advice

The Problem with “Fast Fashion” And How to Avoid It (While Still Looking Good)

Good Evening Dapperites,

I read an intriguing article yesterday morning from Fashion Beans (a site you should be reading, besides this blog of course!). About the slowing down the fashion cycle, “Why We Need To Slow Down The Fast Fashion Cycle” and I just wanted to give my two cents on the subject as well as throw in some advice for you all.

Now there’s no denying it, fast fashion is everywhere. Look in any mall and you’ll see an H&M, Zara, Topman packed with people going to grab the latest trends, while knowing full well in a few months that whatever they buy will be tossed away because of changing trends. I can personally attest to this, working in a couple of retail stores in my lifetime, I’ve seen new things out on the floor and people rushing to get them, only to end up discounted a few weeks later for lack of interest.

As the article goes on to state

However, according to the likes of Burberry and Tom Ford – both of which have changed tack to adopt a ‘see now, buy now’ strategy in recent seasons – this window is unbearable to the modern consumer. Customers aren’t willing to wait six months for clothes they’ve seen on Instagram – they want to wear a collection the second it’s shown.

Based on this, I’d say social media is a major driving force in fast fashion. Consumers see a look from a runway and want it NOW! And of course companies like Zara (who can have a new trend on the sales floor in less than a month) are happy to oblige forcing the high end designers to do release the lines the same time of the fashion shows.

Another interesting bit

What air of exclusivity does a £1,000 coat bestow, when the masses are wearing something near indistinguishable, bought for a tenth of the price? So luxury’s response is to accelerate, producing more collections, changing styles at a pace it hopes outstrips the copycats. They, in turn, invest in bigger design teams and quicker production, to get the clothes in store first.

All of this ends up driving us consumers nuts. When we are shown new trends seemingly every week, we make ourselves crazy and our wallets thin by going out and buying what is new and fresh in the moment. But for those that like and can afford the good stuff…

Luxury fashion is sold on quality. You buy the four-figure version because it’s better made and will last longer than the knock-off. But when trends evaporate so quickly, your investment comes with obsolescence built-in.

So what are you to do to combat this obsolescence? It’s simple. Use your head and invest in timeless pieces that you know will last the test of time. I’m talking about a good  2 button navy/charcoal/grey suit, dark denim, soft knit plain tees, polo shirts, plain chinos, a good leather jacket, etc. Sure you can once in a while indulge in the trends but don’t be making a habit of it. Remember the old saying: fashion comes and goes style is forever! 

A last point I want to touch on and that is, what the hell do we do with clothes after we deem them obsolete? Well this is what happens

Fashion is the world’s third most polluting industry, after oil and agriculture. There are the enormous quantities of water, the chemicals and dyes pumped into fields, the factory fires and collapses that kill hundreds – all so we can get caught up in the cycle without going bankrupt.

We each throw away, on average, 32kg of clothing a year, because we’ve bought shoddy garments, or bought into trends we’ll never wear again, at prices that don’t make us think twice about tossing them in the bin.

Yeah….that’s a lot of clothes to throw away. And I’ll admit I had no idea fashion was such a bad culprit of polluting. Again the rule to break away from this is simple, buy timeless pieces and buy quality pieces that will last a few years (hint: some garments will get better with age like a nice leather jacket or pair of dark indigo jeans).

In conclusion, I sincerely hope that this post opens a few eyes and is able to be of assistance to anyone finding themselves caught up in the “Fast Fashion” cycle.

Thanks for reading as always.

-The Don


Source:

http://www.fashionbeans.com/article/slow-fast-fashion-cycle/

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Layrite Cement Clay Review

Good Evening Ladies and Gents,

Tonight’s post will be a nice little hair styling product review from a fantastic brand, Layrite. Now I could get into the history of the brand and all that but just click on the link and read it for yourselves! (it’s been a long day).

