gentleman

Live Clean Men’s Classic Clean Shampoo Review!

Good Evening Ladies and Gents,

In a previous post I mentioned how I was looking for a quality shampoo that is as natural as possible (by natural I mean sulfate and paraben free etc). And while I love Brickell products and was seriously considering their shampoo, the $26 CAD price tag had me hesitant. Seemingly devoid of options I was going to pull the trigger on it until I searched one last time and came across the Live Clean brand, a Canadian company (with Canadian made products, a bonus for the folks here in the Great White North!) founded in 2006 with eco friendly, plant based shampoos and grooming products. At $13 CAD (including shipping) from Well.ca, I pulled the trigger on it.

Now before I get into the review of this product, I thought it would be important to mention why I wanted a shampoo that was sulfate and paraben free. First off what are sulfates exactly? Sulfates (sodium laureth sulfate to be exact) is a chemical that turns the shampoo into a rich lather in the shower (it is also used in many cleaning products). So what is so bad about it? Well, sulfates in your shampoo have a tendency to dry out hair and scalp by stripping them of their natural oils. They can also cause an allergic reaction in those with sensitive skin. For me, not something that sounds particularly enjoyable.

Onto parabens, what are they? In essence, they are preservatives that have been approved for use in cosmetics and grooming products. They are virtually harmless (although there is conflicting research on the topic). For men however, they can cause a couple of unpleasant effects by causing hormonal imbalances that can lower sperm count and testosterone levels. Now I just recently turned 30 years old and I know that testosterone levels naturally start to decline at that age, so in no way shape or form do I want to help accelerate that process!!

Back to the point of writing this, the shampoo! What does this eco-friendly, paraben and sulfate free shampoo contain? The 3 main ingredients (what they call Power Tech 3) are tea tree oil, peppermint extract and Jojoba oil, all natural and efficient ingredients. But how does this stuff look and feel when it’s in your hair?

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Pretty much a clear liquid, not too thick however

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Lathers nicely, not as foamy as regular shampoo with sulfates but that’s alright.

So my thoughts? Lathers nicely, feels really nice when it’s in your hair. The tea tree oil and peppermint extract give it a pleasant tingly feeling while giving a nice deep cleanse to hair and scalp. I will say that after a couple of weeks use, my hair does not at all feel dry or brittle but a little more soft. At half the price of Brickell, although you could find it cheaper on Amazon! (sorry Brickell, still do love your other products!) it’s definitely great value. My only gripe is that I wish it came in a larger size than just 300 ml.

Thank you always for reading and I hope this review will be helpful for you in your search for quality grooming products.

-The Don

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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

 

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

Update August 2016

Hello Dapperites,

 

Just thought I would give an update to you all since I have been inactive on this blog for the past few months. I was extremely busy throughout the months of July and August powering through the final 2 classes of my university career. I can now proudly say that I am a graduate of Carleton University with a B.A in Communications!

Furthermore, I am now being forced to move back to Montreal due to my not being able to find a job in my field here in Ottawa. This saddens me very much as I have grown to love this great city of Ottawa and view my hometown of Montreal as a sinking ship, a cesspool of economic turmoil and political chaos. Nonetheless, I know I have many family and friends and most importantly my girlfriend that will support me. I vow to return to the city of Ottawa with a job in the near future!

Lastly, I would like invite you all to check out my side project, done for one of my classes, chronicling the history of menswear entitled “A History of Dapperness“. Now with more time on my hands I plan on being active again on this blog as well as my side project which I am keen on continuing. Thank you for reading and thank you for your support. Until next time….

 

Stay Dapper my friends!

 

-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 😉

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