Ask Dan: scents, collars, wallet bulges, etc.

December 6th, 2013

Ask Dan Sketch 4med

Subtle Scent

Been following you since the blogspot days – super excited about this new expansion you’re working on. I’ve read hundreds of your posts on style, menswear, tailoring, grooming, etc. But what about scent? What cologne do you wear, and do you mix-it-up or stick with one?

I go through phases with scents. I usually stick with one brand until the bottle runs empty, then move to a fresh one. That way I can “own” the scent and people will think of me when they smell it. After all, the olfactory sense is most closely linked with memory. Recently I was gifted a homemade scent from a friend who creates his own concoctions and have been burning through the bottle, one squirt at a time. One squirt only. On the neck. After toweling off from the shower. I only want people to smell it when they’re in my intimate space, not when I’m walking past them on the street. As usual in matters of style, subtlety goes a long way.

We’ll be including some of our favorite colognes in the Holiday Gift Guides we’re dropping soon.

Hope this helps player.


Young & Bespoke

When it comes to suiting, have you regretted buying a bulk bespoke wardrobe at a young age? Given that you may outgrow or develop tastes much different?

Hmm…I try not to live with regrets – especially anticipatory future regrets. I turned 27 in September, which I still consider to be young. The great thing about well-tailored suits is that they are made with plenty of seam allowance. I could gain 20 lbs, get all saggy and probably still have my tailor adjust them properly. That said, having expensive slim cut suits is one of the best motivators to stay in shape… Hit me in 15 years and I’ll give you a better answer.


Day-to-Night Collar Style

I’m thinking of ordering some custom dress shirts and undecided on collar style. I’m thinking spread or cutaway. What would you advise as the most versatile for business as well as transitioning to an evening out where I would lose the tie? 

Every collar at every tailor is different. A collar is a very fickle thing, and subtle changes in the pattern/construction can dramatically affect it’s aesthetic and performance. If you’re deciding between two shapes at a custom shop, my advice would be to try one of each before investing in a bulk order. And perhaps compare different tailors as well – there are a thousand places to get “custom” shirts these days (we have a great review on some of our favorites coming soon). Typically a spread stands better without a tie, and sometimes a cutaway can look funny if it sits too high or low on the neck. The best answer here is to try a few, find one you love, and stock up. Collars are the main reason men become exclusive to their favorite shirt provider. Good luck mate.


High-end Sneakers: worth the price?

I understand the value of buying quality dress shoes. But what’s the deal with the $400+ sneakers? Are Lanvin and Common Proects worth the price of benchmade footwear?

Lanvin and Common Projects are certainly higher quality than something like Chuck Taylors. They’re handmade with full leather linings, making them sturdier and more elegant looking. It really depends what you’re going for. Sometimes I like a beat-up Chuck, but sometimes I want something sharp and sophisticated, but still casual. I’m also a recovering sneakerhead, so I appreciate the idea of ‘stuntin’ in a pair that nobody else has – or felt like spending a car payment on.


Wallet Bulge

My pants have been getting slimmer and slimmer and therefore my wallet bulge it getting bigger and more noticeable. Where do you hide yours? 

Firsty, you should be slimming down your wallet along with your pants. I only carry a Frank Clegg card case with one ID, 2 credit cards and a few dollar-dollar-bills-ya’ll. Even then tho, in slim pants it can show. I keep mine in my front pocket (something I learned to avoid pickpockets when I moved from the farm to NYC) where I had my tailor sew a card-case-sized coin pocket (a secret pocket in your pocket) to keep it suspended by the pocket bag, rather than falling to the bottom and leaving a lump. Alternatively, whenever I’m wearing a jacket I keep it in the inside breast pocket, opposite my iPhone. Tailored jackets are great because of all the pocket room – I try to leave my trousers as empty and streamlined as possible. Hope this helps!


Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier & Articles of Style

  • Shotcaller

    I’ll say that I personally regret starting my fashion journey in bespoke. I have two $2k suits that just sit in my closet, and a cashmere coat with buttonhole thread I wish I could change. That’s probably $6k in my closet that’s almost a waste. The cost of tuition, I guess.

  • Brandon

    You know…I have an interesting wallet question. I live in Japan…dunno if you’ve ever been but the smallest paper bill is 1000 yen (~$10) everything under that is coins. So basically at any given time you could be carrying around about $20 in coins from 100 yen or 500 yen coins ($1 and $5). Plus Japan is a cash based society where getting by on a card WILL NOT WORK.

    Any wallet suggestions for those of us that absolutely have to carry a full on wallet. (or alternatively a small coin purse and a smaller wallet)

    • Jimi Brady

      I used to work at a popular international hotel, and I noticed that a lot of male Japanese guests used a type of purse that they slung around their chest. They came in all kinds of styles, and with a casual outfit I thought they looked pretty fashion-forward. I think you’ve just explained for me the necessity of such a purse – they probably use them to hold all of those coins while they’re in Japan.

      That said, you can probably try investing in a sleek leather/vintage backpack. Dan has featured a whole bunch of them over the years, and they work with just about any outfit, from casual to business. You could also consider having large coin pockets sewn into the inside of your coats and bulkier jackets/outerwear.

  • Marshall M.

    I f-cks with the Pound Cake reference

  • Tim

    To follow up on my question listed under “Young & Bespoke”, I was more referencing your decision to undertake a fashion forward wardrobe. Since you’ve started building a suiting wardrobe, have you found yourself retiring bespoke items based on trend based decisions that you wouldn’t have endorsed looking back?

  • Ahmad

    Dan, there’s no such thing as a recovering sneakerhead. We just wear more refined sneakers.

    • Westley Dimagiba


  • LouCaves

    I like this new feature, Dan.

    Thanks, TSB.

  • cam

    appreciate the response on my collar question…you guys are always the best!

  • massimo

    you don’t look 27 bro.

  • MS

    re: Lanvin and Common Projects sneakers. C’mon, man. It’s also, in addition to “quality”, also a triple-digit-percent markup, too. Let’s call a spade a spade: people spend $400 on sneakers because they CAN, not because the sneakers are worth $400.

    • Rich

      what is something “worth”? what the market will pay for it. basic economic principle, supply & demand. if someone can pay $400 for a pair of sneakers, then they are worth $400 to that person.

      a luxury brand item will fetch a higher retail price compared to a comparable item from a non-luxury brand because of: the brand’s exclusivity, high quality materials and craftsmanship, great designers, multi-national marketing campaigns, retail store overheads etc etc etc.

    • George

      You can’t buy a premium brand without a premium price tag. You may not get $400 worth of shoes, but you are getting high quality shoes either way. It’s probably $200 worth of material and craftsmanship + 2x premium multiple.

    • John B

      While paying for the brand name isn’t exactly right, the difference in quality is definitely there. I have bought expensive sneakers in the past and they feel much more comfortable than Chucks/Jack Purcells etc.
      Then again, I wish there was a way to replace the soles and/or recraft the shoes, like in quality dress shoes. That could really help justify the somewhat inflated price.