Brooks Brothers

Last Day at Brooks Brothers (The Haul)

Goodmorning dapperites,

As you already know, I must sadly leave the city of Ottawa behind me for now. Yesterday I had my final shift working at Brooks Brothers which was bittersweet. What made it even sweeter though? Well I got to take advantage of my employee discount one last time for some very high end items that I had been eyeing for months now. Check it out:

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Brown Stetson fedora, Royall Rugby Eau de Toilette, some black/blue striped socks (Forza Inter!) and the crown jewel, Golden Fleece Authentic Full Dress Shirt.

So as you can see I definitely cashed in big time with my discount. Everyone at work knew that the fedora had to come with me since I’m the only one bold enough to rock one. Ditto for the tuxedo shirt. Speaking of the tuxedo shirt, here are a few closeups of it:

I first fell in love with this shirt when I saw it at the Toronto location and was overjoyed when it arrived in my store. As you can see, it’s Golden Fleece (highest quality line of Brooks) , Egyptian cotton woven in Italy and made in the USA. Detachable collar and french cuffs for the most formal of formal. Can be worn with both black-tie or white-tie. White tie of course is the most formal dress one can have. Learn more about it here.

This shirt will most likely not be worn for a few years. I said it from the moment I laid eyes on it that it will be saved for my wedding. (Better hope I don’t gain weight!)

So that’s a wrap for my Brooks Brothers (And retail) career. While I will not miss the difficult customers, I will certainly miss my colleagues and the team atmosphere there. I will however, continue to shop there (of course) whenever new clothing is needed. Au revoir Brooks Brothers, you’ve served me well during my time as a student here.

Until next time my dapper friends,

-The Don

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Wardrobe Workhorse: The OCBD (Oxford Cloth Button Down)

Good day my dapperites,

Today I wanted to talk to you about a wardrobe staple, a reliable, multitasking workhorse. I am talking of course about a piece of classic American prep, the OCBD.

So what is the OCBD? It’s an “Oxford Cloth Button Down”. Oxford cloth is a very durable and hard wearing type of cotton. And before you ask, yes it is one that requires ironing (or not, depending on how you wear it, but I’ll get into that later). The style originated in England by polo players to keep their collars from flapping in the wind and was brought to this side of the pond by John E. Brooks, grandson of Brooks Brothers’ founder, Henry Brooks. The rest they say, is history.

So what makes the OCBD such a versatile option in the wardrobe? Simply put, it can be a dress shirt, a sport shirt or a layering piece. Iron it nice and crisp and throw it with a suit and tie like this:

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Or wear it with the sleeves rolled up like this:

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And you know what the beauty of the shirt is? The more you wash it and wear it, the softer it becomes and the more comfortable it is. Eventually it will start fraying on the cuffs and collar, but does that mean you should stop wearing it? Hell no. As the years go on, your age shows, so why shouldn’t your shirt show its like a badge of honor. Wear it proudly.

OCBD aficionados on menswear sites and forums could debate hours and hours over what brand is the best and talk about the much sought after collar roll . My personal (and perhaps biased) take? The originators, Brooks Brothers still got the game on lock. They’ve recently revamped their shirt to remove the inner lining on the collar and cuffs, thus reinstating the “oldschool” collar roll of yesteryear, and added mother of pearl buttons. Of course they upped the price to $140 USD per shirt ($189 CAD). Not worth it in my opinion unless you get em’ on sale. But you can still buy whatever stock is left of the old version for a pretty good discount. Now, not all my OCBDs are Brooks Brothers, but they are definitely my brand of choice. By the way, what colors should you go with? White, Blue and Pink are the all time classics.

Of course this post would not be complete without a showing of my personal collection of OCBDs:

 

 

 

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You must be asking yourself, are those 2 on the right identical? Yes, yes they are. Why? Because one of them was accidentally put in the dryer and as George Costanza once said “There was significant shrinkage” the sleeves were shrunk and made it unwearable as a dress shirt, so it’s relegated to casual wear. I had to get a replacement. Bottom 3 are Brooks Brothers the top 2 are from Simons.

Maintenance for these shirts? Wash them in warm/cold water and DO NOT put them in the dryer, they DO shrink. Just hang to dry and iron them as needed!

There you have it, a quick primer/intro on the OCBD and why I call it the “Wardrobe Workhorse”. Get yourself a few and wear them for years and years. They’ll love you as much as you love them!

Stay Dapper my friends,

 

-The Don 😉

Now Back From the Dead…An Update!

Good Afternoon Dapperites,

Many of you may be wondering where I’ve been. Well the life of a last year university student in March/April really means you have no life. Buried under a mass of papers and presentations you feel like the Undertaker in a Buried Alive match.

