Sunday, May 31, 2009

Insights and Commentary - JJ Lee

Insights and commentary from people involved in style and fashion in Vancouver

You are…
JJ Lee, fashion columnist and theoretician extraordinaire.

The road traveled…
Involves many regrets and misgivings but leaves me with no other choice than to be who I have become. And I don't mind it. It's called taking responsibility.

The more things change…
The more I feel I'm missing out on something.

The more they stay the same…
Is exactly what I feel when I've spent months thinking I've missed out on something. For example, I'll talk or write about a trend - like the penny loafer revival - two seasons ahead of when it really breaks and then think, "Why didn't I call it?" when it does. But if I actually look down at my feet, I'll see I'm already wearing a pair of Weeguns. This happens a lot. Watch for the tasselled loafer next. This is my second season wearing them (no socks with jeans only please) and I'm still waiting for someone to catch up.

On style…
Style requires both skill and indifference. Guys wearing carefully folded pocket squares isn't style. It's anal. Style (for men) needs a degree of indifference otherwise it doesn't seem sexy or remotely masculine. Also body awareness and understanding how your body and clothes appear when in movement is really the high art form of style. Astaire used to check his jackets cut by lefting his arm as if he were in a waltz just to make sure the collar did not lift at the back. So, looking at mirror or looking good in a picture is only the beginning. Recently, I've discovered when I dress in a certain way women will go out of their way to touch me, even strangers. In other words, I think I'm onto something.

Favorite memory/experience...
Favourite memories always involves slanting, late-summer light, sand or tall grass, women or children, and either baseball or a row boat.

Your style…
I'm currently in my jock/writer mode. I wear a jean-cut leather jacket, a v-neck t-shirt, GWG jeans which I wore and shrunk in the ocean last summer and boaters. Every. Single. Day. If I have to go out (to do fashon stories), I will wear a pocket square or a tie but not both. My reason, I suspect, is I'm trying to evoke stealth chic and not over do it. That look is kind of tired.

Big fan of…
Steelers. Bills. Broncos. Yup, I'm an AFC man. Also Kodak Tri-X 400 ASA black and white film.

Insights and Commentary (this is a blog afterall)…
News anchors need to stop wearing three-button suits and then have directors or executive producers forcing them to button them all up when they're on air. If I have to see CBC's Evan Solomon all fastened during his Sunday news program again,... well I will, I don't know, but it bugs me... he always does it and it drives me crazy. I really believe a smart tailor would make a killing making one-button suits with high waisted pants for these dorks. Is it really that bad to see a triangle of white near the belt-line?

Beauty In Words

Words move, and not just as poem or prose. Words like sartorial, dandyism, tailored and bespeak conjure up images of style and grace, of elegant times lived with purpose and passion. Times when men could be gentlemen, but also men about town, flaneurs, society men, or boulevardiers.

As much as clothes define a visual picture, so do words unsaid.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ever the Cowboy


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Insights and Commentary - Beverli Barnes

Insights and commentary from people involved in style and fashion in Vancouver

You are…
Beverli Barnes - Clothing Designer

The road travelled…
I've worked my butt off since 1983, starting out as a patternmaker and then specializing in custom design for men & women.

The more things change…
Fashion has become generic and unflattering to women. Quality of construction, for the most part has gone out the window as more and more designers and manufacturers seek cheap labour overseas.

The more they stay the same…
It is still hard for local designers to get recognition for their talent.

On style...
Style is personal. People should not allow themselves to be dictated to by what "designers" are showing on the runway. Not everyone looks good in low rise pants! STOP IT!!!!!

Favorite memory/experience…
I met Halston at Studio 54 in 1979. He was and remains my favourite designer of all time. I had the guts to walk up to him. He kissed my cheek and wished me luck in my career. I didn't wash my face for a week! Truly.

Your style…
Loose, cotton or linen and comfy is the way I like to go. Too bad I can't always show up to a fitting like that but have been known to go grocery shopping looking less like a designer and more like a bag lady ;(

Big fan of…
I'm a huge fan of vintage clothing and recycling. I've been recycling since 1985. I prefer the original music though (not the recycled crap you hear on the radio now).

Insights and Commentary (this is a blog afterall!)…
People need to get off their damn cell phones and crackberries when they drive! It makes me crazier than I already am. What is so important anyway? What ever happened to good old fashioned conversation...face to face?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Dress

A Man About Town

Workshop Visit - The Cobbler

The last visit with my cobbler was different. No, it was not the considered replies to my questions on shoe care and repair, nor the discussions on the cobblers' craft, as those take place each visit, but the opportunity to take a look at the workshop in the back of the store.

A Tour:

The shop had equipment - brushes, sanders, glue tables, presses, heaters, sand blasters, stitch machines and countless others - for all manner of shoe repairs.

Whether bonded or stitched in construction, shoes in all kinds of conditions find their way into the shop. Below is an extreme example of a pair of shoes in disrepair where new life - a new insole, mid-sole and outer sole - can still be breathed into them.

Lasts are used during major repairs, such as the one required above, to support the shape of the shoe.

With the use of quality materials, old shoes might come out looking better than when they were new. Here a leather sole bearing the quality mark of the German Traditional Tanners' Association.

Other Tidbits:

* The shop sees 50 pairs of shoes on an average day, 100 pairs on peak days. A conveyor system similar to that at a dry cleaner is being considered.
* Staff regularly attend conventions, enter contests and partake in a weekly shoe school held at the store. Their passion for their craft shows in the numerous awards and certifications displayed on the store's walls.
* The number of cobblers has been in decline over the past decades, but those that remain are increasingly sought after for their craft.

My thanks goes out to Ron and his staff at the Quick Cobbler for sharing their love of shoes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What is in a Name?

Well, a lot if it is our own. It is the one thing we truly own or have to our name if you will. We might not be a famous designer or a brand desired the world over, but our name elicits opinions and emotions nonetheless. Use it wisely and sparingly. Associate it with great style and irreproachable substance and it will hold great value.

Monogramed shirt

Friday, May 1, 2009

Red Accents - Part 2

Red Accents - Part 1