5 men’s summer fashion tips for newbies

This blog post is dedicated to all men who hesitate to experiment with their look (you all know who you are!). These mini-lessons will show you the way to an updated look for the season without stepping too far away from your comfort zone.

Ladies, if you know such hesitant, reluctant and boring men (and I’m sure you do!), use this guide as an inspirational piece to experiment on the men in your life, or push them to try out something new. 🙂

PS: Don’t miss the newbie tips, specially written for very reluctant men.

Think beyond checks: Printed shirt

So, printed shirts have been around for a couple of seasons already. But of course you’ve been sticking to solids and checks, right? You know something? Prints are not bad. Chosen carefully, the right prints for your personality and body type will make a strong statement about you.

Newbie tip: Florals freaking you out? Opt for “safer” prints like little dots and squares, or tiny abstract patterns. Just make sure the prints aren’t too big, too colourful or too eye-catching.

Shirt from 16stitches.com

16 stitches printed shirt

Get summer-ready: Linens

Linen blazers are a no-brainer for summer. They can look formal, and can be dressed up for an outdoors wedding or dressed down for a summer soiree.

Newbie tip: Choose a light, neutral shade that will go with almost all your shirts- such as off-white or light beige.

Look from Arrow

Arrow beige linen blazer

50 shades and more: Coloured shoes

Too many men have only black and tan shoes in their wardrobe. It’s time to add some colour—greens, beiges, blues… they’re all there!

Newbie tip: Start with a colour that’s already in your wardrobe, such as blue. Select a pair of shoes that’s similar or goes well with the chosen colour…. And you’re set.

Shoes from Mochi

Mochi green loafer shoes

Be playful: Round sunglasses

Aviators are a classic statement, but everyone’s wearing them all the time. If you’ve got the pizzazz, you can carry these off. And no, it won’t make you look girly. But it might just make you look like the cute teen you were once. 🙂

Newbie tip: Play safe with a round-ish frame with neutral colour rims.

Sunglasses from Fastrack

Fastrack red round sunglasses

Go retro: Bow tie

Maybe it’s to do with the Downton Abbey craze (of course men love the show too). Bow ties are making a comeback. And not just with tuxedoes or black tie events. The 21st century bow ties are quirky, cheeky and easy to wear. It’s perfectly alright to wear the “readymade” ones.

Newbie tip: To start with, choose a no-frills bow tie without patterns or prints. Wear your bow tie with a light-coloured solid shirt (such as white or baby blue), and stick to a similar colour scheme.

Bow tie from The Bro Code

The Bro Code Blue Bow Tie

Chic Picks: Hot leather travel bags for a cool summer

Summer time is vacation time, people! And every summer I get on the hunt for cool travel accessories since I believe in travelling stylishly. This season, I’ve found some great bags that will last you many many trips.

For travel, I strongly recommend a spacious, sturdy, durable bag to stash all your stuff- whether for an overnight trip, a weekend getaway, a cruise, a flight or a very long vacation. These leather bags from Viari are roomy, good-looking and multi-purpose. They even come with a shoe bag, so you can later carry them to gym or work.

For women: Soho travel bag, Rs 11,900

Lots of colours to choose from, but the tan one is an all-season classic.

Viari Soho Travel Bag Tan

For men: Camper Bag, Rs 6000

Gotta love the rugged look.

Viari Camper bag small Khaki

Happy holidays!

4 edgy styles cover Rolling Stone this month

Four talented female musicians are on this month’s cover of Rolling Stone India, and boy, do they look edgy or what?!

Rolling Stone India March 2015 (5)

The seventh anniversary special issue of the magazine features Monica Dogra of Mumbai electro rock band Shaa’ir+Func, Tipriti Kharbangar of Shillong blues band Soulmate, and Mumbai-based vocalists Anushka Manchanda and Vasuda Sharma.

