Time to suit up

When it comes to style, young Hyderabadi men can be divided into a few categories. The college guy, in his loud coloured T-shirts and muddy all-stars, the ethnic man who lives in kurtas, the professional donning crisply ironed shirts with dark formal pants, accessorizing every outfit with an omnipresent backpack and the executive who dresses much like the professional, occasionally slips into a suit and doesn't have to carry his own bags. While all these men might not pick the same thing to wear to a dinner party, they will all agree that style is the last thing on their minds; ‘dressing up’ is not on their list of daily priorities which include meetings, brainstorming sessions and powerpoint presentations. But should it be?

Enter Jeremy Brian, the man behind The Dapster Project (TDP) which aims to “inspire men to dress better”. He tells us how dressing sharp can make a difference to client meetings, workplace performance and comfort.

Urban dictionary will tell you that ‘dapster’ is a portmanteau of ‘dapper’ and ‘hipster’. In Jeremy’s case it implies looking sharp and effortlessly so.

We met him on an especially sultry evening at a small Banjara Hills cafe. Even as the rest of us looked like the days heat had taken it’s toll, Jeremy was at his dapster best,in a pair of cotton trousers, a white t-shirt, brown leather shoes and a linen jacket. While style was always a priority for Jeremy (“I’d buy fashion magazines when I was in college”), it was only seven years ago that he began to think about it professionally.

“I started writing on men’s lifestyle for a few national magazines and newspapers as well as local monthly magazine in which I had a column on men’s lifestyle. This led me to experiment a lot in the city. Where to get the best fitting trousers? How are men here grooming themselves these days? I had a different topic every month.” Jeremy also had a blog to talk about these things but after starting TDP, everything else - his other jobs include salsa instructor, elementary school music teacher, administrator at Pearl City church and proprietor of a car wash – took a back seat.

Most…want to learn very simple things like how to get the right fit for a wedding, how to get the perfect tie knot or simply where to buy stuff

While there are a handful of blogs that talk about these things, The Dapster Project website is the first that’s focused exclusively on Indian men. “Indian men have a different build from than of Americans, Europeans and even Italians while all our clothes come from these countries, resulting in a less than perfect fit,” explains Jeremy.

“Under TDP, I do style consulting for individuals and groups. Most of them want to learn very simple things like how to get the right fit for a wedding, how to get the perfect tie knot or simply where to buy stuff. With easily available information on men’s fashion and lifestyle, men here have an idea of what’s stylish and available. Often they see other guys wearing something nice and don’t know where to find it. You never hear men saying, 'Hey that’s a nice shirt, where’s it from?' so I try to educate men on these things,” he says. “Besides this, a lot of my clients from Mumbai and Delhi do their shopping when they travel abroad and this is a shame because we have so many fabrics in India, most of which are better suited for the climate here so I am trying to get people to buy local as well.” On his Facebook page, Jeremy has made sure to showcase ordinary men rather than models, to signal that “everybody can look sharp with the right styling.”

Jeremy’s clients span a variety of people, each requiring completely different consultations. “Business schools like ISB, call me in right before their graduation because that’s when a lot of international companies come in to conduct interviews. Most students want to wear a suit and tie for this, so I focus on that. On the other hand, someone working in a company like Google doesn’t need to dress as sharp. He can wear jeans and a T-shirt to work, so I focus on grooming. Wear jeans, but don’t wear slippers with it,” explains Jeremy.

A personal consultation begins with a questionnaire. “I like to get to know them; do they travel by bike or car? Where do they work?,” says Jeremy, adding all this effects the final product. “Sometimes I have a look at their wardrobe and get them to donate all the clothes they don’t use. A lot of guys only wear 1/3 of their wardrobes. The idea is not to spend too much on clothing but to buy just some key items and use those well.”

Jeremy’s experiences suggest that men are indeed concerned about appearance. He says, “Men absolutely care, while most requests come because of a wedding or some occasion, I’ve seen that dressing sharper adds a lot of confidence. If I can make someone feel as confident as a model for 15 minutes, I think I’ve done my job.”

Dapster Summer Essentials

100% Linen Jacket Alternative to suit jackets. Especially suited for the office and a night out.

Waistcoat Pair with a slim tie for a formal look. Perfect with a shirt and rolled-up sleeves.

White Shirt Timeless. Ensure it is clean and pressed. Matches nearly everything in your wardrobe.

Coloured Cotton Trousers or Chinos Light-weight fabric pants.

Leather Shoes Slip into a comfortable pair of brown shoes. For a carefree summer look, go without socks in a pair of suede loafers.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 8:14:49 AM |

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