classic

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

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 😉

Style Trends (And Why You Should Ignore Them)

Good Evening Dapperites,

I hope you all had a great holiday season with your loved ones. I’ll just share a few  sartorial pictures from my holidays to begin this post:

 

(Psst, check out the holiday sweater knit tie, really proud about that one. Some people think you can only wear it once a year but I’ll probably wear it in the middle of summer, just because I’m the Don and I can dammit!)

 

Now onto why I’m writing this post. As you know (unless you are living on the planet Jakku, there’s a bone for all you Star Wars geeks!) we are in the year 2016 and with it you can expect to be bombarded with articles from fashion mags and sites proclaiming the “trends” to look for during the year. Well I’m here to tell you read them, take them sumbitches, turn them sideways and stick em straight up your candyass! (Ok don’t literally do that, it will hurt, and some parts of the articles may be useful, just keep reading this post)

Here’s an example of one of those articles from GQ. Now what you must know is that magazines like this (or any magazine for that matter) are also flooded with ads bought and paid for by companies that want you to buy their clothing and buy into trends featured in articles. But since you’ve been reading this blog, you should have a more grounded sense of style than to just follow the newest/latest/hottest trends.

If you have good basic knowledge of style, then you just need to ignore all the perpetuated “trends” that are trying to be forced on you as though you don’t know any better. Sure you can throw a trend or 2 into your outfits, but please do not go out and buy half a new wardrobe just because some magazine told you to. You will just look ridiculous and look like you’re trying too hard. If you want some advice for the new year in style I will rattle off some of my personal style commandments for the new year:

  1. Thou shalt embrace one’s personal style and not rely solely on trends
  2. Thou shalt mix in vintage pieces with modern to achieve a unique personal style
  3. Thou shalt make use of the art of sprezzatura
  4. Thou shalt not copy ridiculously bad celebrity style such as  Jaden Smith (whom GQ has head their head up his ass for a while now)
  5. Thou shalt look for form and function when shopping for items
  6. Thou shalt buy at least one custom made suit (Yes I know cheap plug, but hey it’s my damn blog!)
  7. Thou shalt not wear sneakers with a suit, I don’t care how many times GQ tries to force this look down my throat
  8. Thou shalt eliminate (or re-purpose) items that do not fit anymore, are torn or have holes
  9. Thou shalt dress for the occasion (there is no 1 outfit fits all solution)
  10. Thou shalt dress like a grown man and not try to dress like a teenager

In a nutshell, what I am advocating is for you to be your own man when it comes to your style. Do not let it be dictated by what you see on TV, on magazines and on websites. At the same time however, do not stray off into the zone of ridiculousness:

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So there you have it folks. My take on why you should ignore what the supposed “trends” are and just build off your own basic knowledge, taking inspiration from here and there but never copy an entire trend list verbatim. You will spend waste money and you WILL look like a complete tool.

 

Stay dapper my friends!

 

-The Don 😉

 

P.S. Look for a very cool feature and event recap for my next post, can’t tell you what it is yet, just wait n read!

 

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 😉

Dapper as EPH: Part 2

Hellooooo again Dapperites,

Earlier today I promised that I would post an update of me wearing my new custom suit, so here it is:

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A beautiful custom fit in a loud pattern and a double breast as you can see (can’t forget the flashy green socks as well!)

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Complete with the “Rusty Mustache” Tie and Tie Bar I mentioned earlier. You can really see in this shot how wide the lapels are, just how I like em! Wide lapels are definitely in if you’re looking for a bold, European look.

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In case you were wondering how cuffed suit pants look, here it is. I just like the retroness of them, I always dress to be different. Like I always say, better to stand out than to blend in!

If anyone is interested in a custom suit or shirt, feel free to contact me: andrewm@ephapparel.com

Till next time, Stay Dapper my Friends 😉

-The Don

Product Reviews Oldschool and Newschool

Good evening dapperites,

Before I being this review, I feel it’s important to note that I have not been paid by either company to conduct these reviews nor were the products given to me by them for free. So with that out of the way let’s get right to it!

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The first product up for review is an oldschool hair grooming product, Jeris Hair Tonic. For those of you unfamiliar, hair tonic used to be a common product back in the day especially by barbers who would use it to massage the scalp and style the hair at the same time. Now I like to use tonic occasionally to give my hair a more natural yet structured look since tonic dries out and doesn’t have that “wet-look”. I just finished up a bottle of Vitalis Hair Tonic so when I was dragged along to Sally’s Beauty Supply, I spotted the bottle of Jeris lurking at the bottom shelf near the cash. I decided to pick it up and give it a shot. So how did it turn out? Pretty disappointing to say the least. I find that while it smells nice, it offers very little hold to the hair. At first I thought since I was in need of a haircut that it was hindering the product’s ability but even after cutting my hair thus having less of it, it was a disappointment. In other words, you practically have to carry the bottle around all day and re-apply to have a decent hold. I think I will be going back to Vitalis once this bottle is done. But I will say this about hair tonics and oldschool hair products in general, if it’s been around a long time, there’s a good reason for it. I have read that the Jeris version with oil offers a bit more hold, but I don’t plan on taking that plunge.

