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Monday, December 3, 2012

The First Citizen

Sundar Singh sheeshe me dekhar kyun nahi muskurata hai?
Kyuki usse dress-up karna nahi aata hai....

Man, this one’s been simmering in me for a while now… guess it took a contest to get it out of me….

Thanks to Shoppers’ Stop for this one.

In a billion strong nation like ours, it’s easy to be just another face in the crowd.  This post tells you how not to.

I’m something like a born again dresser…. you know, once upon a time, I was the kind of person for whom clothes was just an added liability and sure enough, my dressing sense (or rather, the lack of) made sure everyone around me felt the same way.  In fact, once when I dropped my sister to college, a guy gave me money thinking I was a tramp.  Till about two years back, when I did some serious soul searching and literally took things out of my cupboard (and burned them and then got myself a new wardrobe)

For a good part of my earlier life, I was stuck in a dead end job in a dead end village; and opportunities came in very few with even lesser frequency.  So it was very important for me to seize whatever job interview that came my way.  And I uncovered some profound insights about image management in that sleepy village – the kind that still makes sartorial sense even today in my metro.


You probably already know that the one thing that can make or break you in life is your first impression.  And you also know already that 70% of it is created by non verbal cues, especially your dressing.  And unlike the other 30% which is usually very difficult to change, that influential 70% can be easily changed, and it’s as easy as changing your socks. And sometimes, it is all about changing your socks - to match your trousers, that is.  But more on that later in this post.

OK, first things first – you know all those literature and feel good philosophy about ‘you are what you are inside’ and all that crap about ‘inner beauty’ – well, it’s just that –absolute crap.

The truth of the matter is – Clothes make the man, and like I’ve discovered along the way, it’s accessories that make the gentleman.

Sundar Singh sheeshe me dekhar kyun nahi muskurata hai?
Kyuki usse dress-up ki 'basics' samajh nahi aata hai....

So here goes - The secret of sartorial excellence is all about the details and there are tricks that can make you into a sartorial superstar. So let's start with the basics: 

  • The basics:  The first things that people notice are the shirt and pants though it’s the shirts that are more influential than pants in forming an opinion – so you could choose to repeat pants in a day or two but take care to have a good break before repeating the same shirt.  The funda of “matching clothes” is long by-gone and today you can wear anything with anything as long as it looks good in sum total.  What to wear can be decided on skin tone, body build and occasion.  To find your skin tone – warm, cool or neutral - check the inside of your wrist: if the veins appear greenish, it indicates you have yellow undertones and thus would have a warm skin tone.  Veins that appear to be more bluish indicate a cool skin tone.  If you can't determine your skin tone, then it means you fall under neutral skin tone.  Warm skin tones should lean towards warmer and richer colors like reds, oranges, yellows and dark browns. Cooler skin tones should lean towards cooler colors like purples, greens and blues and Neutral skin tones can wear almost any color (lucky buggers! J).  In body built, just remember that what you wear must fool the eyes of the beholder: if you have a big tummy, wear something, like a big pocket square, so that the eyes get cheated to focus onto your chest rather than the tummy.  If you’re healthy, use slim fitting dress, if you’re thin, use colors and patterns.  A great tip a friend gave me for occasion based dressing is to ask yourself, “What cud I wear today to be the most overdressed guy in the room?” Helps. and when in doubt, wear black.
  • Killer tip – Iron your clothes esp the shirt collars and cuffs and remember to polish your shoes into a sooper, dooper shine.  Even if you may happen to wear not-so-remarkable clothes, a polished pair of shiny black shoes usually opens a lotta doors.  And yes, always stand tall.

Sundar Singh sheeshe me dekhar kyun nahi muskurata hai?
Kyuki ab 'basics' aata hai, lekin ye "Accessories/Waxessories" kya hai....?

