The CLICLOUNGE Chair and Table by PeLiDesign

The CLICLOUNGE Chair and Table by PeLiDesign

Photo c/o PeLiDesign - http://www.pelidesign.com

This past week, while visiting INabstracto on Queen Street West in Toronto, I came across thirty-six year old designer Alexander Pelikan’s modernist table and chair.  German born and Dutch educated, Alex made a conscious decision ten years ago to toss out his television set, but hold onto his electronic music collection and devote all of his energy to internationally influenced design work.

A healthy five-year mix of Aphex Twin paired with steady travel appears to have been the right combination to spark his creative genius and subsequently his boutique, PeLiDesign.  One of Alex’s pioneer designs, CLICLOUNGE is based on the minimalist concept of building furniture out of one material.  That material is a very dense HPL material called TRESPA, with a durable top-layer finish typically used on building facades.  So that’s technically two materials, not bad.

CLICLOUNGE has gone on to spawn a complete line of some pretty cool CLICFURNITURE that include rocking chairs, bar stools, and even a wall.  For more information on where to purchase CLICFURNITURE you can fill in an information request form on the PeLiDesign website.  Oh, but before you do, you’ll have to answer their skill testing question.

What, This Old Thing? Why Vintage, Why Now

What, This Old Thing? Why Vintage, Why Now

Vintage Style

I am in awe at how women have been able to turn vintage bargain hunting into an art.  Women seem to inherently know how to pop in and out of vintage stores, dig around, and scoop up clothing and accessories that add the right punch to their outfits.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch Tammy Emma Pepin as she zips through Montreal.  Many guys on the other hand, seem to lack the mental wardrobe visualization power that the opposite sex has seemed to mastered and tend to shy away from vintage shopping.  Maybe you don’t know where to start, feel too embarrassed to go in, or just aren’t knowledgeable enough to make the trip on your own.

Vintage fashion should be considered an important part of any man’s wardrobe.  Purchasing vintage clothes a) saves you money, b) enhances your wardrobe with articles that are unique, and c) is green (reduce, reuse, recycle).  Many international vintage outlets such as the Salvation Army, also use sales to fund charitable programs.  Another bonus.  The idea of course, is not to buy all of your clothes at a thrift shop.  The aim should be to add the odd vintage pieces here and there, that will work well with your own personal style.

You owe it to yourself to give vintage a try.  The first step is to find out where the vintage clothing stores in your area are.  A simple Google web search should give you this information as well as informative reviews and websites.  Jargol has a great US-Canada directory of their top picks that you can check out here.  Cities such as Toronto for example, have a designated vintage shopping area called Kensington Market, while others have their stores spread out.  New York City hosts weekend vintage flea markets, like the Annex/Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market.  Big cities also have specialized vintage high fashion clothing stores like One of a Kind in Notting Hill, London.  You can find vintage couture labels like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and Dolce & Gabbana – but they won’t be cheap.   If your city does not have decent vintage stores, or if the selections are limited, you can try an online store such as www.vintagetrends.com.

Next, take a look at at my post Men’s Fall/Winter 2010 Essentials.  There are several items on that list that can be purchased brand new, but also discovered in vintage stores.  After you’ve found a few good places, put together a list of FW10 items that include any or all of the following:  black leather biker jacket, vest, plaid or gingham dress shirt, graphic knit cardigan or sweater, and tweed jacket.

Get out there, look for, and purchase at least one of the aforementioned items at a vintage clothing store near you.  Submit pics of your buys with details on where you found them and for how much on the It’s All Style To Me Facebook Page.  Now I’ve been able to find each of these items at vintage stores in Toronto and I’m a size 46 chest (XL-XXL).  Good luck!

Looking Bow-dacious

Looking Bow-dacious

Models Clockwise from Top Left: Yoon (Band of Outsiders), Marcus Troy, Orville Redenbacher, Brad Goreski, Nicholas Hoult (Tom Ford)

Somewhere in between a group of 17th century Croatian mercenaries and Orville Redenbacher, men decided that it would look cool to start gift wrapping themselves with a silk bow around their neck.  Perhaps the most unlikely fashion comeback trend of the decade, the bow tie has gone from ‘geek chic’ to becoming the ubiquitous must have fashion accessory of the season.  The Gladwellian “tipping point” can be tracked back to late 2007 and early 2008, when eBay sales of bow ties jumped 34% (Source NYT).  The impetus? A demographic of 16-25 year-old guys aspiring to look like David Beckham, the Jonas Brothers, and Kanye West.  Well, maybe not the Jonas Brothers, but you get the point.

