Monday, December 26, 2011

Don't slouch it

I've previously posted about my annoyance with slouchy hats. Sadly, they don't seem to be going away any time soon, whether they be worn by tween, Bieber-wannabes or older gents.

Perhaps the most annoying trend of this overly affected accessory is for it to be combined with formal wear such as a sports jacket or suit. Here is a recent photo of Jude Law sporting the look:

Of course, he's also grown the mandatory lumberjack beard to complete his carefully crafted bohemian image.

The attempted broadcasted message: "I am one part classy, dapper gentleman, and one part down-home earthy bloke, at one with the Occupy Movement".

During the last decade, some men would often dress down a suit with running shoes, and I could live with that. But I'm sorry--the only hat that can be worn with a suit is a fedora.

Let me codify this into the following fashion rule:

With a suit/blazer/sport jacket, no slouchy hats.

No baseball hats (unless it's draft day).

No Cowboy hats.

Newsboy caps are sometimes OK.

Lastly, if you wear a blazer, slouchy hat AND a scarf indoors, you truly are an overly affected tool. *Sorry*

-The Scandal

Shiny Happy Pants

What better way to ring in the new year than with these crazy silver sequined Margiela pants?

-The Scandal

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nice pair, girl

Noticed: a lot of stylish girls seem to be donning thick, black rimmed glasses. I most recently noticed Rashida Jones sporting a pair (not that I knew who she was).

I asked a girl I who saw wearing a pair whether she was a Buddy Holly fan, but she had never even heard of the legendary 50's rock n' roll star.

If you take up the trend, my only recommendation is that you be really, really good-looking in order to offset their inherent geekiness.

-The Scandal

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Trash the 'stache

So Canada's answer to JFK Jr.-- in other words, an undeserving and unaccomplished scion of political royalty-- Justin Trudeau (son of late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau) has been in the news recently.
Justin hurled a "shi*" bomb towards a fellow parliamentary member, during one of the the notoriously unruly parliamentary sessions. 

This blog couldn't care less about his remark or the insincere apology that followed. I was more alarmed by his appearance.

Yeah, I'm nonplussed about his sloppy attempt at a Windsor tieknot but I really to discuss his, ummm, beard?
The only way anyone should be wearing facial hair like that is if they have the rapier sword and loose-fitting blouse to match or if they really, really like Captain Morgan rum.

Why do some men grow silly facial hair? I suspect it arises out of boredom of one's appearance, which leads to an  understandable desire to infuse it with some form of personal, aesthetic self-expression, however small. Not everyone is simply content with getting up and going to work every damn day and looking like every other drone.

That part, I get; I just think a better expressive outlet would be through one's clothing. After all, clothes do more than simply keep us warm and cover our naked bodies.

The problem is that many men don't have the wherewithal to change up their wardrobe, so they resort to offbeat facial hair or simply growing their hair. Women have it easier. They have a myriad  of ways to shake things up: new nails, new hair colour, new hair style and so on. For a guy, the options are a lot more limited, especially if he lacks imagination with his wardrobe.

-The Scandal

Monday, December 5, 2011

The 7 Sons of Men's Fashion

Do you enjoy people watching? Some people love nothing more than sitting at an outdoor cafe on a busy city street and watching the people go by.

In this post, I've made a list of seven of the main style categories of the modern North American man. Of course the list isn't perfect, but the next time you go people watching, why don't you see how many of the men fall into one of the following categories.

1. The Agnostic

The Agnostic only sees the utilitarian value of clothes. Essentially, they are means to protect his naked body against the elements.  He really gives no second-- or even a first --thought to what he wears. For the most part, he blends into the crowd, although you may notice the socks underneath his sandals or the holes in his gym t-shirt. But he has no problem with that; if it fits, and keeps him either warm or cold enough, as the case may be, he'll wear it, thank you very much.

Representatives: Steve Jobs (and every other tech guy you've ever met); your dad; Jimmy Kimmel; Phil Collins; 85% of the North American male population

2. Mr. Tee

Unlike the Agnostic, Mr. Tee cares about his appearance, in fact with a zeal that is belied by his casual appearance.  You see, given the choice, Mr. Tee will only wear a (fitted) T-shirt and jeans, but since his wardrobe selection is so limited,  his fastidiousness about the fit of both items borders on OCD.

 In fact, if he finds a t-shirt or pair of jeans he likes, it's not uncommon for him to buy multiple pairs. Diversity is not his trade-mark, but he is apt to accessorise with thumb-rings, wrist-bands, belt buckles, tattoos and almost certainly, his hair and chiselled pecs.

