You stepped out looking like that?
Last week I got back from a week long visit at home. I usually like to venture north every year, and as my sister likes to say, it’s like a northern spa getaway. My mother has no internet, I have virtually no friends there, and I like to eat copious amounts of food and (shock beyond shock) wear my Adidas track pants from Grade 10 and ill fitting t-shirts.
However, I had a bit of a realization while I was eating my seventh slice of cake one night, sitting in the basement watching Dancing with The Stars, rooting for Kirstie Alley. (She’s 60!) Comfortable clothes are – get this – comfortable. I was wearing my American Apparel hoodie, circa 2006 and I loved it. When I looked in the mirror, it made me feel completely different, but in a good way. I have loved dressing up so much in the past two or three years that I forgot how good I look in a hoodie. (Yes, I know. Modesty is my strong suit)
So here’s what I advise. If you dress up all the time – try changing up your look by being a bit more casual. What is important and essential here is that you get the fit correct. That’s never going to change. A huge, ill fitting hoodie isn’t style or fashion. That should just stay in the closet and only be taken out when you are at home feeling depressed, having a fat day, and eating a large pizza all by yourself. And even if you don’t dress up all the time and you favor hoodies (There are many, many, many of you out there) make sure that it isn’t torn, isn’t too big or small, and that you balance it out with some dressier elements. Put on a pair of slim fitting chinos or khakis with them and a brightly colored t-shirt underneath to add some depth.
So, yes, I’m advocating a hoodie. You can take the boy out of the north, but you can’t take the north out of the boy I gather.
I’ll let the images speak for themselves.
If you are like me, then you have a difficult time finding pants that fit right. As my personal trainer says, (yes, I do have one) I have no hips. Which necessarily isn’t a bad thing, considering I don’t wear a bra and don’t want to bear a child; but when you have absolutely nothing holding your pants up, it can be a challenge. (I’ve only recently begun to feel comfortable tucking my shirts in and going out without a jacket. But I digress) But enough about me. I know that for 90% of the population, it is quite easy to go inside a store, find a shirt or sweater that you like and have no problem picking it out. Pants on the other hand, are not that easy. It’s all about fit, and finding that perfect fit is time consuming and takes thought.
Women have it a bit easier, as there are a multitude of styles and varieties. Did I mention skirts as well?
For us gents, it’s not, and most men stick with jeans. (And that ain’t always that pretty. Please stop with the pocket detailing, uber-skinny fits and dad jeans. Again, I digress)
So now that Spring has officially sprung in Vancouver, I urge men to try other options that aren’t denim. Two great options are chinos and cargo pants.
1) Chinos are effortlessly cool and classic. Nothing better than a man wearing a simple white t, chinos and sunglasses (next post will delve into sunglasses…). But how do you put it forward into 2011? Try colored chinos. Try something in a navy blue, green or if you are truly adventurous, pink. If you do go for color, make sure to balance it out with a neutral polo, gingham shirt, or understated shirt and tie combo. You don’t want to have two colors that are clashing. And please stay away from fire hydrant red pants or florescent anything. Make sure that they are slim and tapered, and not baggy – but not skinny. Also, the length should just hit your shoes so that you show a bit of skin when walking in action. It’s all about keeping a streamlined look that is modern and current. (Try Zara, H&M, Club Monaco, Tommy Hilfiger – pretty much anywhere that sells pants will have these)
2) Cargo pants. Yes, cargo pants. I know it isn’t 2001, but these are making a huge comeback and are fantastic. If you have extra weight in your legs this is something you should try to avoid, but if you are slim and trim, go ahead and give these a try. I love the juxtaposition of slim cargo pants with a braided belt, white shirt and blazer. The ones below are from Armani Exchange (sometimes you can find gems in a store that seems to be targeted to Jersey Shore aficionados) and from experience, fit perfectly. You can also find great ones at French Connection.
Bottom line – yes, it takes time to find pants that look great, but get out there and do it. Your legs and junk in the trunk will thank you. And with Spring here, try to give your jeans a rest (Unless they are white)
As the post below mentioned, “Got White” would be divided into two. After writing about making your teeth pearly white, my next challenge will be to convince gents that white jeans are cool. Now, this is where I’m going to lose more than eighty percent of the people reading this post. White jeans? The ones that you think will make you look like a trashy eighties reject? Or that you should be wearing a Hawaiian shirt celebrating your sixtieth birthday in Florida and working on your tan? Well, I’m here to tell you that nothing is more refreshing than to see great fitted white jeans on a man. The challenge and trick is to know what to wear on top and which shoes to wear. Also, the fit.
First, make sure that your white jeans are a slim to straight fit. My favourite is a pair that I bought at Club Monaco last year for nineteen dollars. (That’s the trick with Club Monaco. Never, ever, ever buy anything at full price there. Their markdowns are great. Originally the jeans cost 139.) So, slim to straight. Think APC New Standard fit, or Levis 501 Shrink to Fit. Not skinny. Please, no one wants to see white jeans masquerading as long-johns.
If you are wearing white jeans, go for neutral tones on top to balance them out. Don’t wear anything to bright unless it is an accessory or a layering piece. Go for navy (hello sailor), stripes, rich greens or even greys. You can do black and white, but I find this works best with men that have a darker skin tone.
And the old adage that you can only wear white in the summer? I don’t believe it. I would wear mine year-round. Screw old rules.
Shoes? Boat shoes for summer, tan/light brown wingtips/brogues, or Clark desert boots.
This post will be divided into two, but the topic at hand is white. A perennial favourite, white has a stronghold this season. But where can it make the biggest impact?
