Dressing dynamics: For a complete man

Clothes are one of the first things people notice and hence, it is imperative to dress up for the occasion even if there is none

Dressed in casualsMan today is a different species from what he was perhaps even a decade ago. Style and fashion were terms used for the fairer sex and men remained content with only a few choices. Not any more though.

An interesting, but lesser-known fact is that contemporary fashion originated under the rule of Louis the XIV in France. He was a visionary who catered to style at its best. Those were the times when a man’s clothes identified his social rank and occupation. The clothes changed over the centuries. Costumes gave way to simpler and uncluttered garments and the world saw a lot of transformations. The last century has been truly inspiring in terms of the changing pattern of men’s attire. After many such transformations we now have what we call the “uber chic male”.

This write-up will venture into various sections of the contemporary man’s “work wear” and tread softly into his formal attire. Men’s standard work wear can be broadly put into three categories, namely the formal wear, casual wear and the casual formals.

Even though men don’t have as many choices as women, they do have the basic options. The secret of a well-dressed man lies in the basic items of clothing he possesses; a list which may include

  • A classic suit
  • A casual jacket-trouser coordinate
  • Classic work shirts
  • A blend of formal and semi formal trousers
  • Denims
  • Some T-shirts
  • Few essential accessories

This list can be built up and hence remains the most effective base to fabricate upon. Once a concrete foundation is set, maintaining the fundamentals is quite easy. Teamed with a few well-chosen accessories, these basics allow easy cross over from one scene to the other.

Formal wear

Formals are by far the most important area of work wear for men. Suits are a man’s trump card, somewhat equivalent to a woman’s LBD [the little black dress]. Suits profess sophistication, taste, success and an aura of grandeur. It is an ensemble, which never fails and can be worn to a business meeting, dinner party, any formal day function or even a wedding.

The secret behind a great fit in a suit is, it should sit close to the body no matter what the style. It must not crumple at the armhole or at the buttons, and the trousers should be wrinkle free. It is advisable to have it tailored. The permutation-combinations range from lounge suits or the two-piece suit, three-piece suits and double-breasted or single-breasted suits. A lot more variety is possible with the choice of fabric and colour.

Casual formals

Wearing a suit can be extended into casual wear too. The original “Friday dressing” phenomenon has now become the new mantra for dressing up from Monday to Friday. The first four days of the week usually carry slightly more formal attires than Fridays. Going with this motion, softer jackets in linen or corduroy can replace the constructed jackets. Blazers work very well in the casually formal segment, as they are undoubtedly the most stylish of the jackets. For a more relaxed look, the stiffness of the collared shirts should be swapped with easier open-neck shirts and combined with semiformal pants. Denim is a great option too… of course denim always needs to be dressed-up or dressed-down with the help of a few appropriate accessories.

Casual wear

Casuals are an area, which needs very fine-tuning, as one tends to take the term “casual” real literally. The fit of the garments is of utmost importance at all times. The look should be tasteful and the coordinates easy on the eye. Casuals should be reserved for the weekends and for events that specify dress code as casual. Soft easy-fit trousers in linen, gabardines and medium-weight fabrics combined with tucked-out shirts are perfect. Combined with the correct footwear, this look can actually be very pleasing to the eye… not too tough and yet very crisp.


Men’s accessories are ideal items to experiment with. Tans and blacks are the staple colours for footwear, belts and wallets. Watches are another article, which speak a lot about the look and the lifestyle.

The younger fashion-conscious male experiments a whole lot with combining different elements in an ensemble. The ramps are buzzing with style quotients like open footwear with jackets and tailored soft pants, soft jackets with shorts, in a huge palette of colours. We must admit that appearances do matter. Because, it is true that people tend to make up their minds, about an individual within the first 30 seconds or even less of visual contact.

Do not forget

  • Belt needs to match the footwear.
  • Socks need to always match the shoes and trousers.
  • Avoid dress belts with jeans and sneakers.
  • Ties speak a lot and thus need to present a tasteful statement.
  • The tip of the tie should touch the beltline.
  • No short sleeves with a tie.
  • No suits with a stress pucker at the buttons.
  • Shoes make or break a man.
  • Colognes are an awesome must.
Anjali Sharma
Anjali Sharma is a NIFT [National Institute of Fashion Technology] alumni of the 1991 batch. Haviing taught at the NIFT for over 10 years, she now runs her label FRENCH CURVE out of Bangalore.


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