Tag Archives: Menswear

I Wear: Geeky Chic

Without a personal style, garments are nothing more than fabric. Picking out the right colours, prints, fits and indeed, clothes, has little to do with complexion or body size and everything to do with personality & attitude.

This is the funny Mallu Man, someone who’s kept me in splits & thoughts for years now. His brand of humour is the sardonic, poker-faced variety, laced with a snide joke at your expense. Of course, that kind of humour can only grow from a deep intelligence & the ability to not take oneself too seriously. I think his look says all of these things too. This is what he was wearing when I last met him:

A bright green tee-shirt that says, “Nowhere Boredom”.

Green-and-white tartan shorts. And you won’t believe the number of jokes I had to endure to get him to stand still for this picture!

Green and yellow sneakers

And finally, the geeky spectacles to top that smartass attitude. *Sigh* I’ve always had a thing for geek-boys! :-p

  • Green tee-shirt: Rs.450-500, Bangalore Central
  • Green-and-white tartan shorts: Rs.400-500, Max, Oasis mall
  • Green-and-yellow canvas shoes: Rs.2500, Puma, Indiranagar
  • Rectangular framed spectacles: Rs.1200 on sale, Titan Eye, Koramangla

And here’s a little something about his look, in his own words:

I am terrified of wearing those green shoes anywhere, conscious about it because it is quite ‘different’, almost like a beach shoe, which is probably what it is 😀 But since I paid so much, I insist on wearing it out too! So, to soften the ‘impact’,  I keep it dirty – a rough look.

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

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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?

Ideart: The Making Of A Superhero-Nagraj

Actually, this should have been my first superhero-on-tee project for the boy. I had after all, heard of Nagraj, the popular snakeman character of Raj Comics. But the boy’s first choice was the dog-parented desi Batman and so Doga it was. Still, when I spotted this olive green tee-shirt, I knew the snake myth was calling to me.

I’ve been a fan of snake stories, the icchadari naag legend with its human-snake shape-shifters, the associations with Shiva (undoubtedly the darkest and most complex citizen of the Hindu belief system). I loved Snake Woman even if I couldn’t find the issues to complete the story. When I was a kid, I read a story about a king who secretly ate a piece of snake meat everyday, which gave him the power to understand the language of animals. And of course, JK Rowling’s attempt to cash in on the snake mystique with Slytherin and Parseltongue. I was quite looking forward to bringing my own interpretation of the snake story to life.

I’ve never been comfortable with the transition from sketching to colouring. My drawings usually turned out well and then were ruined by colour. With time though, I realised it wasn’t exactly that I couldn’t colour, I just couldn’t colour within the lines (yes, pun unintended). So I began colouring independently or painting directly on the surface without using lines to guide me.

Superheroes are tricky things to portray. For one, strong masculine physiques have never been my forte. And then there’s the fear of backlash from the fanbase. Superheroes attract staunch loyalists who will pounce on you for the tiniest detail that you got wrong, from the exact shade of costume, to the height of heel, to the curve of the logo, the hairstyle, expression etc. No chances I decided and figured I better chalk out a map and stay on course, no matter how long it took me.

I started by sketching the character in pencil a few times to get a sense of structure and pose. Then I replicated this on the tee-shirt using a soap marker (the kind that tailors use to mark out cutting lines). My mistakes which were easily rectified using water.

I found a shade (Sap Green) that perfectly matched the costume shown in the picture. I knew it would be too dull but I planned to highlight with pearl tints anyhow. Also, teeshirt hosiery absorbs a lot of colour and often the brighter colours lose their sheen as a result. The way around this is to layer on colours, waiting between coats to dry. That way the topmost coat is laid on a non-penetrable base (of colour) and stands out. Careful with this though, too many layers and if your colours are too old, they’ll peel off.

I’d intended to do something similar for the white snake crest down the front of the costume, layering with silver and white. But I made my white very thin with water and spread it across the area. This, I knew would make it dry with a water-colour like finish. As it turned out, it dried in the exact shade of grey that would make the white really ‘pop’. The same was used for the undersole too.

The skin was already going to be in that wonderfully authentic looking shade called Flesh Tint (used with great success on Sabu, I thought). Hair in black didn’t really show so I added a few touches of Pearl Blue to highlight it (a technique I see a lot in comic books). Fine brushed strokes of black created facial features. The Wikipedia entry for Nagraj says that he has blue eyes so I used a piercing Pearl Sky Blue for the irises with a black dot in the centre.

By this time the green was dry and I was ready to start highlighting. I started shading with Pearl Green, afraid it would end up too blingey. It did look rather bizarre against the Sap Green. But following the original picture, I also added black for the shaded areas. It still looked too much like a child’s colouring book, with the colours standing separately. So I fell back on my old favorite technique – blending.

You do this by painting when the colours are still wet. Where two colours meet, add water and mix them. Don’t be afraid to dip brushes into different colours without cleaning them, it adds interesting swirls of colour on the canvas. When I was done, I realised there was no trace of the original Sap Green visible, which was just as well.

I finished off the costume with Crimson for the pants and boots. The snakes were added later, using Pearl Metallic Bronze and Rust and V-designs in Black. I know they look a little artificial and too thin but that’s how they were shown in the picture. I could probably have played around with that but I just let it be. The final touch was to outline every border in the picture in black. This is what adds that comic-book look to the picture.

