clothing

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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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 😉

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!

Vintage and Secondhand store (thrift shops) can be a great way to amplify your accessories and outerwear without breaking the bank. My favorite shop in Ottawa is Ragtime Vintage Clothing on Flora St. Nothing like finding vintage designer ties for  $30. Combine them with modern tailoring and you’ll stand out in a crowd, in a good way of course 😉

 

-The Don

Look of the (Last) Workday

A little bit late to post, but had my last day of work at Brooks Brothers until the fall, a week ago today. Will miss that place this summer! Had to go out in style, here’s what I was rocking:

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Custom suit (of course) contact me at andrewm@ephapparel.com for more on that! Brooks Brothers shirt, tie and pocket square to round it out. Adios Brooks Brothers, till we meet again in the fall!

As always, keep it dapper,

The Don 😉

Spring is Here, F-You Winter!

Good day Dapperites!

So Spring is officially here (whether the temperature agrees or not!) so I had to bust out my springwear today. Bright and bold, kinda like me 😉

Striped Cotton blazer, purple gingham shirt, royal blue chinos, aqua tie with anchors and royal blue tie bar

  Striped Cotton blazer, purple gingham shirt, royal blue chinos, aqua tie with anchors and royal blue tie bar

My two fingered salute to old man winter!

My two fingered salute to old man winter!

New Style Icon: Lapo Elkann

Lapo Elkann, Gianni Agnelli’s grandson, accomplished businessman/entrepreneur and a hell of a snazzy dresser. I’m talking extremely-wide lapels, bright colors, funky accessories and done with confidence which is always key!

Listen to some good life advice from him here:

Notice the use of bold colors, how he uses eyewear as a sartorial statement and carries himself with confidence, which pulls it all together. What I’m trying to tell you my friends, is that you gotta live on the edge and take chances when you dress, be bold, make a statement sometimes, or if you have his or my confidence level, dress like this always! Because gentlemen, the best thing you can wear besides a suit is your confidence 😉

Buona Sera, Goodnight,

-The Don 😉