Now it’s been well noted that I am a fan of the oldschool hair products, the greasy, slick, “stays in your hair for 3 days” pomades and brillantine. However as the weather gets warmer (ever so slightly) and as I would like to avoid breakouts on my forehead caused from the product leaking down I need something different. I always like to have a noticeable shine on my hair but this time I wanted to switch it up and find something with a matte finish and that was water soluble (so it would wash out easily at the end of a day). I did some research on hair clays and finally settled on Layrite Cement Clay.

Now I’ve used Layrite products in the past when I used to live in Ottawa and had a shop in my neighborhood that carried it, but this was my first experience with the clay.

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Great package design 

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I followed the directions and reviews from other users and took just a small amount onto the fingers. By the way this stuff has a great little vanilla scent to it.

 

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Worked it in

And combed in. Now I used this on towel dried hair which gave it a little bit of a shine. Tomorrow I will use it on dry hair for a more matte look.

I realize now I should have posted pictures to show how it held up after a long day so you’ll just have to take my word for it. This stuff really lives up to it’s name! I applied this at around 6:15 am and by the time I returned home at 7 pm, there was 0 difference. I’m convinced this stuff would be bulletproof and hold up to a nuclear weapon if it had to! And it rinsed right out with water.

The only major gripe I would have with this product is that it is a little hard to work into the hair (don’t be surprised if you end up with a few pulled out hairs). Also the vanilla scent, while pleasant, was slightly overpowering for me.

To wrap it up, if you’re like me and have naturally oily skin and are looking for a water based product that can hold up to anything, then this is well worth the cost. Depending on where you look, a 4.25 oz. tin of this will run you $20-30. Well worth the price in my opinion and cost effective as it doesn’t take much product to work.

Thanks for reading and as always keep it dapper!

 

-The Don 😉

 

Why It’s Time to Ditch the Beard in 2017

Good Evening Dapperites,

Just when you thought I fell off the face of the Earth, I come roaring back! Hahaha. It seems rocking a bearded look has been trendy the past few years, look around you in the street and you’ll see every guy rocking a beard in one way shape or form. I too was quite fond of the look until I realized (besides the fact that my employer prefers a clean cut look), what the hell’s so unique about having one if everyone else has one??

And thus comes to decision to pick up and re-familiarize myself with the razor again! Here are a few compelling cases to do so.

  1. Clean Shaven men are more likely to get hired (and earn more too!)
  2. More likely to get the girl as studies have shown that women prefer a clean, smooth face.
  3. Promotes healthier, attractive skin
  4. It’s a timeless look, trends come and go but the smooth face is forever!
  5. Maintaining and trimming a beard gets to be a pain in the ass! (Too often I’ve trimmed too much to the point where I’d have to shave it all off and start from scratch)
  6. Wet shaving, with a brush, shaving soap and straight/safety razor will make you feel like a man. Nothing reminds you you’re alive more than a taking a sharp piece of steel to your neck every morning!!
  7. My personal philosophy, why blend in when you can stand out!!!

 

To add to point number 6. If you are curious on getting started with wet shaving here are a few things you’ll need:

  1. Safety/Straight Razor: The most important tool of course, and there are multiple options within both razors. Straight razors will set you back a little more but maintain them and they are good for life.
  2. Pre-Shave Oil/Cream: This will help protect against any irritation and lubricate the whiskers better
  3. Shave Brush: To create a lather. Preferably badger hair, again a little more $ up front but good for a long long time.
  4. Shave Soap/Cream: Never mind the canned goo you’re used to. Get some good ol’soap or cream out of a tube to create a good later. My personal favorite is Proraso (they smell great too!)
  5. Styptic Pencil/Alum Block: To stop the bleeding from any nicks.
  6. Pinaud Clubman Talc: If you really want that classic barbershop scent, give your face a dusting after rinsing off, helps soothe the skin after an encounter with the blade.
  7. Aftershave: I know most people say to avoid alcohol based aftershave splashes, but if you want that classic smell, pore tightening, stinging feeling (that means it’s disinfecting your skin btw) Then go with a splash, my favorites include classics Pinaud Clubman and Aqua Velva, but there is a selection for every taste/budget out there. I also like to apply some form of moisturizer prior to the splash.
  8. Last but not least, patience! It will take some time to get the hang of everything, techniques, etc. Browse the internet look at YouTube videos and learn. Here is a great site full of helpful people. http://www.badgerandblade.com/vb/forum.php

 

And if you’re looking for supplies, the internet is chock full of options.

