Ottawa

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

 

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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

The Exclusives PR: Changing the Ottawa Fashion Scene!

Good evening dapperites,

On January 29, I had a chance to attend a great event, the dawn of a new era in the Ottawa fashion scene. On this night, I attended the official launch party of The Exclusives PR. They are the city’s first PR firm catering to the fashion industry. They offer social media, event planning, production and media relations to magazines, boutiques, stylists, designers, etc.

 

The night was a great one, characterized by a gathering of a variety of players in the Ottawa fashion scene. There were makeup artists, bloggers, designers, stylists, etc. It was great to meet and mingle with a variety of them. Some of them even recognized me and my flashy custom suit from Instagram. It was definitely flattering!

 

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The Don and the founder of Me Tu Style.

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Fashion and lifestyle blogger, columnist for Ottawa at Home magazine and a great person, Katie Hession of YowCityStyle. Follow her great Instagam featuring your’s truly here.

Marcelle Bénédicte of Couture MB, follow her on Instagram12687810_1195516563809565_3621014407634471573_n

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Bohten, a great eyewear company out of Toronto

I had a chance to interview the dynamic young founder of The Exclusives, Naira Fragoso da Costa. Here is how it went:

Tell me a little about yourself:

My name is Naira, I’m 20 years old. I attend the school of Journalism and Communications at Carleton University, which I will be graduating from this December. I have been wanting to be a fashion journalist/PR since I was 12 years old.

What is your experience in the fashion world?

I modeled for almost five years within Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa, doing fashion weeks within those cities and different campaigns such as – Bluesfest and Bayshore mall.

When did you get the idea to open up the Exclusives PR?

I got the idea this past November when, I watched an interview of my idol Kelly Cutrone saying “If you know the in’s and out’s of this industry, eff an internship – do your own thing.”

How long in the making has it been? What were your biggest challenges along the way?

The day after hearing Kelly’s interview on November, 30th I wrote up a business plan, the next day went to register the business with the government, the next day got a staff, then the next day started working on the website. By December, 21st we launched the site and social media accounts. By January, 29th we had our launch. Biggest challenge has been trying to get people to understand what PR even is.

Who has been your inspiration/role model throughout this whole process?

The #1 fashion PR in the world Kelly Cutrone since I was 13 up until now and designer Diane Von Furstenberg since I was 15 up until now. Eleanor Lambert and  Anna Wintour have also been tremendous inspirations to me.

What do you hope to accomplish with this venture?

To revolutionalize the Canadian fashion industry, like the fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert did with American fashion back in the WWII era.

How do you balance this with your school and personal life?

The business does take up a lot of my time and school does as well of course. But I’m a believer in the importance of spending time with our loved ones because, you honestly never know when will be the last you’ll see them. So when life hands you three choices of; work, sleep and a social life and you can only pick two. I unfortunately dropped sleep, BUT everything is temporary and like my grandmother would always say in Portuguese “Nao ha beneficios sem sacrificios.” There are “No benefits without sacrifices” so my sleep sacrifice will hopefully come to an end soon.

What are some of the challenges facing the Ottawa fashion industry?

Everything. There’s potential but there’s no knowledge and professionalism, to make it flourish into a well rounded fashion atmosphere – like Toronto or Montreal. The fashion industry in Ottawa has absolutely no value to it, things are done in an unprofessional manner and that is why things remain so mediocre. In order for it to reach a higher level people need to stop treating it as a hobby and as a profession with value. Fashion is culture, fashion is identity but it is also revenue. In New York, London and Paris people in fashion will make more than doctors and lawyers because, it has become a valuable industry. So in order to have value, it must be valuable first. That being said people in the fashion industry in Ottawa no matter what they are; designer, blogger, PR or model. Knowledge is number one and key, this is a complex industry that has a lot of history, background and diversity. If people studied this industry a bit more and tried to understand how the big four capitals do things and have developed through the years, things may unfold in a much different manner. All in all, this isn’t just an Ottawa problem… this is a Canadian problem. Fashion has yet to be incorporated into the cultural policy of this country and progression within industries only occur once it is established within the government aspect and cultural aspect of the country. Which is why getting into the habit of studying this industry is important. People would be extremely surprised at even how behind Toronto is compared to other fashion based cities. Once those challenges and flaws are met and understood – that is when a revolution within the industry becomes a must.

