wardrobe for Men

The Ten-Piece Capsule Wardrobe for Men

Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Giorgio Armani…what do these men have in common other than billions of dollars? They wear the same clothes every day. Call it what you may – a self-prescribed adult ‘uniform’, the disguise of ‘a common man’ or even laziness but these three men have come to be identified with their ‘uniform’ in this age of excess and fast fashion. And are sartorially powerful enough to set an important example. Steve Jobs who was synonymous with a black turtleneck and blue jeans cited decision fatigue; conveying that the task of choosing different clothes everyday was unimportant and that his everyday outfit freed up his mind for more important things. Mark Zuckerberg, who only wears a grey tee and blue jeans every day, once said that his daily ensemble was a result of his privileged position – that he did not want another decision to make. The truth is that is it possible to wear the same unenforced outfit everyday and it does have its benefits. Since a turtleneck doesn’t work in our sultry weather and not everyone runs their own company in Silicon Valley – we have a capsule wardrobe you to try…

  1. The white shirt

A classic white button-down shirt in cotton is the staple of any wardrobe. Whether you pick it up from a flea market or from an organic clothing brand, we suggest that you get one with long sleeves which you can roll up if you want.

  1. A pair of black trousers

Whether you’re a graphic designer at an ad agency or a lawyer, a pair of black flat-front trousers in a cotton-viscose mix must find place in your capsule closet. We suggest this cut and this fabric as they flatter most silhouettes and will be easy to maintain.

  1. A pair of khaki chinos

These are the perfect trousers for our warm weather. Chinos, also identified by their color – khaki – are multi-faceted and can be worn to the office or for leisure. Best worn with brown shoes (which are not on the list) we suggest that they would look better worn over the weekend with your brown dress sandals.

  1. A navy-blue polo-neck tee

A polo-neck is the preppy gentleman’s staple but we think this is also a versatile garment as it can be worn with jeans for a casual look, with trousers to the Gymkhana Club for Sunday lunch and with your shorts for tennis!

  1. A pair of blue jeans

Whilst this everlasting style staple is not a surprise, we must caution you to invest only in a pair of regular-fit dark blue denims. Save the distress, rips, acid washes, panels and patches for Fashion Week please.

  1. A khadi kurta

Khadi owns an important place in our already rich textile heritage, associated with Gandhiji and our fight for independence. Even now this hand-crafted, sometimes coarse material is perfect for our climate and for our sun-kissed complexions. A khadi kurta in white or in its traditional earthy hue is therefore a must for weddings and festive occasions. Team it with jeans and your sandals for a contemporary feel.

  1. A pair of athletic shorts

We were conflicted about adding a pair of shorts to the capsule wardrobe and not a black belt. But in the end, we decided that exercise was more important than a belt and that if Jobs and Zuckerberg can do without one, so can you!

  1. A pair of black formal shoes

Choose a pair of smart black formal shoes in leather or any animal-friendly substitute. We however insist that your basic black pair must be comfortable enough for you to spend all day in and not in a glossy patent finish. Brogues or oxfords are our pick for style inspiration.

  1. A pair of sports shoes

These are to be worn with your shorts and polo-neck tee to exercise in! Also can be teamed with your jeans and your shirt for a casual outing. With a veritable cornucopia of brands, colors and styles to choose from, we suggest you shop around for one that suits your athletic needs best!

  1. A pair of brown open-toed dress sandals

These are a necessity in India when one has a festive occasion or a wedding to attend. Many places of worship do not permit footwear inside the inner sanctum and sandals are easy to slip on and off.

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Shibi, like the song in ‘West Side Story’, is oh so pretty, witty and bright! Modest too, but we can discuss that later. A Chennai native (34) who now dwells in the capital, there is nothing she loves more than a good story. Except for a good handbag. A self-professed shopaholic with impeccable taste, the young women’s rights lawyer and mother was ‘discovered’ by an Indian Express editor in Chennai at a famous boutique eight years ago and she has not looked back since. Fashion writing allows her to combine her two greatest loves and Shibi has been published in The Hindu, the Indian Express, Femina, Scroll, Bodahub, Hi-Blitz Magazine and many more. A militant optimist, Shibi abhors armchair activism and suggests that everyone ‘Be the Change’ instead of complaining about Modiji. Or run for POTUS – anybody seems better qualified than Trump. She also loves animals and has orchestrated many a doggy/kitty rescue; her most fervent hope is to see the status and treatment of both animals and women improve in India and the world over. Also, she requests you to RECYCLE and to REUSE. Climate change is real, people. Jai Hind!