In the U.S. check out ClassicShaving.com, WestCoastShaving.com.

Canada check out ClassicEdge.ca, Fendrihan.ca

Locally if you’re in the Montreal area, I highly recommend Vasco Cigars downtown. Don’t let the name fool you, they are the ultimate man shop. From cigars and accessories, to cufflinks, fountain pens, barware and a killer selection of  wet shaving gear and hard to find grooming products.

If you’re in the Ottawa area, Stroked Ego has a pretty good selection of all things wet shaving. It is where I bought my first badger hair brush and pre-shave oil, after all!

Until next time,

Keep it Dapper (and clean shaven)!

 

-The Don

Today’s Tip! September 27, 2016

There are 3 types of men that every gentleman needs to have in his life to help keep him dapper from literally head to toe, they are:

#1 Barber

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You should be visiting a barber (yes a barber, in a barber shop, not some hairdresser in a salon) once every 3-4 weeks. And a good one can tell you if they think a certain crazy idea you have will look good on you or not. My to-go Montreal barber for the past 3-4 years has been Montallegro Barber Shop. Opened and still run by 2 Italian brothers, the shop is like going back in time to the 1960s, I love it! When I lived in Ottawa, my go-to spot was Roma Barbershop. Again another shop opened and run by 2 Italian brothers. And again it was a no-frills, step back in time nostalgia trip. While I am glad to see a revival of barber shops in recent years, I will not pay $40 for a haircut just because you’ll give me a beer while I wait and have all this fancy decor. Give me an seasoned old Italian barber in a no frills shop for $15-25 any day!

#2 Tailor

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Bought a new suit off the rack (shame on you, you need to check out Eph Apparel and call me!..shameless plug) and need to get some alterations done to have it fit you like a million bucks? Lost some weight and need to have some shirts taken in? Maybe you fell off the diet wagon lately and put on a few pounds and need to let out those pants. Then you need a tailor who can fix/repair/alter your garments to make them look their best on you. Just another piece of advice, don’t expect tailors to be miracle workers, if you have an event coming up go well in advance to your tailor if you need anything done. My Montreal tailor go-to is Charles le Tailleur. And my Ottawa one was hands down Raymond Tailor of Distinction. Tailoring is a dying breed so it seems, here’s to hoping more young people see this as a career and field of choice!

#3 Cobbler

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They say that women notice a man’s shoes first. If that’s the case then you better know a good cobbler for when your nice go-to pair of leather monkstraps get a hole in the sole. (Another tip, invest in quality leather soled stitched shoes, the soles can be replaced when worn out, extending the life of the shoes). Soles of your black wingtips detaching from the body of the shoe? Find a good cobbler. I can’t give any recommendations here as I have not used one yet. But do some research in your local area and go with the best! I myself am in need of one to replace the soles of my leather boots, so if anyone knows of one in the Montreal area, do let me know!

 

So there you have it, 3 men you must know to keep you dapper from (literally) head to toe!

Until next time,

 

-The Don

 

A Primer on Swimwear

With summer right around the corner the time is right to learn a little something about swimwear and where I stand on it.

 

A brief history lesson if I may (and since this is my blog, I will!). Obviously in the earliest of times, swimwear consisted of your birthday suit. In all your glory, you could go in bathe in any lake/river/pond/ocean/bathhouse you came across.

As time went on and people began to, you know, evolve, rules were put in place for men to covered while they swam/bathed. Some cultures, such as the Japanese used loincloths for bathing prior to the 19th century. The first swimsuits in the early 20th century were made entirely of wool and were often a one piece outfit (that must have itched like hell!)

