fashion

Book Review: Bespoke Menswear: Tailoring for Gentlemen

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’d like to share with you a review on one of my favorite books on menswear and that is (as seen in the title of this post), Bespoke Menswear: Tailoring for Gentlemen by Bernhard RoetzelI received this book for Christmas after being inspired to seek out more information on bespoke tailoring and to understand certain aspects, and I will say it is a real eye-opener into the world and history of bespoke clothing.

The book starts out by attempting to define what exactly bespoke tailoring is, the author illustrates the reversal in the last century going from a time where almost all clothing was bespoke to today where it is a lot rarer.

From there, Roetzel explores the past of bespoke tailoring, dating all the way back to (fun fact) 1152, when the first tailor’s guild was established in Germany. An overview of what differentiates one country’s particular tailoring style to another’s is then given, focused solely on European nations as let’s face it, they are the birthplace of bespoke luxury.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the feature Roetzel illustrates of many well-known ateliers throughout Europe including  Sartoria A. Caraceni of Milan, Cifonelli of Paris, Dietl of Munich and Zaremba of Warsaw. It is always nice to see the workspaces and the faces of the people behind these iconic companies.

This book could have just stopped there, but instead, the author takes it up a notch by featuring world-renowned cloth merchant, Scabal and going step by step on how wool goes from sheep to suiting fabric. Somewhere around this nice feature is a handy list of key fabric terms and a nice photo and descriptions of different patterns:

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Of course, this book would not make any sense had the author not included the actual steps (with photos) as to how a bespoke garment comes together, from measurements to patternmaking, cutting and stitching, it truly does come together like a piece of fine art! As a bonus feature, Roetzel explains the names and purposes of a tailor’s tools with photos.

Suits are not the only feature in this book, there are separate sections on bespoke shirts and ties with similar features on processes, cloths and ateliers producing them. I will admit that to me the feature on bespoke ties feels unnecessary, I mean I can still admire the art form that goes into making one but are that many people in Europe commissioning bespoke ties these days?

Where’s my memory??? I almost forgot to include a feature that would be useful to many and that is the difference between bespoke and made to measure, which are often confused with one another. (No I won’t tell you here, buy the book and find out! 😉 )

A nice touch at the end of the book features a full glossary of all critical terms in the book as well as the addresses of each featured atelier should you decide to seek one out for your next suit.

So, who would I recommend this book to? Not anyone who doesn’t understand much about menswear, not anyone who you would consider “cheap” who does not understand the true value of these beautiful garments and who only looks at price. I would recommend it to someone who has a knowledge or interest in tailoring and the world of menswear, this book will only stoke the fires of your passion and perhaps inspire you to commission a bespoke garment one day!

You can find the book for sale on Amazon for roughly $30 CAD, get a copy here:

Until next time, keep it dapper!

 

-The Don

 

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The One (or Two) Knots to Rule Them All!

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

Tonight’s post will be on a topic so simple that most men don’t even think twice about it. I am of course referring to the tie knot. Now there are so many different options when it comes to tying a tie but there is one particular knot that graces the necks of uber stylish men worldwide. Are you ready for this tidbit of super secret information? I am referring to the humble, easy to tie, four in hand knot.

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Pitti Uomo, ultimate display of peacocking yet look at the simple tie knots. Photo from Gentleman’s Gazette 

I myself have recently abandoned my old favorite, the half-windsor knot in favor of the four in hand and it’s cousin, the double four in hand.

What makes the four in hand, a knot that was probably the first one you ever knew, so damn stylish? For one, it has a dash of built in sprezzatura. Take a good look at the knot, it’s not 100% symmetrical, it’s slightly askew….and we wouldn’t have it any other way, embrace it!

Secondly, it is a versatile knot that pairs with any kind of tie and shirt collar as evidenced below:

Now, I was tempted to include an exception to this rule by writing that extra wide spread collars only look good with a larger knot like a half-windsor, but after seeing what my extra wide spread collar looked like with a four in hand knot (first picture on left), I can’t justify including that exception.

What else do I love about this knot? Double it up and have twice as much fun! The double four in hand knot (simply wrap the tie around a second time before knotting) adds a further dash of sprezzatura by adding a little bulk and personality to the knot. It also serves a practical purpose to shorten neckties that may be a touch too long for you depending on your height.

But Don, that about those cool intricate knots I see on Instagram? Aren’t those cool to use on a regular basis? H-E-L-L  N-O!

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Eldredge Knot

I hold such a disdain for these kinds of knots for 2 reasons.

  1. It LOOKS like you are trying too hard, the complete opposite of sprezzatura
  2. You are probably wearing a cheap tie and are trying to distract away from that fact with a WOW factor knot…if you’ve got a great quality tie on, let the tie be the star of your show not the knot!

To conclude, in order to look great with you neckwear you do not need to fuss over what knot goes with what collar, simplicity is elegance! Consider the four in hand (and double four in hand) like a white dress shirt, it goes with everything!

Grazie e salute!

-The Don

Psst! Looking for a great place to stock up on any tie imaginable? Check out the Tie Bar, with prices that can’t be beat for the quality. I own an extensive amount of ties and pocket squares from them, from classic and elegant to fun and funky. There’s plenty to match your taste without breaking the bank!

Looks of the Week!

Good Evening to you Dapperites,

Just wanted to share a few of my favorite looks from the past week, enjoy!

