Category Archives: Culture

Friday Style Debate: Aussie Open Edition

Time to Debate!

FSD - Aussie Open

I’m not sure if there is a sport that is as stylish as tennis – from the players on-court attire, to the elevated fashion that you see on the spectators and by the fact that the biggest name in the game is Roger Federer.

Which brings us to today’s debate in honor of Sunday’s first grand slam final of the year at the Australian Open.  It pits Novak Djokovic who is looking for his 11th grand slam title against Andy Murray who is aiming for his 3rd.

Gaining a mental edge is critical in tennis and perhaps this debate will lead to exactly that for one of these men.  With that in mind who wears the suit better – Djokovic on the left or Murray on the right?

Let’s debate…

Friday Style Debate – Is the double vest an emerging trend?

Time to Debate!

FSD Pesko

Friday Style Debate: Is the double vest an emerging trend?

For those of you who were unaware the peacock festival that is otherwise known as the menswear trade-show Pitti Uomo finished up last week.  As per normal it had the standard does of styles that were totally on point along with an equal mixture of interesting possibilities vying to become trends and those that we hope just go away (more on that next week).

Which brings us back to this debate – does the double vest layering we see in the image above have a chance at emerging as new trend?  In this case we’re looking at Bloomingdale’s Men’s Fashion Director Josh Peskowitz – is the layering creating something that is visually interesting and grabbing you?  Perhaps it’s a case where it only works with this specific outfit?  I say that because you’ll notice the two complimentary shades of grey in his trousers.  Of course it could also just be a case of a fashion guy trying to set himself apart at a trade-show filled with other fashion-heads – the question is what do you think?

Let’s debate….

7 Sartorial Keys For 2016

First off welcome to the new year – I trust everyone had a great holiday season.  If last week was more about finding our feet again; this week is about finding some rhythm and getting back in the groove.  As such here are seven keys to get you in the right sartorial frame of mind for the upcoming year.

7 Sartorial Keys For 2016

1. Flannel

We’ve entered the heart of our winter and for the next two-and-a-bit months our sense of style has to be blended with practicality like at no other time of the year. Cue the flannel – it’s deep, rich texture makes it one of the most versatile out there as it transitions effortlessly from formal and casual environments as one can see from the two images below.


It also pairs beautifully with other cloths – from a formal smooth worsted wool, to brushed cotton all the way to a casual dark denim.  Whether we’re talking an individual pant or a jacket or a suit than can be worn together or as a separate – nothing will get you through the winter like flannel.

2. The Wool Overcoat

Like I said above, practicality reigns supreme at this time of year and nothing maintains that balance quite like the wool overcoat.    From a style perspective there are very few pieces that are as versatile as the wool overcoat; equally effective complimenting a suit or formal wear as it is elevating a more casual weekend look. And if the weather is bad enough that it’s performance that you’re looking for we’ve still got you covered.  Enter the Loro Piana Storm System – where arguably the worlds best mill takes their 100% pure wool overcoat cloth and attaches a double barrier membrane that is resistant to water, windproof and allows the skin to breathe.

overcoat II

Most importantly the cloth maintains its distinctive softness while achieving a level of practicality that is the perfect synthesis of style and function.  If you’re interested I have swatches for you to get a sense of the cloth – the cost is $995 and the turn around is roughly three weeks right now thus you still have time!

3. Unstructured Jackets

This trend is not going away in 2016 – and for good reason as the comfort and softness of an unstructured jacket is undeniable.  The idea behind them is to make a jacket that fits closer to a sweater or shirt in terms of how the feel on the body.

Untitled design (4)

What is up for debate though is for who and when are they most appropriate.  I’ll start by saying that well built guys with a natural roundedness in the shoulders are always able to wear unstructured – be it in a formal suit jacket or something more casual.  The body fills the jacket out and it presents a very clean and shapely silhouette.  Things get more complicated for guys with less muscle; their boniness makes wearing an unstructured jacket formally very difficult as it doesn’t present as clean an appearance.  In this case it is perfect for the summer months where the lightness and breathability are more important and a less crisp silhouette is expected.  What is on for everyone is the thicker cloths of winter – especially the flannel we touched upon above.  The heavier, bulkier cloths give an added level of structure that create a clean, crisp silhouette regardless of your shape.  They’re perfect for layering over sweaters and the fact they’re half lined means you’ll never get too hot.  Commit to getting on this for 2016 as it’s the new normal as opposed to a trend that will soon dissipate.

