Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wasteful Outfitting

It is Christmas Eve, and I am in the woods. It happens to the best of us.

While packing for my overnight parental stay, I thought to myself, "Is there even a point?"

It is not like I live in the mecca of fashion or culture where I live normally, but I take pride in putting myself together well. When putting my bag together to come spend a night with my family in the country, it was honestly harder to do than packing for a trip to the city, a show, or an event. I felt like I didn't want to "waste" a good outfit on being in the back woods with my family, but then I came to my senses and realized that you need to dress for yourself as well as others. I refuse to let myself go just because I am chillin' with people in holiday sweaters and winterized Crocs. Clearly I can't sway everyone. Also - I just went shopping, and I need to break everything in.

In my new Ben Sherman overnight bag (which I thought to myself, I might as well use a Sobeys bag...Hahaha) I put in some slim fit dark wash jeans, 2 flannels, a square cut silk tie, a cardigan, and leather slip ons. I came to the realization that even my family kind of expects some sort of fashion extravaganza from me, so I better pull it out. I feel confident in my holiday wear. Good for photos, comfortable. No, it isn't D&G 2012, but it is better than a sweater with a polar bear on it, like my Dad is currently wearing, God love him.

I guess what this made me realize, is that you really do, always, need to do things that make you happy. Do it for yourself. I think too many people dress for others, wear labels for status, and don't care enough just because no one "important" will see them. If I am going to be in the woods, you are damn straight that I am going to look fantastic.

Rock out your Holiday wear tomorrow, boys.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bowtie Mandatory

I feel such a warm welcome, being a new contributor to Bloke. I am a young and opinionated business owner, fueled by fashion, hair, and music. I would call my taste " classic alternative", if I had to give it a genre. I hope my posts are found interesting, useful, and a positively different point of view for Bloke.

I draw inspiration for this first post from a related post I did in my own personal fashion/lifestyle blog : www.tmelong.tumblr.com

Let's face it - any man of style or of a fashionable mind either has, needs, or wants (maybe even secretly) a bowtie. Personally, I rock a bowtie both formally and in-formally. I feel like how I do this may need it's own special post ;)

I am really into the look lately - I like mixing a classic, well groomed look with my alternative demeanour. I like the contrast - I feel kind of cheeky being covered in tattoos and wearing a bowtie. I won't lie.

While searching for various sources on the article, I stumbled upon what could be my next addiction: http://wickhamhousebrand.com/

Wickham House is a husband and wife team based in Florida, that make CUSTOM, yes, CUSTOM, bowties, and various other men's accessories. They make most of their products by hand, which is cool, and the prices are alarmingly reasonable. A custom made bowtie for $35 US? Yes, please. You can also order pre-designed ties. They have various categories based on material, size, etc, and even have a "Bowtie Of The Month Club", which I clearly need to join.

Fine craftsmanship impresses me, and I am so pleased that they take what they do seriously enough to do it by hand, do custom orders, and keep their pricing at such a reasonable point. I will definitely be looking into more items from Wickham, and I suggest all you fellows check it out.

Whether you get a custom made piece, or pick one up for $15.00 at H&M, I say go for it. Get a solid. Get a print. Wear it with a nice shirt and blazer, or casual it up with a button down and cardigan. Either way, they are huge right now. Don't miss out.

Don't be afraid of something a little different. Try it out.

Questions? Get at me!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Local Lookies part 1

For those not in the know, I live in a "little" city on the East coast of Canada called Halifax (or Hashifax, if you're a fan of Kevin Smith/light narcotics). One of the older cities in North America, it has a rich heritage and history to draw upon, and an excellent position halfway between the hub of Canadian fashion, arguably Toronto/Montreal, New York City, and London England. Now, that isn't to say we're totally up to date in our goldie-locks orbit around western style. As a co-worker from Manchester was quick to point out, our humble city is and can be way behind the times compared to the UK or Europe, sometimes by years.

But that isn't to say we haven't developed a patchwork vogue of our own, as the local fashionistas can attest to. One of the best is undeniably Fashion East, a tumblr very much in the same vein as the Sartorialist, feature the smart set of our coastal city.

This (extended) week I will be exploring the shops and designers of this heritage hub, the local media, and how Halifax has fashioned its own style out of necessity.

Before we get a-going this week...

