Fashion and style how I see it. Not dictated by the masses, rather what inspires me. I'm multi-faceted. A writer. A photographer. A Cypriot born Lebanese living in Toronto and traveling the world capturing style on the street. My style? Geeky Chic. Your style? That is what I aim to uncover because every style has a story behind it. I want to uncover stories.
I’ll be in New York this weekend, and in anticipation of the trip, I’ve decided to rummage through photos I took during New York Fashion Week. There are a handful left I have not published, and I owe them due attention. Like this photo, for example.
The unfortunate thing about sub zero winters is that dreaded winter coat. If you are of the sensible variety during winter, you’ll know what i’m talking about. Glorious looking or not, the coat hides all that style you wish you could show off without freezing your behind off.
What this young gentleman achieves through smart layering is a proper reveal of his outfit. He’s made small, yet significant styling choices such as tying his jacket with a nondescript belt, as if it was a curtain opened just wide enough to check out the goods beyond. The comfy red velvet scarf is such a chic touch to the academia look cued by the leather belt, attache and the moccasin boots.
Miguel Correia, PR intern, writer and fashion enthusiast, charmed us at first sight. His gorgeous smile had me giggling (inside) like a school girl. As we started talking, my internal giggles subsided and evolved into respect. It was exciting to speak with Miguel because I sensed that he had a genuine excitement for fashion and that he was working hard in pursuing his passions. Miguel is certainly busy - he is currently a PR student, interning with fashion label, Kavi Kavi, and at Salim Remix Clothing, a Toronto-based consignment shop and working at Over The Rainbow, Toronto’s go-to for jeans. It takes a lot of heart, soul and sweat to succeed in the fashion industry (and any industry, for that matter), and Miguel seems well on his way.
Miguel described his style as simple but current. His wardrobe is full of pieces that don’t go out of style and, in some cases, which he has been collecting for years. One really can’t get more classic than a pair of jeans and a gray t-shirt. Yet, we loved how modern his look was, owing to the cut of his clothes, the resulting silhouette and of course, his disarming smile.
My last post (for now) on pretty in pink men. Yes, I know. I went on a bit of a tangent there but I tell you, when i’m on a path that’s been paved by persistent themes, I feel i’d be doing a disservice to walk the other way.
What caught my eye with Roman’s style was the confluence of two separate generations of gentlemen, which is more than appropriate in representing the story of Perry’s Yorkville, the menswear store he works for.
Perry’s menswear opened its doors for the first time in uptown Toronto in the early 50s. Through times and trends, Perry’s has dressed the evolving Toronto gentleman all the way down to Yorkville. While Yorkville is no Saville Row, Perry’s functions under such stately values. Just visit the store yourself, you’ll be hard pressed to feel distanced from old world London with it’s mahogany walls and antique portraits of English gentlemen.
Roman today excellently portrays Perry’s of yesteryear, and I absolutely adore the suit, the salmon coloured shirt, the mahogany tie and the white pocket square. Unbelievably chic.
It was only a matter of time before I ran into the quintessential North American style, and documented it, given I live in North America. Perhaps i’ve been subconsciously avoiding it due to its prevalence. Nevertheless, Mr and Mrs boat shoe have appeared before me and I have to say, they are what I will call North American chic. So what comes with being North American chic? You have to have all the essentials: J.Crew, boat shoes (preferably from Sperry Topsider), at least one item from the Gap and a Starbucks coffee cup in hand. Check, check, check and check. Alana and Dan radiate the warm, and inviting side of preppy. And yes, there is such a thing. Plus, i’m a sucker for the nautical look, mainly because I have a non- participatory obsession for boats and the seafarer way. I hope Alana and Dan belong to a yacht club, it would render the image complete!
Round two of pretty in pink men. This time, Alessandro gives us some European flare with ETRO. My very first post on Geeky Chic was of Sam, who was decked out in ETRO. I noted that Sam’s ensemble romanced me with it’s colours, paisley and the old world European look.
Alessandro’s ETRO is another story. The colours are youthful and fresh. The blue and green lines that make up the checked pattern on his suit are almost boyish, as is the blue and purple knit tie. Ah yes, I am a big fan of the knit tie, especially ones made with Italian silk. The texture is soft and playful, a great piece to wear with a shirt during the day for casual yet chic wear.
I mark ETRO as a primo brand for (mostly) men. They are artisans of pattern and fabric, in which timelessness and culture has become the leitmotif of the collections.