Whence the narrow-mindedness of his closet? Endemic to mainly North American guys, I suspect two reasons:
First, Mr. Tee views any conformity to sartorial norms dictated by occasion as the ultimate capitulation of his maverick spirit. Sure he's got one forlorn navy suit hanging in his closet, but that's only in case he has to go to a job interview or a funeral.
Second, these guys are usually fixated on youth culture and will whatever it takes to pass themselves off as being far younger as they really are, bro.

Representatives: The Sitch, Danny Bonaduce; Every MMA fighter; dudes with a suped-up Japanese imports; the "39 year old" guy at college-aged nightclubs

3. Runaway Runway

Those showcase pieces at runway shows that are intended as theatre aren't worn by regular joes. Except this breed isn't a regular guy. The whole world is his canvas, so be forewarned. He's also keen to roll off annoying platitudes such as "gender is just a construct", but considering he's liable to be wearing a man-skirt himself, maybe he's onto something. And for someone who complains so much about the 1%,  he obsesses a bit too much over the $1,500 Gareth Pugh handbag that he so desires.

Representatives: Adam Lambert, Prince, Marc Jacobs (or any other dude in a skirt), guys at Fashion Week

4. Hipster aka Ironyman

The hispter has become all too ubiquitous and so well-described such that any satire here is likely overwrought. Essentially, the hipster's credo is irony. He wears a moustache, sports ironic tattoos and dresses like your father and/or your grandfather out of a pure sense of irony. Fiercely individual, he slavishly follows hipster conventions of the day, including of late, ankle high pants and of course, his beverage of choice (Pabst Blue Ribbon).

Representatives: Justin Timberlake (qua actor not rockstar), Dallas Green, the Black Keys, Fleet Foxes (and too many other indie bands to list); Terry Richardson, Dov Charney

5. Preppy Le Pew

The prep isn't seen in Canada nearly as much as he is in the U.S., especially in the American North-east, but the presence of brands such as Polo, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, Lacoste and Gant are testament to his influence.

Preppy tries to cultivate a sense of clean WASPy elitism-- and for the most part, it works. Just about every guy you know owns a Polo shirt, but the true Preppy brings it to a whole other level with his salmon-coloured pants, blazer-sweater-vest-tie combos and showing up at pick-up  football games wearing all of the above.

 In the past decade, Preppy has been the beneficiary of a sartorial windfall when the hip-hop guys started to get into preppy-chic, endowing the look a whole new modern twist.

Representatives: Carlton from the Fresh Prince, Pharrell Williams, Ralph Lauren (duh!), private school boys

6. Fancy Pants aka P.I.M.P.

This guy loves to dress as the toast of the town, the cat's meow, the bees knees--whatever gets attention. When he's with his tailor, he's like in a kid in the candy store, fascinated by all the bells and whistles available to pimp his clothing. Should he get a racing stripe on his shirt collar or maybe three lime-coloured stitched button-holes on his lapel, or maybe a paisley pattern on the underside of the cuff of his shirt? How about all of the above!?

He's perpetually overdressed in something bold and flashy, but then again, he has usually shelled out a lot of cash for his custom made suits and jackets, so why not? Velvet and silk are his forte--subtlety is not. To him, clothing isn't so much artistic expression as it is status.

Representatives: Robert Herjavec (from the Dragon's Den), Don Cherry, Diddy, High paid African-american athletes

7. The Sartorialist  

Ah, the prince of men's couture. His legion has been  growing steadily thanks to the explosion of street style fashion blogs inspired, of course, by the father of them all, the Sartorialist. Not to be confused with Fancy Pants, the Sartorialist accepts the Maimonidean ethic that once should embrace the truth from whatever the source  and thus seeks to combine all the style elements of the men described above in order to satisfy his sartorial whim.

Indeed, he strives to look equally compelling in a t-shirt as he does in a 3-piece suit. He exudes pride over the fact that he has paired his luxurious Brunello Cucinelli jacket with a vintage pocket puff he obtained at thrift shop.

Some other random facts:
-He has been featured in four local street style blogs in the city in which he lives in.
-He is familiar with and can recite all the  rules of men's fashion, and the circumstances under which  they can be broken (so don't ever think about pointing out to him that his red belt doesn't match his two-tone shoes).
-He brings in his t-shirts to his tailor for alterations because they don't "fit right".
-If he is late for work, it is likely because he changed his outfit three times. And yes, his sweater is real cashmere, so there is no need to ask.