I'd like to shout-out to the lovely ladies at Fashion Me Fabulous for who continue to have the grace and patience to put up with my life long marathon race away from deadlines. Today's FMF is sweet and simple, but of absolute necessity to be said as Paris, my most capable editor, put it;

I tried to slough off most of high school the moment I graduated,
but some styles you just love. They enchanted you when you
were developing your style and you still gravitate to them now.

For me, it's the trainers/jeans/suit jacket look that I fell head over heels in love with while a very impressionable teenager wandering another Paris, taking in as much culture as he could before being thrown back into rural Ontario hum-drum and clothing-by-necessity. Some call ti lazy. I call ti a terrific place for a starting line.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The other side of the coin

Here at Bloke, we examine quite a few instances of the bleeding in fashion between men and women, typically with the reoccurring theme being how designers attempt to expand the masculine market into the feminine, what with skirts, skorts, one legged pants, meggings, man up, etc etc, and how, more often than not, they fail to reach any kind of happy middle ground between design, history, and how uncomfortable guys can be in clothing they don't/others don't understand, let alone change the deeply cemented norms of the male wardrobe. Today however, we're going to look at one success, that while existing in almost a total vacuum of information, allows us to consider a few angles for the Blokeish look.

Because sometimes the best dressed man, is a lady.

The amazing and always enjoyable Sartorialist, never without his camera, snapped this shot in Istanbul and posted it on his blog a few days ago.

Contrary to popular belief, Istanbul and many other parts of the Western Middle East are far less intolerant and oppressive when ti comes to gender and sex, a point that should be self evident by the above. Here's a girl who knows how to pull of a man-fit better than most guys. Hair-bands and bracelets aside, the combination-suit jacket, cappuccino shirt, matching plaid tie and sports jacket, with simple unmarred jeans, should be a basic look available and achievable to and by most dudes. The rolled up arms, rolled up shirt over the arms, loose hanging tie-knot and brilliant gold/silver mens' watch add the perfect touch fo flare and accessory, that once again could easily be copied by any guy, without the 'danger' of feminizing into the discomfort zone.

Fellas, take note!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Off the top of my head

(Feeling slightly better, not yet recovered, forgive any lapses in sense or style)

While the cold winter's air will drive many a fella to the warm embrace of a toque (or knitted beanie, for my non-Canuckleheaded audience), I've never been partial to them unless the temperature's dipped well below the fashionable limit, and a question of survival arises over style. A head condom, for lack of a better term, is called so for a good reason, and in my most humble of opinions the less we speak of it, the better.

(In fact, the toque is one of the few staples of dude-dom that is better served by a feminine touch; for every guy-gourd shoved unceremoniously in a knit skull-cap, making him look somewhat tick-like in appearance, the falling locks of a lady, blooming out from under or cascading down the shoulders, allows for the kind of visual contrast such a simple hat requires to really succeed as a fashionable item.)

The classic newsboy does have a retro-work-a-day charm, but be careful what outfits you match it with. A suit and tie must be colour checked to fit the generally earthy tones associated with the cap, the obvious exception being the black cap, which while going well with more looks, can be easily confused for the "classic" look of the private driver, and you may find yourself holding a great many doors.

For the man interested in a challenge this winter though, I suggest a pork pie (that is, if you haven't already settled on the always-charming fedora). A look that's suffered its fair share of ridicule over the years due to being characterized as somewhere between frumpy and ill-mannered, the pork pie, and its many variances, is a topper that demands confidence to be worn, but rewards its wearer many times over in individual look and charm. I for one have never seen two such hats worn in the same place, just as I've never seen someone wearing such a cap without a date on their arm.

But what of the more adventurous male? The kind of Trapper John who wears what he catches? The fur hat has typically been a staple of the Northern countries, hovering between real world practicality and PETA-rage inducing fur-lined flare (for the fun of it). While I wouldn't suggest going as far as the coon skin hat, the beaver pelt top, or overly-ridiculous coyote-fur (at a fetching $299), the classic Russian-inspired looks carry a cold determination to persists through the winter months, while looking ready to take in the Bolshoi with a Balkan beauty.

As per my post-sickness malaise, all looks mentioned in this and the previous article can be found at Hats.com, or your local 'chapaud'. Other great sites at a quickie are Mens' Hats, Fur Hat World and the always quality Biltmore Hats of Canada.