A Kurta for Every Day

Almost every Indian wears and owns a variety of Kurtas. They are one piece of clothing that has continued to remain strong even amidst the onslaught of western attires.

Kurtas refer to a long loose shirt with its length just above or below the knees of the user. During earlier times, it was considered as a men’s dress but in modern era, it is used by both male and females. A kurta is traditionally accompanied by a pajama but the new generation has added a twist to it. These days, you can find youngsters teaming kurtas with a churidar and or denim jeans as well.

Kurta is a Persian/Urdu word. It means a collarless shirt. It is a traditional type of dress worn generally by the people of the Indian sub-continent. Kurta used to be one of the primary attires for the natives of Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. People used to wear it on different occasions like festivals, fairs or at family functions.

The kurta usually opens in the front; some styles, however, button at the shoulder seam. The front opening is often a hemmed slit in the fabric, tied or buttoned at the top; some kurtas, however, have plaquettes rather than slits. The opening may be centered on the chest, or positioned off centre. A traditional kurta does not have a collar. Modern variants may feature stand-up collars of the type known to tailors and seamstresses as “mandarin” collars. The most common decoration is embroidery, typically executed on light, semi-transparent fabric in a matching thread. The upper front portion can be embroidered with threads of silk, cotton, gold, silver, or other material, upon any woven fabric, leather or paper.

The most fascinating aspect of kurta is its compatibility with both formal as well as informal occasions. One can even wear it at work. Men love to wear kurta pajama in the comfort of their homes or simply to laze around the house with friends. It is very comfortable; nothing can be more comforting on a sweltering summer evening than a loose fitted cotton kurta. One can see men wearing silk kurta pajama at social events. If you prefer to wear it at home, then cotton will be the best choice. Youngsters also like to wear it because it acts as a style statement and makes them look different from the crowd.

If you are looking for designs and colours in kurta then you are all set for a vibrant surprise. There are plenty of designs available in trendy colours making up for a fascinating range on offer. It summer time, so our recommendation would be to go for cotton and light silk kurtas. People normally prefer to opt for heavy fabrics and embroidery in winter or for weddings. Fabrics like khadi silk, wool or hand spun kurtas are also very popular during the winter months.

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To Tie or Knot to Tie

My first real tie experience was when I was in fifth grade and as far as I can remember I have always been obsessed with getting that perfect knot with the ideal length and a dimple. Tying a tie to perfect detail makes all the difference in the way a man looks. A simple touch such as a dimple in a tie can add both sophistication and depth to one man’s outfit. It is said that a true gentleman knows the difference between a Windsor and a Four-in-hand. There are well over a dozen different tie knots, but the most popular ones are:

  • Windsor
  • Four in hand
  • Double knot
  • Half Windsor
  • Small Knot
  • Bow tie
  • Prince Albert
  • Ascot
  • Cross Knot

Remember while tying the tie that you should always put your tie on in front of a mirror to see what you’re doing — right or wrong — during each step. The mirror will be especially helpful in the first stage, while determining the length of your tie, and at the final step, while readjusting your collar. Before putting on your tie you should have your shirt buttoned up all the way to the top button and have the collar up. Starting the tying process with the wide end of the tie on the left or right side is just a matter of convention, so if you are more comfortable starting with the wide end on the left side then start from the left. Keep the knot of the tie tight throughout the tying process. When you are finished tying your tie, put your collar down, the knot should be in the middle of your collar and the wide end of your tie should end around the middle of your belt buckle. If you don’t get it right the first time simply undo the knot and try again. Tying a perfect knot on your necktie takes practice. A good knot should always have a dimple. The dimple is the little indentation right below the knot of your tie. A good dimple is made before you tighten the knot. You start by putting your index finger in the fabric directly under the knot while lightly squeezing the side of the fabric as you tighten the knot by pulling down on the wide end of the tie. The dimple should be centered in the middle of your knot. P.S – When choosing a knotting style, consider the thickness of the tie. Some ties are too thick to make anything other than a four-in-hand look decent. Some are so thin that the extra bulk added by one of the Windsor knots is needed to make the knot noticeable.

A Button Story….

   

I had an unusual hobby when I was a kid- I used to collect buttons, different kinds of button; I had an entire box full of them in varied designs and colours. I treasured them. There are many people around the world from whom buttons are the most fascinating object and they collect buttons and for good reason. What many of us don’t realize is that as buttons have played a very important role in human civilization as the history of buttons holds many secrets about the past and the civilizations that used them.

Early discoveries of button were traced in India. Yes, I am talking about Mohenjo-Daro of the Indus Valley civilization. Button-like objects have been found in the Indus Valley of ancient India and date back to around 2000 B.C.E. These were not used for fasteners, but for ornaments. Before they were used for fastening, pins, leather lacing and belts were used to secure clothing.

