We’re getting closer and closer to my favourite time of the year. In the spirit of the season, here’s what I’m hoping to find under the tree this year:
I’ve been doing a fair amount of traveling this year, which is something I very much want to continue into the future. While I make do with a myriad of beat-up and abused luggage, this rolling carry-on is what I really want. Made of Tumi’s signature ballistic nylon, it’s damn near un-damageable. I also love the removable garment sleeve, which holds up to three suits and would allow me to not have lug around a separate garment bag. Airports are places to survive, not enjoy, and so the more your rolling suitcase allows you not to carry, the better. I’ll have mine in black, with the complimentary monogramming (so I can tell it apart from the herd of Tumi’s seen at every airport), please. Check out this particular suitcase here; it’s available for $595. They also regularly find their way to eBay.
Because why not quietly feel like a bit of a badass this year? In a muted navy (and with a small pattern that looks quite conservative unless you get quite close to it), it’s a fantastic way to be daringly conservative, if there is such a concept. Alexander McQueen produces items that are kind of a cross between James Bond and Keith Richards and really, are there two cooler male characters than them? I’ll have mine in navy with white, as conservative as possible to off-set the pattern. Alexander McQueen’s website is alexandermcqueen.com but I would recommend trolling eBay for better prices.
My vote for the coolest collaboration of the year. Michael Bastian makes some of the finest “american style” menswear in the world. Think of a modern interpretation of what the Kennedy brothers wore in the ’60’s. He prides himself on making the finest examples of classic American items like khaki pants and shorts and oxford shirts with modern fits. The downside is that the “finest” carry a price to match. Which makes his contribution to Gant absolutely perfect. Gant has long been something of a poor man’s Polo Ralph Lauren. Their collaboration with Bastian has bumped up their price a bit (but not really very much at all considering) while delivering some of the best items you’ll find on the racks this year. I would recommend going with what Bastian does best – the oxfords, the khakis and the corduroy pants. Given that I wear the hell out of white oxford button-down I already own, a pale blue oxford button collar shirt tops my list. Check out the Michael Bastian collection at Gant’s U.S. website here, the oxford shirt I’m talking about here, or in stores in Canada at Harry Rosen for a little over $150.
4. Playful socks from Paul Smith, Richard James, Smart Turnout or Happy Socks
I’m a bit sick of the drab socks in my closet, particularly as drabness of winter has set in. Which means that I’m looking for some interesting and colourful options in my sock drawer. Any of the above makers will do (I’ve arranged them from highest to lowest in price), preferably with a some red in there somewhere. More info can be had at paulsmith.co.uk, richardjames.co.uk, smartturnout.com or happysocks.com.
We’ve covered the fine Sea Island cotton shirts made by Charles Tyrwhitt before (see here). I’m going to be heading somewhere warm after Christmas, so I’d like a shirt that’ll keep me comfortable and cool when I go out for dinner. Anything with a pattern in blue or pink will do quite nicely. Also, skip the french cuffs and opt for standard barrel cuffs – I’m inevitably going to forget to pack cufflinks and the less you need to bring on vacation, the better. Check out ctshirts.com for more details. Shirts from around £59.95
From the black waxed cotton exterior and traditional tartan interior, to the slim fit and belt, there is no cooler jacket than this one. Made for motorcyclists by Belstaff, a company founded in England in 1924, it not only keeps you warm, but it’s rugged waxed cotton feature keeps you dry. You may remember seeing Will Smith in one of these throughout the film I am Legend. Instead of following the herd and buying a leather jacket, buy one of these classics and instantly look about as cool as a man can look. Mine would be in black, but the olive and brown also look great. Available via jcrew.com, belstaff.com and a variety of other places, for around $595.
Winter = tweed. It keeps you warm and stylish through the months of cold we experience in Canada and in the northern U.S. Plus, it’s timeless and will never go out of style (even if it does, at H&M prices that isn’t too big a fear). Add on some elbow patches and you’ve really got a winner. H&M offers a modern fit, which makes sure you don’t look like your Grandpa or your first year English professor. Grey is the way to go, at least in my opinion. Check it out in H&M stores for around $130.
Shaving is the cross that every man bears, so why not make it tolerable (or perhaps even enjoyable) with some quality shaving cream. Once you lather this up with a badger brush (feel free to skip the one from Art of Shaving and pick one up from the drug store), you’ll realize you’ve been missing out with the thin crap you get out of a can. Plus, the sandalwood smells great, so you can skip the aftershave. There are other scents available, but I would skip the lemon as I’ve heard it can adversely effect certain people’s skin. The $22 price may seem expensive for shaving cream, but my tub has lasted me more than a year (you’ll plow through a few cans of Edge or Gillette in that time period), so it’s actually not as expensive as it seems. Time for a replacement tub for me. More info available at theartofshaving.com.
James Perse very well may make the world’s most comfortable casual clothes. I’ve already got a long-sleeve graphic t-shirt that I wear all the time from JP, but I think it’s time to add to my collection. This example is made from heavier “slub pique” cotton, which combines a bit of extra thickness for winter with Perse’s famed softness to equal the most stylish way to laze around on a Sunday. Available in black, grey and white, I think I’m partial to the grey. James Perse is available at jamesperse.com or in Holt Renfrew, Niemen Marcus and other such retailers. This particular shirt is available for $135.
J. Press sells preppy like nobody else. Urban Outfitters does the same for trendy urbanwear. Mix the two together and you’ve got classic items with a modern look. J. Press was founded in 1902 in New Haven, Conn., which many may know is also the location of Yale University. J. Press’ other stores are in Cambridge, Mass. (home of Harvard), Washington, D.C. (home of Capitol Hill and Georgetown University) and the inevitable store in New York City. J. Press’ ties to the Ivy League schools and their distinctive preppy dress code is long-standing tradition. The one issue has been that they’re frankly a bit stuffy and out-dated in terms of fit. Enter Urban Outfitters, which fills the exact opposite end of the spectrum, while still catering to the same audience. A match made in heaven, and these heavy duty khakis are the pick of the litter in my mind (see my earlier post on slim fit khakis: ). The slim fit and cool details such as the buckle cinch at the back make them instant classics. Check out the whole J. Press x Urban Outfitters collection at www.urbanoutfitters.com or in stores. These pants are $78.