When I met Kumar about a decade ago, he introduced me to the unique world of men's fashion. That initial arousal of my interest in this sub-discipline has grown and has been held ever since. Well, at the very least, I've been "sensitized" to it and can now spot (and smell!) a faux-pas from a mile away! And now, Kumar and myself are forming a dynamic duo (of sorts!) and together, we're endeavoring, to gently nudge and guide men, on to the path of sartorial "enlightenment."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Week Forty-eight of tweed and men...

(Kumee rocking tweed jacket, 'nuff said!)
Snuggling up beside a decked out Kumee the other day afforded me the opportunity to pay close scrutiny to the fabric of his new suit that I would normally just lump into the broad-ish category of "tweed." I was quite surprised to see that it was actually a herringbone overlaid with a simple check. Could it be? I never knew there was such a combo - I've always thought you could have either one or the other. But so it does, exist, that is! Apparently, it's traditionally Scottish (as is all tweed), but what makes this cloth and particular pattern distinct is that it would be woven with the dominant colors of the respective properties of estatemen who would commission (yes, that's the verb!) the resulting unique fabric as their own, to be worn by hunters under their employ. The garments made with the material provided its wearers with both warmth and camouflage. Those were the practical purposes the material served and really was intended for originally. These days, however, to wear tweed, especially in these parts, is guaranteed to actually set one apart from the crowd (a fact that Kumee's fully aware of and confidently capitalizes on!) and not blend into their immediate surroundings - no kidding! in a sea of black suits! Granted, a black suit will always have it's place in a gentleman's closet, but it's all too easy to get too comfortable with the same 'ol, same 'ol, which we tend to just gravitate to in a store, yes, even I've fallen into that insidious trap! So, before you write-off this bit of info as trivial, could tweed be an option, perhaps, to consider (?) for your next sports jacket?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Week Forty-seven: Kumee's Winter Suit Debut!

It takes a lot for Kumee to lose his temper, or it would have to do with something at least, that he feels strongly about and/or something he cares deeply for, for him to get all riled up. Muttering under his breath the other day, I couldn't quite make out what was bugging him, but I deduced that much, that it was "something about his new suit" - somehow not meeting his standards. Nevertheless, while my moods spike and dip, Kumee's otherwise even-tempered.

Kumee will be eulogized for his many virtues, but modesty - well, at least as far as his choice of patterns is concerned - will not be one of them!

Bold navy and white gingham Boss shirt, flannel pinstripe made to measure Harry Rosen suit, solid navy skinny Boss tie and fine gingham silk Boss pocket square (to continue the theme).

We're mid-November and already Kumee's fantastically winterized, meanwhile, besides my UGG's and staggering number of pairs of leggings, I'm not quite there yet!!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Week Forty-six: Breaking out the Fall Wardrobe!

So Kumee had broken out his trusty 11 ounce navy corduroy suit and had worn it twice now since the weather dropped pretty drastically. If I am not mistaken, the first time, I was just too slow on the (camera) draw to take a picture as he walked out the door to head to work last Saturday or was it actually a weekday morning (?) - I forget - when taking a snapshot is kinda out of the question in the midst of the blur of maaaadddd activity that takes place, the short term goal of which is to drop off Jaden and Maya at daycare & Kindergarten respectively and in that order and make our way to work (on time!) - Yes, we are the typical modern urban family!

Today, I managed to get that picture albeit, a tad (understatement!) blurry. Kumee completely freshened up the look, though with a new black & white fine pinstripe Eton shirt and a navy paisley Corneliani tie. Up until today, Kumee had been wearing mainly, his four season suits - wow, who knew there were parallelisms between tires and suits?

Of course, Kumee's been due for a new winter suit, and had wasted no time in obtaining one, namely, a navy pinstripe flanel suit, well, at least, I am told, for I haven't seen it yet, because, although he did bring it home in a Harry suit bag the other day, it was promptly taken to the tailor's the following day for further tweaking per Kumee's specifications. I am safely assuming that it'll be rather snug and the pant length somewhat short when he gets it - yes, we do practice what we preach!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Week Forty-five: Summer Wrap-up :(

(photo credit: my cousin Vanessa, thank you!)

It seems like merely yesterday that I kicked off the summer with a post on seersucker, and now, some three months later, its inevitable end has arrived :( and yet as all Montrealers would agree, we couldn't possibly complain, considering that this summer was epic as far as the temperature was concerned (when it didn't take much nor too long to take care of last winter's pasty complexion and score myself a decent tan albeit of the "farmer's" variety!), and hopefully in many other respects too for everyone, as it was for Kumee and myself.

Hence it seems only fitting that I devote a post to summer 2011 and all that it was and pay homage as well to Adam Levine of Maroon five, who sings Moves Like Jagger which was kinda like the unofficial anthem/soundtrack of the season that had just past. Levine of course, is another notable metro guy. Now, as much as I'm all for street fashion and all that, I'm a self-confessed sucker for the pulled together look of a well-dressed man!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Week Forty-four: Mad Men Aspirations, etc.

I might have been M.I.A. from my little neck of the blogosphere, but rest assured that I haven't forsaken you guys! I did keep my eyes open whilst on vacation, for 52 Weeks noteworthy curiosities - well, it was kinda hard to miss anyways, the rather ubiquitous but nevertheless tasteful, ad campaign for Banana Republic's sophomore collabo with Mad Men:

I'm not too sure whether it's an actual casting call as it was the first time around, but it's clever. Are you Don? Or rather, is Kumee, Don? I should ask. LOL, ok, you be the judge of that!

I chuckled the very first time I saw the life-size poster of a Betty look-a-like at the BR at Rockland's here in Montreal a couple of weeks earlier - the question addressed to the female demographic, posed in French: "Etes-vous Betty?" If you were to ask me, I think, I kinda identify more with Joan, lol, or fancy myself as her...in my dreams!

