Mandate - - Guide - By Neeti Sarkar

It’s time you shrugged off those bor­ing formals, mun­dane greys and browns and strait-jacket suits. The new def­i­ni­tion of men’s work­wear is here.

They say that men with style have a good of sense of self. Gone are the days when busi­ness and work re­quired only tal­ent, in­tel­lect and one lone suit for those high-pro­file meet­ings and cor­po­rate oc­ca­sions. While look­ing dap­per for iso­lated evening dos is quite a breeze, per­fectly co­or­di­nat­ing the out­fit you wear to work daily can seem like a Her­culean task. That’s pre­cisely why we’ve come up with this sea­son’s rule of thumb: There are no rules!

That’s right. It’s time for you to break ev­ery stereo­type and ex­per­i­ment with off­beat prints, colours, fab­rics and styles. It’s time to em­brace change in work­wear and aim at pack­ing a punch ev­ery sin­gle day. And those who are a page be­hind, here’s a lowdown on how to achieve that dis­tinc­tive­ness, which will help you both blend and stand out amidst your peers at work:


Ac­cord­ing to Ka­mak­shi Kaul, Head Designer, Max Fash­ions, “We’re mov­ing away from stripes and checks as one also has an op­tion of choos­ing a whole lot of un­der­stated prints in for­mal­wear such as dots and mi­cro prints.” Whereas, Jayanth G, Head of De­sign, Menswear at Allen Solly, be­lieves that pat­terns like Tar­tan check and big, bold stripes have made the of­fice-wear space far more in­ter­est­ing and in­di­vid­u­alised. “One can opt for a shirt with ditsy, small flo­ral prints or a geo­met­ric pat­tern that looks like a tex­ture, and pair it with the right neu­tral trousers and a blazer to make it ap­pro­pri­ate for the of­fice en­vi­ron­ment.”


It’s time you look be­yond cot­tons and linens. Ruchika Dhu­par, Styling Con­sul­tant at luxury re­tail brand, Fer­vour, rec­om­mends ex­per­i­men­ta­tion by way of com­bin­ing fab­rics from the op­po­site end of the spec­trum. “A mix of wools and silks can add rich­ness, depth and in­ter­est to any fall en­sem­ble.” And, as far as the fit is con­cerned, “work­wear is get­ting a makeover with close to body fits in shirts and trousers. The new age pat­terns with the flexi-waist trousers en­sure one looks dap­per with­out com­pro­mis­ing on com­fort,” Ka­mak­shi points out. Need­less to say, it is best to avoid fab­ric that wrin­kles eas­ily.


Con­ven­tional greys and blues have made way for splashes like cit­rus yel­lows, emer­ald greens and brick reds. While pas­tels tend to suit most In­dian men, yel­lows and browns make you seem more ap­proach­able. Green helps you look calm and re­as­sur­ing, and pur­ple hints at in­ge­nu­ity.

Jayanth says, “The trick to look suave and stylish and not stick out like a sore thumb is to en­sure that one car­ries th­ese shirts and trousers with khaki, navy or grey blazer, which neu­tralises the bright­ness of the shirt. One can also pair bright shirts with washed khaki chi­nos or navy cot­ton trousers that make the look ef­fort­less, yet stylish and dressed up.” Ac­cent a clas­sic menswear colour pal­ette of blues and browns with rich colours like bur­gundy, deep blues and greens. Ruchika sug­gests, “Choose sim­i­lar colours, es­pe­cially in cases where you want to com­bine two bright pieces. You can ei­ther go from a mono­tone look with your suits, or mix com­ple­men­tary colours. But re­mem­ber that one of the colours should be brighter than the other.” And, un­less you want to turn up at work look­ing like a mad-hat­ter at a tea-party, do not wear many colours at once. Bear in mind that lighter colours in­di­cate ami­a­bil­ity, the darker ones hint author­ity. So for for­mal events, your out­fit should show­case no more than two solid colours. The key lies in sim­plis­tic styles.


As they say, the devil is in the de­tails. In this case, it’s in those minute touches that en­hance the over­all ap­peal of your work­wear. Ka­mak­shi states, “Choose fun and quirky prints for ties in com­pli­ment­ing colours of your shirt to brighten up your look. A dash of bright colour can also be added in the form of socks play­ing peek-a-boo be­tween for­mal, un­der­stated pants and for­mal shoes.”

Brougues and Ox­ford shoes in tan and brown are musthaves as they can be paired with most trousers. Sim­i­larly, braided belts in browns and blacks, and tex­tured leather belts add a lot of flair with­out mak­ing one look too gaudy and loud in an of­fice space. Jayanth says, “If one wears a blazer, a right pocket square that is printed with bright colours can liven up even the wea­ri­est out­fit.” That apart, a scarf, tie or even a pair of sus­penders can add to a sharp ca­sual work-look.

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