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All about the shoe

How many pairs of shoes do you have? Five? Seven? More? But how well do you know each style? We take a look at the different styles and their evolution.         The Oxford shoe The oxford shoe gets its name from a shoe called the Oxonian that was popular at Oxford around the 1800s. The Oxonian was a half boot with side slits. The side-slits soon evolved into a side-lace and eventually the side-lace moved to the instep. The cap-toe oxford was mostly worn on formal occasions and to work, but today, it is made from a variety of materials and in numerous styles, and is also part of the casual attire.     The Blucher The Blucher is named after Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blucher, who, before he fought Napoleon at Waterloo, commissioned a better-built shoe for his troops. In the mid-1850s, the blucher was worn as a hunting shoe and it later evolved into a town shoe. According to Alan Flusser’s Dressing the Man, the Blucher was “distinguished from earlier shoes by the forward extension of its quarters over the vamp…it often has a tongue cut in one piece with the forepart”. The contemporary blucher complements both formal and casual occasions, and is considered to be slightly less dressy than the oxford.   The monk-strap This style of shoe was first worn by friars in Italy in the 15th century, and it travelled to England, thanks to a visiting monk who was highly impressed with its construction. A contemporary monk strap has an upper made of three pieces, and is available in different avatars, including brogue monk straps and suede monks. Modern monk straps, including the double monk, which, essentially, is a monk strap with two straps, slot somewhere in between a lace-up and a slip-on and can handle both work and leisure.   The chukka boot The original chukka boot was a two-eyelet ankle boot, and, despite numerous interpretations, it still remains the most stylish. The chukka boot was popular among polo players during the Raj, and the British named it after the ‘chukker’ (a period of continuous play that lasted around seven minutes). Chukka boots are generally made of suede or calf-skin and are quintessentially casual.   The wing tip brogue The brogue is a low heeled oxford that features perforations known as broguings. Brogues were first worn in the Scottish highlands and by the Irish, and the elaborate punchings that adorn brogues today were once actually holes punched into the shoe to drain water out in the Highlands. The wing tip brogue is considered less dressy than a cap-toe oxford brogue.   The suede shoe The suede shoe first made its mark when it was worn in 1924, in America, by the Prince of Wales. And its first sighting, at a polo match at Long Island, left many aghast. The Prince of Wales had worn his suede shoes with a suit no less, and for a long time, suede shoes weren’t considered to be proper attire for real men. Today, while suede shoes are essentially considered casual wear, it is not uncommon to find stylish men who team, say, suede brogues up with a good suit.     The Slip-On Moccasin/Loafers The moccasin evolved from the simple shoddings stitched by Norwegian fishermen. Over time these shoes were worked on by Norwegian designers and exported to Britain and Europe. The Norwegian designers, in fact, were inspired by Native Indians who, according to Flusser, inserted a plug of leather to cover the forepart of the foot and hand-stitched it to a combination sole and upper. The Norwegian design has seen numerous interpretations, including the penny loafer, the tassled loafer and the Gucci loafer. Loafers or moccasins are worn by both men and women with jeans, chinos and trousers. They should be ideally worn without socks. Out here, we should also mention the Dress Slip-On, a lightweight, more difnified Italian interpretation, that was once, and, at times, is still seen in boardrooms in America.

15 types we hope not to see in 2013

Men wearing socks with sandals. Or white tennis shoes with black socks. If you really love white socks, wear them with sports shoes when you go running/walking/to the gymnasium. Apart from that, stay away from white socks. Men with small wrists and chunky watches. If it doesn’t look right, leave it alone, boss, and instead, buy a classical watch. In case you didn’t know, the vintage style – small-ish, clean, un-flashy – is back.   Men who use too much of the same colour in an outfit. For instance, think grey trouser and grey-ish shirt. What does that do? Well, it makes you look way larger than you really are. And in the case of the gent who wears grey and grey, he’ll look like a thundercloud.   Men who wear pleated shorts. You only wear pleated shorts if, 1. You are off for a round of golf, or two, if you are a granddad.   Blokes wearing cargos and tucking in their shirts. Wear cargos with T-shirts, and if you are teaming it with a casual shirt, do not tuck in your shirt. Plus, one more thing, if you are over 25, look for cargos with smaller pockets. Cargos with large pockets are generally considered a teenage thing. Men who don’t button the bottom button of their blazer or suit jacket, and men whose outfit features two articles of clothing with the same pattern. Men who wear watches with rubber straps with a suit. Men who keep talking about brands. Dude, we know you’ve got a nice, big wardrobe and some good threads, and are clued into the fashion scene, but there’s only so much a man or woman can take, OK? Gents who spray too much cologne. Gentlemen, spraying a bit on your pulse-points – wrists, just below your Adam’s apple – is more effective than actually spraying the perfume on your shirt or under your arms. Dudes who wear duplicate Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Boss, it looks sad and cheap. Chuck it now. Men who don’t match their belt to their shoes or their socks with their trousers. Jokers who (still!) wear square-toed dress shoes. Blokes who wear ill-fitting clothes, and at times, stuff that doesn’t belong to them. Men who preen. Men who don’t read the Fetise Manual.