4. Loosen the Legs a Touch

For those of you who regularly read the journal I spoke about this topic earlier this year; I refer to it as relaxed trim and it seems to be gaining some momentum as we move into 2016. Specifically in this case I’m talking about pants – in the spring/summer fashion shows that just passed we saw a lot of designers promoting a much looser fit in the pant leg.  Fashion always tries to push things too far thus I recommend bringing in the concept by loosening certain areas strategically.  A softer look in the seat, mid section and thigh area is what you want to be thinking about while still having a gentle taper to the bottom – in the end a simple mimicking of the bodies natural shape.   Here are two perfect examples:

relaxed trim II

In this case we’re still looking at 14-16″ openings at the bottom; we’ll see how the 16-18″ openings that we saw on the runway catch on and assess again as we head into summer.  My thought is it won’t catch on and relaxed trim will hold court for the next few seasons.

5. Tone On Tone

Simplicity always works.  Tonal took off in 2015 and as it makes so much sense it’s going to stick around for hopefully many years to come.  Pairing different shades of the same color is a very simple way to keep things unified though visually interesting.  A way to add another dimension to this; play with different textures.  And if you want to take it one step further don’t be afraid to add in some pattern as well.  Play with the possibilities – keep in mind that is can never really go that wrong as you’re always in the same color family.

tonal II

6. The Cuban-Inspired Convertible Shirt Collar

This look started to gain a bit of traction last summer within specific groups in the tailoring community.  As tailoring and traditional menswear in general has gained a lot of momentum over the last few years these fringe communities are now being tapped by designers as the next influencers.  With that in mind I’m predicting the 1950’s Cubano look with the convertible collar to take off.  The key is to avoid the traditional boxy look and instead stay with a clean trim silhouette.

Cuban done right

7. Getting Fit in 2016?

With the turn of the new year most of us inevitably have some new fitness goals in place.  As we approach the two week mark hopefully you’re keeping your focus and not long from now you’ll really be able to start to see the difference.  With you working so hard to get fit – so should your clothes.  Too often I see guys who put in all the hard work only to wear clothes that visually adds back the 10 pounds you worked hard to shed.  Don’t let that be the case – wardrobe re-shaping and alterations services are available; let us take your existing clothes and work them back into shape just like you’ve done.  Don’t hesitate to give email or give me a ring to discuss the possibilities.

As always please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or comments. Better yet book a free appointment and we can banter in person and see if we might be a good fit to work together.

Take care – Michael

Friday Style Debate: If you had to choose one style of suede shoe…

Time to Debate!

FSD - Suede I

Friday Style Debate: If you had to choose one style of suede shoe…

For those of you who have spent time in France and Italy you’ll be familiar with their on-going love affair with the brown suede shoes in all styles – and rightly so I must say.  Their versatility let’s them walk a delicate line between formal and casual; the richness and texture of their surface adding a level of depth that awakens even the most basic of outfits.  Pretty close to perfect I’d say.

Which leads to the first FSD question of 2016 – if you had to choose only one style of suede shoe to wear for the rest of your life what would it be?  The rugged yet noble chukka?  The dependable and classic lace-up?  Perhaps it’s the flash of the double monkstrap?  Or lastly could it be the elongating elegance of the loafer?

Either way it’s not an easy choice – let the debate begin…

How you feel vs what people think…

When it comes to the clothing we choose to wear what is more important to you – how you feel in them or the impact they have on how others think about you? Try not to think about it – what is your first response?

New York Times

Unquestionably I value how it makes me feel more so than the impact it might have on others. In fact it’s trying to align “how you feel” with “how you look” that is my goal every time I work with a client though it’s easier said than done.  For the difference between the two and how we try to bring them together have a read of this previous article.

