Sticking To Neutrals

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In fashion, everyone talks about the “power” of neutral coloured garments, namely, it’s incredible versatility and ridiculously effortless pairing. This explains why a quintessential garment piece can rejuvenate your wardrobe and provide a numerous addition of looks or pairings.

The collage above further exemplifies both aspects and the ability to break up your suit into separates.

On the left: grey turtleneck, light brown suit jacket and grey flannel trousers. On the right: the same grey turtleneck, grey herringbone tweed jacket and light brown trousers, which is the same fabric as the jacket on the left.

Despite utilizing the same turtleneck, you will notice that both ensembles look completely different from each other. Of course, there are several variances to cite this difference, such as lapel width or shorter jacket length etc. But the premise of conveniently switching neutral colours around to create a new look is evident.

I know firsthand that we are often tempted to purchase that beautiful windowpane patterned blazer or the unique odd colour jacket. But I strongly urge you to resist the impulse and steer close to the procurement of neutral coloured garments. With absolute assurance, you will soon discover how much more convenient it is to get dressed and the limitless combinations neutrals may entail.

SuitSupply Madison Jacket Review

This is my first SuitSupply jacket and instead of comparing it to other SuitSupply fits (that I have never tested), this post will be dedicated to looking at the jacket objectively as a viable wardrobe investment.

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With the resurgence of double breasted jackets and notable Instagram influences, it is no surprise that the Madison is one of SuitSupply’s most popular fits. Like everyone, I have heard great things about SuitSupply, particularly as an entry level off the rack tailoring.

SuitSupply was founded in 2000, with its first store established in 2007, by Fokke de Jong. Interestingly, the idea started out by him selling suits out of his car. He has come a long way since then and have opened stores in various countries, notably China, Singapore, UK and Canada. SuitSupply uses considerably fabrics from notable mills, VBC, REDA and even E. Thomas to name a few. Also, another fascinating point to note, a Wall Street Journal article claims that a then “Suitsupply’s $614 (suit) was declared on par with a $3,625 suit from Armani”.

I have been meaning to pick something up from them for awhile. The biggest hesistation was which model. I had a few criterias/preference that it needed to met (listed below). For my first purchase at SuitSupply, I was adamant on purchasing only a jacket, as opposed to a suit, because I hardly wear suits at the moment and their trousers are relatively lower rised, which I do not wear nor advocate. There are several features about the Madison that really struck out to me.

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Unstructured Construction – The jacket has no shoulder padding or lining, making it incredibly comfortable to be layered over/under and allowing it to be more appropriate for both casual and formal settings.

Spalla Camicia – A term to describe “Pleated Shoulders” or “Shirt Shoulders”, lending the user an extended range of mobility and an extra touch of comfortability. The Spalla Camicia on this jacket is also rather subtle and more subdued than the shoulders conventionally since on younger Italian bloggers/tailors, notably in Pitti.

Navy Colour – In late 2016, I started encountering a problem (one that I failed to document on the blog), I was finding it incredibly difficult to dress in the mornings as I had too many options/clothing to choose from. Thus I made a decisive conclusion to substantially cut down my wardrobe and rebuild it with quintessential pieces. A single breasted navy hopsack blazer was the first priority followed by a double breasted option.

Fabrication – The jacket is made in a hopsack weave, perfect for casual (and) summer wear, Lanificio Cerruti “Traveller Wool” fabric, indicating that the jacket is crease resistant/travel appropriate. I am flying to New York next week and I intend to put this assumption to the test. I will be sure to update you accordingly.

Lapel Width – SuitSupply has two double breasted models, Soho and Madison. From my understanding the difference between the two is that the Soho has a slightly narrower lapel width and uses jetted pockets instead of patch, which is apparent on the Madison. Since the beginning of my menswear journey, I developed a preference for wider lapels and thus was more inclined to select the Madison over the Soho.

Patch Pockets – The epitome of functionality and flexibility.

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The jacket is a size 38L and, despite it’s extra sleeve length – almost an inch more from the 38R, I still needed my tailor to extend it. Additionally, I had to get my tailor to taper the body further. It is important to note that SuitSupply’s fits, especially for their Contemporary Models, are a lot slimmer than other brands. Thankfully, they do have quite a comprehensive size guide for each model. I strongly recommend thoroughly reviewing it to determine which fit is most suitable for your body type.