Choosing the right underwear

If you are as particular about your undergarments as you are about your trouser or watch, you would know that Calvin Klein Underwear is among the world’s top underwear brands. Launched in 1982, Calvin Klein Underwear was the world’s first designer underwear brand, and it celebrated its 40th anniversary late last year with the launch of a special men’s underwear line that features an updated fit and more contemporary fabric and palette. The pics (above and below) will fill you in on what the new range looks like, but this piece, though, is not just about Calvin Klein Underwear, rather, it is about underwear in general and about how little attention most men pay to it. When they walk out the shower every morning, most blokes pick the first undie they can lay their hands on and boom, the job’s done. Choosing the right underwear is as much about hygiene and grooming as it is about comfort. And, as men who swear by their underwear will tell you, a good, comfy underwear makes a lot of difference. Find a brand you like: Because your best friend wears Aussiebum or Calvin Klein does not mean you must too. Look for a brand that fits you perfectly, ensures that you and your tools are comfortable and that the underwear feels like second skin. Stick to the brand no matter how tempted you might be by the leopard skin Roberto Cavalli. Stock up: You need to change your underwear everyday. Period. And if you shower twice a day, wear a fresh one each time you shower. Going by this rule, you should have at least a dozen underwear in stock at any given time. Now you know why brands sell them in packs of three. Variety: Are you a boxer person? Great, but don’t wear boxers under your formal trousers. Boxers add bulk and you don’t want them bunching up under your trousers and ruining the fit. Instead, pick up some thin form-fitting cotton briefs or boxer briefs that will look seamless and yet, provide enough support. On the other hand, when you change after a long tiring day, a comfortable cotton boxer is great to relax in. And remember, heavy-duty workouts needs special underwear: jockstraps. Keep a couple of them handy as well. Rotate and update: An underwear is the one item in your wardrobe that goes through a lot of wear and tear and that’s why you must rotate your underwear rather than managing with just two sets. Every couple of months look for snags, minor holes and rips and throw them out of your closet. You never know when you’ll need to undress and there is no greater turn off than bad underwear. Images courtesy Calvin Klein Underwear

Here comes the pop-colour shoe

If you have been perusing the Entertainment section and the Page 3s of newspapers, you would have observed that a lot of Bollywood stars are wearing coloured shoes. Farhan Akhtar, whose style is as eclectic as the movies he acts in or produces, was recently spotted wearing canary yellow loafers. Abhishek Bachchan and Ranveer Singh, too, were spotted wearing colourful shoes. Abhishek, in fact, teamed his bright blue shoes with a pinstriped suit. Bollywood’s actors are merely echoing an international trend that has been gathering steam since the autumn of last year. Colourful sneakers, loafers and boat shoes have been a prominent presence on catwalks across the world. Calvin Klein’s spring summer collection last year had some eye-catching citrus-coloured lace-ups, while Kenzo’s models wore some bright green leather lace-ups. It takes a bit of intelligence to wear these pop-colour shoes, says fashion designer and stylist Aki Narula. “You can’t, for instance, wear a bright shoe with an equally bright shirt,” says Narula. “Wear it with grey, black, or with white shirt and denims. If you want to wear a bright coloured shoe with a suit, make sure the style of the shoe is formal.” If brightly coloured loafers and lace-ups are not your style, you could try shoes with coloured soles that too is as big a trend in men’s fashion as pop-colour loafers. We really dig Cole Haan’s collection that includes a very classy suede chukka boot with a fluorescent Nike LunarGrand sole.  

