What would be men’s casual style mantra in this day and age? Is it to wear expensive apparels purchased from international brands? Would we be interested in just the logo of recognizable names for social media posts? Or is it something to do with how you feel when you have great attire?
Most of us would say that it’s a mix of all of these. We, Millenials, keep an eye on recent trends, the latest social phenomena to keep ourselves ahead of the fashion game. What we seldom realize is that fashion goes beyond logos and names. Why one can certainly find trendy clothes of a known national brand in our local stores. But the allure of buying from a well-known global mega-brand is something else.
Men’s style is all about making choices that enhance your personality, reflect your attitude and confers the utmost comfort. In the following discussions, we will highlight some of the basic guidelines of looking good in different attires, looking for the right apparels and investing in local brands that truly care about your styling needs. Let’s get started.
Casual Style Clothing for Men
Casual dressing is an integral part of our lives. It is a useful technique of dressing for everyday events such as going to college, hanging out with friends, even meeting someone special. Even during our day-to-day lives, casual dressing is something we can’t live without.
Now, this doesn’t mean that we put on a t-shirt or a casual shirt and pair it up with jeans. Well, this may work for the average person, but the right combination of apparels can make a world of a difference. The reason is you have to stand apart from others even with your casual care-free dressing.
The casual dressing comes in all forms and interpretations. And needless to say, it varies from individual to individual. Although it is not rocket science, one has to be careful with matching the colours and patterns to get an overall trendy look. One may raise an extremely relevant question: why make so much effort when one can just put on casual clothes that work for any and every occasion? The main reason for making deliberate choices in casual clothing is that one size doesn’t fit all. A combination or a signature style that has worked for your friends may not necessarily suit you. Besides considering the suitability of style, one should keep in mind that the right attitude complements the right styling choice. It all depends on how well you can carry a style, style that is unique to your personality and how you come off to people. Styling is more like giving your attitude the necessary edge to make a distinct mark. Otherwise, you will be just like everyone else without any point of differentiation.
That is why you need to a bit of self-analysis before you choose the perfect casual outfit. Let us get into more details and help you de-construct the secret of casual clothing.
Casual Style is Beyond Looking ‘Young’
If you ask anyone why they opt or casual clothing, one of the prompt responses would be because it makes them look young. Besides the ease of hassle-free dressing, an important criterion for choosing a certain type of clothes is how it makes them look.
Sure! It is undeniable fact that one generally looks younger than their respective age in casual clothing. Clearly, this is a crucial quality of casual clothing when compared to other kinds of style. But looking young is not everything. Feeling comfortable and confident should be a top priority for youngsters.
One can easily say that casual styling is a double-edged sword. It is a magnificent deal with some caveats and trade-offs. For example, casual clothing is not suited for every occasion and event. Especially during formal and special occasions, t-shirts, jeans and different combinations of casual clothing is not an option.
What casual clothing does confer is the sense of comfort and the ability to be audacious in your overall style. Similarly, casual clothing is well-suited for outdoor events, or informal settings where one is not concerned with getting their clothes dirty. For example, if you go to college and use public transport, you would probably opt for t-shirt, shirts, trousers and jeans because these are sturdy apparels that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Also, if you get any of these stained, you can easily get rid of it by giving it a machine wash. Since these are made of durable cloth, repeated washes won’t do any harm to these clothes. You can use them for several months, if not years. Apparently, a lot of us still use faded casual clothes as it makes us look cool. Especially with denim; the more faded it is, the better it looks.
One cannot afford to subject their expensive formal clothes to the rigmarole of everyday travelling. In fact, some formal clothes are not made to be worn all day long as they don’t not absorb sweat, get easily stained and may undergo a lot of damage after repeated wash cycles.
That is why one shouldn't just consider how young they look in casual clothes. The functionality of many casual apparels is beyond compare.
To Wear or Not to Wear Graphic T-shirts
We all love graphic t-shirts. Almost all of us have some type of graphic tee which either has an image of our favourite superhero, a famous quote by a popular TV character, or just some snarky, witty saying picked-up from the internet. The popularity of graphic tees has reached such heights that these are some of the most popular casual style apparel product sold in retail and online.
There’s nothing wrong with wearing graphic tees. In fact, in recent times, it has become an important part of popular culture. From movie stars to popular TV series, graphic tees have become mainstream in casual styling. It has given a completely new meaning to ‘wear your attitude’.
But it won’t be amiss to consider that graphic tees don’t look great on everyone. Sure, if you are a college student or someone who has just landed an internship, you can easily wear them and garner a few compliments from your friends and colleagues. However, beyond that sphere of life, graphic tees may not work well for you. One of the reasons is edgy and snarky appears cute only when it is appropriate, that is, only when it is worn by young adults. After all, our teen years is the time to portray our personality. And witty graphic tees do a great job in highlighting our preferences, our attitude, and our personality.
The same won't work if you have crossed the threshold of college years. If you are someone in your mid to late twenties or early thirties, graphic tees may not be such a good idea. Of course, when you are chilling at home or lounging on a weekend, feel free to choose whichever casual clothing combination you want. But consider the occasion of meeting friends or hanging out with close acquaintances.
As discussed in the preceding section, the idea is to go beyond the concept of looking young. No doubt that graphic tees do make you look cool, fun and young. But your aim should be to look mature and fashionable. Often, one thinks that there is a distinct line between fun and mature. It is an assumption that has been proven wrong time and again with some of the most vogue apparels that blend class and fun together.
Can’t Go Wrong with Denim, or Can You?
Can you remember a time where people did not wear jeans? Well, to be honest, jeans have been around for almost a century. If not jeans, the denim fabric has a rich history of originating in France that made a household name by the Americans. Denim has come to represent the hardworking, courageous and dedicated section of the society who have built the foundation of every nation in the world.
For decades, denim has been an inseparable part of our lives. Ask any young adult about their favourite pair of trousers and chances are really high that the answer would be a great pair of jeans. To imagine our lives without the essential pair of jeans is next to impossible. Even before they became mainstream and found an unshakeable place in our fashion outlook, denim has been regarded as the most convenient, durable and chic apparel out there in the market.
So, you may wonder what can go wrong with a pair of jeans, right? Well, you are about to find out. There are many variations of the traditional pair of jeans owing to the diversity of fashion and styling standards. Another reason for the rich diversity is that all kinds of creativity have an audience. Similarly, due to the success of social media, it doesn’t take long for something to go viral and gain a mass following.
But some types of jeans should be better forgotten, simply because, the style has become obsolete. We are talking about the bell-bottoms, the stone washes, the patchy-printed ones and definitely, the ultra-skinny jeans. All of these variants have had their moment of fame and are nowhere to be seen nowadays.
There’s no substitute for a perfect-fitting pair of jeans without any embellishments. The only rule that works with jeans is to keep things simple. A straight-fit or slim-fit jean with uniform dark or light colour looks incredibly chic. One can wear it for numerous occasions which do not demand a strict and formal dressing code. The best part about an amazing pair of jeans is that they pair up perfectly with almost all the colours. Similarly, they are the right combination for t-shirts and semi-casual shirts alike.
Jeans work great with plain t-shirts or shirts, as well as, layers such as jackets. A careful blend of denim and jackets can create the perfect mix of casual and semi-casual style. These types of looks are perfectly appropriate for parties or vacation, where you don’t have to be too careful about getting things soiled.
Bottom Wear Doesn’t Have to be Only Jeans
Young adults, especially college goers mostly prefer jeans for everyday use. The other alternative for some is trousers. These choices are great for everyday use because these are comfortable, convenient and often give a trendy look. Even if they think of experimenting with other types of trousers, the enthusiasm doesn’t last long. Needless to say, the inclination towards jeans and trousers stick with us for a long time, much later than the completion of studies.
Then there’s the work-life phase where almost everyone has to wear formal clothes. But let’s consider the fact that most workplaces do not adhere to the strict code of formal apparel. Indeed, more and more workplaces, especially the ones in the non-technical industry, tolerate a fair amount of semi-casualness in the work attire. So, what do you do when you have a work environment which encourages you to dress less formally but maintain a professional appearance? You may think about wearing jeans from time to time, but there are other alternatives which are comfortable and do not compromise on the much-desired trendy look.
Chinos look amazing in almost all settings. Whether it’s for work, going out for a special occasion or a just an evening full of fun with friends, chinos are a no-brainer. The best part about chinos is that they really complement all types of t-shirts and shirts, conferring a classy look on the wearer. The overall appearance is that of a well-balanced, carefully-chosen, intentionally chic look that is well-suited for all types of events.
Another major advantage of chinos is that they come in a range of colours, bringing some vibrancy to your wardrobe. Indian men shy away from wearing coloured trousers for one reason or the other. Some feel that coloured-trousers do not reflect their true personality, or may convey the wrong impression. It is safe to say that most of us are not used to colourful trousers.
One of the biggest challenges in shifting to colourful trousers is the newness of the concept. If you have never even considered wearing something other than blue and black trousers, buying chinos with bright colours is a long walk to walk. It is because we have always viewed trousers as apparels that come in standard colours. It is not just in this day and age. Trousers and especially denim have adhered to the traditional designs and colour scheme. Even if the designs and cuts have undergone some transformation over the decades, the shades have been constant.
The other impediment is that one is intimidated with all the colours they see in bottom wear. Even if someone overcomes the barrier of buying colourful trousers, the next challenge is to appropriately match them with t-shirts and shirts. Especially if one doesn’t know which hues go with what, it can be a tedious task.
Let’s Talk About Shoes
Why don’t we step back and analyze one of the most important aspects of casual style? Well, almost everything constitutes a good look; your attitude, hairstyle, accessories, top wear, bottom wear. But we want to focus on perhaps one of the most important factors of “good-lookin’” which we tend to overlook. We are talking about shoes because ‘shoes completeth a man’
Let’s get things into perspective. Generally, we do not pay attention to shoes for various reasons. Most of our focus goes towards the macro part of appearing stylish and preferably concerns with trendy t-shirts and trousers. Somehow, we have to learn the importance of creating the perfect look and displaying the complete package that represents our true style.
Many of us tend to neglect shoes and often settle for something common like sandals and flip-flops. There is no doubt that the above represents the most comfortable footwear that exists in the market, especially from the point of view of youngsters. If you were to ask a college student why they would wear sandals than shoes, the top of the mind answer is that they save a lot of time, one doesn’t have to worry about wearing socks or something like, it feels airy and breezy which works perfectly in the Indian hot weather.
We are here to declare that if you want to complete your trendy look, good shoes form a crucial part of the entire ensemble. And you would be surprised by the wide range of collections that are out there.
Just like apparels, you have different types of shoes well-suited for particular occasions. However, with the changing trends, year after year, one can find many varieties of footwear that seem the right fit for all types of events. This is especially useful for college-goers who wouldn’t want to own separate pairs for different occasions. Similarly, shoes like boat, sneakers and others pack a perfect blend of semi-casual and formal. At the same time, it is way better when compared to sandals in terms of looks and design. An added advantage is that they are super comfortable and most of them can be worn throughout the year, irrespective of the weather.
Whatever be your preferences, one has to take the important step of opting for shoes to get the perfect desired look. Remember that the eyes always stop at the shoes. It is worth investing in a smart-looking pair of footwear even if you don’t know how to carry them. They will fit your look just alright.
Accessorize for that Edgy Look
Let’s discuss an important part of casual style. It is the subjectivity of a particular look, which means that a particular style will not enhance the looks of everyone. This is a very debatable concept in the industry, but one thing is for sure, you will have to experiment with different styles and combinations before finding the right fit. One can appreciate the fact that a lot of trial and error goes into the process of finding a casual style that truly resonates with your personality.
This brings us to our main point of discussion. Accessories can be considered as one of those elements of style that may not work for everyone. You may find instances of youngsters using accessories that truly suit them and they use it to their advantage. Also, this is not limited to just young college students. Adults can also choose from a wide range of collections and wear accessories that accentuate their style and personalities.
But one has to remember that this may not work for any and everyone. Also, individuals who carry them in style have to strike the right balance between looking edgy and intimidating. It is a known fact that too much of something tends to make the concept kitschy, instead of trendy. As mentioned earlier, one has to find their own secret sauce when it comes to accessories.
Now, there is tremendous scope for improvement if one wishes to enter the world of accessorizing. And it is certainly not restricted to metals accessories or piercings. It is much more than that, and one can find the perfect styling element to enhance their look. There are leather wrist bands, strings, beaded bands, metal bands, chains and necklaces, pendants and tags and a lot more.
If one is apprehensive about their choices in accessories, the safest way to start is with wrist bands that bring out a whole new personality to the forefront. Leather wrist bands, with their soft texture and sombre looks, convey a completely different look to the wearer. With the right combination of t-shirt, jackets and jeans, leather bands make you look playful and adventurous. The same can be said about beads that have recently sprung to fame due to its prevalence in movies and TV series characters.
If you want to take it a notch further and truly give-in to accessorizing then rings, earing and chains can be the defining factor of your casual style. For decades, these have been the signature style of rockstars, movie actors and music artists. Some of them have embodied it to such an extent that one cannot imagine these icons without their trademark look.
Layers for Something Extra
One may have a valid argument that layers may not be a terrific idea, despite the way it is lauded in the fashion world. Although fashion can be used to embrace the creative playful part of you, there has to be some element of practicality to it. By this, we mean that fashion has to be comfortable and more importantly, functional in all aspects.
Jackets, overcoats, scarves, stoles, sweaters, cardigans and many more apparels make things interesting when paired with the right clothing. Often, we find that just the simple combination of a shirt and a pair of jeans doesn’t produce the necessary effect that we want. Well, it looks great especially if that’s the only casual outfit you want to wear. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. You can wear it every day and that could be your go-to combination on regular days.
But sometimes, out of the blue, there comes a special occasion where you have to go beyond the call of everyday fashion and wear something funky. Every year, there are several occasions where you definitely cannot afford to wear the usual casual. If you do choose to opt that, one of your friends will certainly not be happy, especially if it’s a party. So, how do you go from dull and sombre to funky and happening?
Layers can bring about a world of a change to your ordinary casuals. And with a host of choices, you cannot go wrong with layers because almost all them are well-suited for most occasions. Say you have a plain white t-shirt and an ordinary pair of blue jeans. That combination is bound to go unnoticed as it is nothing new and exciting. Imagine the same combination, now, with a little twist. What if you had a dark coloured V-neck or a round neck sweater? Why not pair your usual casual with a cardigan?
What it does is provide more depth to the notion of casual dressing. You capture the attention of the observer by directing the gaze to multiple levels of clothing, the contrast between the two apparels and the overall mature look that comes with sweaters and cardigans. At the same time, scarves and stoles are a great way of adding zing to an ordinary look.
Where are have the Jackets Gone?
