T O P L I N E - Surekha Kadapa-Bose ( Courtesy - BTW Magazine)
MANY think guys should never dress in prints or patterned shirts. People who think like this are old fashioned. In fact, it is cool for men to dress in small floral prints
I was highly perplexed when the other day a friend of mine from Goa dropped in and asked, “Why do men in Mumbai dress so seriously?” Serious? I wondered as I see men dressed in highly colourful shirts with bold stripes and checks.
I realised he was right. Men in Mumbai to dfor some unknown reason prefer to continueress in their winter single colour shirts - maroon, red, yellow, white, blue, green - despite summer having set in and the designers creating
several designer shirts for them. The maximum license they give to themselves is to wear stripes and checks.
Men’s wear has changed so beautifully and dramatically keeping the masculine look intact but still softening the attire. The notion that prints are only for women or while vacationing in Hawaii is so passé.
Many think that guys can never dress in prints or patterned shirts. People who think like this are so old fashioned. In fact, it is cool for straight men to dress in small floral prints.
Do you remember the former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee dressed in a
green silk printed shirt on one of his trips to Hawaii? If he at 70-plus could don the shirt even
for a brief while, I am sure young men between the ages of 22-60 years - young IT professionals,
call centre youth to corporate honchos - can easily dress up in floral prints.
A word of caution though - corporate honchos should ensure that the prints are small, floral and paisley that would make for an interesting wear without taking away their position or image in the office.
Just as mix-and-match is the current trend in women’s fashion, so is it with men’s wear. The Spring Summer collection of the Gas range from Raymond includes an on-trend metropolitan look and a feel that revolves around functional styles with an eclectic mix set of clothes. The clothes bring back the feel of English country garden
with splashes of intense colour throughout the collection.
Zod too has typical macho printed shirts in very bold and strong colours. The half-sleeve shirts look cool and can be worn as casual wear. With this shirt on, one can easily walk in any evening party without batting an eyelid.
Most of these shirts are in the Rs 1200 - 10,000 range and come in silks, silk blends, cotton, linen, and hemp fabric - giving an absolute chilled out feeling. The short sleeves add to sense of coolness.
Prints on luxurious silk and silk blend shirts inspired by the classic Hawaiian shirts of the Sixties, as well as more contemporary floral and palm prints in colours you can chose from are available with Allen & Solley, Cotton World, and Zodiac also.
The added straight hem of these shirt bottoms is made to suit a more relaxed, untucked look, which is the most popular as it adds to the air circulation that an untucked camp shirt provides. If you want to look slightly formal
the length of these shirt are enough to tuck in if and when you need it.
The best thing about these shirts is the fabric used. The rich but casual looking fabric makes it easy to attend formal lunches, evening cocktail parties or even dinner. You can look real dandy while escorting a lady to an all evening gown affair. All you would need to top them is a blazer, jacket or a coat.
Most macho men of Hollywood - Gene Hackman, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan and several others have sported the printed shirts inside their suit jackets in several films. In India now that the Shah Rukh Khans have made wearing tuxedo jacket a trendy formal wear, you can wear one of them over the printed shirts and you will not only look hep but also formal at the same time.
These new look shirts with traditional collars are not only daring but also versatile and meant to be worn with jeans or a suit. You will also find short sleeve woven shirts with graphic details on the back of the shirt, and many prints available for that modern look. If you love plaid and various types of prints, you will find this new styling for the classic woven refreshing.
More than anything else, the shirts have become the best accessories for men. In the late 1960s and 70s, wearing printed shirt was so casual. The Brussels lace prints - white and lacy selfdesigned semi-transparent shirts were popular in late 80s.
Somewhere down the line, men thought that their masculinity would be dented if they wore feminine looking printed clothes. It was a clear demarcation of His and Hers. So they opted for the most boring colours and cuts.
Today, it is cool to wear embellished shirts also. Silver sequins, simple small floral embroidery on pockets, cuffs, a small motif on the shirt sleeve, on the back, on the shoulder line or on the buttonhole is the most happening attire.
If you are not comfortable with all floral print shirts, go for shirts with patchwork of small floral prints used below the collar, cuffs so that when you roll up your sleeves, the floral print becomes visible or even on the shoulder lining.
Floral or paisley prints look good on slim fig-ure. Rotund bodies should stick to self-coloured prints or mono-colours. A blazer or a light coloured cotton or linen coat worn casually over open necked shirts also look good.
Printed or patterned shirts look better with a couple of buttons kept open. Keep the trousers too a lighter colour not necessarily whites but off whites, khaki, cream should do the trick.
For formal occasions, if you want to put a tie please see to it that the tie colour does not clash with the prints on the shirt. That is just not done. If you have soft blue prints, go for a soft blue tie or go along with the background
colour of the shirt.
Go for plain or mono-coloured tie and not printed or a polka dotted one. If you can get a tie with miniscule matching prints or embroidery, nothing like it.
Remember that many a time shopkeepers keep crumpled shirts to make them appear more trendy and hep. However, when you wear them to office or party or even for casual outing with your girl, wear an ironed shirt. What looks good in shop windows will not look good on you.
Try these shirts and these tips and you not only will look a guy who is trendy but also young. The next time my friend drops in, he will not have any complaints about the men from Mumbai.
A bold colour statement from Nandita Mahtani
The GAS collection brings back the feel of English country garden
Silk shirts from the ZOD collection make you look macho and cool at the same time
The Spring Summer collection of GAS includes an on-trend metropolitan look (left, right and facing page)