When we think startup or tech entrepreneurs, the image that most often comes to mind is someone with dishevelled hair and quickly-pressed casuals. Jeans, t-shirts and sandals seem to be the ubiquitous office uniform for these folks, who wear their lack of interest in fashion as a badge and believe that their work speaks for them.
On the other end of the spectrum we have power dressing by top business tycoons in their sharp suits and polished shoes.
While the adage that exhorts us to not judge a book by its cover is well-known, the truth is that most people do exactly that. And for entrepreneurs, as the primary representative of their company, the onus on them to ensure that they are taken seriously and don’t lose credibility due to the manner in which they dress.
As an entrepreneur or a modern-day working professional, there are certain basics pertaining to appearance that can help you to make a good first and lasting impression. You needn’t always be dressed to the nines in business suits or formals. You need to learn how to wear your mind, and dress appropriately and adaptably for any situation you may find yourself in.
One entrepreneur who has mastered this is Rahul Sharma, co-founder of Micromax. The 36-year-old is an embodiment of classy with a mix of casual. He may have a packed schedule from dawn to dusk, but that doesn’t stop him from being impeccably turned out, whether it is for work or for a more casual event.
The work look he adopts is a flattened collar, tightened tie and gelled black hair swept neatly back. But that’s only on some days. Rahul likes to keep things interesting. Even at an office as large as Micromax, with its headquarters in Gurgaon, Haryana – he prefers to keep the mood light around the workspace.
He doesn’t believe in playing by a single rule-book when it comes to office-wear, and this relaxed courtesy is extended to his employees as well, with no requirement for them to don heavy layers of formal-wear to office every day. However, his employees understand the importance of representation and always dress appropriately, following the polished style of their boss.
Although discipline has always been a familiar trait for Rahul, his foray with experimentation in terms of fashion only came to the spotlight with his marriage to actress Asin Thottumkal earlier this year. With the eyes of thousands of fans on the couple, Sharma met expectations, sporting a beautiful Raghvendra Rathore traditional suit, with a matching fitted turban on his head. For another ceremony during their three-day wedding extravaganza, he sported a traditional long black button-down, high-collar kurta, keeping it simple and classy. On the day of the Christian ceremony, he aced the classic black-tie look with a more Indo-western vibe.
Another occasion where Rahul turned quite a few heads was on the night of the ‘Most Influential Young Indians Award’, where he sported a rock purple pant-suit, which he carried off perfectly. Today, Sharma’s preferred look for semi-formal events seems to be a solid tone blazer or suit over casual V-neck T-shirts. But when he started out as a fresher in the industry, at most of the public launches he would be in a Steve Jobs-inspired black turtlenecks and blue jeans.
Rahul likes to kick back with old friends on weekends and indulge in a few hours of no-stress movie marathons in typical casuals – shorts and T-shirts or flannel shirts and jeans. A fitness freak, he also manages to squeeze in time for a daily workout in his office itself, and takes to running laps around the pool in summer.
From sporting brightly coloured pant-suits at formal dinners, to turning heads in designer kurtas at weddings – Rahul’s eclectic dressing style adapts to the mood and occasion. At the same time, he can go from attending boardroom meetings in a crisp shirt and Armani suit, to catching up with his buddies over a drink in the evening in single-shade V-necks and jeans.
As someone who wears his mind as the occasion demands, Rahul Sharma definitely makes it to our list of best-dressed entrepreneurs of the year!