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STYLE GUIDE


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STYLE


GU IDE C ON T E N T S

The Suit 10 14 18 22 24 28

Elements Of The Suit How To Get The Right Fit Dressing For Your Body Type Why Some Suits Are More Expensive Looking Beyond Greys And Blacks Taking Care Of Your Suit

The Shirt 32 Getting The Shirt Right 40 Shirts For Every Occasion

The Trousers 44 Getting The Trousers Right

Mix & Match 48 The Art Of Mix And Match

The Blazer 60 How To Wear A Blazer

The Bandhgala 62 The Bandhgala Demystified

The Business Casual 64 How To Get The Business Casual Look

The Tuxedo 70 Understanding The Tuxedo 74 The Bow Tie

The Tie 78 The Tie In All Its Colour 80 The Knots

The Shoes 84 86 92 93

The Stand On Shoes The Finer Details The Sartorial Rules Care Basics

The Accessories 94 Aesthetics Of Accessories


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VAN HEUSEN AND THE INDIAN MAN

T

he humblest of beginnings marks the foundation of Van Heusen. Moses Phillips began selling hand-sewn shirts from a small wooden handcart, laying the foundations for a company that would later be called Van Heusen. The company’s designers dreamt up the greatest invention on shirts - the collar. Dreaming of a process that weaves cloth at a curved angle, John Van Heusen’s nine year quest led him to invent the world’s first collar. It was a discovery that led Queen Elizabeth to issue a Royal Warrant to Van Heusen, appointing VH the official clothier of Buckingham Palace. And international celebrities like Ronald Reagan, Anthony Quinn and Tony Curtis, to name just a few, become endorsers of Van Heusen. Van Heusen continues to create landmark innovations like Ice Touch, Durapress, Best White, Techno Cotton and the Intelligent Clothing range. It is the number one dress shirt brand in America. It is also the world’s largest selling dress shirt brand, selling in over 70 nations spread across five continents. Since its launch in India in 1990, Van Heusen has consistently tracked and understood the Indian male. In the last two decades the clothing preferences of Indian men have undergone many stages of evolution. At each turning point Van Heusen has stood witness to these changes – and has been ahead of the curve in forecasting emerging trends, and making them accessible to the Indian consumer. Three significant work-related trends have changed the male wardrobe. Gordon Gekko has gone out of vogue. No longer is the workplace leader as aggressive and abrasive as he used to be. The 24/7-a-week self-expression is preferred over nine-to-five office wear. All these factors have impacted the clothes executives prefer. The core audience comprises of professionals and corporate executives - men who are successful, focused, articulate, well-traveled, and confident and have a sense of style about them. But they are not just men caught up in being more successful – they also have varied interests and passions and like to experiment. Most importantly, the Van Heusen consumers are those who believe strongly in leaving a mark wherever they go, standing distinct and tall even among a group of like-minded successful people. These men also stand out because they take their dressing seriously. And it is at them that this coffee table book is targeted. In the last decade suits and jackets have made a huge comeback after many years. More and more men are wearing jackets to work, not because the office rules mandates it, but as a sartorial statement. They want to look good even at work and a nice jacket, often in day colours, makes them stand out. And not just at work, men in suits are making their presence felt everywhere - dinners, parties, weddings, cocktails, soirees. Suits are being worn, not because the occasion demands it, but because men are keen to make a fashion impact. Our hope is that this comprehensive guide to buying and wearing suits will be a valuable companion in their quest towards sartorial excellence.

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THE SUIT


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E L E M E N T S OF T H E SU I T SUITS COME IN DIFFERENT TYPES WITH A VARIETY OF DISTINGUISHING STYLE ELEMENTS. SO HAVE A CLEAR IDEA OF WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR BEFORE YOU BUY ONE.

THE SINGLE-BREASTED JACKET

THE DOUBLE-BREASTED JACKET

The single-breasted jacket features a single row of buttons that run down the front.

THE THREE-PIECE SUIT

The double-breasted jacket is ideally suited for men who are tall or of medium height.

Functionally, the waistcoat in this suit keeps the shirt and tie in place and makes the body look slim.

It typically features two rows of four or six buttons. One column of buttons is for show while the other is functional.

Ideally, a three-piece should be worn with a spread-collar shirt so that the symmetry aligns with the waistcoat’s wide V-shape.

Other characteristics include peaked lapels, double side vents and regular flap pockets.

The most fashionable and popular version is the two-button, single-breasted jacket. The lower placement of the top button makes the lapel look longer, and has the effect of making most men look slimmer and taller. The three-button on the other hand is a little more old-fashioned and not flattering on most men due to the higher positioning of the top button. Occasionally, you might find a one-button suit as well. Most men consider it too hip.

The standard is six buttons for a waistcoat, but for short men, five would suffice.

It is a jacket that should always be buttoned. You either fasten one button (called six-on-one) or two buttons (called six-on-two).

Quite like the jacket, the lowest button of the waistcoat is almost always, left undone.

The buttoning rule is applicable to the modern four-button version as well.

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HOW T O GE T T H E R IGH T F I T A SUIT IS AN INVESTMENT SO YOU NEED TO SPEND TIME TO GET THE FIT RIGHT. HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU SHOULD BE AWARE OF

NOT TOO TIGHT, NOT TOO LOOSE

Gone are the days when men bought jackets that hung like a sack from the shoulder, and pants floated like parachutes. You should look stylish while being comfortable in a suit. Even if you are physically big, it is no reason to wear a boxy suit. There are more imaginative ways to hide your girth. The trim lines of both your jacket and trousers should always follow the natural curves of the body, on the sides, shoulders and sleeves.The lapel should lie flat across the chest and the waist should be slightly suppressed. Always try a size smaller than you normally wear, because most men tend to overestimate their measurements. Button the jacket fully and if you see stretch creases on both the sides then you need a bigger size.