Onto the second product, Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Moisturizer . Now I’ve stressed the importance of taking care of your skin before on here and when doing so, I encourage the use of the best products you can afford. Your skin is no place to skimp out on. I discovered this moisturizer when I purchased my face wash from Kiehl’s and took the moisturizer as one of my samples. When my old moisturizer ran out I didn’t hesitate and immediately purchased the Kiehl’s one because I loved the sample. So why do I love it so much? Well when putting it on I immediately felt it go to work “waking” my skin up making it feel energized and ready for the day. It advertises:

“Our vitamin-enriched and energizing non-oily moisturizer wakens and uplifts dull, fatigued skin. This “facial recovery accelerator” helps skin resist the affects of environmental stress for a healthy, invigorated appearance. The formula, with Vitamin C and E, Chestnut extract and Soy, helps waken tired-looking skin and helps improve skin’s look and texture. With use, your skin will feel refueled, re-energized and revitalized!”

And boy does it ever perform. Living the student life again, it’s full of late nights and early mornings and this does the trick in the morning to help me look my best and improving the look of my skin. This is one product I definitely recommend. Remember, being dapper goes beyond just the clothes you wear, it’s about taking care of yourself too!

Hopefully these reviews will help a few of you out there make smart decisions when it comes to buying products to fulfill a dapper life. Until next time….stay dapper my friends!

The Don 😉

Death to the Skinny Tie!!!

Ok maybe not complete death to the skinny tie, but I believe they are on the way out. Browsing some pics of fashionable gents in Europe on Instagram such as this one, there is not a skinny tie in sight. Lately, I myself have been favoring a wider tie, anywhere from 3 to the oldschool 4 inch ones.

There have been many ‘rules’ when it comes to tie width, “match the width of your tie to the width of your lapels” is an ideal one, although not always practical, am I supposed to run out and buy a new suit every time I get a tie of a different width? Please. Another one, (which I agree makes sense) is the fact that certain widths look different on certain body types. If you’re a husky, or athletic muscular guy, a skinny tie will look kinda weird on you. There’s a reason why you see football players not wearing skinny ties, it would look ridiculous on them. Here’s a good example of Ray Lewis rocking an appropriate tie for his shape.

Now, I am not advocating taking all your skinny ties and throwing them all away, but rather encouraging you all to start integrating some wider ties in your repertoire. Especially if you work in a conservative office, you’ll want to go with something like a standard 3″ tie. And let me let you in on a secret, I myself feel a little more powerful and manly in a wider tie, try it! And if you need a bonus, there are so much more possible knots with wider ties than with skinny ties, where you are largely restricted to the simple Four in Hand knot.

Overall, I do feel like the whole skinny tie trend is becoming played out, as we all know, fashion is cyclical and always repeats itself in one way or another. By that line of thinking, we should start seeing wider ties become trendier again. In fact, some stores don’t even carry skinny ties and never really did, like my #1 favorite Brooks Brothers. In fact, an interesting line caught my eye in their book, Generations of Style“By ignoring trends, Brooks Brothers has gone on setting them”

Now to cap it off with a few ties from my own collection of varying widths:

Some of the collection

So here we have ties of varying widths, they are as follows (in order left to right): “2.25”, 3.25″, 3.75″, 3″. 1.75″, 2.5″ and the large gaudy 1970s tie acquired from a co-worker in a whopping 4.75″. That is probably where I draw the line, 4.75″ is extra wide, will probably take it to a tailor and have him narrow it to 3″ or 4″.

And my latest, most beautiful catch, a Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece handmade seven fold silk tie purchased at work for $13, languishing in the discount bin due to it’s 4″ width. For those unfamiliar with Brooks Brothers, the Golden Fleece line is the creme de la creme in terms of quality. If you are wondering what a seven fold silk tie is, look here. They are hard to find and usually retail upwards of $150!

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I will say this about seven fold ties, they are nice and thick and make for a beautiful knot as shown above.

That’s all for today dapperites, remember next time you’re out tie hunting, switch it up a bit and go for something a little wider. Don’t be scared, you’ll look great, just rock it with confidence 😉

The Don