Rolling Stone India March 2015 (3)

These stars of the Indian alternative music scene are in a never-seen-before avatar and I bet none of you have seen them in such looks before. According to the shoot’s stylist Roli Gupta, it was a fun experience and the women were open to suggestions making them easy to style. “I decided each look based on the personality of the musicians,” she says. (All clothes are by Tommy Hilfiger.)

Rolling Stone India March 2015

Rolling Stone India March 2015 Monica Dogra

Ladies, if you’re looking for edgy inspirations for your looks, take a tip or several from these pictures. Here are my fashion takeaways from these pics:

  • Wear a pair of sexy knee-length boots
  • Pair black with another strong colour like red.
  • Mix prints and colours without hesitation!
  • If you’ve got it, flaunt it! (I mean a great bod, of course).
  • Don chunky metallic accessories.
  • Keep your hair wild.

Rolling Stone India March 2015

Rolling Stone India March 2015 Anushka Manchanda

Photographed by Ashish Shah

Clothes by Tommy Hilfiger (Spring Summer 2015 collection)

Styling by Roli Gupta

Hair and make-up by Jean-Claude Biguine

Rolling Stone India March 2015 is available on stands for Rs 100.

Are cricket players more fashion-conscious?

In the past century, fashion has evolved tremendously—from corsets to crop tops, and coat tails to tshirts. With hundreds of fashion brands vying for attention, people across the world have become more trendy and fashionable. Not surprisingly, two of the most glamourous fields in the world- fashion and sports- have collided and sports persons have turned into fashion icons. This global trend began with football player David Beckham early in the 21st century.

Just like fashion, cricket has evolved as well since the 1800s, and from being role models, cricketers have become style icons as well. Unfortunately, this seems to have come at a cost. The cost of True Style.

Imran Khan cricketer

Days of cricket past: When style went beyond fashion

Your personal style is a means of expression of your personality and is an all-encompassing concept, going beyond what you wear. Style reflects in your clothing and hair, the way you speak to someone, hold your fork, or write a letter. This traditional sense of true style was something the gentlemanly cricket players of the previous century possessed and practised. You couldn’t be dressed to the Ts and use abusive language like a drunken slob at the local pub.

For instance, the dignified Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi was known as much for his quiet charm as for his understated luxe clothing. The dashing Imran Khan made women swoon with his smart shirts and suits, thick wavy hair and his elegant conversation.

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi

Cricket players have also sought different means to express their individuality and personality. With his carefully groomed side burns à la Elvis Presley, India’s “Brylcreem boy” Farokh Engineer was a vivacious, talkative man and continues to be one. While Sir Viv Richards with his swagger, doffed cap and murderous smile, epitomized Caribbean cool much before a certain Mr. Gayle.

Days of cricket present: Cricket and fashion in the 21st century

Some of the younger Indian and international cricketers are eager to try new trends or even forge their own trend. So Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh carry off grungy jeans with elan, while Kevin Pietersen’s super confidence puts him equally at ease in a printed tee and chinos, as well as in a tailored suit. His versatile style is the envy of a lot of young men.

Virat Kohli tee and jeans

Off duty, most cricketers like to play safe with their fashion and opt for well-known international fashion brands (a number of them often go shopping on their overseas tours). Of course, there is more focus on personal grooming, along with hot trends, high street and premium fashion. Famous cricketers have been spotted in brands like Ed Hardy (Harbhajan Singh), French Connection (Shikhar Dhawan), Lacoste (Michael Clarke) and H&M (Virat Kohli). At formal events several cricketers sport designer suits from luxury brands.

