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Movember & Menswear

I can't believe that tomorrow will be December! Where has the month year gone?? I'm equal parts stunned and excited because I love the winter holiday season. One of my favourite things to do is holiday shopping. A lot of folks get stressed out by holiday shopping but I really enjoy it! The malls are all decorated and festive and I treat it as a treasure hunt finding meaningful and fun gifts for my loved ones.

In the spirit of Movember (awareness month of men's health and moustaches) and to help prepare for the gift shopping ahead, I've put together some gift ideas for men as my product shoot for this month.

If these shoes look familiar, they are indeed my vintage Batas featured in previous outfits here and here. Both the shoes and gloves pictured are actually mine/women's and not Nick's/men's because Nick's shoes are too big to fit in frame. And this matters because my photo shoot set is super ghetto -- see setup photo below:

yes the suitcase is there to prop up the construction paper

The black wood surface is the last place mat I bought from Simons, along with the marble one from May and the natural wood one from August. I'm really glad I got to use all three this year and am very happy with the effects and price point! Definitely will pick up more in the future.

Getting into the gift guide for men, here are my suggestions based on the items in my product shoot:

Gift Idea: Shoes

There's a funny Asian superstition that you shouldn't buy shoes for your man because he will "walk away from you" but I buy shoes for Nick all the time and he's still here :) Here are my favourite stores for men's shoes:
  • Cole Haan - superb quality and comfort. A lot of my male coworkers have shoes from them as well. Lots of stylish choices for both office and casual wear. A little on the pricier side but I believe good shoes are a smart investment. Plus, they have outlet locations and good sale prices from Hudson's Bay and etc.
  • Winners - lots of options but is a bit hit or miss when it comes to availability of styles and sizes. I have found Cole Haans at Winners too. Also, I've seen a couple locations carry Ben Sherman, which is another brand Nick likes.
  • Steve Madden/Aldo - more mainstream but trendy styles and good sale prices with real leather options.

Gift Idea: Gloves

Winter is long and gloves get lost so easily. I like gifting gloves because everyone can always use an extra pair. Leather gloves are a nice little luxury and retailers are making them with "tech touch" so you can still use touch screen devices. Alternatively, I like cashmere gloves as well for the softness and warmth. My go-to stores for gloves are:
  • Club Monaco - had great Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales! My buddy Adam got himself 2 pairs of leather ones and I picked up a cashmere pair for Nick in the last year's sale.
  • Rudsak - super soft leather with tech touch and cashmere/real fur inside (pictured are my gloves from Rudsak, Nick's are still being delivered because of the current postal strike ugh). They can be pricey but they have frequent sales as well, and they bring back the same classic styles year over year.

Gift Idea: Wallets/small leather goods

I feel like all of my girlfriends (myself included) buys their man a wallet at some point in their relationship. In my case, this is the second one that I got Nick last Christmas (he had lost the one I got him the Christmas prior). This one is from Ted Baker and is really nice but accidentally got washed with his pants one laundry day womp womp. It's still holding up but I may be in the market for another wallet again this Christmas. Is that our Christmas tradition? Buying wallets? My recommended stores for wallets and small leather goods are:
  • Ted Baker - I really like their wallet styles for men. They tend to be more fashionable and luxurious than other mainstream brands but at the same time still within the borders of affordable, especially on sale/at outlet locations. 
  • Rudsak - I just really like this Montreal-based brand of leather goods. Both Nick and I have winter parkas from them so clearly we're fans and their small accessories are good too. We also have a leather/metal key chain from them that is also solid quality.
  • Fossil - a more accessible option but still good quality and reputable leather goods. Nick's first wallet was from Fossil and he liked it lots while he had it.