Trend Alert: Leather

Don’t come running to us if PETA raids your house but the hot trend this season is leather. We know it isn’t the right thing to talk about but look around and you will realize how versatile leather is. From wallets to shoes, coats and even couches, leather can be converted into practically everything. Okay, to be on the good side let’s promise not to use exotic skin, no matter how much you fall in love with them. We’re listing three things that you must have in leather, apart from the obvious belt and shoes. Jackets: Don’t think of the leather jacket as biker gear. Leather jackets have become much more fashionable than that. Look for one of that is a sports coat, a cropped one or a long outer coat. Good quality leather jackets can be expensive but they last you a lifetime, if you take care of them. If your budget permits you just one, buy a cropped jacket. Those will never go out of style. Make sure that the collar and maybe even the lapels are lined with sheepskin for a pinch of Hollywood style glamour. Gloves: You might have seen your father using leather gloves while driving. Don’t try and steal those. He will need them more than you do. What you need is a pair of gloves in tan or black that fit you like, obviously, a glove. Gloves are a must have in cold climates and unless you are 15 woolen gloves should not be in your wardrobe. Travel wallet: Trust us, you will thank us when you start using a travel wallet. Having your passport, ticket, boarding pass, foreign exchange and hotel confirmations in one place is a blessing in disguise. Or are you the kind who rummages through his bag to hunt for the boarding pass when the ground staff ask for it? Change that habit, right now. We prefer the ones that can be zipped up, just so that we don’t drop anything precious.

How to master coloured trousers

  In the ’90s when Govinda wore a pair of yellow or red trousers, people thought that it was his way of playing the role of the funny man. Almost two decades later, coloured trousers are back. This time they’re not on Govinda, but at stores all around the world and worn by some of the classiest men around town. Fashion designer Narendra Kumar has been a big advocate, seen wearing them five years ago when they were nowhere near becoming a trend even on fashion runways in Milan and Paris. If you want to take your style quotient from safe to chic, you must experiment with trousers that are beyond the basic blue, black, grey and beige. Remember, this ain’t for the faint-hearted and while you will get many compliments from those who understand the trend, you’ll also get laughed at. Let the Neanderthals be the losers. You’ll win all the attention of the women. Coloured trousers come in various fits and styles ranging from demins, slim fit chinos and formal trousers. Think of it as a progression. Step 1: Start with denims to get accustomed to wearing something colourful from the waist down. Team it with a simple white shirt or a light coloured basic T-shirt to go for a casual lunch Step 2: Only when you are confident enough to try out the next step, get yourself a pair of slim-fit coloured chinos. Roll up the legs, colour block them with a pair of driving loafers and catch up with a few friends for a Sunday brunch. Or even a casual cocktail. Step 3: If you want to plunge into the deep end, you better know how to swim. There will be no lifeguard to save you. Formal coloured trousers teamed with structured jackets are for those who are fashionably very advanced. If you do them well, there is no looking back. You’ve opened yourself up to a whole new world of stylish dressing. Try a pair of red ones with a deep blue jacket and brown leather loafers. If you think they work, experiment with many more colour combinations.

The lure of the man bag

We’ve been through many, many bags. As teenagers, we loved Samsonites and those nearly indestructible Eastpaks. Then, when we started working, we veered towards Hidesign and other brands that made similar bags for the office. Not too long ago, we even ditched the bag, and carried a simple folder that had room for just our iPad, cell phone and the morning’s newspapers. Last year, though, we rediscovered Crumpler, a brand we had flirted with around 2009. And the bag that reacquainted us with the Australian brand was the Boston Heist. We will come to the Boston Heist in a bit, first, a bit about Crumpler. Crumpler was set up in 1995, in Melbourne, by Dave Roper, Will Miller and Stuart Crumpler. The guys initially made messenger bags, but soon expanded into camera bags, duffel bags, luggage and laptop bags. The thing with Crumpler, which is HQ-ed in Melbourne and Berlin, is that they are bloody durable, funky and superbly functional. Take the Boston Heist (above and below), for instance. It has the soul of a messenger bag, has many well thought out compartments, is big enough for an overnight trip and yet small enough to take to work everyday. The BH features a pretty commodious (24.5 litres, in case you can comprehend volume and such like) main compartment, with four pockets, a padded sleeve for up to 17-inch laptops. Two external zippered pockets that are up to the task of holding your tablet, books, passports etc The Boston Heist is with neoprene-cushioned carry handles and a detachable padded strap. The water-resistant Boston Heist, like all Crumplers, comes with a lifetime warrantee. A year after we picked up the Boston Heist, it is still going strong. Another bag maker which has caught our eye is Mismo. Mismo is based in Denmark, and was started a decade ago by the husband and wife team of Adam Alexander Bach and Rikke Overgaard. Mismo makes some very fine luggage and wallets and has attracted attention for its clean, minimalist lines and robust construction. Mismo product range includes everything from credit card holders to duffel bags to urban holdalls. According to Bach, Mismo slots between Head Porter and Louis Vuitton. That would mean his bags are as functional as a Porter and as distinctive as a Louis Vuitton. Among our favourites is the good-looking Explorer, a graceful blend of leather and canvas, and a bag that, we are sure, will never go out of style.