Representatives: Lapo Elkann, Gianni Agnelli, Andre 3000, Salesmen at Bergdorf Goodman

-The Scandal

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shirt Origami: Converting shirt into dress

I have seen women using a man's shirt as a dress before but this clever video brings it to a whole new level. I would describe this as shirt origami.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Anatomy of da new Clubbing Shirt

A tailor made shirt from a reputable tailor is definitely a worthwhile indulgence for any man. Not only should the shirt fit you much better than anything you can buy off the rack, but you can also specify certain subtle detailings that  you also can't otherwise buy in a store.

One pitfall of custom shirts is that men often get too caught up in these extra features so that the shirt ends up looking like a gaudy, tacky mess.

Such details include double collars, extra buttons, epaulettes, gratuitous button holes, coloured stitching, non-matching patterns on the underside of the cuff and collar, just to name a few. Any one (or two) of these features alone might make the shirt more interesting if done in a subtle manner, but once you start piling up all the bells and whistles, the shirt begins to look a bit ridiculous.

In recent years, some brands, such as Armed Rebellion and Au Noir have begun manufacturing shirts with these extra finishings.

As you can see, these shirts are very, very loud. In fact, for many of them, I can't even see the shirt through all the extra buttons, stitching, flaps and patterns.

Expect to see one at a nightclub near you.

-The Scandal

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Verses on Varsity

There are few fashion items now hotter in menswear than varsity jackets. They are ubiquitous (which is a fancy way of saying they're everywhere).

Thankfully, this is one trend of which I approve.

 Once relegated  to varsity high school and college teams members such as Big Moose, the varsity jacket turned chic a few years ago as it made it's way into the lineup of several haute couture labels such as Bottega Veneta.

Do bear in mind that a Bottega veneta varsity jacket is something like the equivalent of Dom Perignon brand cola--yet strangely, it works.

I suspect that there are a few reasons why the jacket has taken off so successfully. Firstly, the style is attractive to hip-hop/street and hipster style sensibilities alike. The hip-hop guys like it because it appeals to both their team-like (posse) sensibilities as well their general affinity for sportswear, such as jerseys and ballcaps.

I suspect the hipster types are attracted to the ironic or nostalgic element evoked by the jackets. You won't see them wearing a Gucci  varsity jacket, but you may very well see them in a jacket plucked from an obscure Iowa high school.

Personally, I think I am partial  to the vintage jackets, and if you don't mind sifting through musty used clothing stores, you can probably score a pretty cool find.

-The Scandal

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Rising hemlines

I remember over a half decade ago my brother passed by a lineup of people waiting to get into a trendy nightclub in New York and referred to them as a bunch of "lemmings" as a result of the fact that they were all wearing trucker hats, which was then the costume de rigueur for that crowd.

I'm always a fan of checking out the galleries posted by GQ "street-style" photographer Tommy Ton, especially in and around  fashion week. In his most recent gallery shot outside New York fashion week, I was struck at how uniform these supposed fashion renegades actually looked.  There is some irony that their collective quest for individualism actually exposes a  group-think mentality.

If there is one trend in particular that was nearly ubiquitous, it was the rising hemline in men's pants, be they dress pants, casual pants or jeans. Sometimes the pants were rolled up, sometimes not, but in almost every case, they "boldly" flouted the rules taught to us by generations of tailors and men's magazines.

So where did this trend come from? In reality, hemlines have been rising for years. Men's designer Thom Browne can definitely be credited with contributing to the trend. His extremely high-hemmed and shin-bearing  pants have always been one his quirky trade-marks, and he's been mainstream for over five years now.

Another influence has been the particular cuff style favoured by uber-cool fashionistas in Milan and  made famous by the Sartorialist. Here is a photo of one of the the Sartorialist's favourite middle-aged muse, Lino, owner of the  Al Bazar men's boutique in Milan.

As you can see, the pants are cut a bit higher so that there is no "break" in the pants as you would see in a traditional hemline where the cuff hits the shoe. The cuff is also wider than a traditional men's cuff. This style is definitely more subtle that Thom Browne's, but it is definitely noticeable.

All of this is to say that rising hemlines have been in the air for some years now, and there are undoubtedly other sources for the trend, apart from the two I identified above.

So what's my opinion on trend? I've actually admired (and tried to emulate) the Milan cuff style for some time now, and I suppose the other styles shown above can be interesting if done properly, but I think the images above show that this style has all the hallmarks of a fad that one should with approach with some caution.

-The Scandal