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Archive for Men

The best summer shoes

 

Love the navy/coral combo!
These are the ones I ordered.

What’s not to love about summer – warmer temperatures, sunshine, lighter clothing, sandals, barbecues – I could go on and on! But ask me what my favourite footwear is and these beauties will be at or near the top of my list. Espadrilles!

Classic, old fashioned, and hand sewn from cotton canvas, jute and rubber these timeless shoes have been made in the Pyrenees in Spain since the fourteenth century. If you are lucky enough to be in Barcelona this summer, please be smarter than I was and buy several pairs in all of your favourite colours! I found the perfect espadrilles there and bought one pair! Lesson learned. If you can’t make it to Barcelona – you can order your own espadrilles online from The Espadrille shop in Montreal. They feature different heel heights, colours and lacing options as well as slip ons, men’s and children’s shoes. If you sign up for email alerts, they regularly have free shipping – or pop into their well organized store at 4518 rue Saint-Denis next time you are in Montreal and say bonjour to Diego and his staff.

Espadrilles look great with a sundress, maxi dress, mini skirt, cut offs, jeans, cropped pants – or just about anything you can think of for summer. They are comfortable, breathable and can be gently washed if necessary. Wedge heel versions are great for a casual summer wedding and with their closed toe are good for hiding an overdue pedicure.  Espadrilles are easy to walk in and pack flat for a carry on. Get some for the whole family!

Why hire a Wardrobe Consultant?

Yes, indeed! Why should you hire me or one or my colleagues? I can think of a few good reasons:

  • A Wardrobe Consultant will gently steer you to items, colours and styles that suit you.
  • She or he has no particular interest in selling you clothing – just in making you look your best.
  • Personal Shoppers/Overly Attentive Salespersons will be rewarded financially for your purchases one way or another.
  • Your mom, sister or best friend already loves you and may think you look fine no matter what you wear.
  • Your boss told you to get some wardrobe help. (Yes, this happens. A male client of mine was told that his resume and interviewing skills were great – his clothes – NOT SO MUCH!)
  • The money you spend on a stylist is far less than the money you will waste on clothing you don’t wear because it doesn’t suit you.
  • You have no idea what styles or colours look good on you.
  • You have a Special Event you have to look just right for.
  • You have too many clothes and too much difficulty getting dressed.
  • You may find clothing or accessories hiding in your closet that have resale value.
  •  You are smart enough to know that your lack of fashion knowledge is holding you back personally or professionally.

A Wardrobe Consultant will  not tell you to throw out all your clothes. (Sorry Stacy & Clinton!). A Wardrobe Consultant is a knowledgeable professional whose unbiased opinion you can trust. They will help you work with existing pieces that are right for you and suggest purchases to fill gaps in your wardrobe. A Wardrobe Consultant will scout stores for pieces for you and notify you of sales.

If your clothes aren’t saying what you want them to say about you consider hiring a Wardrobe Consultant.

A three hour session with me is $149, tax included.

If you’re just unsure about an item or an outfit, text me or email me your photo and I’ll respond with an honest opinion. Send an email to ac.elytslaernull@ofni.

 

You won’t have to throw out
all your clothes and we’ll leave you like this!

 

I never dress up!

Today’s blog addresses one of the most common things I hear from people … I never dress up!

As my mom would ask – Are you bragging or complaining? Maybe its just a statement, but this was a familiar refrain I heard at Modella’s March Fashion Show in Westdale early this spring. Modella showed lots of nice separates in black & white with chartreuse accents, many with asymmetrical silhouettes.

Its true people dress up less, according to Fran and Toni Iduciano, owners of Second Chance Consignment Shop on Hamilton’s Locke Street South, that I also chatted with recently. The workforce is ageing and along with Casual Fridays, Business Casual Dressing, working from home and today’s more relaxed approach to doing business, people  just don’t dress smartly as much as they used to. The sisters see this reflected in the falling sales of categories such as dress pants and matched suits. As Boomers retire from the workplace their lifestyles change and they are no longer required to dress up daily.

Today’s Boomer appears to not enjoy dressing up for events, preferring instead the comfort of leggings, knits, jeans and sportswear. Dress clothing usually involves zippers, buttons, collars, tucking in, dry cleaning, polishing, laces  and the like. Many people are simply tired of the effort  required to wear these types of clothes.  This is no reason not to dress up! Dressing up conveys respect and effort. Remember, its always better to be overdressed than under dressed. If we raise the bar on dressing up, others can rise to it.

