Archive for May, 2010


One Guy’s Daily Tip: Wear Henleys

There are two types of casual shirts that immediately come to mind.  First, there is the t-shirt, the most casual of casual shirts, but one that indispensably comfortable over the summer months.  You can’t go wrong sitting on a deck and drinking a beer in your t-shirt.  The second shirt that comes to mind is the polo shirt.  The polo shirt is on the other side of the casual spectrum, being one of the least casual of casual shirts.  Shirts with collars tend to be deemed more formal than shirts without collars, hence this characterization.  T he middle ground between the two?  The henley.  (More after the jump)

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One Guy’s Daily Tip to Improve Your Style: Hem Your Pants Shorter

Today marks the first of a series of posts (I aim for them to be daily, but we’ll have to see how that works out…) aimed at improving style, one tip at a time.  These are meant to be simple ideas that will cost little to nothing and generally involve a small tweak.

I thought it would be fitting to devote the first Daily Tip to something I see all of the time when I’m walking around the financial district in Toronto everyday.  Pants that are waaaay too long.   This is one of the most common issues for men’s clothing today and is very easy to fix (anyone that can hem a pair of pants is perfectly qualified). 

I will explain I mean by hemming pants shorter in a minute; but first, I’ll explain a little bit about pants and why men are doing themselves no favours by wearing them too long.

Suit pants are tailored.  Meaning, they’re meant to follow the natural shape of your body and to present you in the best possible light.  A tailor’s job is really to make you look as good as possible in what you have.  When you buy a nice suit, generally the pants come unhemmed, meaning that the material is unfinished at the bottom of the legs.  This is to allow you to have your pants hemmed to precisely the right length from the get-go.  When pants hit your shoes, they “break”, meaning that they begin to pool at your feet.  They no longer form a crisp line from top to bottom.  The more material left at the bottom of the pant, the more “break” the pants have.  In other words, my point is that men are wearing suit pants with too much break. 

Pants look best when they break once, and only once.  In other words, they hit the top of your shoes in such a way as to cause the crisp line that has been pressed into your pants to break in once as you stand still.  Often, this requires a tailor to hem the back of your pants (i.e. the part that hits the heel of your shoes) slightly longer than the front of your pants to provide for the shape of your shoes. 

You may ask why the break of one’s pants is an issue.  First, it looks sloppy to have a lot of break (see picture on the right).  Much of what makes a suit look finely tailored is to not have excess material hanging around that serves no purpose.  Having substantial break is a very casual look, and while sometimes it can provide that slouchy-coolness to a pair of jeans, it completely clashes with the formality of a suit.  Second, the modern trend is toward less break.  Men’s clothing makers, most notably Thom Browne , have been cutting pants to more extreme lengths to the point where they have no break at all (see picture above, at left).  I certainly wouldn’t recommend this look for most people (I want my lawyer, accountant, insurance broker and doctor to not be baring ankle in a suit), but it gives you an idea of where we’re at right now, stylewise.  In the same way that having large shoulder pads in a suit makes it look dated, so does pants with a large break.  Finally, a large break makes your legs look shorter.  This is less of an issue for taller gentlemen, but generally speaking, don’t men not want to appear shorter?  If you’re under 6′, I wouldn’t recommend cuffing your pants – having lots of break is effectively a more extreme version of a cuff.  A long, unbroken line of pants creates the illusion of a longer leg –  the shorter you are, the less break you should be requesting. 

So, when you get home from the office today, slip out of your suit, put on your favourite Friday night wear and prepare to down the weekend’s inaugural drink, look at your pants and assess whether you’re walking around with a slop of material on your shoes.  If so, take the whole lot to your local tailor and have him or her sort them out.  This shouldn’t cost much more than $10 a pair, but the improvement in your look will be immediate.

Until next time gentlemen…


One Guy Recommends: Silk Knit Tie

When it comes to dressing for business or for a formal occassion, I would say that my general philosphy is to dress conservatively, but with one small area where I express my personality.  There are many ways to do this, from wearing a cutaway collar (which is a bit unusual in North America, but probably more formal and completely acceptable), to wearing Scottish flag or bright red fabric knot cuff links, or  coloured socks, or having side tabs instead of a belt on one’s pants.  Adding personality to one’s clothing can be done through colour, texture, pattern or proportion (although I would caution against doing these all at the same time).   Which brings me to the silk knit tie, which plays with texture in an interesting, but very understated way.

Most of those reading this blog have seen the James Bond movie “Goldfinger” at some point in their lives and many of have seen it multiple times.  It’s without doubt my favourite Bond film, from the golf scene to the fantastic names (Pussy Galore, anyone?) to the three piece, glen-plaid suit (pictured above along with a mint julep, “sour mash but not too sweet”) that James sports throughout the flick.  Plus, it features Sean Connery in the title role, a must to be considered the top Bond film of all time.  One other thing you will notice about Connery’s suit if you go back and watch the movie again is his tie.  It’s a dark  silk knit tie that I doubt most people even spotted the first time around.  The silk knit tie was more popular in the 1960’s, but there has recently been a recent renaissance of sorts.

