Casually Tailored feat. Mike Paul

June 17th, 2014

We met Mike Paul while in Toronto for the Articles of Style Gentleman’s Evening.

His style stood out to me right away because he has this knack for wearing sharp tailoring in a laidback, casual, and hip kind of way. Alex and I got to know him during our three days in the Tdot and it turns out, like a lot of us, he fell ass-backwards into this menswear game too.

“Like many of the guys featured on Articles of Style, my life in the fashion world started in a rather unorthodox manner. Six years ago I was working at a mechanic shop in Jacksonville Florida, regularly covered in grease from head to toe. My days were spent at the auto shop, and my nights were spent mostly at Thee Imperial, the local hardcore/metal music venue. I was a music junkie who strongly identified with the punk and heavy metal culture. I attended Art School from the age of nine to about nineteen – I learned to play the piano, trumpet, guitar, and wrote my own music. I even toured the United States with a number of different bands before moving over to the men’s fashion world.

Suddenly my grandmother near Toronto had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which is a very tough form of cancer to battle. I immediately jumped on the first flight to Stouffville, Ontario to be by her side. That decision changed my life drastically. It gave me a chance to step back and focus on what I really wanted. At that point, I was a partially certified mechanic, chronically signing up for and dropping out of college classes, and partying excessively with not much of a plan.

My first job in “fashion” was as a box boy at Harry Rosen in Toronto during the Holiday season. It was during my time unpacking boxes and boxes of high-end designer merchandise that I started to really notice the details and intricacies of luxury goods. I gradually immersed myself in the details and started to enjoy comparing garments from one luxury brand to another; design, fabric, construction, price point…I found everything about the garment trade fascinating… One day, while on the job, one of the store’s computers crashed. I volunteered to help troubleshoot it and, with my limited IT knowledge, I managed to solve the problem. One of the higher-ups remarked that they didn’t realize I was tech savvy and offered me a more administrative role, which I happily accepted. I went from Box Boy to Customer Service and then from Customer Service to the Made-to-Measure department, where I developed more of an eye for measuring, fitting, and the nuances of tailoring.

Today I work as an image consultant and bespoke suit designer for Garrison Bespoke with fellow Articles of Style stars Michael Nguyen and J.S. Vann. I have some incredible clients… Despite the outcome of the Toronto Maple Leafs last season I joke with left winger James vanReimsdyk about our pre-game routine, which consisted of me going over to his place and setting up what he would wear for the on camera walk-in to every home game. I like to think I played a pretty significant in his performance. It’s a far cry from my days as a shop mechanic or skinny-jean-wearing punk rocker, but I’ll never forget those memories.”

Here Mr. Paul shows us three of his “Casually Tailored” looks in downtown Toronto.

    1. DB x Canadian Tux


    Here’s the advantage of a textured suit fabric. A cloth with a little depth, like the light nap of this burgundy flannel, makes it much easier to wear the suit jacket as a blazer. Even if it’s double breasted. Even with a Canadian tuxedo.

    “I think true style is someone who understands which rules to follow (like fit and tailoring) and which to disregard (like denim on denim or the ‘air tie’).”


    The “air tie” is a trend that is growing on me. I think it looks really great here, staying casual but showcasing that awesome denim cutaway collar.

    What do you think of the “air tie”?


    • Denim Shirt by Garrison Bespoke
    • Burgundy Double Breasted blazer by Garrison Bespoke
    • Light Wash Jeans by Nudie Jeans
    • Oxblood Single-Monks by Carmina

    2. T-Shirt & Jeans Tailored


    “Growing up in Jacksonville, I’ve always had an understanding of personal style, but I had this fixation on just being like everyone else; being as discreet as possible so I could just float under the radar.

    When I moved to Toronto and got introduced to the bespoke world, I started to understand the true value of custom clothing. There is such a power in having full autonomy and control over the way you present yourself.

    The jeans are by Faded Lifestyle, which is John Shimoni’s company. He’s been like a mentor to me. He was the one who gave me the push I needed to enter the Toronto fashion scene and I’ve been wearing his stuff ever since. Actually, the bracelet is also designed and handmade by John himself… I never take it off.”