So other than that update what can I share with you all? Well I finally had some money set aside a couple of weeks ago to freshen up the wardrobe after abstaining from shopping for a while. Check out some of my scores:

First off, got that awesome madras hat from Brooks Brothers using my employee discount came out to about $10. What can I say? I have a penchant for flashy things. Picked up a nice thick rugged denim shirt from the originators of the jean, Levis for a cool $22. Onto the next pic, grabbed a couple of these beautiful Brooks Brothers Made in Italy dress shirts (Retail tag said $305 each), but they were in my store (Factory Store) and I got em’ for $40. I’d been searching for a paisley dress shirt for the longest time! Can’t wait to rock this baby under a neutral grey or blue suit, sans tie. Again this is a lesson in smart shopping, take deals where you see them and always buy quality over quantity.

While I’m at it I’ll fill you in on another change that was made in my life recently. I must sadly report that my 4 month old beard met the straight razor and came right off! Now back to my look of old.

 

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And to top off this post, just thought I’d share some of my recent looks over the past month or so. Voila:

 

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Suited up with the Misses at a charity event.

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Classic business look, charcoal suit, striped shirt and madder pattern tie

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Some basic layering skills here with a colorful sweater under a suit giving it a nice punch.

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“Cock your hat, angles are attitudes” -Frank Sinatra

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Probably my favorite casual look in recent memory: White jeans rolled up, leather Converse shoes and a leather biker jacket with slicked hair.

There you have it folks, hopefully the weather outside catches up to what the calendar says and we start having some bright sunny spring weather so I can bust out the lighter things from the closet and have new looks to share! Until next time,

 

Keep it Dapper 😉

-The Don

Looks of the Month (and update!)

Hello Dapperites,

So I realized that I have not posted in a long time, reason being is my increasingly intense workload for school. This has been without a doubt the most challenging semester I’ve faced in my academic career and next semester looks to no doubt top that!

Having said that, I just would like to share some of my favorite outfits that I rocked in the month of November.

 

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Going to start with a more casual look here, but I absolutely love this sweater that was given to me by a co-worker who had it sitting in his drawer for years and years. I believe it is a 1970s-80s sweater and it is from Harry Rosen. The colors are superb and really elevate a casual look. I paired it here with dark jeans, leather converse kicks and casual fedora just for the hell of it! And while I’m on the subject of vintage clothing, you should seriously scout out some vintage shops for unique, one of a kind pieces to bring your outfit together or just to stand out of the mold. My personal favorite one is Ragtime here in Ottawa.

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Here I am in this one rocking a nice blue on blue look. The blazer was actually given to me by a friend who has a tendency to buy things that don’t always fit or that he doesn’t like, (Thanks Danial!). The subtle dots in it are a nice touch for standing out. My trusty blue oxford shirt (with collar buttons unbuttoned for that sprezzatura touch!) and my Movember mustache tie and tie bar, from EPH Apparel. The pocket square is a little out of the picture but it is a beauty army-camo pattern made in Italy, and a steal from J-Crew’s clearance section for $5 (after using my student discount) a few months back.

 

 

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This was an all-business look I had going on for work that day. The lighting is a little bad but it is a deep navy with thin pinstripes Calvin Klein suit that I had hanging in my closet at my parent’s house and almost forgot about. Was actually my Dad’s but he never wore it much, jacket fit like a charm just had to have the pants taken in and the waist extended. Paired with a white shirt and a bold red tie (Runaway Stripe from The Tie Bar) and white linen pocket square. This is one of the rare times you will see me rocking skinny ties, as I am over the whole trend, but will not just chuck out my collection of them. The look is completed by brown shoes and beige Zara trenchcoat.

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Taking it back to casual here, but preppy casual. Once again dark blue jeans are used here (dark denim is very versatile!), white Brooks Brothers oxford shirt (the best in my opinion, love the collar roll on them) layered under a green merino wool v-neck. This look was accessorized with my favorite fall/winter cap, a beautiful camel colored wool/cashmere blend from Brooks Brothers and a warm, yet thin brown lambswool scarf made in Scotland I picked up at my work (Brooks Brothers of course!) for a whole $10 on clearance!

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And we go right back to being dressy here. Now, it is not often that I wear colors like black, but gotta bust em out once in a blue moon eh? In this case I overemphasized neutral colors like black and grey (black Zara blazer, 1 button, a rarity to see! and grey trousers), a black and white houndstooth pattern shirt), white pocket square, so I was able to make my tie stand out more. While the tie may look like a Burberry because of it’s pattern, I will admit it is not, actually picked this one up on eBay a few years back for like $2 haha.

 

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This look kind of blurs the line between causal and dressy, which is why I love it. Here I rocked my burgundy merino wool turtleneck, my tartan blazer (both picked up at a liquidation sale a few years ago for like $30 total!), grey flannel-like trousers (I say flannel-like because they are actually a mix of wool, cotton and linen) and the usual white linen pocket square. The whole “turtleneck under a jacket” look is one that I fully endorse and have for years, seems that GQ is on board with this one too. I would even rock this under a suit, oh wait I already have!

