There have been countless blog posts about essentials for men and often most of them are stating the obvious. By the time you read this I suppose most of you have a white shirt, a dark suit and dark denim etc. So whats the point? Pakistan’s young adults no longer adhere to a look, with everyone trying to break the proverbial mould you need statement pieces that set you apart. Having said that sartorial appropriateness and reality checks are crucial, you cant expect me to talk about ‘trends’ that are downright ridiculous for general populace such as metallic foil shirts or shorts with suit jackets.
So here is my primer as to how you can upgrade from basics:
1. Boat Shoes & Brogues Instead Of Sneakers & Loafers
One of the most abused trends in menswear in Pakistan has to be wearing loafers/driving moccasins, with the arrivals from east Asia costing as low as Rs 1500 at some places. The colorful faux suede variety is to be avoided like the plague. Boat shoes are still a somewhat novelty, the colorful ones made of faux leather/fabric aren’t too expensive and are to be worn with sock liners(never full socks). Another way to fashionably stand out is to opt for brogues they add pizzazz without compromising on sophistication. Opt for colorful laces and soles if you find basic browns too boring.
2. Chelsea Boots & Monk Straps Instead Of Oxfords & Cap-toes
Another way to add drama and elevate your personal style is to opt for Chelsea boots in place of plain oxfords the high top up to ankles are a tasteful alternative that you can pair with both formal wear like woolen pants or jeans. But the design has to be puritan, no to hybrids with rubber soles etc and Jodhpur boots shouldn’t be confused with a classic Chelsea boot. No buckles or frills please. Monk Straps are sophisticated answer to basic lace-ups and can go with almost anything.
3. Fabric & Woven Belts
There is something very stuffy and heavy about plain leather belts, this 2014 lighten up with fabric belts and woven leather instead. They sort of make it look effortless and playful. Go for the thin width, in colors preferably. And no you can’t transition them into evening wear. It’s a classic casual nonchalant way to accessories your jeans/khakis not your woolen office pants.
4. Blunt Cut & Woven Ties
If you work in the corporate sector or have the propensity for neckwear, silk/satin ties are not only very commonplace but they also look dreary. Thanks to Thailand and China, markets are full of knit ties. For starters their ends are not pointed like regular ones, and also knit ties look a lot like socks as they are straight cut and are usually 2 to 2.5 inches wide. The texture makes them look nonchalant. If you can’t get your hands or minds around knitted variety opt for straight cut regular fabric ties. Always consider size of your shirt collar and your head when choosing width of the tie. Also 2005 called they want their 1 inch skinny ties back
Striped shirts are as common as urban mullahs these days, elevate your style quotient by Jacquard shirts and subtle micro prints, how about some pigeon eye, chevrons, dots and what not. The key is to keep the colors in the same family and the print to be very small and subtle. Gingham and checks are good if you are just moving away from plain colored shirts. Lighter hues ones are a safe starting point. Leave out the florals and bold geometric if you are just starting out.
6. Moonphase and tourbillon watches
For some God forsaken reason after the ugly fake Casio digital watches of 90s, fake Rolex style chronographs have spread like flu in Islamabad. Also sports watches are not meant for corporate or sophisticated engagements. 80% of the people didn’t even know their chronographs had stopwatch to begin with. Watches with moon phase indicator and exposed tourbillon are accessories to covet. Always consider the width of your wrist and size of your watch dial when buying a watch.
7. Seersucker and Corduroy
Denim is to menswear what silk chiffon is to womenswear. You have to at sometime confront it. But having said that it is very pedestrian and until unless you hit goldmine of perfectly faded+fitted pair of jeans you can’t every nail it. Seersucker (which is a striped cottony fabric often used as school uniform shirts in Pakistan) is great option to use as pants, it’s a dandy appropriate and very practical for our temperature. Alternatively replace denim with corduroy in winters.
8. Grey over Indigo Blue
If seersucker is a bit too crazy an option for you and you cannot leave the holy garment of blue jeans, then you can opt for grey denim not only does it go with almost everything bright or sombre. It’s fairly neutral on its own, think of it as black version of khaki, its effortless. Remember grey is great, blue is boring.
9. Alternate Black Tie & Formals
Formal events are a tricky bet one wrong move and you go from Johnny Depp to Jamal Din. If everybody is wearing a black/midnight blue suit, play with color(pearl white,oxblood,ink blue,army green, tobacco brown) but keep everything conservative and simple. If you cant really afford a new suit, play with accessories or accent pieces like a waist coat, suspenders, bowtie, or even a cummerbund.
1o. Wider Lapel
If you feel even these a far stretch, the least you can do is to opt for a wider lapel. Every tom, dick and harry would be doning slimmer lapel jacket suits ala Dior Homme but people often forget their scale and proportions when going for them. A wider lapel is not only daring and bold but also a statement about self-confidence. But practice caution you don’t wanna emulate Rajesh Khanna from 70s.
It’s not rocket science, you shouldn’t wear anything that makes you uncomfortable or doesn’t represent who you are. Unless you have job like that of a stripper where you have to dress up to make money and shit, Otherwise just keep on trying out new things regardless of form or function.