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Naira addressing the crowd at the launch.

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Naira and a couple of her team members.

She is definitely an inspiring young woman and I do look forward to working with her in inspiring this revolution for the Canadian fashion industry. She is very determined and there is no doubt she will be successful in this venture.

Last up on the night was a great afterparty held at Mezzanotte Bistro in the Byward Market, a very trendy and stylish location with great cocktails.

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So please go give The Exclusives Facebook page a like, follow them on Twitter and Instagram and if you’re in the Ottawa area and require their services, reach out to them! Let the revolution begin!

-The Don 😉

 

Don Dapper and YOW City Style!

Good evening Dapperites,

 

Hope your holidays have been fantastic (and dapper). Tonight I just wanted to share with you some photos of my work with YOW City Style. She is a fantastic amateur lifestyle and style photographer in Ottawa. Despite the fact that she considers photography to be just a hobby, her pictures and effort she puts in makes me consider her a professional. And a unique touch she adds to her posts is that she always asks her subjects to say a little something about Ottawa, whether it is their favorite neighborhood, restaurant, etc. I had the opportunity to be featured by her a few days ago. The pictures were taken in Brewer Park in Old Ottawa South. Here are the shots:

Of course you can tell I was rocking my custom EPH Apparel Double Breasted blue plaid windowpane number, braces and my cashmere hat on top. I considered styling my hair but last minute decided on the hat since it added an old country gentleman flair.

I would definitely recommend following her site:

 

http://yowcitystyle.tumblr.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yowcitystyle/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yowcitystyle/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/YOWCityStyle

I look forward to working with her again.

 

Stay classy and keep it dapper 😉

 

-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

Let’s Play a Game of….Know Your Suits!

Good day dapperites,

Now when I say “Know your suits” I am not talking about what types of suits you should have and why, because if you’ve been following this blog you already know! When I talk about knowing your suits, I mean, do you really know them? Do you know what constitutes quality and why? How are they made? What are the components? So do you know your suits now? Didn’t think so! So pull up a chair, get your cigar, pour a drink and settle in:

I will work from the inside out here. So the inner construction of your suit, what are the differences?

CANVASSED VS. HALF CANVASSED VS. FUSED

CANVAS – a blend of cotton or wool with an animal hair, usually horse or camel. This material molds over time through pressure humidity and heat and retain their shape.

FULL CANVAS CONSTRUCTION – The canvas runs from the top of shoulder (including the lapel) to the hem and floats between the layers of cloth. This allows the jacket to shape to the body over time. In the lapel of the jacket the canvas is adhered to the fabric using a blind stitching process known as pad stitching which gives the lapel a natural roll. This is the gold standard in suit construction and also the most expensive and time consuming process.

HALF CANVAS CONSTRUCTION – A construction approach that combines the improved structure,rolled lapel, and shape to the jacket where it is most needed (in the chest and shoulder) with the cost savings of a fused suit. The canvas layer generally runs from the shoulder down to the first button on the jacket, and the fusible layer runs throughout the entire body of the jacket as it is always necessary to have the fabric stabilized by something, whether it is canvas or fusible.

FUSED CONSTRUCTION – A type of garment construction that relies on the application of a thin layer of cloth that when heated in a special press, will bond to another fabric by melting the glue on its surface and fusing it to the other cloth. The result is that it gives the front of the jacket the structure that it needs without using the expensive,time consuming canvas interlining process.  The biggest drawbacks of this process are that it doesn’t provide the same support as a canvas layer, it doesn’t extend into the lapel leaving it looking flimsy and lifeless, and it is prone to an unattractive bubbling effect if too much heat is applied to it and the bond between the fusible and the cloth is lifted.

Now out of all these three your best value bet would be to go for the half-canvassed. This middle ground option still gets you solid quality without paying the premium for full canvas.

Next, what key components really make for a great suit?  Let’s start with the little things, because of course, the devil is in the details 😉

PAD STITCHED LAPEL – A canvas layer that extends into the lapel that is reinforced with a series of stitches that run parallel to the roll line of the lapel in order to give it more firmness and a natural curve to the lapel that will be durable over time.