Current off-duty styles

Off the field, the gentlemen (and fashion icons) of today’s cricketing world have opted for a range of looks and styles, such as:

  • Classic– Neutrals like white and black with straight cut jeans (favoured by Kumar Sangakkara, Alastair Cooke)

Kumar Sangakkara

  • Grungy – Distressed jeans, acid washed denim, printed graphic tees (loved by Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, AB de Villiers)
  • Sporty– Polo shirts with badges, casual shirts with chinos and jeans (such as Brendon McCullum, Graeme Smith)

Graeme Smith polo tee

  • Versatile– Wear a range of looks (like Kevin Pietersen, Brett Lee)

Kevin Pietersen

On-field fashion

The current crop of cricketers also set out to express their individuality on the field as well. Despite being in uniform, their distinctive features stand out:

  • Tattoos: Brendon McCullum, Kevin Pietersen, Dale Steyn

Brendon-McCullum

  • Hair: Lasith Malinga’s coloured locks, Brett Lee’s spikes, MS Dhoni’s ever-changing hair styles

Lasith Malinga hair

  • Sunglasses: Chris Gayle, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh

Chris Gayle

  • Facial hair: Shikhar Dhawan’s curled moustache and stubble, Mitchell Johnson’s handlebar moustache, Ravindra Jadeja’s royalty-inspired moustache

Mitchell Johnson

Style, fashion and “uniforms”

In the first decade of this century, the idea of style has given way to “fashion statements”, and thus style has become equated only with what you wear. Men and women have become clones when it comes to sartorial choices (solid or graphic tees, skinny jeans, chinos and sneakers). These off-the-field “uniforms” may make you feel part of the peer group, but they don’t express your personality or style.

This limited definition of style has unfortunately percolated to current cricket players as well. While some of them may make a strong fashion statement, their unique style is lacking and invisible. Let me explain: I have never met Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, nor do I recall watching or reading any interview with that legendary cricketer. Yet, one look at his off-duty picture and I am convinced that if I were to meet him, he would be a true gentleman- courteous, respectful, benevolent and, of course, charming. That is the magnetic power of True Style.

True, we shouldn’t judge a wearer by his or her clothes, but what about style as a holistic concept? Somewhere in the past few decades, individual, meaningful True Style has almost disappeared.

Bodyline (sorry, bottomline): Style vs Fashion

Yep, cricket players these days are smart, suave and well-groomed. Some of them endorse fashion brands, appear on fashion magazine covers and sell beauty products, while others are trying their hand at fashion themselves (Virat Kohli’s fashion line WROGN and Zaheer Khan for Sher Singh).

Shikhar Dhawan GQ India

With the overwhelming number of clothing and accessory options for cricket players today, the bright young lot these days is more fashion-conscious than ever. Despite this, the timeless appeal of the erstwhile cricket players is universal, eternal and magical. Young people across the world may want to copy the current players’ clothes, but how many can truly emulate the charm of Pataudi, the playfulness of King Viv, or the elegance of Imran Khan? Now THAT is True Style.

This blog post is an entry for the Blogger Dream Team activity run by Blogmint. (Check out #BloggerDreamTeam on Twitter.)

5 awesome fashion ideas from The Grand Budapest Hotel

Among the spate of Oscar films this season, I enjoyed watching The Grand Budapest Hotel. Even though it wasn’t my Best Film favourite (that was Boyhood), it was a delightful comic and visual treat. The film’s Costume Designer Milena Canonera took home the Academy Award for this film. Me being me, I see fashion everywhere and in this film as well. And here’s how I thought we could use the film as fashion inspiration in our summer wardrobe.

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes

Soft Colours

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes- pastel colours

The visual theme of The Grand Budapest Hotel is soft, warm and fuzzy (production and costumes). Agatha wears light camel, pastel green and similar hues. With the arrival of spring / summer, it’s the perfect time to embrace pastel colours like salmon pink, sky blue and soft green. Luckily for us, plenty of brands will be stocking these lovely hues in their collections this season.

Luxe Fabrics

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes- TIlda Swinton fur coat

Velvet, fur and silks—all luxurious fabrics in The Grand Budapest Hotel to make you feel like a queen (or king). And Milena Canonero worked with Fendi to design fur coats and stoles sported by the actors, including Edward Norton and Tilda Swinton. I especially love Swinton’s hand painted, Italian silk and black mink cape- it’s gorgeous! (Disclaimer: Nope, I don’t advocate fur though it looks great).

Slicked hair for men and women

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes Ralph Fiennes

If Ralph Fiennes can get away with slicked-back hair, so could regular men! And as for the ladies, it’s great to keep the hair away from the face especially during the summer. An easy tip for the girls: Skip the hair gel, just pin up the front layers and keep the rest of the hair flowing. Great summer look!

Purple

Grand Budapest Hotel costumes- purple

The bright eggplant-coloured uniforms of The Grand Budapest Hotel staff stand out against the soft background. Purple is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea, but it can look awesome when you wear it, and purple is available in a range of tones- from eggplant purple (aka baingan) to soft lilac.

Details & accessories: Buttons and hats

The hotel jackets look like something straight from the high-fashion ramp, and those shiny buttons can be used on tops, blouses, shirts… you name it! Of course, the lobby boy cap is not exactly appropriate for daily wear, but I love the idea of stylish berets and fedoras for the upcoming summer months.

What is your fashion inspiration from The Grand Budapest Hotel?

Anushka Sharma’s style pick for a road trip

So, the NH 10 trailer starring Anushka Sharma and Neil Bhoopalam just hit YouTube and the film’s premise seems thrilling. Anushka Sharma is on an unexpectedly dangerous road trip, and luckily she’s dressed perfectly for it, with a HOODIE.

Anushka Sharma in NH10

Anushka’s bright yellow hoodie gets dirtier as dangers loom and she faces growing threats. The hoodie is perfect for a road trip because it keeps you comfortable and warm, and can be taken off when it’s hot. And a hoodie is totally fashion-appropriate as well: it’s sporty, outdoorsy and super stylish! Check out these chic options:

Hoodie from Superdry available on Myntra.com

Superdry-Women-Hoodie-Myntra

Treble green hoodie from American Swan.

American Swan green hoodie

Nike hoodie available on Koovs.com

Nike sporty hoodie

Wake Up Competition blue striped hoodie available on Jabong.com

Wake-Up-Competition-Blue-Hooded-Sweatshirt

And BTW, here is a complete breakdown of Anushka Sharma’s complete road trip look in NH 10:

Striped tee + light neutral cardigan + skinny jeans + light sneakers + brightly-coloured hoodie.

Anushka Sharma in NH10

And here’s the trailer of the film NH 10. After the hoodie, my eyes are on the sneakers. What about you?

INSTANT STYLE: Get Jacqueline’s looks from Roy now!

In her latest film Roy Jacqueline Fernandes plays a double role with each character dressed in a distinct style. Here are both the looks decoded, and how you can get them.

Jacqueline Fernandes as Ayesha Aamir, film-maker

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Clothes and accessories

This bohemian film-maker loves her crop tops, loose blouses and shorts (she is in sunny Malaysia, after all). Her accessories of choice? Geeky glasses (they come on and off), stacks of bracelets and open sandals. She also accessorises with dangling earrings or the quirky-cute studs. And oh, the few times she’s at work, she’s in a comfortable cotton shirt.

Hair and makeup

Jacqueline’s hair is coloured and carefully unkempt to complement her boho look. Makeup is minimal in a number of scenes though sometimes you will spot a hint of lip colour.

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Get the Look

Girls on Film rose print crop top available on Koovs.com

Floral crop top

Denim shorts from Elle

Elle denim shorts

White open sandals from Footin

Footin Metallic Flats (White)

Necklace and cuff from Ayesha Accessories

Ayesha accessories cuff & necklace

Jacqueline Fernandes as Tia, socialite

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Clothes and accessories

This uber-rich socialite lives in a mansion by herself and has classy style- elegant flattering dresses, crisp white shirt with skinny jeans with killer heels and silk scarves. Her go-to jewellery pieces are her gold and diamond studs.

Hair and makeup

Jacqueline’s bold red lips are the most prominent feature of her “Tia” look, followed by her volumised blow-dried hair.

Jacqueline Fernandes in Roy

Get the Look

Dress from Dorothy Perkins available on Jabong.com

Dress for Dorothy Perkins on Jabong

White shirt from Forever New

White shirt from Forever New

Sunglasses from Tom Ford

Sunglasses Tom Ford eyewear

Diamond studs from TBZ The Original

TBZ diamond in gold solitaire studs

7 awesome facts about Team India’s Cricket World Cup jersey

The Indian cricket team kickstarted their ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 campaign this weekend with a big win over Pakistan, and we all celebrated! 🙂 As noteworthy as Virat Kohli and the team’s great performance on the field were the distinctive team uniforms.

Nike India team jerseys

Team India’s kit is high-tech, lightweight, comfortable, and much much more. So here are some wondrous facts about the Indian team kits and why they are totally awesome. Read on and boast these facts at the next match you watch with friends (February 22 against South Africa at MCG, Melbourne).

Fact #1: The kit is custom-made

The kits are designed by Nike, official apparel sponsor of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Nike has been designing team jerseys for years now, but this kit was especially developed for Team India.

Fact #2: Each kit is sustainable

Each Team India kit (jersey and pants) is made of approximately 33 recycled plastic bottles. Sustainable = Fantabulous.

Fact #3: The design is insight-based

The Nike team designed the jersey with the help of inputs from several cricketers including ODI captain MS Dhoni, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav and Ravindra Jadeja.

Fact #4: Different strokes for different folks

There are separate shoes for batsmen and bowlers. The batsmen’s shoes are called LunarDominate. The shoes have an enhanced grip, ultralight soft and responsive cushioning, a toe “bumper” and plush sock-like fit.

Nike Lunar Dominate shoes for Team India

Fact #5: Special shoes for bowlers

The bowlers are wearing LunarAccelerate, whose main feature is the midfoot strap that locks down the ankle and prevents forward foot slide. That strap is the unmissable “pink stripe” you see on bowlers’ shoes.

Nike Lunar Accelerate for Team India cricket

Fact #6: High-tech kits for optimum performance

The Team India jersey is truly innovative. It’s got Dri-Fit Prime Lite lightweight fabric with laser ventilation holes and breathable engineered knit to keep players dry and comfortable during the match. (Dri-FIT is a microfiber, polyester fabric that moves their perspiration to the fabric surface, where it evaporates. (And hence, we have “cooler” players on the field.)

Nike Team India 2015 world cup jersey

Fact #7: The kits are loved all over!

Tennis ace Roger Federer owns a jersey! As do other famous fans. Take a look:

Roger Federer Bleeding Blue Nike

Deepika Padukone (actor)

DEEPIKA PADUKONE_BLEEDBLUE

Vikas Khanna (chef)

VIKAS KHANNA_BLEEDBLUE Nike

Subbalaxmi (cricket player)

SUBBALAXMI_BLEEDBLUE - Nike

Go Team India!

Team India kits are available at select Nike India retail stores and on nike.com.

Bollywood Fashion: When celebs turn designers

WANTED: Fashion designer

Must-have qualities: Should be famous

Design experience required: Nil

Since Indian celebrities have peddled everything from cars to rice to fairness creams, it’s time for some fashion endorsements. Fashion brands (Indian and otherwise) recently began begun following the global trend of getting celebrities to design fashion clothing and accessories. Internationally, a number of celebrities have their own fashion and fragrance lines like Jennifer Lopez, Paris Hilton, Beyonce… you get the drift, but closer home, times are a-changing now.

These celebrities dress fashionably and have a great sense of style (or a great team of stylists). Here are some Bollywood celebrities who have created their own clothing lines for well-known fashion brands. Design experience: not required!

Gauri Khan for Satya Paul

The most recent entry in this field, the star wife turned fashionista turned interior designer is now trying her hand at fashion. Gauri Khan is creating her signature line of clothing and accessories for Satya Paul called “A Tropical Wonder”. Expect abstract art and digital prints on casual and occasional wear separates like sheer tunics, flowing kaftans, shift dresses and saris.

