driving a little harder
a man's guide to winter fashion
Who ever said that trend means blending in with the season? If this line of reasoning DOES follow, then fashion should become drab and dull during the winter, given the naked trees and the bare fields. The catch is, whoever coined the “blending-in” theory was either being sarcastic or have been swept out of the fashion industry long time back. So, be a man (or a woman) - gather the courage to experiment with colours and patterns, and prepare to stand out.
God has heard the same complaint over and over again, since time immemorial: "Why the hell did you make women so beautiful?" Beautiful as they are (maybe with some minor exceptions), they look good in everything. A red sari or some bloated up threadbare jacket, beauty is beauty. Perhaps we men have to accept the fact.
Then again, do we have to? With the equal rights movement raging and intimidating legislation being passed, we should have identical rights to look good (…all the more to attract the ladies). So here, without further delay, is the fashion forecast for a man's winter.
Firing off with the casuals, the "carefully-styled carefree look" has always been popular. Tracing back from James Dean and Robert Redford it still commands the likes of Brad Pitt and David Beckham. The age group has to be taken into account, though. “Students can throw on a formal shirt- unbuttoned- over a full sleeve T-shirt, and roll up both the sleeves together,” suggested Sayeed Siddiqui, the CEO of Cats Eye, “For the trousers, the sky is the limit- jeans, cargoes, whatever suits you”. While mufflers are fashion monarchs of their own, the young generation can make use of bandanas as an alternative.
“For those in the upper age range, this may look out of place Nonetheless, they can go for the same look, but with some small-scale modifications: the upper shirt can be buttoned, and there can be an additional layer of jeans or corduroy jacket.” He adds.
Winter is also a time where parties and wedding ceremonies find their ways into the daily schedule. Hence, the need for formals. Formal wear is always seen as a safety net- the trends never change. What was considered formal in the 1960s are still considered formal today, and will continue to be in the years to come. Nevertheless, there are some things that change- the shape of the lapels, the number of buttons, the colours, etc.
Mr. Siddiqui was generous enough to give us a style alert for the season. He thumbed through a series of international men's fashion magazines: “Bear in mind that this winter shorter jackets are taking over the world by storm. Gucci, Armani, Prada- all the major fashion houses are dumping the "thumb length" rule (i.e., a jacket should be reach up to the tip of your thumb), and focusing on waist length jackets.”
The season, however, does have some particular features when it comes to fashion. The colours are darker, and more sombre. The look is less starchy, and not too loose. It would be wiser to go for a tighter fit, though this may be difficult for those with a less-than-flattering midsection.
To delve deeper into what a man should have in his winter wardrobe, we looked through a few local fashion catalogues. And the outcome…
Black stretch shirts should be a part of a man's fashion closet. This can some with stone snap buttons, while saddle stitches over dark denims can deliver that rugged cowboy look. Intricate embroidery on more subdued backdrop can also be availed. For a more patriotic look, you can get shirts (and often trousers) with lyrics of Lalon scribbled on them. Furthermore, checks and stripes are here to stay. While the traditional horizontal/ vertical stripes are OK, experiment with diagonal patterns. Even better, stores like Monsoon Rain have introduced some interesting shirts with a mixture of checks and stripes.
Sheathing the legs during the chill wave is also crucial. Flared trousers, with narrow waists can be an option. If you have jeans in mind, make sure the pair is right for you. If you are buying from the street, asking the vendor which type suits you may not be of much help. But high-street shops can help (all the while robbing you of your wallet contents). Cargoes and corduroys also make comfortable wear.
To top it all off, there are accessories. Belts, ties, mufflers- make use of all the small things. After all, small things can take a man a long distance. The universal rule for belts is that it must match with the colour of your shoes. Yes, it is difficult to circumvent that rule and still look fashionable. Pull it off, but only when you are perfectly confident that you can. Ties can also say a lot about a man. Again, ties are ties and their styles do not change. Best with formal shirts, but you can add a new dimension to your stylish self by being creative with the trousers- maybe a pair of jeans?
As for mufflers, vivid colours with chunky patterns are "in" big time. They would go well with clothes of sober colours- such as beige, grey and light blue. For the winter, cuff links go on to prove a man's worth. They go equally well with single cuffs and double cuffs. Available in various shapes and sizes, you might as well go for a shopping spree.
However, fashion is not the end of it. The clothes you wear have to complement your hairstyle and outlook. One hairstyle that almost everyone looks good in is the "spiky gelled look". It is hip and very cost-effective. Moreover, next to zero effort goes to bringing it about. On the other hand, you could choose to venture to the redder zones, where you would have to tread water more carefully. Men these days are opting for longer hair, curls and the Afro-hair. But then again, the coiffure of your choice must correspond your looks.
By Shahmuddin Ahmed Siddiky
Photo courtesy : Cat’s Eye and Monsoon Rain
Photo (on the left) contributed by Asif Azim, and photographed by Haider Khan