Designer Ashish Soni talks to MW about caring for your linens, and the five must-have shoes for any man.
How do you keep linen garments from losing their shape? They tend to start sagging after a while.
Linen is one of the most temperamental, yet summer-friendly fabrics. Once you understand how to tackle this natural fabric, it can be one of your favourites in the wardrobe. A natural fabric, much like cotton, linen tends to soften after multiple washes, and hence starts to sag. The reason why it appears stiff when you first purchase it is because of the finishing – and one way you can retain that initial starchiness is by periodically spraying it with starch (diluted with water), after washing it. Naturally drying it (on a clothes line or by laying it flat), instead of tumble drying or wringing the fabric, helps keep the fibres intact and the garment more in shape. Linen should never be over dried, because that makes the otherwise naturally soft fabric brittle and coarse – and it’s also easier to iron it out when the fabric is still damp. Again, while ironing it, make sure you don’t have high temperature settings, or the fibres will break and the fabric will lose shape and start to sag.
Must a belt always be worn with dress trousers? Some men don’t appear to wear them.
It is an absolute must to wear a belt with dress trousers. A simple, narrow belt works perfectly well. As long as the pants have loops, the absence of a belt just doesn’t complete the ensemble.
If a shoe collection had to be restricted to five pairs, what should they be?
Classic black lace-up Oxfords – An absolute must-have for every man is this dress shoe. Classic and effortless, this is a perfectly versatile shoe that can be worn for any black tie event or business meeting. Tan
Brogues/Derbys – Shoes that pair well with blue, beige and tan ensembles, tan brogues go exceptionally well for formal and even semi-formal events. In brown leather, this is a good investment piece for the wardrobe.
Suede loafer – Slip-on loafers or deck shoes go well for a smart/smart casual look. They can be dressed up or down with equal ease, and lend a bit of a continental look to the attire.
Desert boot/Ankle boot – This is a toss up, and depends on one’s personal style and aesthetic. While the desert boot is an in-between for casual and formal, and pairs well with chinos and T-shirts as much as with denims and a shirt, a leather ankle boot will bring in more of an outdoorsy vibe.
Sneaker/Trainer – A popular trend in footwear right now, the all-white sneaker is the best footwear item to have for the casual look. Not just resigned to the gym lockers, this pair goes well for a day-out look, and can even be made more dressy based on how you pair it.
What is the correct occasion for a tie-pin, if any? Very few men seem to wear them, so are they just ornamental?
There are only so many menswear accessories available at our disposal – the tie/bow tie, cuff link, pocket square and tie-pin. The tiepin is largely an ornamental accessory, with barely any functionality to it, and where or how to wear it boils down to a matter of personal style. In fact, today there are many brands treating the innocuous tie-pin as a blank canvas to come up with motifs and designs that range from pop culture inspired to more classic and luxury, and the tie-pin has become not just more versatile, but more ungendered too.
What’s the protocol with mismatched socks? Are they an ironic fashion move or just a silly gimmick?
I think that today, menswear is at a place where we can bring in more experimentation and fun to our wardrobes without being labeled as “quirky” or “eccentric”. Mismatched or coloured socks help do just that – add an element of fun to an otherwise basic ensemble. The only protocol is to keep it within the same colour family, so there’s more thought behind the pairing than just a picked-in-the-dark combination.
Is Japanese denim really that good?
For good reasons. Its reputation mostly comes from the techniques and looms used by Japanese manufacturers in the production, it does in fact have a marked quality difference compared to the denim created everywhere else. One key feature that makes Japanese denim good is that it is selvedge denim, which makes it more sturdy and of better quality overall. Also, the use of natural indigo dyes and the way the denim-making process is treated like a handicraft makes the denim more special.
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