Anyway, back to the Fashion Show. After the show I met Denise, a pretty middle aged woman with caramel highlighted longish brown hair, browsing the sale rack. She had spied a cute peplum jacket – black with brown piping which coordinated nicely with the black jeans and tall boots she wore to the Event. She spun and twirled and was clearly in love with the jacket but not quite committed to the purchase. “Oh come on,” I said, “you know you look great in it.  It would also be nice over a dress.” ” Or with a pencil skirt and a leopard print blouse underneath!”, chimed in another fashion show attender.  ”It looks great with what you have on for a date”, I  continued. Denise laughed and exclaimed “A date? I don’t go out on dates, I’m married!”

Then it was my turn to laugh! “Well,” I said,  ”if you looked that good your husband couldn’t help but take you out for dinner and a movie!” The jacket in question was fitted close to the body, not tight,  in a swishy material with a face framing collar which formed a V. The back was longer and could be worn to cover the rear view with leggings. It buttoned nicely under her bust and “the girls” were  ”locked and loaded”. It could also be layered under a coat and at $365 and 60% off, was a good buy. I’m pretty sure Denise bought the jacket from Modella’s, and her husband is now being required to take her on a date! Have fun dressing up Denise!

Longer back peplum fitted jacket
Great for dates!

Thanks to Stacy and Clinton for the “locked and loaded”  phrase.

Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott – Book Review

by Jennifer L. Scott

Yes, another book review! The long winter was good for getting my reading up to date. Interestingly, I chose another book that reinforced what I learned from Overdressed. In Lessons from Madame Chic Jennifer Scott shares in this very readable book twenty secrets she learned while in Paris studying abroad from her native California. Jennifer covers insight she gleaned about various aspects of living while spending time with several Parisian families. She also shows how she incorporates these ideas into her life today as a young mother.

Ms. Scott wryly observes some of the differences between the French and American lifestyles – the French walk, Americans drive. The French take their meals a table, Americans eat in front of the TV. The French live in apartments without elevators, Americans work out at the gym, etc. But one of the author’s biggest surprises was that the French as a rule have very small wardrobes and no qualms about “outfit repeating”. Jennifer lugged suitcases stuffed with clothes to last her six months only to find out that a tiny free standing wardrobe was provided to store them in. Her host family (Monsieur, Madame and adult son Chic) had only a skeletal amount of clothing (roughly 12 pieces each) that they washed and wore over and over again. Their clothing all worked well together – all tops colour-coordinated with all bottoms so there was much versatility from few items. The capsule wardrobe of a dozen pieces changed with the seasons and did not include clothing for specific wear only. For instance – formal wear, exercise clothes, undergarments, layering pieces and accessories did not count toward the 12 pieces. The items were of high quality so stood up to repeated washings and wearings.

 

Sample Capsule Wardrobe
courtesy of Lucky Magazine

What nicely tied these two books together for me was that both authors encouraged the reader to buy (or make) fewer clothes but to choose items of higher quality. This makes good sense economically and practically and is greener for the planet, easier on the self (fewer choices to make) and more enjoyable (who doesn’t like higher quality?)

I’m a CCW (constant closet weeder) and found that I already subscribed to a capsule wardrobe. I have hanging in my closet (or ideally on a rolling rack) only items that I will be choosing my daily outfit from. I don’t  like to to see clothes that are  the wrong size, out of season or that no longer express my identity. On my last visit to Anthropologie I was pleased to see multiple copies of Ms. Scott’s book stacked high amongst their clothing. In fact, I’m planning to add this book to my own library. Jennifer has lots of other good lessons on how to live mindfully.

Keeping me busy now is planning my capsule wardrobe for Spring from my existing clothes. I’ve got a great denim jacket, some camo/flower skinny jeans with ankle zippers, tops in nautical stripes, a few items in a blushy pink and some new black moto boots. I can’t wait to put it all together! I think Jennifer and Madame Chic would approve.

 

 

Who’s wearing the pants?

jeggings-are-not-pants

Ladies, this one is for you! Today’s blog addresses one of my pet peeves and a clothing item most men find perplexing  … jeggings! Love ‘em or hate ‘em and call them what you will – leggings, jeggings, pleather, stretchy pants or stirrups – these are the ultimate comfort item for your bottom half. However many women seem to forget - jeggings are not pants - you must wear a top that covers your behind! Try a long sweater, oversized shirt, tunic, or even a dress. Otherwise it simply looks like you forgot to put pants on. Daily I see this Fashion Faux Pas being repeated. These pants are already sexy enough as they follow your form closely – you need a top that covers your rear to balance the look. Besides – as my mother would have said – why give a free show? Jeggings – are they for you?

Jegging  +Pluses

Comfortable

Forgiving

Slimming

Often black or denim blue so go with anything

 

Jegging  -Minuses

Shows every ripple, bulge and sag and your underwear

Needs to be washed to return to shape

Collects dust and fluff particles easily, no pockets

Prone to “camel toe” in front

 

If you’re not sure if what you’re wearing qualifies as pants or jeggings, just for fun you can try this quiz I found on Google images.

