Editor’s Letter: Redefining “the Uniform”


For many years, in magazines like this one, I read a lot about “the uniform.” It seemed like that was the Holy Grail of men’s fashion: finding something that worked for you, and sticking to it wholeheartedly.

There was logic in this way of dressing: we’re all busy, and none of us want to look like we lifted our outfit right off of a mannequin. So find your tribe, stock your closet, and enjoy the ostensibly easy ride.

I succumbed completely. My shelves at home are so streamlined they’re almost parodic. (In fact, my wife does occasionally make fun of me.) I have stacks of the same style of selvedge jeans, each individual pair worked into varying levels of distress. I have a handful of navy crewneck sweaters, drawers full of plain white t-shirts, a closet of the same slouchy white oxford. A swerve, in this rigidly edited context, is opting for a turtleneck — navy, of course.

The problem with the uniform is that I came to rely on these staples — and I stopped enjoying them. Put on another pair of pants and I didn’t feel like myself anymore. And that started to feel incredibly limiting.

But the other week I was out for a walk, and popped into one of my favourite stores in Toronto. I did my usual thing, flipping through the jeans and sweaters, sticking to my habitual palette. Even as I moved toward the rack of suits on the far wall, I beelined for the rows of navy jackets. But then, my hand slipped further down the rack and, almost of its own volition, landed on a forest green suit, subtly shimmering amongst that sea of blue. I pulled it out and tried it on without even checking the size — and it fit perfectly. Like it was meant to be. I stood in front of the mirror, wrapped in something entirely different than my trusted uniform, and I felt, somehow, just as much like me as ever.

Reader, I bought the suit.

In this issue, we’ve dedicated a lot of space to spring fashion. My hope is that you’ll take a minute to expand your wardrobe vocabulary — and maybe, eventually, your actual wardrobe. There are so many talented designers working right now — and so many strong and exciting ideas in fashion — it’s almost a shame not to take advantage. The goal, I think, is to feel as much like yourself as possible. That might mean adding to your uniform. But it can — and maybe even should — be a changing benchmark. After all, our lives are constantly evolving; shouldn’t our tastes and, probably, our clothes follow suit? So try adding something slightly (or wildly, if you’re into that kind of thing) off the mark. I promise, you might just like it.

Peter Saltsman