It's time to dress up!

Once a year, when temperatures drop and the sun mellows, you go out and shop for winter clothes. The lower the temperature, the more you dress up. We give you a tour of the coolest styles available right now.

Bibek Bhattacharya        Print Edition: December 14, 2008

Every six months comes the time to brush away the cobwebs and refresh your wardrobe. This doesn’t mean that you throw out the old—after all, there’s nothing more comfortable than old threads like the double-breasted suit that you have grown into or the straight leg jeans that you cannot live without.

 
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However, with every new collection we get new trends, new colours, new cuts—and every new season old favourites return, albeit in a fresh new way. In India, by and large, winter is the only time to dress up. Just imagine—extra layers! But even if you live in places where winters are mild and the wind does not bite, the season is still something to celebrate. The colour palettes deepen and the lines become sleeker, even as the range of materials expand to take in everything from tweed to leather.

As we keep telling you, the goal of the smart dresser is to acquire a wardrobe, and not follow trends blindly. So, in this issue, we bring you some spiffy looks, taking in the urban chic of knitwear, the streamlined powerful lines of winter suits and the plethora of cropped jackets that you will see in the windows of all the major brands.

The Looks
Good clothes give you manoeuvrability. So, cut through the clutter and stock up on checks and stripes. They break the monotony of solid colours and give your look a distinct character. This season, the leather jackets get a dose of gloss. With the entry of several classy denim brands in the country over the past year, your options have gone through the roof. So, don’t be a slave to the skinny jeans. They look great, but so do straight leg ones and bootcuts. Keep a variety of styles in your wardrobe.

Argyle (Knitwear)
Formal: When it comes to sweaters, the print that rules the roost is Argyle. A bold design of connected diamond shapes, the print gives structure to the fitted sweater and ensures that your look is anything but monotonous. Wear it to the golf course or to work with equal ease. Why, you can even lose the tie!

Patterns
Casual:
Contrasting colours make a big impact when it comes to carrying off a look. Go for a dressed down look that doesn’t look too casual. Just a few tweaks and it could be formal.

Houndstooth
Formal:
The Houndstooth jacket now has a competitor— the Houndstooth sweater. Wear it with a tie and a pair of flat-front trousers and you get a look that you’re likely to see a lot this season. For an additional touch, get yourself an unfussy messenger bag and jump to work in style.

Monograms
Casual:
Whether you are stepping out for breakfast or partying late in a club, monogrammed knitwear is the thing to be seen in. The dark tones flatter your shape while the minimalist lines at the neck and wrists give balance to the look.

Ribbed Sweaters
Casual:
The vertical ribbed sweater makes for a fresh look this season. The lines give texture to the look while its no-nonsense look ensures you can wear it with anything.

Cardigans
Formal: Since last year, cardigans have become more synonymous with sharp dressing than with grandmothers. A surefire way to get noticed is to wear a tie with a cardigan when you go to work. When wearing a cardigan make sure that it fits you well. After all, it is a fine line between success and disaster.

Peak Lapel
The suit becomes personable this season. Whether you’re dressing for the boardroom or for a party, the buzzword while buying a suit is versatility. Clean lines and unfussy cuts dominate, as do strong shoulders and a structured silhouette. The three-piece suit, too, gets a rev up on the back of the surging popularity of the waistcoat. Here are three great winter suits.

The three-piece
Ever since Spring/Summer 2008, there has been a strong trend towards making jacket shoulders stronger. This, in conjunction with a slim waist and straight leg trousers, has come to define the modern power look. The waistcoat accentuates the shoulder and adds a distinct shape to the torso by breaking up the monotony of the pinstripes. 

The cropped jacket
Who says that you can’t run when you’re wearing a suit? Suit jackets are increasingly going for a retro look with structured shapes. This compliments the straight leg, flat front trousers. And remember—nothing works as well with a suit as a fitted white shirt.   

Pea coats
Without doubt, the sleekest look this season. While it keeps you snug and warm, it also gives you an enviable silhouette. The structure of the coat is such that it leaves enough room for you to express yourself.

Formal Functioning as it does as a warm jacket as well as a suit jacket, the pea coat works very well with formal clothes. Apart from its feel, the sleek lines of the pea coat adds chutzpah to the look. Wear a woven tie with it and become the most stylish man in town.

Casual: Despite it’s versatility, the pea coat works best as casual wear. And when we say casual, we mean wearing the coat with a pair of jeans. If you want to top off the look with a scarf, we suggest you go for an argyle print.

Blazer
The traditional blazer is a deep navy blue, but it can’t beat a houndstooth monogrammed one no matter how hard it tries. The fabric keeps you warm and the pattern gives your look all the personality it needs. The monogram adds a little preppy touch to the overall look.

Overcoat
A perennial favourite, and it is easy to see why. It adds just the right amount of class to the look and compliments the suit instead of detracting from it. Top it off with a fedora, and you get a classic Italian look. Sure to turn heads.

Epaulettes
You’ve got to give the military it’s due. So many great fashion ideas would never have come about without all that pomp and glory. Case in point—epaulettes. They are just simple buttoned bits of cloth on the shoulder of the jacket, but they transform the look with their sheer presence. All kinds of jackets available now come with epaulettes. While wearing one, just make sure that it’s a fitted jacket.

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