 

Even though I own several jeggings myself, I always make sure to wear a long top, shirt, tunic or sweater. Pass it on!

 

 

Mirror Mirror!

Everyone remembers those famous lines from Brothers Grimm’s Snow White “Mirror, Mirror on the wall – Who’s the fairest one of all?” Snow White’s stepmother, The Queen liked looking at herself in the mirror (mainly for confirmation – I think she was insecure!). Narcissus was another character from Greek mythology who liked his own reflection so much that he wasted away. Decorators love them! They capture light, visually expand spaces and reflect beauty. A huge, heavy framed mirror leaning against the wall is a classic and beautiful way to enhance your home’s surroundings. Ah – the mirror – who can resist them?

Courtesy of mirrorlot.com

Who can avoid them? Many of you, it seems! I consider myself fortunate that people trust me to come into their homes. I see their possessions, lives and values all around me. For that reason, most of what I see is confidential. But a common thread among the homes I’ve been in no matter what degree of organizing they need – is a lack of mirrors. I discussed this with a client and she said very insightfully, that people living without a full length mirror are not living in their bodies. It follows that an organized home (i.e. organic) should contain several mirrors at varying heights. Feng shui consultants can advise you on mirror placement in home or business for best results.

Organized closet dressing room with mirror.
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

 

MIRROR LOCATIONS 

1. Front hall – near the door – to check your hair, teeth and makeup. Smile as you go!

2. Bathroom – this room is usually small. A mirror can make it feel bigger and brighter. Mirror as much as you dare. A lit mirror with magnifier is a nice additional touch for facial closeups and shaving.

3. Bedroom or dressing room – two at least! A mirror to check your top half (accessories and hair) and VERY IMPORTANT – a full length mirror. 

4. Front hall (again!) – a full length mirror.

5. Other exit doors/additional bathrooms – a mirror please.

6. Garden – some people enjoy the addition of a mirror to a garden or patio area.

7. Anywhere – a starburst or sunburst mirror is always classic.

8. Over the mantle – antique or vintage – bevelled is nice.

9. In your purse – for a salad check after lunch.

10. Your car, locker, desk or workspace – another good place to stash a small mirror for checkups.

Why two full length mirrors? The first is so you can check your outfit as you get dressed. Its much easier to see if your top goes with your bottom if you can see the whole picture. The second one in the hall where you leave is so you can check your coat and footwear with your outfit.

Personally, I have a very hard time leaving the house if I can’t check my full reflection. I need to know there’s  no toilet paper, that my slip isn’t showing and that those pants don’t make my butt look big!

Please take care hanging your mirrors. Make sure you anchor them to the wall and use strong enough nails and wire. Enjoy the reflection!

 

Denim, s’il vous plait!

How’s your French? Did you know that the word “denim” comes from the French “serge de Nimes”? Serge is a tough double woven fabric originally made in Nimes, a port town in France. This tough indigo-dyed fabric was used to make pants for sailors long before it became the current rage. Levi Strauss added rivets for miner’s pocket and the rest, as they say, is history. Is there anything now that isn’t made of denim? Car upholstery, jackets, coats, suits, bags, shoes, wallets, placemats, furniture, trousers, dresses, skirts – you name it. Nowadays we shred it, sand it, distress it, over dye it, wax it, tie dye it, acid wash it and bleach it.

Levi Strauss … a sartorial legend

I remember my first pair, bought with money saved from babysitting at 50 cents/hour. Plotting against my mother who would not buy me a pair, I crept to K-Mart in secret and bought my first pair of Wranglers. In the 70’s there were plenty of bell bottoms to choose from, but mine were more of a straight leg and a size too big. When my mother discovered them, she of course freaked out and swore which was most uncharacteristic of her. “Those are for shovelling sh*t”, she said.  Jeans in her day were worn by work men to do farming and field work. “No lady would be caught wearing them in this house”.

Well, times have changed, and my mom has denim capris with a matching denim jacket,  and embellished jeans that look great on her. From designer to grocery store jeans there are all kinds of brands, washes,  colours and styles  - jeggings, skinnies, boyfriend, “mom”, bootcut, overalls, hip huggers, skinny kicks, flares and so on …  They make jeans for babies, kids, your dog and your grandpa.

Is there anything that isn’t made of denim?

How much denim to wear at one time is a frequent question. Canada leads the way for denim overkill with our infamous Canadian Tuxedo – the jean jacket worn with jeans. Fashionistas commonly agreed that if you do choose to wear head- to- toe denim, you should change your colours up a bit – mixing light with dark, or mixing fabric weights – chambray with a heavier jean. Colour blocking and denim patchwork are all over the stores for fall. It is hard to say that denim is “NEW”, but it is constantly being re-invented. With the addition of spandex denim has become more comfortable. Talented tailors can re-attach original hems preserving details and novelty stitching. There pretty much is a style for every body shape.

