The runway bridegroom

Getting married this year? Want to look as fashionable as your bride on D-day? Here are new trends for men that you might want to follow - or not.
Hindustan Times | By Satarupa Paul
UPDATED ON AUG 02, 2014 06:53 PM IST
A semi-formal suit for the engagement and sangeet - check. A sherwani-churidar-dupatta ensemble for the wedding - check. A tuxedo for the night of the reception - check. A few comfy T-shirts and boxers for shagun, mehendi and all those other 'women-only occasions' when you can blissfully laze around an empty house while the gazillion relatives flock to the venue to dote on your would-be bride - smile and check.

Guys, if you thought you had your wedding wardrobe figured out, think again. Traditionally, women have spent long months and big bucks choosing and perfecting their trousseau with the latest designs picked fresh off the ramps. But men always had a dearth of options for D-day: it was either the ubiquitous, all-purpose suit or more recently, the Bollywood-inspired sherwanis. So we don't blame you for looking so fashionably old-fashioned.

Since the last season however, a whole range of new trends has emerged for the bridegroom. Here are the ones that caught our attention. We also asked our jury of five stand-up comedians to comment on our five choices for men. They claim that they know nothing about fashion, but we know they are closet experts on all things stylish.

So pick from our list or mix and match to suit your style and personality. Grab the limelight for a change.

Drapes for dudes

What do you relate the word 'drape' with? Women and saris? Windows and curtains? How about men and dhotis?

While the dhoti is traditionally worn in many parts of India in many different forms, the immaculately draped dhoti is essentially a Bengali staple. Many Bengali men recall learning to drape and manage a dhoti as one of their earliest exercises in growing up. Draping a dhoti is a ceremony that is still excitedly practised in many Bengali households during religious events and weddings.

Last season, the draped dhoti and variations of it found pride of place in the wedding collection of designer Tarun Tahiliani, who teamed it with a kurta, a bundi and a cummerbund. "The last time I wore a dhoti was some 18 years back. It was not draped well and hence fell off," says Tahiliani. His dhotis thus come with a waistband and zipper so you don't have to fear a wardrobe malfunction on your important day. "It is contemporary, evolved and pre-draped, therefore easy to wear and perfect for the modern Indian man who is rooted in tradition, but is also used to the western notion of cut and finish," says Tahiliani.

Brunch style score

The look takes the draped dhoti to people who traditionally may not have ever worn it, but who are adventurous enough to try it with silhouettes they are comfortable with. It scores a few brownie points for evoking the elegance of another time, albeit in a modern avatar.

Best for the engagement ceremony.

Our stand-up comic's verdict

"This look is modern at the top and traditional at the bottom. I would totally marry my man in that outfit because FINALLY there will be some equality in how many metres of cloth the bride and the groom have to wear at a wedding. This will make the foreplay on suhaag raat last at least four times longer because we will both have too much material to get out of the way" - Aditi Mittal

Suit with a desi twist

The dhoti makes an appearance in this look as well. If you like to play it safe and play it smart, then all you have to do is substitute the trousers of your regular suit with a dhoti. "The dhoti-suit portrays the essence of reincarnation: the modern silhouette of the suit paired with the quintessentially Indian dhoti," says Anju Modi, the designer behind the creation. "The silhouette is quite adaptable to different body types, be it a lean or broad frame."

Deconstructed, the look has essentially the key elements of a three-piece suit - shirt and tie, waistcoat and blazer - paired with a dhoti. "A more traditional yet contemporised look would be a bandhgala jacket and long kurta worn with a dhoti. For a regal look, team the dhoti with a long shirt and embroidered jacket, and replace the tie with a cravat," suggests Modi.

Brunch style score

It's fuss-free, easy-to-wear, and can be experimented with. You can also play the look down by opting for a simpler jacket with clean detailing or play it up with printed jackets, contrasting colours and heavy embroidery.

Best for the sangeet night.