NATURAL LAPEL ROLL – Our suits all feature a naturally rolled lapel that will hold its shape over time and add depth and elegance to your suit jacket. A hard pressed lapel is meant for a jacket that has no canvas and is of lower quality, so having a natural roll not only looks better but signifies quality.

FLOATING CHEST PIECE – A cotton felt chest piece floats in the midsection of the garment as well for additional structure and substance and a natural drape of the fabric from shoulder to hem.

LIGHTWEIGHT SHOULDER PADS – Shoulder pads that have a curved shape that looks and feels natural for increased comfort and flexibility, but a natural shoulder line.

NATURAL HORN BUTTONS ‐ Highest quality buttons available for suits.Plastic buttons often crack in bad weather and harsh climates or after several trips to the dry cleaners.

UNDER COLLAR – A felt lined collar not only helps the suit hold its shape around the neck, but also allows your jacket to mimic an outerwear coat on a cool evening.

REINFORCED BUTTON STITCHING – Reinforced double stitching around the buttons, to provide additional support and reduce the probability of the buttons falling off.

UNDERARM SWEAT GUARDS – Additional padding under arms to ensure that even on the most perspiring of gentlemen,the wetness won’t show through the fabric. This helps during those summer weddings in steaming hot churches with no A/C!

HAND STITCHED ARMHOLES – A hand stitched armhole in the inside of the jacket for maximum mobility and comfort.

LINED PANTS – Pants that are lined to the knee to protect the pant fabric from wearing through in the highest stress areas and also preventing the wearer from overheating. Another key feature for those hot summer weddings.

YKK ZIPPERS – Considered the standard in zippers for their quality and longevity.

SIDE GRIPPER – located around the waistband, side grippers are used to keep shirts tucked in. I know I appreciate this in a suit very much, helps avoid the billowing effect of a shirt half tucked at the back!

HEEL GUARDS – protects against abrasion to the fabric at the end of the heel, which is a major stress point of trousers. Who doesn’t want their pants to last longer??

Now let’s hit up some more common external features of a suit 

LAPEL – The folds of fabric that begin at the collar of the jacket and run down the front to the buttons

NOTCH LAPEL – an angled style of lapel common on men’s suits for generations. This is the standard lapel on most men’s suit jackets and blazers found today.

PEAKED LAPEL – A more formal lapel style characterized by a lapel that comes to a point at the line the collar begins and is commonly seen on double breasted suits and tuxedos.

SHAWL LAPEL – Originally used on smoking jackets, the shawl lapel appears as a continuous curve from collar to button. The shawl collar is now mostly used on tuxedos and other formalwear.

If you’re wondering which kind the Don himself favors, I’d have to say I have really been digging the Wide Peaked lapels lately, taking a page out of some powerful Italian fashion lookbooks. Really adds that confident flair. 

COLLAR – The part of the suit jacket that frames the neck, padded with felt for a thicker, rolled appearance that will help the lapel sit properly

BUTTON STANCE – Refers to the height that the first button on the suit jacket will hit, and consequently, the length of the lapel. Button stance is a matter of preference and the cut of the jacket, but generally on a two button suit, most men want the button stance to hit 1”‐2” above the belly button.

ONE BUTTON JACKET – A one button jacket carries a lower button stance and is traditionally seen on formalwear. However, fashion forward men of today are wearing the one button suit with confidence as a go between for their office suits and their formal suits. These types of suits were made famous by jazz legend Miles Davis. I myself have a one button blazer in my arsenal and love busting it out whenever I can.

TWO BUTTON JACKET – The most common button stance for today’s suits. It flatters all body types and sizes. Traditionally,the bottom button of a two button jacket is left undone to facilitate mobility. You cannot go wrong with this no matter who you are.

THREE BUTTON JACKET – Popular in the 80’s and 90’’s the three button jacket carries a higher button stance and subsequently is sometimes favored by taller gentlemen as it accentuates their torso and takes attention away from the legs. Conventionally, the top button of a three button jacket is optional, the middle button should always be fastened, and the bottom button should be left undone.  I have not seen this kind of suit in years, except on my old man. If you’re feeling uber confident/nostalgic by all means dip into this style.

