I Wear: Man About Town

A thing of beauty really is a joy forever. It’s no secret that I’m an open admirer of well-dressed people. These tend to usually be women which is why it is even more of an AHA! realisation to see a well-dressed man. The range of colours, patterns, fabrics & pieces available to men are fewer and hence opportunity to err should be limited. Yet, many men err on the side of shabby, mismatched or worst of all, excessive. That’s why I’m especially charmed to see a man pull off a nice look, effortlessly.

I met Moksh for a breakfast date squeezed in between meetings, to eat, gup and laugh a bit. Moksh is as comfortable to be around as your favorite pillow. But unlike most other men, he doesn’t equate that with dressing indifference. Here’s what he was wearing that day and it cheered me right out of the monsoon blues just to see his crisp linens & clean khakis.

All of us know that light coloured shirts are hard enough to maintain (if you don’t, ask your mum or wife or dhobi about ugly patches on elbows, collars & cuffs). But there’s nothing quite like the distinguished easy style of beige & white, especially if it’s in cotton. Moksh’s shirt wasn’t quite pinstriped and had rather broader stripes than would be considered absolutely formal. But the natural modesty of beige gave it the necessary sobriety. It really suited his fair Punjabi skintone. Also, full sleeves on a nicely patterened (or coloured) cotton shirt bring a man dignity of the kind that shorter sleeves don’t.

He paired these up with comfortable linen trousers. Now, these do have a tendency to wrinkle and the only decent way is to wear them slightly starched so they hold their shape. It’s extra effort & anybody who takes the effort to wear linen well is rewarded by the classy comfort it provides.

Cotton, as such, used to be a common man’s fabric. But the necessary upkeep (cleaning, starching etc) is so high, I think it is now associated with a more affluent lifestyle, at least in a functionality-obsessed place like Mumbai. For example, you wouldn’t expect to find a man wearing pure cotton/linen trousers if he were a daily Mumbai train commuter. The garment would be more in line with someone about to board a flight or travel by an air-conditioned car. The light colours also make the look rather high-maintenance, especially in a Mumbai monsoon.

If you like those shoes, you should also check out his other accessory. Matching footwear to belt is commonsense (albeit lacking in most men I see). Moksh took it a step further and made sure his bag matched too. Imagine how horrible it would have been for him to tote around a black shoulder bag or backpack with this ensemble! Instead, he delighted with this shiny leather bag, the likes of which I’ve only ever seen in a bagstore display. I’m not sure why more men don’t use bags like this, considering how convenient they are for storing laptop, papers, mobile phone & other things. It’s leather and endures monsoons reasonably well too.

We met at the Satlwater Cafe in Bandra, which has wooden flooring & chunky furniture with jute upholstery. It was almost as if the ambience was selected to showcase Moksh’s look. Here he is again, getting ready to say tata at the end of our breakfast date.

* On an unrelated aside, Moksh is one Punjabi boy that completely defies the notions laid out in a certain open letter – certified by a *ahem* Madrasan. ;-)

** Cross-posted to Divadom.

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If you liked this post, also see Moksh’s funky avatar in Three Aliens Plus One.
Read my take on the average Indian man’s sense of style in Is The Indian Man A Fashion Failure?

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