Attire basics

Wearing good clothes is one thing, looking good in them is another. For that, you need to get the basics of choosing clothes right

Beautiful woman standing in styleIt’s not always possible for us to wear everything that we like. How often have you walked into a store lured by what the mannequin’s wearing only to walk out feeling dejected and disappointed after trying out the skirt yourself? Have you ever come back from a shopping trip, super elated about finally buying that jumpsuit you’ve had an eye on for months only to realise that not only can you not think of an occasion to wear it, but also that you don’t seem to like it so much now? It happens to all of us.

There are far too many men and women, who follow fashion blindly, and end up looking like a disaster. It’s easy to stay away from looking like a member of that group.

Latest fashion not withstanding, there are some key things to consider when picking clothes for yourself that will help you look good, confident and that you can carry off well.


The fit is the way the garment adjusts to your body. It is essential to wear clothes that fit you well. If they don’t, you’ll look like you’re wearing something you borrowed from your father’s closet. So, when you are considering buying a garment, don’t just hold it against yourself; try it. If it’s a skirt or a pair of trousers, squat down in it and judge it from different angles—does the waistband poke out at the back, is it too tight on the knee, does it give you enough room in the rear?

How high does the skirt ride when you cross your legs? [A pencil skirt will ride higher than one that has slight gathers in the waistband.] When you try on a jacket, bend your elbows—how tight are the sleeves? Does the collar sit flat against your collar bones? This is crucial for a jacket to look and feel good. Check all this, then buy.


The manner in which the garment is cut, defines the style and shape of a garment. It plays a huge impact on the way you look. The clothes that you wear are usually cut larger than your body size in order to provide comfort or ease while wearing.

The amount of space between your body and the garment reflects the cut of the garment, which determines your ease in it.

So if you like a relaxed fit, a loose-cut shirt is the right way to go rather than buying a slim-cut shirt [that hugs the contours of your body] in a size larger.

Go for the cut that flatters your body. If you are a lean person, try slim cuts as they accentuate the curves of your body.

On the other hand, a potbelly protruding out of a slim cut T-shirt is revolting. Short people wearing loose cut clothes, look even shorter. If you are large at the hips, cover it up with clothes that are slightly roomier. Take care not to overdo it, or else you’ll look like you’re in a sack.


If you are not a member of a rock band or a heavy metal enthusiast, you should not be strutting around in grunge T-shirts, metal chains and leather wristbands studded with spikes. The first thing to do while buying clothes and dressing up is to analyse your personality. It’s completely okay to be the simple boy-next-door or the perfect bride. And if you are really that, remember to dress the part rather then trying to look cool and ending up looking like a bad impersonation of Elvis Presley.


You’d wear your swimwear to the pool rather than a pair of rugged jeans, right? Follow the same rule when dressing for other occasions as well. For work, dress formally in something that fits your work environment. When you’re out with friends, wear something between casual and formal. When you’re out for a movie, it’s okay to throw on a pair of flip-flops.

Good looking man in styleOne of the places where most people break the rule is when they try to adapt the concept of Friday dressing. Because it’s the end of the work week, does not give you the leeway to wear a pair of shorts or for that matter even a tattered pair of denims. Your workplace is still a formal organisation irrespective of the day. While you may ditch the jacket and trade the solid or stripe shirts for a more casual open-collared shirt, maintain the cotton chinos and closed-toe shoes. Alternatively, you could use a pair of really dark denims. Women can trade their pencil skirts for a more casual skirt and or some jeans. Remember: wearing proper footwear is crucial.


As simple as it may sound, it is one aspect where many people falter every now and then. It isn’t rare to see women wearing heavy leather boots during summer months.

Wear clothes that suit the climate of the place. For instance for a weather like Mumbai, what you need are fabrics that breathe; so think cotton, linen and very fine quality high count wool, which won’t make you look like you are roasting over a fire.

Colours and patterns

Always consider your skin tone as the base colour before buying any piece of garment. So, while the bright red dress may look good on the white mannequin, if you are slightly on the darker side, it may not be a good idea for you.

That’s another reason why you should try everything before buying it; it immediately tells you how that piece is going to look on you.

While solids are versatile classics, you must also have clothes with pattern in your wardrobe. However, tread with caution when choosing patterns: horizontal stripes make you look wider and vertical ones increase your height. So if you’re heavy on the top, refrain from using horizontal stripes and large patterns. Go for vertical stripes instead, which make you look taller and slightly slimmer.

And though it is safe for thinner men to wear checks, it is not a good idea if you are short [especially refrain from larger checks]. If you’re wearing a pattern on top, team it with solid colour bottoms rather than patterning all throughout and ending up looking like a wallpaper. Often men wear a striped tie over a check shirt. To pull it off, the shirt should have micro-mini checks and the stripes on the tie should be large.

If you want to wear checks on checks and stripes on stripes, follow two simple rules: the pattern on the shirt should be smaller and you should migrate out to a larger pattern on the tie; and there should be at least one colour on your tie that matches your shirt.

Karan Kapoor has worked as a stylist for several leading fashion magazines. For him, clothes are much more than items to cover your body; they are an expression of who he is. He loves to dress well, look good and write about it.


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