To stand OUT
Attire plays a big role in today's world. JESSINA ABOOBACKER tells you what is in and what is out in formal wear for gents.
HOW FORMAL is formal? What is the apposite wardrobe for your corporate office? Has this posed a question for you, at every crack of dawn? What is professional wear and formal wear? What is the distinction between business, casual, and civil wear? Do these jargons of business dress code perplex you?
Several times we are left bewildered as to what would be the pertinent wear for a formal banquet, a business conference; what to choose for an interview with a client or a business discussion with a foreign associate. We scour our cupboards and ransack our brains, leaving us languid as we cross the threshold of a social gathering.
`First impression is the best impression' is very accurate with regard to business dress code. Clothes talk and people listen. What the eye grasps at first glimpse is invariably the attire. Every business delegate wants to leave a mark in the mind of the other. Personality is also about taking fashion to the confines of fine style. One should be deft at handling exquisite fabric and should be a connoisseur of fine grooming. The best way to be in harmony with the crowd is to sincerely ask your friends what they intend to wear for an occasion. This way you and your attire will easily blend with the crowd.
When we see or hear the very word, `professional attire' what comes to our vision is a suit and tie. Many offices, interviews and conference want the delegates to be present in this type of attire. Now it is no more called Business Professional Dressing, it is called the Business Appropriate Dressing. This calls for a suit and a tie.
"There are a few stringent principles to follow at this juncture. The suit in question should be of superior quality in terms of fabric as well as tailoring. No compromise is permissible. Dark colours are preferred for such occasions especially black. But you could take a deviation from the regular blacks, instead you could take a variety from other dark shades like navy blue, grey, shades of dark green etc as well. It is the dark, three button single breasts ruling the business costume at present. There is also a wide acceptance of stripes and other structured suits. The premium collection could cost anything between Rs. 15,000 and Rs.25,000. People are well aware of the demands of fashion as they are extensively travelling, getting fashion updates world wide," says Steve Lobo, Manager, Raymond.
Underneath the suit should ideally be a well-ironed full-sleeved shirt. Now preference is for the cut away collars and not the traditionally accepted buttoned down ones. White and cream is what conventionalists advocate. But you can indulge in other pastel shades as well. But be cautious not to be divorced from the colour of the suit.
Trousers should always be well tailored to fall perfectly with a trivial break over the face of your shoes. Short length trousers make a blasphemous fashion statement. Trousers end from where the sole of the shoes pick up. Ideally go for a relaxed / comfort fit. Classic fit is usually tapered. Flat fronts of polyester wool or polynosic are the ruling fashion for trousers. Fit of the pantaloon ensures comfort and confidence. Dress has to agree with the climatic conditions as well. Kerala climate is not a Business Appropriate dress friendly climate. Here a shirt and trousers would do to attend a formal meeting. Also they differ from country to country. In the US you wouldn't catch a stockbroker or a lawyer dead without a red suspenders. But this would be termed as the dress of a joker in the circus in India. A tuxedo is a well-accepted formal wear in the western culture, whereas we barely find anybody in these formals in India.
Similarly there are various other distinctions regarding the apt business suit
Once again they are called the Business Appropriate Casual Dressing. Nowadays most of the business houses are lenient and liberal with attire. Thus, the evolution of the business gear terminology- `business casual'. But that does not mean the platform is open to jeans, shorts, beachwear and gaudy dressing. Here also there are certain codes of conduct.
Maintain the limits of conservative guidelines: Do not be seen in the office in flashy prints and attention seeking trousers. Loud floral prints and skin exposing in the office could spell disaster. A stringent `no' to jeans, cargo pants and short sleeved T-shirts. Colours also should be unadventurous. Try to opt for dark colours than loud ones. Neat looking cotton trousers, khakis, chinos are perfect for pants. No flashy tailoring either. Wear a neat full-sleeved shirt or a buttoned down shirt.
If you fall under the winter receiving areas, you can opt for polo necked or turtle necked sweaters or sweatshirts. You could give a finishing touch with a blazer. Always use a tasteful belt and sparkling, elegant shoes. If shoes are for business casuals then it's mainly the moccasins that fit here.
Access to accessories
There are a variety of accessories to go with the formal and casual wear. You could use your cufflinks, tiepins, handkerchiefs, pens, cigarette cases, and business card cases etc. A cummerbund goes with a Tuxedo. Then there is the cravat, which is used by the Army and Navy officials as a part of their uniform. Some of our civilians dare to wear this.
Go for elegant and delicate designs that spell sophistication. Evade any chunky stuff. Send a message across that minutes matter by wearing a sleek watch and not a clock or a timepiece.
Here it is usually Friday Dressing that gets a nod. Linen is the fabric ideally for this. More of finer chinos and khakis give that semi formal impression.
You can explore a little with the shirt designs, but do not leave the precincts of formal codes. Dress to impress and not to kill. Be confident and poised to give your career the cutting edge.
When haute gets going, the going simply gets hauter.
The add-ons for a Gentleman `You'
THE TIE should also be conservative like the suit and trousers. Anything gaudy or absolutely striking would be a fashion faux pas. So always have a few striped and biased ties in your assortment.
"Did you know that there are 85 different ways to tie that one knot- the single knot, the double knot etc? Always master a few of them so that you are not tied up in front of the mirror. The length of the tie should aptly end from where the leather belt takes off," says Mr. Rajeev, an industrialist. Club ties are an identity of your class in itself. So if you happen to be a part of any eminent clubs or an Ivy League, flaunt it in your tie. Do not cross the black and brown periphery when it is the colour of the belt in question. Leather belts are universally accepted. Choose something with a `diplomatic' buckle. The belt should ideally be in harmony with the shoes.
Shoes should always sparkle and twinkle. Here again don't go for too fancy things with too many accessories, but that also does not mean that you have to make it look very lacklustre. Here you can be a little experimental. But stick to black, brown leather or cordovans.
Socks, though hidden while walking, can be seen peeping out while sitting down. So much attention has also to be given here. It should always match the suit and remember to cover the skin well with the socks. "There was a time when Tone-on-Tone suits were happening. But only a very few professionals in our city could digest this combination, where, from the suit to the tie to the trouser, all were in harmonious colours. This was used by the bridegrooms more than the business community," states Steve Lobo.
Suspenders are kind of taboo in our country, but in the US no stockbroker or a lawyer would be found dead without a red suspender.
Send this article to Friends by