  • Accessories:   Get the above 'basics' right and people will acknowledge the man; but get the right accessories right and people will never forget him.  Accessories are the magic words for the man who wants his garb to do the talking.  Accessories can be as simple as an engraved tie-pin or as is the case with my friend RCB, can be as elaborate as a mean hot car to go with your suit.J  A single piece of a well selected accessory can elevate one's overall appearance and some of the popular accessories that can make magnificent a man are sunglasses, wallets, belts, watches, caps, scarfs, cufflinks and waistcoats.  Actually, everyone's got a favorite accessory - a favorite watch, a preferred belt, a treasured gold chain - the trick is to find what works for you and then build on it.  I realized that of late, I have this thing for waistcoats and found myself wearing it almost for every occasion.  Somehow it seemed to work for me so I got myself half a dozen of 'em.  Sure, I have people giving me the 'what's-wrong-with-you' look, but after a while, you know, when people give me that look, I get this  ego boosting kick. J
  • Hot tip - A simple way to start accessorizing is to have three pairs of glasses with colored sides, the colors being ones that go with the most common ones in your wardrobe. Once you get used to the compliments that come your way (trust me, they will),  you could start trying scarfs that coordinate with both the glasses and with your wardrobe.  In time, you'll start having fun and could get into experimenting with more accessories.    

Abb bhi Sundar Singh  sheeshe me dekhar kyun nahi muskurata hai?
Kyunki sab kuch hai, lekin phir bhi kuch toh missing hai....

  • The other stuff - This is the part where I asked my friends their tips in this matter.  An old friend of mine always used to say this very cool saying - "People seldom notice your old clothes if you wear a big smile; so I fake the damn smile".  Pretty soon, the big smile became a permanent fixture to his overall attire and today, I count him as one of the sharpest dressed men I know.  A few others believe in "Eat well, sleep well and slowly you'll start to look well too."  Working out also had a lot of takers.  Another extremely fashion conscious guy I know has this weird ritual of going to South Delhi once every six months - he believes that fashion in India first comes to South Delhi and only then does it permeate the rest of the country.  He's of the opinion that the latest fashion hits Bangalore only about a year after South Delhi.  Another gave gave me the 'matching matching' gyaan - you know, shoe color should match that of the belt, socks should match the pants and that the shirt and pants should contrast.... Then there's the guy who's like the Imelda Marcos of men - the guy believes that the most important accessory for men is shoes and has over 30 pairs of shoes (for a guy, that's huge!).
  • Cool tip - Invest in a full length mirror at home - its the first and most astute step towards a life long commitment to sartorial excellence. 

SS meets another SS.. ab Sundar Singh dress-up ka First Citizen hai.. 

Shopper’s Stop – I’ve been pretty much a Shopper’s Stop shopper man for a pretty long time now and besides the usual advantages of good collection, parking space, well located, yada, yada…, I love their two very yummy clearance sales, in Jan and July.  Another thing which I've seem there is that the salesmen at SS don’t really come into your space and they seem to appear only when you want them to.  I’d also recommend their ‘First Citizen’ loyalty program for two reasons - one thing’s that you get extra discounts on your purchase (I once bought a 10K Fossil watch for 7.5k. The card gave me another 1K discount - best purchase eva!) and the other is you get access to their clearance sales two -three days in advance.  

So that's my ensemble for the festive season - a mix of the basics, loaded with accessories and topped off with tips that I picked up from along the way - of course, once your love story with clothes starts, the festivities would be a life long season. 

me n my SS accessories...

We are all born equals.  It’s up to us to tilt that balance. 

So go ahead.  Start something new. With your self.

And be the guy with the gift of the garb.

Like Sundar Singh....

Kyunki ab sheesha bhi  Sundar Singh ko dekhke muskaraatha hai!.

with my latest fetish - glasses (yes, 17 of 'em) J

Shoppers Stop(www.shoppersstop.com) brought this one out of me.  With Indiblogger. 

Follow me here and you'll find from the other posts that the preachy tone adopted in this post surprised me as well (guess sobriety does that to you!)  

If you already follow me, then let's go get ourselves some beer.


  1. '...take care to have a good break before repeating the same shirt...' Well, R-A-J, that's not going to be easy in my case. You see, whenever I see a shirt that I like, I buy five of them. I'm not kidding. So when you open my closet, you find ten black shirts, ten white ones, five red ones, etc. Talk about a first impression! Good thing is... I've got a cool car. ;)

    Hope you're doing fine.