Buttons were originally made of bronze or bone; they were later made of other natural materials such as antler, porcelain, paste, wood, ivory, shell, nuts, horn, pearl, glass, and eventually synthetics such as celluloid, glass, metal, and plastic. Buttons have been made of leather, china, pottery, gems, paper, metal, and many other materials.

Button and button holes were discovered in Germany in 13th Century and it soon spread like wild fire to England and other neighbouring countries. As with almost anything that is new, they became a fad. Buttons and button holes covered the clothing of the well-to-dos. The number of them and what they were made out of became a status symbol. Buttons increased in size and opulence by 17th and 18th Century.  France and England were the centres of industry. American manufacturers had also begun making fine buttons; however, most were being imported from England.

For the most part, buttons were mainly made for men’s clothing. Waistcoats, shirts and outer coats were covered with beautiful buttons, as many as 24 in a set. In addition to clothing, buttons were also used to fasten shoes and gloves. However some buttons are miniature works of art, crafted by silversmiths and potters, or hand-painted with floral designs, portraits or familiar scenes from well-known fables.

Buttons have definitely come a long way and it sure has its own share of surprising stories, I have come across some so let’s take a look at them:

  • It has been rumoured that King Louis XIV of France spent over $5 million on them in his lifetime.
  • Ever wonder why men’s suit coats have non-functioning buttons sewn on the sleeves? Some say they are just for decoration, but there is also the story that King Frederick The Great of Prussia started the practice in the 18th century. The rumour goes that after an inspection of his troops, he ordered that buttons be sewn on the sleeves of their coats to discourage them from wiping their noses on them!
  • The Scovill Manufacturing Company in America made a set of gold buttons with the profile of George Washington on them that were presented to Marquis de Lafayette during his U.S. visit in 1824.
  • The first buttons made from celluloid, one of the first types of plastics, were made in the 1860’s.
  • 9th century, well-heeled Victorian women generally didn’t dress themselves, so their buttons were designed to be handled by right-handed servants. Although wealthy men may have had servants to lay out their clothes, they generally dressed themselves, and so the buttons on the right side of men’s garments made more sense.
  • Some Museum and art galleries hold culturally, historically, politically, and/or artistically significant buttons in their collections. The Victoria and Albert Museum has many buttons, particularly in its jewellery collection, as does the Smithsonian Institution.
  • For a time, buttons became larger than could possibly be functional. In fact, men’s clothing at one point sported buttons the size of small dinner plates!
  • Buttons has also been used as containers for drug peddlers to store and transport illegal substances! At least one modern smuggler has tried to use this method.

Fasteners are used to create permanent and semi-permanent bonds between materials, as well as joints that can be opened and closed, and purely decorative additions. Buttons are one of the oldest and most widely used types of fastener. Nowadays, hard plastic, seashell and wood are the most common materials used in button-making; however buttons are not left behind when it comes for designer button. Keeping up with the latest trends one can shop online for buttons too.

Buttons divide into two basic types, depending on how they are attached to a piece of material. Sew-through buttons have holes in them, often two or four, and thread is passed through the holes and the material to bind the button in place, either using a sewing machine with a special button foot or by hand. Shaft buttons have a connector on the back that is attached to the material with thread.

  • Shank buttons have a hollow protrusion on the back through which thread is sewn to attach the button. shanks may be made from a separate piece of the same or a different substance as the button itself, and added to the back of the button, or be carved or moulded directly onto the back of the button, in which latter case the button is referred to by collectors as having a ‘self-shank’.
  • Flat or sew-through buttons have holes through which thread is sewn to attach the button. Flat buttons may be attached by sewing machine rather than by hand, and may be used with heavy fabrics by working a thread shank to extend the height of the button above the fabric.

Stud buttons (also pressure buttons, press stud buttons or snaps fastener) are metal (usually brass) round discs pinched through the fabric. They are often found on clothing, in particular on denim pieces such as pants and jackets. They are more securely fastened to the material. As they rely on a metal rivet attached securely to the fabric, stud buttons are difficult to remove without compromising the fabric’s integrity. They are made of two couple: the male stud couple and the female stud couple. Each couple has one front (or top) and rear (or bottom) side (the fabric goes in the middle).

  • Covered buttons are fabric-covered forms with a separate back piece that secures the fabric over the knob.
  • Mandarin buttons or Frogs are knobs made of intricately knotted strings. Mandarin buttons are a key element in mandarin dress here they are closed with loops. Pairs of mandarin buttons worn as cuff links are called silk knots.
  • Worked or cloth buttons are created by embroidering tight stitches over a knob or ring called a form.

Both button loops and buttonholes may be found singly and in sets. Loops extend beyond the edge of the fabric, while buttonholes are cut in the fabric itself. There are three standard buttonhole shapes: rectangular, oval, and keyhole; and buttonholes may be bound or overcast. Bound buttonholes are created by adding extra fabric to the area and are often found in tailored garments. Overcast buttonholes, made by machine or by hand, use stitching to keep the cut edge of fabric around the buttons from unravelling. Usually, there is an exact match of the number of buttonholes and the number of buttons, but shirt cuffs often feature several buttonholes so the wearer can choose the one that gives the best fit.

