While fashion progresses to new styles, there is always a subtextual inspiration from the past, if not a full- blown return of yesterday’s trends. In the early days it was believed that a vest, well fitted trousers with a matching coat, plain leather shoes and a crisp shirt were the essentials for a businessman.
With the ticking of clocks and change in mindset, quirky accessories became all the rage in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Soon, they made an inevitable exit, with the 1980s defying creativity in style. People swore by coats, ties and vests even more than before.
Finally, creativity has returned, and is embraced by many in the fashionable know of the 21st century. Pop colours and unusual patterns have made their way into men’s wardrobes. Not just for leisure, but businessmen aren’t shy to dress up for meetings too. According to Srikanth R, business head – accessories at Raymond Limited, “A fashion accessory makes dressing complete and impactful. The current young consumers are very fashion forward and adopt the unusual. It makes them standout in the crowd.”
Supplying to the demand, accessories have been modified, thus bringing an evolutionary change from neck ties to loudly designed ties or bow ties, plain socks to pop coloured-socks, pocket squares, pocket rounds, and so on.
Before picking a fashion accessory, Priyanka Shivdasani – CRM and marketing manager at Stefano Ricci advises, “There are two important things to pay attention to — the personality of the person wearing those accessories and whether he has the confidence to carry it off.”
Since its advent in the 16th century, neck ties have evolved in design and ways of wearing them. From the usual solid colours, stripes and checks, ties have gradually crawled up the quirk-ladder with paisleys, abstract designs, bold florals and a riot of colours. It doesn’t end here.
Windsor knots are common. Four-in-hand is a smaller version of the windsor knot; Nicky knot is flatter and more horizontal than the windsor; Eldredge looks like a braided knot — some of the many unconventional knot styles that say you’re effortlessly fancy. Then there are tie pins or tie bars, designed to hold the two folds of the tie with the placket of a shirt. The need to be subtly different has prompted them to be more than just a functional accessory. They add to the attire in shapes of moustaches, flowers, “coded” messages, superhero logos, and the likes.
When opting for a bow tie, one has the liberty of shaping it into a classic butterfly, a wide butterfly to flaunt the accessory, and from straight where the bow-ears are less prominent to diamond with three points on each side. Bow ties have become a lot more common today than being exclusive to “black tie” events. Besides the quintessential black silk, bows are approached with a modern take. Today, red and white bow ties are accepted at semi-formal events. This of course, will work only if the suit isn’t far from traditional.
Slap a bow tie with a shirt and trousers to stand out from the crowd in a positive way. Break away from the monotony in a more subtle way by opting for a tie with two solid colours — the middle strap in one colour and the rest of the tie in a different colour.
Socks were invented to absorb sweat in high temperatures and prevent frostbites in the cold. They continue to serve the purpose — and more. Socks aren’t meant to be hidden anymore; not when they come in a plethora of colours, lengths, and designs to choose from. One can be playful by pairing the usual business attire with a fun pair of socks to escape from the monotony. Just a peep of pop colour or comic theme or boyish pattern between the shoe and the trouser’s hem is enough to say you’ve got game.
“You may remember,” says Srikanth, “The Indian Prime minster wore a pocket square with the tri- colour while addressing the US congress. That is an unusual pocket square, yet it was very apt to the occasion.” While sprucing up the pocket square is becoming common, pocket rounds are the new craze. They’re worn in the jacket’s breast pocket just like their square cousin, but are easier to fold. Because of their shape, it is essential to invest in a holder or a ring to hold the pocket round in shape.
Those with contrasting hems can be opened up and placed like a flower after securing them into a ring. They’re easier to fold and can be played around with as there is no “right” way to pocket them. Fold two rounds of contrasting colours if you’re feeling creative. Whatever you do, they will look stylish — or at least until their novelty lasts.
HOW TO WEAR A POCKET ROUND?
Versatile in nature, it is easy to play around with a pocket round. Here are a few styles you could try:
- Presidential fold: The presidential style requires the circle to be folded into half and once again so you have four equal parts back-to-back. Fold it again such that the top is a neat line and the bottom is uneven. Now place it in its holder so it looks like a square in your pocket.
- Poof: Poofs are a common style of folding pocket squares and rounds. Grab the pocket round from the middle and hold down the edges together like a closed umbrella. Tuck them into the holder. Pinch open the visible “dome” for volume.
- Blooming flower: The blooming flower fold is the most creative and widely appreciated by men when using a pocket round or square. To begin, pleats the circumference of the pocket round until you are left with what looks like a flower. Insert the pocket round in the holder with the pleats on top. Now, you can adjust the folds by separating them out to appear like a bloomed flower.