Personal Style: In Conversation With Rij Eappen
How do you define fashion?
I think it’s hard to define fashion unidimensionally, but for me, fashion is an expression of my individuality.
What do you consider your personal style statement?
I truly believe that one can never look too suave. I am almost always in a suit or a jacket, or some sort of layered look. I am obsessed with fit and form, and so all my clothes are perfectly fitted.
What was your last purchase?
I got a bespoke three-piece suit made recently from a Mumbai-based menswear label, HP Su Misura, who specialises in bespoke tailored suits. I also bought a pair of velvet sneakers from Hong Kong, which I can’t wait to wear.
Where do you get your clothes tailored? What brands do you favour when shopping?
My absolute favourite has to be Calvin Klein. Half my wardrobe consists of CK shirts, t-shirts, denims, trousers, trunks, sunglasses, shoes, the works. I also love t-shirts from Emporio Armani and Armani Exchange. DKNY, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger are brands that make great trousers and shirts, so I shop there a lot when I travel. In denims, I like True Religion and 7 For All Mankind.
Which designers are your favourites?
I think Troy Costa makes the most amazingly-fitted suits I have ever worn, and I relate to his personal sense of style a lot. We also share a common love for Philip Plein. I am an avid biker, and designer Arjun Khanna makes the most phenomenal biker jackets. In Indian wear, I love Shantanu and Nikhil for their edgy garments and their drapes. I love Raghavendra Rathore for his perfect bandhgalas and Tarun Tahiliani and Rohit Kamra for their bundi jackets.
Do you wear any jewellery?
I have boxes full of bracelets, chains, pendants and rings, but none of them in precious metals or stones, except for my wedding band.
Do you love wearing watches?
I love watches, but I’m not much of a collector. I only have a couple of watches, but the one I end up wearing the most is my Bvlgari. I’m planning to buy the Hublot Big Bang Sang Bleu II. My everyday watch is a Limited Virat Kohli Edition Tissot, with his signature on the caseback.
How would you describe the perfect suit?
The perfect suit has the right fabric for your climatic conditions, which in India has to be worsted wool, because it breathes well and works perfectly for the heat of the day and the cool of the night, and is soft and wrinkle free. Secondly, you need to pick the right colour, depending on the utility of the suit. Lastly, the style and fit are important — perfect shoulder and waist/torso fit, and the right jacket and sleeve lengths. Do you have a shoe fetish? Yes! I have way too many shoes than I have storage for.
What are the casual and formal items every man must own?
For casual wear, every guy needs at least one perfectly fitted denim trousers, a pair of chinos, a black and a white shirt. For formal wear, you must own a suit in either charcoal grey or navy blue. A good alternative to this is one great jacket or blazer, which can be teamed up with chinos or denims.
How do you like to change things up for weddings and formal events?
I don’t necessarily wear a suit for wedding receptions anymore. A beautiful bundi worn over a textured shirt in contrasting colours and matching trousers and formal shoes make more of a statement than a plain suit.
What is your favourite shopping destination?
USA. Followed by Dubai.
What is one piece of style advice you would give all men?
Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Every time you dress up, ask yourself this: is my personal style and my personality shining through in this outfit?
What goes into maintaining your hair and beard?
I get my beard trimmed once a week, and get a haircut once a month. I never leave home without product in my hair. I use a shaping cream or wax to style it and hairspray to keep it in place.