Oh, and no trip Stateside of course, would be complete without a visit to the outlets...saw this at Brook Brothers in Grove City, PA:

As you can see, it's another one of my ineffectual shots where you can't even make out what it says the book's about. Basically, it's a guide to....ok, you read that much, and get the point. I didn't actually buy the book, hmmm, in hindsight now, maybe I should have just doled out the 40 $ (which went towards a purse instead!) It might prove to be handy in raising Jaden, at least as far as manners & etiquette are concerned. Sartorially, though, I know I need not be worried: Kumee's got the little guy covered...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Week Forty-three: Weddings!

Ok, so the news is just rife with sooo much bad and negativity, that when a co-worker of mine excitedly announced this week that she had just gotten engaged, it came as a veeerrryyy welcome breath of fresh air that took me back to our own wedding nine years ago and all of the sartorial preparations that were involved in it. Oooohhh, me love summer, and weddings, too!

I guess we took a rather unconventional route, in that Kumee forfeited the element of surprise and what would have been a breathtaking/ooooh-aaahhhh moment for him of seeing me in all my gazillion layers of gauzy tulle-y splendour for the first time, walking down the aisle, for instead, sharing with me the ultimate retail "high" of wedding dress shopping. Given our love and lust for clothes, it seemed like the most natural way to go, besides, I've always completely trusted his taste and still heavily rely on his opinion, well, when it comes to clothes, at least, lol!

As for Kumee, we thought it would be more practical, to invest in a good suit to wear for the wedding and that he could actually use again. Note, this was pre-Harry's so, he did get a granite Boss suit from, uh, a competitor, which I won't mention here, lol, but shortly before the big day as his brother/bestman and groomsmen were grooming up and trying on tuxes, Kumee couldn't help but want "in" on the action. "Just when do you get to wear a tux, anyways?" He said, using pretty much the same line of reasoning as I had, as to when would I ever
get the chance again to wear a ballgown and be a princess for a day???
Hah! Great minds do think alike after all!

Mind you, many people will buy their own tux because they might periodically attend functions where it's de riguer, either that or maybe they're just squeamish about renting and wearing something previously worn by somebody else and of course, must have lots of money to spend. Kumee has had the privilege of dressing up grooms for their big day either in part or in complete groom-ey garb, e.g. tuxedoes. I personally don't necessarily think that buying your own tux is that frivolous for there are many ways to put it to good use, like wearing it to bed or to the gym, lol, no, but seriously, have you ever watched on the Food Channel, how Bobby Flay will whip up a "deconstructed" burger? Well, that is exactly what you do with a tux, you pair each element up with something else to dress it down. I've seen this done a lot, and it really does work! For example, tux shirt with jeans, tux jacket with jeans, etc, etc.

Let's face it, all eyes will be on your bride that day, so let her revel in the attention and not to mention, your admiration, nevertheless, aim to look your best, too, as her complement. Suit or tux, it's your call.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week Forty-two: It's All in the Details, Part two

As a parent of young children, sleeping in is a luxury I truly miss, and I know that I'm in good company when I say that chronic sleep deprivation is kinda like the story of my life, and yet somehow, on some Saturday mornings, I still manage to catch a couple of extra zzz's, so much so that by the time, I like, come to, Kumar had already left for work. Other times I'll wake up just as he's stepping out the door and I'll just lazily call out of bed to bid him goodbye. Last Saturday, though, I woke up a few moments earlier than usual, this time as Kumee was getting dressed. "Is that one of the white shirts I had ironed last night"? I asked, proud of my handiwork. But with my mental faculty still fogged up and my eyelids heavy with sleep, I just couldn't tell. "It's the purple one" Kumee replied. Upon closer scrutiny, yes, it
*was* the purple one, or at least the one that *had* purple threads woven along and across the length of the fabric.

It really is "all in the detail." I love how Kumee built on the purple by accesorizing his grey suit with a pocket square of the same lilac-y shade, and finally slipping on a wonderfully complementary brown belt and pair of dress shoes. Purple, grey and brown is definitely my ultimate favorite color combination that has been around for a couple of seasons running now & has been enjoying much popularity, and it's quite plain to see why...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Week Forty-one: It's All in the Details!

It's all in the details (you've got that right, brother!)- they are what elevate things above mediocrity & the rut of being plain ordinary. Just like the contrasting polka dot fabric of this collar base (yes, I know my shirt anatomy - a fact that Kumee thinks is wildly sexy, lol!) & chunky buttons - things that earn it the right to be affixed with the Eton tag and all that it stands for. Of course, their shirts' fabric is a major characteristic. Their red ribbon label (notice actual red ribbon piping) feature shirts made of super 150 and up (thread-count) material which are virtually crease-resistant (but I still iron anyway, just because I'm a bit anal that way).

Aptly renamed after the exclusive Eton College, because its original Swedish name was way too much of a mouthful for the average Savile Row bloke (or any non-Scandinavian for that matter!), these shirts are truly special and exclusive. They're just one of the many things Swedish like Ikea, H&M, Roxette and Stieg Larsson among others, that make Sweden what has got to be one of my favorite places!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week Forty: Getting squeaky clean, metro-style!

Is soap really just a placebo? Whatever the case, like most people, we like our soap! Checked in at the boutique-y St-Paul Hotel this weekend during what has now become an extra feature to our trendy-restaurant-dinner-anniversary-celebration-tradition, Kumee brought his own soap from home, just in case the hotel's complimentary "shea butter" soap just wouldn't do. Soap-on-the-rope used to be that lame last minute gift given as a token gesture, well, at least up until Tom Ford launched his personal line of men's toiletries, that is. Perfumed with his own signature scent, he put as much thought into this exfoliating bar as you will have into giving this to the special sophisticated metro male in your life. Warning: has aphrodisiac properties:))))

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Week Thirty-nine: Checks!

And so while I love black clothes, Kumee adores checks, and if he had his way as well, that's all he'd wear, well, when I come to think of it, it is almost all he wears, down to his boxers, and socks! Well I might have something to do with the underwear bit there for, for the first time I ever assumed another incidental wifely role - that of boxer-purchaser, with the plethora of choices before me, I ended up choosing a three pack of medium-sized fruit-of-the-loom (I will indulge him with silky Burberry ones one day!) assorted check patterned underjammies. You could imagine my relief to find out that Kumee approved of my selection when he sighed wistfully and told me how he wished that he could make shirts out of them!!! Yeah, and so Kumee likes check shirts...