 

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Unstructured half lined patch pocketed sportcoat (my favorite style jacket), blue OCBD, wool/silk tie, grey trousers and of course a punch of red socks)

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2 button peak lapel Jack Victor suit, Eph Apparel custom contrast collar shirt, Brooks Brothers bright paisley tie, Tie Bar pocket square and Black/Brown brand cufflinks)

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Navy blue Ted Baker SPJ, white Zara shirt, custom Eph Apparel trousers (part of a suit), vintage tie that belonged to my dad, and Chelsea boots to round it out

Have a great weekend,

 

-The Don

Old Suits, New Lives!

Good Morning Dapperites,

Recently I tried a “trend” that I got to admit I was very skeptical to try at first. Turns out it’s a great way to get more use out of the suits in your wardrobe. That “trend” is breaking up your suits into separates and mixing/matching jackets and trousers.

I have this one favorite suit of mine that has definitely been featured on this blog before.  Last week I decided to bite the bullet and see how it would look pairing the jacket separately with a different pair of trousers and the trousers with a different jacket. Well here’s how it looked:

 

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Turns out my skepticism was wrong about breaking up the suit, I find it looked great although I will admit I preferred the look of the jacket with the grey trousers than I did the trousers with the navy blazer. Guess sometimes the “trends” are good after all.

I will leave you with some tips though if you are planning on giving this a go.

  1. If your suit is patterned like mine, pair the pieces with a neutral color.
  2. Solids of different colors match together. Create that contrast!
  3. Feeling daring? Go pattern on pattern BUT the patterns must be different scales (ex. large stripes with a subtle houndstooth)
  4. Own that shit! Seriously it’s all in the confidence, if you’re not comfortable wearing the combo, it will show to observers.

There you have it my friends, a new way to wear your suits and a refreshing breath of fresh air to your old ones. Have a great weekend!

 

-The Don

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/

A look ahead…Your Spring/Summer 2018 Trends!

Good Evening my dapper friends,

One of the advantages I have of working in the menswear industry is access to future trends that will shape the year ahead. I’d like to share with you tonight some that you could look forward to for next summer so you can get on board and be a trendsetter!

Note: These are the trends that I personally feel will have an impact and not every trend that I have come across.

 

  •  Three Button suit 
    • Yeah, I was surprised to see this one too. But as it turns out there is not much neckwear being showcased from designers these days. So what’s the compromise? A higher button stance and super soft shoulders to be bold and stand out from the crowd.
  • Hawaiian Print Shirts
    • The cheesy vacation shirt is back! (I think I owned a few as a kid). But this time around the prints are funkier and more abstract, and the quality of fabric much better.

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  • Pleated Trousers
    • These have picked up steam over the last few seasons and don’t appear to be going anywhere! Whether single or double pleated, the fit is kept modern (tapered legs) so you won’t look like a  1990s middle manager in billowy double pleated khakis.
  • Techno Suit
    • I’ll admit, this is one that I can’t get on board with. With the rise of athleisure, the lines between classic tailoring and it have become blurred in S/S ’18. Suits made from technical fabrics such as nylon layered with activewear could be one way to make a splash. Just don’t expect me to be rocking the look!
  • I ❤ The 90s
    • In terms of sportswear, the menswear industry has fallen hard for the 1990s. This means big graphic prints, oversized logos, floral prints and oversized nylon jackets and tracksuits. Bust out the old gear or buy some new!

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  • Relaxed Trousers
    • So, pleats are back, we know that. But we will also begin to see a reversal of the skinny fit trend as cropped looser silhouettes will begin to spring up. And it’s not only limited to casual pants, expect to see dress pants loosen up as well. Let the “boys” breathe again!

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  • Who wears short shorts?!
    • This time back to the 1980s and the short shorts. Or if you ask me, just shorts. I mean seriously how were these ever considered “shorts”? The inseams have shrank back to 1980s NBA short levels when shorts were, you know, short! Get some color on those legs and make a bold style statement at the same time!

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  • The Espadrille, all grown up!
    • Ahh, the espadrille. Classic summer beach/lounge shoe. Not according to a few designers such as Ralph Lauren who has been featuring the summer shoe dressed up with suiting pieces. Also expect fabrics to be more upscale, from the traditional canvas up to suede and leather.

 

So there you have it, a few of the trends that I feel can make an impact for S/S 2018. You want to be ahead of the curve, you know what to do!

 

Stay dapper my friends,

-The Don

 

 


Sources

Garner, Stephen. “Tips from an Editor Abroad.” MR Magazine, Aug. 2017, pp. 42–43.
Fisher, Michael. “8 Must Have Trends for Spring 2018 .” MR Magazine, July 2017, pp. 38–40.
Macko, Michael. “Shoe Business.” MR Magazine, Aug. 2017, pp. 44–45.

 

Summer 2017 Update!

Yup Yup Yup, I’m still here.

So what’s been going on the past few months in the life of the Don?

Well I’ve been keeping myself pretty busy with work at Jack Victor (and loving it). I keep myself on a pretty rigorous routine (I’m up at 4:45 every morning to get an early morning workout in). And I work right up until 6 pm so by the time I get home I don’t have much energy or brainpower left, hence the large gaps in my posting.

Another thing that has happened is that I have left my side gig with Eph Apparel after about 2 and a half years. I just did not have enough time or energy to dedicate to the hustle that it entailed. I will forever to be grateful to them for the opportunity to learn about and sell made to measure custom suiting . That opportunity came about at a time in my life where I needed extra money being a student in Ottawa. I have nothing but full respect for the whole team there and wish them continued success.

In leaving my gig with Eph, I did it because I wanted to focus more on growing myself in my career at Jack Victor and to a certain degree, get back to running this blog a little bit with more frequent updates and useful posts for you all. Since I am officially on vacation in the coming week, look for at least one post. Stay tuned for more 😉

 

-The Don