Wednesday, December 14, 2016

the Rollin Wedding

Remember Gab?

He came through YourSuit earlier in the spring to have something made for his July wedding in Ottawa. As it was a summer wedding, Gab and his fiancé Katie decided to go with a 100% wool jacket so it would be more breathable and combat the heat. It ended up being a great choice because it turned out to be a beautiful day, albeit quite humid.

When I first met Gab and Katie, they told me that they preferred more classic looks as opposed to modern, so they opted to go with a versatile brown windowpane jacket and chocolate trousers. Gab ended up wearing a bow tie and suspenders on the day of the wedding which added to the classic feel. They sent me this 'action shot' (below) which shows the suit ensemble; it's one of the best photos I've ever received.

Here's a more 'conservative' shot of Gab and Katie:

Another factor in selecting the brown windowpane jacket was versatility. Gab wanted to be able to use the jacket in future for other events, so by selecting an Earth-tone colour, he will be able to pair it with other trouser colours (i.e. navies/blues, greys, browns, blacks). The windowpane pattern can make the jacket suitable for more casual events as well (a night out to dinner, for example); Gab would have no issue wearing the jacket with a solid pair of denim jeans.

A closer look at the windowpane jacket.

Funny story: Katie told me that when she first met Gab, it was at his home and he was wearing sweats and Crocs, and while there's nothing wrong with lounging around the house in comfortable clothes, she wanted to ensure he'd look sharp on the big day.

I think he did alright, don't you? 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Style by Simba

You know those guys who can pull off anything? Everyone has a friend like that, including me. His name is Simba.

I met him a few years ago when he started dating a good friend of mine. They got married in August of 2016 and I was one of the lucky guests to attend. You may have seen some of his wedding pictures on YourSuit's Instagram.

I never know what to expect when Simba comes to get some clothes made; we definitely have similar tastes, but he's always willing to be more aggressive, whereas I always default to being conservative (because I just can't pull stuff off like he can). Anyways, it's never dull when this guy comes through YourSuit so I thought I'd share some of his creations.

About a year ago, Simba placed a relatively conservative suit order; he was attending a corporate Christmas party and requested a black suit with satin lapels. I consider satin lapels a bit more aggressive, but it is a frequent request so I didn't think it was anything too out of the ordinary. The only slightly more 'aggressive' choice Simba made was to line the inside with a floral pattern. It looked like this:

What I didn't realize was that he ended up pulling a Fresh Prince and making a turncoat out of it. He messaged me the night of the Christmas party with this:

Suffice to say, I had a pretty good laugh. I showed it to many people and everyone had the same comment: That looks awesome. I could never pull that off, but it looks awesome.

As I mentioned earlier, this past summer Simba got married. He gifted all his groomsmen grey suits, a more conservative selection but versatile and reusable in future. However, he did choose to go with a white patterned shirt with black buttons and black contrast shirt lining; these made the shirts more unique than a typical white shirt. A few pictures from their wedding are below (though it's hard to see the shirt detail):

Simba is second from the left.

A shot of the complete wedding party.

This wedding photo does a bit more justice. Like the groomsmen's wedding suits, Simba's suit was also grey, albeit a slightly different shade and with a minor pinstripe. He also went with a breasted vest with shawl lapels, a rare request. In this photo his shirt still looks white, but I promise it's actually patterned. You can see the subtle black buttoned down collar - in reality, all the buttons on the shirt were black to add contrast. It was a great call.

Simba on the big day.

And here's one last shot of the happy couple:

Then, just this past month, Simba came to me again for another Christmas party suit request. He's big on patterns, so I asked if he'd consider a polka-dot suit. Immediately, his eyes lit up and he said he was already thinking of something like that. After hammering out some details, here was the end product for this year's Christmas suit:

It was a deep navy with white polka dots. I have to hand it to Simba; he never sees limitations, and because of that, he's always pulling stuff off. It's always a love-hate relationship with friends like this; you love them because they are so much fun, but you hate them because they remind you of how boring you are.

Aside, a mutual friend of ours said I should open up a Simba Collection. Sounds like a good plan, don't you think?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Introducing YourSuit Select

YourSuit is pleased to introduce YourSuit Select, a second line of suits available as of December 1st, 2016. This new line has been in the works for a while now and I'm very happy to finally have it up and running.

