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."

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!