Some denim purists say you should not wash your denim … but I’m not really a member of that school of thought. I do turn my jeans inside out and take care which ones I put in the dryer. Usually I fluff them in the dryer first for a few minutes and then hang to fully dry.

I occasionally miss those days of my youth, sitting in the bathtub with a new pair of Levi’s trying to get the stiffness out, fade them somewhat and have them mould to my body while the water turned dark, dark blue…

 

Who is your best friend?

While some may answer that question with  ”my spouse”, “my mother” or a friend’s name – if you’re a Fashionista you need to be best friends with a tailor or seamstress. If you are fortunate enough to shop in very nice stores they will provide alterations for you (usually included in the price). Those talented with a needle and thread may wish to attempt hemming and small adjustments themselves. The rest of use must choose from malls that have  a shop or two that offer alterations. Those stores may be hit and miss – or may be fine for sewing buttons and replacing a zipper – but you really need a seamstress or tailor when you want your clothes to fit “just so”. Experiment cautiously, one garment at time or ask your friends or a shop owner for recommendations until you find someone who does a great job and you trust.

Red threads by Gutermann

In the olden days people’s clothes were bespoke (my new favourite word) or made to fit them. There weren’t stores with pre-determined sizes that you had to fit into – clothes were custom made to your body. It was only in the last 100 years or so that pre-made clothing was even available. Today, finding a garment that fits you off the rack is practically an accomplishment and something to be celebrated! Most of us need things tweaked to get the perfect fit – a waist nipped in – sleeves shortened – the bust darts let out, etc. Those small fixes are the things that can make a garment go from fitting you okay (good)  - to looking like it was made for you (preferable).

I knew I had found a great seamstress in Ranka Dabic, owner of Fine Threads in Jackson Square 905-667-1113 (near the Sheraton entrance) when she had me try everything on, mark both sides of the garment (we humans are lopsided) and was able to alter both mens and ladies wear expertly. This was confirmed for me when Oprah was in Hamilton for a speaking engagement earlier this year – and her team asked Ranka to alter Oprah’s dress!  Quite an honour and Ranka says they were a very nice group of people to work with!

Shop around until you find someone good and your clothes will never fit you better. A good shoe repair shop is another gem, and perhaps another blog topic!

Summer do’s and don’ts for Men

Men, this column is for you! Summer arrives on Friday and although the season is short, it can be filled with fashion challenges. You may have a vacation to pack for, a wedding or Stag & Doe to attend, BBQ’s with friends, a romantic date with your girl … and you still need to look fresh for work when its 35C degrees in the shade. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

DO’s

1. Bust out the summer clothes – lighter colours and fabrics will keep you cooler and help your skin breathe. Look for linen, cotton, hemp, bamboo or a combination of these fibres. Avoid polyester blends – they tend to keep the heat in. If your office dress code calls for suiting – there are nice options available in lightweight wool. Complete your look with a crisp white shirt or some nautical stripes and a skinnier tie. Seersucker and pinstripes are timeless classics. The Bay has many great options for men and some excellent sales.

2. Wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen - hats are cool! And they keep you cool! And protect your precious head from sunburn. Sunglasses protect your eyes and prevent squint wrinkles. The right frames for your face can make you instantly cooler. Use plenty of sunscreen and re-apply after swimming or two hours sun exposure. If you do not like to use sunscreen (some do not like the chemicals they contain), wear long sleeves and pants and seek shade. A sunburn is dangerous and never attractive.

3. Cover the tats. Pretty or not, most tattoos do not have a place at work.  Wear long sleeves – your co-workers will think you are such a fashion piece!

DONT’s

1. Wear the same thing over and over – have  some fun with your clothes.  Summer colours are brighter, styles are somewhat more relaxed. Swap your winter “uniform” for something  that says summer. Capris and shorts are OK. Lose the socks. And never wear socks with sandals.

2. Let it all hang out - sorry guys, but we ladies don’t like gnarly, dry feet, excess hair of any kind or the shirtless! There is no crime in having a pedicure to prepare your feet for summer – yes, someone is prepared to offer this service. Get thee to a spa! If you are the hirsute type – the same said spa probably provides waxing. And really, we don’t want to see  you shirtless unless you are in reasonably good shape and we are all at the beach..

3. Wear Flip Flops – unless you are at the beach, in the backyard or on vacation. Its my personal pet peeve, but I don’t like men in flip flops. I think it looks sloppy and unprofessional. There are so many sexier summer options to flip flops – try deck shoes, canvas or leather non-athletic sneakers or some espadrilles.

If you need some advice with an outfit, or someone to help you shop, I’m available. Send me a photo and I’ll offer you some free on-the-spot advice. Text your message or photo to 289-244-8774. Have a fashionable summer!