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Male Style Yourself!

What does it take to be the 'man of the moment' when it comes to style?

Be it a formal do, a night out at your favorite disco or a house party, how do you decide what's 'appropriate' for the occasion?

"Style is all about being comfortable in whatever you wear; it's about being able to carry it off," says designer Bhavi Bhagat, who has her own boutique, Khayal, in Mumbai.

"That's why I don't insist that women wear kurtis and men, short shirts just because they are in," she adds.

Let's, instead, start with the basics of how to dress right for any occasion -- be it a formal, casual or semi-formal do.

The type of clothes you should wear depends on your body structure and body contour.

If you are short

Don'ts: No shoes with built-in heels or high cowboy boots.

Avoid horizontal stripes. Shirts should end above your trouser pocket.

Stay away from heavily shoulder padded suits or jackets.

Dos: Go for vertical patterns, stripes, single-breasted jackets, straight-leg trousers or jeans, and narrow ties.

Let your suits and jackets be slightly padded on the shoulders. Make sure the shoulders do not protrude outwards, but curve slightly downwards off the shoulders.

If you are tall

Don'ts: No pinstripe suits and vertical stripes.

Make sure your jackets do not end at the waist (they should end lower). No extra-thin ties either. And no tapering trousers or jeans.

Avoid over-sized shirts. Make sure the length of your sleeve does not extend beyond your wrist.

Dos: Think about longer jackets, double-breasted suits (the overlapping kind that Amitabh Bachchan wears in Kaun Banega Crorepati) and trousers with a low waist.

Go for T-shirts or shirts that are a little loose; preferably, tuck them in.

If it's a casual occasion, you could roll up your sleeves till your wrists to make your shoulders look broader.

If you are bulky

Don'ts: Do not wear round neck T-shirts.

When you are wearing a shirt, don't show your collarbone. Do not tuck your shirt in. Also, don't wear horizontal stripes or tight clothes.

Dos: Wear V-necks, jumpers or shirts with a vertical pattern, shirts with narrow or open collars, ties in a single discreet colour, subtle pinstripes (the stripes should not stand out or look too loud) and jackets with three or even four buttons.

Wear full sleeved T-shirts. Do not roll up the sleeves.

Neither tall, short nor bulky?

"Both vertical and horizontal stripes should be used as much as possible by people who have average body structures as they are good balancing factors," says Shefali Shah, a student of fashion design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology.


Colour plays an important role when it comes to choosing your attire. Here are some basic rules:

~ A colour for every occasion

Pick a colour that suits the occasion, says Bhavi.

For a formal occasion, stick to earthy colours like browns, beiges and greens if you decide to go in for Indian formals.

For Western formals, opt for colours like grey, white, beige, etc.

A casual affair? Then go for brighter hues like dark pink, mauve, deep red, electric blue, etc.

If the function/ event is held during the day, go for lighter shades. Choose darker colours if you are attending a function/ event/ party that will be held at night.

~ Get into your skin

Analyse what colours go best with your complexion.

Men with darker complexions and hair look better in clear and rich colours. Fashion designer Meera Mittal suggests black, chocolate brown, rust, olive, navy, tan (sand) and dark beige, to name a few.

If you have a lighter complexion, you can carry off any colour.

However, darker colour tones would suit a fair complexion the best.

Next, let's dress up for the occasion.

The formal man

"The essence of formal wear is style with a subtle hint of charisma. Don't let mismatched shoes, socks, belt and tie ruin your suave look," says stylist Kapil Sharma.

~ Jackets

If you decide to wear a jacket without a tie, ensure your shirt collar is not of the button-down variety (where the collar is buttoned to the body of the shirt).

Jackets sans ties go better with covered button joints. This means the buttons should preferably be covered by an extra layer of cloth so they are not visible -- it gives a more sophisticated look.

~ Suits

Ideally you should have three single-breasted suits -- in blue, grey and stripes.