The Select suit line offers additional customization as well as canvas options. All suits under the Select line are half canvassed, though a full canvas option is also available for clients wishing to have additional construction. Prices for Select suits start at $550 (CDN).

A few clients have already stopped by to customize their Select suits, so I'll post some pictures as they become available.

For more information, feel free to visit the YourSuit Select page or give me a shout for details.

Happy December, everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2016

the Burns Wedding

I just got these pictures of the Burns Wedding and thought I'd share them. Mr. Jared Burns (@clubjburns) and I met a little over a year ago through mutual friends, and he's been a very loyal client. It was an honour to have suited him and his groomsmen for his October wedding.

Champagne with a champagne suit.

Many of Jared's men don't wear suits all that often and find ties uncomfortable, so for the suits they decided to ditch the ties and go with an open collar. Though they ditched the ties, they made up for it with small minor detailing; the suits were a tope/champagne colour that closely matched the bridesmaids and included very subtle pick-stitching and satin piping on the pockets.

A few celebratory drinks.

Show time.

A contributing factor to going custom was the fact that Jared's entourage ranges greatly in size. In fact, one of his groomsmen (Skyler, pictured below on the far left) is a tower; he's essentially a Canadian version of the Mountain from Game of Thrones and has trouble finding clothes that fit. The picture is deceiving, but Skyler's actually standing downhill on a slope; in reality, this guy clears 6'5" easy.

The wedding party.

Speaking of Game of Thrones, this last picture may be my favourite. It is of Jared and his prized Khaleesi (aka. Rachel) taking a stroll through a rolling field. The picture looks so natural and kind of reminds me of the show. I think it's a combination of the wilderness, Rachel's flowing hair and Jared's manly beard. Regardless, I love this photo.

"Babe, hate to tell you this, but WINTER IS COMING!"

Congratulations to Jared and Rachel; I wish you all the best!

Saturday, November 19, 2016


With winter just around the corner, some clients have been asking me about coats and jackets, as well as the colours they should consider. While it's not necessarily for everyone, I usually suggest something with texture; specifically, Herringbone.

Herringbone (or fish bone) is a V-shaped weave pattern that runs repeatedly in broken zigzags. It closely resembles the skeleton of a herring fish (hence the name). It looks like this: 

Reminds me of Magic Eye...

It's traditionally one of the most popular fabrics among suits and outdoor coats, and the pattern size ranges greatly. Many people might not even know that they own a suit with a Herringbone pattern unless they look closely at the fabric.

But what are they advantages? Well...

Herringbone adds texture.

Solid-coloured fabrics are generally one colour and offer less visual variation, whereas textured fabrics such as Herringbone will offer more. The variation will obviously depend on the size of the pattern, but even small patterns cause more variation than a solid-coloured fabric. The extra texture adds a little 'something' to a suit no matter the colour.

Grey Herringbone, from You Only Live Twice

Herringbone hides imperfections.

Clothes get worn, and (unfortunately) clothes get worn out. It can happen slowly over time, or all of the sudden if you're unlucky. I think everyone's been in a situation where they accidentally got nicked or hooked by something (an all-too-common occurrence when travelling, especially for public transit users). The great thing about Herringbone is that it hides imperfections extremely well.

It`s harder to find imperfections on textured fabrics.

The Herringbone weaves on fabrics aren't always uniform, so the slight variations in the pattern makes the fabric look 'consistently imperfect'; therefore, it has the ability to hide wear and tear over the course of its life. It can't hide everything, but it will do a much better job at hiding than solid-coloured fabrics.

Herringbone hides dirt.

Ever brush your jacket against a dirty car door? Or get salt kicked up on your trousers? Canadian winters, no matter how beautiful, can get pretty dirty at times, and keeping your clothes clean can be a hassle.

That's another great advantage with Herringbone, especially those that are charcoal. When you accidentally brush up against a dirty surface (such as a car door covered in salt from the winter) it usually leaves an opaque mark. A charcoal Herringbone fabric may be able to hide that mark much better than a solid colour. It can even camouflage the dirt mark long enough until you have time to wash it out. That can be a godsend, especially if you're running late and on your way to an important meeting.

Speaking of winter, I've just checked the weather and it looks like Ottawa is due for a big snowfall tomorrow. Good news for some, bad news for others! So, dear readers, dress warm and watch out for those dirty surfaces. And, if you have one in your closet, why not try out that Herringbone jacket?

Or give YourSuit a shout. Always happy to help!

