Ahead of our Tech and Tailoring evening masterclass on 19 June, we asked co-hosts Luke Benedictus (of Men’s Health magazine) and James Want (from leading lifestyle website The Versatile Gent) about the joys and pitfalls associated with cold-weather dressing.
What appeals to you about Canberra men’s style?
Luke Benedictus: Canberra’s variable weather, in comparison to somewhere like Sydney, gives you the scope to play with layers and integrate different accessories. In that way Canberra men have more weapons in their creative arsenal.
James Want: Overcoats are one of the most exciting prospects in men’s style at the moment, and the cool weather gives you the opportunity to combine street wear and tailoring in interesting ways. I love to pair a classic Filson or Barbour wax jacket with a work suit for example.
What’s the biggest fashion faux pas you see perpetrated in winter?
LB: The bomber jacket shorter than the suit jacket is one I see all too often. Your outermost layer determines the first impression you make on people, so you need to nail it. Going sockless and flashing your mankles in winter also strikes me as an affectation - not a fan.
JW: The biggest issue is laziness creeping in and guys leaving the house in leisurewear they wouldn’t usually be seen dead in. You can still be comfortable in a pair of nice jeans and some RM Williams boots.
Any activewear recommendations for those cold-weather workouts?
LB: Merino is my go-to because of its natural thermos-regulating properties. When I was in Switzerland for the Baselworld watch fair back in March it was around freezing when I was going for my morning runs, but with a merino baselayer on I was all set.
Which Aussie brands are you admiring at the moment?
JW: I’m a fan of the deerskin gloves and cashmere scarves from Aarch, and the reasonably priced tailoring from Calder Sartoria. I’m following affordable streetwear brands like Barney Cools with interest too.
What’s the least understood aspect of modern tailoring?
JW: Where to start? You just need to come along to the masterclass. A lot of guys have simply never been taught how a jacket is supposed to drape or the trouser length they should be looking for. They don’t understand how my friend and I can order exactly the same suit but style it differently so that his is formal while mine is casual. That’s partly because there’s been such an explosion in men’s tailoring that there’s a lot of misinformation out there, including around the distinction between bespoke, made-to-measure and made-to-order. There are only really two tailors in Australia who can call themselves bespoke in the Savile Row sense. That doesn’t mean there isn’t great product out there, you just need to know what to look for. It’s a minefield.
Do you think most men know how to dress for their build?
LB: There are always new tricks to uncover; dressing well is a lifelong learning curve. We once sent an AFL player, featherweight boxer and Wallaby prop forward to have suits made for an article and the different choices made by the tailor were really interesting. Muscly guys risk looking like a bouncer in a poorly styled suit but there are so many things you can do to optimise your natural shape. A good suit doesn’t need to have all the bells and whistles, but it should fit you like a glove.
To put your style questions to Luke and James in person, RSVP to our men’s style masterclass taking place at Raku on the evening of Tuesday 19 June.