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An office-friendly wardrobe that's also apt for a club crawl

The latest menswear fashion weeks in Milan and Paris celebrated classics with a twist

Models wear creations for the Fendi fall winter 22/23 collection, in Milan, Italy, in January.
Models wear creations for the Fendi fall winter 22/23 collection, in Milan, Italy, in January. (AP)

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It's often said that menswear has barely changed over decades, but the last few seasons have seen classics being served with a fun twist: it could be a kicky beret we saw at Dior Men or a knit neck brace showcased at Fendi. 

The Fall Winter 2022-23 menswear edition saw the classic hues of camel, sand and safari making a splash, be it Wooyoungmi, Officine Generale, Hed Mayner, Lemaire, Tod's or Acne Studios. However, the suiting and trenchcoats came styled with nubby balaclavas. On the other hand, Paul Smith and Kenzo presentations saw an explosion of vibrant colours and prints. Moreover, boxy, pronounced and face-dwarfing tailored outerwear was seen at Ami Paris, Prada and Egon Lab. Also, the often-overlooked sweater vest got its due on the runway at MSGM, Y/Project and Hermès.

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In terms of accessories, maison's archival bags saw a major revival, be it the Dior saddle presented with an embroidered Lily of the valley motif or the deliciously appliquéd Fendi baguette. While on one hand most of these look great on the runway, recontextualising them for our work closet could be daunting.

Stylist Isha Bhansali roots in favour of the utilitarian trousers showcased at Zegna presentation by designer Alessandro Sartori. “Zegna has been doing pleated pants with inbuilt belts for a few seasons now and I recently styled (actor) Ayushmann Khurrana in one. For AW 22, I'd suggest one of these joggers, which is super luxe and comfy for an important day at work.”

She suggests other classics like the opening green suit at the Paul Smith show, which referenced the French New Wave and the grey blazers at Dior Men, artfully unfinished and accented with couture darts - a throwback to the Bar jacket invented in 1947 by Monsieur Dior. "I think blazers could look great with a pair of jogger pants. I'm partial to the double breasted tailoring which has been a recurring runway phenomenon," she adds.

In terms of Friday dressing, she suggests shackets from Hermes, which are sharp and have a relaxed feel at the same time. However, if it's a boardroom to pub situation then she suggests a change of jacket and addition of a nifty accessory. "Maybe the Mary Jane wingtip brogues featuring a watch shown at Fendi or sequinned blazers at Dolce & Gabbana. For high peak winters, you can't go wrong with a quilted puffer from Zegna," she quips.

Stylist Pranay Jaitly, co-founder, Who Wore What When, recommends picking one statement piece of accessory or jewellery, which adds to the look while staying true to one's personal style. "Birkin across professions is work appropriate. Invest in a monochrome double breasted suit which is old school, timeless and never goes out of style," says he.

His partner Shounak Amonkar suggests teaming a suit with a pop of colour inside, maybe a printed shirt, a pair of vibrant gloves or socks. "A sweater vest in a wool and linen blend on top of a shirt is a great layering pick for work," he says.

Menswear designer Mitesh Lodha observes that men in India irrespective of seasons prefer the banker's cuts for workwear. "However, like we saw at the AW 22 edition, there's a push to embrace street wear elements and leisure wear. The oversized bomber jackets we saw both at Milan and Paris are ideal keeping work-from-home in mind. I'd recommend gravitating towards neutral, monochromatic colours and opting for heritage fabrics like tartan," says Lodha.

He also suggests inculcation of embroidered pieces and embellished bomber jackets for coming fall months. "Ombre, tie-dye, tropical wools and digital prints along with solid colours are the key essentials for the next season," he adds.

All in all, we're looking at a multi-layered work wardrobe, which is as much office-friendly as it's apt for a club crawl.

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