THE BOULEVARDIER: G20 style, in photos, part 2

If fashion makes a statement about who you are and what you believe, then what to wear to a protest? How does what you wear matter, and how does it set you apart? Do clothes tell people what side you’re on? (And should you coordinate your sign with your shoes?) Over the next few days, Marq Frerichs, The Boulevardier columnist, will be considering the politics of style at the G20.

Above, the tutu makes a surprising comeback—this time as revolution wear.

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THE BOULEVARDIER: It’s Father’s Day. Grab a pen

The Boulevardier presents a gift idea that you will make your Dad go “Awww.” (Mistiness not guaranteed, but predicted.) Click through to see the result.

I find myself thinking a lot about Father’s Day this year. Working the fashion beat has gotten me in touch with my materialistic side and shifted my focus away from the meaning behind certain holidays. That doesn’t sit well with me. I hope you might feel the same way.

I was raised here, in downtown Toronto, by politico-intelligentsia-lefty-hippie types—I went to Rochdale daycare of all places! So all things not politically correct were not acknowledged—to the point that I didn’t eat green grapes until my late teens. Support the workers movement in Chile! Shopping holidays were not supporting the “movement.”

Here’s a depressing little tidbit from Wikipedia: “The Associated Men’s Wear Retailers formed a National Father’s Day Committee in New York City in the 1930s, which was renamed in 1938 the National Council for the Promotion of Father’s Day and incorporated several other trade groups. This council had the goals of legitimizing the holiday in the mind of the people and managing the holiday as a commercial event in a more systematic way, in order to boost the sales during the holiday.” Ugh!

So what to do for my dad and yours?

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THE BOULEVARDIER: Hit me with your best sock

Wear your fandom on your feet! World Cup-inspired socks by Happy Socks. Story by Marq Frerichs.

As a guy, what do I have that’s mine, all mine? As far as my outward appearance goes, that is. Doesn’t matter where I am, who I’m with or what I’m wearing, they’re mine. Can you guess?

Well, actually there are two things, but today, I’m talking socks.

Women have handbags and charm bracelets to have and hoard, to show off their status. Me, I wear a mean pair and my boys all nod and gush in a manly fashion.

A sock of colour or pattern can be worn anytime and with anything. I would particularly recommend experimenting with socks while wearing your Bay Street three-piece. Imagine yourself at the office, managing that affaire de negotiation, all straight-faced, an über mensch of commerce, a titan of widgets, comptroller of cogs in the machine. All the while, robin’s egg blue and pink polka dots are ensconced in your brogues. It’s only when you’re sitting behind your desk that your sartorial rebellion reveals itself—only you and the mini recycling bin can see your true colours peaking out from under the crisp cuff of your pants.

Can you imagine what fun it would be at the G20 if someone asked the gentlemen to raise their pant legs to show off their socks?

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ART SAFARI: From the Gladstone to the Power Ball

Inside Power Ball 12. Photography by Natalie Castellino.

Gia Castiglione and Marq Frerichs recently went on a great art safari, from the Gladstone’s regular “SpeakEasy” event to the Power Ball, the Power Plant’s annual fundraiser. They were looking to discover how two very different events can support and further arts and culture in Toronto. They interviewed each other about the best and worst moments of the night, the tenor and style of the two crowds, and the craziest conversations they overheard.

First up: SpeakEasy, described as “a night out for creative types,” which is held six times a year at the Gladstone Hotel. The night Gia and Marq attended, there was a drawing and painting show featuring 29 artists.

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THE BOULEVARDIER: The trunk truth

Calling all 98 lb. weaklings! A classic ad for the Charles Atlas workout.

I found myself on a beach last Saturday soaking up the Aegean sun. There really is something to be said for an umbrella, a beach chair and the smell of sun block, changing rooms, a fresh Greek salad and an iced frappe, just metres away. And the sound of children laughing at the water’s edge as their fathers hold their water-winged arms.

Which, of course, got me to thinking about swimwear and the difference between European and Canadian attire. Or perhaps the difference between English and non-English-speaking bathers  because there is definitely a marked difference. And I will venture to say that Anglophones are terrified of their own bodies or perhaps they have shoddy self-images. Why else would you wear so much fabric at the beach? Me, I don the Speedo.

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A multi-coloued pile of Bensimons, the chic French sneaker brand. Story by Marq Frerichs.

OK, I’m just going to say it: Don’t wear sneakers after dark! Actually, if you can, throw out the extra four pairs of sneaks, sneakers, chucks, high tops, low tops, b-ball, tennis, bowling, runners, kicks, Jordan’s, Vans, Air this and that, right out the door and into the Sally-Ann. (So that in 15 years the next generation of followers can be oh so retro!)

As they say, there is a time and a place. Mostly there is a time. Now I will confess to owning two pairs of running shoes. One, I keep for going to the gym (like I go to the gym?!) The second are for pure vanity—low-cut suede Guccis that I won’t wear out in the rain or even with the threat of inclement weather.

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THE BOULEVARDIER: Shoes, shoes, shoes

An image from Shoes, Brenda Hoffert’s CONTACT show, on display at Gallery 888 (888 Queen St. E.) until May 30.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, and you can tell a man by his shoes, then you’re in for a treat this month. Run, don’t stroll, meander, saunter, strut, lolli-gag or sashay – put heel to toe to check out Brenda Hoffert’s CONTACT show, Shoes.

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This spring 2010 Philip Sparks look provides sartorial inspiration. Story by Marq Frerichs.

I’ve known the time was coming for a couple of weeks now. I’ve even gone out and bought myself some. Didn’t do it last year, I thought I could get away with it. I was wrong. I mean really, we all have to do it at some point, what with the weather and all.

Yes, you know what I’m talking about: Shorts.

Short pants, Bermudas, knickerbockers, cut-offs, whatever you might call them. They come in all shapes and sizes, drawstring, belted, Velcro, snapped and elastic, high waisted, low-rise, cuffed and frayed. You wore them as a kid and laughed at your granddaddies – they’re as much a part of spring as fireworks on Victoria Day weekend.

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An image from Right to Play – Azerbaijan, 2009 from Glen Baxter’s CONTACT show. Story by Marq Frerichs.

What a pleasure it is to see someone you know in a different light, to discover a new and deeper side. I’ve known Fashion Television‘s Glen Baxter for the better part of fifteen years and always in the context of the media. (And then there’s something about “gingers” and dancers but that’s another story.) So it was with great pleasure that, on the occasion of Glen’s CONTACT show, I grabbed a coffee and talked not shop with him.

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