The style file

Hitani Kaur        Print Edition: April 14, 2013

While last year was all about being bold, this year slows down to a smooth purr with a subtle, less-is-more dress policy. 2012 showcased flamboyant, over-the-top creations; checks on checks, prints contrasting florals, and colour blocking colour. In 2013 the hyperstyling of the season gone by is replaced with minimalism in terms of design, fabric and colour.

Replacing the almost psychedelic pairing of checks and graphics, block-solid colours give a much-needed break from the frenzied cacophony of prints. With the recession of winter, this year too has pastels storming back with a vengeance. The colour palette traverses the shades of the rainbow, but keeps them solid.

While formal ensembles are best kept conservative with the use of a single colourful swatch in the form of a shirt, your casual wordrobe is where you can really experiment by pairing different colours in each layer. Throw in contrasting or similar shades in pastel tones to get a carelessly put together look which works for both day and night. Also great for casual, are the evergreen collared tees. But instead of the same-old Polo that's done time for the past few seasons, opt for a ribbed or textured fabric to step it up a notch.

In contrast to the sinister shade-card of the season gone by, suits too have left the darker domain and edged towards light. The easiest way to do it-both on the eye and otherwise- is by throwing in a graphic tie to reassure your look. Adding a pocket square won't hurt either. We suggest trying out one with the added nuance of dual-colour piping, after all, the devil's in the detail. A khakhi suit is a must-have addition to your wardrobe.

Check list
  • Solids trump patterns
  • Choose light-coloured suits
  • Go double-breasted
  • Mix formal and casual wear
  • Keep sneakers ankle-high
  • Wide hats are in
Charcoal grey has ebbed to a light hue, and looks beautiful especially when worn as a complete three-piece. Also on the rise, is a smokey tobacco colour option. Unlike the deep, comforting chocolate that's been a favourite in suits for more than a few seasons, this paler cousin will take some getting used to. Pair your suit with a light shirt- think pale pink with grey and a pastel green with the brown-to sharpen your look.

Speak of suits and bespoke tailoring can't be very far behind. The past few seasons have seen them downsizing to slim, slimmer, slimmest, but this year the double-breasted dapper suit makes a comeback. This silhouette can be tweaked in places to suit your physique (or lack thereof,) but be sure to pack in a snug fit regardless of lapel-width, length and height.

Another fresh-off -the-block trend this year is the combination of formal with casual. In the universe of sartorial dos and don'ts, the rules seem to have been declared null and void. Hoodies over blazers, canvas d-ring belts on dress trousers, and double-breasted blazers paired with jeans; channel your inner style-guru to move beyond. No pointers required, as long as the jumble comes together seamlessly.

Moving south, loafers continue to reign supreme. But now they're not being restricted to after-work-hours. As accepted in the boardroom as at the bar, you can get adventurous by experimenting with materials to distinguish the two. While leather with metallic embellishments works better for the office, plastics and velvets with patterns hint at an adventurous personality outside of work.

The trademark Zara moustache gracing the centre of your shoe can say a lot about your idea of fun. We say, the quirkier, the better. The newest entrant to the uber-stylish shoerack, is a high-end pair of sneakers. Paris-based Pierre Hardy makes a stylish case with his line of luxury footwear.

Applying his creativity to lace-ups in structured architectural styles, a futuristic pair from the shoemaker will hold you in good stead. Alternatively, check out Rick Owens and Comme des Garcons; both offer an extensively stylish range. We suggest going high-ankle; it contrasts the look of its female counterpart and yells manly-grunge.

Don't skip on the accessorising. It's a good way for you to have fun and make your personal style statement. Aside from the aforementioned pocket squares and ties, here are a few more add-ons for you to inculcate. In keeping with the trend of plus-sizing, ditch the slim Fedora for a wide-brimmed Panama which can look either sophisticated or casual depending on its material and the outfit you decide to pair it with. Lastly, god made the sun and man made sunglasses, so get sun-ready and pick a shape and tint that works for you.

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