A jacket isn’t just a source of warmth and comfort but also speaks volumes about personal style and refinement. While great shoes have their place in the style stakes, it’s the jacket that often pulls together the outfit, and—especially for men—provides the wearer with a certain look that sets him apart. Mostly it’s the black jackets that define the look, be it a tough leather jacket, elegant bandhgala or a crisp suit. Once you’re through with why these boys like their noir cover-ups, maybe you’ll take a moment to reminisce about your own stylish black version.
LEATHER BIKER JACKET
Ajay Dahiya, 38
GOLFER AND TRAINER
Not a day has gone by in the last 10 years when Dahiya hasn’t played the game. Work for him begins at 5am and goes on till 3pm, leaving plenty of time to indulge his tough-guy style.
“While at work, I wear golf clothes that include collared T-shirts, hats and trousers; outside I prefer a tougher look with denims, boots, leather jackets and T-shirts. I have always had a soft spot for leather jackets and this black leather one is fairly new. I became a father last year and wanted a jacket that was subtler and would go with my new role. My brother knew that I was specifically looking for one in black and picked this up for me as a surprise. I spent all of last winter in this jacket and refused to swap it for a coat on even more formal occasions such as weddings. The reason why I love it, of course, is because of the plush, soft leather and perfect fit. I can also zip up all the pockets to make it look sleek or zip them down for a more sporty, distressed look. The best part is that it feels like I’ve had it for years and it was made especially for me.”
“I have grown up listening to and watching Bruce Springsteen whose style I now emulate.”
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Nishant Peralta, 31
POET AND ENTREPRENEUR
Peralta is known for his abstract poetry based on Octavio Paz’s work that has been published in the US, Japan and India. He is a partner in a production company that promotes musical and literary talent.
“I like minimal, elegant lines and subtle style that’s offset by one abstract feature like an interesting pocket square or scarf. While I’m not into suit-like uniforms, my clothes need to be elegant yet characteristic of my style. I have always loved bandhgalas but anyone who loves this style knows how difficult it is to find one that looks stylish and not overly traditional. I was looking for a ready-made bandhgala and scoured all the shops. The ones that I found were either too embellished or predictable. I sat talking to my friend who was then at NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) and we decided to design one with my father’s design company Julio Peralta. We came up with a jacket that was clean-cut, longer for more style, with a beautiful red lining and most importantly, an austere black shade. It’s been four years since and I wear it everywhere. I can dress it up with a formal scarf and trousers or (dress it) down with a pair of jeans and kolhapuri chappals. The black shade I’ve chosen is matte and works with any colour shirt or kurta. Also, it works wonderfully for a poetry reading—there’s nothing like stepping into somebody’s preconceived notions about poets.”
“Johnny Depp in Sleepy Hollow is elegant and refined yet with a dark side to his dressing.”
Anurag Mendiratta, 33
Mendiratta has designed many offices, homes and farmhouses and defines his designs as minimalist with a classic twist. He does mostly straight line furniture and is inspired by Japanese architecture.
“I like my style to be fuss-free yet individualistic. I live in denims and clean, crisp shirts which are not too formal yet stylish and presentable. I like clothes that catch the eye, although not in an obvious manner. This jacket is a prime example of that. While mostly velvet and silk together would be considered a heavy combination, the mix of these two rich fabrics, in fact, cuts down the overall richness. It is a classic case of two negatives making a positive. The textures of these two fabrics also work to intensify the darkness of black. While this is my favourite jacket now, I picked it up almost by accident. I was in Dubai for the New Year in 2008 and realized at the last minute that I forgot my black jacket back home. So I rushed to Zara, and grabbed the first one in my size. Because it’s a statement in itself I prefer to wear it with a white shirt or a simple tee.”
“Don Draper in Mad Men for his clean-cut yet individualistic style.”
Siddharth Kapur, 30
CONSULTANT WITH A PRIVATE WEALTH MANAGEMENT FIRM
Kapur primarily manages portfolios for high networth individuals that includes their investments in financial and physical assets. He lives in business suits five days a week.
“If I had a choice I would live in a pair of jeans and T-shirt. I’m tired of wearing suits but they work for the job I’m in. This one is really old and I got it made from Raymond. I am particular about the fit and prefer to get my suits tailored. I like to get the jacket done in slimmer than usual style because I believe that makes one look crisp, clean, presentable and elegant. A suit shouldn’t just hang off the body. It looks tacky especially in front of a client who is willing to invest crores with you. A suit has to have that elegance and class that only comes from the perfect fit; which is why it’s important for it to be tailored. A suit isn’t a one-year investment and lasts much longer. It has to be perfect in length and fit, and I admit it’s only after a painful number of trials that you get what you want. I once went for four trails. This suit fits me well and I regularly wear it (to) work. I like it because it’s a beautiful charcoal black, and the colour works well to enhance my shirt, an interesting tie or any other accessory I choose to wear with it.”
“David Beckham knows exactly what to wear at any occasion and looks good in everything.”
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Ajay Dahiya is wearing his own clothes; Nishant Peralta: Shirt, Paul & Shark, DLF Promenade mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; pocket square, Paul Smith, DLF Emporio mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; trousers, Canali, DLF Emporio mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; Anurag Mendiratta: T-Shirt, Paul & Shark, DLF Promenade mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; Siddharth Kapur: Tie, Kenzo, DLF Emporio mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi; pocket square, Canali, DLF Emporio mall, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY: MADHU KAPPARATH/MINT; LOCATION COURTESY: THE LODHI, AMAN NEW DELHI; MAKE-UP: NEERAJ ARORA/MINT