Toronto School for Gentlemen Course – Shaving with Straight and Safety Razors

Shaving with Straight Razors

Shaving with Straight Razors

The Toronto School for Gentlemen is an ongoing series of workshops on the art of living an elegant life, focusing on skills in dress, hygiene, etiquette, entertaining, conversation and more. In other words, a 21st century finishing school for men.

Shaving with Straight and Safety Razors

Shaving with Straight and Safety Razors

Our next session is “The Art of the Classic Wet Shave” and will include tips and advice on double-edged and straight razors, brushes and soaps, pre- and post-shave treatments. You will learn how to achieve a better shave, enjoy the process and save money. This session takes place Monday, October 28th at 8pm at Hollow Ground Barber Shop, 1053 Bloor St. West. Registration is $25 and can be purchased by clicking below. Returning students receive a $5 discount!

New Students Register here!

Returning Students Register here!

Your instructors are Jonathan Hagey, proprietor of Kingpin’s Hideaway, head writer of Kingpin Chic, a blog about gentlemen’s style and “the dandiest of dandies of them all” according to blogTO, and Pedro Mendes, writer and broadcaster at CBC Radio specializing in men’s issues and menswear.

Toronto School For Gentlemen Now Open – Enroll Now!

How to Assemble an Outfit 101 - The Toronto School for Gentlemen

How to Assemble an Outfit 101 – The Toronto School for Gentlemen

The Toronto School for Gentlemen is an ongoing series of workshops on the art of living an elegant life, focusing on skills in dress, hygiene, etiquette, entertaining, conversation and more. In other words, a 21st century finishing school for men.

Our first session takes place Monday, September 30 at 8pm. “How to assemble an outfit” is intended for those men beginning their journey to building a wardrobe and will focus on the whys and hows of dressing well, including a dissection of the elements of an outfit, the rules of dress and long-term strategies for building a wardrobe. The session is priced at an affordable $25.

Your instructors are Jonathan Hagey, proprietor of Kingpin’s Hideaway and head writer of Kingpin Chic, a blog about gentlemen’s style, and Pedro Mendes, writer and broadcaster at CBC Radio specializing in men’s issues and menswear.

Learn how to Build an Outfit and Dress Like a Grownup

Learn how to Build an Outfit and Dress Like a Grownup

You may enroll in the first class by clicking this link; it is as easy as that!

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Insight from The Crazy Truth and Ryan Gosling in a Well-Tailored Suit

The aphorism has become a staple in modern philosophy and the tumblr The Crazy Truth continues this tradition by mashing up pithy insights on relationships with images reflecting the aphorism’s meaning. Interspersed among these ‘aphorimages’ is an advice column. While this site does target women about relationships, several of the posts are equally valuable to men, and this picture of Ryan Gosling in a suit is a perfect example:

Ryan Gosling in a Well Tailored Suit

Ryan Gosling in a Well Tailored Suit

A well-tailored suit indeed. Gentlemen, you have to wear clothes anyway so why not make them work for you.

 

Style Site of Note – The Lost Art of Being a Modern Gentleman

James Cagney in Bow Tie and Bowler Hat

James Cagney wants YOU to dress for the occasion

Today we spark a revolution.

So, Gentlemen, rise up. The Douchebag is winning and he takes many forms (aside from the one seen on the Human Planet).

The trouble with being a Gentleman is that it seems like merely a wardrobe choice , but it’s so much more than just knowing how to tie a tie. Anyone can cram himself into a well-cut suit, but what defines a true gentleman is ownership, not only confidence, but a true command of oneself. Confidence implies victory over insecurity. Ownership implies total acceptance of self.

So says Douglas Nyback who designed an ongoing series of articles in Quip Magazine to examine in turn the various elements that affect a gentleman’s life. Key among them is the manner of his dress. As Nyback puts it,

Wearing a jacket is not getting “dressed up”; it’s getting dressed.  You’ll know I’m dressed up because I’ll be wearing a tuxedo, we’ll be at a ball and if you’re wearing a worn sweater with a jacket two sizes too big, you’ll be kicked out for looking like the guy who got lost on his way to McDonalds.