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DOUBLE BREASTED JACKET – A suit jacket or blazer with wide, overlapping front flaps that fasten by buttons across the body.Double breasted suits have seen a resurgence in popularity as of late. Hint: My next suit will be a double breasted wide peaked lapel one!

SINGLE BREASTED JACKET – The standard suit jacket where there is only a slight overlap of the front flaps of the jacket, fastened by a single row of buttons up the middle

VENT – The opening or slit at the back of the suit jacket originally added to jackets for sporting purposes of riding horses as they add in mobility. The vent now is useful to maintain a clean profile when sitting and to be able to easily access pockets. Variations include centre vents (characteristic of Italian tailoring and a personal favorite of mine), side vents (or double vents, characteristic of British Tailoring), and no vents (characteristic of formal wear to maintain a clean profile while standing).

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POCKETS – Standard suit jackets come equipped with a variety of inner pockets and three outer pockets. The side pockets on the front are flapped with a layer of piping around the edges to allow a man to tuck them in for a cleaner look, while the breast pocket is located on the left side and sits open allowing for a pocket square to be displayed.

SLEEVE BUTTONS – All men’s suit jackets will have a varying number of buttons sewn to the bottom of the sleeves. 4 buttons sewn close together without functionality is the standard for most suits, but the jacket can be constructed to facilitate working / functional buttons, also known as Surgeon’s sleeves. Tip: Get the functional buttonholes on your next custom suit and wear 3 of them unbuttoned for a touch of Sprezzatura like I do 😉

WAISTCOAT / VEST – What was once the norm in men’s suiting to always wear a vest, has fallen in and out of style for decades. Currently, vests are seen as a stylish way to dress up a regular suit. Vests are meant to sit right on the waist of the trousers at their highest point on the sides and come to a point in line with the bottom of a belt. Traditionally the bottom button on the vest is left undone to aid in comfort while sitting.

ARMHOLE – The place where the sleeve meets the body of the jacket. Traditionally all suits were made with higher (small) armholes which aid in mobility, however the norm has moved to lower armholes which make the jacket easier to take on and off, except when it comes to bespoke tailoring.

Now let’s take a trip below the belt…I’m talking about the pants! C’mon gentlemen, get your head out of the gutter

WAIST – The waist of a pair of suit pants can be held in place in a variety of methods – the use of a belt, facilitated by belt loops is most common however adjustable side tabs are common in formalwear and keep a clean minimalist look to the pant, or even suspender buttons on the inside of the waistband. On a custom made suit, I love the side tabs! Why? Because a custom pair of pants should fit so well that you don’t need a belt! Another option I also love, suspender buttons, real suspenders (braces) are a throwback and a way to stand out above the crowd

CUFFS – The permanently turned up margin of the trouser bottoms, the main purpose of which is to reinforce the highest stress part of the pant – the bottom to avoid fraying or damage from wet and muddy conditions. This look is more of a personal preference, it is now trendy, but I would say look better on taller gentlemen as they visually shorten the leg a bit.

PLEATS – A vertical fold at the waistline of a pair of pants permanently sewn back over itself to give more freedom of movement and comfort. They are most commonly seen on pants with higher rises and waistlines, and a common choice for larger gentlemen. Now I’ve heard some things that pleats are on the way back, but I just haven’t seen it enough to be sure. 

Suspender Buttons

Suspender Buttons

Single Pleated pants

Single Pleated pants

cuffed pants

cuffed pants

So there you have it ladies and gents, you should now really know your suits. And do you know where you can get a suit with all these features and more? EPH Apparel that’s where! Contact me for a private fitting today. We also do custom shirts and accessories and have $40 discounts on wedding party orders plus a free accessory. Treat yourself and stand out above the rest!

The Don

All About that Life (Student Life, that is!)

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How my evening went: Studying with my friend Jim. All that is missing is my friend “Cohiba” can’t wait for the weather to get better so I can comfortably sit outside and puff on a nice stogie! Good luck to all fellow students out there in “crunch time” exam season!

Dapper Out!