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Measuring at 5″, the lapels on this jacket is rather wide. But the unstructured construction, combined with it’s navy base, makes it incredibly easy to pair and wear. Whenever I am contemplating a purchase, I meticulously consider if it blends substantially well with my formal and casual wardrobe simultaneously. For business casual meetings, like when these photos were taken, I will pair it with either a white/light blue shirt, a slightly lighter coloured trouser to create a stronger visual interest, a wider width tie (a 3″ knitted in this case) and boots. Alternatively, for a slightly more dress down look, I will wear the jacket with a turtleneck, winter boots and either brown corduroy trousers or grey flannel trousers (all part of M14‘s items) as pictured below.

It is important to note that due to the jacket’s lighter weight, it does not drape as well as my other heavier jackets. For skinnier individuals, I always suggest choosing a fabric that is more robust or heavier in weight. Additionally, I was a little disappointed that the jacket uses plastic, as opposed to horn/tortoise shell, buttons that gives it an inferior feel. But this is a small and affordable amendment that I intend to do in the near future. Still, priced at $429 CAD, I was very impressed with this jacket overall.

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I find this jacket to be a perfect investment piece, especially for a person who isn’t required to wear a suit to work, dresses daily for a semi-formal work setting and is looking to invigorate his wardrobe. The silhouette and aforementioned details (patch pockets, unstructuredness etc.) is quite flattering on an average proportionally sized individual. This jacket however, particularly their Madison model, can be quite aggressive with its lapel width and curves. But, when in combination with its navy base, it becomes fairly versatile and a wardrobe staple. I have been wearing this jacket often in conjunction with M14 items and I cannot wait to share/reveal the endless pairings that is possible with this jacket. Stay tuned!

 

Navy Donegal Turtleneck

Two days have past since I initiated M14. It’s been bearable so far and I have yet to feel the frustration of a rather restricting wardrobe. As I am still in the early stages of this project, I would like to change one of my chosen items.

I am going to change #7, Charcoal Turtleneck, to this:

Navy Donegal Turtleneck 

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There is a plausible explanation for this change. You will notice that I initially selected two turtlenecks, olive and charcoal. I wanted to change the charcoal to this navy donegal to add more visual to the 14 items. There is certainly nothing flawed with plain/no pattern clothing, but I realize that this swap is more coherent with my style/image. Additionally, on the utility aspect, I primarily use the charcoal turtleneck to be paired with a suit, making it applicable for business casual meetings or for dressing down a suit.

Although I feel it’s an absolute necessity, not every guy owns a well tailored navy suit. In our current dress culture, you can get by with just a sport coat. This is why I chose a navy hopsack jacket as opposed to a navy worsted wool suit, factoring my decision to change the turtleneck. The charcoal is very dark and, when paired with the other 13 items, it over formalizes the ensemble.

The navy donegal was chosen instead as donegal is such a lovely (also one of my favourite) visual pattern and is consistent with the unintentional predominantly blue theme in the 14 items. Furthermore, the 14 items is more appropriate for a business casual or everyday wear setting, thus rendering the olive turtleneck to be sufficient, the navy donegal to be rather invigorating and the charcoal to be redundant. Besides, the gist of Minimalism is to remove the excess.

More reflections and outfit photos of M14 will be coming soon, stay tuned.

M14

During the Christmas holidays, I was at my friend’s apartment in Vancouver having a glass wine and enjoying the graceful snowfall. We just finished watching a documentary together called Minimalism. The documentary’s title is self-explanatory, revealing an insight that living with what we only NEED is sufficient and emotionally rewarding. It sounds simple enough – living with only what we need. But in actuality, it takes a lot more discipline and self-awareness to execute.