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One can only imagine the horrific scent that this thing must have held after a hot day  of use in the sun.

In the 1930s however, people began to realize the nuttiness of the 1 piece and the top half was scrapped completely, resulting in the swim trunks we have become accustomed to today. Interesting to note that swimwear in the 1930s often came with belts and looked something like this:

 

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Not much changed until the 1950s postwar boom and the advent of synthetic materials such as lycra which provided more comfort and less drying time. Also gone was the belt and introduced were zippers as well as an array of patterns and styles:

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1960 was the year the iconic (or dreaded, depending on who you ask) Speedo was introduced and swimsuits were at their shortest length ever.

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The 1970s and 1980s were pretty ordinary as the Speedo-style trunks remained the overall king of swimwear until the 1990s, where the boardshort was introduced and became the #1 choice for men because of it’s ridiculous bagginess and long drying time loose comfortable fit.

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While the boardshort is still very popular, there has been a revival (Thank god!)  of varying forms of Speedo/boxer brief style trunks as well as shorter and trimmer cut shorts. So, what exactly should you be wearing this summer? Read on..

Unless you are a competitive swimmer, or have the body to pull it off, please stay away from the Speedo!

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If you look like this, don’t do it! (Think I’m being mean? tough shit)

For the average guy, swimwear that hits below the knee or mid-thigh is both stylish and acceptable. For the daring, try a retro fitted trunk like this. While it may be as tight as a Speedo, the boxer brief style covers enough. Again be mindful, if you think you’ll look ridiculous in it, or don’t have the confidence, then don’t do it.

Something I have noticed in the past few years as being very trendy are swimwear are fun prints and patterns. This is one trend I am definitely on board with, bringing a retro feel in a modern fit!

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An example of modern swimwear in a fun retro print

Another thing I am noticing are swimsuits that are designed as a 2 in 1 to function as a pair of shorts. I personally am not too keen on the idea. After a day on the beach, walking off to a bar or some place with sand stuck in my pockets is not an appealing scenario.

There you have it gents, a primer on swimwear and suggestions on how to upgrade your beach/lake/poolside look this summer! Thank you to The Gentleman’s Gazette as I sourced my information for this post from them.

As always, Stay dapper my friends!

-The Don 😉

 

 

 

Late Spring/Early Summer Essentials 2016: An Everyman’s Guide

So we are well into spring and just a month or so off from summer (finally!) You’ve probably seen your favorite style magazine (GQ, Esquire) push some pretty stylish threads for the season. Well nevermind that crap (a $1,500 denim jacket? Please, Levis is just fine for me). I give you here a list of some essentials for the season and where to score em for prices you can actually afford without blowing your rent/mortgage/grocery money on.

 

  1. A cotton or linen suit:

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The temps are rising on a daily basis no doubt, and you’re going to have some weddings to go to. Instead of being that guy with sweat patches under his arms, be the guy that’s calm, cool and collected. Get a linen suit and wear the hell out of it to any occasion possible. I know what you’re going to say “oh but it wrinkles” and to that I say “man up and embrace the wrinkles, own the look and look sharp and be comfortable” To get more versatility out of it, wear the jacket and pants separately.

Where to buy? 

Eph Apparel of course, where you can get it custom made to your body for $299! (Bonus: Add a cotton/linen dress shirt to the look to stay even cooler on the hottest days)

2. Sleek, minimalist watch

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Big fancy watches with chunky dials? No thanks. Instead go for a sleek minimalist faced watch like a Danial Wellington. Best part about this watch? You can swap out straps, get a leather one to dress it up, or a cloth one for a sportier look.

Where to buy?

Yeah, you could get it for $200-250 in a store or off the company’s website, but I’ve seen them on Amazon for $140-165. Gotta love Amazon!