Garment: Standard size XL men’s tee-shirt

Material: Tee-shirt cotton

Background colour: Olive green

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no. 21 Sap Green
  • Fevicryl no. 30 Flesh Tint
  • Fevicryl no. 27 White
  • Fevicryl no. 04 Crimson
  • Fevicryl no.304 Pearl Green
  • Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze
  • Fevicryl no.356 Pearl Metallic Red
  • Fevicryl no.354 Pearl Metallic Rust
  • Fevicryl no.319 Pearl Sky Blue
  • Fevicryl no.305 Pearl Blue
  • Fevicryl no. 02 Black

*Cross-posted to Divadom.

I Style! – The BEST Man

I spotted Neil Dantas at The Wall Project and I just had to stop him to tell him just how I Style! he was!

i am the BEST

i am the BEST

Isn’t his tee-shirt absolutely fab? It’s Bambaiyya in a way that nothing else starts to match.For the uninitiated, BEST, an acronym for Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport, runs the Mumbai bus system. Every bus carries the BEST logo in Hindi, in white inside an oval white patch, painted on the side of the bright red bus. It’s one of Mumbai’s most recognizable logos.

The BEST man's tee-shirt

The BEST man's tee-shirt

The good news is that Neil is himself a designer and retails his creations from his website. Do drop into his place if you’d like to carry forward his style. Or as I’d like to call it, Neil’s I Style!

Update: The full form of BEST has been corrected (thank you, Peter!). Much apologies for the error; I can only blame it on the 4a.m. posting.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

I Style! – Biting Nuts

I was just about to give up on this section as I found it rapidly running out of options. What’s more, it has gotten a little tiresome to discover that even the wildest of us only show our individuality in our footwear!

Then, like a ray of neon, electric-strobe light, Sushant waltzed in. Let me introduce you to my pal. I first met Sushant at a formal dinner with friends, where another member of the gang was all set to introduce us all to her fiancé, Shawn. Sushant strode into Del Italia a little late, grabbed Shawn and demanded,

Tu hi hai kya be, teri wajay se mereko itna traffic mein aana pada??

(Is it you, you’re the reason I’ve had to wade through traffic?? – okay, forget it, it belies translation from Bambaiyya)

Shawn hollered back,

Haan be, itna late kyon aaya?

(Yeah dude, why the hell are you so late?)

Needless to say they hit it off like a house on fire. Somewhat appeased, Sushant turned to the waiter serving us tall glasses of wine with our pasta and asked,

Ae, daaru ke saath kuch bitings milega kya?

(How about ‘bitings’ with the booze?)

The waiter, I’m afraid, not in possession of Shawn’s oratory skills was left dumbstruck and returned a little later with the requisite ‘bitings’.

So this is the rockstar of the group, Sushant. The last time the gang caught up, Sushant sauntered into Bombay Blue and I whooped with glee.

The tee-shirt titled ‘I’m going Nucking Futs!’ would have been enough to get anyone into I Style! But Sushant takes it a few steps further. Tag Heure ke chashme, woh bhi orange framewaale, kya baat hai, boss! Here’s the man himself, giving us an Emran Hashmi look.

Biting Nuts!

Biting Nuts!

Sushant, saviour of I Style!, you’re truly Futs but you’re a rockstar!

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

I Style! – Bling Is King!

I’ll have you know that this spotting occured before the film was released. And I think that this is total rockstar attitude.

A crown of bling makes a king..of I Style!

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

I Style! – Happy Feet

Welcome to another episode of I Style!

It has been awhile since the last viewing and that’s because I haven’t spotted too many interesting people lately. The weather was probably playing havoc on people’s spirits and mine were flagging as well until someone decided to brighten up my day!

Richie walked past me on a grey afternoon while I was staring morosely at the watery sunlight. In his olive tee-shirt and jeans he might have been just another good-looking young man. Until my gaze drifted down to his shoes. Drifted down I say but really I ought to say, ‘snatched away by his shoes’.

Well, look at them! Don’t they grab your attention instantly? Red shoes I’ve seen, blingey sandals but what’s all that compared to a sunshine yellow on anotherwise dull day? For carrying off that daring yellow so well, for giving us something lively to look at and for brightening up my day, Riche makes it to I Style!

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

* Cross-posted to Divadom.


I Style! – P for Parmesh, P for Porn Star

I promised a new section and here it is! Of note, I haven’t received that many contributions as yet (*disapproving look at readers*). Arre…you expect me to do all the work or what? 👿

Alright, alright I will! So here we go and welcome to a a new episode of I Style! Don’t you just lurrrrrrve the things people think up?

Isn’t he hot? Isn’t he cool? 😀

Meet Parmesh Shahani, one-time crush, now that-ubercool-stud-I-know. Parmesh is the author of GayBombay:Globalization, Love and (Be)Longing in Contemporary India. (*sob* Why’re all the great men gay?), owner of rockstar attitude and the wearer of the kind of attire that gives I Style! its raison d’etre.

Parmesh has the attitude and you can see he wears it as well! (Do I get some brownie points for claiming an acquaintance with him?)

Okay now stop drooling people…I promise you’ll see Parmesh here again!

~O~O~O~O~O~O~

* Cross-posted to Divadom.

 

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