BAD FIT

GOOD FIT

LENGTH

The ideal jacket length is the one where the buttocks are fully covered from the rear, not an inch more or less. One good way to determine the right length is by standing erect with arms on the sides and fingers cupped.

SHOULDERS

The bottom of your jacket should be in line with the thumb knuckle.

The padding on the shoulder should be kept to a minimum. The side seam of the jacket shoulder should end at the natural shoulder point, and not beyond.

The shoulder is the defining part of the jacket. Cut too narrow or too broad and it will throw the proportion of your face off-balance.

There is also a trend these days of shorter jackets that only partly cover the buttocks. However, it is meant only for men with bodies like those of models you see on billboards.

One way to figure out if the shoulder fit is right is by standing sideways with the arm nudging against a wall. If the shoulder touches the wall, the jacket is too big for you.

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E L E M E N T S OF T H E SU I T

THE LAPEL

The lapel is a key element that determines how a suit looks on you. Suits come with three different types of lapels: notch, peak and shawl. Make sure the lapels are slim, unless you are barrel-chested, in which case a wide lapel will look good on you. In a perfectly fitted jacket, the lapel will fall flat against the chest. Notch lapel is the most popular and versatile of all three, and looks good on almost everyone.

Shawl lapel is the rounded smooth lapel that tapers from the collar to meet the top button of the jacket. It is found only on tuxedos and dinner jackets.

The name derives from the angular notch the lapel makes with the collar. You will usually find them on single-breasted suits and modern-day blazers. Its slimness tends to make men look slim as well. In a peak lapel the top edge of the lapel peaks upwards towards the shoulders. It is usually found on formal jackets, and more so on double-breasted suits. If it is used on a single-breasted suit make sure the lapel size is slim. When worn by shorter men, the peak lapel provides the illusion of added height.

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E L E M E N T S OF T H E SU I T

DOUBLE

SINGLE

VENTLESS

VENTS

Like in the case of lapels, the rear vents in a jacket come in three distinct types. The most popular and practical type are the side or double vent, but bulky men should avoid them.

Ventless jackets, which is an Italian innovation, is least practical of the three for obvious reasons and should be avoided at all cost. The single vent takes attention away from large hips but does the opposite when you have to pick something from your rear pocket.

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HOW T O GE T T H E R IGH T F I T

COLLAR

The simple rule of a jacket collar is that it should lie at the back of the neck comfortably flush with the shirt. Ill-fitted collars will stand at an angle to the shirt. THE WRONGLY FITTED JACKET COLLAR

HALF INCH OF THE SHIRT COLLAR MUST BE SEEN

Like in the case of the sleeves, about half inch of the shirt collar should be visible prominently above the jacket collar.

SLEEVES

HOW TO BUTTON

There are three things to look for when it comes to sleeves.

YOUR SUIT

The tradition is that you button a suit when standing up and unbutton it while sitting down.In a twobutton suit always fasten the top button.

The arm hole should be high enough for you to be able to raise your hands comfortably.

RIGHT

WRONG

In a three-button suit either fasten the middle or both the middle and top button.

The sleeve should not be too slim or too broad. If too slim it will impede arm movement, and if it is too broad, excess fabric will bunch up around the elbow.

Never fasten just the top button. The bottom button should always be left unfastened.

The jacket sleeve should end at the wrist bone, and the shirt sleeve should extend a little further. About half an inch of the shirt sleeve should always be visible from under the jacket.

A double-breasted suit should always be buttoned, standing or sitting.

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DR E S SI NG F OR YOU R B ODY T Y PE ALL MEN ARE MADE UNEQUAL. AND UNLESS YOU HAVE THE PROPORTIONS OF A RUNWAY MODEL, YOU NEED TO BE MINDFUL OF WHAT KIND OF SUIT YOU WEAR. IT SHOULD HIDE YOUR FLAWS AND FLATTER YOUR STRENGTHS.

THIN

SHORT

REGULAR

BULKY

You are better off with fabrics that are textured and slightly heavy in lighter colours and shades, preferably with horizontal lines or even glen checks. Avoid pinstripes at all cost if you are tall. Double-breasted jackets are ideal for your body shape. If wearing a single-breasted suit, avoid large lapels. A pocket square, lapel pin and a broad belt will add a bit more heft to the suit. If you are on the taller side avoid slim ties and go for trousers with cuffs.

Make sure the suit is form-fitted. A loose suit will look very bad on you. You will be helped along in the height department by vertical stripes. Twobutton jackets suit you the best with low-rise pants. If you are skinny go with heavy fabrics and if bulky go with the opposite. Avoid broad ties and large lapels. Your pants should have no break, and avoid belts because it cuts down on your height.

You are better off with two-button jackets with a slim lapel. Avoid peak lapels. Make sure the suit is form-fitting and narrow at the waist. Slim trousers go very well with your physique.

If your mid-section is bigger than your chest you should avoid clothes that are form-fitting. A generously cut shirt and jacket is best for you. Dark solid colours, vertical patterns and lightweight fabrics provide you an illusion of height and slimness. You are also better off with two-button jackets where the deep `V’ made by the top button of the suit and the shirt takes away the eye from your ample middle. If you are on the shorter side go for peak lapels which will add on to your height.

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W H Y S OM E SU I T S A R E MOR E E X PE NSI V E WHAT DISTINGUISHES A LOW-PRICED SUIT FROM A MORE EXPENSIVE ONE IS INVARIABLY THE FABRIC AND THE QUALITY OF ITS CONSTRUCTION.

