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Boardroom dress code comes of age
Smita Tripathi
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January 29, 2005

It's raining brands in the market, and never before has the Indian metrosexual male had so many choices as he has now. And since an image is worth more than most CVs, it's clear Mark Twain knew a thing or two when he said, "Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society."

Of course, you can be fully clothed and still have no influence on society -- for instance, when did you last see a CEO walk into the boardroom in a pair of shredded jeans?

But with the kind of options the Adam Indiana has nowadays, he has no excuse not to be dressed right.

The right shirt must go with the right tie, no outfit is complete without a designer belt and cufflinks, and if each item does not cost as much as a small house, it's not worth it.

Top menswear brands from Hugo Boss to Dunhill are now available in India; Hugo Boss has a store in Delhi and Mumbai and will be opening one in Bangalore shortly.

They take great pride in their colourful ties: "Vibrant colour ties are very popular with corporate executives as well as the young and trendy," says the store manager at the Hugo Boss outlet in Delhi.

Every tie is priced between Rs 3,900-5,600. Wallets made of calf leather and belts are popular as gifts and the former will put you out from Rs 6,500-11,000 and the latter are between Rs 5,500-8,000.

Cufflinks are made of base metal and are priced between Rs 4,700-6,500.

Hugo Boss places its orders almost eight months in advance (by next month, for example, they will already have placed their order for fall/winter 2005), so it will have everything in its current catalogue stocked in the store.

However, since you cannot order from the catalogue, this can be problematic if stocks fly off the shelves too soon. This in fact seems to be happening, for currently the Delhi store has only one pair of cufflinks left, and fresh stocks will only be available at the end of February.

So, if you're planning to buy more than one pair of cufflinks or if you don't like what the store has on offer right now, you'll have to wait another month.

Or, of course, you could pop down the corridor to Italian luxury brand Bvlgari which, like Hugo Boss, has opened its first store in India at Delhi's Oberoi Hotel.

You would have to, however, dig far deeper into your pocket, for the goods on display here are strictly for the super-rich: the prices are easily double those at Hugo Boss.

Belts at Bvlgari are priced between Rs 10,900 for a calf leather belt with an aluminium buckle and a whopping Rs 19,000 for a limited edition belt with a titanium buckle.

These belts are available in two colours, black and a deep shade of maroon.

Cufflinks here are another deal all together. Bvlgari cufflinks are pieces of designer jewellery, and priced accordingly. A silver cufflink will put you out by Rs 23,000 while a diamond studded one will cost an unbelievable Rs 90,000 (and extra, no doubt, to install that bomb-proof safe behind your bookcase to keep them in).

Cufflinks are available in 92.5 sterling silver and 18K white and yellow gold.

Ties, of course, are also top of the line and dazzlingly designer: all of Bvlgari's ties are by Italian designer Davide Pizzigoni, who creates both classic and inventive contemporary motifs.

These are priced between Rs 7,700-10,600.

If Bvlgari ties seem a tad expensive, you can buy a host of other top brands such as Versace, Gucci, Armani, Valentino and Cerruti for a comparatively more sensible range of between Rs 4,000-6,000.

These are available at a host of large stores in Delhi and Mumbai.

"These brands are popular with the younger lot as some of the styles are pretty trendy," says the store manager of Pall Mall, a Delhi-based store dealing in menswear.

Then there is Dunhill. Sehgal Bros in Delhi are the exclusive distributors for Dunhill accessories. Their belts, which are very popular, cost between Rs 7,500-13,000.

The belt buckles are either aluminium or sterling silver.

Cufflinks cost between Rs 4,600 for a simple sterling silver one, and up to Rs 38,000 for a diamond studded one.

The competitiveness of the corporate world means that everyone is always looking for an edge, a leg up, and superficial and showy as it may seem, the cut of your jib is presumed from the cut of your suit.

So forget about outdated notions of masculinity and get out and tog yourself in some seriously branded accessories. The confidence that looking the part will give you can mean the difference between a meteoric boardroom rise and mere pen-pushing.

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