The responsibility of dressing up Jaden kinda naturally just fell upon Kumee, the same way it had on me for Maya as traditional gender roles dictate. I must say that Kumee does a great job at it - at least 99% of the time! As I had explained in a previous post, while in the past, the clothing choices for little boys were limited to pint-size overalls and middy(midshipman)/sailor outfits, we generation X-ers have so much choice at our disposal and like to dress up our progeny the same way we dress ourselves, rendering them little mini-me's that it is almost scary! With the warmer weather this exercise, really is a cinch, but it's all to easy too to underdress. And so Kumee dresses Jaden one evening in a red check short-sleeved shirt and a green check pair of shorts. I didn't realize that he had until we arrived at our destination and brought it to Kumee's attention. "Isn't he mis-matched, huns??? I asked incredulously. "Mais, non!" came Kumee's snooty reply. "It goes" Kumee insisted "I guess, in a "festive" kinda way" I sarcastically replied, I mean, I learned that inKindergarten, that is, not to match red and green or pair green with yellow, etc. I ended up explaining to everyone I met that evening that Kumee had dressed Jaden, but funny enough, at the end of the day that was all the explanation needed, because when it comes to fashion, nobody argues with Kumee:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week Thirty-eight: Sartorialist-borrowed Inspiration

So I must admit that I haven't been as religious in checking out The Sartorialist's daily (or almost!) daily picture but I don't think I've been necessarily (sorely!) missed, either or missed more than is necessary at least, the way I miss the visits of all my five followers lol. And that's the thing about blogs - interest and/or inspiration waxes and wanes, flows and ebbs, if you know what I'm saying, lol, it comes in waves and spurts and then there are these lulls...

And so I broke my Sartorialist fast, my interest piqued and stirred by last Tuesday's post title, "The New Prep Standard, Paris" and was pleasantly surprised, no, actually, I practically fell in love all over again - I mean, what's not to love about these three photographs? They've got all of the elements such as the seersucker blazer, the ankle grazing pants, the skinny/knitted tie, the pocket square - pretty much everything right there that I've been preaching and harping on and on about for the past couple of months, so much so that it feels validating...

Funny that he posted something on prep, for just the other day a girl at work who (alas!) knows her fashion and I got talking about clothes and I couldn't help but smile as she gushed and (lusted!) over lined lapels and crests - just who does that? that is look beneath a lapel and cares enough whether it's lined or not??? Prep is indeed quite the trend. While traditionally, it used to identify one, strictly speaking, as an enrollee of the better academia ("prep" schools) of New England (different still from the narrower but related Ivy style, encompassing a wider variety of key garments) these days it's more of a personal look that unlettered laymen/streetsmart/disgruntled Harvard aspirants - dropouts from anywhere can pull off with the exercise of a little caution, of course...so as not to appear as if one is trying too hard...(now to convince Kumee to get a pair of dress shorts!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Week Thirty-seven: Black & White

(photo credit: Deb S of PIX Me Photography)

I kinda always knew that if ever I were to run dry of ideas for a post, I could always talk about black & white as a color palette (or a non-color palette, that is, as some experts maintain that black is a shade and white's a tint, ya-di-ya-di-ya...) and still be fashionably relevant, as timeless and classic as B&W is. If I had my way, though, black is all I'd ever wear, everyday, without exception! In a store, I just gravitate and beeline towards black, pretty much the same way I will invariably pick out, every single time, the exact same shade of lipstick from a make-up countertop display of a hundred variations of reds and pinks and everything in between. Needless to say, it's actually Kumee who coaxes me out of my somber comfort zone and encourages me to to wear color. (Personally, I find black monochrome on guys too costume-y (think salsa dancer/figure skater!) and downright tackville.

Sartorially, white complements black like nothing else, it's no wonder that it's the attire "de riguer" for formal occasions (e.g. "black tie events"). I love how it eliminates the guesswork in finding the perfect outfit in such contexts for the sterner sex...thank God for that for left to their own devices, just what combinations would they come up with? Now that's a scary thought! Here's Kumee in a less stuck up B&W combination: (the Hugo Boss purist)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Week Thirty-six: Shiny suits

I had finally taken me a decent picture of Kumee's latest acquisition lol, namely, his "shiny" blue suit. And so I asked him the other day, "What kind of fabric is this, Huns?" "It's shiny" came the reply and right there in the car, I imagined him being the unclad emperor, and myself as one of his mute subjects, too afraid to challenge his claim. Just who was he kidding??? I silently agonized, and then the sun came out...

And so I love this suit's subtle sheen - emphasis on subtle - that's manifest only when the garment is hit by brighter lights. I know for certain that I'd be cut off midsentence by a conservative dresser if I were to even vaguely suggest the wearing of sheen as fashionable. And just how much more resistance would I meet with if I were to outrightly recommend "metallic" - It's too strong an adjective, much like "pink" to the self-proclaimed "real" man. And so I'll stick with shiny as according to Kumee. At the end of the day though, his suit is definitely not too flashy, it's just a little dressier, if you will, than average.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Week Thirty-five: Hairstyles

So I dredged this up as I was searching for extra info on shiny suits - the article does mention the suits, among other things - it's actually a rather comprehensive list of men's fashion trends for 2011. I know it's a bit too late to feature this, when we are well into 2011, midway in fact, but considering that this picture of Kumee is a very poor choice to showcase his new slightly iridescent blue suit, I thought I'd talk about grooming and hairstyles instead, which I very well know could be quite the sensitive subject, especially the former and yet is very much an integral part of fashion and must be considered at some point. Don't worry, I won't talk about superfluous hair this time, I'll stick to the perfectly natural, if mundane business of hairstyles.