FABRIC

The best suit fabrics in the world are made from the wool of the Merino sheep. It is known as Super Wool and is graded depending on the diameter of the wool fibre. The smaller the diameter the better and more expensive the fabric. The grade of the fabric is denoted in units of 10s with a prefix of Super. Super 100’s indicates wool fibre with an average diameter of 18.5 micron, Super 110’s refers to an average fibre diameter between 17.76 and 18.25 microns, and so on. The number can go all the way up to Super 220. The higher the number, the finer and softer the wool, but more expensive. The commonly worn high-end suits are made from Super 100’s to 120’s wool. Tweed and flannel are other types of wool that are used in making suits. The most commonly used fabric for making suits is a blend of wool and various kinds of synthetic fabrics including polyester. Other fabrics used include cotton (in its various avatars like gabardine, seersucker and corduroy) and more expensive materials like cashmere and silk.

CONSTRUCTION

The other distinctive features of a good suit are quality stitching (which should not come apart after a few washes), a well-made canvas, and durable lining on the inside. In expensive suits, a piece of canvas made from wool and camel hair is hand-stitched to the fabric on the inside. The canvas gives the structure and form to the jacket. In more popular suit jackets, instead of a canvas a cheaper interlining fabric is thermally fused on the fabric. It serves the same purpose as the canvas. A compromise between the two is called a half-canvassed jacket, where the top half is a canvassed jacket and the bottom is a fused jacket. The canvas in turn is hidden under what is called the lining. Made normally from silk, it is sewn along the back, chest and sleeves on the inside of a jacket. Not only does it hold and hide the canvas and the seams, it also provides additional structure and weight to the jacket.

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L O OK I NG BEYON D GR EYS A N D BL AC K S BREAK THE MONOTONY OF DARK COLOUR SUITS WITH PATTERNS AND DESIGNS.

Stripe Most common in business suits, the striped pattern does not just look elegant, it is also a good choice for shorter men for the illusion of height it creates with its vertical lines. The width between the stripes gives this pattern a range of options with the pinstripe being the most ubiquitous. This pattern is made by pin-sized dots in silk or cotton and then woven into worsted cloth. The other most common pattern is the chalkstripe which consists of large attention-grabbing white stripes.

Glen check Found largely in woollen fabric, it features a twill design woven into it in the form of alternating small and large checks. It is seen in a variety of colours as well as black and white.

Windowpane Here the pattern resembles the panes of a window. Like the Glen check, it’s good for sports and casual jackets. On a business suit, it spells flamboyance.

Houndstooth

When wearing patterns, at the most basic level, remember to have at least one solid colour piece in your outfit

A relic of the Scottish past, the houndstooth pattern is made from wool and tweed fabrics. The abstract black and white pattern works well with a striped shirt and a solid tie.

Herringbone Distinctive for its zigzag pattern, it isn’t too flashy for any occasion. And it matches well with almost all kinds of shoes and ties.

Nailhead and Pinhead A subtle geometric pattern, it features a solid colour in the background with small white or grey dots interspersed all across the fabric.

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TA K I NG CA R E OF YOU R SU I T R Suits should be necessarily dry-cleaned. But frequent dry-cleaning will weaken the fabric. Find a good quality dry cleaner. Bad dry-cleaning reduces its longevity.

R Always brush the suit before wearing, to get rid of lint and other particles. Brushing is done best with the suit laid flat on a table.

R Release creases and wrinkles by steaming the suit using a good quality steam iron. Avoid ironing with the regular iron. It might damage the fabric.

R A quick way to release wrinkles is by hanging the suit in the bathroom for about 15 minutes with the shower on at high heat.

R It is a good habit to air the suit for a day after you wear it. It gives the fabric time to get back to proper shape.

R Use good quality sturdy hangers with broad support at the shoulders and a strong metal hook to hang a suit. Find a hanger whose shape mimics the shape and size of the jacket’s shoulder. Get a clamp hanger for trousers, and hang it upside down from the cuff.

R Space out the clothes in your wardrobe. That helps fabrics breathe. Under Indian conditions it is best to always store away the suit in a suit bag.

Always brush the suit with a good clothes brush to get rid of lint and other dirt particles 29


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THE SHIRT


The two-button spread

The button-down

The straight-point

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GE T T I NG T H E SH I RT R IGH T THE SHIRT IS AT THE CORE OF YOUR WARDROBE, THE AESTHETIC CENTRE AROUND WHICH AN ENTIRE SUIT GETS ORGANISED.

THE COLLAR

The height of the collar, its length and spread should complement and enhance your face. How the face looks is thus to some degree dictated by the kind of collar you wear. Conversely the kind of collar you wear is dictated by the shape of your face, as well as use of accessories like the tie. There are several kinds of collar types, and within each type there are broad and narrow variations. The straight point is the most common and versatile. It can be dressy and casual and can be worn with or without a tie. Most good shirts come with plastic stays which are essential in keeping the collar stiff. The button-down collar is the one where the collar points are held down by buttons. But when buttoned, the collar should have a stiff roll, rather than lie flat on the shirt. In a spread collar the points are wider than in a straight point and it is more appropriate for large tie knots. In the extreme cutaway versions that are popular in casual shirts these days, the collar points are spread even further. Other types include tab collar where two inside button tabs hold the collar together and the club collar where the points are rounded instead of being angular. STRAIGHT POINT IS THE MOST VERSATILE COLLAR

A round face is best served by a narrow spread collar with long points while a long face is best balanced by a wide spread collar with shorter points. Men with long necks should wear high collars, while men with short necks look best in smaller collars. Men with a double chin should avoid the button-down or the spread collar.

LONG FACE

ROUND FACE

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GE T T I NG T H E SH I RT R IGH T THE CUFF

Half inch of the shirt cuff should always be visible outside the jacket sleeve and should fit snugly around the wrist so that it is not dragged back into the jacket sleeve when the arms are stretched.

There are commonly four types of cuffs. One-button barrel is the basic cuff found in the largest number of shirts.

