Q & A with Holt Renfrew Buyer

We’ve been asking menswear retailers from around town to tell us what they’re looking at this season. These guys are the true insiders: they see all the shows and know all the manufacturers. This month, we talked to Chris Gamauf, buyer of designer menswear for Holt Renfrew Canada.

XY Canada: What are three items a guy must have this winter?

Gamauf: The pea coat is the must-have piece of the season. Most designers showed at least one in keeping with the military theme that seemed to prevail in most of the collections.

And every guy should have at least one winter suit. Our suggestion for fall is a grey flannel, two- button with a flat-front pant. Ralph Lauren has a perfect one in his Black Label Collection. The fabric has a soft milled finish but it isn’t too heavy to wear indoors and we love the cut. It’s narrower in the shoulder, suppressed a bit in the waist and slightly shorter in length. It’s sort of a sixties, Rat Pack kind of look.
Must-have number three is a new pair of jeans. Pick up something in a dark wash with a straight leg and no rips or tears. They’ll look great with your new pea coat and your new flannel suit jacket.

XY Canada: What are your own personal favourite style elements this fall?

Gamauf: I swore off neckwear for a while but I’ve started wearing ties again because I really like the new narrower widths. They’ve got kind of sixties Ivy League look and make a lot of sense with the new slimmer suits. I usually keep the knot a little looser just to keep the air and blood supply to my head. Prada has always made great narrower ties but this season my favourites are from Ralph Lauren. They seem to make the perfect knot on first try every time, plus the patterns are great.

XY Canada: What do you recommend for wear to a December cocktail party?

Gamauf: If you are going to a really formal affair and want to channel your inner Bond then a tuxedo is the way to go. We have some beautifully cut offerings from Dolce, Prada and Armani that definitely won’t look like the rental you wore to your sister’s wedding in ’98.

If the event is less formal , you will seldom go wrong with a nicely cut black suit. It’s sort of the male equivalent of the little black dress. Wear it with a crisp white shirt either open at the neck or with narrow black tie and you will be fending off advances from attractive women all evening.

For an even less formal approach, go for a black velvet or corduroy blazer. It looks amazing with a pair of dark jeans, French-cuff white shirt and black shoes. Paul Smith makes a great one-button velvet jacket, as does Etro.

XY Canada: How many buttons should a stylish suit jacket have?

Gamauf: Less is more when it comes to suit buttons these days. The two-button notch lapel is the suit of the moment, but before dragging out your dad’s old suits from the closet take a close look at the button stance. The button position has moved up, creating a shallower

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