As far as the list is concerned, it seems like Kumee's quite in step with hair fashion trends with his new longer "do," lol. Shortly before we got married (besides losing his braces) he chopped off his luxuriant dark longish locks, and got what was referred to as, well, at least (humourously) by my brother's hairdresser, the "Ricky Martin cut" - kinda like the male counterpart of the Jennifer Aniston/Rachel choppy do lol, in its far reaching popularity that peaked in the early part of the new millenium. Nearly a decade later, Ricky has since come out of the closet lol, and Kumee has finally gotten out of the short hair rut and toughed it out long enough to resist the urge to get it cut yet again during that scruffy in-between period as he would for the past eight or so years, and voila! Here's what I call the McDreamy (Kumee's version!)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Week Thirty-four: Spread vs Narrow Point Collars

Without getting too technical because frankly speaking, I don't know the first thing about photography, I love Deb's clever and skillful employment of technique and trained eye for interesting subjects such as this one of an already intrinsically attractive shirt, superpositioned against the backdrop of some form of neat custom furniture that lends even more to it in terms of effects and makes for an overall greater and not too mention, very interesting pic. I'm going to continue this post by way of comparison and contrast, that is between the narrow point collar and spread collar, such as the one in Deb's photograph.

Although, the narrow point collar shirt has got to be the least preferred dress shirt (if even a choice at all!) of the metro male who favor spread collars to accomodate their penchant (that borders on the pathologic!) for chunky (silky!) Windsor tie knots, it certainly does have its rightful place, that is resting below the Adam's apple of men with *rounder* faces.

I won't harp on and on as to why, the reason is simple and should be plain: the longer and vertical collar points of this shirt balances out the horizontality of a round face, a spread collar only pronounces it. I won't go so far as to say either that "clothes make a man" because as I've emphasized in the past, it's the person we are within that really counts and is what we should constantly be refining, nevertheless, clothes do speak volumes about their wearer. Hence, a man with a rounder face who consciously chooses a narrow point collar "tells" me that he's cognizant of what would unnecessarily accentuate a flaw, if you will, and avoids it. He won't blindly jump headlong into a trend bandwagon without paying regard to whether it might suit him or not. He's sartorial-savvy and self-aware, and naturally, better dressed!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Week Thirty-three: The Metro Ethos; Layering

If I were to be completely honest, I have a hard time too myself understanding the Metro ethos sometimes - I mean, why is it that Kumee chose without a moment's hesitation to wear a pink sweater to the mall the other day and yet balked at having to carry a completely gender neutral black umbrella this morning, all because it had what he referred to as a "girly (silver) trim" that runs around its edges?

Going back to Kumee's pink sweater last Sunday, later on that day, we were with friends and naturally, sometime during the course of the evening, the conversation focused on Kumee's outfit which became quite a polarizing subject for discussion. Needless to say, mixed company, mixed opinions, and amidst the debate, Kumar good-naturedly quipped, "It kinda lights up the whole room, doesn't it"? Which elicited even more smiles. "But it's nice!" our other metro friend insisted, in Kumee's defense - our same metro friend whose ensemble a week earlier had caught my attention - not because it was impossibly impeccably tailored - I wouldn't expect anything less from him anyways, it was the peak lapels on his single-breasted suit that piqued my interest and of course, not to mention, the pink sweater beneath it worn over a wide spread collar shirt and Windsor tie-knot - this layering being, what I found out later, his artful (and metro!) way of camouflaging some imaginary pounds that he claims he had gained while vacationing in Italy with his lovely wife.

Whether one does it to mask some perceived flaw, or simply to survive frigid winters, layering certainly makes for an interesting outfit (that need not be bulky!). I think it's recommended year-round especially during the transitional months of Spring and Autumn when the weather can be neither quite hot nor cold - layering permits the peeling off or adding of pieces accordingly, and then come summer, it's definitely your best (and stylish!) defense against drafty cubicles...


Photo credit: Debs of PIX Me! Photography, thank you!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Week Thirty-two: Beyond the Basics!

Once you've got you're basic suits covered (solid black, navy and grey), why not expand your wardrobe's repertoire to include other versatile pieces? Experiment with different colors, fabrics and patterns. Perhaps opt for a sports jacket - be it double or single-breasted - instead of an actual jacket-trouser ensemble for a change and your closet will be well on its way towards well-appointedness!

I had completely forgotten about this beige and white, cotton, Boss, sports jacket of Kumee's until he pulled it out yesterday to pair up with a checkered pink shirt. I love how it can be both dressed up and down. This is the snazzy way to wear it as demonstrated by Kumee. Of course, it goes just as well with a pair of dark wash jeans!

Pink Boss tie, uh, no-name paisley pocket square lol, brown Cole Haans and of course, some fancy guy hosiery, underneath the pants :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Week Thirty-one: From Raffia to Mafia!

Hats are pretty much one of those things that you either like or don't care for at all, it's either you're a "hat person" or not. Both Kumee and I fall under the latter category...how boring! Well, it doesn't help when you feel you have a largish head that's disproportionate to the rest of you. And that this has been confirmed real and not just imagined by the fact that your kids are at the 90th percentile of the head circumference growth curve chart as religiously plotted by their pediatrician, meaning only 10% of their pint-size peers have bigger heads, thanks of course to your lovely genes, well, that only adds insult to injury!

And while a hat may hyper-emphasize a large head (or if you're even lucky enough to find one that fits, that is!) it certainly also does an amazing job at covering up a multitude of other head/hair flaws and woes - be them temporary, semi-permanent or permanent (e.g. bad hair days, bad haircuts/hairdresser gone scissor happy/amok, receding hairlines and thinning crowns, alopecia, a funny-shaped head, gross peroxide/toner ratio miscalculation etc. etc.) It's also quite sensible to wear one to shield one's self from the elements and especially during the summer for protection from the sun's relentless beating. Of course, it's only by actually wearing it, though, that one would derive such benefits, and not just carrying it around like David Beckham had for accessory purposes/as a fidgeting/wringing deterrent (I mean, how cumbersome!) at the Royal Wedding, in which case it would be completely useless, the way we had spent a good portion of our time waiting fruitlessly last Friday for Mr. Posh to indulge us with the sight of him with his top hat, uh, atop his head!