Introducing “Enclothed Cognition”

This concept comes to us from a recent article in the New York Times – give it a read and let me know how you feel it mixes with the “how you feel” vs “how you look” discussion.  Turns out things are more intertwined than I had originally thought.

As always I look forward to hearing from you…

What is Wednesday #19

What is Wednesday.

WIW #19

This weekly Wednesday post is aimed at answering some of the more basic and critical aspects of tailoring and the terminology we use to describe them. It stems from realizing that I’m constantly throwing out different terms with my clients and quite often they’re unsure as to what I exactly mean.  The goal of this section then is to alleviate this terminology gap and provide you with some know-how to talk tailoring with a little more ease.

What is…meant by contrast button and buttonhole thread?

Before I begin though – happy new year!  I trust the holiday season treated you well and you’re ready to go for the upcoming year.  Although the break was fantastic I must say it’s nice to be back – let’s get to it.

Contrast thread – whether to create the buttonhole or the thread used to attach the button itself – is simply a thread done in a different color than the suit cloth itself.  The image below is a great example of both options.

WIW #19 II

At the very top is an example of a contrast buttonhole done in pink thread; you then see the same pink thread used to attach the buttons themselves.  This is obviously a pretty intense contrast with the blue cloth – do keep in mind that the level of contrast can be as bold or as minimal as one likes.  In fact with this type of blue cloth you’ll often see a white or soft navy as the contrast thread – both being distinctly more subtle than the pink yet still providing a hint of detail that many guys find appealing.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to do both; or either for that matter.  It must be noted that doing the buttonhole is a pretty aggressive play – you have to feel comfortable with your suit always playing a more fashion forward roll if you choose this path.  If you’re entering the world of law or banking I would advise against it until you’re well up the food chain; if ever at all.  As for the button thread – this is a much more subtle approach.  The impact is only seen upon closer inspection and provides the wearer with much of the joy as opposed to screaming it out to the rest of the world with the buttonhole.  More importantly though it’s easily changed in five minutes if you grow weary of it – something which is not possible for the buttonhole!

As for my opinion – on a personal level I never choose the contrast buttonhole as it’s too drastic for me.  My subtle detail is brown buttons on my suits (I only wear brown shoes) thus I keep the thread matching the cloth as it always contrasts the button anyways.  To each their own – the question is what is yours?

As always please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or comments. Better yet book a free appointment and we can banter in person and see if we might be a good fit to work together.

Take care – Michael


Friday Style Debate: Is the tuck already dead?

Time to Debate!

FSD boots tucked in look

Friday Style Debate: Is the tuck already dead?

I was struck earlier today as I passed two separate guys downtown who were both rocking the pants tucked into the boots look – I say “struck” because to my eye the look has all but disappeared this winter.  Last year the look was everywhere – both on the runway, with celebrities (think Kanye West) as well as with the average fellow on the street.  Not the case this year – to the point that its demise is as quick as we’ve seen a trend go in awhile.  Perhaps if we could all pull the look off as well as the chap on the left it would’ve stuck around.

As such I ask the question – is the tuck already dead?  And if so is it being replaced by the cleaner look of slim pants being rolled to expose a more sleek style boot?  Let the debate begin…

Paris Field Notes – 5 Sartorial Thoughts.

Paris 1

I’ve recently returned from Paris and the latest experience simply solidified my vote for the title of best dressed city in the world.  There is really nothing quite like sitting on a terrasse with a cafe au lait or a glass of wine and witnessing the near constant flow of well dressed people meander by as they conduct their daily activities.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 9 am on a Sunday as people wander to the market or it’s 9 pm on Friday night as people are relaxing with dinner – style simply plays a day-to-day role in people’s lives in a way we’re not used to.  With that in mind here are my sartorial thoughts on the Paris fashion scene.

PS – that cheese plate above only cost 15 Euro’s…it’s about $50 worth of cheese in the store let alone at a bistro! Anyways – back to the field notes…

Paris Field Notes – 5 Sartorial Thoughts.