There was a time when jackets were a crucial part of Indian Men’s attire. Jackets would be worn in formal settings with a shirt and formal trousers to go with it. If someone wanted to come out of the formal setting and not look too official, jackets could be paired with t-shirts and jeans to create a funky jazzy look. Nowadays, we don’t see a lot of men carrying jackets. Whether young or middle-aged, Indian men have lost touch with probably the most stylish element of Men’s fashion. This begs the question, ‘Where have all the jackets disappeared’? Have jackets lost the charm they used to hold over the stylish male of our times? We are here to look deep into the advantages of wearing a good-lookin’ jacket and what they add to the overall appearance.
Since more than a century, jackets would be worn by every male who wanted to look sharp and stylish. Right from the Victorian era where jackets where more than a part of the daily ‘uniform’, jackets have gone beyond the customs of appearing traditional and formal. Even during the fashion explosion of the 60s and 70s, jackets remained in the routine dressing component of many men. Especially when you consider the fame garnered by jackets, one cannot ignore the fact that jackets were made extremely popular by famous personalities. One could easily see their favourite actors and actresses donning a cool pair of vests, winning the hearts of billions across the world. It can be said that styling with the help of jackets has now been restricted to the glamourous world of the film and music industry. So how to bring back the classic and amazing look to the common man? You don’t have to worry about that no more. We have a few suggestions that will help you overcome the barrier of wearing additional layers in the form of great vests and jackets that bring out your cool and jazzy personality.
One of the complaints against heavy layers is that it is not suited for all weather. In the cold countries of America and Europe, jackets become a necessity. This is not just for winters, but even the summer weather demands that one wears additional layers to protect them from inclement weather. We have seen this in India as well where people can't wait to get their winter clothing out of their wardrobe and flaunt it in the street.
But for the rest of the year, it may seem like a bad idea to go with jackets that keep you extra warm. For almost nine months of the year, India experiences warm and hot tropical weather. In some parts of the country, during the peak summer season, temperatures increase to a tremendous extent. Especially during the months of April, May and June, we have a standard of notorious heat that makes us want to get rid of the layers of clothing that we have.
However, there are parts of the country which see favourable and pleasant weather for the majority of the year. In such regions, if one has to go with layers, we recommend that jackets should be a top priority. In other parts, it is not necessary to go with heavy coats during the hot days of the summer season. Nowadays, there are numerous options that include light-weight cloth jackets and thin material overcoats. These ensure that you retain the style statement without compromising on comfort. After all, looking good is not the only criteria when it comes to casual style. One has to be able to carry style without losing the comfort of being yourself. The idea of adjusting your clothes throughout the day because they make you feel stuffy and hot is not what fashion demands. Your clothes should become your second skin such that you wear them and forget about them. That is why it is important to invest in apparels that provide the benefits of both fashion and function. Let’s get back to exploring some options in the coat segment and see if we can find a middle ground between looking amazing and maintaining optimum comfort levels.
The Motorcyle Jackets
Before listing out some of the most stylish jackets worn all over the world, we have decided to introduce one of the best apparels known to Indian Men from this industry. We are talking about the most worn jacket by Indians- the Motorcycle jacket.
Why start with this particular apparel when there are more than a dozen variations in style and fabric? Simply because the motorcycle jacket is widely known amongst the Indian population. Consider the fact that India is home to one the largest population of bikers. On an average, India’s bike sales continue to see a rising trend over the years. So much so that this sector is considered as a pillar of economic resilience by contributing immensely to the country’s GDP. The automobile sector, especially the two-wheeler vehicle industry, is used to measure the nation’s progress, year by year. Considering all this, how can we not talk about one of the most worn jackets by Indian men.
Biker jackets are essential when we talk about the love of Indian Men for riding bikes. Also, India is a nation of great diversity in terms of geographical landscapes, the numerous hill-stations spread across the Northern, Southern and Eastern regions of the nation. Many bike enthusiasts and we are talking about thousands, often plan bike trips to some of the most visited and lesser-known tourist spots across the length and breadth of the country. India’s priority of developing motorable roads at remote places has helped the tourism industry to attract more travellers, and give them the opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the country. There are so many of us who have travelled to places such as Kashmir, Ladakh, Uttarakhand. Bike-trips to these places have been an accomplishment for many thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts. More than those are the people who have a bike-trip planned with a group of friends to these places of unparalleled natural beauty.
However, a word of caution for any first-time traveller. Any person who has experienced the wonder of riding a bike to the mountainous passes of Northern India can give you a definitive list of precautions when embarking on such an audacious journey. Topping the list is the sudden changes of weather at high places. This is where the motorcycle jacket can be of great help. Riding a bike is altogether a different ball game. It is not like a journey in a four-wheeler where you stay protected irrespective of the condition outside. In a car, one can be cosy and comfortable with the air-conditioning on or the use of the heater as and when the weather demands of it. One doesn’t have to worry about the merciless wind that often assaults the biker.
Travelling on a bike exposes you to much more. There’s the inclement weather to look out for whenever you decide to traverse the difficult roads of the mountains. In one moment, you would be enjoying the cool warm breeze, and the next moment, you will have to navigate the snow-covered passes of the tall, undaunting mountains. If you are not wearing a jacket made of durable material, equipped to protect you from the moods of the weather, it may come to a point that you will have to wait for the difficult weather to pass. In some cases, it is possible that you will have to end your journey prematurely and head home. This happens when you are in the middle of nowhere, far away from the previous township and many kilometres to cover before you see the next settlement, and you are constantly being battered by the capricious weather. Having a great motorcycle jacket can be the difference between continuing your road trip and enjoying every moment of it, to seeking shelter from the inclement weather from time to time.
Motorcycle jackets are not just meant for extensive time spent on a road trip. Their use is more local and well-suited for daily travel of a city-dweller. It is not an understatement when we say that venturing out on city roads with a bike becomes more of a hazard than a joy ride. The first impediment is the condition of roads. It is a known fact that any and every city in the country has some patches of uneven and badly-constructed road. This poses a great risk for the bikers as they have to navigate these stretches without the balance and comfort of a car.
Similarly, when one is on the road, there are other elements which are not conducive to riding a bike. We are talking about the pollution, the sudden appearance of un-marked speed breakers, flying objects of trash spread over the road, oil-spills in certain areas, parts of vehicles that come off without warning and so on. But one of the most annoying aspects of bike riding is the sudden onslaught of rain that gives the biker no chance to protect themselves. This is true especially in the coastal areas where monsoon can wreak havoc from time to time. There have been so many instances of heavy showers which go on for hours and leave the average commuter stranded. Riding a bike in these conditions is not easy and one has to have something that can alleviate the situation.
Having bodily protection against the unpredictable weather is a must for Indian bikers. That is where jackets come in. Now, most of us have been enamoured by the leather jacket and in almost all cases, they are associated with the biking attitude. The fact is that throughout the history of riding two-wheelers, leather jackets have become an inseparable part of the whole experience. Also, for decades, both Hollywood and Bollywood have glorified the concept of a leather jacket as a must-have accessory to get the true feeling of riding a two-wheeler. Especially in the United States of America, you have bike gangs that remain one of the most popular groups of individuals that have become loyal customers of the leather jacket and accessories sector. This trend soon caught up in India and before you know it, Indian biking enthusiasts started donning the much-needed apparel specifically associated with living life on the road.
Leather jackets have some serious caveats that may not be suited for wearing while riding under Indian conditions. More importantly, if it is an expensive variety of leather, chances are that it won’t be that durable and resilient to make it last for a long time. What Indian bikers need is a fabric that can withstand rain and snow and at the same time, keep the body cool. Chances are that most of the riding would be done in hot weather, and that is the reason why you need an appropriate material. This calls for the all-weather motorcycle jackets that stand the test of time, and more importantly, comfortable for the average ride when it comes to the budget.
An important thing to notice is that motorcycle jackets are not just for bike rides. A motorcycle jacket with a great finish and cut can work wonders for many occasions. Be it going out on a date, meeting friends and bringing a dull party to life, these jackets can change your look in an instant. One thing to keep in mind is how well you pair it with other apparels. The right combination can change the way one appears by unravelling the cool aspect of your personality. Didn’t we mention that motorcycle jackets are a great way of conveying the adventurous and exploratory part of your persona? Even if it doesn’t blatantly come out that the wearer is a lover of adventure and seeks utmost pleasure in exploring the world, the least it can do is convey a smart, edgy and casual look. Add to the look a cool pair of gloves and a sassy pair of shades, preferably, aviators and wayfarers, and see how this combination completely transforms your overall look. There is nothing more attractive than jackets and sunglasses, and with the right attitude, you are ready to rock the scene.
Make Way for the Light-Weights
As discussed at length in the previous section, comfortable jackets are the need of the hour for Indian men. Before we go into that, let’s address a common problem with our styling. One of the best advantages of wearing jackets is that you get the option to play with colours and patterns. By using a different combination of colour palettes, one has the option of highlighting different aspects of the attire and draw attention towards them. One of the best techniques is to use contrasting colours.
Using multiple colours is a great way of capturing the observer’s attention as this is something intrinsic to all animals. If you consider the story of our evolution from apes living in the jungles to building grand cities and nations, one can see how the ability to differentiate between colours played a major role in our survival. One only has to look back at the evidence buried deep in human evolution to realize how colours made a difference in our development from apes to humans.
Earlier, when our ancestors were living in the forest, it was extremely vital to identify different plants based on their colours and pattern. One’s survival depended on the fact that they would identify poisonous plants, remember their colour, stay away from them, and prevent others from coming in contact with them. This is because survival was not just an individual concept. It became essential that the entire community became knowledgeable and prosperous in order to brave the known and become good at protecting the community of individuals.
Similarly, early humans had to develop depth perception along with the knowledge of colours. This would help them find their way through unknown landscapes, thick forests and possibly, hunt underwater. Also, it is common knowledge that many animals have developed incredible camouflage in the process of evolution. The ability to use camouflage helps animals to blend into the surrounding environment and protect them from the eyes of their predators. Camouflage is crucial for the survival of many animal species as well as reptiles, insects and amphibians. Just like the chameleon, you have a host of living organisms that could become invisible in an arena full of colours and patterns. But, as it turns out in nature, every species develops a list of characteristics better than other organisms in order to improve their chances of survival and longevity.
Humans weren’t behind in this game. The ability to differentiate between subtle hues of the colours gave us probably one of the best visions in the animal kingdom. That is the reason why our attention is automatically drawn towards contrasting colours.
One can use this biological trick of the mind to one’s advantage by carefully selecting an appropriate mix of contrasting colours and putting them on to create mélange of beautiful effects. This is how you can use a jacket to create depth to your look by giving the observer more layers to look at, drawing their attention towards your overall look. This can be an amazing tip to change a simple looking outfit into something that is far more interesting.
Let’s consider the denim jackets in the light-weight category. The denim fabric has been around for more than a century without any dip in its popularity. The best part about denim is that it can be used to make all kinds of apparel, without sacrificing the comfort most fashionistas crave for. Although the most worn apparel made out of denim is the jeans trouser, denim has been used to produce overalls, jumpsuits, shirts, jackets, bags and even wrist bands. Truly, it is one of the most versatile fabrics ever known to the fashion industry.
No doubt it is very sturdy and durable, standing the test of time and weather, again and again. But the main feature of the fabric that really stands out is the comfort. Nowadays, a lot of secondary fabrics and artificial fibres have come to be mixed with denim, which imparts softness and ruggedness to a varying extent. This makes denim a light-weight fabric, and the apparels made out of it can be worn for all types of weather.
At the same time, as it aces the categories of comfort and endurance, denim is a highly fashionable fabric. The classic blue colour has given it a signature casual style and makes the job of pairing contrasting colours a child’s play. On so many occasions, one must have seen magazine covers with models donning the classic blue denim jacket with an undershirt or vest of plain light colour. The most preferred hue is that of the white and light grey which enhances the contrast of the sea-blue traditional denim colour. The metal buttons that can be seen on the pockets and the rim testifies to the identifiable pattern of denim apparels.
Denim jackets can be worn for any event, as long as the goal is to look casual and stylish. You can wear it to parties, for a vacation, can be carried to camping and holidaying and even for a get together with friends and family. Youngsters can also carry the denim jacket in style to colleges where it certainly bound to make you look stunning than your peers. A jacket is a great addition to the overall look, especially for lean and fit individuals. If you are looking to add a bit more feature and bulk to the upper body, a denim jacket is a right choice for you. In the summers, leave it open so that it can easily contrast with the light coloured undershirt and when the weather gets a tad bit nippy, you can put on the zip or the buttons and enjoy the warmth it produces.
An easy look to attain is to pair the jacket with denim trousers or chinos, as it goes equally well with many different types of trousers. Since denim is a well-accepted fabric and popular with all kinds of apparel, you can prefer to go with any and every combination of trousers without worrying about its compatibility. We highly recommend that every wardrobe should have at least a couple of denim shirts or jackets.
Not just that, you can always choose to enhance your denim jacket’s ‘fashionability’ with some denim accessories. Yes! You read that right. Denim accessories look really cool if you know the right way to carry them. For example, denim is used to make backpacks and satchels for everyday use. Since we discussed the durability sturdiness of the fabric, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it can be used to create a great bag or a satchel. Sling it over your shoulder and you will find that not only it is long-lasting, but the denim fabric is soft and comfortable as well.
Besides slings and satchels, you can also go for a denim cap and wrist bands. In a country which receives ample amount of sunlight throughout the year, wearing a cap is always a good choice to protect yourself from the blazing sun. Especially if you are a college student, styling a denim cap should be on the top of your list as you cannot go wrong with it. If you want to further your style quotient, a cool denim-cum-leather wrist band or a strap can bring about a world of a difference for your overall look. Wrist bands have been in fashion for as many decades as rock stars have been dominating the music scene. Clearly, it is one of the most identifiable accessories akin to a free spirit. Try and experiment with denim, and you will be satisfied with the final outcome.
The Trucker jacket is another great apparel in the light-weight category. Most of you may think that there is no real difference between a denim jacket and a trucker’s jacket. Well, that’s partially true because denim is often used to make a trucker’s jacket.
A Trucker’s jacket is a defined style of jacket that can be made using any fabric. It has specific dimensions for sleeves, collars, the silhouette fit, pocket configurations etc. One of the important characteristics that differentiate the trucker’s jacket from a traditional denim jacket is a V-shaped seam that begins at the breast pocket and runs, all the way down, to the waistline. However, you can identify a trucker’s jacket by the unique dimensions it has, that of a closely fitted jacket, with shorter length of the sleeves and the shoulder to waist length. These are some of the features that differentiate them from any other jacket.
It makes absolute sense to have a trucker’s jacket which is light, breezy and thoroughly fashionable. This comes as a boon for people living in hotter climates and would want to experiment with adding layers and wanting to don a cool jacket. Especially if it is made of a soft and smooth material like cotton and doesn’t have too many layers, it is convenient to say that this jacket can be comfortably worn on a warm spring day.
