An outfit from SS Homme’s Summer 2019 collection.
An outfit from SS Homme’s Summer 2019 collection.

Winter is coming and jackets are here

  • A designer and a stylist lay down the basics of men’s winter wardrobes
  • The right fabric and a few simple rules of styling can prepare you for everything from a business meeting to your skiing photographs

The categorization of menswear into black tie, cocktail or smart casual seems facetious in a city like Mumbai, where most men don’t stock their wardrobes with more than a couple of light jackets. Nevertheless, the right fabric and a few simple rules of styling can prepare you for everything from a business meeting to your skiing photographs.

“I have five staple jackets in my wardrobe—a bomber, a heavy linen blazer which works for moderate summer and winters, a gilet, a bandhgala for festive and celebratory events, and a sherwani for festive formal occasions. I highly recommend these for everybody," says Woolmark Prize-winning fashion designer Suket Dhir. Dhir says you shouldn’t always go by what is standard in terms of fit and length. “There’s no formula for sleeve and jacket length, everybody is different, and a jacket can help you balance your proportions when stitched right," says Dhir.

HOW ABOUT A FUCHSIA JACKET?

If you plan to take a trip abroad and usually stick to browns and blacks for your jackets, it’s time to change the game. Couture houses are not holding back on colour this season—be it fuchsia and pinks or neons. The simplest solution is to add a chunky knitted scarf, a must-have luxe accessory this season, like a bright teal extra-long version by Acne Studios or a bright carrot and olive preppy scarf by Valentino. Pair the scarf with another “it piece", the oversized trench. If you don’t feel confident experimenting with colours, pick pieces in teal, burgundy, camel tones and even plaid and checks.

“Shirt jackets are popular this season and extremely versatile," says celebrity fashion stylist Allia Al Rufai. For great fits, Rufai recommends Prada. The brand is on board with every jacket trend this season—from oversized leather trench coats to nylon jackets in light and heavy mountain-gear style.

For daily wear, Diesel offers quite a few casual jackets, all reasonably priced. You should mix colours and textures. “A good way to play with colour is by mixing and matching monochrome tones. Or simply play with colour-blocking or different prints—it’s nice not to follow the rules. An easy way to have fun with textures is to pair a shirt with a trouser or a waistcoat of a different fabric, for example, a silk shirt with wool trousers," says Rufai. This way you mix the delicate flow of a silk shirt with the rigid pattern of wool to create a visual interest that highlights each of your separates.

For some monochrome inspiration, Fendi’s beige-on-beige pieces illustrate how to make a statement with a neutral colour. If you are feeling adventurous, you could even take inspiration from Hugo Boss’ one-tone pink double-breasted jacket and pants look. Dhir picks rusts and yellows, fuchsia, dark teal and turquoise as the colours to play with this season. “An easy way to approach fuchsia is to go for a washed fuchsia look—so faded bright trousers which look like they have been worn 15 times. Washed looks make colours more palatable for men. Colours can also be worn as accents—a sombre, buttoned jacket worn over a bright shirt that peeks through," says Dhir.

One of the many ways in which the suit has been reinvented for this season is the denim suit. While Jill Sanders had a bold acid-washed oversized denim chore jacket paired with split-leg tailored denim pants, MSGM did an easy-to-pull-off version with charcoal denim jackets with sherpa lining. “Denim and printed jackets can be bold and make a statement and there are many colours to play within denim this season," says Rufai. A major trend that your body will thank you for is the oversized and straight-line puffer jacket. Off-White even presented one with a built-in crossbody bag, Balenciaga stuck to one of the hottest shades of pink, and Philipp Plein dedicated his Autumn/Winter line to puffer jackets which can serve as your go-to guide for “how to wear a different puffer jacket every day".

IT’S ALL IN THE FIT

To test if your jacket fits right, regardless of the style, always check the shoulders and the armhole area to understand if it’s a size too small or big for you. “While I am all for experimenting, one thing that you should not do is wear skinny pants and skinny jackets. The only fitted jacket you need is a leather jacket," says Dhir, reiterating the need for balance in the wardrobe and outerwear that’s neither loose nor tight.

Day outdoors
Day outdoors

DAY OUTDOORS

If you are flying out to colder climes, a long puffer jacket is just what you need to relax in style in the snow. For a sporty day in the park though, you will need more room for movement. Thankfully, this one trend has lasted for a good half of a decade now—“Nothing like some athleisure for a day out at the park to stay comfy and active," says Rufai.

Jacket for workwear
Jacket for workwear

DAY OUTDOORS

If you are flying out to colder climes, a long puffer jacket is just what you need to relax in style in the snow. For a sporty day in the park though, you will need more room for movement. Thankfully, this one trend has lasted for a good half of a decade now—“Nothing like some athleisure for a day out at the park to stay comfy and active," says Rufai.

WORKWEAR

Suket Dhir admits that he loved to play with the boundaries of workwear when he worked in the corporate world, before turning designer full-time. But most workplaces with a strict formal dress code frown on loud prints and colours. Linen blazers are versatile enough to be worn through the day. “Iron and wear it sharp and stiff to work, it starts crushing gently as the day goes on and you can step out of work and visit a club in a relaxed version of the same jacket," Dhir says.

Dhir recommends breathable, good-quality thermals instead of your usual vest for a clean work look rather than layering with bulky sweaters.

“It’s nice to play with neutrals but mix it up. Workwear need not be boring, introduce military tones and play with pops of deeper colours or pastel hues instead of bright colours which might not be okay. If you have to rush to a casual brunch, add on fun shoes or colourful sunglasses," says Allia Al Rufai.

THE CASUAL WORK BRUNCH

“To make your work look more interesting for a lunch meeting, play with stripes and checks. Or if it’s a casual meeting, simply dress up a T-shirt with a casual jacket," says Allia Al Rufai.

For brunch, Suket Dhir picks jackets in bright-but-washed-out colours with sombre pants and a classic shirt. In case it’s a celebratory lunch, pick a blend of cotton or linen with silk. “If you have the window to experiment, throw on a full-sleeved blazer on a coloured or printed shirt," he says.

Jacket for dinner date
Jacket for dinner date

THE DINNER DATE

Rufai suggests keeping things sleek with a well-cut shirt, sharp trousers and a jacket. “I feel a sharp suit is too stiff, dressed-to-impress for a dinner date. While some women might like the power-suit appearance at first, a casual jacket is much more likeable in the long run... It adds some mystery and if you want to keep things comfortable, a quilted bomber jacket is perfect," recommends Dhir.

Dhara Vora Sabhnani is a Mumbai-based fashion and lifestyle journalist.

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