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The Good Life

Must-have (nots)
Some things you can’t live without, and some you’d be stupid to buy

Kishore Singh

Five things worth spending money on

The right jacket

Nothing quite matches a jacket with the perfect cut and fit. Whether it’s a sports coat, a blazer or a formal jacket, for a man (and for some women like Hillary Clinton) nothing beats it, whether paired with formal trousers, a neat pair of jeans or a skirt. If you can afford bespoke, don’t shortchange yourself, though fits off the rack are just as good, whether it’s Zara or, for more corporate styling, Zegna and Boss, and for the Indian formal look, Paul Smith and our own Raghavendra Rathore. 

Makeup and personal care

Be careful when it comes to personal care products like shampoos, face scrubs, deos and fragrances. With eyeliners, lipsticks, crèmes and zillions of other things, never compromise on quality. Check expiry dates. Duty-free buys are best, but you can trust single-brand stores. 

Watches

There’s nothing more individualistic than jewellery, for women or men, but what makes a statement is your choice of watch. This is an accessory that, despite being made redundant, still remains on everyone’s top list of fashion must-haves. The tourbillion movement, the rose-cut diamond-encased face, the snakeskin strap — the choice is so bewildering, you could fill a book with just the names and variants on show at Basel annually. But whether you do classic Rolex or contemporary Tresor Paris, remember that your choice defines you — as does (gasp!) the price. 

Shoes

The Manolo Blahniks, Jimmy Choos, Guccis and Pradas, those that fit like a second skin or are as uncomfortable as one could imagine. Men love shoes, but women feel empowered in theirs. Any wonder you can’t have enough of them? 

Holidays

The truest luxury of them all, take yours as often as you can. And yes, do the family weekend — but schedule at least one indulgent vacation annually for the sheer pleasure of it — the seven-star cruise, African safari, luxurious resort. Could life get any better? 

 

Five things you shouldn't splurge on

Slippers

Top of my pet peeves is why a pair of rubber chappals should be so expensive, and why somebody would spend so much only to wear them to the bathroom. I know that a certain generation thinks nothing of wearing flip-flops while travelling or shopping. While that’s a terrible trend, it still doesn’t explain why a ₹200-pair of Bata chappals isn’t as good as an equivalent pair from Abercrombie & Fitch that’s worth several times over. 

Sleepwear

I get the old chestnut of what luxury means next to the skin but, get real, guys. You need something comfortable to wear to bed, not a designer number. I recognise that people are wearing nightsuits again, that the trend of tracks-and-Ts has run out, but you don’t need too many trimmings when it’s a question of hibernating for the night, with or without company. 

Restaurants

I’m a sucker for good food, I’ll pay a lot for it, but I’m not sure I’ll spend a king’s ransom on what is being described as an “experience” rather than a culinary output. Besides, truffle shavings or not, ₹10,000 for a pizza isn’t happening. You can blow up a lot of money on wine or whisky, given our taxes, but just food on the table for four and a check worth a couple of lakh, that sticks in the craw. 

Technology

If the chip inside your phone is the same as everyone else’s, who are you fooling encasing the body in diamonds and paying a fortune for it? As for devices that are launched at a high premium, but have their prices crash in a couple of months — hey, wait for those two months. First one in is no longer sexy. 

Cars

If you love your Porsche or Jaguar, good for you, but take a look around. Potholed roads, wall-to-wall traffic, no parking space, buses scratching the paintwork every time you take it out for a spin. My mantra: Opt for comfort rather than statement, and pick a size compatible to our roads. What’s the point of buying a Maserati if it’s going to idle in your garage?

The author is a Delhi-based writer and curator

 

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