Two-button notched barrel is a slightly more dressier version with two buttons and a prominent notch at the top when fastened.

Two-button turnback features a double layer of fabric that is folded back, but is fastened with buttons instead of cufflinks.

French is the most popular and elegant dress shirt cuff, and the reason why cufflinks were created.

THE FABRIC

The best shirts in the world are made from 100 per cent cotton. And within cotton, the more expensive are the two-ply variety, whose yarn consists of two long fibres that are twisted around each other. The more commonly used fabric though are single-ply cotton and blends of cotton and synthetic fibres. Other fabrics used in making shirts include linen and silk.

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GE T T I NG T H E SH I RT R IGH T

THE CUT

Historically shirts have been cut in three styles– American, British and French. Like the sack suit, the American style shirts tend to be fuller along the sides, while the French cut is tapered and the British somewhere in between. The French cut has now been replaced by the more universal name of slim and extra slim cuts. Men with big paunches should avoid them.

THE SLEEVE

The shirt shoulder should hug your shoulder, and the sleeves should start at the shoulder bone. The armholes should be cut high and allow unrestricted motion of the arm. The sleeve width should match the size of your arm, not too big and not too small.

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SH I RT S F OR EV E RY O C CA SION Business meeting You need a shirt that is perfectly cut, elegant and sober both in colour and pattern. It needs to convey the seriousness of the occasion, that you are a no-nonsense man, not just in the negotiations but also when it comes to style.

Less stressed day at work This is the day when you can be less formal. Stick to formal shirts, but in more playful colours that project your state of mind. Keep patterns sober though. You don’t want to be seen overdoing it.

Friday dressing Break away from the standard whites and blues by experimenting with pastel shades of lavender, yellow and pink. Even a sober T-shirt combined with a pair of nice trousers will work.

Weekend Weekends are the only time when men can truly project their playful side. Hawaiian, rugby, silk, gingham, flannel... everything works.

Business cocktail It is mostly a formal occasion. You convey your business side through shirts that are dressy, but sober in colour and fabric.

Formal dinners A suit is a must for occasions like this. When it comes to shirts, stick with the conservative whites and blues.

Festivals This is that time of the year when your best dressy festival shirts have to come out. Shirts that look and feel like silk (not necessarily in silk though) with lots of shine and lustre.

Clubbing Stick to long-sleeved button-down shirts in solid colours with texture, measured design elements and a slight sheen that can potentially bounce off the disco lights.

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T H E T ROUSER S


A pair of slim f lat fronted trousers worn slightly below the waist will make you look tall and elegant

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GE T T I NG T H E T ROUSE R S R IGH T TROUSERS ARE THE ANCHOR ON WHICH A GOOD SUIT IS STRUCTURED. IF IT IS BADLY FITTED THE WHOLE OUTFIT WILL AMOUNT TO NOTHING EVEN IF YOU ARE WEARING THE NATTIEST OF JACKETS.

THE WAIST

Even if you know what you think is your right waist size it is always better to try sizes that are one size smaller or bigger. Sizes are not consistent across brands and could vary widely. The waist fit also varies depending on whether you are wearing high-rise or low-rise trousers, pleated or flat fronts. THE CUT

If you are done with boxy jackets, there is no reason why trousers should hang and billow like a parachute from the waist. Make sure that the legs are cut closer to the body and they taper slightly towards the ankle. THE FRONT

Modern trousers are flat fronted. They make you look slim. Pleated trousers used to be in fashion till about a few years ago, but they are not in vogue any more. Avoid them unless you have a big mid-section. THE BREAK & LENGTH

REGULAR

Break is the point towards the lower part of the trouser legs where the crease breaks. In a perfectly cut pair of trousers there will be only one break, or at the most two. This can be achieved by making sure that the length is cut in such a way that the trouser hem just about kisses the top of the shoe, covering the socks, and its front end resting partly on the shoelace. Anything longer, will leave the trouser legs bunched up in folds at the bottom. Seek a tailor’s help to get the perfect length.

HIPSTERS

THE CUFF

Cuffs are making a comeback, especially in some formal trousers. They are ideal for tall men, because they make legs look less lanky.

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M I X & M ATC H


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THE A RT OF MIX A ND M ATCH HOW TO MIX COLOURS AND PATTERNS IN A SUIT AND TIE, AND MATCH THE POCKET SQUARE, BELT, SHOE AND SOCKS.

R When in doubt about colour fall back on the colour wheel you learnt in school and which is always available on the internet. Colours that are close to one another on a colour wheel tend to combine well. A blue suit for example would go well with a purple tie. Colours that are on the opposite sides of the colour wheel also complement each other well. So blue goes well with colours like gold and brown. R Warm colours like black, white, grey, khakhi, brown, beige, etc. tend to combine very well. Shades and combinations of warm colours like red, yellow and orange tend to go well with shades and mixes of cool colours like blue, purple and green. Finally, there is the monochromatic colour combination, which in India is also referred to as tone on tone, where you combine different shades of the same colour across the whole outfit. R When wearing patterns, at the most basic level, remember to have at least one solid colour piece in your outfit. For example, if you are wearing a pinstripe suit, make sure that either the shirt or the tie is in solid colour.

