Afternoon Tea guest, Annabelle Mar, which Nika is very happy to answer here:
1. I’m a housewife and my husband calls me to be ready in 15 minutes for a dinner with his guests. How to dress in an interesting, decent way for an impromptu dinner at short notice? I think it is so important for every woman to be able to get dressed for any occasion easily and with confidence! For example in this case, if your husband calls you for a last minute dinner and you have 15 minutes to get ready, I think that the little black dress is always an excellent option. The little black dress has always been a classic go-to option closely associated with the most stylish icons including Audrey Hepburn. I would then layer accessories based on your distinct personality. I always love a funny statement necklace because it makes your entire look stand out!
2. How can I look fashionable without looking like I’m trying too hard for my age? I think timeless fashion essentials are relevant for every decade of life. My personal favorite style staples are the little black dress, a well fitting pair of jeans, a comfortable pair of shoes whether it be a pair of white clean sneakers or a fashionable flat, a medium-sized tote handbag, a pair of sunglasses, and a versatile white T-shirt. I love how the above items can easily mix and match with other pieces in your closet; maximizing your wardrobe for less is always key!
3. How to be chic in stylish cities like Paris or New York without looking like a probinsyana? When visiting large and particularly fashionable cities around the world, I would stick to the above timeless fashion staples. I say this because you can honestly never go wrong with these key pieces. And then have fun while doing a little research about the areas you are visiting. Look at what other fashionistas and bloggers in that area are wearing! If a certain style or type of clothing or accessories speaks to you, try it out! You may find that you love it and may add it to your more long-term style in the future. Remember that refining your style is a process… It is never quite finished. It’s an adventure! That’s why it’s so much fun!
4. Can I be stylish without having to buy signature items? I personally do not pay attention to signature brands because I believe that fashion is not about the label but rather about the person. I say stick to the brands that work for YOU; in style, comfort, and budget. Bonus tip: if there is a specific style that you adore from a luxury brand that may not necessarily fit your budget, Google keywords pertaining to that style to look for other brands that have similar clothing. Fashion is cyclical and there is a very good chance that a mass retailer has mimicked that same style and you can get the same look for less!
5. How can I look fashionable without showing too much skin? I believe that looking stylish is about dressing in the context of the most empowered version of yourself. It is certainly not about showing too much skin or dressing inappropriately. I believe that when young ladies show too much skin, it is a sign of insecurity. We are created fearfully and wonderfully by God to live and move and have our being as his precious royalty! I believe it is so important to honor our bodies because by doing so we are loving ourselves well. I encourage all women to discover their style in a way that respects their bodies and identities as daughters of the King!
6. I am Filipina. How can I honor my ethnicity while being fashion forward? I would start with the question “What does my culture mean to me?” As a proud Filipina myself, I personally love the bright colors, patterns, and prints interwoven throughout the Filipino culture. I resonate with this through my bold style! Remember that style is inspired by the ideas, people, and values that make you who you are today. I encourage you to stand proud and empowered in whatever that looks like for you, specifically when representing your amazing culture!
7. The style that is flattering for my body seems time warped in the 70’s. I think that if a certain cut is flattering and honoring to your body, and you feel confident in it; then that is all that matters. It is also important to note that decades in fashion revive and come back around; fashion is cyclical. For example, right now the 70s are back in! One of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe are my bellbottom jeans!
8. What timeless shoes are good to invest in for special occasions? For special occasions, I believe the most effortlessly stylish shoes are either a pointed toe pump or a classic round toe flat. I personally like owning both in black and nude because they are versatile and work with so many different types of outfits.
9. Timeless elegant bag that won’t burn your pocket? The most timeless and classic go to bag in my opinion is a medium sized tote handbag. My life is very busy and I am always on the go and my handbag is crucial as it needs to carry everything I need from day to night. I always say that your handbag should be large enough to fit one pair of shoes in it but not large enough to fit two pairs of shoes! It needs to be a good size that you can realistically carry around without breaking your back (or bank). I would suggest purchasing at a mass retailer like H&M and Zara, because not only are they affordable, but they are also on top of the trendiest styles.
10. Basic cut and color of outfit that can be used from work/day to night/ social occasion? For easy transitional outfits, I like to stick to neutral colors because of their versatility. To jazz up an outfit with accessories, I love metallics in either silver or gold. They effortlessly go well with neutral colors and immediately make an outfit pop!
11. What basic pieces can spell sophistication? My favorite go-to pieces for a sophisticated look are a black or neutral colored shift dress, neutral-colored pointed toe pump and/or round toe flat, a statement necklace in either silver or gold, black sunglasses, and either a nude or red lipstick to top off and seal the look!