Mr. Lawrence Elliot is pretty in pink, but he is also a human portal who transports me to and from a world of Ralph Lauren. By sheer coincidence I stumbled upon (not literally of course!) Lawrence just after I had finished shopping at Ralph Lauren. I bought a denim shirt, with stitching on the lower collar area that dates it back to the wild west, a token of Lauren’s inspiration of the West. It just so happens that Lawrence is a Ferrari sales man in Los Angeles, and one of his customers is none other than Ralph Lauren himself. My encounter with Lawrence inspired me to tumble down the rabbit hole that is Mr. Lauren’s car collection. Lauren owns a remarkable collection of automobiles, 25 of which are Ferraris. A selection of the cars is on display at the renowned Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
In an interview, Lauren spoke of his passion for cars. One of his quotes really hit a note because it pays homage to the artisan: “I’ve always loved machines that are the product of someone taking his passion for building and using it to create beautiful shapes or sounds that give pleasure… I love that craftsmanship. It gives one a sense of personal connection to the maker.” Lauren speaks of hand crafted work, and the timelessness it brings to the owner, who inherently becomes a collector. Artisans, just like their pieces, are to be coveted. More than creating beauty, these people create love.
Scotch takes downtown chic to a whole new level. I’ve never seen denim shorts worn over cycling shorts. I don’t know much about Scotch, except that he’s a stylist and model. Although my men in denim series has expired, Scotch would make an excellent honorary subject with those denim shorts, presumably cut by his truly.
If I were to trace my knowledge origin of American Workwear, it would lead me to Nicolas. This former model, who could be plucked out of a Hedi Slimane campaign during his âge d’or of menswear at Dior Homme, epitomizes the workwear style and takes me on a journey as to why.
What inspires Nicolas most is how classic the pieces are. He stands by the notion that he will be able to wear some of these clothes when he’s older (without them seeming dated or out of style). Of course, at the crux of his desire for workwear is the craftsmanship that accompanies the heritage. With workwear, there is quality manufacturing that is too often overlooked in the fashion industry.
This fact alone has me all over the style from a journalistic point of view. I’m all too comfortable exposing the nuances of fashion that are buried, which brings me back to Slimane. Even though workwear was not the focal point of his vision, the London rock band look was. It’s exciting to see those effeminate influences mixed with the man’s man workwear look on Nicolas.
Men in denim prevails under the auspices of American Workwear. Will Eagle, a freelance digital marketing consultant, gives us reason to look at the workwear style beyond a general facade and as a genre, influenced by epic writers and geography. Will and his fantastic triple denim get up is a pastiche of British past and American present. Growing up in a private school for boys in the UK, Will has retained the best bits of it’s quintessential “uniform”, while adopting an ever so cool nuance of the American workwear style. That’s right, I said nuance. Will goes beyond the norm and ventures to a segmented form of workwear, that which lives in a Cape Cod setting. Additionally, his denim shirt is reminiscent of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road” (sans West Coast).
Indeed, a North American filter exists over Will’s British sensibilities, though the two are unified by New England prep and workwear. His style bears a unique patina of literary and Transatlantic goodness that fashion journalists like myself cannot seem to get enough of.
My “Men in Denim” series continues with Steve, a music producer from Toronto, who charmed me with his chambray on denim on bicycle before he momentarily became the “man who got away”. I spotted Steve initially at a Queen St. traffic light. He was on his bicycle waiting for the light to turn green, and I was a pedestrian hoping the red light would linger for a while. I am not much of a gun camera slinger, so by the time the green light shone, Steve whizzed onwards. I could have kicked myself for not whipping out the camera sooner, but as fate would have it, Steve was parked one block ahead where I eventually caught up to him. In fact now that I look at my photo closely, Steve the music producer is in the foreground while Steve’s the music store is in the background. Perfect! Back to style. Men in chambray shirts paired with jeans or earth toned trousers are aplenty in Toronto. Dare I say the Toronto hipster has replaced himself with the Americana classic workwear male? Local designers Hiroshi Awai and Klaxon Howl seem to be in the know.
Not to sound anticlimactic on the topic of Men in Denim, but I must make mention of Steve’s bicycle. I am gaga over it. Mainly, I think it’s one of the sexiest “accessories” i’ve seen if I were to look at it through a style lens. Sadly it is an unknown brand to me, so if any of you bicycle connoisseurs can shed some light i’d be grateful.
Denim pants, Dr. Denim Jeans
Chambray shirt, American Apparel
American workwear classic designers in Toronto: Hiroshi Awai of Creep and Matt Robinson of Klaxon Howl