R A rule that never goes wrong when wearing patterns is to ensure that at least one colour in each pattern is repeated. For example if you are wearing a solid blue shirt and patterned tie, make sure that there is some blue in the tie pattern. 49

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TH E A RT OF MIX A N D M ATCH

R If you are mixing two patterns of the same type, for example when combining a striped suit with a striped shirt, make sure that the stripes on the suit are wider spaced than that on the shirt. Similarly with checks. Further, when mixing two patterns, always ensure that there is a variation between the weight of the patterns, i.e., combine a thick stripe with a thin one. Also remember when combining that the tie should have the dominant pattern as compared to the suit or shirt. R When mixing two different types of patterns, the size of the patterns should be similar. For example, if you are mixing a checked shirt with a paisley tie, make sure the checks and the paisleys are roughly the same size. Or if you are wearing a checked suit and a striped shirt, make sure the stripes are only as wide as the space in the squares. R It is mostly avoidable to mix three patterns in any combination, i.e., two of the same kind and one different or three of different kinds. But if you are indeed brave to try it out, make sure that the two patterns of the same kind are spaced out differently. R When buying a tie the first thing to look for is whether the size of the tie matches your girth. Men who are big should go for wider ties. Regular size men should stick to regular size ties. If you are thin, slim ties will look good on you. Big men should avoid slim ties. The tie fabric should match the material of the suit. When wearing a dressy suit, wear a dressy tie.

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TH E A RT OF MIX A N D M ATCH

R White shirts and black suits go with most tie colours, especially the dark ones, so does grey and navy. Opt for a dark or muted colour tie with a light coloured suit. If you are wearing a solid colour shirt then try a tie in a complementary colour, or alternatively in a different shade of the shirt colour. If you are wearing a patterned shirt, go for a solid colour tie. If you want to combine a patterned tie with a patterned jacket or shirt, then apply the same rules as in the case of suits. R Pocket squares should be an essential part of every man’s wardrobe. You should wear one every time you wear a jacket because it adds colour to your look. Its colour and pattern should complement the suit, tie and shirt, not match them. You could also match its colour with at least one element on the tie or shirt, though it is not essential. R Tie pin like pocket square adds panache to the suit. It should clip both ends of the tie, and be fastened to the shirt placket. It should ideally be placed between the third and fourth buttons and not lower. It should at most extend across three-fourths of the tie and not more. R Your belt should invariably match the shoe, so should your watch strap if you are wearing one in leather.

R Your shoes should match the pants. Black shoes go with all colours, while brown should ideally be restricted to pants in earth tones and navy. Colours like tan/oxblood/burgundy/ cordovan are good alternatives to black shoes when wearing black, grey and navy pants.

R The conventional rule when wearing socks is that it should match with the shade of your pants. Blue socks with blue pants, black socks with black pants, etc. But there is now a worldwide trend among men to wear bright coloured socks. It adds colour to the otherwise staid men’s ensemble. Our advice: go for it only if you are comfortable

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THE BLAZER


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HOW T O W E A R A BL A Z E R THE BLAZER HAS COME A LONG WAY SINCE ITS ROOTS AS A NAVY JACKET. ITS VERSATILITY AS A JACKET FOR ALL SEASONS AND MOST OCCASIONS MAKES IT A CRUCIAL PART OF ANY MAN’S WARDROBE.

R A man wearing a blazer with a nice complementing pair of pants and shoes will command more attention at a business meeting than someone who is without the blazer. R A blue blazer can be well matched with a variety of shirts including solid colours, stripes and checks. The same goes for ties. R A blazer is not a suit and hence you should avoid wearing similar colour pants. In fact the trousers should contrast the blazer. For example, khakhi colour pants with a blue blazer. R In Indian conditions blazers go very well with jeans and chinos. Jeans can be paired with blazers of any colour or any fabric. R Blazers’ versatility and functionality means that they are the best jackets to carry when you travel. Pair them with slightly formal pants for work and with jeans for the evening. R The line between a suit jacket and a blazer has blurred considerably. A solid coloured suit jacket can easily pass off as a blazer when needed.

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T H E BA N DHGA LA


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T H E B A N DHGA L A DE M YST I F I E D THE BANDHGALA WITH ITS STANDING COLLAR, HIGH ARMHOLE AND PERFECTLY FITTED CHEST IS INDIA’S ANSWER TO THE DINNER JACKET AND THE TUXEDO.

R In its formal avatar, a bandhgala is apt for any event that you would wear a suit to – like black-tie, weddings and cocktails. R Bandhgalas are usually made from the same kind of solid colour fabric used in making a suit. Other materials used include cashmere, velvet, silk and khadi silk. And for the casual bandhgala, cotton and linen work just as well – often without the lining – to keep it light in weight. R If the bandhgala is in black, grey, charcoal grey, maroon or sharp midnight blue, it can definitely use a contrasting pocket square to break the monotony. R If not a pocket square, try a brooch. It adds a sophisticated, even a regal touch. R In the more modern variations you will see some men leaving the bandhgala open to their midsection. Try it only at your peril.

If the bandhgala is in black, grey, charcoal grey, maroon or sharp midnight blue, it can definitely use a contrasting pocket square to break the monotony

R While on the collar, here’s a word for men with short necks. Do ensure that the collar of your bandhgala is not cut too high. R Lining on the collar of a bandhgala in materials like jacquard and jamewari enhances the richness of the look. R You should experiment with colours as long as it goes with your skin colour. From classic blacks to velvet pinks, plush greens to light pastels, colours are more easy to carry off in a bandhgala than in a blazer or a suit.

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T H E B U S I N E S S C A S UA L


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HOW BE ST T O GE T T H E BUSI N E S S CA SUA L L O OK BUSINESS CASUAL IS FOR THOSE OCCASIONS WHEN THE BUSINESS SUIT IS TOO FORMAL AND THE DINNER SUIT IS TOO DRESSY.

R Among the first steps in loosening up, is to get rid of the tie. Nothing says ‘formal’ more loudly than a shirt buttoned to the top of the neck, bound with a tie. Without it, the look should still mean business.

R A navy blue blazer or a textured sports jacket is ideal. If you don’t have either, you could try a regular suit jacket instead, but make sure it has a softer construct with very little padding on the shoulders. It must sit well on a pair of dark-coloured pants.

