Men’s style and grooming by Yatan Ahluwalia: Fashion’s discreet garments

They are essentials in their own right but are hardly considered to be fashionable
Vests and socks are as much a part of a well groomed man as any other piece of clothing or accessory
Vests and socks are as much a part of a well groomed man as any other piece of clothing or accessory
Updated on Mar 14, 2020 11:53 PM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByYatan Ahluwalia

Vests and Socks are both an essential part of a man’s wardrobe but somehow always remain underrated and often overlooked. Follow our style guide to wear them right.

The vest is perhaps the only fashion garment that can be worn both as both as inner and outwear. Model: Shafeeq (Yatan Ahluwalia)
The vest is perhaps the only fashion garment that can be worn both as both as inner and outwear. Model: Shafeeq (Yatan Ahluwalia)

Decoding the lead look

Hair: Medium length, made wet then styled messy all around.

Brows: All natural

Face: Trimmed neat five-day stubble. Overdue for a shave!

Clothes and accessories: Ribbed white vest

Skin: We used the anti-ageing kit by Kiehl’s for the face.

The anti-ageing kit for men

The anti-ageing range for men from Kiehl’s
The anti-ageing range for men from Kiehl’s

The anti-ageing range from Kiehl’s has been formulated for tough and weather-beaten skin and includes a cleanser (which doubles as a masque & face wash), skin serum, eye cream (that lightens dark circles) and both a gel and cream-based moisturiser (which promise to make the skin firm and wrinkle free). The range ensures your essential anti-ageing grooming routine is taken care of.

Product rating: 8/10


By the way they have been portrayed in fashion, film and advertising, vests seem to have become the epitome of masculinity and are said to have a ‘manly’ look and feel.

The vest is perhaps the only fashion garment that can be worn both as both as inner and outwear.


While most men in India and tropical countries wear vests to keep them sweat free and dry, they were originally designed to keep men warm and insulated in winter. Vest should therefore ideally be worn both in winter and summer.

Summer vests must always be made of light breathable cotton. The softer and more breathable the fabric, the more comfortable and lighter you will feel. You may choose between a plain fabric or one that has been ribbed to allow the air to go through the fine lines.

In winter, vests help layer the body and provide the first feel of warmth to the body. They also create the perfect barrier between your skin and the garments that you wear on top.


Most vests are either sleeveless or half sleeve. Sleeveless styles allow the underarms to be exposed to air while the half sleeve styles keep them covered.

Grooming tip: Ideally men who sweat excessively in and around the underarms should wear the half sleeve cut to prevent visible sweat patches on shirts.


While coloured vests can be worn for sports and casual wear, a white vest remains the safest colour neutral option. Sports and casual vests are sometimes plain or printed. Popular prints are numbers, letters or camouflage and stripes.

Fashion tip: There’s nothing worse than seeing a coloured vest under a formal or work shirt, especially if the shirt itself is either white or a light pastel (pale pink, sky blue, mint green or lemon) in colour.

How to wear them

Vests can be worn on their own over jeans, trackpants, shorts, casual trousers or over a pair of boxers or underwear. They are worn both by young boys (under their school uniforms) and mature men (under their business suits).

Vests must always have a snug fit. A loose, worn out or ill-fitting vest underneath, will always ruin the shape and form of what you wear over it.

Style tip: At an ideal length, the vest must end just over the hips and when being tucked into the trouser should be done so evenly all around to prevent unwanted folds and gathers.


We do not give much importance to the pair of socks we use, but a pair of socks can subtly, but surely elevate and change your look completely.

You can now start your look from your feet and gradually work your way up! From the standard black and white, to the occasional brown or navy-blue ones, socks have evolved to now being in bold colours, striking patterns and even unusual prints.

You really shouldn’t wear any shoe or footwear, except perhaps beach and bathroom slippers or open sandals without socks.

Grooming tip: Socks help with sweat management and give protection from fungal infections, cracked heels and other skin and hygiene issues with the foot, including preventing painful blisters and shoe bites.


Formal socks by Canali
Formal socks by Canali

Conventionally, socks must match the colour of the lowers or garments that you are wearing on top. This colour continuity ties your outfit and look together.

If you are a conservative guy or just prefer to play it safe, wear black, brown or navy socks. As much as we love colourful socks, sometimes it’s better not to stand out. If you are sporty, your safest pair would be white sports socks, often with wrap around stripes on them.

Fashion tip: If you are flamboyant or prefer to make a style statement with your socks, wear solid colour-blocked or printed socks to add a sense of boldness to your look.


Printed coloured socks by Moja Club
Printed coloured socks by Moja Club

Printed socks could come with stripes, polka dots, houndstooth or with a pattern – including animals, cartoon characters or abstract geometric patterns.

Never match the pattern of your socks with a pattern that already exists in your look. If you’re wearing stripes, avoid striped socks. Matching pattern on pattern can look a little too deliberate and makes your look go over the top.

Style tip: If you want to draw attention to your socks, the more toned down the rest of your outfit is, the more striking your socks will be in comparison.


Socks can either be plain or ribbed. Ribbed socks can a add a subtle visual interest, to an otherwise plain or neutral look.

Types Of socks

1. No show socks: These are short socks that cover the heels but aren’t visible when you wear them. They are extremely versatile and can be worn with most shoes, especially casual footwear or loafers.

Avoid wearing ‘no show’ socks with boots or ankle lengths. They are best teamed with sports or knee length shorts.

2. Ankle length socks: Ankle socks are often confused with ‘no-show’ socks, but they are quite different. Ankle socks sit on or slightly above the ankle and protect your heels and ankles from chafing.

These are perfect to use with low cut shoes, especially sports, running or gym shoes.

3. Crew length socks: These socks are usually about six to eight inches long and offer protection from dust.

Crew length socks go well with formal shoes but can also be used with running or hiking footwear.

4. Mid - Calf or Quarter length socks: These socks cover the ankles and will give you a professional look.

Quarter length socks go well with workwear. You should match them with the colour of your pants or trousers and sometimes, even jeans.

Three shoes to pick this season:

1. Red Loafers: It seems red shoes are back and here to stay. Wear them when you want to draw attention to your feet. This lace less pair can be worn with a pair of jeans, casual trousers or knee length shorts. Socks aren’t optional, so make sure you have a clean pair on.

My take: This pair is very light and comfortable.

Red leather loafers by Metro
Red leather loafers by Metro

2. School boy shoes: Classic black laced shoes, the kind we all wore to school for business and work wear. Nothing like a bit of nostalgia on your feet. Works well with a sharp summer suit or just a simple shirt and trouser.

My take: The leather used for these shoes feels soft and looks extremely rich.

Vintage black laced shoes by Joe Shu
Vintage black laced shoes by Joe Shu

3. Formal shoes: Once considered outdoor shoes, the Brogue which is a low heel style with decorative perforations has evolved to become part of a formal look. Brogues that have a sheen can be paired with a formal business or evening suit.

Black wingtip Brogues by Escaro
Black wingtip Brogues by Escaro

My take: These Brogues have fine craftsmanship.

Author bio: The author is an image, style and grooming consultant and trainer.

From HT Brunch, March 15, 2020

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