Men’s style and grooming by Yatan Ahluwalia: 30 ways to be a smart dresser
1.Recycle what you have: Save on money, space in your wardrobe and reduce your carbon footprint by recycling what you already own. This can be done by using an old worn out formal shirt with frayed cuffs as a casual shirt on the weekend (by rolling up the sleeves) or by cutting an old pair of trousers or jeans into a pair of smart knee-length shorts.
2.Donate what you don’t need: Clothes that you won’t be wearing anymore shouldn’t end up in a landfill but perhaps, be put to better use by being given away in charity. What you don’t value, could keep someone warm on a cold night or dry on a rainy day.
3.Repair and alter: Ensure to keep all your clothes in good shape, form and make repairs as and when they need them. There’s nothing worse than reaching out for something to wear and then realising that it needs to be fixed.
4.Less is More: Quality always lasts longer than quantity. It’s always better to invest in a few durable and long - lasting clothes and accessories than collecting too many, most of which remain either unused or have to finally be given away.
5.Colours exist: Don’t get obsessed with black, brown, white and grey. Experiment with colour either occasionally or frequently. Adding a new colour to your wardrobe, can drastically change the way you look and feel.
6.Buy something unusual: Get that one quirky design, print or pattern that’s different from what you normally wear. Use this intelligently to match or contrast with your regular looks.
7.There’s more in your wardrobe than just jeans: Reach out for shorts, trousers, chinos, pants or tracks than the safety net of just wearing your favourite pair of denims or jeans.
8.Wear a tie: Surprise everyone in the room by wearing a tie, when they least expect you to. A tie will always make you look smart and stand out in the crowd.
9.Sports shoes are for sports: However comfortable or trendy they may be, don’t wear sports shoes everywhere you go and with all your looks. Sports shoes are for certain sports and gym shoes are exclusively for the gym.
10.Wear coloured trousers: An eye-catching pair of trousers that breaks convention, will drastically change your daily and mundane look. Think red, orange and yellow.
11.A man bag is a must: A flat smart bag that can fit all your basics (and more) without looking bulky is highly recommended. Choose a bag with multiple compartments, is light to carry and practical to use. Always, opt for leather over cloth.
12.A watch always speaks before you do: A good timepiece always gets noticed and conveys a lot about who you are and where you come from. Invest in a good watch that matches both your style and personality.
I recently stumbled upon this incredible 3D printed watch with Hindi numbers on a stainless-steel dial from Jaipur Watch Company that is sure to make heads turn and be a conversation starter.
13.Keep your measurements ready: We often shop on the go and as men, prefer the entire experience to be as short as possible. In the age of health pandemics, good personal hygiene can be maintained by not trying out multiple options and size variations. Always keep your measurements handy to buy your clothes and accessories. Update every few months.
14.Dress to impress: Last-minute meetings, engagements, events, dinners and dates can sometimes leave us with no time to get changed and ready. Dress smart in a versatile or neutral look, especially when you are on the move or are out and about.
15.Wear your shirt differently: Play around with your shirt – roll up the sleeves halfway or midway, button or unbutton, tuck in or leave out. Wear the same shirt with an assortment of looks, colour and design combinations to make it look and feel different, each time you repeat it.
16.Keep those shoes looking good: Just as with clothes, keep all your shoes as ‘ready to wear’, clean or well - polished on the shoe rack as possible.
This smart pair of handcrafted laced black derby shoes from Escaro Royale is versatile in its look and can be worn to either a board meeting or to an after-work party.
17. Iron all your clothes: A well-dressed man, never wears clothes that look crumpled or creasy. Ensure your clothes are well ironed and look as crisp as possible.
18.T-shirts with graphics are for kids and teens: Unless you are under 20, don’t wear t-shirts with graphics or abstract prints. The plainer your T-shirt is, the smarter you will look.
19.Wear some jewellery: Yes, men do and can wear jewellery. But, unlike with women - our jewellery should be kept to the minimal and be as low on the bling factor as possible. Platinum and silver over gold and always vintage over new.
20.Your wallet should be both flat and clean: Do yourself a favour and empty out your wallet at least once a month. Remove everything that’s not essential. The flatter your wallet, the more sophisticated you will look.
21.Keep some belt options handy: Choose your belt based on the dominant colour palette and looks in your wardrobe. You must have at least one (or more) of both a formal and casual belt.
22.Keep the top and bottom balanced: If you’ve put on a sleek, streamlined jacket and a slim fit shirt, don’t wear flared pants with it. Stay consistent with the shape and form, all the way up from top to bottom.
23.The right look for the right time: The only fashion rule to follow: always dress according to the occasion, place, time of day and season. There’s nothing worse than getting your seasons and occasions mixed up. Apply this to the shape, form, colour, cut and fabric of everything you own and wear.
24. It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed: There’s nothing wrong with being the best-dressed guy in the room. But don’t end up wearing a three-piece suit to the beach.
25.Logos should never be seen: Unless you have a brand endorsement in place, please refrain from flaunting prominent labels or logos on your clothes and accessories. A really stylish man does not need to flaunt his label to make a statement or get noticed.
26. Make sunglasses a part of your look: Own a minimum of two pairs – one for each of your prominent looks. Sunglasses must only be worn when the sun is up, and you are in it.
27.Organise your toilet case: De-clutter and organise your wardrobe, vanity cupboard and the vanity case itself. Ensure the bag for your toiletries is kept ready to move with you and that it is large and roomy enough to fit all your man essentials.
I loved the look and practicality of this very smart and functional handcrafted men’s leather wash bag from The Leather Story. Choose between black or brown.
28. Keep your jacket buttoned up, except when you sit: It’s the cardinal rule of men’s dressing – ensure your jacket remains fastened when you stand or are on the move. The only time you should unbutton, is when you sit or are getting undressed. The lower or last button, may be left open, but only if you have nothing to hide under it.
29. Always stay well-groomed: In one of my previous columns I emphasised enough on the importance of always looking good and being camera ready. Follow a regular grooming regime (haircut, shave, trim, face masque, moisturise, face scrub) that keeps your skin looking as fresh and clean at all times, so you are always ready to be on the go.
30. Don’t follow trends, make them: Observe fashion trends with an open mind. Stay engaged with style and grooming by regularly reading this column, watching the occasional fashion show and flipping through a fashion magazine or scrolling through a style page or blog. But when it comes to your personal style always be yourself and only borrow influences from passing trends.
The author is an image, style and grooming consultant and trainer.
From HT Brunch, June 21, 2020
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