R If you want to skip a jacket altogether, a sweater or a waistcoat is a good alternative. In a more pared down version, you could simply wear what most Indian men do – an understated, but stylish shirt-trousers combination. But make sure there is less contrast in colours above and below the waist – it looks dressier and gives you more height. Without a jacket, the focus falls on the shirt. Ensure that it’s well-structured, longsleeved, and with a standing collar.

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HOW B E ST T O GE T T H E BUSI N E S S CA SUA L L O OK R In trousers, chinos, corduroys, linen or regular cotton trousers make the cut. Other than the sophisticated wrinkling of linen trousers, the trousers must carry a crisp, pressed look so they retain their professional stance. Match the colour of the trousers with the jacket. And ideally, in length they must touch the top of the shoes or perhaps be a little shorter to keep it trendy and streamlined. R Many traditionalists do not accept the jeans as part of Business Casual attire but that is fast changing. If it is a pair of smart and simple, straight-cut jeans without jarring embellishments or rips and tears or wanton colours showing dollops of faded denim, it should most definitely work.

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THE TUXEDO


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U N DE R STA N DI NG THE TUXEDO CALLED THE DINNER JACKET BY SOME, THE BLACK TUXEDO WITH ITS SATINÂ SHAWL LAPEL, DRESSY SHIRT AND BOW TIE IS WHAT GIVES THE BLACK-TIE EVENING ITS NAME.

R As in the case of suits, the tux can be worn with both double and single-breasted jackets. Single-breasted ideally should have a satin shawl collar, though these days one can go with peaked lapels as well. Single-button jacket is the most preferred option. A three-piece tuxedo jacket is worn with a waistcoat.

R In its original form the tux was worn with a ruffled white shirt with a wing collar. Other versions with wing collars include the pleated shirt which has pleats in front, and the bib shirt which features an oval bib sewn across the chest of the shirt. But in its modern version a regular white dress shirt with a spread collar and French cuffs does the job equally well. Everything in a tux ensemble should look luxurious including the cufflink and the pocket square.

R Tuxedo pants should be worn without belts and should feature no pleats or cuffs. A cummerbund with a single-breasted jacket and no cummerbund with the double-breasted version, is the norm. But if you are not into cummerbunds, that is fine as well. A pair of well polished black cap toe shoes is the perfect accessory for the feet.

R Black is the original colour of the tuxedo, and, purists would insist, the only colour (apart from white, of course). But many in recent times have experimented with colours like red and midnight, especially the latter because of the way it takes light, making it look blacker than black.

R The bow tie is a tux staple. To get it right, especially if you’re going to do it yourself, can be a tricky affair. Plenty of ready-to-wear bow ties are also available. A regular long tie is a good alternative as well. But ensure it is black with minimal or no patterns. 71


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T H E B OW T I E QUITE INTEGRAL TO THE TUXEDO, THE BOW TIE IS A WORTHY WARDROBE ACCESSORY FOR ANY MAN WHO CARES ABOUT STYLE. AT ONE POINT IN TIME IT WOULD HAVE BEEN RESERVED AS PART OF FORMAL EVENING WEAR, BUT TODAY IT’S DANDY TO SPORT A BOW TIE EVEN DURING THE DAY. A BOW TIE IS BEST WHEN TIED MANUALLY. THE LOOPS AND SWIRLS OF A HAND-TIED BOW WILL OFFSET THE PERFECTION OF THE SUIT.

HOW T O K NO T T H E B OW

 To get each side of the bow tie to come out as equal as possible in length and width, you need to start out about half an inch longer on the right end compared to the left.

knot that will keep the wings in place.  Now take the right hand and slip the middle of the longer end through the loop that is formed behind the bow. Pull out the finger that is holding the loop open for this passage. Once it goes through it will form a folded wing.

 Take the right end and move it over the left so that both ends are overlapping each other in the narrow area behind the curve of the bow tie.  With a simple knot hold the longer end vertically over the shorter end and then flip the longer end over the shoulder – you don’t need it for the moment. Make sure though that the knot is as tight as you’d like it to be because later you can’t adjust the tightness – unlike a tie.

 As you pull that wing, also pull the folded wing on the other side of the bow tie so that you are tightening the knot. With this, you should see a bow – except that it would now be tilting towards one side.  To set the symmetry, hold down the knot with one hand and use the other to adjust the size of the wings and make them as symmetrical as possible.

 Now take the shorter end and fold it at the widest part of the curve to create the front wings of the bow. Keep holding the front by pinching together the centres of the wings. As you hold it all close to your neck, place the longer end of the tie in front of the bow to form the

 Smoothen it out and you’ve got yourself the perfect bow tie. 75


THE TIES


R The tie is your personal signature. Everything about it — colour, pattern, knot and fabric— is all very subjective. It is your chance to express yourself.

THE TIE IN ALL ITS C OL OU R

R The broad end of the tie should just about touch the top of your waistband. The narrow end, of course, should always be shorter. R Theoretically, there are close to a hundred different options when it comes to knots. But for all practical purposes, you should choose between a four-in-hand, Windsor, the half-Windsor, and possibly the Shelby.

THE TIE IS THE ONLY ITEM IN A MAN’S WARDROBE THAT IS MEANT SOLELY FOR ORNAMENTATION. SO IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT IT IS THE MOST EXPRESSIVE PART OF HIS ENSEMBLE. IT IS ONE PIECE OF HIS CLOTHING WHERE HE CAN HAVE HIS WAY WITH COLOUR AND HUES.

R Whichever knot you opt for, it should completely fill out the tie space at the top collar button. A tie should be knotted tight enough for it to arch a bit from the collar. The tie should be completely hidden from view at the back of the shirt – tucked away under the collar.

