Deconstructing the shirt

Deconstructing the shirt

No wardrobe is complete without a classic button-down shirt. But this perennial closet essential is up for a revamp. From ramps to streets, the "deconstructed" or "reworked" shirt is being interpreted in myriad ways. The underlying thought is "anything goes", yet there is a method to the "madness". Here, it's not so much about fall, fit and fabric. It's more about imagination, creativity, and blue-skying. This 'non-style' trend is a great way to wear your individuality. Slogan tees are pass. This trend is far more powerful, subtle yet in-your-face, and may be interpreted to be either daring or demure.

Check out some fresh takes on the style. Buttons aren't always on the front and the collars graze the shoulders instead of clasping the neck. The patterns are old-school, from polka dots to checks, but they are updated with ruffles, asymmetrical cuts, and various of-the-moment details.

These new must-have designs may remind you of your regular shirts, but wear them and you are sure to be in a style league of your own. Here's how you can make the most of this eye-catching look:

Shirts to wear NOW!

Take your cue from popular fashionistas. The asymmetrical button details and ruffles around the shoulders are paired with fail-safe red checks and elevated with innovative tailoring. Not just another button-up, the deconstructed shirt is set apart from its conventional counterparts by its off-shoulder collar design and ultra-long sleeves. The minimal polka-dotted prints keep the focus on the silhouette. A spunky take on your everyday prim shirt!

Wearing the deconstructed shirt

* Denim drama: For a fail-safe look, wear your deconstructed shirt with your favourite jeans be it cropped or skinny. Feeling brave? Pair your shirt with denim suspenders. Work on your hair - braids with a crooked hair parting go well with this look. Keep the make-up nude.

* Easy as it comes: When paired with shorts, a deconstructed shirt can become your new weekend and travel uniform. Get ready to unwind! Flats, anklets and charm bracelets will add to the look. You can also replace the distressed shorts with dark blue, denim capris and change the overall look in a jiffy.

* A party number: These offbeat shirts will make for a singularly eye-catching look on your night-outs. Team the shirt with a sequinned skirt for maximum impact. Let your shirt do the talking. Don't add too many accessories. Tie up your hair in an up-do, and add a pair of long drop earrings grazing your shoulders if you like.

* Sporty mix: Is athleisure your go-to style? Deconstructed shirts will pack a punch when paired with yoga pants or this season's big trend, bicycle shorts. And this is not just for your gym or running track, carry the ensemble to most casual outings - guaranteed to turn heads!

* Work mode: Deconstructed shirts may not fit every office dress code. For work, pair your shirts with formal cropped pants or a pencil skirt and formal heels. The trick is to tweak the shirt but not go OTT.

* Fit & flare: Street-style stars are often spotted pairing deconstructed shirts with retro-style bell bottoms or big skirts. Choose a well-fitted undershirt shirt to offset the flared silhouettes. Square shaped accessories take this millennial look notches higher.

* Dress relief: Update your regular dress by layering it with a deconstructed shirt. Cinch your waist with a belt.

* White shirt (redefined): Try a signature style and get in several more. The white shirt is so versatile that it can be paired with denims, formal blacks, and greys or even with your favourite palazzos. For your regular buttoned-down shirt, give it a 'deconstructed' look simply by wearing it back to front, and voil, you're done!

Now that you have figured out how to style a deconstructed shirt, you need to have oodles of attitude to be able to carry it off. So go ahead, practice behind closed doors before stepping out in style!

Style Guide for choosing a shirt

Menswear is often built around rigid rules and strict codes - but what if you fancy switching things up now and then by adding a dose of personality to your formal looks? A good shirt is a blank canvas for you to customise. Here's a style guide to keep in mind while choosing a shirt:

* Get the fabric right: Certain two-ply fabrics like royal oxfords, dobby, houndstooth, etc. are perfect for officewear, while poplins, denims, satins work well for casual shirting options. For summers, breathable fabrics like cotton and linen keep the wearer fresh all day long. Twills, houndstooth, and oxfords are the best choice for cooler climes and also give a crisp, sophisticated look.

* Selecting the collar: Perfect collars make or break personalities so, one needs to be cautious while selecting the collar and the contrasts. For a formal shirt where you might have to wear a tie, go for a spread collar or a Prince Charlie collar. Concealed polo collars are also a hit for formal dressing. You can experiment with madmen collars, club collars, hipster collars or bandhgalas for a more casual affair.

* Cuffs: Many prefer the French cuff as they can accessorise it with their favourite cufflinks or silk knots, while the fashionably adventurous lot goes with the Neopolitan. To add a little colour to your attire, go for a printed or a bright contrast that would complement the colour of the shirt or a contrast-cuff piping.

* Colours & patterns: For business formals, always go for solids or stripes with colours that accentuate your skin tone. You can have quirky printed shirts dedicated to casual outings accompanied by shoulder epaulettes and elbow patches. Checks are an all-time favourite, but try to avoid them for official meetings.

* For a perfect fit: Typically, custom-made shirts are tailored perfectly to the wearer's body and hence do not require pleats. Darts give the shirt a more fitted look in comparison to the side pleats that align with the actual shape of the back, thus fitting most men better.

Akshay Narvekar​
(The author is founder, Bombay Shirt Company)

 

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