Ready for this?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Suits in Action

Clients usually send me pictures from their big day, but today I received two links to their wedding videos! My wife and I didn't even think about hiring a videographer for our wedding, so I forget that many couples capture their wedding day on camera and film.

The two clips are below. The first is from the Rossiter Wedding, where Josh sported a three piece navy. The second is from the Nguygen Wedding, where Steven and Co. wore royal blue. Enjoy!

(Videographer - BOXTOP FILM)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

the Petronella Wedding

I just got these great photos from Nick Petronella and his wife. They got married this August, and have been happily married for just over two months now.

I had originally met up with Nick back in April to over his suit requirements. Being the fit guy that he is, he's historically had difficulty finding jackets that fit well in the chest and arms. If he does happen to find a jacket that works, it's usually too long, making him appear shorter. (Nick and I are about the same height so I completely understand the frustration.)

So, for his wedding suit we gave him some extra room in the chest and armhole (for functionality), a slightly shorter jacket and a more aggressive taper in the pant leg (for height appearance). He wanted to be able to use the suit in future - both formally and casually - so he chose a navy pinhead patterned fabric; from afar, it looks navy, but closeups will reveal white pinheads. The subtle pattern makes the jacket versatile for both formal and casual events, and since he chose navy, it'll go well with a variety of pants, whether it be khakis, jeans or another pair of dress pants.

Nick and his better half on the wedding day.

Here's a close up of Nick's navy pinhead suit. I can't take credit for the polka dotted accessories, though I wish I could because I absolutely love the combination.

Navy suit, with white pinhead patterns mixed in.

For his groomsmen, the couple went with a matted grey. You can never go wrong with a navy and grey combination, and these guys did a good job pulling it off.

Best wishes to the newly weds; thanks for sharing your photos!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Suiting Up for the Job Hunt

When I was in undergrad, I used to loathe the months of September and October because that meant it was job hunting season: in between classes, students would be running to networking nights, office tours and wine and cheeses in an effort to land their next job placement. It made me anxious, and it was tough because I had to put on a good face even when I wasn't feeling the best. I haven't been exposed to that in a long time, but I still remember it like it was yesterday.

About two weeks ago, I attended the Annual Sprott Fashion Show held at Carleton University. It's an event that Sprott puts on for students to educate them on how to dress once they enter the workforce (either upon graduation or during a co-op term). It also coincides with Sprott Frosh Week (i..e "Sprosh Week"), so the majority of attendants were young. Having graduated from Sprott myself, it was definitely a lot of fun to be back on campus and seeing fresh faces; the only downside was it reminded me that I'm no longer "young".

The first half of the Show was a runway segment, where models donned business casual wear so students could get a better idea of what was considered appropriate. This was - undoubtedly - HIGHLY entertaining because the models strutting down the runway were current Carleton students who had volunteered, so there was a great deal of cheering and catcalling from spectators. I was amazed that most of these Carleton models were able to keep a straight face while on the catwalk.

The second half was more about what to look for when shopping for work clothes, and I was asked to present some tips, tricks and best practices for the male audience. Guys and shopping don't always mix well together, so here are some of the points I went over during the Show:

Think long term.

Most students shop because they need something right now. But, what they don't think about is what they may need in the future. For students, they're mostly thinking that they'll need a suit to wear at networking nights and job interviews, but there are several other 'life events' that will require a suit, such as graduation, day-to-day work clothes, parties (i.e. corporate functions, Christmas/New Year's parties, other) and attending weddings.

All of these life events could be within the next three, six or 12 months. Therefore, it's a good idea to think long term; what kind of suit would fit all these occasions? A suit that could fulfill your present and future needs will not only be good for your closet, but your wallet too.

Consider the G.N.C.

When you're young, you probably don't have many workplace outfits in your closet. This is especially true for students who have little to no work experience. Therefore, it's a good idea to start building a wardrobe that is versatile and can stand the test of time. Starting off with a Grey, Navy and/or Charcoal suit is a great way to construct your wardrobe; these three complement most colours and accessories, and have also stood the test of time.

A student asked me why I hadn't recommended Black. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with black; it's just not as versatile as G.N.C. Black is considered more formal and can only really go with black shoes and belt, whereas G.N.C. can accommodate various colours. Every man will ultimately wear a black suit at some point, so it's not a bad one to have, but G.N.C. would be a better starting point.

Avoid aggressive looks.

