A Bombay High store is like a large, ambitious project. The three stores I have visited in Mumbai (Warden Road, Linking Road and Oberoi Mall) are spacious, have clearly-demarcated formal wear sections, and start with the relaxed wear line (Bombay High Sport). In the past couple of years, Bombay High has been building its image as the first and last word on work wear.
Executive Summary/ The Bombay High Look
Bombay High is about looking smart at office, with a focus on subtle style and tailored looks. Their dresses and shirts are apt for Indian work places, so there are no plunging necklines and too-short skirts, nor super slim and flamboyant shirts for men.
Transmittal Letter/ First Impressions
I’m not a stranger to Bombay High, since I bought a blazer from them last month. The blazer fits me snugly, has the right length (I’m on the shorter side), though I needed to get the sleeves shortened (the store did it for free).
On my return visit for this review, the male mannequin near the door was surprisingly styled in a casual look. My guess is that the brand is trying to push its casual wear line, since they are easier to sell. There were jeans and tees for guys, and casual shirts for women.
Core Competencies/ Best Finds
As you move deeper inside the store, the product becomes more formal. The blazers and suits section houses some of the best pieces in the collection. The blazers’ fits and designs make them worth every buck you spend. They may be a tad more expensive than Mango, and are mostly available in neutral colours, but with one classic blazer you can cover all bases. I flipped for a linen blazer for women, and would have bought it immediately if I hadn’t bought one already. The checkered and patterned blazers are perfect work wear pieces, and not boring!
Waistcoats for work may be hot on the ramps, but they haven’t picked up in India yet, and Bombay High has a few in their current collection. I particularly liked one style– it was formal enough, but the neckline added a fun twist.
For men, the shirts and trousers are the biggest draw, with some good colour and styling options to choose from. There are dozens of neck ties as well. There are no particular favourites, it’s all about finding your colour and pattern! Accessories have just launched, so expect to see wallets, women’s bags, card holders and folders in the coming months.
SWOT Analysis/ Trial Run
I tried on a couple of monotone formal dresses, and found them affordable enough to be bought at least twice in a season. Unfortunately, some dresses required better fitting on the shoulders and chest.
The best-selling women’s shirts are available in a whopping range of colours, from green to blue, so you can take your pick every morning depending on your mood. The casual shirts seem to be fun too.
Men’s shirts have a wider range with lots of styles, colours, fit and fabric variants. With a wide price range from Rs 1199 up to Rs 6000, corporate slaves from across the food chain would find a shirt for them. A guy friend who owns a pair of Bombay High trousers says they are quite good with a different colour, the classy inner seam adds a luxurious feel, and they are comfy all day long.
Footnote: A Word on Design
The Bombay High design team has played safe with styles that would appeal to most working class citizens of this great country- by which I mean those who take few fashion risks. The experimentation in the collection has been limited to higher-priced products and has given good results (like the waistcoat above and patterned blazers).
Inferences/ Parting Thoughts
Bombay High is a one-stop shop for all work wear needs, and you would be happy with the selection, prices and fabric quality. But the brand team will need to carve a niche for Bombay High in a crowded market, and try to make the product more distinct from competitor brands. They can begin by turning formal fashion into a more exciting proposition for 21st century slaves like us!