review

Book Review: Bespoke Menswear: Tailoring for Gentlemen

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

I’d like to share with you a review on one of my favorite books on menswear and that is (as seen in the title of this post), Bespoke Menswear: Tailoring for Gentlemen by Bernhard RoetzelI received this book for Christmas after being inspired to seek out more information on bespoke tailoring and to understand certain aspects, and I will say it is a real eye-opener into the world and history of bespoke clothing.

The book starts out by attempting to define what exactly bespoke tailoring is, the author illustrates the reversal in the last century going from a time where almost all clothing was bespoke to today where it is a lot rarer.

From there, Roetzel explores the past of bespoke tailoring, dating all the way back to (fun fact) 1152, when the first tailor’s guild was established in Germany. An overview of what differentiates one country’s particular tailoring style to another’s is then given, focused solely on European nations as let’s face it, they are the birthplace of bespoke luxury.

What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the feature Roetzel illustrates of many well-known ateliers throughout Europe including  Sartoria A. Caraceni of Milan, Cifonelli of Paris, Dietl of Munich and Zaremba of Warsaw. It is always nice to see the workspaces and the faces of the people behind these iconic companies.

This book could have just stopped there, but instead, the author takes it up a notch by featuring world-renowned cloth merchant, Scabal and going step by step on how wool goes from sheep to suiting fabric. Somewhere around this nice feature is a handy list of key fabric terms and a nice photo and descriptions of different patterns:

dsc_1135.jpg

Of course, this book would not make any sense had the author not included the actual steps (with photos) as to how a bespoke garment comes together, from measurements to patternmaking, cutting and stitching, it truly does come together like a piece of fine art! As a bonus feature, Roetzel explains the names and purposes of a tailor’s tools with photos.

Suits are not the only feature in this book, there are separate sections on bespoke shirts and ties with similar features on processes, cloths and ateliers producing them. I will admit that to me the feature on bespoke ties feels unnecessary, I mean I can still admire the art form that goes into making one but are that many people in Europe commissioning bespoke ties these days?

Where’s my memory??? I almost forgot to include a feature that would be useful to many and that is the difference between bespoke and made to measure, which are often confused with one another. (No I won’t tell you here, buy the book and find out! 😉 )

A nice touch at the end of the book features a full glossary of all critical terms in the book as well as the addresses of each featured atelier should you decide to seek one out for your next suit.

So, who would I recommend this book to? Not anyone who doesn’t understand much about menswear, not anyone who you would consider “cheap” who does not understand the true value of these beautiful garments and who only looks at price. I would recommend it to someone who has a knowledge or interest in tailoring and the world of menswear, this book will only stoke the fires of your passion and perhaps inspire you to commission a bespoke garment one day!

You can find the book for sale on Amazon for roughly $30 CAD, get a copy here:

Until next time, keep it dapper!

 

-The Don

 

Advertisements

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

Dapper as EPH

As many of you know, I moonlight as a personal style representative for a great company, EPH Apparel. Recently I took advantage of my employee discount to get myself that one flashy, showoff suit I’ve always wanted. I’ve always desired a windowpane pattern in a double breasted variety with wide peak lapels and cuffed pants, along with suspender buttons (and belt loops, making it versatile)  so it should come as no surprise that that is exactly what I ordered!

Since my measurements are already on file, my order came in relatively quick and I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I got the box

IMG_20151103_114710 IMG_20151103_114720

As you can see, the suit comes perfectly folded and packed and includes a garment bag (a nice touch). Also pictured is the tie I picked up which is of lovely thick silk for a perfect knot.

In all its glory!

In all its glory!

You can see that I went with a light blue windowpane pattern and the black buttons on it really make it pop against the light backdrop of the fabric. You can also see the tie that I picked up with it. A better shot of it here.

Oh, and how can I forget the funky liner I chose along with my monogram (a song from one of my idols, Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra)

IMG_20151103_114855

This suit will go perfect with my recent shirt and cufflink order that I recently received from EPH as well (when you have a discount, you use it!)

French cuffs, spread collar and silver knot cufflinks

French cuffs, spread collar and silver knot cufflinks

As a bonus, and to support Movember (in addition to shaving my face fully for the only time all year), I also picked up the “Rusty Mustache” tie and tie bar (we are running specials on the 2 and 25% of your purchase goes to the Movember foundation). Speaking of which, you can donate to my campaign here. (Shameless plug intended)

IMG_20151103_134106

Wanna see how this whole ensemble looks on me? Well check back tonight for an update 😉

Stay Dapper my friends,

The Don

Indochino Suit Review

So about a month ago, I received my Indochino custom suit just in time for a wedding I had to attend. Finally, after weeks of you all waiting, here is my full review. So if ya wanna know where to get a custom suit at a great price, pull up a chair, grab a drink and settle in for one dapper ride!

Just as a bit of a quick run-down, I opted for the Essential Blue Suit (2 piece). With peak lapels (a touch of flair), pick stitching, ticket pocket, functional buttonholes and lapel hole, side tabs (no belt loops), red lining with monogram and pen pocket.

Upon arrival, the suit came in a neatly packaged square box:

 

wpid-20140623_174724.jpg

 

Once I opened the box, I saw that the suit had been neatly folded and fastened into place with straps.

wpid-wp-1407199497047.jpeg

 

Then it was time for the fun stuff, opening it to check out the details and options I had added!

 

wpid-20140712_155159.jpg

Side tabs (sans belt loops!) to show that this was a custom fit

wpid-20140712_155124.jpg

Functional sleeve buttons, a sign of custom clothing

wpid-20140712_155044.jpg

Note the lapel flower, not possible without an open lapel hole, another sign of custom

wpid-20140623_174842.jpg

Custom red lining for a touch of pop with pen pocket and awesome monogram!

 

Just to show off the bright socks I opted to wear on that day!

Just to show off the bright socks I opted to wear on that day!

So how did it fit?

 

I will admit when I put it on for the first time it felt a bit weird, probably because I was not used to wearing a suit mace specifically for me, however by the time of the wedding I felt comfortable and like a million bucks in it. The pants required some tailoring below the knee to slim them which cost me about $30. But, Indochino reimbursed me the amount as they reimburse any alterations up to $75! My email was answered within minutes  The only things that felt a bit cheap on the suit were the buttons, but it is really not a deal breaker. The rest of the suit itself fit just right, meaning not baggy, yet not excessively slim, still allowing room to move while maintaing form conturing fit.

 

Bottom line, would I recommend this company to you dapperites? Absolutely! For the price I paid ($450) you cannot find a custom 100% wool suit with as many customization options included anywhere else. They also offer custom blazers, pants, and coats as well as a premium line of suits with finer wools. So of you got a big occasion coming up, consider custom. You will not regret it 😉

 

Stay Dapper my friends….

 

-The Don

 

Bonus Pic!

 

Ms Dapper by my side looking gorgeous as ever!

Ms Dapper by my side looking gorgeous as ever!