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R There is a loop at the back of the large blade of every tie. That’s the ‘keeper’. Often it’s in addition to the stitched label of the brand. It should be used to hold the smaller blade down instead of letting it show or flap around.

wool. Whatever the fabric, it should be smooth, soft and luxurious to touch. R While solid colour ties are the most popular, the common patterns include dots, geometric, stripes, foulard, paisley, club and plaid.

R A small dimple just below the knot gives a certain amount of finesse to the tie. To make a dimple just pinch the tie with your thumb and finger, hold it and then tighten the knot.

R A regular navy blue suit with a white shirt can be worn with a purple or silver tie. A blue in a different shade would work just as well. If you would like to go with a contrasting colour, try shades of yellow, brown or red.

R Neckties are usually made from very delicate fabric. Make sure you unknot in the reverse before removing it. Roll it once before hanging it in the wardrobe. This will prevent damage to the fabric.

R Never iron a tie because it will flatten the roll along the sides. Like a suit, a tie’s wrinkles can be eased by simply hanging it in a bathroom with the shower running on maximum heat.

R Ties come in a variety of fabrics, from cashmere to silk and silk blends, synthetic blends, knitted and woven

R Ties should always be dry cleaned. 79

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T H E K NO T S

Four ways with impossibly British-sounding names, of knotting the tie

Windsor As the name implies, it is named after the Duke of Windsor who, preferring wide collars, wanted a big knot. Start by crossing the end which is longer and wider over the other, and pull it up through the centre. Then pass the longer end under the shorter end. Bring the longer end over the neckband and then down to the other side. Wrap the long end over the front of the knot, then loop it under the neckband and down through the knot you have made. Slide the completed knot into place.

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Half-Windsor Use a silk tie to achieve an effect of a knot not quite as bulky as the Windsor, but equally substantial. Make sure you’ve got the wide end about a foot below the narrow one, and cross it over the latter, bringing it back underneath. Loop the wide end over the neckband, and turn it towards the left. Loop the wide end around the front of the knot, in an anti-clockwise direction, and bring it up through the centre. Pass the wide end through the knot, tightening slowly as you draw it up through the collar.

Four-in-Hand This one’s a classic, despite its rather strange name. Cross the wide end over the narrow end and then back underneath. Then cross the wide end over the narrow end and then back underneath. (No, it is not a typo, you actually have to do this twice). Pass the wide end under and then over the neckband, then through the knot, forming a centred crease. Tighten the knot slowly, holding the narrow end and sliding the knot into place.

Shelby Also known as a reverse half-Windsor, this is a small, precise and balanced knot which at the start should be worn wrong side out. At the end, the wider, front part of the tie will form a perfect dimple in the centre, while the narrow end (underneath and therefore not seen) will remain backwards, with its belly facing out. To begin: cross the longer, wider end under the other, and loop the long end through the centre. Then cross the long end back over the narrow end. Loop the long end back up through the centre and then pull it down, through the knot.

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T H E SHOE S


Getting the Right Fit

The Silhouettes Wearing a suit is about looking smarter, fashionable and more organized than other people. It is one of the only garments that can alter the shape of someone’s body as seen by others. Getting the fit right is all about manipulating the onlooker’s eyes by getting the basic elements right. And the first thing that one starts with is the cut, also known as the silhouette. It essentially denotes the trim line of the jacket that follows the contours of your body. Historically three distinct styles of suits were produced around the world, the British, American and Italian. Each has its own characteristics, though in recent times the distinction has blurred in a manner that people don’t really talk about suit styles in country terms. Yet it is good to know them.

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T H E STA N D ON SHOE S YOU MIGHT GET AWAY WITH WEARING AN ILL-FITTING SHIRT OR A PAIR OF TROUSERS THAT HAVE SEEN BETTER DAYS, BUT THE FIRST THING MOST PEOPLE NOTICE IS YOUR SHOES. A GOOD PAIR PROVIDES THE FINAL TOUCH TO A GOOD SUIT.

R In terms of construction and style, the evolution of shoes has gone virtually hand in hand with the suit. Even till the 1960s and ‘70s, expensive shoes were rigid, heavy and clunky. As the suit started getting slimmer in the 1980s, shoes also began shedding weight, both on the uppers and soles in their march towards the sleek and elegant look that we see today.

R Much of the credit for this of course, goes to the Italians whose style has very much dominated shoe-making in the last few decades.

R How many shoes should make an average guy’s shoe rack is a question that will have several answers. Our recommendation is that you should have at least two pairs of good formal shoes, a black and the other in tan or brown. Take your pick among oxfords and monk straps.

R For weekends you should have at least one good pair of fancy sneakers and a pair of semi-formals to go with jeans from the wide selection available these days: suede derby, desert boots, chelsea boots, driving shoes, loafers, moccasins, buck shoes, etc.

Shoes, of course, are not just about style, they have to be functional as well. There is no point in buying good-looking shoes if you are not comfortable wearing them. Remember function comes first 85

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T H E F I N E R DE TA I L S OXFORD

Strictly speaking the term Oxford encompasses all lace-up shoes that have at least three lacing eyelets and are cut at the ankle. In common parlance Oxfords refer to lace-up shoes that have the lacing eyelets stitched under the vamp (the front portion of the shoe).

The cap-toe Oxford is, more often than not, part of formal attire, but, no one’s going to shoot you if you wear it with casual clothing BROGUE

The little holes or perforations on these shoes are known as broguings. Long ago they helped drain water from shoes in the sodden Scottish highlands. Today, they are only for decoration. The most prominent member of this family is the wing-tip, which gets its name from the brogue design on the toe that looks like a pair of outstretched wings.

The wing-tip gets its name from the brogue design on the toe that looks like a pair of outstretched wings BLUCHER

The blucher in contrast to the Oxford, has its lacing eyelets stitched on top of the vamp. It is considered not as dressy as the Oxford, and can be worn for both formal and casual occasions.

