quality

Brickell Men’s Products: A Review

Good Evening Dapperites,

Bet you thought I was gone for good eh? Well I thought I was too, I was getting busier with work, I was tired, lazy, Doesn’t matter though I’m back now dammit! And tonight I’d like to talk about and review products from an awesome company I recently discovered and that is Brickell Men’s Products. (Note, I am in no way paid by the company to review their products nor was I sent them for free, I paid my own money for any product I purchased)

Who are Brickell and what sets them apart? Well first off the name “Brickell” comes from a pretty posh neighborhood in Miami, Florida, where the two founders are from. They sought to create grooming products for men containing natural, quality ingredients after being horrified to discover that most grooming products on the market were filled with toxins and synthetic chemicals.

What products do they carry? A better question would be what don’t they carry! They have a skin care line (face washes, scrub, mask and moisturizers), anti-aging (serums, cream, eye balm), shaving line (pre-shave oil, beard oil, shave cream, aftershave balm), hair care (shampoo, conditioner, pomade),as well as body wash, body lotion, hand cream and lip balm!

So finally, what products have I tried? Well I started out by trying their “Sample Kit”, which I feel provides excellent value to introduce yourself to their brand. Free if your in the US, only pay shipping if you’re in Canada like me (came out to about $10). You get 15 sample size versions of their best selling products, they also recently introduced a feature that allows you to build your own sample kit!

I’ll say that I pretty much got the kit because I was interested in the eye balm, face scrub and shave cream. Along the way however I did end up falling in love with the body lotion with its tingly feeling and quick absorption, this will be the next product I buy from them once my current lotion runs out.

So, for the eye balm (officially called Restoring Eye Balm) I will say I absolutely love what this did for my eyes. As we get older, the first signs of aging always appear around the eyes, and as a chronic sufferer of tired looking eyes with dark circles. this balm fit the bill. Immediately after putting it on my eyes feel rejuvenated and energized. I kid you not this stuff seems to put an extra spring in my step! At $52 CAD it’s at par with most quality eye treatments for men but the quality ingredients (protein peptides, caffeine and hyaluronic acid). I’d recommend this one.

The other product I ended up purchasing was the Renewing Face Scrub. Why a scrub? Well even though we wash our faces (you do wash your face with a quality cleanser right?) it is not enough to clear off all the crap that accumulates on there throughout the week. That’s why twice a week it is recommended to use a scrub to exfoliate and purge your pores of any lingering impurities. Using a scrub before shaving as well will soften the whiskers for a closer shave. And trust me that’s exactly what this stuff does. I’ve never gotten a closer shave than when I use this beforehand. Also, the natural ingredients such as aloe vera, avocado butter, vitamin E, pumice, and jojoba beads have been an absolute delight to my complexion. You really feel and see a difference when using quality products. At $28.60 CAD, this scrub should last you a few months (only a minimal amount is needed per use). I’d recommend it.

Now, what products would I consider buying in the future? Well for someone who has sensitive skin when shaving the brushless shave cream and instant relief aftershave are ones I would probably buy. I have no need to buy them right now as I shave once a week maximum and still have product left from my sample kit. But each time I use them I kid you not, I have no redness post shave and rarely get nicked. The only reason why I would maybe not go with the cream is the fact that this is a brushless cream and I am pretty into the whole “traditional wet shaving” thing.

There is one item I am considering at the moment and that is their Daily Strengthening Shampoo . While I enjoyed the sample of this and am currently searching for a quality shampoo, the $26 CAD price tag has me a tad hesitant at the moment!

UPDATE: I ended up purchasing a Canadian brand natural shampoo, Live Clean Classic Men’s Shampoo, paraben and sulfate free from Well.ca. $13 with shipping. I’ll post a review when it arrives.

To conclude, Brickell Men’s Products definitely fit the bill for the modern gentleman looking to take care of himself from head to toe. Quality natural ingredients to help a man present the best version of himself to the world. Feel good, look good!

Until next time, stay dapper my friends!

-The Don

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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/

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).

vents_sidevents_centervents_none

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

Spotlight: Suitingit.com

Image

Good evening ladies and gentlemen,

Today will mark a very special post. Today it gives me great pride to share with you a spotlight feature on a new exciting company, Suitingit.com and its founder, Nathalie Kaprielian. I had the chance to ask her a few questions about herself and her venture. Here is a transcript of that interview:

1. Tell me about yourself, how old are you, what did you study, your interests?

 I am 23 years old. Graduated from Vanier College in Social Science. Currently a Concordia 

University student. I believe Laughter and setting oneself out of their personal comfort zone are 

two very important things towards success. The development of Suitingit was a year long process. 

