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What to wear to the office in post-covid-19 world

Stylists share tips for men to stay fashionable behind the face mask after months of working at home in PJs, T-shirts and shorts

Image consultant Benaisha Kharas says several men, regardless of their age, are unaware of the correct size and fit of their outfit.
Image consultant Benaisha Kharas says several men, regardless of their age, are unaware of the correct size and fit of their outfit. (Unsplash)

Should the socks match the shoes? Or the pants? Is it okay for socks to peek while standing?

Now that offices have opened, one of the questions people are asking themselves is what to wear after almost a year of sitting and working in sweatpants, shorts and T-shirts. So, we asked some fashion stylists about the details men could focus on before stepping out of the house for work, and grooming mistakes that shouldn't be repeated.

Wear the right pants

Showing off your "mankles" in joggers might work for the gym, but not for your workspace. “Formal trousers shouldn’t be more than one or maximum two creases or folds at the hem of your pants when they fall on your shoes and should fall straight at the back of your shoe. Even an inch longer will make them bunch on your shoes, not only making one look short,” says celebrity stylist Isha Bhansali. Another common mistake is men wear chinos in the shades close to their natural skin colour. “Several men consider chino pants with a contrasting bright polo T-shirt as a casual Friday look. But pants in shades that are almost close to the natural skin tone make them look like they are not wearing trousers at all. Instead, go for darker bottoms and lighter tops, which create an illusion of length and make you look taller. And if you really prefer lighter pants, pick ivory instead of beige,” says image consultant Benaisha Kharas. She adds that the colour of your socks should match that of your pants because when your ankles are exposed when you sit, the same colour adds to the length of your legs.

Shirting the issue

Kharas says several Indian men, regardless of their age, are unaware of the correct size and fit of their outfit. “This is because they are so used to seeing their fathers and grandfathers wear a small, medium or large or a 38, 40, 42, that they don’t look for customization. People assume that because it’s fast fashion, the brand won’t offer alterations, but all Indian homegrown and luxury brands do it, just ask for it,” says Kharas. And if you just pick a shirt by checking its width on your shoulders, you are doing it wrong, as the right fit of your shirt is also how your collar and cuffs sit on you, and the length of the sleeves. “For everything, there must be breathing space. Follow the two-finger space rule, the fittest shirt shouldn’t be tighter than the two-finger space,” says Bhansali.

Kharas says a common misconception is that slim fit is for slim people, and most men with a protruding belly or a heavy bottom go for a regular fit shirt. “You can wear a slim-fit shirt, all you need to do is pick a size bigger than what you normally wear (a 42 instead of 40). We need to remember that it’s a style of a fit, and not for the specific body shape. It’s made so that most people can wear it. They make you look slimmer,” says Kharas.

Suit and tie

We have often seen Indian women wrap and store their sarees in soft fabrics such as mulmul, as fabrics need to be aired and cotton bags are ideal to do so. But that’s not possible to do it with suits. “Many young men don’t know how to fold their suits. Also, we store them in plastic bags which can deteriorate and discolour your suits. Since you can’t store suits in cotton bags, you need to air your suits once in a while to avoid discolouration and deterioration of your suits,” says Kharas. The length of your jacket, just like that of your trousers is crucial to maintain the right ratio of your body and not make you look stunted. “The length of your jacket should only be an inch or maximum two below the crotch. The wrong jacket length will either make the crotch area really unpleasant and if too long, then it just looks plain funny,” says Bhansali. As for your tie, it should end at the beginning of your buckle. “Medium width ties are good for all body shapes, not too thick or too skinny. While polka dots is not advisable, thin diagonal stripes will make you look taller,” recommends Kharas.

The perfect cut

Match the colour of your belt, shoes and bag, or at least pick shades in a similar colour space.

When it comes to grooming, men can opt for DIY facials. “An easy trick is to rub ice over your face every night, which works as a natural toner and reduces the appearance of open pores. And if you have bushy brows, it’s best to trim them,” says Kharas.

Moisturisation of lips and skin even when not winter is important, as dry lips will give you an unkempt, tired look. Indulge yourself in a monthly pedicure and manicure. “Air your feet once back home from work. And cuticles that aren’t taken care of can create a fungal infection, especially on toes as most men wear closed shoes,” says Kharas. And, of course, don't forget the face mask, preferably in neutral colours.

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