    39 copy copy 2

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    • Grey Blazer by Garrison
    • Black T-shirt by Strata clothing
    • Black Jeans by Faded Lifestyle
    • Black Suede Wingtips by Ferragamo
    • Black Cuff by Faded Lifestyle

    3. Sartorially Street


    Here’s an example of how a sharply tailored blazer in a textured fabric, like this sick donegal tweed, can completely transform an outfit. A fitted hat, black tee, and camo pants never looked so sartorial and grown up.

    In a climate like Toronto, you can use your winter suit jackets (like flannels and tweeds) as lightweight spring outerwear. Therefore, they can actually be worn for three seasons out of the year. Hopefully that justifies your next heavyweight tailored purchase.

    “The hat I’m wearing is my hometown football team, the Jacksonville Jaguars. I wear it often and I wear it proudly, but the truth is that they’re the worst team in the league. People are always stopping me on the street, asking me why I’m wearing it.

    The canvas briefcase by Filson was my first memento from Garrison Bespoke. I’d just started working there a couple of days before my birthday. I decided the bag would be the first item I’d buy with my first paycheck. Somehow Mike found out and he insisted that the bag be a birthday gift. I humbly accepted and have used it almost every day since.”


    Any advice for our readers who are looking to upgrade their style?

    “Start slow, and think about your natural comfort zone. Straying just far enough from that comfort zone, where you feel that you could safely go back, will allow you to feel more and more comfortable as you experiment with new looks and styles. The worst sin a man can make when it comes to style is going too fast and feeling insecure about his own look.”

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    • Jacksonville Jaguar Hat by New Era
    • Blue Tweed Blazer by Garrison
    • Black T-Shirt by Nomad x Been Trill
    • Camo Pants by Club Monaco
    • Grey Boots by Seabago
    • Khaki Canvas Bag by Filson

    Thanks for reading and special thanks to Mike for participating.

    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style

    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • Joe Shmoe

      Clearly garrison bespoke. nice.

    • LouCaves

      Looking good Mr. Paul. As the “stunt double” for Chicago I like that great things come out of Toronto. Keep reppin’.

      All the looks seem confortable and as if no thought went into them (not a diss).

      Thanks, TSB.

    • Not_Friendly

      Really like this post. Very laid back, and still casual in its own sense.

    • Jeff McAllister

      +1 for that Garrison tweed in Look Three! And I absolutely agree with what Dan has to say about heavier suit jackets serving as the perfect Canadian late-spring layer. I have an APC tweed blazer that’s doing the rounds here on Vancouver Island.

      Also: A big up to Mike Paul for navigating such a diverse career path so far! Judging from some of the best dressed dudes on here, life experience seems to be the common thread when it comes to developing a strong personal style.

      • MikePaul

        Thanks for the kind words. You absolutely nailed it though, the only way to be original is just being yourself. Took me a little while to realize that but no one can do what you do. Therefore to have original style is as simple as that. Do you and the rest will follow suit. No pun

    • Daniel

      Very cool. I served this kind gent a drink at East Thirty Six (I’m no longer there). Come by SpiritHouse on King/Portland, first round is on me. Same goes for you Dan!

      • MikePaul

        Might have to take a trip out for one. Or seven.

    • Valor

      Unreal kicks in look 3. Hell, all 3 outfits are fire, which is a rare event.

    • Eugene

      Great outfits, recently have delved more into casual/streetwear personally, but now I want to incorporate more blazers into my rotation.

      Also love how you include the personal stories of your features, makes the post much more unique and pleasing to read.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Personal style is all about personal stories! Thanks Eugene.

    • JM

      Part 3 there, not their.

    • Brady

      I am in support of the air tie, when done right of course. I tend to avoid it on polos though, or you end up looking like Bubba Watson. All 3 of the jackets in this post are great, with #3 being incredible! Well done Mike

    • AK

      Minus the hat, I lovelovelove look #3. Definite props to Mike.

      • MikePaul

        Hahaha I know the Jags are the ugly step child of the NFL but they’re my hometown team and I have to wear them proud especially living in a different country now. You are always going to have that one memento that you carry throughout your life. Mine is the love for Jaguars, went to the first game ever back in ’95. And I actually found this hat vintage shopping here in Canada so I thought it would have a cool story in regards to a piece I added to my wardrobe. Vintage shopping isn’t always about the year something was made more about the journey it takes to find it.

    • Ryan

      Huge fan of all 3 blazers but especially the DB. This post + the others is making me wish I worked for Garrison so I could actually afford one of these incredible pieces!

    • TO

      Great job MP! I love how you created such dynamic looks in #1 and #2 using only two colours! Unique and awesome style my new friend!