I was balancing university and creating a business both at the same time. I had to be extremely 

organized if I wanted to keep my grades up and launch a successful business. Many times I 

caught myself being tense and stressed out. I made it a mandatory thing for myself that everyday I 

would make myself laugh and bring myself to a healthy balance. Doing so made me happy and 

lead me to be more productive resulting to great outcomes. Working on suitingit was a big deal 

for me. This was my very first major project and I was very nervous. It was the first time I was 

putting myself outside of my “safety net” and it scared me because I feared failure. I had to 

believe in myself and trust myself that I would create something wonderful and with the right 

team we managed to put something pretty neat together. So I am very proud of the work my team 

and I established.

2. It’s not everyday a woman launches a company having to do with men’s fashion, what inspired

you to come up with with idea for Suitingit?

Countless amount of times my friends (male) would tag me along shopping with them because I 

knew exactly where to go. I would find quality clothing without breaking their budget. Let’s just 

say that my friends have many occasions and they sort of got comfortable with the idea of tagging 

me along to help them out very often. Although, I appreciate their trust in me and loved helping 

them out I had a lot going with my school work and every hour wasted on shopping meant less 

hours of studying. I thought to myself that it would be a great idea for them to have a one stop 

shop where they can find premium quality clothes at affordable prices. That’s how Suitingit was 

brought into perspective.

3. How exactly does your company work?

Every week Suitingit offers a new selection of designer menswear for up to 70% off. Let’s call 

them weekly flash sales.

4. How long did it take from inception to actually launching the site?

Close to almost a year.

5. What sets Suitingit apart from other online retailers for menswear?

Apart from offering our supporters quality products without breaking their budget. Our company 

is all about selling an inviting relationship and not just a product. We try our best to give our 

customers a warm and welcomed feel. We want to be good enough so that we grant our 

customers a great experience and make them feel a part of the Suitingit family. It is very hard to 

do so but we are trying our best to gain our customers trust. Its simple, value others so they value 

you! Also, the products we sell support our Canadian economy. A majority of our suits, pants and 

blazers are made in Canada with quality wools woven in Italy. 

6. What is your favorite look on a man? Any designers in particular?

My favorite look on a man would be a stunning three piece navy blue suit (blue is power, it is the 

color of the royals) Definitely a nice tailored fit. Fabric 100% wool woven in Italy (basically quality.) 

Along with a nice white shirt without a tie ( I like keeping things simple) and camel colored shoes and 

belt to accessorize.

7. Who inspires your own personal style?

1950/60’s Hollywood actress Sophia Loren. Aside from being risqué, elegant, exotic and curvy. 

She had a sexy sophistication and carried herself with confidence. Even at the age of 76 she 

acknowledges the same style. I truly admire a person who carries themselves well at any age. 

Dressing oneself properly with elegance and grace can have such a positive power.

8. I know it’s still very early on, but what are your plans for the future of Suitingit?

As Suitingit grows in popularity it is a goal of mine to put together a program which helps young 

ambitious entrepreneurs, mostly students, to expand on their dreams and possibly encourage and 

help them make it happen. 

9. Any plans to offer accessories like ties, belts, pocket squares or socks?

Yes, eventually I plan to offer accessories and a wider range of other products.

10. Any job openings? (Haha, kidding!)

Hahaha

As you can see, this is a very intelligent, determined young woman who was able to launch this venture while still being in school full-time, for that alone she has my full respect and admiration. I must say we are on the same page about her favourite look being a blue suit and a white shirt as I plan on already purchasing a blue suit myself (I knew I was always a royal deep down! haha) for the many occasions I have coming up this summer. The fact that she is supportive of fellow young entrepreneurs and talent makes her a great businessperson. As well, helping support the domestic economy is a socially conscious move that all entrepreneurs can learn from. And the prices offered are phenomenal, like this great navy/plaid Nautica number for $199!  In short, she is a great example of what someone young, focused and determined can accomplish through hard work and I know she will not stop.

To wrap it up, guys, you should definitely check out Suitingit.com when shopping for your next suit or blazer. As I have always preached, looking good and dapper does not mean you have to break the bank and Suitingit falls right in with my philosophy and perspective. Don’t forget to “like” them on Facebook here.

Enjoy the weekend and as always, stay dapper 😉

The Don