Raffia, Mafia fedoras, and a funky blue felt one, lol! (As always, thanks to Debs of PIX Me Photography!)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Week Thirty: Pink Shirts and Double-breasted Suits

Rest assured that the novelty of Kumee's new Eton pink shirt will fade for him at some point, but in the meantime, we might as well take the opportunity to demonstrate and really, showcase, the versatility and wearability of the "rose" shirt!!! In this pic, Kumee coordinates it with a double-breasted sports jacket. It's a pity how the bad rep the double-breasted suit had gained from its boxier and wider construction in the 80's has stayed with it until now and how as result, efforts to "bring it back" hasn't met with much success. Is it any wonder why the misconception that the double-breasted suit adds weight and girth prevails?

The entire 80's decade and the following couple of years well into the 90's were infamous for its fashion or lack thereof! With the exception of a few trends which we now covet and revere as "vintage," by and large, this era wasn't exactly the sartorial golden age, was it? These days though, the fashion-o-meter is a-spikin' and even the double-breasted suit wanted "in" on the fashion action and has gotten streamlined, too! With proper tailoring, it can be very flattering to the beefier guy, even more so than the regular suit. Isn't that the holy grail of dressing for both men and women? To create a semblance of trim? I will stand corrected, but I'm pretty sure that the secret to the double-breasted suit's ability to shave a couple of pounds off one's appearance lies in its slight overlapping structure that holds in/ contains, controls and cinches. But of all its many virtues, I looovvvve how the double-breasted suit lends "presence" to and bestows upon its wearer, a "distinguished" air:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Week Twenty-nine: *Real* Men: Beware of the Menacing Man-Purse!!!

So I followed a friend's (who happens to be a writer) advice to "find a niche" and so yes, this blog was born out of a need to kinda narrow down the things I write about. And naturally, after winnowing off all the chaff, Kumee/men's fashion is the grain that remained. Now, just when I thought that this was niche enough, I came across a site devoted to satchels and only satchels, lol. Just how much blogging can one do on satchels alone? Plenty...apparently, lol! On that site you'll find anywhere from the latest styles and innovations in satchels (e.g. ones with neat built-in battery chargers!), references to them in the media (e.g. protagonists "Indiana Jones wears one" or more recently "Jack Bauer wears one" (wazzz uppp???) and literature, to sightings of notable people sporting satchels a.k.a the man-purse.

I'm grateful to have stumbled upon that blog because honestly, personally, all I had on them is that Kumee has a handsome Cole Haan one (that I would totally use if only it wasn't such a pain to switch bags and transfer my personal effects each and every time, uh, forget that!!!) which doesn't make for a very interesting blog post, and yet satchels, are a metro staple, that certainly deserves some mention.

If I had concluded on two posts back, that there couldn't be anything else that is the "object of so much scoff from the self-professed "machosexual" (what a ridiculous term, lol!) other than the pink shirt," then, the man-purse definitely takes the cake as the runner up!!!

The Veerrrryyy Menacing Man-Purse:

(photo credit, Deb of PIX Me Photography, thanks a gazillion!)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Week Twenty-eight: More Fancy-Smancy (Men's!) Hosiery

So, nope, I wasn't exaggerating, not at all, when I said that Kumar would totally wear some bold socks like the ones in Deb's pic from the previous post...ok, these ones may be a lot "quieter" (as opposed to loud!) and are an otherwise boring pair of beige socks if not for the canary yellow heels and hotrod (my adjective!) orange toes!!! So I wasn't going crazy after all when I had thought that I had seen a flash of yellow...and yes, that's exactly how short these pants of Kumee's are for them to have been visible: if one of our friends has become addicted to having his suits taken in to be snugger and snugger (literally "within an inch of it's life" for one of them at one point before it went rrrriiipppp!!!!), Kumee seems to have developed a thing, too, for receding hems and doing without pant breaks. Will men's pant lengths be the new basis for predicting stock market prices according to the hemline theory???

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Week Twenty-seven: Pink!

Last Tuesday found Kumar on one of those rare occasions where he couldn't decide on what to wear to a business dinner. The weather being seasonally mild but bound to drop as the evening progressed just compounded his dilemma. Kumee finally chose to wear his eleven-ounce navy blue cords suit, navy being a year-round color, the cords still perfect for this time of year, but definitely too heavy after April-ish, and his new pink Eton shirt. Ah, the pink shirt: while the metrosexual will wear one without a moment's hesitation and with much sartorial aplomb, I don't think there's anything else that's the object of so much scoff from the professed "machosexual" and if I were to be completely honest, that shirt does remind me of my binky blankie from when I was Jaden's age with it's fine gingham pattern, and yet it's darn inarguably handsome:

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Week Twenty-six: At the Half-way Mark!!!

Woohoo!!! We're at the halfway mark!!! (yeah, baby!) When Kumee and I first conceived the idea of this blog, we originally planned for it to be 360 days of Metro, but then, fear set in as we realized how ambitious that was and how daunting a task that would be, and so we modestly settled for 52 weeks of Metro, which we thought would be more feasible, but even then, we wondered whether we had bitten off way more than we could possibly chew! I took my first ineffectual pic and with bated breath, posted the first post and then thought, now what??? I mean, how much harping on their husband's tie hoard can one do???

Much to my delight, I'm finding out how inspiration can be drawn from the most obvious as much as it can come from the least expected of sources. I've also discovered how it can strike at the oddest times & places! And then of course, there are the generous contributors, like Deb, who's been on the lookout for great subjects that have made for the most amazing pics, like the shoes from last post! As a result, we're comfortably ahead of schedule, considering that 52 Weeks was supposed to span an entire year, one week at time! And also, thanks to Deb, 52 Weeks has gotten a makeover! (gotta love that tie pic!!!) Here's another one of Deb's wonderful pics that just mirrors my quirkiness:

Ok, now the rule is that one's supposed to match their socks with their trousers, not their shoes, but I love this playful, "costume-y" defiance of old school sartorial establishment. Granted, it's a more casual get-up where there's lots of room for latitude, based on the chinos, but Kumee would totally wear these with a suit as well. Another thing, there's no point in trying to go for whimsical with flashy socks, if they're just going to be hidden...notice, no, commit to memory, the pant length...this is a bit extreme in that the hems merely graze the ankle, but honestly, there's never been a better time to dabble a bit and experiment with short or even no breaks at all!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Week Twenty-five: Boat Shoes

So Kumar's really looking forward to receiving his order of Cole Haan boat shoes for this S/S. I'm glad he's settled for me once and for all as to what they're really called - "boat shoes" - because I've always thought they were called "topsiders" - that is, short (I'm just finding out like now!) for Sperry Topsiders, the original makers of this type of shoe. This is a classic example of a Filipino quirk that have them indiscriminately lumping a class of things together, referring to them by a proper noun/brandname, so that all laundry detergents are Tide, all toothpastes are Colgate, all colas are Coke, all refrigerators are Frigidaire, heck, even all male foreigners are called Kanos, that is, short of course for "Amerikano" so that, Maria's step-dad who's as German as German can be and speaks zilch English, by default is assigned an American identity by everyone in town, by virtue of his Caucasian features, lol.