The striped one should be less conservative as opposed to the first two.

~ Shirts

A plain collared shirt works well with a double-breasted suit.

Button-down shirts look best with single-breasted jackets.

The standard collar that is not a pinned down is the most versatile; it can be worn with both sporty and formal suits.

~ Socks

Match your socks with the colour of your suit or trousers, not your shoes or shirt.

Socks in darker shades are always a good idea. If you are not planning to wear socks, stick to loafers; don't forget to dust your feet with foot powder.

~ A blazer -- a good buy?

Yes, indeed. A navy blue blazer is easy to coordinate. It complements blue, black and grey trousers and can dress up a variety of shirts.

It can also be worn over jeans, khakis or a pair of checked trousers.

~ Trousers

Your trousers should be long enough to cover your legs, loose enough to fit and stylised enough to cover the defects of your anatomy.

They should be long enough to break on your shoes and cover your socks.

It's party time

As the weekend arrives, so does your opportunity to party. Make sure you are dressed right and don't look flashy.

At the same time, be adventurous. Don't limit your party wardrobe to just black.

Designer Andy Rodrigues says, "Going to a club or a party is about making sure the clothes fit right and feel good. The idea is to be casual, yet classy. A striped shirt (like the one mentioned below) is the perfect example."

~ Heading for a nightclub?

Then a bold triple-stripe pattern shirt (not your typical banker's shirt, eh?) would look great.

Another option would be an open collared shirt with a rounded bottom, with very thin stripes.

It should preferably be made from 100 percent viscose, which is the most common type of rayon.

It breathes like cotton and can be woven to feel like linen -- this will help you beat the heat of the nightclub!

Team it with a stylish pair of jeans for a comfortable, trendy look. But, whatever you wear it with, don't tuck your shirt in.

~ Go classic

Nothing can be more classic than a white T-shirt teamed with a pair of blue jeans.

The T-shirt should be V-necked and have a slim cut. Needless to say it should not be transparent, though translucent is okay.

Team it either with denims or a rich-looking pair of leather pants or the latest pair of designer jeans. Again, don't tuck your shirt/ T-shirt in.

~ Got a hot bod?

So, you have the body to flaunt but want to be subtle about it? A tight black top is a very reliable choice, preferably made from pima cotton (it's very soft and will let your body breathe throughout the heat of the night).

The raw edge crewneck (round-collared and a little on the tighter side) gives it that extra fashionable touch.

Whether you choose to combine it with jeans, leather pants or chinos (comfy pants made from cotton twill fabric), dressy shoes or sneakers, this fitted black shirt is extremely versatile.

~ For a dressier look

Opt for a pair of flat-front trousers, made from lightweight wool -- they offer a luxurious texture.

A button-down shirt, fancy belt and slick pair of dressy shoes and you are ready to rock.

~ Accessorise

Silver is considered dressier when it comes to jewellery, belt buckles, etc, and works best with navy, blue, black or grey, while gold matches brown, olive, and other earth colours.

~ Casual, yet cool

If it's a launch party at that new disco or a house party at your rich friend's penthouse, let your wild side take over.

Team a dark blue pair of weathered jeans with a black shirt; keep the neck open to show off your beaded neckwear.

You could also team a pair of linen pants with a short kurta and open footwear. The idea is to be as comfortable as possible and not look too made up.

The semi-formal look

You've got a party to attend and it's not exactly a formal do. But it's not a casual affair either.

A thumb rule: don't make the error of dressing too casual.

~ Ideally, team a blazer or jacket with denims; however, don't team this ensemble with sneakers.

~ Never wear floaters or open footwear.

~ T-shirts are a big no-no.

"A good combination would be a pair of beige cotton pants or beige corduroys with a dark brown shirt or a pair of blue jeans, a white shirt and a black jacket," says Bhavi.

Whatever the occasion, you are now ready to rock!

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