In your mouth. Now, it’s very important for me to state this fact. We are all beautiful, as Lady Gaga would say – or that we are “Born This Way,” – but couldn’t everyone stand from a little self-improvement? I’m not saying that I’m some Adonis, sitting here shirtless exposing every muscle. (Those who know me will find that thought comical enough) Insert Crest’s new 3D Professional Effects White Strips. These little things really work, as I have tried it for two days now and already see a difference. Yes, my teeth are a bit more sensitive, but beauty always has a price, doesn’t it? Hopefully my teeth will not be florescent and transparent in thirteen more days.
So if you want to look younger, fresher and more invigorated, try to whiten your teeth. For a mere 50 dollars, it can make a huge difference.
* Disclaimer – As mentioned above, I’m not an Adonis type guy. I’m thin, have teeth that aren’t perfect, and would love to gain twenty pounds of muscle. But if I can quickly improve my look, I’m all for it. And if your teeth have the same color palate as oatmeal or ecrew or smoker’s yellow, give those Crest White Strips a try.
Two more additions to the previous post, ‘Marek approved’.
The first is a spring coat. In Vancouver’s temperate weather, Spring can start as early as February and can last until July. What is important is the essence of layering. Enter the trench; as classic as it is, it can be perfect for Lower Mainland’s fashionable gents. Instead of getting one that is camel in color (think Burberry), go un-expected and go for a dark forest green or a deep blue as this Marc Jacobs trench is. (You can get it at Holt Renfrew) If the 700 dollar price point is a bit much, you can always head to Zara and take a look at the great Spring coat that they have for about 159. And what I love about it is that even though it isn’t a trench, it has a utilitarian yet extremely streamlined look. The color is fantastic, and it would look great over a thin sweater, cardigan, or shirt and tie.
Second is a braided belt. I’ve worn mine for about three years now (so ahead of trends) that I bought at the Gap on sale for 19 dollars. What is great about these belts is that there are no belt holes – the belt will fit perfectly to your waist. It will look great on Spring khakis or white jeans (not for the faint of heart, but if you are adventurous, go for it) This one is from H&M for 15 dollars.
Mid-February usually signals one thing for me: that Spring, no matter how far away it seems, is just around the corner. And although the weather is still making you run indoors, what better way to get out of that winter funk than dressing up in lighter layers, and infusing color into your wardrobe? These are just a few of the items that I am coveting for Spring 2011:
1) Gap’s Slim fitted Khakis. I never thought that I would have another love affair with the Gap. I remember in my youth traveling to Vancouver from my small hometown and being infatuated with the retailer who focused on basic separates (and those hoodies that everyone rocked in the mid-nineties). Ever since Patrick Robinson took over the helm, GAP has steadily increased forward – which hasn’t been easy, especially with cheaper competition from European retailers such as H&M taking a huge profit chunk from classic Americana stores. So enter these Khakis. Perfectly fitted, tailored enough to wear with a blazer, but easily transformed into something much more casual with a t-shirt and a baseball inspired jacket. And for only 59 dollars, a perfect steal.
2) Plaid inspired Ties. I recently picked one up at H&M for 34.50. Another easy way to have a pop of color amongst neutral palettes. I saw more at Winners courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger for 25.00 dollars.
3) Colored socks. I love having a surprise pop of color when I’m wearing neutral tones. Careful you don’t go to candy inspired here, and make sure everything else is toned down.
4) Bright and loud pocket squares. Fashion is very personal, and after having been inspired by Mad-Men and Jon Hamm, I have decided to let go of the fifties and sixties and have a burst of eighties be my inspiration for Spring 2011. Shoulder pads not included.
Well, well, well. After a few years of women riding the trend of the “boyfriend” fit jeans, blazers and shirts, Levis has introduced a new fit of jeans for men. They’re called “Ex-Girlfriend” jeans and the description on the website reads that these are “spray on” skinny fit jeans.
Now let me get one thing out in the open. Some things should stay on the opposite sex. Like these jeans. They would be fantastic with a longer white t-shirt, a blazer and a pair of riding boots or heels. On a woman. I’ve seen packages on men wearing slim jeans, I can’t imagine what they would look like with these jeans.
The bottom line is that men should not wear the equivalent of ‘jeggings’. (As revealed by Conan O’Brien recently) Please men, do not think about wearing these. Your friends and your scrotum will thank you.
Style is personal. I get that. But I don’t understand kids these days. There seems to be a great disconnect between generations, and unfortunately, I’m beginning to feel like the old guy on the block. Enter the website, Lookbook.nu; a place that has a “collective fashion consciousness.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I love individuality. I love the unexpected. But when everyone starts to look the same, (as in let’s take some skinny jeans, a big bulky thrift store sweater that I swear I didn’t pay more than three dollars for, boots that are untied but oh-so-intentional, Ray-Ban sunglasses and seven different neon colors on my oversized scarf) it begins to look as original as that Black Eyed Peas song on the radio. Now don’t get me wrong – fashion and style is always influenced by a certain medium. Be it art, music, photographs, or history. But c’mon kids. Let’s stray away from putting as much as you can on your body to stand out, and for all the wrong reasons. If the “collective fashion consciousness” begins to look like that, then I’ll stage a fashion revolt with my cane, thank you very much.
Just another quick note about suiting and getting it nip and tucked at the tailor. If you don’t have a perfect body (who does) but want to create the illusion that you do, a well fitted suit will do that for you. The tailor is your very own plastic surgeon for your attire. As evidenced by Canadian crooner Michael Buble. Or as one website calls him, Michael Mooble. So remember, if your arms are weak and the only six pack you have is in the fridge, a suit can make you appear better looking than you really are. But a word of caution: if you get lucky at the end of the night, remember to keep the lights off.