A sign of class, intellectualism, quirkiness, and sophistication – the bow tie is an accessory that screams look at me.  For the uninformed, bow ties come in many varieties that are all essentially variations on two basic styles:  the thistle and the bat wing.  The thistle is the classier and wider of the two, with a wing size of around 2.25″-2.75″.  You would traditionally see this style with a tuxedo or blazer with standard-to-wider lapels.  It also looks great paired with a vest or cardigan.  The bat wing, by contrast, is more casual and narrower with a wing size of around 1.5″ – 2″.  The bat wing is easier to pull-off and will work with formal wear when paired with a narrower lapelled jacket.

Try Brooks Brothers, Band of Outsiders, Rag & Bone, Topman, who provide a wide range of plain and patterned silk, wool, cotton, and velvet bow ties at a reasonable price.  There has been some debate regarding self-tie versus clip-on bow ties.  Some claim that the clip-on version is a big no-no, but if you are going casual, I don’t see the problem with the clip-on.  With formal black tie or semi-formal events, learn to tie a proper bow from this Southern Gent.  Now get out there and make Orville proud.

Wear Your Name On Your Sleeve

Wear Your Name On Your Sleeve

Custom Cufflinks by Cuffhim.com

Had Olga Nelson (and computers) been around in the 1920s, I’m sure that the Chicago jewelry designer would have benefited from Chicago’s notorious and flamboyant clientele.  Al Capone’s Tommy gun would have looked that much more threatening, light glistening off a pair of gold diamond-studded cufflinks bearing the initials “AC”, as he confronted his adversaries.

Cuffhim.com’s 3D Computer Aided Design process can render your signature or signed initials into silver or gold cufflinks and have them delivered to your door in less than a month.  All you have to do is submit your hand-written signature by fax, email or uploaded jpg, indicate the number of characters you would like in your links (one/two), select the metal, opt for with or without diamonds, and you’ll be looking like a modern day John Gotti or James Bond in no time.

So now you can tell your tailor to ditch the stitched monogram on your next order of dress shirts.  Prices range from $350-$4,800/pair depending on the level of ‘bling’ requested.  Shipping within the USA is free of charge.

The Little Trend That Could: Rolled-Up Pant Cuffs

The Little Trend That Could: Rolled-Up Pant Cuffs

Rolled Pant Cuffs, Various Looks

As a fashion statement, rolled-up pant cuffs can be traced back to the 50s and 60s when larger-than-life legends such as James Dean, Marlon Brando, and even Elvis, were immortalized in iconic photos depicting them in rolled pant cuffs.  The style faded, then inexplicably reappeared in a WHAM! video (1:06) of all places, launching an 80s come-back in both men’s and women’s fashion.

In 2004, designer Thom Browne put into motion a first attempt at the revival of the raised hem, which didn’t take off right away.  Somewhere in between 2006 and 2008, designers like Marc Jacobs and DSquared jumped on the short hem and rolled-up pant leg bandwagon giving the trend momentum.

Since 2008, the men’s trend has gone viral from isolated hipster to mainstream cool.  It even spawned New York Times and Wall Street Journal articles on the subject.  We’re now left observing and carefully tracking this spring/summer epidemic as it creeps and evolves into the fall/winter.  The rolled-up pant cuff looks great in the summer on a pair of khakis with a pair of dock shoes or sandals.  However, we’re also seeing a shorter hem on dress pants with dress shoes and rolled-up cuffs on dark denim jeans with black lace-up boots or canvas shoes for the fall.

There are some general rules of thumb regarding the actual ‘roll’, if you will.  The cotton canvas trouser should consist of one inch of cuff folded three times and with denim, a single two-inch cuff folded twice or larger three-to-four inch cuff folded once.  I don’t like seeing the cuffs all frumpy and coming undone, so I give them a taste of the old steam iron (especially on denim) for a better hold.  Khakis and boot cut jeans fit a little looser so it’s recommended that the pants are first pegged slightly on the first fold (video demo by Reliant K here), then folded twice more for a tapered look.  The great thing about the rolled-up pant cuff against a nice pair of shoes is that you can now show off your patterned socks (see my post Socks In The City).

Several magazine articles and web posts have listed a few don’ts with respect to the rolled-up pant cuff that include no wearing the cuff with formal shoes, no rolled-up skinny jeans or wool pants.  Others state that the rolled-up cuff gives the illusion of looking shorter, so shorties out there beware.  I wouldn’t recommend rolling up the cuffs on your business suit, or even worse hemming your new dress pants to a fixed cuff.  Keep the look casual-to-business casual and stick to the non-committal rolled-up cuff rather than a shorter fixed hem…for now at least.

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