Tag Archives: men’s fashion

Jeans and the Generation Gap

A couple of years ago, I wrote about my love-hate relationship with my iron in a tribute to my Dad and his crisp office shirts.

In that same train of thought, when growing up in the 1970’s, while in school in the 1980’s, and when launching my career in the 1990’s, the expectation was to have clean, neat and crisp clothes anytime I set foot outside the house, because “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Even if we look back at pictures from that era and question the wisdom of some of our fashion choices, neat and tidy clothing were a common denominator.

My parents’ suit-and-tie generation set the bar pretty high, even for a child. Clothes were meant to be worn gently, and maintained carefully to keep looking new as long as possible. The rotation generally went like this: every September, we got me new school clothes and the previous year’s school clothes (if I hadn’t outgrown them yet) became the “play clothes”, for wearing as soon as I got home from school. When a new batch of school clothes came in, a batch of gently-used play clothes would go to charity.

Along the way, a little nick in clothing meant taking out the needle and thread and try to make an invisible repair to restore it to its original beauty. And if invisible mending wasn’t successful, it went into the donation box.

That’s just the way I was brainwashed… I mean, brought up. It wasn’t just my parents’ generation that instilled this way of thinking, but it was my grandparents’ generation too who declared open war on wrinkles and holes long before I was born. And just think of the staff on Downtown Abbey and how many items they’ve darned and mended through their six seasons.

About 10 years ago, I let myself get talked into buying a distressed pair of brand name jeans with a few strategically-placed pulled threads. I can’t tell you what a struggle it was each time to convince myself to wear them and that I supposedly looked like a cool, edgy, fashion-forward 40 year old. I may have looked it, but I certainly didn’t feel it. Continue reading

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My Writer’s Uniform

For as long as I can remember, spring and fall were usually times to head back to the malls and hunt for a few new items of clothing to refresh the wardrobe.

I would assume that the timing has its origins back to childhood when fall meant “back to school” and spring meant replacing the t-shirts and shorts I outgrew from the previous season. Even though I haven’t set foot in a classroom in years and “outgrowing” holds a different meaning today, the traditions of shopping for spring and fall fashion stuck with me.

But the paradigm of seasonal shopping is starting to shift. With retirement just a few years away, my clothing needs are changing.

I would like to think that until now, for my work life and my social life, I had cultivated a look that struck the right balance between the office dress code, what allowed me to feel comfortable and confident and what pleased me personally.

I developed a uniform of separates I truly loved, that fit me the way I wanted. Through carefully selected long sleeved shirts, sweaters, blazers, dress pants, cotton pants, jeans, shoes, and socks of all colours, it was very easy to mix and match the pieces to achieve a multitude of looks, appropriate for the weather, the occasion, and how I felt on a given day.

I also had on hand the obligatory suits for interviews, weddings and funerals.

Similarly, I knew exactly which pieces traveled better than others, which took the guesswork out of packing for a trip. Continue reading

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Fashionably Fifty

mens-clothingI certainly would not consider myself a fashionista or an authority on the topic of fashion, but let’s just say that I genuinely believe that cultivating a personal sense of style does have its merits.

Throughout my professional career, dressing appropriately was something I took seriously, to demonstrate to my colleagues and my superiors that I was interested, engaged and committed to my work and to my career.

By offering attention to detail in my professional wardrobe, I believed it was a sign that my work would also reflect the same attention to detail. To me, it helped project credibility. Also, by dressing appropriately for the office, I never really had to worry about being called to last-minute meetings, as I was always suitably attired.

I would like to think that at this stage of my life, my skills, my track record and my professional reputation speak for themselves. But still, I have no interest in showing up for work while wearing the same thing I would be wearing if I was at home, binge watching Netflix.

Throughout my life, I have turned to men’s fashion magazines for tips and hints for cultivating the right look for me, for my age, and for my body type. After building and refining what I consider to be a classic wardrobe, combining durable investment pieces and a few colourful statement pieces, even if I don’t need to buy anything new, the magazines help me validate that the pieces I am wearing are still contemporary. Continue reading

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Top 10 Unwritten Rules of Wearing White Pants

whitepantsWhether you are a traditionalist, wearing white pants between Easter and Labour Day, or a rebel and pushing the envelope after Labour Day, did you notice that there seems to be a few rules that go with wearing white pants, even though no one really talks about them?

When I have seen people defying these rules, I have been known to gasp out loud. I have even commented that they are braver than I would ever be and that they must be adrenaline junkies who like to live on the edge. Perhaps it’s just my overall lack of coordination that makes me say that.

Either way, I know there has been much dialogue about the “rule” of whether white pants should be worn between Labour Day and Easter, but I think there is a more elaborate set of rules on which I am certain we can all agree.

Here they are, the top 10 unwritten rules of when not to wear white pants:

10 – When carrying a coffee in an open cup or mug (without a lid)

That one drop of coffee on the white pants is not only hard to get out, but it seems to stick around the whole day.

9 – When using a pencil

I don’t know what it is but when I walk around with a piece of paper containing work done in pencil, that will be the time it will smudge… and more than likely, on the pants.

8 – When using condiments

If I must eat a hamburger or hot dog, it is best eaten at a table, or else I will forego the mustard or ketchup. With the latter, I don’t want my pant leg to look like a barber pole.

7 – When cleaning

Let’s face it, white pants attract dust and dirt without really trying. I don’t like walking around looking like a big “Swiffer” Continue reading

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Shoe Shopping?… Again?

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On a recent trip, my partner was poking fun at me as we were wandering the streets of Montréal when he asked “Don’t you need to look for shoes?” Of course, he was partly right in that no trip to Montréal is complete without at least a peek in some of the fine shoe stores. However, do I need shoes is another matter entirely.

In practical terms, I probably have enough shoes to last me this lifetime, and perhaps the next one too, yet the hunt never really seems to be over. Why?…

Deprivation! Shoes are hard to find when you have size 6 feet! Continue reading

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The Love-Hate Relationship

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On my journey through life, two words have consistently held special meaning for me. These two words have been known to warm the cockles of my heart, they have made me weak in the knees and they have even gotten me into trouble a few times by falling in love at first sight. Those two words are “NO IRON”!

Ironing was a life skill that was instilled at a very young age in our house. Having been raised by a Dad with a military background, it should come as no surprise that the “spit and polish” approach to shoe shining and the necessity for perfectly creased, crisp shirts would become my destiny in life.

That’s not always a good thing though as I can still Continue reading

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