menswear

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

Update October 2016

Hello Dapperites,

You may be wondering where I’ve been lately and what I’ve been up to, why I have not been writing as much. Well here goes, I recently got a full time job at none other than Jack Victor. For those that don’t know, Jack Victor is a suit manufacturer in downtown Montreal, yes I said manufacturer in downtown Montreal. Still a family owned business founded way back in 1913. I am working in the customer service department, taking calls from retailers across North America, processing orders, etc. I could not be more happy or proud to be working in the field I am most passionate about.

I will admit, when I was offered this job I was hesitant. I felt that I could be “wasting” my communications degree I recently obtained. Well that’s bullshit. I am in a field I love for a company I respect tremendously. There is nothing wrong with that. I plan on paying my dues, working hard and moving on up. And the working hard part is why my posts on this blog will not be coming as often as they used to. The hours are long and by the time I commute back home I have time to work out, eat and maybe relax 1-2 hours. I love writing this blog and will still continue to do so when time permits.

Until next time….stay dapper my friends!

-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

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 😉

A Primer on Swimwear

With summer right around the corner the time is right to learn a little something about swimwear and where I stand on it.

 

A brief history lesson if I may (and since this is my blog, I will!). Obviously in the earliest of times, swimwear consisted of your birthday suit. In all your glory, you could go in bathe in any lake/river/pond/ocean/bathhouse you came across.

As time went on and people began to, you know, evolve, rules were put in place for men to covered while they swam/bathed. Some cultures, such as the Japanese used loincloths for bathing prior to the 19th century. The first swimsuits in the early 20th century were made entirely of wool and were often a one piece outfit (that must have itched like hell!)

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One can only imagine the horrific scent that this thing must have held after a hot day  of use in the sun.

In the 1930s however, people began to realize the nuttiness of the 1 piece and the top half was scrapped completely, resulting in the swim trunks we have become accustomed to today. Interesting to note that swimwear in the 1930s often came with belts and looked something like this:

 

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Not much changed until the 1950s postwar boom and the advent of synthetic materials such as lycra which provided more comfort and less drying time. Also gone was the belt and introduced were zippers as well as an array of patterns and styles:

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1960 was the year the iconic (or dreaded, depending on who you ask) Speedo was introduced and swimsuits were at their shortest length ever.

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The 1970s and 1980s were pretty ordinary as the Speedo-style trunks remained the overall king of swimwear until the 1990s, where the boardshort was introduced and became the #1 choice for men because of it’s ridiculous bagginess and long drying time loose comfortable fit.

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While the boardshort is still very popular, there has been a revival (Thank god!)  of varying forms of Speedo/boxer brief style trunks as well as shorter and trimmer cut shorts. So, what exactly should you be wearing this summer? Read on..

Unless you are a competitive swimmer, or have the body to pull it off, please stay away from the Speedo!

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If you look like this, don’t do it! (Think I’m being mean? tough shit)

For the average guy, swimwear that hits below the knee or mid-thigh is both stylish and acceptable. For the daring, try a retro fitted trunk like this. While it may be as tight as a Speedo, the boxer brief style covers enough. Again be mindful, if you think you’ll look ridiculous in it, or don’t have the confidence, then don’t do it.

Something I have noticed in the past few years as being very trendy are swimwear are fun prints and patterns. This is one trend I am definitely on board with, bringing a retro feel in a modern fit!

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An example of modern swimwear in a fun retro print

Another thing I am noticing are swimsuits that are designed as a 2 in 1 to function as a pair of shorts. I personally am not too keen on the idea. After a day on the beach, walking off to a bar or some place with sand stuck in my pockets is not an appealing scenario.

There you have it gents, a primer on swimwear and suggestions on how to upgrade your beach/lake/poolside look this summer! Thank you to The Gentleman’s Gazette as I sourced my information for this post from them.

As always, 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