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CHUKKA BOOT

The chukka boot was used by polo players during the Raj, and it gets its name from ‘chukker’, which is a period, generally seven minutes, of continuous play.

LOAFERS

Loafers are slip-on shoes that originated in the US in the 1930s and trace their roots back to the moccasins worn by Native Americans. They are considered to be formal shoes and when given a tassel (called tassel loafers) are all the more dressier.

MONK STRAP

These are shoes that have leather buckled straps that run across the uppers. They are highly versatile and can be worn both with formal suits and with jeans. They are today available in different avatars, including suede monks and brogue monk straps.

SUEDE

A century ago, suede shoes were not considered part of formal attire. But, times change, and, while this type of shoe does lean towards informality, it is not uncommon to find stylish men teaming their suede penny loafers or Oxfords with suits.

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Quarter Insole

Tongue

Heel

Outsole

Eyelet

Throat Line

Vamp

Toe Cap

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T H E SA RT OR I A L RU L E S R Let’s start with an incontrovertible fact: Cheap shoes don’t last long; quality shoes do. R A man should have at least two pairs of formal shoes in black and brown, a pair of casual shoes and a pair of sneakers for gym/ jogging. R Black, brown and tan are all the colours you really need as far as dress shoes go, but you could experiment with styles: a black oxford, a brown brogue and a tan monk-strap. R The best shoes are made from calfskin, followed by cowhide and suede. R In the purist classification, black is dressier than tan and brown, which in turn is more formal than suede and canvas. Plain cap-toe is more formal than a wing-tip. R Shoes with leather soles are ideal for the boardroom and formal wear. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. Many prestigious brands now make leather shoes with rubber soles. R Good quality shoes need a fair bit of care, so be prepared to invest in good polish, creams and a shoe tree. R Make sure the leather soles of the dress shoe you buy are stitched, as opposed to glued, to the bottom of the shoes. R Shoes should always be darker than the suit unless you are going casual and want them to dominate your ensemble. R The general rule is that black goes better with black, grey and blue suits. But that rule is now increasingly being broken by adventurous men. R If you like wearing dress shoes for casual occasions, invest in a good pair of penny loafers. R Square-toed shoes were never in. The same goes for pointy shoes.

Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes to work every day. Shoes need rest, too.

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CA R E B A SIC S R Good shoe trees are hard to find, but, a determined man will always get his shoe tree, ideally made of cedar. They can cost a pretty penny, but they will ensure that your shoes retain their shape. R Always shine your shoes yourself. R Be friendly with your neighbourhood cobbler. Often, a good resoling job can breathe new life into an old pair. R For suede shoes, get a suede eraser to remove dirt marks, and a suede brush. R Patent leather shoes come with their own set of lotions, creams and mousses. R If your shoes get alarmingly wet, stuff them with newspaper as soon as you get into office or home. Newspapers or towels suck out the moisture. R If your job involves a lot of travel, get fabric bags instead of squeezing different pairs into your suitcase. R Always use a shoe horn when wearing your shoes. R Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes to work every day. Shoes need rest, too. R Shoes should be cleaned before being polished. A damp cloth is the best way to go about it. Use a welt brush to get rid of the dirt that gets embedded into the space between your sole and the upper. R You don’t need too much polish, but make sure you give it a nice rub. And avoid wearing the shoes immediately after polishing. Polish usually takes about five minutes to dry.

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T H E AC C E S S OR I E S


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AESTHETICS OF ACCESSORIES CAREFULLY SELECTED ACCESSORIES PROVIDE THE FINISHING TOUCH TO A GOOD SUIT. CHOOSE THEM CAREFULLY.

CUFFLINKS

Cufflinks are worn with French cuff shirts and impart a personal style to the suit. It is fastened either `kissing’ style where the cuff-ends are held together and the cufflink is slid through, with the bigger and more decorative side outside the wrist, and the back inside; BARREL KISSING STYLE STYLE or `barrel’ style where the cuff-ends are made to overlap in barrel style and the cufflinks are slid through, with the decorative side outside the wrist.

TIE PIN

The tie pin is not just a pretty accessory. It prevents the tie from grazing your masala dosa. It should be worn half or three-fourths of the way across the width of your tie, and should ideally be placed between the third and the fourth button. 95

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AESTHETICS OF ACCESSORIES

POCKET SQUARE

This small, elegant piece of cotton, silk or linen breaks the monotony of the suit colour. There are many ways to fold a pocket square, from the basic to the fancy. Here’s the simplest: 1. Lay the pocket square flat; 2. Pinch the middle and tuck the sides in, as you pick it up; 3. Hold the pocket square with one hand and use the other to gently gather it closed; and 4. Tuck it into your pocket. It should look deliberately imperfect. Pocket square colour and pattern should complement the shirt and tie and not match it. more colour to their outfits. As a result bright coloured socks are getting to be increasingly popular.

SOCKS

There are crucial moments throughout the day when your pants are riding above the ankle - when sitting, climbing stairs, getting into a car, etc. That is when the socks become the cynosure of all eyes. That is why the socks’ quality matters and should match the outer wear. The rule is that socks should be of the same colour but of a darker shade of the pants. But like the growing popularity of colourful suit linings, adventurous men are increasingly looking at socks as another avenue to add

BELTS

A man’s sense of style, or, more precisely, the lack of it, can be betrayed by the wrong belt. Black belts are a must with black shoes, brown belts should go with brown. Slim leather belts, with, ideally, a small, dull silver buckle, are what every sensible and stylish man wears to the office. He keeps the wider belts for casual occasions.

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© VAN HEUSEN INDIA; CONTENT & DESIGN:

MW.COM INDIA PVT LTD; PRINTED AT: SPENTA MULTIMEDIA, MUMBAI.

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