I purchased a silk knit tie about a year ago (and then another a few weeks ago) and, while I don’t wear them very often, I always receive compliments when I do.   You wouldn’t think that a solid navy and a solid black tie would draw much attention and, for the most part, they don’t.  But when you’re talking to someone face to face, particularly an observant member of the opposite sex, inevitably their eyes will dip to your tie and the feedback has always been positive.

Most silk knit ties have a flat bottom, unlike the pointed  bottom on your average tie; while I don’t mind this detail, I managed to find one from Battistoni that has the traditional pointed bottom.  The flat bottom gives the silk knit tie a more casual air and so I would caution against wearing it to the office.  That said, I often wear mine on fridays, which are considered to be more casual at my office.

My tip for pulling off the knit tie is to make it a simple, solid navy.  Once you’ve decided how you feel about it, then you can begin to explore striped and more colourful silks.   Again, even though it is likely perfectly acceptable, I also might not wear a silk knit tie to the office, outside of a casual friday, but rather save it for events in the evening or in the summer, especially a more casual outdoor wedding or other party.

Another great reason to buy a silk knit tie, other than to infuse a bit of personality into your dress, is that they’re all of a sudden widely available and generally inexpensive.  You can track them down at Lands End, J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, Thomas Pink or, my personal favourite (although definitely the bank-breaker of the bunch), Battistoni.  The prices are generally around $50, which is more than reasonable for a stylish tie.  So, for those out there who are understandably a bit concerned about showing personality through their clothes because they are unsure of how to do so, or are concerned about dressing conservatively, here’s the perfect antidote.  Enjoy fellows.


This Week’s Object of Lust: Tivoli Model 10

It’s been a long time since my last post…  Despite getting regular messages suggesting I post more, I’ve somehow let this blog lie fallow for the entire winter.  Well, like a hibernating bear, I hope that we can come back strong, starting now.

This week’s object of lust isn’t a clothing item at all.  Nonetheless, it falls within the two primary goals I had when I started this blog:  helping guys to not look like jackasses, and appealing to the aesthetic side of men everywhere.  Tivoli is a maker of beautifully crafted table radios.  Not only are they highly functional (and, before you ask, they do have an input for iPods), but they are quite likely the best looking audio devices in the world.  Housed in wooden cabinets, they fit neatly on the kitchen counter, or, as is the case with me, on my bedside table.  Besides looking great, they deliver audio performance far greater than their diminutive size would suggest. 

The original Tivoli is the Model One (pictured below).  Available in a range of colours and woods, it is beautifully simple and clean in its design.  It somehow looks old in the best sense of the world, while still remaining modern and is the one that I have.  Given that the Model One has been around for 10 years, you can score one on Ebay for somewhere in the $150 or less range, particularly if you don’t mind picking up a used one, as I did.  Besides providing great tunes in the bedroom or kitchen (or living room for that matter), it’s effectively a piece of design or furniture for roomsthat, for most guys, lack both.  In other words, it’s a fantastic way to make your bedroom more appealing to any… visitors that you may have.

There are two other main table radios offered by Tivoli right now: the Model Two (which has a secondary speaker, hence the “Two”) and the Model Three, which incorporates an alarm clock.  You can also add a Tivoli CD Player to make yourself a very nice shelf system, or a subwoofer to the mix.  All three, particularly the Model One, have garnered sweeping praise for their sound quality and I’d take a Tivoli over a Bose Wave radio from purely a sound quality any day (when you include aesthetics, it’s really a no-brainer).

But, this post is about their new model, the Model 10, which Tivoli is releasing to celebrate their 10th anniversary.  It takes the Model One and updates it to the modern age, while keeping all of the charm and design elements that have made Tivoli what it is.   It also has new futures, including a dual alarm clock (previously only available in analog form on the rather expensive Model Three), the ability to adjust treble and bass levels, a digital tuner and an RDS text feed which shows that musician, song and album while tuned to the radio.

The best part is that the new Model 10 is available for $199, only slightly more than the Model One, despite having far more features.  You can add a second speaker or the new Connectorm,  a stylish dock for your iPod, to your Model 10 as well (although both come at a price).  Not only will your $199 get you one of the world’s finest radios and a top quality iPod speaker, but it is also a piece of furniture that adds a healthy dose of savoire- faire to any room.  So gentlemen, the next time your girlfriend, wife or lady that you’re sleeping with clamours for you to incorporate design elements into your place other than the carefully engineered tower of empty beer bottles or your posters of Brooklyn Decker and the 1997 Florida Marlins World Series team, you’ve got an ace up your sleeve.  For more information about Tivoli, check out

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