Not everyone likes the sock game.

This was a hot topic because everyone has varying opinions on what is considered 'aggressive'. In essence, it's important to remember that the individual(s) who will be interviewing, assessing, and offering you a job are probably older; therefore, their style preferences will be different. For example, while you and your friends may like to play the sock game, it probably doesn't resonate well with an older crowd. It's best to leave aggressive looks outside the workplace.

All in all, it was a great event and I was happy to have been a part of it. Happy job hunting to you all you hardworking students out there. Best of luck, and see you soon in the workplace.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Increasing the Lifespan of Your Clothes

My family consistently chirps me on the fact that I still own (and regularly wear) clothes that I've had since middle school. That's the byproduct of not having grown since grade 8, I guess. While my sister thinks it's 'gross' that I still have wearable t-shirts that are more than 10 years old, I think it's rather impressive. Don't you? 


That being said, formal clothes tend to have a shorter lifespan, mostly because they don't make for good gym clothes. But, here are three tips you can implement to increase the lifespan of your clothes:

1. Stay in shape.

Yes, as Michael Scott says, it's never too early for ice cream. It is summer after all, so ice cream always sounds like a good idea. So do beer and pub fare. But, it's not always good for your health, and it might not be good for your clothes, either.

I frequently get clients who are fathers of the wedding couple and I always start by asking them when they last wore a suit. Many of these fathers say they can't remember, mostly because they don't require wearing one day-to-day, or that they've put on a few pounds over the years and haven't been able to fit into their suits.

Staying in shape has many benefits obviously, but a lesser known byproduct is that it can also keep your body size in the same range so you won't have to shop as often. If you have gained some weight and feel that your clothes are getting tight, why not take an active approach (literally) and hit the gym and/or make an effort to eat healthier? You may end up looking and feeling a lot better, and the seams of your clothes will thank you.

2. Consider fit vs. function.

Some clients like their clothes fitted - and I mean really fitted, to the point that there's very little surplus fabric for movement. While the look is very appealing to some, the risk is that the garment becomes too stressed, leading to rips. Because the garment is very fitted to begin with, there won't be much fabric left in the garment to make repairs.

In these instances, it's important to consider what you intend on physically doing in the garment. For example, when I met up with Beamish from MPC Physio (Kingston) a while back, we discussed what kind of fit he liked vs. what functionality he required. As a physiotherapist, he needs to dress professionally, but also requires additional room for movement so he can demonstrate exercises at his clinic. While he would prefer to have more tapered/fitted dress pants, he knew that he needed more room in his pant legs so that he could demonstrate squats etc. We ended up agreeing to make him a few pairs of dress pants that were straighter cut so that he would be able to perform squats without blowing out his pant seams (a problem he's had with other dress pants).

A little more room allows for more movement.

On the flip side, Beamish's wedding suit for later this August was sized to be more tapered/fitted in the legs; since the suit will be worn for more formal occasions (i.e. not day-to-day work wear), Beamish was comfortable giving up a little movement for the look he wanted.

Something more fitted with some movement restriction.

Fit vs. Function will always be a balancing act, but if you are able to objectively factor in what you'll be doing in your clothes while you wear them, it may assist in determining the amount of surplus fabric you are willing to deal with, and this can add longevity to your clothes.

3. Avoid the dry cleaners, if possible.

I've mentioned this previously, but I'll continue to say it: dry cleaning can be very harsh on your garments, thus reducing their lifespan. Sometimes your clothes do need to be dry cleaned, and that's fine, but don't make a habit of going regularly if you don't have to. Many garments, like most shirts and pants, can be machine washed in cold water; it's just recommended that you hang dry. For jackets and pants, sometimes a quick steam is all you need, as opposed to a full out dry cleaning.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Recently Suited

It was a very busy Spring; my wife and I decided to renovate our upstairs bedrooms (sales at Costco will do that to you) and clients were coming in almost every other day to get suited. But now that renovations are wrapping up, I have some time to post a few pictures of the recently suited:

Eric and Andrew met with me way back in February to discuss their May 2016 wedding suits. It was a Gatsby-themed, garden-style wedding; these guys had some pretty ambitious ideas and were open to almost any suggestion. The end result was a grey pinstripe suit for Eric and a patriotic red suit with some cream piping for Andrew; Eric also sported an accent vest that matched Andrew's swatch. It was a fun projected, and the guys were great to work with.