Our stand-up comic's verdict

"This is fabulous, a suit with a dhoti. I will surely wear this, I mean, who doesn't want to look like a packet of 50-50 biscuits? Sweet bhi, salty bhi. So what if, in all my wedding pictures, I will look like someone has Photoshop-ed my upper torso on someone else's dhoti-clad legs." - Rajneesh Kapoor the Palazzo

Remember those flowy, airy, full-length trousers that your sisters and girlfriends have been flaunting last year and this? Bollywood's favourite designer Manish Malhotra has taken the palazzo out of women's closets and translated it into wedding wear for men. Don't look shocked just yet. One of the most wearable trends to emerge this season, the palazzo is simply in keeping with the natural progression that men's sherwanis have assumed over the years - from being paired with tight churidars to loose salwars and now flowy palazzos.

"The look is simple to deconstruct: structured, traditional long kurtas with details like pleats and high collars teamed with loose palazzos," says Malhotra. The colour palette is traditional - beige, white, ivory and maroon, with gold detailing.

Brunch style score

It's a clean silhouette that can easily be adapted off the ramp, and is close to the popular sherwani-salwar trend of the last couple of seasons, which means it can be effortlessly accepted in even the strictest of men's wardrobes. It will blend in with the sherwanis your friends will be wearing, yet you'll stand out with those flowy trousers.

Best for your wedding day.

Our stand-up comic's verdict

"The pants look like a great fit for people who have elephantine calves. I also like how they flare out at the bottom, offering more room than the average Bombay apartment. Would I wear it to my wedding? Probably not, since I'm pretty sure I'll marry my TV, and it'll be a T-shirt-and-boxers-only affair" - Ashish Shakya the monk in you

This is a bonus look that we couldn't resist including in this style guide. After all the pomp and show of your gala wedding, if, just if, you want to renounce all your earthly attachments and go off to the Himalayas to attain nirvana, you might want to check out this look. This combination of kurta-blazer-shawl-flowy skirt/anarkali-churidar was designed by Anju Modi last year as part of her wedding collection.

"This menswear line drew inspiration from a centre of femininity, but the context was the Mahabharata and a re-visitation of the traditions and essence of that period historically," she says. "These experiments help me gauge who an 'Anju Modi' man is. It was well accepted last season and that is what led us to experiment with the dhoti-suit this season."

Brunch style score

We believe it is the perfect ensemble to make your exit from worldly pleasures but with one last style statement that your loved ones will remember you by.

Best for soul searching minus a soulmate.

Our stand-up comic's verdict

"It's a lovely expression of a man in touch with his feminine side. If the groom bolts, there will be a whole new meaning to skirt-chasing. India is all about propagation of the species and the skirts will keep the family jewels well-aired to do it. But there's no way a man wearing this can sit astride a horse. Somehow, I have never fantasised over a man riding towards me sitting side-saddle!" - Neeti Palta hail flower power

On the last day of your wedding celebrations, go all out and play the baroque dandy if you dare. The most boisterous trend for men to come out this season has to be Sabyasachi Mukherjee's bandhgalas and structured jackets with slim (not skinny) trousers. Sounds harmless so far? Check out the accompanying photo and you will understand why we are slightly sceptical about this collection. The ensembles come in floral prints in a range of shades from subtle pastels to eye-catching reds and oranges. "I wanted to do slightly tipsy, overbearing menswear without smothering them with too much embroidery. There was a near schizophrenic quality to the clothing, but the silhouettes kept them extremely wearable," Mukherjee says.

Not every man's cup of tea then? He disagrees, "I think we underestimate the Indian man. Our maharajas and many countrymen from the past were the original dandies. The spirit of decoration and exuberance still remains dormant in the Indian male's psyche. I would not be surprised if this trend becomes a commercial success in the country."

Brunch style score

We love the prints and we love the fit of the garments, we just don't love them together in one ensemble from neck to ankle. What we would love is a man who could wear that look and come out looking like a god!

Best for the formal reception.

Our stand-up comic's verdict

"The colours in this look like photosynthesis gone wrong. Or like something you'd see in the Great Barrier Reef. Very lovely coral. Probably modelled on Coral Gracias. I think if you were to spy on an aquatic creature, this would be wonderful camouflage. I could fit into Bikini Bottom! The floral arrangement is a bit tight in the crotch area. Very tight, in fact. If I wore it on my wedding day, I'm pretty sure I'd have my suhag raat with my suit, not my wife" - Sorabh Pant

From HT Brunch, August 3

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