      • MikePaul

        Thanks so much for the kind words! Follow @mikepaulstyle to keep up to date on the journey

        • TO

          Not sure if that’s twitter or Instagram or what, I barely use those platforms. But MikeP it’s me Tim from the TSBxGarrison after party! Great job on the post again player.

          • MikePaul

            All good man its actually across all platforms. But of course I remember you from the event! Great seeing you!

    • Todd Ruhnau

      This is a great blend of casual clothes, classic tailored pieces, and street wear that all comes together seamlessly. Some people just make it look too damn easy. Look 3 is my favorite though! Go Jaguars.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Agreed. So many genres mixed, making it look easy. And that donegal in look three is fuego

    • samuel

      i have no problem with the air but if youre going to do it id say make sure the shirt/collar youre highlighting is nicely pressed.

    • Karmike

      You can’t go wrong with a casual and tailored look. Plus, I’m always a fan of a simple scarf and blazer combo. Great feature!

    • Sabir M. Peele

      The blue tweed jacket is spectacular. Solid post.



    • AdamE

      All 3 looks are on point, not huge on the air tie, but it doesn’t put me off of any of the looks (although I can’t say that I ever go for that look). This is honestly the first time I’ve actually seen someone “pull-off” the Canadian Tuxedo! Especially love the Donegal blazer

    • Miguel

      Really enjoy this post, it’s like he’s not trying, well tailored and laid back at the same time, congrats Mike.

    • Bart Hutchins

      Jacksonville native here. Is that you Black Mike?!

      • MikePaul

        You know it homie! Duval til we die. #duuuuuuuval

      • Todd Ruhnau

        Jacksonville native as well and it’s rare that you see people sporting Jaguars gear haha. They were once a good team.

    • Derric

      I’m a big fan of look 2. I’m not a fan of the air tie. It makes me think of an outfit a mother would put on a five-year-old for church.

      • Dan Trepanier

        A mom who’s really fly! :)

    • Bari65

      love the outfits! but I think the air tie trend is a bit too hipsterry (is that the correct word?) for me

      • Dan Trepanier

        That works. The word “hipster”, and all of its connotations, fascinates me. What does it mean to you?

        • Brady

          I totally agree. It seems to be a constantly evolving term, used to encompass all things out of ones comfort zone.

          • Gavin

            I always interpret the word as “something the cool kids are doing”, leaning more towards the suburban bohemian feel.

      • Nate

        The “air tie” has been around for ages in the UK. It’s also associated with hipster culture here too.
        I still like it though. Definitely works better with more casual shirts (denims and OCBD). Otherwise you just look like you walked out of the office and took your tie off.
        To give my two pennies on the wide question of what “hipster” means, it’s obviously a broad term and means different things to different people. If it’s someone who is interested in vintage stuff and non-mainstream art and culture, then we can probably all agree that it’s a good thing. It’s the handlebar-mistachioed, fixie-riding, white-sock-wearing cliches that are risible.
        I think it’s the commonly-perceived holier-than-thou, arbiter-of-cool attitude and looking down the nose at more mainstream “conformist” people that can irk some. Because let’s face it, most of us are conforming to something in some way or another, even if it’s just a sub-culture.

    • Shawn

      Love all 3 looks’ jackets! Especially the burgundy and Donegal ones! And, what’s not to like about those Carmina monks in look #1! Great find TSB! Somehow, every time I see photoshoots like this, I wish us white guys could grow proper dreadlocks (hope it’s not seen as a racist comment, it truly isn’t)!

    • Chris

      Great post. Very impressed.

    • John B

      I really like look #2, it’s casual and effortless, but definitely not sloppy!
      I don’t like the air tie though. In my opinion an unbuttoned shirt would look much better!

    • Christopher

      Great post where effortless style is cemented by Mike Paul! Really enjoyed this – a guy who dresses up not for the sake of dressing up!

      Well done, sir.

      • Gazman

        Pleased define ‘effortless style’.

        • Christopher

          Two words: Mike Paul.

    • Adrienl

      Love the second look, great textures. And the first look is very solid as well.

      Unfortunately here in the land down under (Australia) the air tie died a few years back due the trend spreading like wildfire through our hipster culture. And as its still hanging around its hard to really take it seriously again yet.

    • Oisik

      Such panache!

      • Dan Trepanier

        Dripping #panache