Heather came by around the same time to test out her wedding suit as well. She had actually attended Lucas Haneman's wedding last September - which I also attended - but Heather and I never met. She got married this May, on the hottest and most humid day in the history of Ottawa (seriously, it was ridiculous) in a summer blend two piece grey suit.

Ross-the-Boss (i.e. Josh Rossiter) is getting married this August to an old high school friend of mine. Though the wedding is still more than a month away, his midnight navy three piece suit came in early so he was able to test it out a few months in advance. Good thing he tested it out early; had he waited another week I may have kept the suit for myself. (His body measurements were almost identical to mine - a bit too identical, if you ask me - and I've been itching to get a new navy myself.) As of this posting, this picture is the most liked on the YS Instagram feed. So, everything is going Rossiter's way.

Gab is getting married this July and expressed that he wanted something vintage. He also said that he would like something to combat the July heat, if possible. So, we ended up agreeing on a tan windowpane wool suit and cotton shirt to make things more breathable. I rarely get clients who want to look classic/vintage, but I think he really pulled this off, especially with the chocolate coloured bow tie. (He's also wearing brown suspenders underneath the jacket, adding some vintage to the look.)

And finally, Kyle came by to get fitted in his three piece suit (nicknamed "the Birthday Suit") which was a gift from his wife and close friends. Kyle went with a grey pinhead suit with a blue accent vest; he also picked out a white cotton shirt as well.

Congratulations to the wedding couples, and happy birthday to Kyle. Thanks for getting suited up.

Enjoy the long weekend, friends.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Small Business Man (7) - Balance

Historically, I've been pretty bad at living in the moment. I'm not known for being spontaneous or carefree, but rather very calculated and an observer. Therefore, a big motivation for pursuing YourSuit was simply to break my normal regime and start something. I've become an avid reader on Quora lately (if you haven't checked it out, I'd highly recommend it) and I constantly read about how one of the hardest things to do in life is to start something. Most people think about it but never do, i.e. get in shape, learn a new language, ask out a girl on a date, write a book, etc. Thinking is much easier than doing. So, I went out on a limb and did something.

In the beginning, everything was new and microscopic, so business matters never took a whole lot of time. Or, the experiences were new, so it didn't feel like work as much as it was an adventure. But as things grow and progress, time and space start to diminish. We've all heard the phrase there aren't enough hours in the day, and I find that's very true as you get older.

Which brings me to the topic of balance. Specifically, work and life balance. It's a bit ironic to be writing about it at this time of year because - being an accountant by trade - the month of April is not the time to be talking about work and life balance. Tax season is at the forefront in April and May, so there's no such thing as a standard working day. Weekends of doing nothing are also a rarity.

However, I'm now starting to really understand the importance of balance, especially when you are at your busiest. With wedding season approaching, things have really picked up at YourSuit and I've felt short on time; it's made me stressed, impatient and occasionally burned out. I had a conversation with my Dad the other night while we were at the gym together about his career; he's approaching retirement (an image I find hard to conceptualize given that he's probably the hardest worker I know) and I asked him what he plans on doing once he leaves the workforce.

He listed a few traditional items while we were warming up on the elliptical, like travelling, spending more time with family, but he mentioned something that kind of hit me. He told me not to live with the intention of retiring.

"What if you don't make it to retirement?" he asked, rhetorically. "What if you die young? Or, let's say you make it to retirement; that doesn't mean your health will be the same it is now."

I kind of stared at him blankly for a second, then glanced at the elliptical display to see how many calories I had burned.

"I think the worst thing anyone could do is delay things until retirement," he continued. "Sure, people need to plan for the future and stuff, but people should just live, too. You never know what will happen in the future; wouldn't it be a shame to make extravagant plans and never get to do them?"

With this in mind, I've started doing something that I've never done before in my life: I've started blocking off sections in my calendar for rest. I mean, I've booked vacations before, but those are bigger life events. Working independently can cause stressful problems; it's hard to force yourself to take time off or get your mind off work. I've now made an effort to block off small increments, like a free evening here, or blocking out the odd weekend to rest and do something completely unrelated to my daily routine. It's a bit foreign to me, but it's creating stress relief, and I find that it's helping me with my work life balance.

So to all those who are a bit stressed out, don't forget to take care of yourself.

To close, I'll end with a great quote from the Dalai Lama (which I pulled from Quora):

Man surprised me the most about humanity, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then, he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.