Upheavals and catastrophe have, over the centuries, left lasting legacies on the way we live, what we eat, and what we wear. Nazis made decaffeinated coffee popular by saying that caffeine is not good for a healthy Aryan. The humble khichri, some say, evolved from the Bengal famine of 1943. Military unforms that soldiers wore to wars in the past have had direct influence on some of the clothes we wear today. This pandemic is no different. It will go down in history as another kerbstone that changed the course of human lives in many ways. Food and drink stand altered already. So, what about fashion? A new style culture is emerging, thanks to the fact that most of our interaction with people are confined to a few square frames of the laptop or a phone. With no social gatherings to constantly validate our need to demonstrate individuality, the sartorial language is all about comfort. How long will this phenomenon last? No one really knows. Some of the smaller brands and designers, though, think that WFH is here to stay, at least for the medium term. It is reflected in their emphasis on lounge wear in their new designs. I tried out some of them over the last few months. Here are my favourites.
The brand name is just as inexplicably zany as their collections of men’s shirts. It’s intended to stand out, and believe me, from the name to the design, it certainly does. The current collection is heavily inspired by tech — it’s such a big part of all our lives at the moment — and is perhaps a tad outlandish for a man of my age and humour. Nevertheless, I braved forth with two shirts that I deemed I could work into my life, both virtual and real time. The made-to-order pieces are nothing if not conspicuous and bordering on the bizarre at times, but seen together as a collection, you get a sense of their style and why they’d be fun to revisit for one statement piece every season.
Odd name encore, but some very comfortable jeans tees and sweaters, that look as easy as egg fried rice and are as comfy as, well, egg fried rice for me again. They boast a host of tech advancements — anti-odour, stain resistant, sweat wicking, and with super stretchability. Theirs is one of the two pairs of jeans I acquired during the lockdown, and both are selvedge finished, yet boast of all-day comfort, a much sought-after feature today. For the price, they were a great acquisition, and my frequency of wear bears testimony to that.
Another shirting brand doing some pretty good stuff, and their non-iron shirt (okay, less-prone-towrinkling-so-needs-less-ironing would be more appropriate) is a good blend of natural and synthetic fabrics without tipping the scales. They look natural with a soft fall, and are snug without compromising movement.
This well-established brand for innerwear decided to throw up some loungewear in the form of pyjama-tee combos. Pastel-hued tees with checkered bottoms in natural fabrics has always been a thing, but I like the special touch of a zippered pocket with a fairly unnoticeable zipper that allows you to hold a wallet and keys without fear of them falling out. Clearly, the intent here then, is to allow you to step out for small chores without needing a change of clothes and yet not look bedraggled, even in a pair of jammies.
Designers Sandeep & Sarah make a lovely combo, balancing form and functionality in their handcrafted ware. Their bespoke pedigree is already established in men’s formals, and they have extended their signature flair to sleepwear. Satin, cut in bold styles and lengths, is sleepwear for celebrating bedtime as an occasion than mere downtime. It’s comfy but it’s also fashionable, customised for size and with your initials embroidered, so much so that you hope someone calls (on) you late in the evening, and you get to show it off.