Louder Summer Prints

Summer is inching closer towards its end. For some, this is a joyous occasion as it indicates that Fall, my favourite season, is approaching. Additionally, one celebratory feature of a season’s close is, evidently, the End-of-Season sale. And some websites worth browsing are FarFetch, Barneys New York, Yoox and Saks Fifth Avenue. What these e-commerce retailers have in common is the occasional sale-on-sale code that really enables for deep discounts.

I usually use this opportunity to acquire garments that are unique, one-of, experimental and heavily discounted. The challenge to this is seeking a garment that may not be worn frequently but can pass the test of times, such that you can wear it for years to come. What I come to discover is that bolder prints or patterns often fall into this category and two louder prints I urge you to consider are madras and floral.

Most will be familiar with what a floral print looks like but madras? Not as common unfortunately. Madras, originating from a city in India, is a colourful plaid-like design that is used on a variety of garment types. Quickly adopted by rich baby boomers in the 1960s to establish social standing, madras has a slight preppy connotation to it and brands, such as Ralph Lauren, still make madras pattern garments today.

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Most floral and madras fabrics are quite different from one another and it’s boldness can range from stylishly subtle to Ronald McDonald ridiculous. This is why I highly recommend reserving these patterns solely for shirts as they are easier to wear, pair and flair well with most existing wardrobes.

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What I like about these patterns that’s often overlooked, is how easy it is to wear it casually. Its a kind of garment that requires very little thought to put on. A pairing that I have come to enjoy with these shirts is wearing them with a pair of dark denim jeans or linen pants and loafers. I can also see them looking great with navy shorts and khaki/olive chinos. However bare in mind, for the latter, a lighter coloured shirt will produce a less notable contrast that is not always ideal.

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This yellow floral shirt was purchased from Zara nearly 5 years ago. It’s quite tight now and the material isn’t of the greatest quality, but, in regards to details and pattern, the shirt does not appear dated or influent with todays dress code. With loud/bold patterns, it can be challenging to observe a garment and determine if it will be relevant or wearable in the proceeding years. It requires some form of logical foresight and, more importantly, referential experience. Ultimately, remember that clothing, dressing or building your personal style is a journey/learning process that takes time, practice, education and, unfortunately, money. So don’t beat yourself over if you felt that you wasted money purchasing something that you no longer wear now. Trust me, we have all been there.

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Back to the post’s topic, on hot summer days, specifically with a humidity such as Singapore’s, you don’t really need to wear a jacket. However, if you feel compelled to, I personally prefer wearing a jacket over a madras than a floral shirt. Floral shirts, especially this colourful one, tend to be bolder and often overwhelms the jacket. On the other hand, due to the blend of darker and lighter colours, a madras is more often subdued. They both though, look great without a jacket, which is occasionally great to focus on considering how repulsive a tailored jacket can seem in the heat.

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Some sale shirts I recommend are by my favourite Toronto brand, Spier & Mackay. For those who mainly follow me on Instagram will be familiar with my love and support I have for this classical menswear brand. Most of their Summer shirts are on sale right now and they have some extremely interesting floral, like this, and madras ones, like this.

Bare in mind, some of their fabrics, particularly the madras, are available at a custom fit for $59.99. An incredible steal if you ask me. In fact, they still have the madras fabric I am wearing above. For those who are hesitant on Made-to-Measure, fear not as you can input your favourite shirt measurements into your profile, which I did and turned out exceptionally well.

I am quite familiar with Spier & Mackay’s custom process and if anyone of you have further questions about the brand, please feel free to drop me an email. I am aware that this may seem like an advertised post (trust me it isn’t) so, to offset this perception, here are two other beautiful floral shirts at higher price points for your consideration, Xacus and Paul Smith.

Thanks for reading, cheers.

(Images from Spier & Mackay, Ralph Lauren, MenFashionHub & Pinterest)

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Muji Linen Drawstring Trousers

For awhile now, I have been searching for a pair of higher rise casual linen pants with the intention to be worn with my casual and formal wardrobe, think loafers, button up shirts, casual sport coats, velvet slippers or scoop neck shirts. After a hard felt search, I think I finally found the perfect one.

The pair I picked up is from Muji, a Japanese retailer I exclusively buy my turtlenecks from. What I like about Muji, is it’s affordable price point and minimalistic approach to its products – no branding and simplistic designs. Their clothes also tend to run longer (sleeves, hem length) and slimmer, which is perfect for my slender body frame.

This pant is a true blue, which adds some colour to your Spring Summer wardrobe without appearing too outlandish, like a royal blue occasionally does. Here I have complied two looks, demonstrating it’s ability to be worn with casual or tailored pieces alike.

Laidback Weekends:

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Drawstring Linen Trousers and Grey Shawl Cardigan: Muji | White Scoop Neck: All Saints | Woven Braided Loafers: Allen Edmonds | Waxed Cotton Jacket: Barbour

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For a casual look I like to roll up the hem more to open the option of wearing sneakers. Additionally, a shawl collar cardigan is one of those sweaters that acts as an ideal substitute for blazers. This particular grey, also from Muji, has two front pockets, allowing for more storage and alleviating the need for a bag.