Going back to boat shoes (which, when, you come to think of it, is quite a generic name!), they were born out of boaters' need for a non-slip shoe that wouldn't scuff up the decks of their vessels, hence, their trademark white sole with their not as readily obvious characteristic of special grooving simulating the soles of dog feet, in a rather ingenious feat of biomimetics (forgive the pun!) achieved by employing a special technique of splitting or "siping" of rubber soles invented and patented by a John Sipe.

Kumar's boat shoes are going to complete the nautical look he's going for, which, as I had explained in my last post, is really quite the rage these days for both the "fairer and sterner sexes" and how one need not necessarily live by a "navigable body of water" and can reside as "inland as Saskatoon" to rock this trend. The latter statement is open to open rebuttal, I being geographically-challenged and simply too lazy to verify my facts!

I'll leave the boat-shoe-wearing to Kumee once he receives them, though, they're a tad too masculine for my taste, even the ladies models. But in keeping with the shoe theme, I'll leave you with an amazing picture* courtesy of Deb, personal friend and owner of PIX me photography who knows and really "gets" what is meant by "shoe fetish"....

*I wouldn't recommend wearing these on a game fishing trip :P

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Week Twenty-four: Kumee's Latest Steal/Splurge

It hasn't been very long since the last "Kumee's latest requisition" post, and yet here we are...again, go figure, lol! I'm like totally eating my words when I said that "one can never have too many white shirts" and although his two newest shirts may not be white, they're just as blank a canvas for perhaps an ultra-conservative corporate get-up that announces that you mean "business" and yet subtly interesting enough to be the basis for a fun and casual *nautical* outfit (that is soooo the rage these days for both the sterner and fairer sexes!) that one can rock regardless of whether one lives nowhere remotely close to a navigable body of water and lives as inland as, uh, Saskatoon?!

Seriously though, if you wear dress shirts on a daily basis, it's imperative to have enough shirts to last you at least until the next dry-cleaners run. Of course, if you're domestically capable, you could always pre-treat their collars, load them up into the delicates cycle, add some Zero wash, hang dry and press them yourself every week or so, but if you're a bit fussy like Kumee who had kindly told/explicitly warned me (in so many words!) to "NEVER TOUCH MY SHIRTS EVER AGAIN!" after I had volunteered to do all of the above in a feeble attempt to significantly cut down our expenses during the recent infamous market crash (and pocket myself the ridiculous amount he spends on Bellingham services!), then you're really better off just stockpiling the Etons...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Week Twenty-three: Metro Legacy!

One of my earliest recollections of what has become a life-long love for clothes, clothes, clothes, is of when I received a "Disco" Barbie. She had roller-skates and was dressed in no less than a gold *lamé* bell-bottom jumpsuit lol. I clearly remember wanting an identical outfit for myself soooo bad that in my little girl's mind, I thought, if I willed for it hard enough, my doll's flashy metallic number would by some uncanny superhuman force transform into a kid's size seven! Needless to say, it never happened - disgruntled - I now have a compulsive shopping habit (and a shoe fetish!) as a result. But I also have loads of fun these days dressing up my own daughter!

Once upon a time, little boy outfits were limited to pint-size overalls and the sailor costume, reserved for special occasions. Generation X-ers, though, have so much at their disposal and like to dress their own progeny the very same way they dress themselves, rendering their little ones, tiny mini-me's that it's almost scary! Jaden, the sole heir of Kumee's tie hoard, might be too young to actually want Ken's clothes and "will" for them to fit him, but already, he's being groomed to be dapper like his Daddy:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week Twenty-two: What to do, what to do!

Trying to do my hubby proud today with a fine pinstripe, fitted Inwear shirt with a plain collar and cuffs and flashy buttons, lol and if it weren't for the risk of looking too contrived I'd thieve one of Kumee's skinny ties for a day! On the subject of Kumee's ties, its post is in the works, and I promise it won't be a boring history and evolution of the necktie nor a lame tutorial and how to tie the perfect Windsor or how not to fumble forever and fail epically at trying to do a four-in-hand knot!

I've actually enlisted the help of creative mastermind, Deb, who offered these suggestions for a photoshoot, among others:

a.) fill our tub with the ties.
b.) fill a grocery cart with the ties.
c.) fill a suitcase with the ties.

My contribution to this brainstorming, are the following ideas:

a.) gag Kumee with one of his own ties, and
b.) tie Kumee down to a chair with his own ties lol, or
c.) load Kumee up into a car trunk filled with his ties and nestle him right on top of them...

In the absolute worst case scenario, someone could always strike that (in)famous Jennifer Aniston GQ pose. I suppose that could have quite the polarizing effect among our readers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Week Twenty-One: "Whimsical"

I won't impose my beliefs as to what I think is the correct way to match a tie to an outfit on others. Why should anyone take my word for it anyway? Who's to say what's the right or wrong way? There are tons of tips out there but take them for what they are - mere tips or guidelines - which are certainly useful in that they eliminate a lot of the guesswork. But remember nothing's set in concrete.

For example, they say to "pull" a color from another part of an outfit, say the shirt or suit and then find a matching tie of the same color or within the same shade. Yes, you could never go wrong "playing it safe" by following this suggestion, it's virtually foolproof, but then again, a tie of a completely different color from the opposite side of the spectrum could very well work, too.