1. So Many Looks.

By far this was the most refreshing aspect of Paris as there didn’t seem to be one dominant look or set of trends ruling the landscape.  Furthermore there didn’t seem to be a generation that had the lead in terms of being the most fashionable either as everyone seems to bring a little ‘je ne sais quoi’ to the table – be it the elderly, middle aged, twenty-somethings or even kids…heck especially the kids.  This is a big contrast to the Vancouver scene; as a relative fashion outsider I think we very much get pulled into the trend game which leads to a very narrow range of looks on hand at any given time.  The result is level of sameness that is frankly boring and is perhaps part of the reason why we don’t seem to care in the same way.  Just a theory on the state of malaise that afflicts the Vancouver scene; it can’t only be due to the rain as Paris seems to get its fair share as well.

Untitled design (3)

2. They own the High-Low.

I’ve spoken about the high-low many times; for those of you who the term is new it is essentially when you pair elements of casual wear with more formal pieces. The most common way of doing so is via sneakers – and man do the Parisians love their sneakers.  It makes total sense though as it’s such a walking city.  The average Parisian either walks or does a combination of taking the metro and then walking.  Either way you spend a lot of time on your feet and the result is sneakers are favored over more formal footwear in terms of the street scene.  This blend of formal and casual is then extended into every realm – the cafe, the restaurant, the gallery, the classroom – and as such the visual interest in how people mix and match is greatly increased.

Paris III

3.  The lighter scarf.

This was a massive breakthrough for me as up until this trip I was only focused on thicker scarves.  This made sense when I lived in Toronto and it was minus 25 outside.  It doesn’t however in the more mild climate of Vancouver and it is for that reason that I never brought my scarf out last year.  Enter the lighter scarf – cut a little longer and wider it allows you to wrap it in many different ways.  It’s thin enough to double or triple wrap when you need warmth; or you loosely tie it in a visually interesting way when it is slightly milder.  The result is a way more versatile scarf that can be used in a range of conditions.  As for the Parisians; everyone is wearing them.  Plain, textured, colorful, patterned – everything is fair game.


As a side note – Vancouver unquestionably struggles with options for men’s scarves.  I’m in the process of trying to fix that problem so if you’re interested do stay tuned in.

4.  Overcoats are everywhere.

This was my topic in the latest Friday Style Debate but it needs repeating.  Not only are they everywhere in Paris but they are everywhere with reason.  That reason being they are incredibly versatile; no coat I know is as successfully worn in as many scenario’s as the overcoat – from being paired with formal clothing to dressed casual to fully casual to being even blended with sportswear.  The more casual the usage it simply becomes like the sneaker in the high-low; only instead of reducing the formality of the outfit it is increasing it in exactly the same way.  In this way it becomes the opposite and the look is known as the low-high.

Paris II

5.  They think about it a little more.

We hear this about Europeans in general but the Parisians really do take it up a notch.  The act of dressing seems to play a role in the average person’s life in a way that it simply does not in North America.  The key here is that it has nothing to do with being fancy or on trend – what I’m talking about is an innate style.  It’s in the way they wear a suit all the way down to how they dress to go play footy in the park with mates; at every level there is a touch more care and thoughtfulness regardless of how they feel about fashion.  The end result being your average Parisian Joe looks as good as our most fashionable and stylish.

Why this is the case I have no idea but it’s a very interesting question to ponder.  How is it that people who are obviously not “fashion” people end up having a look of their own – achieving that critical ‘je ne sais quoi’ we always talk about?  Is it somehow related to buying quality or quantity – a potential positive spin-off of living in smaller physical spaces on average?   Perhaps it’s because they live outside in the public sphere in a way we do not (another spin-off of smaller living spaces); the result being everyday you’re forced to walk by people-watchers on the terrasse and everyday life suddenly turns into a quasi fashion show regardless of whether you’re picking your kid up from school or grabbing some groceries?  All kidding aside somehow the average person seems to look very well put together- impressive indeed and why the allure of Paris will never go away for many of us.

As always please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any comments – especially you social geographers out there who might be able to give us some answers!  Better yet book a free appointment and we can banter in person and see if we might be a good fit to work together.

Take care – Michael