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I particularly like the weight of these trousers, they are incredibly light yet it drapes substantially well. The fit is slim but not overly so. Linen will also stretch out a little, so you don’t have to size up if it feels a little snug. This pair is in a size “XS” The inseam for all the sizes come in a standard 34″. I discovered this from trying the “S” too. Usually a 32″ inseam will achieve a perfect no-break for me but I have no intention of altering this as it gives me the liberty of rolling up the hem for casual pairings.

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Drawstring Formality:

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Navy String Loafers: Sacoor Brothers | Drawstring Linen Trousers: Muji | Band Collar Blue Gingham Linen Shirt: IndoChino | Blue Wool-Linen Jacket: Local Singaporean Tailor

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The trousers are a mid-high rise, measuring at 11″ for size “XS”. An interesting feature that this trouser has is a drawstring. Initially when I was on the hunt for a linen pant, the drawstring was not a feature I was seeking. But after product examination, the drawstring grows on you and helps to hold the trousers up if the waist is a little loose. Alternatively, there are also belt loops if you feel like using a braided belt instead.

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The trouser comes in four different colours: tan, navy, light grey and this blue. I find the grey to be a little too pale and the navy a little too dark, treading on opposite ends of the formality spectrum. For it’s intended purpose, I find the blue or tan to be the easiest colours to match. But of course, before you make this decision, you need to take into consideration of your wardrobe’s prominent colour palette.

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A matching jacket is available as well, making it perfect for those who are seeking to acquire a casual linen suit. I contemplated upon getting the jacket but the narrow notch lapels and 3 button closure was a little too trendy for my liking. At the time of purchase, these were on sale at $49.99. It might be full price at the moment but still well worth it.

Thanks for reading, cheers.

Casual Wear: Black Leather Jacket

Being a university student, I don’t get the opportunity to wear my tailored garments as frequently as I like. From Mondays to Thursdays, you can find me dressed incorporating some form of tailored article, an OCBD, seasonal dress trousers or, my personal Spring favourite, denim with penny loafers. However, you will never spot me in a sport coat/suit jacket/blazer as wearing one to classes is simply unnecessary and, frankly, rather pretentious.

Arriving to this realization of underutilizing my tailored jackets, I have been focusing on curating my casual wardrobe, particularly the jacket department, a lot more recently. With this, I have come to appreciate the beauty of casual wear. You have the freedom to temper and experiment with different colours, patterns, and silhouettes. It is also devoid of “rules” or parameters that often exists in tailoring. Additionally, the potential of integrating pieces from your formal wardrobe to diversify your pairings is present.

One of the most crucial, yet conscious, investment I made late last year was a leather jacket. I found appeal in the double rider model and was particularly impressed with the leather’s softness when I tried it on at the All Saints store. Additionally, I like how the larger lapels, in conjunction with the shoulder epaulets, visually widens the user’s shoulders and accentuates a more masculine figure.

Although I am not a huge user of black, I am exceedingly surprised by how well this jacket fares in my brown dominated wardrobe. Call me old-fashioned, but even under the most dire of circumstances I never match brown and black together. This proved to be difficult as 90% of my shoes are brown. However, over the past few weeks, I found success with pairing it with tan suede boots, burgundy penny loafers, black wingtips or the occasional sneaker.

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Whilst I have attempted to pair this jacket with tailoring, it feels the most comfortable when worn with denim, of any wash. Yet, a personal favourite ensemble I have come to enjoy is one that encompasses both denim and tailoring. As illustrated below, the black leather jacket is worn with a band collar denim shirt, raw denim and a pair of black dress wingtips – encompassing the perfect “high and low” look.

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Jacket: All Saints \ Denim Band Collar Shirt: Frank & Oak \ Jeans: Gap \ Shoes: Mr B’s

The general consensus is to have your leather jacket fit as snug as possible, calling for sizing down. But for this All Saints Kahawa, I went with the opposite and sized up from an S to an M. Even though leather has the tendency to stretch out slightly, I thought the S was a little too tight for me. I am also too conditioned with how my tailored jackets fit and was aspiring to achieve a “fuller drape”. However, when determining your size, the most important aspect to ensure is that the jacket’s shoulders fits you. If you feel the size’s body is not as tapered as you like it, don’t worry because, contrary to what others believe, leather jackets can be altered. I personally use, like and recommend Leather T.O. Fashions. They are meticulous with their craft, quick turnaround times and are reasonably priced.

Lastly, I am going to start implementing more casual wear in my writings as I feel it is more accessible and socially accepted (although the former drastically depends on your lifestyle, social circle and a lot of other factors). I sincerely believe such will be particularly useful for guys who are still in university or seeking to start dressing with no stress.

Thanks for reading, cheers.