 

3. White Canvas Sneakers

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Is there anything more basic than a pair of white canvas kicks? Pair them with jeans/chinos/shorts, they’ll look great. Just don’t wear them with suits, I don’t care what the *bleep* GQ says. If they get dirty and look a bit worn, even better.

Where to buy?

Sure, classic Converse kicks don’t cost that much but just head over to H&M and grab them for $24.99. No logo on em, just crisp and clean (until you beat some life into them).

4. Silk Knit Tie

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Ahhh the silk knit. Can be worn with your regular suit and dress shirt or a more casual, yet classy vibe with chinos/dark jeans and an oxford cloth shirt. Very versatile indeed.

Where to buy?

Keep your eyes peeled for deals, I’ve gotten some at liquidation sales for about $10. Or you can head over to The Tie Bar , browse their extensive selection and nab one for $25. If you’re feeling like you need more of a bargain, hunt at thrift shops and vintage shops. You may just be able to snag one that’s unique as hell for a steal of a price!

5. Light trenchcoat 

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Just because the weather is warm, doesn’t mean it ain’t going to rain. You need a versatile lightweight trench that’ll keep you dry without making you sweat bullets inside. Best part about a coat like this? It’ll look good whether you’ve got a suit on, or just jeans and a tee.

Where to buy?

As nice and classic as Burberry trenches are, we ain’t got that kind of money to be blowing on one. For one that looks just as nice for under $200, check out ASOS or Simons.

6. Funky-Patterned Short Sleeve Shirt

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Ok, so I may have jacked this “trend” from GQ’s Most Stylish Men List, but hey they’re not always so bad, I do still have a subscription with them after all. Get yourself a patterned short sleeve shirt and wear it with a slim (not skinny, seriously, who wants their balls chafing in there on a warm day?) dark pair of jeans or shorts.

Where to buy?

Simons has quite a selection as does Zara. Ranging in price from $40-50.

7. Lightweight Chinos

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Ahh the chino, such a versatile option when it comes to pants. Dress em up, dress em down, they’ll always look good. What doesn’t feel good though is a heavyweight cotton chino in the dead of a hot day. Instead, get a pair of lightweight chinos in a fit that doesn’t cut off the circulation to your calves or man-parts (Can you tell I’m over the whole ‘skinny’ trend?). Bonus points for going for a bold color like a baby blue or pink! You’ll thank me later 😉

Where to buy?

All my lightweight chinos come from one place. J-Crew Factory Store. Get a pair for about $40.

 

8. White Jeans/Pants

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Another look that some men shy away from. White jeans or pants is a look that just screams “Summer” and “Euro”. Much like with chinos I find you can dress them up or dress them down. Roll up the cuffs and show off some ankle, because why the hell not?

Where to buy? 

A multitude of options here really. H&M’s got some for $30 and Simons has some at $60. Always keep your eyes peeled for sales though, as I feel white pants don’t sell as much as other colors thus usually get marked down.

9. Sunglasses

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Last but not least on this list, this one is obviously a no-brainer. Shades serve both a function and add pizzazz to any outfit. Sure designer shades like Ray Bans and Gucci are nice, but if you’re like me and tend to stuff your shades in your glove box then….

Where to buy?

Just grab a few pairs in different styles at places like  H&M, or Simons. You’ll have more than 1 look, for a fraction of the price of a designer one.

 

There you have it gents. There is no need to break the bank in order to look good this upcoming summer. Once you’re making the big bucks, then you can go more upscale. Until then, you can still look just as good! 😉

 

-The Don

Tip of the Day, May 7

As the temperature continues rising and your social calendar fills up with events such as weddings, baptisms and so on, leave the wool suit at home. Instead, turn to something in a lighter fabric like a cotton/seersucker or linen. Will they wrinkle a little bit? Sure they will. But you know what? Embrace the wrinkles like you just don’t care and be the coolest guy (literally) in the room!

Sit outside today, crack open a couple of cold ones and enjoy the weather.

 

-The Don