After the documentary, I had a discussion with my friend and asked him if he thought it was possible to live with a minimal wardrobe, one that incorporates the “10 Essentials“, or whatever the number is, bloggers tend to endorse. I am very intrigued with the idea of a minimalistic wardrobe, but, truthfully, I have an extensive wardrobe and have no intention of eliminating 80% – 90% as the documentary suggests. Evidently, I am also an advocate for using clothing as a form of expressing one’s individuality. However I am aware that the reverse may be argued such that utilizing a minimalistic wardrobe is, in itself, a form of expression. I always believe that once you have established your wardrobe, a “uniform” or uniformity between your looks will be present.

Therefore the true motive in question is, can we create an individual’s “uniform” and simultaneously express ourselves thoroughly by utilizing a minimal wardrobe or one with a fixed amount of garments? The answer seems straightforward enough but the skeptic in me believes that nothing is conclusive until proper experimentation has occurred.

Thus I introduce you to M14. Minimalism 14, is a fun, somewhat quirky and discipline oriented project scheduled for the entire month of February. For the next 28 days, I am going to be ONLY wearing 14 chosen items from my existing wardrobe.

The goal of M14 is to primarily conclude if I can find a concrete answer to the posed question above and provide evidence that you do not need a large wardrobe to dress well. But, also, to allow me to revisit my wardrobe, remove unnecessary waste, be contented with it and to determine if my style, which I would frequently describe as wearing formal pieces casually, is still present/coherent with a limited amount of clothing.

What you can expect from M14? Outfit photos and reflections (mostly struggles) upon adopting a minimalistic wardrobe.

I intend to document each day’s outfit. However, realistically, as much as I like to, I don’t think I will be able to do it for the entirety of February. I will be leaving the country in the middle of February for a few days and I am still deliberating if I should continue the project or simply extend it into March. This hesitation comes in as I have specific clothes that I am much more comfortable travelling with, such as cargo trousers, M-65 jacket etc. I have yet to come to a conclusive decision but I will be sure to update you guys as we inch closer to the travelling date.

The 14 items that I am about to introduce is congruent with typically what I think the advantage man needs in his wardrobe, a few formal pieces in the mix but mostly casual articles. Additionally, you will notice that I deliberately used neutral colours, namely greys, navy and a little bit of brown and olives, for this project. However, considering it is Winter, most of these items are season specific, which is another aspect as to why I think it’s hard to establish a wardrobe based on a fixed number of items. Also bare in mind that some of these items are interchangeable with your preferred type of garment, for an instance one of chosen my items is a Blackwatch Quilted Jacket that can be easily switched for a more commonly sourced Denim Jacket. Lastly, these 14 items do not include accessories – particularly, pocket squares, belts, gloves and scarves. But for the purpose of this project I will only be using one of each, x1 belt, x1 glove etc. I know it’s feels a little duplicitous but I decided to give myself a little leeway considering it’s my first attempt on embracing minimalism.

Without further adieu, allow me to introduce the project’s carefully curated 14 items.

1) Raw Denim

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2) Grey Flannel Trousers

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3) Dark Brown Winter Boots

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4) Wingtip Boots

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5) Grey Flannel Shirt

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6) Olive Turtleneck

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7) Charcoal Turtleneck

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8) Chunky Knitted Turtleneck Sweater

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9) Grey Shawl Collar Cardigan

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10) Blackwatch Quilted Jacket

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11) Navy Hopsack Blazer (Or Brown Corduroy Trousers)

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12) Navy Blazer (Okay… I know I am cheating here, but frankly they can be interchangeable, a single breasted for the more conservative individual and the double breasted option for the dandier individual.)

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13) Charcoal Herringbone Topcoat

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14) Canadian Goose Parka

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On a brief note, I foresee myself being quickly dissatisfied by dressing with such a limited amount of items. But I am hopeful that this project will alleviate my recent issue of taking forever to get dressed and allow me to properly establish a sense of uniformity within my wardrobe.

Disclaimer: I understand that this project may appear mundane for my readers. But, as mentioned above, I wanted to demonstrate that a large wardrobe does not necessarily equate being well-dressed. Additionally, the reality is that most mens wardrobes are small so hopefully this project will be relatable to you. I hope I do not lose any of my beloved readers through this process and, if it’s any consolation, I will still be posting content that is separate from M14.

As always, thank you for reading and visit this page regularly to stay updated with my month long minimalism project/menswear content!