Same goes with patterns. They say to "keep lines simple" and don't stray too much from the pattern of one's shirt or suit. Again, who says that checks and stripes definitely can't go together? At the end of the day, what it boils down to is personal preference, taste and flair, gut feeling ("does this work?") and common sense.

Of course, there are always exceptions. For example with the resurgence of the skinny tie, to participate properly in this trend, some rules need to be followed with perhaps a little less latitude allowed. But they're in place for the sake of aethestics and not because somebody just wants to be a party-pooper or assume the role of "tie police."

A little word of caution too when it comes to cute and fun ties. Sure, I'm all for playful, but there are limits - cute has its place, and this where common sense should come in. Yes, I like a teddy-bear pattern on my son's pediatric nurse's scrubs, but not on my husband's tie. I like a dinosaur explosion on my son's jammies but not on Kumee's tie. By "whimsical" this is what I mean:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Week Twenty: Seersucker

The days of winter are numbered (yayyy!) and summer will be upon us soon. During its dog days when it might be all too tempting to romp around in your birthday suit but social constraints thankfully prevent you from doing so, by all means be a sucker instead for seersucker! Given the attributes of this fabric, it's pretty hard not to be when it can very well be the next best thing to nadaaa!

Seersucker is an ultra-thin, ultra-light cotton fabric, usually striped or checkered, woven in such a way that some threads bunch together, giving it a wrinkled appearance. It is this unique characteristic that prevents it from clinging to the skin when worn which in turn, allows for better heat dissipitation and air circulation. In other words, it breathes, making it an ideal material for spring/summer wear. Obviously it doesn't require pressing, and is thus travel-friendly, too, either on, while sprinting to the gate, slouched in one's seat mid-Atlantic or off, scrunched up in a suitcase- now, things simply don't get any lower-maintenance than this!

J.P. Tilford grey/white striped seersucker blazer:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week Nineteen: Spring!

Ok, so tell me what signifies and ushers in the onset of spring for you? Is it the chirp chirp of birds, the slow but steady melting away of snow, the smell of rain??? Lol, no really, I'm serious! Well, for me personally it's the longer days (which dispel my SAD symptoms!) pronounced even more by daylight saving time and its mnemonic catchphrase "spring ahead" that may disrupt my internal clock & throw my whole routine off for a good week or two (just when I had it down to a science!) but in view of the foreseeable nice weather ahead, is all but a small sacrifice to pay.

And while the fashion world has long since moved on to what will be appropriate seasons down the line, I'd rather just stop and smell the roses for a bit. Give it a few weeks more and I'll know that spring has definitely sprung when Kumar finally sends his cords and tweeds (and Canada Goose!) to the cleaners, breaks out his lighter suits, and the next thing I know, his closet is awash in color - brights and yes, pastels!

Already though, Kumar's been giving his spring wardrobe a dry run, pretty much same the way, I would rehearse a dress every so often for an entire month leading up to somebody's wedding!

Grey windowpane Boss suit, coordinated with purple and green plaid Boss shirt, purple tie, pocket square & socks!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Week Eighteen: Compare & Contrast, Laugh and Repeat!

So you own a suit that has stood the test of time, fifteen years to be exact, it has retained it's shape and is surprisingly in almost mint condition, but what's even more impressive, is the fact that you have retained your shape over the years, and actually still fit into the suit! Is it ok to wear something this old?

A lot of men will argue that a suit is a suit and is something that never gets outdated. True, it is a fixture and mainstay in men's wear. And granted, a suit is a very generic set of clothing which will always consist of a jacket and a trouser. Nevertheless, the suit has evolved quite a bit since then - a little tweaking here and there, which, fifteen years down the line, make for a markedly different silhouette altogether, e.g. shorter jacket & pant lengths, pleats done away with, and snugger, closer to the body fitting - now, if you really have maintained your weight, this really shouldn't pose a problem, no?

Fifteen years of scrimping on suit money is pushing it. If you don't believe me, compare and contrast the following suits: (ROTFL)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Week Seventeen: When in doubt, just say "it's taupe"

Literally speaking, Kumee isn't exactly the picture of happiness in this photograph, he was actually literally sick when I took this :( but what overrides a countenance devoid of expression reminiscent of pictures of the not very lively folk from circa, uh, 1933 during the Great Depression???? A fabulous outfit of course!!! (Kumar can tell you that!)

This is my personal ultimate fave suit of Kumar's (the gangster one is the least!) and I absolutely adore the shirt and tie pairing here. Given the number of ties Kumar owns and the infinite combinations they make for, I really didn't want to waste this picture and not post it. I mean, who knows when he would wear all three pieces again, even if he does have some say and control over the odds/probability at play here??? This was too good an opportunity to pass up:

Four-season, windowpane check, taupe, as in when in doubt as to what color something is, just say "it's taupe" Boss suit, the bold purple gingham Boss shirt, broad striped (purple and black), note, skinny Boss tie!

Thanks for passing by!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Week Sixteen: Round Collars

Q: Ok, so who died and made me some kind of (wannabe) authority in men's fashion?

A: Nobody - I kind of just morphed into this person I am today over time - I was bound to, eventually. It was inevitable, after being married to Kumar for just shy of nine years now. That's it, it had rubbed off!

Someone jokingly called me her fashion "guru" and while admittedly I am , uh, flattered (lol), I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a, what did she call me again?..."guru." I really, really, really can't count myself among the company of the fashionable elite, the perennially fashionably late, yes, but definitely not the former.

