Disadvantages to being Built

I have come across many clients who complain of ill fitting suits due to their body building activities.

Although you may be a 38 chest, your back and shoulders may be wider/larger than what an average 38 chest may dictate. You will probably go up a size only to find that the shoulders are too boxy. At this point, you are probably a bit frustrated and decide to swear off suits until your over 40 and a belly may even your sizing out. Sound familiar?

Working out on a regular basis can lead to a larger chest, wide back or larger shoulders. Each build will be different depending on where you gain muscle the easiest. Most men who work out regularly have a “V” type of body shape. The more V shaped your build is – the harder it will be to find something that fits.

This is true for custom as well because  there is a limit to how much the chest t0 waist fabric can be darted (taken in). This is always true for the most extreme cases yet for most regular gym junkies, custom works very well compared to off the rack.

Women Wednesday – Summer doesn’t mean Casual


Men have it rough with no real choice of switching from winter wear to summer wear other than with lighter wools.

Women however, have the opposite problem. There are too many choices and so women can appear too casual or even sloppy. Thankfully, we have skirts that allow some airiness. Furthermore, we have the option of wearing short sleeve or three-quarter length sleeve blazers that allows for further breeziness.

Air conditioning is usually quite high in most office buildings so the only time that a person could be affected is to and from work and lunch time. It is perfectly find to take off the blazer to reveal a summer friendly blouse or tank top during these designated off times.

It can be a slippery slope to casual and inappropriate in the summer time. Just remember that the dress code doesn’t change because its summer and so you shouldn’t either.

Women Wednesday: Fashion Week edition

Last week was Toronto LG Fashion Week where fall/winter 2010 collections were shown from some designers. I attended numerous shows and spotted a few recurring trends. Now, I know it is the fall collection and you have to wait till fall but its still kind of cold so why not wear it all now? That is the hard part about fashion, the waiting game between seasons as designers create collections one season ahead. I learned quickly to abandon all timetables and just wear whatever whenever as its always cold in Canada anyway. Please note: I do not recommend any of these looks for a corporate/professional workplace environment (possibly socks with heels when worn with trousers only!)

Trend #1: Socks with Heels (Designer: LOVAS)

 It was all over the runway and by the end of the week, most attendees (including myself) were rocking the look. When things are trendy, nothing looks bad.

Trend #2: Large pleats resembling Ruffles (Designer: Orange by Angela Chen)

This was also recurring. I could see the extra large ruffles being perfect for keeping snacks for later. Also, perfect for hiding a lopsided hip or a small child.

Trend #3: Large Shoulders (Designers: Lucian Matis)

This is back in a big way. It is actually a continuing trend from Spring 2009 but this time the shoulder resembles a creature that could potentially eat you. Being a lady with large set shoulders, I am apprehensive about this, especially shoulders with extra embellishments. However, it is what it is, so look out.

Monogramming.. PS -> you’re not cool

How did your mom separate your underwear and socks from your siblings? Did she write your name on them? Did she monogram your initials?

As an adult, I suppose it is a natural transition to now get custom shirts and jackets initialed prominently so others can recognize it and feel pangs of jealousy at your self-importance.

I have always advised my clients that getting your initals monogrammed on your clothing is just plain tacky not to mention juvenile.

Although, it is one of those custom additions that is practiced in most tailoring shops including Savile Row, I don’t agree with it.

I believe that the custom suit should speak for itself in small details like an opening of a working cuff button, a flash of colour in the lining or an interesting cufflink. Only a true eye would be able to recognize these minute details. To blatantly put it out in bright lights takes away the overall appeal of it being custom.

Having said all that, there are prominent law firms atleast in Toronto that practice monogramming of initials on their shirt cuffs as a part of their workplace culture. 

Overall, I would suggest keeping your cuffs and suits plain of monogramming. You want people to see you first and your suit/shirt second.  

Women Wednesday: Mad Women

Exploring my girl crush on Joan Holloway

Recently, I have become obsessed with Mad Men – obviously the suits are immaculate. All the men are dressed with perfection. I love the styling of Don Draper and Roger Sterling’s 3-piece suits. I am impressed with the stylist of this show and want a personal wardrobe tour. As I have only caught on to this show of late and it is at season 3 – I thought I would not discuss the men suits’ topic to death but moreover discuss my girl crush: Joan Holloway.

This woman is clearly not a size 8 nor is she petite. She is a real woman, a woman with a pear shape and curves. I love her tightly fitted dresses and her demeanor which exudes confidence. This is a woman we can all look up to and try to emulate probably not in her 1960’s style but in the way she carries herself. She has broad shoulders, an ample bosom and wide lower body. All of these are accentuated in her choice of colour and outfit. Usually, it is recommended to not draw attention to body parts you don’t like – clearly she is emphasizing all parts that most of us are trying to hide! What does this tell us? Love yourself for who you are and have confidence – this is all you really need for dressing success.





Why are my pockets sewn shut?

How unfortunate for you.

I thought about what my response could be to this predicament. Why have a pocket if it’s sewn? Why tease me in such a way?

Let us go deeper.

Back in the olden days when all clothes were made by hand and custom, basting was left on the shoulder, vents and pockets to ensure clean lines and proper shape upon delivery to the customer. Basting is a loose stitch that is used to put together a custom suit. Even today, you will see this left on high end suits. Occasionally you will also see an unsuspecting customer wearing the basting – how embarrassing!!! Basting is not to be worn but to be taken out – unless you are contesting a fashion statement I was unaware of…

My response to why the pockets are closed (and sometimes the vents as well) are to ensure clean lines and smooth form. Most of the time, there is only hand stitching that keeps the pockets together, so it can be carefully removed.

If you are the type to stuff your pockets with heavy objects then perhaps you should keep them closed as this will ruin the shape of the jacket and make you appear bulky.


Women Wednesday: Flared vs. Wide Leg Trousers

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that my female clientele prefer the flared trouser over straight or wide. The main argument has been that due to the extra width at the bottom, the hips become proportionate. After speaking with an image consultant – Tamara Glick, she affirmed this belief but added that it depended on the curvature of the lady. Very curvy would require some sort of chunky or proportionate distraction at the bottom of the pant.

I, however, stand by my belief that a flared pant has no business within a professional environment. Even if you are a creative professional – at this current time – a flared pant is utterly out of style.

Thankfully, unlike a skinny or straight pant – a wide leg is great for the majority of us who have  hips that don’t lie. The pant will fit your hips that go straight to the floor – no hugs, snugs or bulges about it. Furthermore, it is a classic peice that will never go out of style.