Gift Idea: Bow ties

Ties have always been a classic gift for men but I really like bow ties because they're simultaneously dapper/old-school and youthful/hip(ster). Nick's office has Tie Tuesdays so it's an every day gift for him too. The one pictured is a vintage Holt Renfrew from 613flea last year. I really appreciate the real vintage and silk construction plus, it was only $15! Flea markets are a great place to find vintage bow ties. I've seen some at consignment/vintage stores as well but those tend to be pricier. Other stores I go to for bow ties are:
  • RW & Co - I've picked up a couple of ties and bow ties for Nick here. They carry both silk and polyester, just have to careful to read the tag to confirm. The price range is quite large between their regular price and sale price, but they often have promotions on their regular price anyway so it's a good place to check for lots of different patterns and colours.
  • J Crew - I don't think I've picked up bow ties specifically but definitely a handful of Nick's ties are from J Crew. They also have a variety of silk and poly and also wool. Lots of fun patterns and colours to choose from -- actually, the first tie I got Nick might have been his camera print tie from J Crew.
For my outfits this month, surprise surprise -- are also inspired by menswear, including some actual "borrowed-from-the-boys" pieces.

Outfit 1: Vintage blouse (thrifted), Blazer from RW&Co, Houndstooth trousers from Zara, Pumps from Marciano, Necklace from J Crew, Suspenders borrowed from Nick, Vintage glasses (thrifted)
Outfit 2: Chambray shirt from aerie, Chevron boyfriend Gap cardigan borrowed from Nick, Boyfriend jeans from Forever21, Vintage belt (thrifted), Vintage suede smoking shoe (thrifted)

Outfit 1: The Office Gentleman

I really love the old-school, dapper, "gentleman" look but have historically struggled with putting together outfits that felt odd or seemed like a costume because they were too manly or butch. This time around, I challenged myself to emulate the menswear style but have a look that was undeniably feminine.

I actually own quite a few blazers but this is my only long-line, men's style blazer. To combat the longer length, I paired high-waisted houndstooth trousers (perfect colour and texture for autumn/winter). These used to be a little longer but I rolled up and stitched the cuff in place to show more ankle. That, plus the neutral high heel, adds even more length to the leg-line so the overall look is still feminine. The wine red suspenders were a fun pop of colour and can be hidden surprise if I keep my blazer buttoned. Lastly, instead of a bow tie (which would've been my previous choice), I chose a sparkly bib statement necklace for the same idea but a more feminine effect.

Outfit 2: The Weekend Boyfriend

The weekend is the perfect time to throw on comfy clothes -- and what's comfier than your boyfriend's clothes? I love lounging around in loose, baggy sweats but with the right pieces, it's possible to comfy and chic!

I'm currently on the hunt for the perfect grandpa cardigan, which is super trendy lately. The struggle for me is that I'm allergic to wool and a lot of those grandpa sweaters/cardigans tend to be made of wool for warmth. So instead, here is the boyfriend cardigan, temporarily stolen borrowed from Nick's closet. Underneath I paired a soft chambray shirt and boyfriend jeans on the bottom. I love how these jeans have these artsy-fartsy patches and paint splatters, like if I was painting a house or something -- just super chill and relaxed. The rich brown belt is a nice touch of some warm tones and also adds visual interest to the silhouette. Finally, to add a little bit of polish to the whole ensemble, I chose a vintage suede smoking shoe.

In preparation for this post, I intentionally wore both outfits this week! Started off Monday with my gentlemanly blazer and finishing off Friday in my boyfriend look, getting ready for the weekend. I find that throughout this project, I'm trying to be more cognizant of making sure that the outfits I come up with for these posts are realistic and not just hypothetical.

I've also very recently started another creative endeavour, possibly to replace the outfit flatlays that I stopped doing... sneak peek below:

work in progress! 

Eek! It's been a long while since I've been drawing but I've been motivated to pick it up again~ Honestly, I feel a little guilty that I couldn't keep up with the flatlays but they were really feeling like a chore and not inspiring me the same way creatively. I didn't get the same sense of satisfaction as the product shoots or the outfit shoots, and they were still really time consuming! I would much rather put that time to drawing or sketching instead. Or I don't know -- am I taking on too much? Should I just focus on photography?? I'll have to mull it over some more... only one month left and I still don't have any new ideas for a 2019 yet so I'll have to see!

Hope you enjoyed these photos! Thanks for reading :)