In our country, there are several places which experience mild spring and summer for a good part of the year. Specifically the Northern hilly regions of states like Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh as well as the Northeastern states where most of the area is covered by mountains of the great Himalayan Range. Although the temperatures may not take a dip for the worse in the summer, winters are really cold for sure.
At least in the summer, where you don’t need heavy layers but you would still want additional clothing in the form a light-weight overcoat, the trucker’s jacket may seem like a good solution.
The OverShirt Concept
There is an undocumented styling method prevalent with the Indian masses that deserves a mention. Most of us are conscious of the weather limitations in the Indian Subcontinent which limits the usage of multiple apparels. One doesn’t want to wear a jacket in the stifling heat of the summer season, yet one cant stay away from the allure of wearing another layer of clothing over t-shirts.
A predominant casual style which seeks a middle ground between fashion and function is the concept of wearing a shirt over the t-shirt. You may have seen this common style with youngsters who go to college. This is something that makes one stand out amongst the hundreds of young adults who wish to make a mark during their early years of higher education.
In a country like ours, it makes sense to don a casual or a semi-casual shirt with the buttons open, over a t-shirt. Although this style comes somewhere in between casual and semi-professional, it gives the wearer a funky and modern look as compared to the traditional combination of t-shirt and trousers. This style heavily draws inspiration from movies and the heroes that carry this unique pairing in style.
If you really think you can pull it off, we have some suggestions to make it look even more fashionable. The first thing you have to look for in carrying this look is the type of t-shirt or undershirt that you want to wear. Usually, when you want to pair layers, it is a great idea to make sure that you go for contrasting colours. It could be a light undershirt with a darker hue for the shirt worn over the t-shirt. Similarly, if you want to do the reverse, i.e., a darker undershirt covered in a light coloured overshirt, it will work out just perfectly.
However, it is preferred that you keep it simple by opting for dark-coloured t-shirt and go for a chequered-pattern cotton overshirt. If you further want to elevate your style, choose a V-neck t-shirt which will accentuate your neckline and make you look shapely and fit. Overshirts with stripes or cheques are always a good idea as most semi-formal or semi-casual shirts do come with these patterns. The idea of using a known patterned shirt is to make it look natural and ensure that it doesn’t stand out too much.
Mostly, young adults love to keep the buttons open and make the overshirt look like a jacket. This creates a perfect jazzy look for the youngsters as it conveys a sense of carefree attitude and adventure. Also, this is a great technique for slim people to look a little bulkier. Pairing this attire with the right trousers is extremely important as bottom wear play a crucial role in creating an overall fantastic look. Keep in mind the techniques of colour combinations and you will successfully achieve the cool overshirt look.
The Unspoken Rules of Casual Dressing
Before we go on about some of the specifics of casual dressing, we would like to discuss some of the basics that will help you zero-in on choosing your specific style.
The casual dressing came to prominence in the middle of the last century and doesn’t seem to go away. One of the reasons why the style caught up and remained with the fashion industry is the convenience of it all. Back in the 50s and 60s, the rise of the working class led to the emergence of a unique dressing style that has come to be known as casual dressing. During the post-war years, i.e., at the end of World War 2, the majority of people were employed in factories and manufacturing industry. This created a boom in consumer products and also change in the mindset of the people. More and more individuals started adopting a more easy-going style by shedding the layers of formal attires. It made sense as the priorities of people shifted from creating an extravagant look to a more easy-going, ‘could-not-care-less’ attitude. But this did not mean that people didn’t want to look fashionable anymore.
A middle path between looking excessively dressed and completely foregoing the fashion rules created a new segment of dressing known as casual dressing. Workers would often wear jeans and t-shirts to their manufacturing units and continue to wear them after work hours. The idea was to keep a simplistic dressing sense without looking too shabby or unkempt. Obviously, jeans and t-shirts became the easiest option for people who were more focused on creating a living more than anything. Not far behind, the fashion industry took note of the changing attitude of the masses and started innovating the casual dressing style for the average individual.
With a rise of economic conditions of the common man, efforts were directed towards creating a casual look for individuals who wouldn’t want to invest a lot in looking sharp and professional. The unique attire of shirts and trousers became a symbol for the working class who would wear it proudly even after work hours. At the same time, it was the era were excesses were kept in the background and more importance was given to the comfort of dressing in a particular way. This led to the creation of the modern-day jacket which would be convenient to wear and yet, offer some amount of protection against the harshness of the weather.
Whatever be the reasons for the rise of casual styling, an important thing to consider is that one can look stylish even in casual attire. There are some unspoken rules of casual dressing that everyone needs to follow. Although it is not difficult to understand, most of us often overlook some of the simplest techniques of casual styling. Some of the guides can make the world of a difference in the look and overall appearance of the individual. It is better to recognize these differences and implement them in our daily styling method. Let’s get into it.
Fit is Everything
Almost all of us are guilty when it comes to fitting. Be it wearing oversized t-shirts and shirts, to not caring enough about the fit of our trousers, we all have avoided going for clothes that fit us perfectly. What is the reason behind this deliberate folly?
One of the main aspects of the casual style is that all kinds of clothes look good on everyone. Some of the trends in the last decade have clearly emphasized on the fact that you can get away with wearing baggy jackets, bell-bottom jeans or large t-shirts. It is important to note that not everyone is comfortable with the body nature has endowed us with. Some feel that they are on the heavier side while some crib about being too skinny. What most people don’t realize that casual dressing has a solution to all our doubts and insecurities.
Also, some are under the impression that wearing the right fit may just accentuate the so-called ‘flaws’ that they are desperately trying to hide. That is why a lot of people may not feel comfortable wearing clothes that fit them. Over time, it takes a toll on their self-confidence. This is how wearing over-sized clothes becomes an inseparable part of their daily attire.
There’s one thing that everyone must understand. It is not important that you look thin or, if you consider the other end of the spectrum, look bulky and muscular. What is essential to looking great and attractive is to maintain the proper proportions while choosing a particular dressing style. And the casual style is the best way to create a proportionate look, irrespective of body type and size.
Some of the blame goes to the popular culture that has been made acceptable by the entertainment industry. Often, we see that actors and music artists create a fashion style that becomes viral. After this, everyone wants to look like their favourite movie stars and try to emulate their style. But this doesn’t work for everyone. What you have to realize is that the entertainment industry represents a small minority of people who work hard on their looks. They spent hours and hours perfecting a look because that is the demand of the profession. Although in current times, the scenario has changed with the inclusion of talented individuals who don’t necessarily fit the body-type demanded by the camera, the entertainment industry has always chosen good-looking individuals who fit their criteria of ‘handsome, beautiful and stunning’.
Now, this is a tall order for the average individual who may not have the time to work on their body and looks. And this is absolutely fine because our priorities are different. You don’t have to tick all the boxes that are usually necessary for someone who wants to be in front of the camera. So, don’t fall for the popular definition of style.
Let go away the mainstream notion of ‘handsome, beautiful and stunning’. We all can look pretty only if we understood the basics of casual styling and how it can enhance whatever look we have naturally. This brings us to the next point.
The Comfort Factor
This is something that should be established as a rule across the industry. It is a simple concept that anything trendy should be the right mix of fashion and convenience. Most of us easily compromise comfort when we find something that we think will make us look attractive.
Let us consider the examples we have discussed in the preceding sections. We all have been enamoured by the look of some known personalities without considering the fact that what they wear onscreen may just have the fashionable quotient. For example, if some sports a jacket and looks good in it, we think that it will be a good idea for something similar. If our favourite hero is acting a part where he has to adorn a look of biker, he may wear a tight leather jacket with heavy padding. Something like this will look amazing on the screen, and often, this is the demand of the script where the hero has to convince the audience that he really is the character he portrays.
But something like this in real life is unfeasible. Imagine wearing a heavily-padded jacket in the month of May. Within a few minutes, one will be drenched in sweat because the heat in the summers would become unbearable and would be forced to take off the jacket. Similarly, if you see some famous personality wear velvet or suede trousers, we want to recreate the style and see if we look good in it. This can be a disastrous fashion decision if one cannot carry it the right way. And to top it all, Indian weather will not permit you to wear leather, velvet or suede apparel because that would make you really uncomfortable.
So, what is the solution to it? The idea is to go for a minimalistic fashion style that makes you feel comfortable on all occasions. It is not a difficult decision to make. One has to realize what he is comfortable with and then, venture into experimenting with a chosen style.
Although this is not a rule writ in stone, but fashion is all about how it makes you feel. And comfort should be on the top of the list. Only when you are comfortable, you will have the confidence to carry anything in style. No one wants to keep fidgeting with their attire all day long. What comfortable apparel does is, it takes your mind off from what you are wearing and focus on the things that are more important than worrying about how you look all the time. It is a very simple concept to understand, but somehow, we all tend to miss it from the get-go.
Social Trends are not Everything
The popularity of social media has gone through the roof in the past few years, especially in India. As more and more areas are being covered under a high-speed internet network, the number of people accessing online platforms have increased tremendously. This has immensely contributed to the increase in the content available on different social media platforms.
More importantly, one can see a lot of content pertaining to grooming tips, styling bits of advice, motivational and self-help content. Needless to say, there is huge growth in the number of influencers who tend to share their expertise on a particular topic. Although there are some amazing tips and hacks available on these platforms, it is not necessary that these may work for you. Similarly, you can find a lot of viral content on trends that have become popular with the masses. Some of the content is just for entertainment purposes and one can hardly find anything useless from it.
There are many of us who constantly adjust our style depending on the popular social media content. And there is absolutely no harm on doing that. In fact, social media trends have penetrated the fabric of our society to such an extent that it doesn’t take a lot of time for viral content to garner hundreds of thousands of views in a matter of days.
The idea is to take inspiration from the numerous options and innovations you see on such websites and use that re-create your own template. But be careful as not to be bogged down by the overwhelming number of suggestions and ideas.
One thing that you need to understand is most social media platforms thrive on visually appealing content. If you consider the kind of accounts that garner the most following, the types of content that have more likes, comments and engagement are the ones that have entertaining and innovative posts. The reason is that social media platforms rely heavily on posts that look attractive and can draw a lot of attention. That is the reason you will find several users posting only aesthetically pleasing images, videos and gifs.
What this means for the fashion industry is that you will have a lot of users posting content that may or may not be practically useful. For example, they may post about an outfit that looks good on camera but may not look great and appear comfortable when you wear them in the real world. Or you may have some famous personality talk about their style routine which may not be practical or well-suited for your needs. The trends that work for popular names and well-known celebrities may not really be of any use to you.
Similarly, we have entered the age of influencers where people having a lot of followers tend to show the path for the latest trends. They may talk about beauty hacks, their travel stories, their wardrobe collection, fashion tips and much more. It is an undeniable fact that a lot of these suggestions may come handy when you are trying to work out your own style in your own image. Such accounts really do post some tips and techniques that will be of great help to their followers. You can always look forward to such content to readjust or redefine your fashion goals.
But let’s limit that to inspirations and ideas. You can always consider them as an addition to your already existing styling template. But in the end, the world will know you for who you are and how you have transformed yourself. Ultimately, there is no replacement of ingenuity that eventually comes from your understanding of what you like and how you would want to present yourself. So, don’t worry about the latest trends and viral content. You have all the necessary information you need and do wonders with whatever choices you make. That brings us to our next discussion.
Keep It Simple Silly
There have been numerous occasions when you have decided to wear something for a special occasion and at the last moment, you feel this sudden need to go for another outfit which you think is better suited for the event. Or you have reserved a particular attire and right in the final moments of getting dressed, it dawns on you that you cant just wear what you have, that it is missing something.
What you end up doing is making some last moment decisions that fair worse than your original choice. It is a classic case of overthinking that all of us go through, especially if we are really nervous about meeting people. At the same time, we are constantly thinking about how other people will judge us and whether we look our best in the attire. And the obvious solution that comes to you is to do something extra that will further enhance your overall look. Instead of covering up your assumed faux pax, it only highlights the subtle incongruities that you may have overlooked and something that will never be noticed by anyone.
What happens when we have too many ideas about something? We often find ourselves more confused than we would have been with limited choices. This is particularly true for dressing and finding the appropriate attire for an event.
A simple rule to follow is to keep things simple right from the start. Suppose you have an exciting evening ahead, probably a party or a date. Obviously, you want to put your best foot forward and choose your favourite apparel. Now, if you have decided to go with either casual or formals, depending upon what the situation demands, the important step is to stick with your decision all the way through. This means that when you have made up your mind about wearing a particular combination, you are not allowed to second-guess your choices. This is a very important part of decision making. If you don't follow this, you will continue to change your decisions without conclusively arriving at a particular solution.
The other part of keeping things simple is to not go overboard with the experimentation aspect. Experimenting with your style is an important part of looking good. Just like fashion changes every season, every year, your preferences should also change depending on your needs and comfort. One has to realize that change is an important aspect of style and something that cannot be controlled or stopped.
The way people used to dress in the 60s and 70s was for too different than how people would change their look in the 90s. Nowadays, with increased connectivity and global exchange of information, trends usually start in one part of the word and soon spread through the world in no time. As more and more people have a say in the changing trends, the popularity shelf-life of apparels doesn’t last too long. That is why you need to keep experimenting with your look, the way you carry yourself, the clothes you wear.
But there is a fine line between experimenting and over-doing it. Just like too much of everything is not appeasing, the same is true when you are looking forward to adopting a new style. There are so many elements of style that you need to take care of. For example, if you want to add colour to your wardrobe, which predominantly has darker shades and very few brighter hues, you need to do this in stages. You have to first determine what shades are compatible with your overall look and whether it accentuates your look. This is simply because not all colours suit a particular skin tone or body type and even personality. Similarly, you will have to choose the right shade of the colour, which should match the rest of the attire. It is possible that one may think about introducing some patterns along with testing different types of colours. Designs and patterns are altogether a different ball game that one needs to navigate very carefully.
If you can find the middle ground, then you are one of the lucky few ones who have good taste in clothes. This is because having a naturally well-developed inclination towards the right combination of clothes is something rare. Usually, it is an acquired knowledge which comes with years of experience and a lot of trial and error. That’s the reason one should go slow and take their time before making a final decision when it comes to casual style. What you can do in the meantime is to keep cultivating your tastes in good styling techniques, learning about new combinations and what looks good and appropriate for a particular event. Most importantly, it is crucial to keep things simple, right from the beginning.
Before we dive into some of the most trending dressing styles for men, we would like to talk about the need for an individual style. Most of us may assume that styling comprises of a few elements which include the apparel and the individual wearing them. It is a common fact that anyone’s style is dictated by the choices they make in terms of choosing the right fabric, the colours, the patterns and designs. But true styling is something much more than that.
In our previous article, we have emphasized on the fact that fashion is a form of self-expression. Everyone has the opportunity to choose a particular combination, make them their own and feel comfortable in it. It is seen that a lot of individuals, who find it really hard to express themselves through the traditional ways, have embraced fashion to channel their inner abstract thoughts. It should be seen as not just something to cover your body, not just an ordinary piece of clothing that you have to wear out of compulsion, but as a concept that is your very own.
