tailor

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

download-1

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

1338220690_391ceed336_z

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

1235067595_ac9c877ccd_b

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

 

Advertisements

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:

linen suit

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

download (1)

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

s-l300

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

10152009_443474839119608_873829877_n

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 

Burberry-Brit-men-lightweight-packaway-trench-coat-1-1

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

seven7-jeans-short-sleeve-floral-shirt-382826-medium.jpg

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

wpid-20140407_181454.jpg

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

20150506_151902

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

wpid-20140512_174510.jpg

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

Tip of the Day, May 7

As the temperature continues rising and your social calendar fills up with events such as weddings, baptisms and so on, leave the wool suit at home. Instead, turn to something in a lighter fabric like a cotton/seersucker or linen. Will they wrinkle a little bit? Sure they will. But you know what? Embrace the wrinkles like you just don’t care and be the coolest guy (literally) in the room!

Sit outside today, crack open a couple of cold ones and enjoy the weather.

 

-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

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

Ottawa Tailoring Time!

So if you have been reading this blog (and if not, shame on you!!), you should know by now that I advocate having off the rack suits tailored before wearing them! This is a post about a neat little tailoring shop I found.

I have been looking around for a reputable tailor in Ottawa recently to fix up a snazzy light grey number I picked up on sale at Macy’s back in February. After plenty of online searching I found one highly rated. “Raymond Tailor of Distinction“, located at 60 George Street in the heart of Byward Market is everything I expected and more. He took my suit from ill-fitting to the fit of a custom suit, for $75. I could not be happier with it and look forward to rocking it for the first time at an upcoming wedding! (Pics will follow) He is a friendly, respectable man who takes pride in his craft, sadly, it is a dying craft. The world needs some young tailors!

In addition to alterations he provides custom suiting and sells shirts, ties, accessories and some off the rack suiting as well, all top notch quality. You can contact the shop at 613-241-4134.

Stay Dapper,

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!