The dimension given for a button’s size is diameter. In general, sewing instructions, on store-bought sewing patterns for example, the number and size of any buttons needed is specified by inches in the notions section.

The fashion world today is filled with buttons of varied shapes and sizes which are not just functional but also more about adding character to the outfits.

At P N RAO, we make sure to use the best set of buttons for every suit or sherwani we stitch.

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CM D V Sadananda Gowda releasing the ‘Trailblazers of Bengaluru’ along with C G Varughese, VP and Response Head, The Times Of India Group.

CM D V Sadananda Gowda releasing the ‘Trailblazers of Bengaluru’ along with C G Varughese, VP and Response Head, The Times Of India Group.

P N RAO is featured in this amazing book and those who want to get a glimpse of Mr. Machender Pishe dedication for work and more about his life can read this book which will be placed at bookstores very soon.

Mr. Machender Pishe and Mr. Naveen Pishe, Partners, P N RAO, at the launch of Trailblazers.

Mr. Machender Pishe and Mr. Naveen Pishe, Partners, P N RAO, were present at the inaugural launch of Trailblazers – Coffee Table book on entrepreneurs released by the Honorable CM of Karnataka, Mr. Sadananda Gowda.

Tuxedos can never go out of style; Tuxedos ARE style!

There is always something very intriguing about a man in a tuxedo. Tuxedo simply means the most grandiose appearance possible for a man. Man in a tuxedo retains his unassailable verve, élan and sheer swankiness.

Tuxedo is a men’s suit, which comprises a jacket, pants, bow tie, and often a cummerbund or waistcoat. Tuxedos are worn on formal events like weddings, formal dinner parties, proms, attending the opera/ ballet, or any other event that states such dress code on the invitation you received.

There are various theories regarding the invention of the tux, however, let’s look at the two most popular ones:

Theory A (source Wikipedia)                                                                               

The tuxedo’s history dates from 1860, when Henry Poole & Co. created a short smoking jacket for the then Prince of Wales, to wear to informal dinner parties. In the summer of 1886 the Prince invited New York millionaire James Potter and his actress wife Cora Potter to Sandringham House, his Norfolk hunting estate. When Potter asked for a dinner dress recommendation, the Prince sent Potter to his tailors Henry Poole & Co., in London, to obtain the new style of jacket. Potter then brought the dinner suit home with him to Tuxedo Park Club, a newly established residential country club for New York’s elite. The dinner suit proved popular; the club men copied him, soon making it their informal dining uniform.

                                                                                                            

Theory B (source njwedding.com)                                                                        

The tuxedo was a truly American invention, in that it embodied a rebellion against the cultural standards of Europe. Invented by Pierre Lorillard IV of New York for a specific, rather informal occasion, the tuxedo became an essential item of formalwear, in the US and abroad.

The jacket, named after the town of its debut, has remained basically the same. Tuxedo accessories have developed over time: the bow tie did not become popular until the 1920s; the cummerbund was later borrowed from the British, who had borrowed it from India.

There is a great variety of tuxedo styles available today, and you will also find some off the rack, but when it comes to tuxedos, its best to stick to the basics. That’s why it is best to go with these two tuxedo styles: the peaked lapel, and the shawl lapelNotched lapel style is also very common in recent years but generally it isn’t considered a style suited for formal occasions.

In terms of colour, sound advice is to stick with black, or with deep blue which looks almost black under the lights. White tuxedo should only be worn in summer or warm climates.

Of course there is always that classic tux – black, one or two buttons, with a shimmering satin lapel, a timeless version of style that brings Bogart immediately to mind. But, times have changed. These days, tuxedos can be also collarless, accompanied by flashy cravats or brightly coloured and textured waistcoats. Monochromatic colours are in style as is adding a hint of different shade in the vest or cravat, or even lapel edges. Be careful while choosing your accessories like your tie, cravat and waistcoat. Paying attention to details will give you your own unique style.

Your body type should also be considered when choosing a tuxedo style. Slimmer men could opt for double breasted tuxedo styles that will generally make them look larger; single breasted styles will give the illusion of longer lines and a slimming appearance. It’s important to note that only single-breasted jacket with one or two buttons is considered a real tuxedo.

Black formal pants worn with the tux must not have cuffs, or even belt loops. Dress shirts should be made of silk or cotton in either white or black so it complements your tux. You can choose between wings or down collars. Dress shirts should always be accessorized with the cufflinks. Shoes must not be flashy; shoes worn with the tuxedo must be very formal. Don’t forget the matching socks.

A tuxedo is by far the fashion mainstay of the sophisticated man who wants to stand apart from the crowd. You may not be loaded but by wearing one you can look and feel like a million bucks.

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