In earlier times, where the freedom of expression was only limited to the artistic types and the privileged, one can imagine how difficult it would have been for the common individual to voice out their inner passions. In those days, and we are talking about time less than a century ago, there were established standards of dressing every day and one could not think beyond the prescribed notion. The fruits of artistic labour were only reserved for the elite whereas the common masses would have to make do with whatever was acceptable in their community, society and the economic strata.
Not a long time ago, these boundaries vanished and fashionable apparel was made available to all. The world saw the rise of huge brands that began to cater to the likes of the everyday individual. That was one of the first revolutions in the industry- the availability of fashionable clothes to all. You would have retail and big-box stores trying to woo the customer into buying the latest fashionable attire. What the big brands eventually did was bridge the gap between abstract ideas and concrete products that emerged from those ideas. What they successfully introduced as a methodology to the creative process and applied the same principles of systematic development and production to abstract ideas and inspiration. This led to the worldwide recognition and fueled the meteoric rise of some of the most iconic brands the world has ever seen.
Not only that, a new trend emerged, but this time it was from the end of the consumer side. People began to recognize certain labels for their trademark products and started developing faith in the companies that manufactured their favourite products. Most brands immediately realized the value of the people’s faith placed in them due to their products and services. At the same time, customer loyalty went beyond just buying products from the same company. The brands realized that if they wanted to further accelerate their growth and be someday able to provide products to customers all over the world, they need to identify some pain points.
For companies, an important stepping stone was to establish a deep emotional connection with masses in order to understand these pain points. Throughout the journey of the customer, one realizes how important it is to get them to trust a brand which further fuels the growth of the brand in order to assess and solve the problem. Early on, brands understood that there will never be a substitute towards realizing what the customer wants and through that, adjust their course of action to provide the best services to the customer. To find a unique solution and to create a product that would answer the customer’s solution became the top priority for them. After all, customers want to find solutions to their problems, and especially with fashion, the need for finding newer and newer apparels is never-ending.
That is the reason most popular names in the industry make it a point to showcase their innovations every year. Which brand can build a better following is a matter of time. What is left to see is which brands will continue to maintain a large customer base in these times where the customer’s preferences are changing every day.
Fashion Style Trends For Short Men
One major facet of the fashion industry is that whatever styles and innovative designs appear every season, they are created keeping in mind the models that showcase the apparels on the runway. Right from the shirts, jackets, trousers, shorts to even ties; all these products are created for individuals who are tall and lean, probably close to the standard height of six feet. There is a reason for this.
Right from the beginning of fashion seasons and runway shows, designers have considered the surface area on the apparel in which their designs would be layered and embedded on the fabric. Needless to say, the clothes were stitched for models who would be able to display the patterns and colours and designs in full dimensions and flourish. This poses a major problem for people all over the world.
Take a stroll in any shopping mall, visit any store that displays the current designs of the fashion world. Nowhere will you find apparels made for shorter individuals. Except for certain brands that specifically cater to the wants and demands of the shorter target audience, the majority of the labels manufacture their products keeping in mind the tall and lean customer. This leaves many individuals who find themselves towards the other end of the height spectrum in a lurch.
For a country like India, this has been an ongoing problem and there are very few ways to figure it out. The fact is, the majority of the Indian Men have an average height of 5 feet 6 inches or less. Very few individuals meet the fashion criteria of being 6 feet tall and thereby, experiencing a proper fit of clothes. For the shorter men, they have to be satisfied with large dimensions that more or less, fits them imperfectly.
Even if they find apparel which fits them, say, for example, a shirt or a t-shirt, it may only fit the shoulder appropriately. If you consider the length of the sleeves or length of the shirt, it is often found that this overshoots the length of the arms and neck to waist length, respectively. The only resort for such a dilemma is for the individual to role the sleeves such that they hang at the wrist, or roll it all the way to elbows. This distorts the overall look and gives a casual look if the objective is to go for something formal and professional. Similarly, to counter the problem of overall length, one has no option but to tuck it in and this may not be suitable for all occasions. This is because for a casual shirt, and especially for a t-shirt, it goes against the norm of not tucking the shirt or t-shirt.
The problem with trousers and shorts is another major pet-peeve for shorter individuals. Most of us have already experienced the alteration of trousers every time we buy new ones. It has become an unspoken rule that every single time one buys a trouser, they have to be altered to fit the body perfectly, or the ends of the trousers have to be rolled up to the ankles. If one gets the alteration done, well and good, but the rolling of the trousers creates another set of problems not unknown to the average Indian buyer.
The rolled-up trouser has a habit of unfurling at the wrong moment and creates creases throughout the length of the pants. Also, in a country which faces heavy monsoon showers from time to time, the end of the trousers become wet, and unnecessarily drags the entire trousers down. The end result is that the wearer would spend a considerable amount of time adjusting the trousers and is constantly worried about the look.
The problems with shorts are even more unique. If an average size person goes shopping for shorts, he will find a wide range of products that fit him perfectly, the ends of it resting just above the knees. For most shorts, the fitting is considered perfect if the length of the shorts is up to the knees, with the ends ceasing right above the knee, exposing a small gap right up to the knees, or partially covering the knee. The zip line also ends at the mid-thigh level, giving it an appropriately snug fit.
For shorter guys, the fitting is always in the thereabouts without any satisfaction of a snug sizing. To begin with, the length of the short is off the mark by a few centimetres. It would either extend way beyond the knees, right up to the middle of the shin or the lower part of the leg. Many have experienced the magical transformation of shorts becoming Bermuda shorts, which is something that they are not going for. Similarly, the width of the shorts is probably too much leaving a tremendous amount of gap between the legs and fabric encircling them. The leg opening size matters a lot and they have to be of the perfect fit to look good while wearing shorts. Also, the cross point, just below the zipper, extends way too much. This further accentuates the shortness of the legs and makes one look stocky.
But one doesn’t need to settle with these issues if one truly wants to experience the satisfaction of dressing well. As mentioned earlier, there are specific brands which cater to people with less-than-average height. The important thing to remember is that one cannot buy bigger clothes and get them altered in order to have them fit the body. Changes would have to be made for all parts of the clothing to maintain appropriate proportions.
However, since this is a necessity, we would like to discuss some tips and suggestions that shorter men can use in order to look leaner if not taller. The idea is to use the clothes in such a way that they create the illusion of a snug fit and ultimately puts an appearance that the wearer looks taller than he actually is. These are simple techniques based on the visual effects created by different designs and patterns. Some of these suggestions can be used to create the desired look every day without the need to make a revolutionary change to your wardrobe. What these tips can do is find out a way to look more in proportion with the existing collection of clothes in your wardrobe. Let’s get to it.
Start From the Bottom
One of the lesser-known facts about looking leaner and getting a proportionate appearance is to choose the right shoes. Surprising, isn’t it? It is a well-established fact that the right kind of shoes can make a big difference in your overall appearance. They play a critical role in producing a lengthening effect which is much required for shorter men. How is this done? Quite simple.
Suppose you are wearing trousers and want to choose the right shoes for it. Now, many of you, who want to create a contrasting pattern with the colours, would opt for shoes that create a differently striking appearance when compared to the colour of the trouser. What this does is it brings to prominence the contrast that you want to achieve. When the contrast is noticeable, one also notices the break in the flow of the colour. This break creates a visual look that makes the legs appear shorter. What can be done about this?
As we have stressed earlier, the whole idea is to create a lengthening effect using colours. The problem of contrasting colours can be solved by choosing shoes that blend with the trousers. In short, select shoes which match the colour of the trousers, if not the exact shade as that of the trouser. What this does is establish continuity from the waist right up to the toes. The entire thing is viewed as one continuous long visual element. This directly creates the illusion of making some appear taller and leaner.
How can this effect be replicated when one wants to wear shorts? The problem with shorts is that the cuffs end anywhere around the knee area. This creates a natural break in the flow of appearance and can be detrimental to the objective of achieving continuity. An easy solution is to choose shoes that match your skin tone. That’s right.
One can go for the shades of beige, tans, browns in order to match the colour of the skin. Generally, these are known as the flesh tones and it is important to get the tone to match to your skin. The best part is these colours have been in vogue for a long time. These shades have been one of the most acceptable colours and are used by a lot of individuals. You will hardly find anyone that does not have brown or beige shoes. If you do not have them, it is time to get one as theses hues look great on everyone, tall or short.
The last thing that one needs to pay attention is to the shape or the silhouette of shoes. The whole concept is to create a visual appearance of looking taller and sleeker that works in favour of short men. Choosing the right type of shoe can not only enhance your overall appearance but also give a definite conclusion to the objective of having a look with elongated legs.
For example, if one chooses to go with shoes having rounded or squared toes, it will give an appearance of constriction and abrupt ending of the feet. This makes the person look shorter if one goes for stocky and broad shoes. Instead, one should opt for shoes with pointed ends that give the look of elongation right up to the tip of the feet. This also makes the leg look visually longer and there is something extra for the observer to notice, something akin to the idea that the feet do not end where they do. Instead, the continuous and elongated appearance adds to the look of the wearer.
Another strategy is to avoid wearing shoes which extend beyond the ankle, like the gumboots which are common especially in the monsoon season. The reason is that such boots and shoes take up the area above the ankle, which technically is part of the lower leg, and gives a feeling of the curtailed length of the legs. Choosing shoes that do extend beyond the ankle showcases the entire length of the limbs, creating an appearance of longer legs. This is great for people who would prefer wearing shorts. This can be also useful for individuals who want to enjoy the summer and remain comfortable in the hot weather by not wearing full-length pants and instead, opting for shorts and chinos. Boat shoes, sneakers and sports shoes whose length reaches just below the ankles are some the options shorter men choose in order to look taller.
Formal Wear for Shorter Men
One of the reasons most men go for tailored apparels in formal wear is because there are issues with sizes. Often it is found that suits, in general, are made for the taller audience and they too, sometimes, require some amount of alteration to get the perfect fit. For shorter men, the number of issues in finding the right fit in terms of formal wear are enormous.
To begin with, they may not find the perfect fitting jacket where the problems range from, not having the right shoulder fitting, the sleeves being too long, the width of the sleeve may be too big for skinny individuals. Similarly, the length of the jacket may be too long for the average man with short stature and so on. The limitations of formal wear are that if it is not of the right dimensions and fit, it can ruin perfectly good-looking apparel. Be it western or Indian formal wear, some problems remain common with these types of clothes and the only way to overcome this impediment is to go for heavy alterations. Or the next best thing is to get them custom made which may seem too long a wait for the average person. Image the dilemma is you want to acquire a formal in a short span of time because one has to attend a formal gathering or an occasion of great importance.
The way to get out of this situation is to become a smart shopper with a list of requirements planned beforehand. Ultimately, one may have to go for some amount of modifications, but if you already know what the things to look out for are, it can save you a lot of time. Remember that along with looking elegant, the formal wear has to have the perfect fitting for your body type. Otherwise, it will not create the effect that you want. So, what are the things you have to look out for when choosing formal wear such as suits? Let’s get right into it.
The reason we have chosen formal wear to explain the nuances of dimensions is that the formal wear is segmented into different apparels. And every apparel needs to have the right proportion to create the right ensemble. Similarly, every piece of clothing will require some explanation on how to get the right fit which will help one understand what goes into developing the right look for shorter individuals. Let’s start with the formal shirt.
One of the main problems with formal shirts is the length of the sleeves. Often it is seen that even for men of average height, sleeves tend to pose a problem. Sometimes they are not of the right length which results in the sleeve hanging loose beyond the palms of one’s hand. Although the overall length of the shirt may be of appropriate size, the loose hanging sleeves look odd and unbecoming of a formal look.
Then there is the length of the shirt, which for a lot of people may not be of serious concern. The reason is that shirts are often tucked in and remain hidden because of the overlapping jacket. The length of the shirt is crucial as this in proportion with the position of the buttons and breast-pocket. If the shirt is larger in size, the length will be longer, the button position will be distorted than their regular configuration and the breast-pocket will often be too big, or lower than the position it should occupy. Similarly, the distance between the collar and the first button will be too great and expose a greater area of your chest. This looks incongruous with the formal look if one doesn’t want to wear a tie and leave the top of the shirt open to achieve a semi-casual look.
Another thing to look out for is the size of the collar. Unlike the fashion sense of the 70s and 80s where people would often go for huge collars, short collars are the norm of the day. The problem with large size shirts is that they often come with collars that extend beyond the regulation size. What one needs to notice is that the collar size should be proportionate to the overall size and shape of the formal shirt. A simple rule is to ensure that the collar is exactly the size of the fold of the collar. The end of the collar should be pointing downwards, parallel to the line of buttons and creating a downward V with the collar button. Avoid shirts where the end of the collar rests along the shoulder line and extends to the middle of the shoulder on either side of the neck.
The next element to look at is the jacket. Jackets have been an integral part of the formal suit and are considered to be the most defining apparel in the industry. The reason for this is jackets are worn over the shirts and are the first thing to be noticed by the observer. Not just that, jackets are responsible for providing the silhouette or the shape to the entire upper body. That is why it is essential to get a jacket of the right dimension for all body types as they can make or break the entire great looking ensemble of a formal attire.
One of the first things to do when it comes to choosing the right jacket is to go for shorter length jackets. The ideal dimensions of a great fitting jacket are where the seam ends just below the trouser line or a few inches below the belt. This is with respect to the condition that you don’t wear your trousers too high or too low. Shorter jackets are great at making you look taller as they serve as the midline to compartmentalize the overall length of the body. Shorter jackets also convey the appearance of having proportionate upper body length which forms the first half of the body and needs to be well accentuated. Wearing a bigger jacket whose length extends way beyond the belt is not a great idea. It can easily make you look stocky. Another problem with longer jackets is that they create the visual illusion that the upper body is disproportionately longer than the lower half. The dividing line then seems to appear somewhere along the middle of the thigh which can look disastrous for short men. The idea is to create a perfect midline with shorter jackets as this will emphasize the length of the legs, thereby making you look leaner.
The length of the sleeves is another major concern with an ill-fitting jacket. As discussed earlier in terms of formal shirts, the length of the sleeves is equally important when considering the size of the jacket. No one wants the jacket sleeves to extend beyond the wrist where it blatantly appears to be a misfit with the rest of the formal attire. Similarly, it will obstruct the movement of the wrist and fingers and it will keep you busy in making adjusts to sleeves throughout the day. The other thing to look after is the width of the sleeves. Generally, shorter men have slimmer arms and do not require extra-sized sleeves. The sleeves of a regular size jacket may be too big for shorter men, leaving a lot of space in between the arms and the inner side of the sleeves. Also, since the rest of the jacket will be of appropriate size, where appropriate size translates into a body-hugging, well-fitted jacket, loose sleeves will just disrupt the overall fitting look of the jacket.
The right dimension of the sleeves can be immediately recognized if it fits the arm perfectly and the sleeve length does not exceed beyond the wrist. A great idea is to go for jackets where the sleeves end just before the wrist, exposing the end of the shirt’s sleeve. This is where you can wear a great pair of cufflinks which further accentuate the right fit of the shirt and jacket. But we are not done with the jacket yet. There are some other aspects of a great fitting jacket that we need to look at.
Jacket lapels play an important role in defining the contour lines of the body. The most significant contribution of lapels is drawing attention to the top centre of the body where it can draw attention to the lines and layers created by the jacket. For starters, stick to narrow lapels that form a V shape right up to the button position of the jacket. Narrow lapel also keeps the front part of the jacket uncontoured which is great to create the illusion of upper body bulk.
The main goal is to keep all the lines and extremities of the layers towards the centre where all the layers meet in the middle of the upper half of the body. That is why one also needs the button stance of the jacket towards the higher upper part of the body. A good position for the button is to be somewhere around the middle of the abdomen or just below the chest line. This leaves space for the bottom half of the jacket to remain free of any more lines and remain uniform till the end. This is necessary to create a look of a well-proportioned body without too many distracting lines in the lower half of the upper body.
Similarly, the breast-pocket of the jacket should be at an ideal position to create the leaner and bulkier look most men are after. To be on a safer side, ensure that the breast-pocket is located slightly above the pocket of the formal shirt. The pocket sleeve should be positioned just below the shoulder lining or where the sleeves have just begun to emerge from the shoulder line. The idea of keeping a higher stance for the breast pocket is to provide the observer with a higher frame of reference which makes one look taller.
One of the lesser-known tricks of looking slimmer and taller in formal attire is by the careful use of ties. There are occasions differ from one another in the level of formality and if it is very formal, then a tie is must, to go along with your suit. Certain professional and work environment require a completely formal dress code with the inclusion of a tie. More and more Indian functions are now accepting the entire formal ensemble with a special place for ties. As mentioned above, besides providing a complete look, ties can make someone look stout or tall, depending upon the shape, colour and pattern of the tie.
For example, a broad tie that occupies much of the V space created between the jacket and short can make some look broad and stout, as it doesn’t leave much space for the chest to look bulkier. Instead, they contrast with the limited area available at the upper body which can convey the sense of broadness. Broad and stout ties often mess up the contours of the upper body by drawing attention to the wide dimensions. This may not be the best selection for individuals who want to keep a lean look.
Instead one can go for thinner ties that project a sense of length to the top half of the body. As thin ties occupy less space in the chest region, it leaves space for more of the adjoining chest areas to be exposed. Similarly, the pattern of tie can also create a visual appearance that may or may not suit the wearer. To be on a safer side, go for a plain dark tie that doesn’t have any or fewer patterns. What this does is, it does not interfere with the contours and silhouettes already established by the jacket’s lapels and button stance. A monochrome tie that ends just near the seam of the trouser or near the belt is the perfect choice for shorter men to look taller.
Formal trousers are great for men of shorter stature as it provides an unobstructed and continuous flow to the lower part of the body. One of the things shorter men have to be careful about is not creating a break in the overall appearance of the body. This creates the effect of having two different and distinct parts that are shorter when not taken in its entirety. But that seems to be inevitable if one is wearing a trouser and any bottom wear for that matter. It would be great if shorter men could wear overalls or jumpsuits as that would be the ideal attire which maintains a continuous flow.
But unfortunately, pants are an integral part of the formal attire and we need to find a way around it. Let’s start at the top of the trouser. The first thing to consider is the belt that is used to keep the trousers in place. Belts bring about a significant contribution to the overall look. Sometime or the other in our lives, we have all gone for those huge buckle belts that give us an edgy look and makes us look funky. Also, fatter belts look great with jeans and draw attention when wearing them during an informal occasion. However, a formal setting demands a bit of toning down on such elements which are very conspicuous and draw attention.
Especially for a compact body type, bigger belts defeat the purpose of attaining a leaner look. Instead, it makes sense to go for a slimmer belt which is no more than 1- 1.5 inches in width. That said, the waistline of the trousers should be small enough to snugly fit the belt of thinner dimensions without any space remaining between the seam and belt.
The other thing to look out for is the high-rise trouser, which should be avoided. A high-rise trouser has a longer length between the seam of the waist and the end of the zip line. These are the high-waisted trousers that go up to the middle of the torso. Although this is a comfortable pants type for people who love to tuck in their shirts, this can often give the appearance of the stocky lower half of the body. Similarly, it significantly curtails the length of the upper body which not a good idea if one wants a taller look. The idea is to highlight and extend the top half of the body as much as possible. High-rise trousers interrupt the flow created by the shirt, thereby making one look shorter.
The solution to this is to opt for low-rise trousers which have a much shorter seam-to-crotch length. This is a good idea because there is no unnecessary amount of cloth at the crotch region which can make one’s limbs appear smaller. Low-rise trousers also help in making your torso look longer, especially when you tuck in the shirt. Visually, it makes the length of the trouser appear to its maximum length with the beginning of the trouser at the right height at the waist.
The inseam or the length of the pants leg is also a major factor that can make a world of a difference in your appearance. This is what we were discussing in the earlier part of this section. Having the right inseam length is of great value when creating a specified look. As mentioned before, the appropriate inseam length would be where the sleeves end just around the ankle, not too long, not too short. If the length is shorter, it will expose your ankles and socks, thereby creating a break in the natural flow, from trousers to the shoes. The little exposed area of the sock can further add to the break and distract the observer. Also, if the length of the inseam is too much, there will be fabric hanging around your ankles, creating a ‘mushroom’ look at the end of the pants sleeves. This accumulation of fabric right above the shoes creates the illusion of stocky and stumpy legs, which is the exact opposite of what we are trying to achieve. Keep this in mind and you will have a great look, no matter what the stature is.
Accessorize to Keep Things Interesting
One of the crucial factors in drawing attention to your attire is the ability to accessorize to the right extent. It is the balance between simple dressing and a dash of bling and accessories that decide whether the look works for you or no. When you feel limited by the attire you have in mind or realize that the pairing of apparel won’t be enough, think about accessories to add that extra zing to your look.
However, the key thing to remember is that accessories are not suitable for every occasion. Keeping in mind the effect you want to have and the place and setting, you have to decide whether accessories will be a part of your look. As discussed in the previous section, a great strategy for shorter men to look taller and leaner is to draw attention to the upper body. This arrests the vision of the observer and restricts it to the top half of the body, creating a look that reminds the person that there’s something more than that meets the eye. But, creating the right ensemble of patterns, colours and accessories is the key.
For instance, shorter men should include the usage of scarves and stoles when it comes to adding more elements to the upper body. We all have seen social media influencers and models sport a great looking scarf. They can be paired with jackets, overcoats, shirts as well as t-shirts. There are many benefits to wearing a lightweight scarf and stole. When you wear a scarf, it immediately comes to the notice of the observer and keeps the attention to the top half of the upper body. Some people may think that this adds to the bulk or make the upper half look stout and stocky. That is not true.
When you wear a scarf or a stole, you place it in the centre of the body, starting from the neck and ending at your torso. The key to looking taller is to keep these accessories in the centre of the body such that it overlaps the upper body’s midline. In this way, you have the benefit of more layers and as it remains in the centre, it doesn’t contribute too much to the bulk of the body. Similarly, wearing a hat or a cap does wonders to add to the body’s total length. It is another visual element that remains at the top of the body, diverting attention away from the lower half. You would be surprised to know that there was a time where wearing a hat was the norm. It would be part of the daily attire of numerous individuals back in the early decades of the 20th century. Nowadays, you can wear a hat if you have to attend a formal event or any occasion that demands a hat.
The baseball cap, beanies and other informal variations of headgear can add to the informal look if one wants to adopt it. This is especially useful for young adults who go to college and want to add a bit of zing to their look.
But let’s not forget about the contribution of bottom wear in making you look taller. The way you choose the fitting of your trousers makes a huge difference in creating the desired effect. The type of shoes you wear, right from the width of the sole to the height of the topline, its colour; all these works together to make you look taller. Have we missed out on something? What about the socks? Can we use it to our advantage and look slimmer and leaner by just changing the way we wear socks?
We stressed on the fact that trousers need to be of the perfect length, not too long so that the seam tends to accumulate at the ankle, making you look stubbier and shorter. Similarly, trousers shorter in length seem to expose your ankles which creates a sense of fragmentation as another aspect of the clothing is visible. The goal is to limit the number of elements in the lower half of your body and keep the attention towards the top half. But one cannot do without socks, can they? You cannot think of going sockless either. This is because it exposes the naked ankles which break the natural flow colour, from the pants, the socks to the shoes.
If you have to choose socks of a particular colour, we suggest that you for ones which match your trousers. We have already talked about wearing shoes that match your trousers. So, when you have the two matchings, it is a great idea to have socks that blend into the two apparels and maintains the fluidity of the colour pairing.
More on the Visual Elements
We live in a world surrounded by designs. Every product out there in the market is carefully analyzed for its message, and an appropriate design is created to convey what’s important. There are different patterns and colours to create the necessary impact on the buyer, and that’s where the visual appeal comes handy. After all, one has to create a differentiating point than all the other range of products available to the consumer. It’s all about looking significantly different than your competitor.
On the other hand, a distinct design and colour pattern can enhance the feature of a product. This is distinctly true for fashion apparels and the sort of effect they create is all that goes in their design. For example, darker colours make you look thinner and smaller whereas, bright colours expand the silhouettes and make the wearer appear to be bigger. All this is kept in mind when designing clothes, and one should use these visual elements to enhance their overall look.
These optical manipulations can be of great help if one is aiming to get a specific look. For shorter individuals, there are numerous ways to enhance their appearances and have the desired effect. We have discussed some major strategies with this respect in the preceding sections, and we will end this section with some more.
One of the things to consider while going for the taller and slimmer look is the choice of the colour palette. It is great to mix and match when considering different patterns and colours. However, since fashion tips are not the same for everyone, one can use a slight variation or the complete opposite keeping the end goal in mind. For shorter individuals, opting for a monochromatic palette, or a low contrast configuration always works. The reason for this is by using too many colours, one ends up dividing the continuous flow of colours, much needed to create the perception of elongation. To explain this, let’s use an example and try to visually imagine what it would look like. Say you want to try out some bright colours for the summer. The first option is to go for contrasting colours where the shirt is of the colour red, the trousers are beige, and the shoes are of the shades of grey or black. Add to this a bright yellow scarf and to top it up, you have a blue jacket. Do you see what’s happening here?
The person has chosen this combination where all the different elements of clothing are of different colours. This creates a discontinuity of the overall look that can also be termed as fragmentation. There are too many colours at play, and each layer, each apparel, each accessory has a distinct and differentiating look. The jacket creates a dissociation with the shirt, which in turn doesn’t go well with trousers and shoes. Every piece of apparel appears to a part of an ensemble that diverts the attention of the observer. In the absence of a common colour palette that would maintain continuity throughout the length of the body, it makes the wearer look shorter.
On the contrary, imagine someone wearing a denim jacket, paired with denim trousers and a shirt underneath of the same or slightly variant hue. The person can wear sports shoes or boat shoes that match the shade of the trouser. Do you see what has been done here?
We have assigned the same palette to the entire body without creating coloured fragmentation. This creates visual continuity and the whole combination appears to be part of a whole. By keeping the contrast low between the jacket, the shirt, trousers and shoes, we have maintained the natural flow of colours along the length of the body, lending it an elongated appearance. Sure, the entire ensemble may not be of the same exact colour. You can always choose light variations in hues and shades that go along with the rest of the attire.
The Bottom Line
In the entire above section, we have suggested some simple techniques for men to visually enhance their appearance. Although these are some of the general strategies that one needs to keep in mind, it has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
This idea comes mainly from the fact that not everything can be typified into a single box. By that we mean one size doesn’t fit all. In a creative field such as fashion, one of the important things to understand that it is all subjective. Whether it be the choice of colours, a particular pattern and design, or even the selection of apparel, it will depend on the individual to carry it in style. This is because fashion is a very personal element and obviously, differs from person to person.
Throughout the meteoric rise of the fashion industry, major brands have relied on the talents of individual designers or houses of design to create something that will be liked by the masses. Some designers and artist go the extent of creating something that is restricted to the niche audience. If it is not liked by the masses, does it mean it is not fashionable? Certainly not.
The concept of ‘beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’ cannot more suitable for the apparel industry. As a consumer, we have so many preferences when it comes to buying the so-called right clothes. Even when looking for the best trends in fashion, we sometimes go against what’s trending and what’s in style and end up buying something that is a personal favourite. This is nothing new and something that will continue to be in the mind of the buyer.
Similarly, we find ourselves bogged down by adamant nature when it comes to experimenting with clothes. Not many of us understand that change is the only constant. Look at some the trends of the past decade. So much has changed since the bellbottoms, the overshirts, the fabric-leather mash-up t-shirts, the accessorized t-shirts and so on. And this will continue to undergo transformations over time.
Fashion guide for Healthier Men
There’s another section of the population which find it difficult to get the right apparel. Often, they have to compromise with style and go for the next best thing. We are talking about the section which contains the naturally big-boned individual, people who experience hormonal imbalance that leads to weight gain or the ones who have a natural inclination towards good food.
Getting the right apparel for heavier men can be a daunting task for such individuals. The problem is similar to that faced by shorter men who more than often have to get their clothes custom-fitted in order to look stylish. The challenges of oversized men, though not unique, can make them feel marginalized. This is mainly because there are only a few sizes available for general clothing, leaving out a sizeable population of big men. In the following section, we will discuss some of the common strategies as a fashion guide for healthier men.
We all come in different sizes and fashion definitely doesn’t promote one size fits all. That’s the beauty of finding your own style no matter what your size is. It is seen that healthier men resort to buying clothes that are too big for them as they can feel conscious in clothes that highlight their size. We want to change this perception and want to put out the word that anyone can look amazing if you make the right choices. One of the first impediments that one needs to overcome is that looking sleek and smart is not for everyone. History is full of big men who carried themselves in style irrespective of their shapes and sizes. One can look for inspiration in the world around and find a solution that can change their lives forever.
Considering all these things, we have come with a list of dos and don’ts for big men when developing a sense of personal styling. Let’s get right into it.
Go for Clothes that Fit You
A common misconception amongst men of bigger proportions is that one has to get oversized clothes that don’t necessarily fit them. This may seem like a great idea, considering that oversized clothes are extremely comfortable and accommodate big sizes. But there’s a huge disadvantage to that. Baggy clothes often make one look sloppy and informal. There’s hardly any category of baggy clothes that confers the wearer with a sleek and chic look. Sweatshirts, sweatpants, oversized t-shirt and baggy pants are not a solution and they can only remove all the jazz that your personality carries.
One of the reasons why people opt for oversized clothes is because they think it will come handy if their proportions increase in the future. That situation will not require new purchases.
However, one needs to understand that fashion is all about the present. One can certainly plan for future events and make purchases accordingly. But one has to think about the present and not how one will look like months or years from now. Be in the present and dress for today.
What we want to say is don’t be afraid to bring out the real you by wearing clothes that have appropriate fitting according to your body.
Using Visual Imagery
As discussed in previous sections, visual imagery can be used to the advantage of the wearer. Visual elements work perfectly in enhancing certain features and masking the effect of certain others. It does not make any real changes to the body of the wearer. What it simply does is create a visual appearance that highlights unique features, leading to an altered perception of the observer.
For heavier individuals, the main focus is to create a proportionate look that goes well with the entire imagery. Some rules that apply for shorter men would be similar to the ones suited for heavier men, whereas others are slightly different.
For example, one of the ways of creating distinctive visual imagery is the addition of V neck t-shirts. The fact that V necks draw attention to the centre of the body works in favour of both short and bigger men. Also, it is a visual aid that creates a midline which captures the attention of the viewer. V necks work amazingly well when the idea is to create a sense of elongation for the face and neck. This feature can be used to make a mask the roundness of the face and makes one look taller and leaner from the shoulder up.
Another visual element of great importance in the spread of the collar. It is the distance between the two ends or the tips of the collar. The collar spread should cover a good area to balance the features of the head and neck. One of the most crucial aspects is the angle made by the two ends of the collar. Typically, this angle should be greater than a right angle or 90 degrees such that tips of the collars are pointing downwards; not towards each other, not parallel to one another, but away from each other.
If you consider the opposite of this, that is, narrow collars, one will come to the conclusion that it’s not one of the best ideas. Narrow collars do the exact opposite. Narrow collars accentuate the width of the neck and the face and make them look unnecessarily broad.
Choosing the right fabric is an important strategy when aiming to get visual imagery to work for you. In general, heavier men should avoid bulky clothes that add unnecessary and extra width to the body. This includes sweatshirts, cargo pants, cargo shorts, padded jackets and others. The alternative is to opt for light-weight fabrics with appropriately fitting dimensions. Clothes made out of cotton, linen, breezy trousers and pyjamas can serve the purpose of looking a bit slimmer. Especially in the summer, light-weight materials can be of great functionality to the wearer.
Similarly, going for the right colour is as important as opting for the right fabric. Like we discussed previously, colours have the ability to create depth perception which can greatly enhance a person’s appearance. The human vision has evolved in such a way that we perceive different colours differently.
For example, lighter colours create a sense of width and make things appear larger than they actually are. This works great for people with slim body type and shorter individuals who want to add a little more dimension to their appearance. The same doesn’t work for people with a broader body frame.
For heavier individuals, darker shades work best. Dark colours create a sense of constriction and do not exaggerate the size. But the dark colour doesn’t always mean black and browns. Make sure your wardrobe has a wide variety of colours; only that the colours should be of darker hues. These tones can have an incredible slimming effect which can change your entire appearance.
One of the most crucial aspects of wearing colours is using the right combination. Earlier, we discussed how important it is to pay attention to the tonality of colours when creating a pair or a combination. The best thing to do is to create an even flow of colours or patterns, such that the break in the colours do not appear jarring to the observer. What this means is, opt for combinations that are not stark opposites. Contrasting colours should be such that the break in hues is not extremely apparent and the entire combination looks like a continuous flow of tones. If you wear contrasting tones that are as different as the day and night, it will highlight the point of the differentiation which is somewhere around the middle of the body. This will make you look wider than you actually are. The whole logic is to draw attention to the midsection area of the body.
The other aspect is the design and pattern of your clothes. The general rule of the thumb is to avoid patterns that seem cluttered and create more design motifs that hold peoples’ attention. Some of the designs to avoid are small checkers, basketweave, damask, paisley, polka dot and others. Anything that has minute patterns, or design that warrants closer attention should be done away with. But that doesn’t mean bigger frame-bodied individuals should say no to all patterns.
Instead small and detailed- prints, one can go for broader designs that don’t hold the observer’s attention. Wide squares, big polka dots and others can work well in the category of prints and patterns. Another visual element to take advantage of is vertical lines and stripes. These can easily give the appearance of elongation and create rigid lines of vision, creating a sense of linear alignment.
Bottom Wear to the Rescue
Selecting bottoms that complement the efforts of looking slim can be challenging sometimes. One of the main reasons is the choice of pants. Often, it is seen that individuals go for the wrong fit when it comes to trousers. Either they opt for baggy bottom wear, extra-large pants or trousers that fit too snugly. The best trick is to create the right balance.
There is nothing wrong in going for a snug fit. In fact, the right fitting pants can make a world of a difference to the look. When choosing a particular size, make sure that there are no unnecessary pleats throughout the length of the trousers. Pleats often create a crumpled look which makes the legs look short and stumpy. Similarly, individuals with a pear-shaped body should avoid skin-tight trousers, even if they are the perfect fit for the body type. Otherwise, it will create and visual imbalance of proportions where the upper body appears to be bigger than the lower part. Skinny trousers further accentuate the girth of the upper body, which something one should avoid. The best option is the straight fit that maintains uniformity throughout the length of the lower body. Slim fit is also recommended in case they create a seamless flow of proportions.
Where the trousers sit also impacts how you look. What most men are guilty of doing is wearing the trouser just below the belly. This reduces the ration of the upper body to the lower body. What this means is, wearing trousers below the bellow or the midline makes the upper body appear bigger than the rest. The ideal position where the trousers should rest is somewhere around the middle of the belly.
An important strategy is to use suspenders to support trousers. They have a major advantage over the regular belt. Belts often create a line of division, visually and distinctly dividing the body into two halves. This should be avoided at all costs as this clearly demarcates the upper and lower body. What happens when both the part appear separate is the two halves look appear to be constricted than their actual dimensions.
Suspenders, on the other hand, create the illusion of length. The two strips of the suspenders provide the vertical line to the upper body, making it look elongated. Besides this, they help in keeping the trousers in the right position, much need to prevent the lower body from appearing shorter.
Summers often demand that we get comfortable with loungewear and shorts. It is only natural that we want to be in our personal favourite comfort wear as soon as we reach home. Shorts offer comfort and look fashionable even when you wear them outdoors. The way you carry them can enhance your look to a great extent. When it comes to shorts, a lot of people make the mistake of letting them extend below the knee. This is a serious faux pax and must be avoided at all costs. The main reason is when shorts extend below the line of the knee, they unnecessarily extend the upper part of the leg, and make the lower part look shorter. This creates a distorted look for your legs. The best way to carry them is to ensure that the length terminates right above the knee. This maintains the proportions between the upper and lower part of the legs. This also exposes the length of the lower leg, making you look a little taller.
The Professional Look
So far, we have discussed at great length on how big-boned individuals should avoid layers. The simple answer is layers put on more bulk to the appearance, something that clashes with proportions. The attire should be should such that it lends the desired look of individual preferences.
But one may find several occasions where layers are unavoidable. Be it formal events, parties of daily formal clothing for the office, dressing for the occasion becomes a challenge. There is a middle ground between looking smart, professional, sleek and compromising proportions that convey a tall, fit and lean appearance.
Consider blazers and formal suits. The best thing about them is they help create a definite shape for the body, irrespective of the body’s dimensions. No matter what your body type is, the goal should towards bringing out the natural proportions of the body. And suits can be a great way to further enhance it and provide appealing visual elements to the whole body.
Let’s start with the coat or the blazer. A great trick is to go blazers with wide lapels. They should start evenly around the shoulder and terminate just below the chest or at the top of the belly. Broad lapels do two things. First, they occupy the front, masking the area of the chest and making it look leaner. Second, they create a downward V-shaped structure that creates elongation of the face and the neck. Most importantly, wide lapels shorten the distance between the centre of the body and the shoulders. This creates the effect that the upper part of the body is not as broad as it actually is.
Pay attention to the shoulders of the blazer. Make sure that they are squared, without extending beyond the shoulder line. The shoulder line sits slightly towards the outer end of the shoulder. This exactly where the seam should end. Something that is really tempting for most men is to go for shoulder pads. But the truth is that they do not complement all body types and most often than not, look dated. A sloping shoulder looks great at all times compared to the puff created towards the end of the shoulders with pads.
The placement of the buttons on the blazer is equally important in creating a smart look for plus-size individuals. Go for the skinny button stance. It means that one should have three-buttoned blazer where the top button is situated just below the chest. Buttoning in this fashion makes the blazer hug your body and adopt the natural dimension of the upper part of the body.
Similarly, be careful with the choice of ties. Opt for broader variants that have a width of 2-3 inches at the thinner end. Again, the idea is to mask the empty space created by the two meeting lapels. A broad tie adds an extra feature to space and reduces the distance between the lapels. The broad end of the tie is hidden by the blazer. So, don’t hesitate to choose a wide and short tie that looks great with the overall attire.
Dressing Styles for Tall Men
Fashion is for everyone, and when we talk about Men, the dressing has evolved many folds. You can see many changes in the form of designs, style and so on. The other main thing here is something to do with how tall or short the man is. The way tall Men look, it is often something instantly noticeable, so the point of dressing and styling with something unique comes into place. Apparels which fits & looks well is necessary to achieve the perfect look. Let us look at some styles and inspiration for all the Tall Men out there. The main worry for Tall guys is that exposing their limbs will show off the height so much. The skinny jeans can also make them look even thinner.
If you look at the day to day outfits, there are so many options. Casual or day to day outfits for tall guys can be as easy as they come, here is an option to get you started. Have a Grey T-shirt option under a checkered shirt, the checkered colours can vary upon your taste. Red and black are often considered good when combined with grey. Wearing your shirt open when you have a T-shirt inside adds to the layers for your outfit. This takes the focus away from your height. When you are going with the above-mentioned option, always try to go with a pair of normal fit jeans.
Create Contrast - If you are tall and slim, and look to keep things simple, it only makes you look tall and slim. The best thing to do is to mix things. Avoid dressing in one colour from head-to-toe. Try to be creative in the form of trying new things like textures, patterns, graphics to divide things that give you your desired look.
Details are everything when it comes to Fashion. Imagine you are dressed in a certain block of colour, people tend to notice other things rather than giving attention to something boring. When you are tall and if you need people to draw attention to your apparel rather than your taller appearance, always try to add details to your clothing like pockets, patches, buttons, etc.
With everything said, the fit is one thing that you should get right. Considering the height for Tall Men, if the fit is not right, it shows up easily, and it will not go unnoticed. Spend time to find the right fitting clothes for your body type. Loose-fitting clothing does the reverse of what you would be hoping for in terms of style. If you’re chubby, baggy clothing makes you look even bigger. In this case, most tall men are slim, so baggy clothing makes you look even slimmer. If you opt for clothes that fit you nicely and properly, with not much excess fabric hanging around, you can achieve a style that perfectly describes you. This implies you should not look to oversized jackets and T-shirts, heavy outerwear like bulky jackets, and baggy jeans. This one tip solely can positively change the way the world notices you for the better.
Jean Conundrum - Although we said the trick here is to wear fitted clothing, this doesn’t mean you should wear clothes that make you look even skinnier. So you should avoid very tight-fitting jeans at any cost for your good. Skinny jeans will only bring importance to your slim build, it makes you leaner than you are. Instead, go for slim or fitted jeans that leave a little bit of room for your legs to breathe while making your legs look big as well.
Use your Jackets whenever and wherever possible. It is a certain way to make your tall structure look a little more built and wide. The thing that works in favour of jackets is they have padding in the shoulder areas, which emphasizes your shoulders. This gives you the appearance of having a stronger build. However, this doesn't mean you can go overboard with the padding to look like a Superhero. A great suit jacket will assist you to look broader in the shoulder region, while still preserving a slim posture in the waist.
Achieving a bulkier look can also be done by choosing fabrics like flannel, tweed, denim, and corduroy. These fabrics help to give you the image of having more body mass than you have already, which aids you to make you look broader and well-built despite looking tall.
Skin tones play a role in your dressing. Tall Men can achieve a different perspective if they dress for their skin tones. The skin tones can be divided into three namely cool, warm, and neutral.
For those with cool skin tones, the colours that look best on you are inspired by ocean and winter. Bright blues, purples, lavender, and other blue shades look great.
For those with warm skin tones, the best colours are something concerned with nature. Colours like red, orange, gold and yellow look best.
For those with neutral skin tones, you can go with anything on the colour wheel, but colours that look best are green, yellow, red, and blue.
When concerning shorts, which are more common even outdoors, not just for sports, but are extensively used in events, casual get-togethers, etc. The key to buying shorts as a tall man is to not go too short. Going for Chino shorts will be the right option as they can be the perfect length, cut just above the knee, and with a straight cut that matches the hips. So they don’t look cramped and leave your thighs looking feeble in the process.
While going for shoes, look for the ones that keep your toes narrowed, but also rounded and gentle. It should not be sharp as it adds length.
Finally, Tall Men have many advantages with them as they are already noticeable in their present form. When that form and the right dressing sense are combined, it can work wonders for them. It is a fact that as they are easily observable, the right combinations, fit, use of other design elements can elevate their Fashion.
The Influence of International Brands
We have covered an incredible journey in the growth of our society as we see it. Technology and innovation have provided new means to bring the world closer. It has also created the necessary resources in producing anything en masse, anywhere in the world.
Gone are the days when things would be produced locally, and the products distributed only in the local market. This model suited the times when the population was limited, the contact with the outside world was restricted, and there was a cap even on the awareness of the masses. We have discussed how circumstances and events of history created a world where different nations came in contact with each other and how this led to a trade network between powerful nations and their vassals to lay the foundation of the modern-day trade world we know of. This was the bedrock for many brands and their products to eye foreign markets and establish a presence. Emerging technology brought the world closer and this was used as a springboard by many big names in the apparel sector to go international.
Many countries opened their doors to international giants keep in mind the profits and employment brought by all investment. India had its own tryst with foreign investment during the 90s which saw a huge influx on industries wanting to capture the ever-increasing middle-class. There seemed to be a huge potential in creating a fervour around international brands and capturing the attention of the common man. But this did not happen overnight. Although we have to confess that we are naturally attraction towards foreign brands, it did not happen overnight. Let’s look at some of the reasons why India has been the hotbed of foreign investment over the last couple of decades.
A Huge Potential Market
India has the second-largest population in the world. This makes us potentially one of the biggest markets in the world. Over the years, there has been a steady rise in the economic growth of the country. This directly affects the economic condition of the country where the middle class forms a significant part of the social and economic strata.
In the past few years, we have seen such a tremendous increase in the country’s GDP. It has been predicted the will become a 5 trillion-dollar economy by the year 2025. A nation’s increasing GDP has a direct effect on the country’s per capita growth and this, in turn, leads to tremendous growth in the purchasing power of the citizens. Similarly, the majority of the Indians are capable of spending a good part of their income on goods manufactured locally and abroad. All these factors make it favourable for foreign companies to invest in India and seize the opportunity to reap benefits by selling products in the Indian market.
Technological Innovations and Growth in Allied Sector
Since the time of independence, India has invested heavily on major infrastructure projects which have been a significant point of the five-year plans. Since then, we have seen a great trajectory of growth in sectors pertaining to heavy industries.
The technology sector has achieved a major boom in the past few years. A report suggested that we are more or less on par with some of the world’s greatest economies when it comes to both, manufacturing and technology. Further, major steps have been taken to digitize India and the internet revolution has taken the country by a storm. Just a few decades, the penetration of internet technology was barely noticeable and very few had access to it. Since then, the potential to utilize various forms of technology has been realized and this has propelled us towards unprecedented growth.
However, according to official statistics, close to 40% of the population has still not reaped the benefits of internet technology. This has created more room for reaching out to the people and introducing the technological innovations that the rest of the country has benefited from.
That is why India has been home to the recent boom in start-ups. These have started blooming in the sector of ed-techs, fin-techs, e-commerce, consumer technology and many more. All these create a favourable atmosphere for investing in the country.
Availability of Human Labour and Capital
A majority of Indians heavily rely on the informal sector for most of its work related to infrastructure and manufacturing. Due to the size of the population and the lack of resources, we have a huge percentage of the population employed as labours and helpers.
In recent years, efforts taken by the government has resulted in a huge pool of skilled workers that are well-trained and have enough technical know-how to employe in the emerging brands and companies. Many have been employed in the servicing industries while a greater amount of such strata is finding their expertise in start-ups and e-commerce. Especially with the rise of the e-commerce sector, a lot of workforces have been employed in this industry which continues to prosper with the years. Especially in recent times when the doorstep delivery concept has picked up immensely, you have a lot of individuals who are involved in fine-tuning the e-commerce sector.
Ease of Business
With India opening its door for FDI, and in some cases we have employed the 100% FDI policy, more and more foreign investors are attracted towards the current economic environment in the country.
In the past few years, the nation’s ranking of ease of business has improved to such an extent that it makes our country extremely favourable to open shop and start doing business. Recent reformations and decades-old policies have ensured that foreign investors have a conducive environment to establish roots in the country and make it a hub for all their activities that see massive returns across the globe.
All these factors have given rise to the renewed excitement of India becoming a global superpower in the next few decades.
The Game of Brands
How often have we found ourselves walking into a supermarket, looking at a wide range of products and mulling over which option to choose? Chances are that we would go for the brand that is popular, widely available at every store, and gives a bang for the buck! These are all the practicalities that we look for before buying any product. But we all know that brand represents much more than economical prices and a wide distribution network.
Brand agencies spend millions of dollars in creating a perception around a product with the end result of having an impact on the audiences. It is a vital step towards creating awareness and putting the brand’s name out there. After all, very few people will be willing to trust of product that belongs to a brand they have never heard of. This calls for the need to create a unique brand identity that the customer will remember forever.
The important thing for any brand is present in its uniqueness such that it makes an indelible mark on its audience. It’s similar to creating a unique dressing style for yourself in order to stand out of the crowd and differentiate for the masses. But brands are a bit different than a signature dressing style. To understand why we have gravitated towards certain brands and not to others, we will have to first understand what goes into making a brand unique. There are several reasons why certain brands stand out. Is it just consumer perception, the value that a brand offers, or is it something completely different? Let’s look into it.
An Impactful Brand has Identity
As we have already stated above, brands have to create unique identities in order to stand out from their competitors.
Walk into any supermarket. What do you see? The most apparent visual as soon as you walk into a big-box retailer is aisles and aisles of numerous products. The shelves are covered from top to bottom with products. If that was not confusing, you have so many different brands of the same product that one often is baffled by the enormous variety. Even buying cereals can be challenging if you have more than 10 different brands selling your favourite cereal with your preferred choice of dry fruits and nuts. How is one to decide which company’s product to go for?
Let’s start with the fact that all brands have a visual element that represents the brands in its entirety. It could be the packaging, the design, and the fonts. But the most important is the brand logo.
A brand’s logo is the single most important visual element of the brand. It conveys everything that the brand stands for. The colours used, the fonts, the way the words or the graphical elements are placed; all these go on to create a distinctive identity for the brand. Let’s say that the logo becomes the face of the company. With time and popularity, it comes to represent a particular persona that anyone can identify. Logos can be fun, inspiring, adventurous, classy, and luxurious and so on.
Haven’t we all played the game of identifying the logo? Consumers may even forget the name of the brands but they will always remember the acronyms imprinted on the logo. In fact, people can identify numerous iconic brands by just having a glimpse at the logo.
The next important factor in the uniqueness of a brand is how credible it is. Almost everyone has had an experience where one has been left disappointed by a product. Either the product was not of the best quality as promised, it fell short on expectations or it just did not provide a good amount of value.
This where customers go into the ‘trial and error’ phase. After being disappointed by a particular brand, the start a journey of discovering a product that satisfies the various conditions that make it the best product. In short, a brand has to be good enough to win the customers’ trust. This is an extremely vital part of any brands success and becoming popular with the masses. For any brand to succeed, it has to win the trust of the customer such that come back to it, time and again. No product can gain mass appeal if it doesn’t pass the trust test.
The other aspect of uniqueness that we want to stress on is the mission of the brand. A mission encapsulates what the brand stands for.
Usually, it so happens that a product fulfils some basic necessities or other needs of the consumer. Other than that, there are products which identify a specific problem for the customer and wishes to provide an answer for it. This is where the mission comes into play. Every brand must have an authentic mission and what it stands for. Ultimately, the brand has to have a purpose for its existence and why the customer should prefer a particular product over the others.
For example, you notice that there is no apparel brand that specifically caters to the shorter men or people who are on the heavier side. This is an issue that not a lot of brands answer. If your brand takes a step towards answering such a glaring problem, your customers will not look towards your brand for answers, they will form a lifelong association with it. They will start talking about it and recommending people who face the same issues. This is how customers develop trust and come to identify with the brand’s mission.
The Local Love
India is a land of immense, deeply-rooted diversity. From culture, identity, fashion to language and food, one can find an entire medley of uniqueness. But despite the diverse aspects of our country, we stand united on a lot of fronts. And that’s what justifies the maxim “Unity in Diversity”.
India has a rich history of influences from different cultures. Across the Indian sub-continent, we have experienced different pockets of time in which a ruler has imposed his faith and culture on the subjects. This is because we have always been subjected to the monarchy for thousands of years and this continued right to the middle of the 20th century. Be it, foreign invaders or son-of-the-soil rulers, each culture imbued the Indian populace with their respective belief system. This has played a vital role in establishing the nation as a chimaera of diversity.
But why is diversity important for the cultural and economic evolution of a nation? How do people benefit in the long run by having cultures completely different from their own? There’s no other country where this concept has come to successful fruition that our country.
Consider the historic examples of how early civilizations developed cities, which later transformed into nations, and further evolving into empires. It starts with people in a particular area establishing small towns with the help of local resources. It has been found that throughout history, great nations emerged through settlements near a river or great lakes. This was because the water was an essential resource at the point of time. Groups of people would settle down near rivers and lakes, use the water for everyday use and, most importantly, for supporting agricultural activities.
This is by far in contrast with how we started living in groups as hunters and gatherers were staying one place wasn’t necessary. When we found out how agriculture could empower us with food for the rest of the year, it enabled us to remain in one place and build settlements. This led to the growth of towns and villages, and later big cities. This also created an unprecedented change that would forever transform the face of the human race.
Our predecessors who roamed the wild Savannahs and the forests of Europe had only a few things on mind, where’s the next meal coming from, how to stay away from wild animals and how to protect the group. Much of the time was spent in collecting food, tracking wild animals for hunting and ensuring the safety of people in the clan. Needless to say, there was no time or thought reserved for inventing new things. With agriculture, only a part of the day was occupied with growing food.
Also, not everyone in the community had to grow food. With hunting, almost everyone in the group had to participate, especially if the goal was to trap a large animal like wilder beasts and mammoths. A farmland could be used to produce enough food that would last for months and could satisfy the needs of an entire town. Also, a few dozen individuals could take care of the entire business of farming. This led to the rise of the guild of workers who would invent different professions. Different professions meant individuals would learn different skills and in order to produce different goods. You would have few people dedicated to farming, few others to take care of domesticated animals, tanners that would produce leather goods, carpenters who would cut down trees and make furniture out of them, masons who would build houses from other members of the community and so on. Similarly, advances in technology helped us to mine important metals, minerals and gems that could use to build tools, weapons and jewellery. But the noteworthy fact, besides the growth in aesthetics, is the rise of trading communities within a given area.
So, consider the fact that agricultural communities started having products in surplus. It means that after the needs of the communities have been met, you had extra products which could either be stored for later or could be traded with neighbouring communities. The latter proved favourable because commodities like food products could not be stored indefinitely because they were perishable products. Also, if one community had excess tools and furniture, it made sense to barter them from other novel products of other communities because you couldn’t find them on your own. This barter system or exchange of one product for the other laid the foundation of modern-day trade.
While we realized the potential of trade, there was another important concept that became an integral part of economics. It was the utilization of available resources to create a product which would have a huge demand in foreign markets. Be it the spices of India, silk and tea from China, soon several nations realized that they could use local resources, produce local goods and sell them for a profit wherever there was a huge demand. And as history is a witness, these local resources proved to be of great value to the host nation. It doesn’t come as a surprise that all major civilizations had formidable armed forces protecting the people and the resources of the region.
Over the centuries, local resources have been a pivotal factor in determining the wealth of the nation. With time, the raw material or the resource have defined the success of many countries. Take any economic theory or market principle, all of them are incomplete if resources are not taken into consideration. That is why it is beneficial for a country is it is endowed with rich resources which could be further processed into manufactured goods and sold in the market.
Fortunately, the diversity in India is also seen in its share of resources and raw materials. From the fertile lands of North India, the mineral-rich states in the central and southern region; all have immensely contributed to the country’s economic success. In fact, due to globalization and increasing the exchange of information and technology, we can proudly say that there is no product that cannot be produced and manufactured in India. Right after our independence, India has made immense strides in the manufacturing and technology sector. We have reached such heights that in less than a century, we have emerged as a global superpower. From the IT sector to apparel manufacturing, from the automobile industry to retail segment, we can proudly say that India has left many of its competitors behind and now aims for the number one spot in economic supremacy.
But all this started with a simple concept of buying local produce. In this article, we take a look at how we were able to capitalize on local resources, what are the kind of resources we have and how we conveyed the importance of local manufacturing to the world.
The Local Shop
The Local Shop concept is an age-old instrument in the trade machinery where a shop is an important centre of trading goods. The local trader is someone who gathers goods and commodities from its sources and passes on to the local vendor. The local vendor is your grocery store owner or your kiranawala, your local hardware shop, your local apparel store. They have a small storefront with limited exposure to foreign goods and commodities.
In olden times, this system of economics worked really well. Things would be accumulated from the sources, grains and vegetables from the local farmer, finished products from the local manufacturing unit or a factory. The supply lines were limited due to the use of traditional methods of transporting goods. As a result, a customer would be able to purchase local goods from the store in his locality. This was the essential workings of a local economy. This proved to be beneficial for the people living in nearby areas where their goods had a decent market with a fairly profitable run.
But this wasn’t the only way trade was carried out. Often, you had shops where the vendor had a magnificent collection of rare and expensive items, brought from the four corners of the world. Back in the colonial days when the British Empire had deep roots in colonies all over the world, different trade models erupted due to the availability of different kinds of goods.
The early 18th and 19th century saw tremendous growth of trade and economics. One of the main reasons was the increasing influence and spread of the colonial powers. During this time, the European powers were racing to discover new lands across the world. Inventions in maritime navigation and warfare enabled European ships to travel across oceans and come in contact with indigenous populations. Needless to say, the indigenous lands were abundant in resources which were later exploited by the conquerors.
This caused a tremendous growth in products that were introduced to the market and, subsequently, the colonizers became wealthy beyond comparison. One could find exotic products in the local markets that were produced in distant lands. Silk, indigo, spices, never-seen-before animals were up for sale. But the conquerors also led to the establishment of trade methods in the colonies. Manufacturing factories, a wide distribution network and contribution to the local market were some of the advances brought by the traders.
Already in a country like India, local markets enjoyed great success in the cities and towns. Owing to the large population in several parts of the countries, the basics of trade were already established in major centres of economic activities. Over the years, the role of the basic markets has emerged to be conducive to the growth of the buying capacity of the average Indian consumer. Especially after the economic reforms of the 90s, India has seen unprecedented growth in its local market economy.
The technological revolution of the late 20th century has had a major contribution to the increasing awareness of the consumers. More and more customers are demanding products that are easily available abroad and a few metropolitan cities. The development of global mass manufacturing and worldwide distribution chain has increased global trade activity. Where does the average local trader stand in this ever-growing world economy?
Global trade has found a new channel that goes beyond boundaries. As for connectivity increases by leaps and bounds, the technology fueling global exchange has risen to unprecedented heights.
When the internet came into existence, it was seen has major force in creating new channels of communication. Especially in the arena of information distribution, it was seen as a disruptive force to be reckoned with. Vast amounts of data could be transferred between two computers situated anywhere in the world. Not just that, daily interaction and communication between people separated by land and sea, was made possible. In an instant, the internet obliterated the restrictions posed by physical distance, time zones and nationalities. What the world was about to see would change our definition of connectivity.
As the technology evolved, so did the capacity to exchange enormous sums of data. Before long, we saw the emergence of video streaming platforms, social media sites and more recently, the tremendous growth of e-commerce. These things in itself created a giant nation, a global country where anyone and everyone could easily gain citizenship. Netizens, as they came to be called, could access anything on the internet from the four corners of the world. Entire communities came into existence, which would later begin to penetrate the social scenes and came to dictate the norms of the internet society.
Internet was no longer a platform just for the exchange of information or a medium for individuals seeking entertainment. Soon, trades and economics entered the foray of the interconnected world. Online shopping became the new norm and almost all brands jumped the bandwagon. The pre-existing global network of trade further enhanced demand from customers now being able to view products from their homes.
Nowadays, you will find every possible brand that you can name on online platforms. This is an important channel to gain local and global recognition. Brands and store owners have found an easy solution to global expansion in the form of e-commerce. For a country like India, this has come with a mixed bag of advantages and disadvantages. One of the greatest benefits has been for Indian brands that have always wanted to create a nationwide presence. If not from the perspective of online trade, creating a presence in the digital world has become a necessity for most. They realized that a good number of their target audience were spending time online and on social apps. This number will continue to increase as more and more individuals access the internet in the coming years.
Brands, who have already established a sound footing in the national arena, are capitalizing on the growing trends that seem to capture the fancy of many Indians. As the completion to woo customers becomes fierce, the brand with the best customer-relation will emerge as the winner. This is something that they can learn from the local shop owner who has greater experience in maintaining a great relationship with the customers. In the war of brands, the situation of local brands and shops seems bleak, at the moment.
But there is a solution to this. There are plans to integrate the local shops on digital platforms. Indian and foreign technology giants are chalking out a plan in their boardrooms to connect the street shops to their loyal customers. How can one ensure that they remain unique when everyone will be brought to the same playing field?
This will be a difficult learning curve but can be negotiated with the age-old formula of keeping the customer happy and creating a niche for themselves. Local brands will have to craft unique identities for themselves, creating more points of differentiation from their competitors. If one has to make a considerable impact, it is the uniqueness that will play a key role in deciding the winner.
This brings us to the next point of how a unique identity helps you win new customers. In modern times, this has been made simpler with the increase in social media usage. A single post or video can be used to target thousands of customers and, potentially millions of users. But the gold standard way of winning new customers and getting the assurance that they will remain loyal to the brand is by creating the right impression with good product and services, which they can associate with the brand.
While brands use uniqueness to differentiate themselves, they offer much more than just a product. The reasons vary from person to person why most of us would go for a brand rather than a non-branded generic product. But one thing is for sure. In a consumer society, we have come to associate many features with a good-looking product.
Going back to our shopping in the supermarket example. If you had to choose between a well-packaged product that lists the ingredients, calorific value and other legal information when compared to a non-branded product with plain packaging, what are we most likely to buy? The answer is obvious. There is a psychological and emotion reason why we go for known names rather than a generic product. Even harder for us is to switch loyalties towards other names. This decision is usually triggered if there appears on the market a better product, an efficient solution to our problems, or sometimes, it could be just the cost of the product. A majority of the people are cost-conscious owing to the growing inflation and rising cost of living. We often see huge competition between different labels trying to lure the customer with the right price-point.
More than that, most labels have a personal impact on the customer. It’s the value that they offer is what propels us, as a customer, to make a purchase decision. With this in mind, let’s discuss some the long-lasting impact of brands on peoples’ lives and how this affects brand loyalty.
Brands Deliver Experience
You must have noticed that often many companies talk about the experience they have to offer to the customer. Numerous times you would have heard customers say the phrase ‘it’s all about the experience”. What is the hype around experience and why does it matter to the customer?
Let’s consider an example with a proper context. Say you want to buy a motorbike in the coming few weeks. Since it’s a huge investment ranging from thousands to even lakhs, you would want to be absolutely sure about the type of motorbike you want. Say you have to commute to your workplace every using public transport. Now, you want a motorbike so that you can reach to work at leisure without the fear of missing the bus or the train.
If you live in a city, you will be well-versed with the traffic situation, and hence would want a bike that is easy to handle and navigate in the busiest of streets. Similarly, you won't opt for a vehicle that is low on the maintenance with a great average, so that it’s light on the wallet. These are the practicalities of making a decision that almost everyone will consider.
Now, let’s talk about the experience part of it. You also like to go on bike trips and would like to explore various places. You want a bike that makes your long ride enjoyable, with proper safety and stability. This is kind of experience you would expect to get out your bike. You will go for mid-range or a high-end cruiser bike if that’s the budget you have. The bottom line is you would consider the practical side of your decision as well as the experience you would want to receive.
The same is true for fashion apparels. The logical part of you would consider apparel which is not too expensive, has good quality and comfort. But, ultimately, your decision will be finalized after you have tried on the clothes and seen for yourself whether it looks good on you. You instantly think of all the occasions and events this attire will be suitable for. Time and again, you would prefer to go for a particular brand that caters to your social life, a different brand that has expertise in the professional attire segment and another label for everyday wear. In summary, you begin to associate a particular name with the kind of experience it delivers, in the long-term.
Help in Making Informed Decisions
We live in the information age. Every day, we are bombarded with so much information that it will be difficult to remember everything we see, read or hear. So much so that, our brain subconsciously starts filtering unwanted pieces of information and retain on those that may be helpful in the future.
Before the internet became an inseparable part of our lives, our sources of information were very limited. In those days, one wouldn’t bother about product information, specification technicalities, and whatever else we need to make the decision of buying a product. Nowadays, we are more inclined towards knowing anything and everything about a particular product before buying it. We would go through reviews of other people, compare the features with other products, and try a demo in some cases before finally purchasing something.
That is the reason why brands are getting better and better at communicating with their audiences. They understand an important concept that every customer has a ‘Why’ before considering any product. Why should I buy from this particular store? Why would I want to invest in a specific product? Why is this better than that?
It is easy to understand why customers won’t go for a product that does not divulge too much in information. This is specifically true for the electronics sector where innovations change the face of technology every few months. Every alternate month you would see a new phone in the market with the latest specifications and offering the best value for money. This is because so many of us are invested in the details of the product. We are likely to do a comparison with older models of cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, compare its features with the products of other brands.
Brands fulfil the human desire to know, keep themselves informed by providing details about the product. This enables people to make an informed decision whenever they want to buy something. The same is true for fashion industry where people would wound want to know what the product is made of, where it is made, and how durable it will be.
Besides technical details and specifications, buyers, especially millennials, are looking for the environmental impact of their decisions. More and more customers are preferring products that are created in an eco-friendly environment, adhering to labour laws and conditions of the respective country of manufacture, the conscientious resourcing of materials etc. All of this has to be communicated to the audiences if a brand wants to have the necessary impact. When compared to non-branded products, one doesn’t know any of the above details. There is a lot of ambiguity with respect to the quality of the product, the place of manufacture, and the conditions in which it was created. Buyers do not like to be kept in the dark or remain in doubt about some essential details. If one fails to communicate all of these, it will be difficult to convince the audience about buying the product.
The Risk vs. Benefit Factor
This is an extremely common psychological factor which influences our behaviour. This is not just buying a product but also something that has guided our decision-making skills throughout human evolution.
Our biology is such that there everything we do is judged by reward and punishment. This is what helps animal live, avoid getting hurt and survive in the wild. It is a very simple concept to understand. We do things that reward us and avoid things that provide negative feedback in the form of punishment. For example, our ancestors would hunt small animals and preys that would not seem dangerous, whereas hunting big animals and predators would be dangerous and may result in grievous injury or death. This former is a positive stimulus as compared to the latter. Similarly, a child likes candies when growing up because it tastes good. The brain perceives it as a reward and the child consistently retains the memory of this reward.
Now, compare that to vegetables or something that the child doesn’t like. Over time, the kid may overcome his dislike for the things that don’t taste so great, but at the moment, it serves as a negative stimulus.
This is pretty much the guiding principle for almost all our behaviours throughout adulthood and the rest of our lives. As we grow up, we realize that somethings require us to take the necessary risk in order to enjoy the rewards. It could end up either way. If we like the outcome of the risk taken, we are more likely to continue that behaviour. If it doesn’t then we tend to look the other way.
The same principle is an integral part of making a purchase decision. Suppose you have an unknown brand making your favourite product. Initially, you would be a little apprehensive when trying out the new brand. This is because you already know a specific label which makes the product, which you have been for years. Buying the product of an unknown, new brand is considered as a risk because you invest money while purchasing it without knowing the outcome of this little experiment. If it fulfils your expectations and you feel satisfied with the product, you receive the benefit and will probably choose to buy it again. If it ends up disappoints you, probably that product will never be able to convince you otherwise.
We all assess things based on their risk vs. benefit value. Brands often influence people to take a risk and be rewarded for their endeavours. The greater the risk, the better the reward. But you can’t be taking risks all your life. What brands do is offer a chance to the customer in making calculated risks where the customer has a fair idea of what’s in store for him in the future.
With this, we are open towards taking a risk if we have a fair idea of what the reward is going to look like.
Personalities Associated with a Brand
As a consumer, one of the most prominent behaviour is the fact that we seek similarities between us and the brand. This is made possible by the fact that all brands have personalities. Brands do this on purpose because they are aware of the fact that people want to see a part of themselves in the brand. This influences the buying behaviour of many consumers.
Brands can be fun, playful, serious, adventurous, slick, intelligent and so one. Most technological brands convey a sense of intelligence, secure and fun, depending on the type of product they are marketing. When you come across the product, it incites an emotional reaction to you and you look towards these attributes as your own. Some of the most popular technology brands have established themselves as world leaders and game-changers at the frontiers. All of us would want to associate ourselves with the best brands, the industry leaders of a particular sector. No wonder we flock to their stores even if they have the most expensive products in that segment.
Similarly, if we consider ourselves adventurous, we would opt for brands that emanate that attribute. It is something that almost everyone desires. This is what makes them gravitate towards that specific label.
The truth is we all see a part of ourselves associate with a name that reflects those attributes. At the same time, we feel proud of sporting those products in order to create a persona of achievement and possessing the best. And this is a very crucial and advantageous concept for brands.
This is where the buyer becomes the advocates of the brand. This is something we see quite often in our everyday lives. Suppose we need a product that would help us with a particular task. If we are satisfied with the service, we will definitely recommend it to whoever needs it. It would friends, families, acquaintances, colleagues and others. This is the word-of-mouth marketing which relies on consumer satisfaction and positive experience. We are more likely to suggest a brand that resonates with your personality and that of your friends.
Love of International Brands
There’s another aspect of branding that we are all familiar with. This has to with the perception of a particular label rather than what the brand has to offer. As mentioned above, the attributes of a brand have such an impact on peoples’ lives that there becomes a notion of the brand in their minds.
We are speaking of our fascination with international brands. Right from the beginning of our acquaintance with foreign labels, we have had a preconceived notion that international names hold greater prestige that our local ones. Be it the range of products, the quality, or the service provided by these companies, we always prefer them, even though some of the local brands may match the above attributes.
No matter how much we deny, there are so many aspects of foreign labels that create a bias amongst our countrymen. From food to clothing, gadgets, and even cars, we assume that if something has an international aspect to it, there must be something of great value to it. Restaurant and fast-food franchises, fashion labels, even our favourite cereals, we love to flock to the store and specifically choose them over local produce. What is the reason behind this behaviour? Is it just a matter of prestige and pride, the status it confers upon the buyer or is there something truly phenomenal about goods made outside the country? Let’s dive deep into this mindset and see if we can find some concrete answers.
Effect of Colonization
India got its independence on the 15th of August, 1947, after almost 200 years of colonial rule. It was one of the greatest moments for the country, released from the bonds of imperialism after two centuries of difficulties. Although it came as a relief, we never considered the rulers have tyrannical monsters, considering the ruler’s contribution towards, infrastructure, education, socio-economic reforms and others.
It was probably the first time where the vanquished sent off the conquerors with the shake of hands.
This has had a major influence on our mindsets that the functional systems established by the colonizers are still working fine as compared to our organizations which seems wanting on many fronts. This affected our perception that whatever is created by foreign intervention always trumps desi efforts.
International brands often have deep pockets when it comes to advertising and marketing. It won’t be an overstatement to say that they leave no stone unturned in creating a lasting effect of the masses and maximizing their reach at all cost. They will spare no effort in creating a huge hype around their brand so that they can capture the imagination with their cash-burning advertising machinery.
One of the strategies of big brands is to rope in big names and famous personalities to market the product. Which countries market they are about to capture, they will get the best people on-board and make them the face of the brand as brand ambassadors. With a wide distribution and unlimited budget to put the product in every store, every street, they gain immense popularity. Sometimes they overshadow the most popular of local brands that have had a rich history and tradition in that area.
Local brands often lose the marketing game with their limited budget and their inability to gain nation-wide popularity. Most international brand would begin with targeting buyers in cities and slowly spread to the towns and villages. Local brands remain within the confines of the city or state without a broader vision of capturing the market on a national scale.
The way hyper-marketing works is to just bombard the different channels with commercials such that it creates a strong brand recall for the audiences.
Reflection on Status
For a lot of individuals, owning a foreign product is a matter of immense pride. Always, the idea is to convey the message that a person has the means to afford premium and luxurious brands. This is because it is a direct reflection of a person’s economic and social status.
There are two types of the psychological effect that is at play. The first has got to do with the fear of missing out. We are all social beings where we get easily influenced by the things people do around us. Say some gets a new phone, a new plasma television set, a new bike or a car. It is an inherent nature of ours to desire the things that people around us possess. This makes us want to go for the latest products that everyone is talking about.
Long known in the world of marketing, this effect has reached a new intensity with the prevalence of social media amongst the masses. Any foreign brand that is about to launch in India, targets youngsters who record more social media usage than others. And all they need is to create a trend through online marketing for it gain mass momentum and rope in as many individuals as possible.
The other effect is the feeling that if very few people can buy it, then I can enjoy the feeling of having a premium product which is unaffordable for many. This is true with respect to premium and luxurious brands. There is always some elitism associated with the socio-religious structure of the society which often emerges in such forms.
The Assurance of Quality
Over the years, particular nations have come to be associated with quality products. This is due to the fact that brands spend a great deal of money in appropriate research and development of products. This makes the products much-sought-after in international markets.
An important fact is some brands have almost a century of experience in manufacturing the products and their names have been immortalized by the widespread popularity and the ensuing customer satisfaction. We have many examples of it- German cars, Japanese electronics, and South American and African coffee and so on. Most international brands import resources and raw materials where they are originally found and use them to create top-quality products.
When it boils down to the nitty-gritty, there is no true differentiation in the kinds of products manufactured by a foreign and a local brand.
Local Brands and Environment
For our generation, one of the crucial aspects of our lives is the conservation of the environment. As of now, we have not faced issues of dwindling resources. We seem to have plenty of natural resources that continue to fuel the growth of our economies. But it is not sustainable.
Year after year, we continue to see the disastrous effects on our environments. Hurricanes, disproportional rain, forest fires, rising temperature, melting glaciers; they are symptoms of a common ailment. How have we reached this point?
Long ago, we would only produce what would be consumed locally. The surplus was either saved for rainy days or traded with nearby towns. The rise of global economies and ensuing excessive consumption led to massive exploitation of natural resources, greater emission rates and increased carbon footprint.
What we don’t understand about massive brands is their impact on the environment. Products shipped all over the world lead contribute immensely to environmental deterioration. From fossil fuels to the plastic and paper used in packaging, some of the greatest harm comes from the operations of international brands.
In these times, a great way to conserve the environment is to buy local goods, products that are made in the country. Besides limited consumption of resources, local brands use the opportunity to build sustainable communities, provide economic independence to individuals and also give skilled talent a shot at prosperity. All this, without giving into excesses and exploitation. Who knew choosing the right fashion brand could also help the environment.
A definitive men’s casual style mantra is “Love Local Go Local”. Local brands have proven, time and again, that they are on par with international brands when it comes to quality and service. In most cases, the raw material is the same, the manufacturing remains comparable, and the country has no shortage of skilled man-power.