I mean, there is so much to learn about guy's clothes and it's very humbling. Just the other day I had noticed the rather curious title of Ivy Style's latest blogpost: "Round Collars Abound This Spring" which conjured up images in my head of cutesy baby doll dresses which quickly segued (descended!) to images of (cutesy) men in cutesy baby doll dresses - a bit disturbing! You could image my relief to find out what a shirt with a round collar actually looks like:

Ok, so apparently, round collars "abound (or at the rate we're going in Montreal, meteorogically speaking, will at some point abound!) this Spring." I'd say that investing in at least one of these babies couldn't hurt...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week Fifteen: The Three-Piece Suit

Shortly before I graduated from school, they held the usual annual career week to help place students into jobs and equip them with the necessary job-hunting skills, etc., etc. Instructors would play the role of potential employers and conduct mock interviews to where we would have to dress up accordingly. I clearly recall a male Italian (yes, his background is totally relevant!) classmate of mine who showed up in a three-piece suit. Our teacher kindly but not so discreetly pointed out to him within plain sight and earshot of all of us that the "right" to wear such a suit is "earned." Poor Joe (or was it Tony?) never challenged this, and neither did I rebutt - I guess, it is because I silently agreed with her assertion. It kinda made sense to me at the time that one would need to have a title attached to his name to pull off a three-piecer - either that or you would need to be plain metro, like Kumee...or both!

Ok, so any self-respecting, self or otherwise proclaimed "fashionista" must have read Sophie Kinsella's "Shopaholic" series or at the very least have seen its screen adaptation. There's a scene in there where our darling protagonist Rebecca Bloomwood, is re-touching in the ladies room right before a function. She notices a thread sticking out of her copiously bead-embellished bolero and with one swift yank, sends the beads a skittering and scattering, leaving the floor strewn with a million of the shiny tiny orbs, rendering the jacket unwearable. She deftly and heroically breaks a middle-aged woman's nasty fall from slipping on the beads that could very well have resulted in a fractured hip requiring a replacement, and yet after all of what had transpired, unfazed, Becky, heads out without her bolero, in a black and white dress which bears a striking resemblance to the banquet servers' uniform, and naturally, in a funny turn of events, gets mistaken for one...

Why did I take pains to relate this to you? Because whenever a man decides to wear a three-piece suit outside of the cold and imposing confines of the boardroom, and especially at a wedding or another formal event or soiree (where cocktails are served!) sans his jacket perhaps feeling too warm after an energetic cha-cha-cha or what have you number or two! (lol) he is venturing a risk of being mistaken for the hired help lol. To make this possiblility as remote as, uh, possible, and avoid yourself some needless embarassment, forget the good 'ol white shirt this time, and pair the suit up with a jauntier one and a good-quality (must I even say it??) complementing tie so that at the very least, you'll be known as the "well-dressed maitre d'."

Here's Kumee with two-thirds of a three-piece black subtle pinstripe Boss suit, purple checks Boss shirt and a solid purple, textured Boss tie, uh, Boss shoes:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Week Fourteen: Even More Metro Musings!

Ok, so there I was, aimlessly browsing through facebook (ok, so I've relapsed....uh, a bit??) on my Ipod touch to satisfy my need for some mindless diversion. A couple of amusing and some just really lame statii later and a parade of disturbing thumbnail sized-pics, I finally stumbled on something that's right up my alley and tickled my fancy:

It's a true artist's* perspective and fetching capture of a storefront display of fine menswear: crazy socks, classic tie.

Facebook's mobile site of course, is compressed and doesn't display entire comments until you click on them. So I click, curious to see the exchange of banter my friend's funny caption to the picture "I'm having a hard time matching these socks with the tie" (no kidding!) had elicited: lo and behold, it's Kumee, telling her to pull the pink from the Burberry tie and "try to find socks that have pink in it!" (In other words, the socks go with the ensemble!) Yup, you kinda know your better half's metro when....

*photo credit: Debra Schoenberger, PIX me! Photography...thank you:)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week Thirteen: B-O-L-D Pinstripes!

As much as organized crime is glorified in the world of entertainment and has had a long-standing love-affair with Hollywood (or actually, more the other way around, that is!) Kumar doesn't condone gun-running nor agree with money laundering and doesn't necessarily identify with mobsters, Sri Lankan or otherwise lol, but here's what we like to call his Boss "gangster" suit. Nope, definitely not for the conservative set nor the faint of heart! And even for those daring enough to wear such bold pinstripes, the tendency is to balance it out or tone it down with a solid colored shirt, and a plain or very subtle tie and maybe a neatly folded white cotton pocket square. Kumar though, likes to play it up even more and bring it up a notch with contrasting yet complementing prints, textures and colors as illustrated in this picture: fine (pink!) gingham Boss shirt, the latest addition of course, if you recall, to his tie hoard from last post lol, pink and purple paisley pocket square, and yes, pink and purple Marcoliani socks, brown Cole Haan brogues:

Shirttails: how fitting, forgive the pun! Shout out to Rach for being my sole publicly-declared blog follower lol and not abandoning me for not wanting to be my, uh, only follower! lol and to those who pay frequent visits, namely the Siocson ladies, (yes I periodically check that nifty little Feedjit tool I have, haha sneaky me!) and more recently, the Zappavignas, Miriam, I think it's you (Quintana Roo/Puerto Vallarta???) and James and everybody else - family, dear friends, fb friends who buckle to my shameless self-promotion and those who stumble across this through Blogger and stay long enough to actually read on! @ James send me your most flattering picture and I'll feature you here! And one more thing, you guys don't have to be such commentophobes - I would love to hear from you, too! Thanks for passing by!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Week Twelve: Miscellaneous Essentials

I've always said that you can never have too many undies or socks (and no doubt, everyone agrees!) and yes, in the same vein, a man can never have too many crisp white shirts, especially those of the spread collar, slim fit variety, back darts and all! - all being wardrobe essentials.

And by extension, in Kumee's book, one can never have too many ties either! But that's Kumee. Yes, it is no secret that he has a sizable (and enviable!) tie collection. You've first read about it, and I promise that you'll get to actually see it shortly. I just haven't figured out how to present the ties in such a way that will do them justice!

In the meantime, here are Kumar's latest acquisitions, the Boss Selection tie, of course, is the newest addition to his famous hoard!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week Eleven: (Man) Scarves

Otherwise staid, dark/neutral-toned and wooly scarves will always have their place in a man's well-appointed winter wardrobe, but I can't tell you guys enough how excited I am over this fairly new trend of the lighter, cheery, warmer weather (chilly evenings!) scarf worn more as an accessory and to make a fashion statement rather than just for its practicality and function and to derive the usual comfort and warmth therefrom.

Take a cue from old-world/Mediterranean "steeze." Take a cue from Kumar: