Style Profile: Aseem Mangaokar

One thing in fashion that has always fascinated me is men’s attitudes towards it. From my experience, they generally take a rather predictably ambivalent stance towards women’s fashion: if she looks hot, then it’s ok. But when it comes to men dressing themselves, figuring out where they tend to stand is a bit more difficult. The same notion of first impressions I’ve written about ad nauseam stands for men, so I always find it rather strange that the generally accepted attitude for them to take is not to care. Why should men be expected to not try with the way they dress when the ramifications are essentially the same. So I thought sitting down with guy who admits to caring about his appearance would be an interesting contrast. Enter Aseem. If you see any man wearing a bowtie around campus, there is a rather high chance it’s this guy. So I thought I’d ask him why.

LK: How would you describe your style?

AM: I guess a sort of mix between contemporary fashions that are put out in magazines. I read Esquire a lot so I would say my style is best captured by what you see in Esquire. A sort of mix of new-American-dandy with the new Japanese-prep thrown in there every now and then. I like to dress up a lot. I like to wear suits and ties and at the same time I don’t like to take myself too seriously. So I’ll throw something in there that’s a little off-kilter. So I’ll wear a double-breasted jacket with a T-shirt, or, like, a really weird pocket square with a leather jacket.

LK: What argument do you think you’re making with the clothes you wear?

AM: That’s a difficult question cause my style is at once serious and planned, but at the same time kind of I-don’t-give-a-fuck what people think. Because I think not giving a shit what people think makes me dress the way I dress. Like I don’t give too much of a shit about like matching perfectly or wearing this kind of trouser with this kind of shoe or something like that. I try to mix it up, I try to keep it fresh but I guess the argument I’m trying to make is that fashion is very modular. I try to wear as many of my different pieces with as many of my other different pieces

LK: What goes through your mind when you’re getting dressed in the morning?

AM: I generally change around 3 or 4 times over the course of a day. So I map out what I’m going to be doing over the course of that day and I sort of map out my layers. So I’ll put these jeans cause I’m lazy, and then I’ll work my way down to the socks. Then belt and shoes matching and then we get to the shirt. Cause I love my shirts and I try to rotate them as much as possible. Then I go to jacket. And then to the tie and the pocket square and the little flourishes.

LK: And is it the little flourishes that make the outfit?

AM: Yeah. I have a lot of ties. I have like 30 ties. About half of which are stolen from my Dad, the other half of which are a combination of mine and my Grandad’s. I find a lot of cool stuff in my Grandad’s closet like old 70’s style ties and with like all these weird graphic designs and old French designer stuff that I would never buy in real life.

LK: What does it mean to you being a male interested in fashion?

AM: Well I feel like it’s a minority of men who are super into fashion or super into style but at the same time I feel like it’s a growing minority and that there are more and more people who are taking their appearance seriously.  Because in this day in age I think a lot more emphasis is placed on the appearance you put on or the impressions that you make through your appearance. Ever since I was a kid I would like wear suits to my birthday parties even if they were like novelty –bright blue with yellow buttons –  and I feel like the appearance you put on is becoming more and more important.

LK: So do you think being a man interested in fashion has made it easier to not give a fuck?

AM: Yeah. I mean I think it’s easier to be a man and not give a fuck than be a woman and  not give a fuck. It sucks but that’s how it is. And it is weird when I talk to other males about fashion like ‘look at this collar spread’ and ‘look at this tie-knot’. But it’s so easy now a days for men to have access to quality at affordable prices that it’s easy to look better and it helps your confidence. And to be super shallow about it appearance is semi-important because it puts out a message of what you want to be seen as but at the same time you can be your own person. You can think a certain way and dress a different way. It’s like every day is a Halloween costume.

LK: What advice would you give to men trying to improve their style?

AM: Never underestimate the power of a clean white shirt.

Double-breasted suit jacket-tailored from Ascott tailors in Singapore

T-Shirt-Jockey

Shoes Geox

Sunglasses Warby Parker

Belt-random shop in India

Jeans Massimo Dutti

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