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, 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:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Week Ten: Sports Jackets vs. Suit Jackets

Compared to the sheer vastness of a woman's wardrobe, your average guy's is, uh, relatively basic, limited to the bare essentials and staples like a good suit, a few shirts, a couple of pairs of jeans, shoes etc. for mixing and matching, so it's hardly surprising to see something worn repeatedly within a short period of time. Here's that 11-ounce navy corduroy jacket that you saw on Kumar a few posts back - I'm not too sure what comes as more of a surprise: the fact that it is actually the other half of a suit - corduroy being a less conventional choice of fabric for one - or that he actually wore it before with jeans like a sports jacket. Purists might insist that a suit jacket must only be worn with its matching pants, but I think it's a question of tasteful execution and its propriety in relation to the occasion and place you're wearing it to. Granted, this corduroy number is very easy to dress down, inherently characteristic of a sports jacket with its heavier material albeit lacking some of the other identifying marks of one e.g. horn/gold buttons, elbow patches, etc. Nevertheless, I think more wiggle room - figuratively speaking, that is - should be allowed when it comes to pairing suit jackets with bottoms other than their matching pants - let's face it - the "seat" always takes the brunt of daily wear and tear and it's all too easy to "orphan" a suit jacket (and a perfectly good one at that!) especially if you're like an overzealous (metro) friend of ours who got literally "addicted" to altering his pants and had his favorite pair taken in progressively tighter and tighter until they were "within an inch of its life" - again, literally! - right before they ripped. Whether they so did discreetly or otherwise, I might never know, but I won't dare laugh - as he wasn't - while his obviously amused wife, related the story!!! Just take care to make the ensemble work and not appear slovenly and needlessly incongruous, sticking to the stricter rules like of matching belts with shoes, etc. A pressed shirt kinda goes without saying.

Worn together though, Kumar's corduroy suit is absolutely wicked, for lack of a better qualifier (lol). I especially liked the way he dressed it up the other day with a slim-fit, powder blue fine gingham check, single-cuff Eton shirt, Tateossian cufflinks, skinny knitted burgundy tie from Milan, silk Ermenigildo Zegna pocket square also in burgundy, pants tapered and hemmed short enough to give a fetching peak-show of Savile Row Robert Graham red socks, brown Cole Haan brogues. BTW, who is that, who got cropped out of the picture???

Friday, February 11, 2011

Week Nine: The Urban Lumberjack

Ok, so before Winter finally releases its icy (brrrr!) clutch, I wanted to grab the opportunity myself to devote the next few blog posts to some colder-weather styles that I adore on both men and women.

To start off, there's the urban "lumberjack" trend. It has enjoyed quite the following and patronage for a few winters now, and I think homegrown DSquared's such-inspired collection which was first presented by a parade of perfect human specimens strutting their stuff down the catwalk in plaid numbers, furry aviator hats and working boots back in 2004 may have had a lot to do with it.

It's quintessentially Canadiana, evokes the Beachcombers and resurrects Curt Cobain. Kumar and I are both 90's children, but we're not stuck in the past either, stubbornly refusing to adapt to our evolving world, especially in the fashion sense, well, maybe more Kumar than me, that's totally his province! Yes, there is an updated way to own the lumberjack look. I can't emphasize enough on my posts how it's always all about the detail nor pound it more in people's heads that fit is key.

And if there's still any lingering doubt as to the appeal of looking felling-trees-ready, just take look at Rhys:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Week Eight: The Sartorialist's Two-Cents on Half-Inch (or more!) of Shirt-Cuff...

I truly love and look forward to my daily Scott Schuman/The Sartorialist pic "fix" so you could imagine how I relished actually reading his insightful two-cents on the subject of sleeve-length and how he tactfully addressed the obvious lack of consensus among his followers as to how much shirt-cuff should really show beneath a suit or peek out of outerwear.

This is the second time since I've recently began following Schuman's blog, that I observed how he had silenced his critics with such modesty and diplomacy, the first incident, involving a picture of a "duct taped boot" that raised quite the controversy which he settled by simply directing everyone's attention to and having them watch "A Visual Life" - a beautiful mini-docu on the creative process behind The Sartorialist - and conclusively rest his case.

This quiet dignity resonated with me, reminding me of Kumar's own forebearance in the face of skepticism over his elevated sartorial taste. Unfortunately, this comes with the territory, but rising above it with such class is so gentlemanly!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Week Seven: The Skinny Tie

For the most part, I've always been fiercely loyal to Kumar, but I must admit, I used to laugh at his "fashion visionary drive" and not always just inwardly. However, over the years I've witnessed how he's silenced his skeptics one by one - without a word - and by now he has become the fashion go-to guy within and without our circle of friends. I can honestly say that their trust is definitely not misplaced.

I think the last time I ever laughed at Kumar was a few years back when he predicted the resurgence of the skinny tie after regular ties have enjoyed "standard" status for like forever. Fast forward to the present, have you watched the Golden Globes? He rests his case.

Now before you jump headlong into this bandwagon, I'll try to break it to you as gently as I can: skinny ties are not for everyone. They're not the most flattering for the beefier-set. One might think that they are "slimming," but on the contrary, they actually tend to emphasize bulk, looking disproportionate against breadth. Ok, if it's any consolation, personally, being of shorter stature, I steer away from over-the-knee-high boots for similar reasons, because, again, although one might believe they can give the wearer the illusion of height, they in fact, do the exact opposite, especially, if they hit just shy of one's groins lol...get the point? Remember, fashion is supposed to be fun and about being spontaneous, but at the same time, it doesn't mean impulsively throwing things on, without paying any regard either to whatever physical flaw (likely more real than just imagined!) that one might have which can be accentuated by poor clothing choices.

Now, if you're lucky and built anywhere from average to slim, proceed with these pointers in mind:

1.) Skinny tie + skinny collar: I know this will meet with some resistance, but if you're opting to wear a skinny tie, relinquish the spread collar, it is best worn with a regular/military collared shirt. A large collar will overwhelm the tie.

2.) Skinny tie + skinny lapel/skinny suit: for pretty much the same reason as above, the overall look we're trying to achieve here is slim. Be consistent.

3.) Skinny tie + skinny/well-fitted suit. Again. It's all about looking slim and trim. As I had explained in a previous post, a made-to-measure suit is definitely superior, but can be pricey, thus, the next best thing is a good off-the-rack suit, expertly taken in by a skillful tailor according to your measurements.

Skinny ties are pretty versatile because they can spruce up an otherwise ho-hum casual shirt and jeans ensemble and likewise make a great (and fresh!) accessory choice to go with a suit.