Gauri Khan-Satya Paul

What: Saris, tunics, kaftans

Where: Available at Satya Paul stores

Alia Bhatt for Jabong.com

This young actor is barely a few movies old, but she got her own fashion line last year. Alia Bhatt for Jabong.com is affordable, fashionable and trendy though there are some outrageous pieces- like the metallic jeggings and two-coloured denim.

ALia-Bhatt-Jabong

What: Tops, dresses and jeans for women

Where: Available at Jabong.com.

Karan Johar for Vero Moda

Being fashion designer is just one of Karan Johar’s various facets. This super-talented man turned designer for the chic high street brand Vero Moda with the Marquee Limited Edition collection. The collection had stylish dresses and separates, and I especially liked the party pieces (bought a cowl neck sequined top!). The clothes all had a rich feel and were packed in special shopping bags for that luxe touch.

VERO MODA MARQUEE by Karan Johar

What: Dresses, tops, jackets, skirts for women

Where: Available at select Vero Moda stores (may be sold out)

Deepika Padukone for Van Heusen

I always thought of Van Heusen as a men’s formal wear brand, till Deepika Padukone came along. In 2014, she designed two Limited Edition collections for the brand, comprising mostly formal and evening dresses with some smart separates.

Deepika Padukone Van Heusen

What: Formal dresses

Where: Available at select Van Heusen stores (may be sold out)

Bipasha Basu for The Trunk Label

This online fashion accessories brand is “curated” by Bipasha Basu. With plenty of options and extremely affordable pieces, any girl would want to shop here!

Bipasha Basu-The Trunk Label

What: Bags, shoes, jewellery

Where: Available at The Trunk Label

Fashion hits & disasters from the Obama visit

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama bid India farewell yesterday after a three-day visit. Everyone talked about the renewed N-deal, the R-day parade and the town hall, but of course I’ll be talking about fashion. 🙂 Here’s my take on the fashion hits and disasters of the Obamas’ India visit. (More disasters than hits).

Disaster #1: Michelle Obama’s arrival dress

As her “arrival” dress, First Lady Michelle Obama wore a printed dress made by Indian-origin designer Bibhu Mohapatra. My take: not impressive! The floral print on the dress was too big, even for someone of her height and frame. Plus the lines across the dress added more confusion to the outfit. Maybe she could have skipped the matching jacket for a plain one.

Michelle Obama floral dres Bibhu Mohapatra

Disaster #2: President Obama names PM Modi a “style icon”

At the state banquet Sunday evening, President Obama stated, “The Prime Minister [Narendra Modi] is a style icon. I would also like to wear a Modi kurta.” Sure, while the Modi kurta is perhaps Indian politics’ latest contribution to fashion (remember Nehru jacket?), I don’t think PM Modi is a style icon. Yes, his wardrobe his carefully selected and he ensures he is well-groomed, but style icon? Nope! (one good reason below).

Disaster #3: Narendra Modi’s “selfie” suit

What looked like a pinstripe suit from afar at the chai pe charcha (evening tea), was actually lines and lines of the PM’s name all over. Take a look:

PM Modi suit tea with Obama

PM Modi suit tea with Obama

Now you know why PM Modi isn’t a style icon.

Disaster #4: … And the grey one

In the 1980s I remember all the male members of my family wearing grey “safari” suits, but the truth is that grey is not a flattering colour for most Indian men. But PM Modi wore light grey at the state banquet and well, didn’t carry it off. A darker grey or a navy blue would have looked so much better. And the tan shoes with the grey bandhgala? Oh no, no, no! :-O

Obamas PM Modi banquet

Hit #1: Michelle Obama’s state banquet dress

Ms Obama’s navy blue billowy dress with a gold and red print looked fantastic. She was a picture of poise and elegance as she greeted Indian VIPs. It was the right touch of colour, a pleasing print and totally appropriate.

Hit #2: Indian First Lady gifts FLOTUS a pashmina shawl

Awww… sweet gesture from Indian First Lady Suvra Mukherjee. I’m sure Michelle Obama receives plenty of gifts wherever she goes, but an authentic pashmina shawl is always special. I wonder if she will ever use it though? (No, don’t answer that).