    1. Hey RCB, I started doing that myself too.. if I like a shirt and I know it looks good on me, I buy multiples of them .. for a long while, I only had black in my wardrobe... now it's blue :)

      lucky guy u r RCB.. my four wheeled accessory is the public bus :)

      I'm good RCB.. hope all's well at your end too :)

  2. P.S. I've got a new URL (don't ask)... Could you press that button for me again? Thanks.

    1. Again??? :)

      I did, my friend :)

    2. Hahaha so I noticed. No, the FBI aren't looking for me :)

      Your four-wheeled accessory is the public bus? If I had the money, I'd send a BMW your way. Didn't you ride a motor bike?

  3. Wow...When it comes to formal dressing it's all about refinement, ensembled with smart accessories for a sharper look...cool :)
    All the best!

    1. Thanks Panchalidi...nice to see u after soo long.. how things on ur side? Hope all is the well :)

      Do drop by more often, di :)

  4. So you have to look like every other person, only a better version of them. Aye aye, captain! :P

    1. Revacious! Revacious! How art thou, Revacious? :D

      Loved ur post.. tht was one hell of a post u had.. I'm putting that song as my fb status fr the weekend mood:

      sharing it here: http://revathiunlimited.blogspot.in/2012/12/song-in-head-5.html

      do drop by more often Revacious :)

  5. Gasp! Sputter! How on earth did you just make me weak knee-ed? I love the look! Absolutely yummylicous tips too - especially the full length mirror one, not to mention the big fake smile ;-) ... Looks like you may have a winner in your hands, dude. But thats not to say I am not going to die fighting :-)


    1. Winning??... well that's a whole another matter altogether..but Nirvana, like I said - my vote's fr u :)

      Thanks for ur kind kind words Nirvana :)

  6. Oh! and thanks for the info on the blue / green vein thing! Looks like I am cold blooded err.... toned (damn! I knew it when I shot the autowalah!!)

    1. Glad u liked it Nirvana ... Google roxx!! :D

      don't say tht Nirvana, when it comes to autowalahs, I'll get the chainsaw...:)

  7. born again .. well well I am waiting when my turn comes to be born again :) .. I am not much fussy about clothes and wear what I can lay my hands on .. and SUIT oh boy is a death trap to me .. I hate it

    but I like those killer cool glasses , that reminds me I need to buy a pair for myself ..

    all the best for the contest :)


    1. Hey my friend..howz u yaar.. hope all is well :)

      Glad to knw of ur 400th post n of u buying a house in ur hometown.. congrats man.. happy fr u :)

      aah, glasses r a weakness of mine too :)

      thnx bro.. do drop by more often Biks :)

  8. Woohoooohoooooo.. Wait, Woooohoooohooooooo again!

    A fashion post from a guy is like old monk on the rocks after a tiring weekday at work. Seriously.

    Also could you please mention that mufflers are 'NOT' scarfs and cannot be worn on everything and in every season. Especially summer!!

    Hahhaha, that was an awesome way of figuring out the skin tone. Informative :)

    And they say mallu's can't look beyond their mundus and paragon chappal. What's up bitches now?? :D

    This one's a pride for the clan cheta. Brilliant!!

    1. Ahahahahahaha... :D

      Wow, thnx fr ur kind, kind words yaar.. wow, thts an awesome comment Somz.. made my day!!

      Congrats on ur engagement Somz.. wishin u a lifetime of happiness :D

      Do come more often.. u bring a smile to the face whenever u do :)

    2. Thanks Raj, again :)

      Post often and I'd come often ;)

  9. Ahhh Shoppers Stop!! Money stealer! Sinful seductions there are.. I tell u... a girl just cant hop in without expecting her purse to be emptied.

    1. Wow, Punam.. so, so long time, eh? Been so busy with things yaar.. didnt really get too much time to check out my blog or reply to ur commments :)... neither cud i drop y ur blog either...

      thnx so much fr calling in me fr ur wishes yaar... ws very sweet of u :)

      So hw has been things on ur side of the world? Hope all is well :)

      Aah, so u 2 an SS fan? nice, nice :D

    2. Yes, I am just returning from Shoppers Stop after having spent 3500 bucks on two toppers and a handbag!!!
      All is okay on my side.. going on. I can imagine.. you got to be busy.. if you weren't, that would be a surprise. :)
      Hope life is good.

  10. Heyyy you edited this one to add the Sundar Singh ka part na.. it wasn't there before when I had read it the last time!! Cool.. nice way the addition has actually driven home the point in a better way.