For fathers and sonsCreated by jj_lee on May 24, 2012
Men’s Style is a personal and knowledgeable compendium of tasteful advice for the thinking man on how to dress and shop for clothes in a world of conflicting fashion imperatives. This sophisticated and witty book by the popular Globe and Mail columnist combines nuggets of history and the sociology of masculine attire with a practical and supremel …
All the world is not, of course, a stage, but the crucial ways in which it isn’t are not easy to specify.
You need one. I don’t care if you work in your basement. I don’t care if you’re an artist. A grown-up man needs at least one suit for special events. And once you have one, a good one which fits you and doesn’t make you feel constricted and displayed like a prize cake, you will wonder why all your clothes aren’t suits. You will want to buy three more. The standard men’s uniform of loose but sober jacket and trousers is a remarkable confidence-giving garment: people will treat you differently when you are in a suit; they will look at you differently, they will ask your opinion, they will expect you to take care of trouble.
Women like men in suits. They may tell you otherwise — particularly if they are associated with a university in some way, or artists. Academics and students in, say, English, or philosophy, may squeal with disgust at the idea of a “dressed-up man”; artists will giggle, as if the idea is just embarrassing. This is because in these circles to admit attraction to a man in a suit is to betray the solidarity of one’s working-class comrades and to delay the inevitable revolution. “Suit” is synonymous with “fascist baby-eater,” or at the very least “insensitive boor” or “uptight suburbanite.”
Obviously the honest expression of aesthetic response and/or sexual desire in these circles is not going to be exactly unfettered. In other words, don’t believe a word of it.
I have found that there is almost no woman, no matter how many pairs of Birkenstocks she owns, no matter how devoted to her organic garden, who does not react with some slight tremor of the heart, some mild increase in blood pressure and dilation of the pupils, on seeing a man — particularly her own man — emerging from a cocoon of olive cotton and stepping forward in the sober costume of authority, his shoulders squared, his posture righted, with crisp collar and cuffs.
Part of the bad rap of suits, among bohemian men and women alike, is that our ostensible nonconformists never seem to picture good suits. They always imagine bad ones: the ones their dad or their first husband wore to tense family events; they picture green double-breasted ones, or pale grey pinstripes with a waistcoat and slightly flared trousers, all of them hot and stiff and shiny and looking like faded posters for movies set in Atlantic City in the eighties.
I have often taken men, highly resistant men, shopping for their first grown-up suit. They have tended to be artistic types, writers usually, who have managed to make it well into their thirties without leaving their teenage uniform of jeans and running shoes, and who on occasion have never even learned to tie a tie. Each required a new suit for a special occasion (a wedding, an interview, a book tour), but I think each had also come to a stage in his career that made the suit symbolic of a decision to embrace a new kind of life, a life of success that would have a public component. In short, adulthood.
The procedure was for them fraught with misgivings both ideological and aesthetic. Several of them had old suits hanging in their closets, suits which they had been forced to buy by parents or bosses in previous lives (double-breasted and green) and which they felt they had to wear, like a kind of absurd, lit-up party hat, as one of the penances of certain excruciating obligatory events, such as weddings or graduations or Easter church services. They thought — consciously or not — that suits had to be rather tight and hot and itchy and that they had to be unfashionable and, bafflingly, that they had to be in pale colours. The first-time suit buyer nervously gravitates for some reason toward dove grey and beige. I suspect that this comes out of a fear of formality. My guys felt, instinctively, that a lighter-coloured suit was a kind of compromise, and that it was more youthful. Charcoal and navy, they thought, were “bankers’ colours,” colours that a young man doesn’t feel he can carry off without being rich and grey-haired.
They could not have been more wrong, of course. If you are buying only one suit, that suit must be versatile, and a pale suit is only wearable in summer, which is not a long season in most of the G8 nations. You can, on the other hand, buy an extremely lightweight navy suit that is wearable year-round, and you can haul it out for cocktail parties and funerals alike. My friends tended to think that navy was somehow square — until they saw themselves in navy by Boss or Armani or Paul Smith or John Varvatos or the more forward lines of Canali or Zegna. All that defiant contrariness goes away when they come out of the change room wearing both jacket and trousers (this is important — you have to see the whole thing) of a soft, lightweight, dark-coloured new suit of elegant cut, with proper shoes, a white shirt, and a silver tie. They see this in the mirror and they are amazed. Their first expression is always one of surprise verging on shock; this quickly changes to a wide smile. They realize that a new part of themselves has been discovered. They look manly but not old; confident but not conservative.
If the new suit fits you properly, you will not feel “dressed up.” It will not be constrictive or feel unnatural; it shouldn’t make you feel self-conscious or delicate about how you stand or sit. You shouldn’t notice it. And neither should other people: they should notice you, how strong and fit and clever you’re looking.
From the Hardcover edition.
In his 2010 CBC Massey Lectures acclaimed novelist and visual artist Douglas Coupland explores the modern crises of time, human identity, society, religion and macroeconomics and the afterlife in the form of a novel, a 5-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster.Five disparate people are trapped inside: Karen, a single m …
"Because ultimately, this is a story about unconditional love, about warming to the notion of commitment, about setting off on a voyage away from the shores of self-involvement and self-obsession. My Year of the Racehorse is a poignant, unsentimental, zappingly written and regularly side-splitting investigation of what it truly means to care about …
With ownership comes access to the seemingly carnivalesque characters of the track. Funny, fueled by a love of gambling, braced by a cock-eyed but clear idea of human foible and virtue, My Year of the Racehorse entices readers to put on a seersucker suit and try their luck on a long shot.
In the first volume of Guy Gavriel Kay’s classic trilogy The Fionavar Tapestry, five Toronto university students encounter a man who will change their lives, taking them from our world to discover their roles in an epic war looming in the first of all the worlds: Fionavar.
Written in the shadow Tolkien, Kay worked in the archives of JRR, The Summer Tree introduces readers to Fionavar, a world in need of five heroes, who so happen to attend the University of Toronto. Gripping, the book is able to transcend its Middle-Earth inspiration and is a great fantasy work in its own right. Once you read The Summer Tree, you will be compelled to finish the Fionavar trilogy which, unlike The Song of Fire and Ice, is a completed and accomplished series.
It is not one of the best Canadian fantasy books. It is one of the best since Tolkien. Perfect for the LARP'er, D&D'er, and Game of Thrones withdrawal victim.
Ava Lee goes deep inside the shady world of online gambling in the second installment of the pulse-pounding series.
In The Disciple of Las Vegas, forensic accountant Ava Lee is hired by the richest man in the Philippines to recover $50 million from a Canadian land swindle. With the billionaire's reputation on the line, she follows the money from Va …