passion

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

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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.

jacket_buttons_onejacket_buttons_twojacket_buttons_three

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

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 😉

Color it up!

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New tie and pocket square from The Tie Bar! Love the nautical theme of the tie. Why blend in when you can stand out?

Don Dapper

Different Side of The Don

Now I know this is a menswear/lifestyle blog, but tonight will be a post of a different kind. An emotional one for myself personally as I will recap my weekend watching the return of Major League Baseball in Montreal with the 2 Blue Jays-Mets spring training games.

I have always been a big sports fan (baseball included) and spent many a day in my early teens at the Stade Olympique catching Expos games with my younger brother. My 16 year old heart was shattered 10 years ago when my team left and there is still a hole that remains to this day. When it was announced that the games were coming here back in November, I did not know how to feel exactly. I despise both teams (Montreal-Toronto rivalry duh!) and did not want to go at first. It was only after my brother pointed out to me that Expos Nation would be encouraging fans to show up in Expos colours cheering like it was our old team back on the diamond to show to MLB that this is still a baseball market that I decided I wanted to attend. Then when it was later announced by the Montreal Baseball Project that the 1994 Expos “best team in baseball” who’s incredible season, on pace for 110 wins and a shot at a World Series, was cut short to the players’ strike, would be honoured it sealed the deal for me.

 

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autographed Orlando Cabrera jersey out of a near decade long retirement!

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Note the shirt and tie under the jersey 😉 ok it wasn’t done on purpose I went straight from work!

So all the months of anticipation led to the first game on Friday night (gotta love free tickets!) Although I have since gained a disdain for public transit since the last time I rode the Metro down to the Big O for a ball game, it felt just like old times. The closer we got to our seats the greater the anticipation rose and finally seeing that field again, all the memories rushed back….watching Vladdy hitting 3 home runs in a game in 2000, seeing him shoot for 40/40 in 2002, the home opener in 2001 when Tim Raines returned as an Expo, Wil Cordero’s walk off blast against the Phillies in 2003, blowing out the Phils in August of ’03 in the midst of Believer Feverrallying from 5 runs down against the Blue Jays..I was 15 years old again! Prior to the game was another emotional moment as the late great Gary Carter was honoured in a pre-game ceremony with his wife and daughter present. The game itself I could have cared less for except for the “Let’s Go Expos!” chants that broke out, we left in the 7th inning to go grab some real food at a restaurant (did not feel like pigging out on the Big O grub).

 

 

Saturday morning we left the house bright and early at 10:30 to get some free parking around the stadium and to soak in the experience. The one thing I always hated about the Big O, is that it’s so far out of the way no matter where you park, what a hell of a walk to find the damn upper entrance! Once inside and settled in though, it was comforting to be back there in the upper reaches of the stadium with a great view of the field. At 12:40 the ceremonies got under way and all the 1994 team present were introduced, from Larry Walker, Marquis Grissom, Moises Alou, Darrin Fletcher, Ken Hill, John Wettland, Cliff Floyd, Rondell White, Lou Frazier and more. The biggest ovation however, came for the manager, Felipe Alouuuuuu! As they were standing on the field, we were treated to a presentation of Montreal’s own Annakin Slayd’s tribute song to the ’94 team, 94 FallIt was difficult to fight back the man-tears as it played and wondering what could have been, for that team would have been the saviours for baseball in my city. Once again the game itself was secondary to me although it was nice to watch a good old pitching duel of a game. It was all so surreal just watching baseball in the Big O again and the attendance, wow! over 46,000 on Friday and 50,229 on Saturday, the first time in my life I seen the upper bowl completely full for baseball. MLB I hope you’re taking note, give me my team back!

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just like old times, the bros at a ball game

just like old times, the bros at a ball game

 

One day, they shall return and I will introduce my future kids, to the same experiences I had in my youth….

 

The Don