11/08/2015 4:28 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Fail-Proof Style Tips From India's Best-Dressed Men

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A man straightening his bow tie

The world of style and fashion can prove quite perplexing for men (as it does for women) with its whirlwind of ever-changing trends. However, one rule remains constant: Dress what you are comfortable in and pay attention to the basics.

That's a better tack than going the extra mile to bandwagon onto an ephemeral trend (read drop-crotch trousers) and look ridiculous. (And no, a six-pack is never an excuse to dress poorly), say these five Indian designers, who are known for their quirky but magnetic style.

They also recommend some clever--and super-easy--style tricks that every man, wanting to adopt a signature style, would do well to adopt.

Raghavendra Rathore

Known for gelling his Jodhpuri heritage in his style, Raghavendra Rathore has put the ageless Indian classic, the Bandgala, on the global map. A graduate from the Parsons School of Design (new York), Rathore spent 15 years perfecting menswear before bringing out a woman's line in 2011. He is fondly described by many as the 'stylish charmer'.

What’s unchartered style territory for Indian men?

The importance of accessories. A conservative approach to the classic accessory coordination can help accentuate the overall look greatly. In other words, keep the look semi-formal and add value by accessorising.

What makes a man's outfit?

The right pair of shoes: I’d say a pair of tan/brown leather shoes are a must-have for all wardrobes.

What has and never will go out of style?

The Jodhpur Bandhgala, The Jodhpur Bandhgala, The Jodhpur Bandhgala. It is the most essential part of the new Indian wardrobe and is here to stay.

Does fitness triumph style?

A good balance between a healthy body and lifestyle automatically yields itself to a super stylish look.

Today’s Indian woman wants her man to…?

To experiment away from the conformist look that he is tied to from the time his mother dressed him.


Rajesh Pratap Singh

The master of minimalism, this Rajasthan-born couturier likes to be seen and heard but only through his weaves and fine cuts. He is not a man of many words, preferring to let his famed pin-tucks and fabric texturing speak for themselves.

Indian men need to pay a bit more attention to?

Their individuality. They don't focus on what works for them. Out of laziness/ ignorance they adapt formulas that are not suited to India. There is more style in rural Indian than in urban India.

Before stepping out, notice your….


What’s always in style?

(Well-fitted) Jeans.

What’s the one thing that balances fitness, style and grooming?


What’s "Over The Top" when it comes to personal grooming?

Whatever makes the person comfortable is the right amount of grooming.


Nikhil Mehra

The Punjabi with flair, Nikhil Mehra of designer duo Shantanu & Nikhil has made the news plenty of times for his eclectic bow ties, and more recently, a distinguished salt ‘n’ pepper beard. Here are his tips on dressing right:

What’s missing in the Indian man’s style quota?

I think sometimes men don’t think out of the box: they don’t put in the effort to mix and match or style themselves. There is a lack of character in their clothing when they go out. Clothes should enhance our personalities – that’s how you make a profound statement.

The one accessory that can make/ break an outfit?

Bowties. I wear them pretty often, and if worn incorrectly they can break you. But the right one sets you apart. Also, pocket squares.

What has and never will go out of style?

A black jacket on a slim physique.

What's more important: six-pack abs or strategic dressing?

Strategic dressing! After all a lot of us are Punjabis and our six packs are generally sitting at home in the fridge.

What does a guy need to don to impress a woman?


The basics of grooming, according to you…?

For any man, you have to be perfectly aware of what you need to do to stay groomed. For example, I have maintained a beard for two years now -– I maintain it, but don’t always sculpt it to perfection – it is not required. Be aware and stay comfortable: that’ll always inspire the appropriate amount of grooming.


Narendra Kumar Ahmed

This lover of accessories is one of the few straight players in the industry. He keeps his accessories and his statements on style playfully sharp: he asks to keep blind bad styling ‘out of his hair’.

Is there anything Indian men are not paying attention to when it comes to fashion?

The little jungles of hair that hang out of their ears and noses. It’s like they’ve created their own planet Pandora with these ugly avatars!

What’s the most ignored accessory?

Good footwear. Today, you can get away with a torn shirt or jeans. Shoes speak a lot about the person, but are paid the least amount of attention to by men.

A must-have in your closet?

A sense of humour…


What's more important: six-pack abs or strategic dressing?

Well it depends on the person’s priorities. But I feel, that clothes speak volumes about a person. Or as Malcolm Gladwell says in his book, ‘Blink’, it contributes to sizing up a person in seconds.

What can men learn from women?

Women have this keen eye for detail and notice the smaller things; like shoes for instance, which also make for great conversation starters. The other night I was at a bar and met this woman who was wearing gorgeous glasses. I swapped mine with her, and spent all my time talking accessories. It was great!

6. How much grooming is too much grooming?

Matching everything from head to toe is like the new ‘black’ for men. But I feel this implies that the man in question has no idea about what he’s doing.


Shivan & Narresh

This duo has come a long way since launching their swimwear label Shivan & Narresh in 2008: The only luxury swimwear designers in the country, they were featured in the 'Forbes 30 Under 30' list to watch out for last year, and have had their eclectic, colourful designs feature in the Life of Pi. Here are their opinions collectively on menswear.

What are Indian men not paying attention to when it comes to styling themselves?

The list could be endless here. Indian men are not concentrating on good formal shoes,well cut shirts, knowing the right collar for your neck to knowing the appropriate hairstyles for themselves.

The one accessory that can make/ break an outfit?


What has and never will go out of style?

A crisp white shirt.

What's more important: six-pack abs or strategic dressing?

Strategic dressing.

What do you think women want when it comes to dressing their men? What do women appreciate in men's fashion?

Women always want their men to have well polished shoes, a good cuff and well-groomed hair.

Is a sculpted beard crossing the 'grooming' line?

Men's grooming is fine as long as it looks natural. A sculpted beard works perfectly. Also, doing your eyebrows in acceptable only in the case of unibrow.

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