Clothes maketh a man - irrespective of whether you agree or disagree on this, with changing times we are becoming increasingly style cognizant. From flair pants to designer boots, a la Elvis Presley or our very own 70`s stars, apparel have contributed greatly to the personality that they flaunted.
It is not merely the apparel, but also accessories like belts, headbands, handbags, jewelry and caps that have been imperative to grooming since a very long time. In the recent past outfits teamed with trendy apparel accessory have taken centre stage and innovation is a crucial part of the ever changing fashion industry.
Jackets and Blazers are a part of western dressing. The trend conscious youth in India have however made it a part of their wardrobe. Suede, Leather, Denim, Corduroy and Cloth with fur trim on the hood are a few types of jackets available. They can be worn to make a fashion statement or for protection as is the case of windshield jackets worn by bikers. Blazers are almost exclusively worn for formal events. The main types are single breasted and double breasted. Velvet, wool, suede, tweed, Linen, and Leather are mainly used in making the blazer. Tweed blazer is teamed with casual wear, whereas the rest are often worn as formal or semiformal wear.
Tie is an accessory which is confined to formal dressing for men. The different types of ties include neck ties, bow ties, ascots, cravats and boleros to list a few. Ties come with various pattern and it is worn so as to complement the shirt. Cross dressing has paved way for more and more women going for the Tie look. Though not all prefer the same. This cross over style is soon catching on among the younger generation.
Scarves add a touch of style to grooming. They are often worn to complement a particular outfit. Besides silk, scarves also come in other fabrics namely pashmina, crochet, cashmere, wool, velvet, chenille, cotton, satin, chiffon, rayon, nylon, polyester and georgette. Embroidered and crochet scarves are attractive and can be teamed with a plain sweater or suit. Chiffon scarves with floral prints are chic and can be worn with formal and casual wear. Simply draping the scarf around the neck adds a carefree glimmer of style. Scarves for men generally include the patterns like paisleys, animal print and geometric designs that are often used in informal wear. The striped or plain variety preferably in silk is worn for that formal look. Scarves not only reflect an elegant sense of style when worn as an accessory but also make excellent gifts.
Cap is a head accessory that serves dual purposes, i.e protection and style. Caps, hats, bandana or scarf tied on the head are the well known accessories used by fashion conscious people in India. Caps can be sporty, semi formal or formal and are matched with the dress apt for the occasion. Woolen dome bean, running caps, ball cap, beanie hats to keep warm, and the casual driving caps are a few varieties available in the international market. In India however baseball caps, hand crochet caps, Himachlee topee, summer caps, winter caps, custom caps, leather caps and cowboy hats are a few varieties that are popular. Beach hats and acrylic hats are also popular accessory for women.
Indian fabric teamed with large leather belts is chic. Belts come in various textures ranging from leather, jute, cotton to metal. They are festooned with beads, or the traditional sequins. Leather belts are by far the most expensive as they are a result of tanning and a stream of industrial processes. The various brands include Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Fendi, Burberry, and Michael kors.
Belts which are beaded, made of jute and adorned with sequins are matched with casual wear, while the branded and leather belts are almost exclusively teamed with formal attire. Fashion industry experts opine that wider belts enhance the waist and those looking to flaunt a well toned waistline could go in for broader belts which are available in all ranges of style, cost and texture.
Grooming is almost incomplete without a fine pair of footwear to go with, for men are often judged by the footwear they wear. Leather boots, oxfords, and non oxford leather shoes, sneakers and suede shoes are the main categories in shoes. Slippers also have a high comfort quotient and the sporty floaters is a must have. For women stilettos, boots, and heeled or flat slippers are indispensable. Another type of footwear that is very Indian is the mojris. Festooned with sequins they are apt for fusion dressing .They complement ethnic attire too.
Wallets are another indispensable accessory. It is the ideal place to store currency, debit and credit cards, followed by phone numbers, medical bills etc. A perfect wallet would be one that can hold all the above, yet look stylish, with space for more. Wallets come in all shapes, sizes, color and texture. The most preferred being the flat ones that can hold bigger currencies and be easily slid into the pocket.
Leather wallets with metal embossing are classy and expensive. The jute wallets bejeweled with stones, beads and sequins, silk wallets festooned with mirror work, and expensive party wear purse with zardozi work are the most preferred styling for ladies wallet. Rugged yet classy is the preferred variety in wallets for men.
Wallet prices considerably depend on wallet types, functionality, and quality of material, design and convenience. Cartier, ConteMax, Delta, Dionigi, Dr. Koffer, Dunhill, Mont blanc, Olmecs, Philip Laurence, S.T. Dupont, Underwood are a few well known brands. Wallet prices can change from two-three hundreds up to several thousand rupees for exclusive models and in the Indian market there are both branded as well as custom made wallets with varying price tags.
Apart from wallets, handbags are also a very crucial accessory and an integral part of grooming. Telephone bills, currencies, hand phone, house keys are just a few things that the handbag is supposed to hold. The size of the handbag depends on the occasion and also the purpose. Clutches are most preferred for parties and are preferably matched with western attire. A larger hand bag is suitable for shopping while a medium sized handbag is appropriate for work.
The major brands in handbags the world over are Gucci, Prada, LouisVuitton, Dior and Fendi. Indian market has opened up to major handbag brands namely Mango, Floretti, Dior and Fendi. Custom made bags are a big rage as it is more affordable and flexible in its styling.
Despite the ever increasing prices for commodities, inflation and ban on leather goods; stylish apparel will continue to rein the world of fashion. Accessories have been accepted as a vital part of grooming and in the years to come the industry is bound to grow. Fashion keeps changing and as a result the industry has to bring out the best, by creating unique apparel that not only make a fashion statement but are reasonably priced and accommodating. While the industry metamorphoses the common man can relax and wait for the creative changes to happen, and lap up the fashion extravaganza once it hits the market.