3 things on our mind right now

Asus PadFone 2: Do we like the Asus PadFone 2? We think we do. It’s an interesting and original concept that has just been launched in a much-improved version. So, what happens is a massively power phone and tablet come together. The phone, which slots into the tablet, powers the tablet. That’s about it, but it’s pretty novel, isn’t it? The PadFone 2 runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich and has a 4.3-inch screen, but when you slot it into the tablet, you get a 10.1-inch tablet. Asus’ DynamicDisplay technology allows for a seamless transition between standalone and docked modes and for automatic enhancement and adjustment of the various applications to suit the larger screen. Since the PadFone 2 powers the tablet, users only need one data plan for the two devices. The tablet ships with a keyboard dock that is equipped with USB ports and a card reader. The PadFone, which boasts a Super AMOLED qHD display, is powered by a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, is equipped with an 8-megapixel digital camera, and music lovers will dig the tablet’s built-in Asus SonicMaster speakers that deliver high quality sound. The PadFone is priced at Rs 64,000. asus.com/mobile/padfone Lenovo ThinkPad Twist: A normal laptop has a single mode, the Twist has four: apart from being a regular laptop, it has a stand mode, a tablet mode (where the swiveling laptop screen rotates on a centre hinge and folds down into a tablet); and a tent mode. Lenovo says that you use the Twist as a tablet while on the move, as a stand when you want to share presentations, and enter tent mode when need to browse. The Twist, which runs Windows 8, is powered by a Core i7 3rd Generation Intel processor, and is equipped with Dolby Home Theatre v4 audio, a mini DisplayPort and miniHDMI connectors and you can choose between either a 320GB or a 500GB hard drive or a 128GB SSD. Canon EOS 6D: Is this the entry-level full-frame DSLR you’ve been waiting for? The Canon EOS 6D certainly appears to be a very capable camera. It is equipped with a new Canon full-frame CMOS sensor that delivers a pixel count of 20.2 megapixels (a full-frame sensor is larger than the APS-C size sensors found in most DSLR cameras. A full-frame sensor maximises the full potential of visual data captured by lenses designed for 35mm cameras), and it’s got integrated WiFi, so you can just float your pics across to your computer or to a printer, and hell, its integrated GPS enables the user to embed location data on every image. But while the EOS 6D, which, according to Canon, is the world’s lightest full-frame sensor-equipped DSLR, has loads of tech, we wish it also had more autofocus points and a 100 percent field-of-view optical viewfinder. That would have made it really worth its Rs 1,66,000 price. The EOS 6D ships with a 24-105 kit lens.

Bad boy

You’ve probably seen it whizzing around our cities, ridden by young chaps kitted out in impressive-looking gear. But what you wouldn’t know is that the KTM Duke 200 is almost a cult machine. Within a year or so of its launch, the flaming-orange liveried Duke is having fun and delivering loads of it to its riders as well. But, the thing is, while we wouldn’t mind having one in our garage, what we would really like is 200’s big bad brother: the 1290 Super Duke R. Just look at it: it’s mad, it’s got immense attitude and we have a feeling it will sound gorgeous as well. The Super Duke R, though, is still a concept. Unveiled at a motorcycle show late last year, in Italy, the motorcycle is slated to go into production sometime this year, and when it does hit the roads, the Super Duke will be the maddest machine ever built by Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM (now part-owned by Bajaj). And here’s the spec sheet: 180 bhp V twin, steel tube trellis frame, racing-spec wheels, brakes and tyres and ABS and traction control. What’s not to like? If Bajaj decides to get the Super Duke R into the country, we are going to beg, borrow or steal to get our hands on one.
The ultimate arbiter of style is now taking questions. E-mail him at styleshrink@fetise.com
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