Gentleman in Smoking Jacket Reading

Just relaxing? There is proper attire to make that an event too.

What I like is the specific point that Nyback makes about how dress is always tailored to what the gentleman is intending to do. The outfit is begat by the situation into which the gentleman propels himself, or as Nyback writes,

Wardrobe is determined by event.  People should get dressed up for the theatre and yes, people do wear tuxedos to formal events because the situation requests, nay, demands it.

Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart in a Tuxedo

Humphrey Bogart wears a tuxedo and gets enough arm candy for each french-cuffed arm.

I think all I might add is, “Amen.”

The Macaroni, The Dandy and Gender Identity

A short explanation before we get started: the term macaroni used in this article is not referring to the Italian pasta, but is related to it. Macaroni, when used in mens fashions, refers to a mid-18th century trend where young men started dressing in the most epicene (androgynous, effeminate) and affected style. They were the metrosexuals of their day. You can find many good examples in fashion plates from that period:

The Macaroni Painter, or Billy Dimple Sitting for his Picture

"The Macaroni Painter, or Billy Dimple Sitting for his Picture"

This trend started with young British aristocrats returning from the Grand Tour (a subject for another time) and the look got its name from the recent excitement around Italian pasta, specifically macaroni. All things uber-contemporary were called macaroni (think Paris Hilton‘s abuse of the word, ‘hot’ and you get the picture.)

The Polite Macaroni presenting a Nosegay to Miss Blossom

"The Polite Macaroni presenting a Nosegay to Miss Blossom" - Delicate Flowers from a Delicate Flower

This trend of dressing more and more garish and adopting various female identified clothing styles increased in popularity among the very rich. And it created a style among wealthy young men that shared the delicate sensibility of women’s fashion of the period.

The Macaroni - The Height of Androgenous Mens Fashion

The Macaroni - The Height of Androgynous Mens Fashion, Tee Hee Hee!

It was the arrival of Mr. Beau Brummel‘s fashion sense that this ridiculous manner of male dress changed. In appreciation I would whole-heartedly support a movement for the canonization of Brummel in the Church of England. Or at least recognition with his own day of prayer (He is most certainly my patron saint of Male Dressing.)

Beau Brummel - Patron Saint of Male Dress

Beau Brummel - Patron Saint of Male Dress

The artifice of the macaroni was an attempt by aristocratic young men (and young men who aspired to be aristocrats) of the time to prove their worldliness in order to affirm their right to the luxury their station provided them. Yet, this only served to demonstrate their disconnection with the wider world; of the coming social and political changes that were about to shatter the aristocratic structure the macaroni so desperately wished to display in their foppish dress.

In counterpoint to this Beau Brummel embraced a masculine look. Gone were the breeches, powdered wigs and all too much lace replaced with trousers, washed flowing hair and silk cravats. The rise of the Dandy was a movement of the middle-class gentleman expressing their masculinity and their disdain for the ridiculous style of upper classes in dress. They hadn’t the money or privilege, but the Dandy had his sense of style with which to shame the silly macaronies.

I make this distinction because all too often a man who dresses well is carelessly refered to as a fop, or as a dandy with the connotation of the fop. This is a terrible misuse of language and blurs the trend I see emerging. The modern Dandy is the masculine answer to the prevalence of the metrosexual look among men.

Men, instead of dressing in a style that teenagers consider ‘cool’  well into your adult years or engaging in the drab and genderless metrosexual look I invite you embrace the Dandy. You’ll thank me for it.

How Not to Dress

Metrosexual? - No. Regressed Man Child? - No.

Steve McQueen Dressing Like a Grown Man

The Cultured Dandy - A Most Hearty Yes! (Thanks again, Mr. McQueen!)