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by Adam Olsen, photography by www.nuttycake.com
This time of year everything is coming alive. With so much to do around the house and yard, the sun out and the golf clubs or hiking trails to sidetrack you at a moment’s notice, a versatile wardrobe will help you slip away with ease. But you can’t count on the weather around here, so you need clothes that are adaptable to sun, rain or wind and that are durable and can stand the test of time on our rugged West Coast.
I have heard it said that the shoes make the man. It’s about quality, not quantity. A picture is worth 1,000 words; respectable footwear is worth at least 2,500. Your shoes connect you to the earth, so comfort is critical (especially if you’re going to do some bushwhacking) but never underestimate how they look. Wear ugly shoes and you will be judged harshly. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! My pick: Merrell Pro Terra Sport (Walk in Comfort, $130)
Normally I wear socks with some personality; I like them to clash heavily with my ties. That said, good socks are critical when you are off the beaten path. Warmth and comfort are the first choice here, so no colour, no splash: it’s about function over fashion. My pick: Dri Wear Anklet, (Mark’s Work Wearhouse, $14.99)
Whether in the bush or on the boulevard, a high-quality shell will protect you whatever the conditions. In our mild climate and unpredictable weather, a light waterproof jacket is essential. Unlike other parts of the country, you can get away with a three-season jacket if you can manage the layers underneath. My pick: Stormtech H2Extreme Waterproof Shell (Hypersport Activewear, $179)
If you need something to hold yourself together like I do, you need a good belt. Simple and sophisticated, a quality belt is essential for every wardrobe. Casual or refined … a superior belt says more about you than you can ever imagine. My pick: Vernizzi Italian Leather Belt (d.g.bremner & co., $215)
I used to have hair, so I didn’t need North Saanich sheep to keep my head warm. In a fit of shameless self-promotion, I can’t help myself. A toque is a lot like a sock for your head. Balance fashion and function, while sending a message, in a true West Coast way, that you are Canadian. My pick: Chevron Toque (Salish Fusion, $50)
Find some equilibrium with a short-sleeved button-up shirt that says you’re just about to get to work cutting the lawn but also fits nicely into the dress code of Ardmore or Cordova Bay, just in case you decide it’s better to distract yourself with a round of golf. Really, you can cut the grass anytime. My pick: Dickies Sussex Drive (Capital Iron, $27.99)
Go for high quality every time. Sure you can buy 15 pairs for the same price as one high quality pair … but worn for work or play, jeans can be dressed up or dressed down. They are a staple of every closet, so why not invest? Besides, every confident stroll down Beacon Avenue requires a Bremner. My pick: 34 Heritage Jeans Charisma (d.g.bremner & co., $195)
A lot can be said about superior underwear. A lot more can be said about inferior underwear … and most of it can’t be published in a family-friendly magazine. Once you have worn excellent gonch you will never, ever, ever reach for that multi-pack of bargain basement undergarments again. The unsung hero of everyday comfort, if you are going to invest in anything, invest in your undergarments; you’ll never regret it. My pick: Saxx Underwear Co Vibe Modern Fit (Cottons and Blues, $32.99)