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Now let me finish with my last worthy outfit of November. This is a quintessential Brooks Brothers look from top-to-bottom, probably because every item I am wearing here (besides the watch and underwear, but including undershirt) is from Brooks. We got a cotton navy blazer, timeless blue oxford, beige chinos, burgundy medallion tie, pocket square, and flashy, non matching, go-to-hell don’t give a f*ck socks all from Brooks Brothers. I guess when you work in a store you love, you tend to buy a lot from them (employee discount baby!). The watch in this outfit was a beautiful gift from Ms. Dapper’s parents. I have never been a watch guy before, but after wearing this one all weekend I have changed my mind!

To end this post, I would like to say thank you to all who donated during my Movember campaign (not too late for a few more donations though!. Here is my last day with the ‘stache:

 

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I have now shaved it off and plan to go full-out bearded from December until April, I will not touch a razor. I will be using beard oil to keep it nice and soft though, so expect a review on Dollar Beard Club coming up in the next couple of months!

As always, stay dapper my friends!

 

-The Don 😉

C-Word Comes Early This Year!

Good evening Dapperites,

So I was at work at Brooks Brothers last night, pondering what I would buy to make up my Christmas outfit (I know believe me, I don’t want to think about the C-word yet either) but we recently got in a few (3) brilliant silk knit Christmas sweater ties. Picture one of those cheesy C-Word Sweaters, but on a tie! Anyone that knows me knows I would definitely wear and pull off something like that. Now I had been planning to buy it for a while, putting it off until December. But last night I realized, why not buy it now that way in December I can focus on gifts for others and not myself (What a grown up thing to say eh?). So I ended up pulling the trigger on it. Oh and what did I get to go along with that tie? Just a pair of red cashmere socks that were 60% off. Also used my 60% regular employee discount on the tie.

Voila:

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Think I’m going to pair these babies up with my white oxford, grey tweed pants and potentially my red cardigan. That should make a hell of a festive outfit. And if anyone thinks the tie is too cheesy or whatnont, to me it symbolizes a reminder not to take yourself too seriously all the time, loosen up, have fun with a holiday look! Ok now that is the last I will mention with regards to that time of year until next month!

As always, stay dapper my friends 😉

The Don

Nothing To See Here…Or….?

Dapperites!

Hope you’ve all been well. I would just like to share some of my favorite personal looks of mine from the past week and pass along some tips where I see fit. Ready… :

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So we begin with a casual look, chinos, cardigan (fall is in the air!) bright pink shirt to liven up the look and a muted down Italian tie ($2 at a thrift shop) to tie it all in together.

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Next is a more casual look, white T-shirt, motorcycle jacket inspired blazer (basically a casual blazer with plenty of silver zippers and timeless blue jeans and a cap to round it out. A real oldschool 1950s inspired rugged outfit.

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Ah, probably my favorite look of the week, my light grey 2 piece suit made into a 3 piece with an off-setting tweed vest with lapels (English inspired) and classic Brooks Brothers white oxford shirt. Style tip alert! adding an off color vest to a suit can really be a nice finishing touch. Topped off with a red silk ancient madder design tie. (Another thrift store find at $3!)

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Ahh Fall calls for layering, but not with dull dreary colors in the Don’s book! Blue merino wool v-neck layered under a navy cotton blazer, crisp white shirt and khaki chinos with a muted color tie. Think of it as the American preppy uniform meets Italian boldness! And can’t forget the bright blue socks!

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And rounding it out will be a look that lets the bright tie shine! A quiet simple look otherwise, taking navy dress pants with a lighter blue cotton blazer emblazoned with light dots, trusty white oxford and my Miami Dolphins colored tie! Although by the end of the day I wanted to rip it off in disgust and burn it!!! When you have a really cool, bright tie that you want to show off, remember to keep the rest of the look toned down and let the tie shine.

That’ll do it for now, so take some of these tips and integrate them in your wardrobe this week. Until next time…

Stay Dapper my friends!

The Don 😉

The Back-to-Work Look of the Day!

So, after a couple of weeks of being back and resettled in the capital city of Ottawa, I returned to work at Brooks Brothers yesterday. Really happy about it for a couple of reasons. #1 I need $$$ (don’t we all lol) and #2 it allows me to finally dress up on a regular basis again. And so with that I present the look of the workday:

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I’ll call this look business up top (white oxford shirt, navy blazer), party down low (pink cotton dress pants) and some fun in the middle (funky palm tree pattered tie). And why the funny face? Well just a reminder that you can dress up and have fun with your look by injecting some unexpected color into it and in turn, not take yourself too seriously. Look good, but have a little fun doing it! You’ll be fine 😉

-The Don