Dandy & Dapper
Question from my colleague (a very macho New Zealand dude): 'I feel I may be lacking style and panache. I see capes are back for women this season. Is it a possibility for men or am I stuck with a trenchcoat?'
Mr Dandy: I love these, 'I have a friend ...' questions. Be fashionable and be proud: you want a cape for autumn-winter! Initial (Queensway Plaza, Admiralty, tel: 2442 1373) has cloaks in lightweight grey wool or black cotton for HK$2,990. Japanese designers seem to be into this look this season, too. Yoshio Kubo has done a bunch of comfy knit ponchos (HK$9,900; Joyce, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2523 5944). Reinventing the classics, Mihara Yasuhiro has styled his cape after an old-school duffle coat, buttons and all (HK$11,500; Joyce), while South Korea's Juun.J made his to look like a beige macintosh (HK$17,000; Joyce). Christopher Bailey has made Burberry's old trenchcoat look new with a 'transparent weather shield', basically a clear plastic cape with black tape along the seams (HK$13,000; Pacific Place, tel: 2918 9802). For boys who are into high fashion, there's Alexander Wang's amazing cloak, which starts as a grey knit hoodie at the top then graduates down into black leather (HK$36,900; Joyce).
Mr Dapper: There is a difference between capes, cloaks and ponchos, you know. One does have to wonder what a 'macho' Antipodean man would want with a cape, especially in Hong Kong's climate. The closest I'll get to this supposed trend is a practical, excellently constructed invention by his Australian neighbours: the Driza-Bone oilskin coat or jacket. They are made with a signature cape over the shoulders to block the rain and can be ordered from the brand's website (HK$1,700 to HK$2,000; www.drizabone.com.au or see www.everythingaustralian.com.au for discounted items).
I'm going to a 'white tie' ball soon. What's the correct way to dress for this? My budget (wife) and time frame says I'm not going to have anything made. I have my dad's old tuxedo. Should I just buy a white tie to go with it?
Mr Dapper: No, you heathen, white tie is entirely different. It's the most formal mode of dress for men. According to etiquette maven, Emily Post (www.emilypost.com), White Tie denotes: a black tailcoat, matching trousers with one or two satin stripes down each leg, white pique, wing collar shirt, white waistcoat, white bow tie, white studs and cufflinks, and black patent shoes with black dress socks. Like the less formal black tie (or a tuxedo), white tie should be worn only after 6pm. I shudder to think what your father's tuxedo looks like on you, but recommend you bring it to your tailor.
Mr Dandy: Ignore him, reader. In a world where few men still follow the rules of traditional tuxedos, how can a guy be expected to know what White Tie is? Most actors don't even bother with a bow tie for the Oscars any more, and you usually see them wearing normal ties in black with slim-fitting tuxes. It's called freedom, Dapper. And I'm all for it. At tux rental place Tuxe Top (1/F, Wing Cheong Building, 18 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, tel: 2529 2179), a one-day rental of black tailcoat and trousers will set you back HK$750, with an additional HK$200 to rent a white waistcoat. You'll also need to pay a deposit of HK$4,500, which will be refunded upon return, plus HK$150 per extra day. You'll have to buy all the other things that go with it. Tuxedo by E-Rave (Sino Plaza, 255 Gloucester Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2577 1141) offers four-day rentals starting from HK$1,880. Then again, you could make a tongue-in-cheek statement and just wear a white tie with, well, anything from your dad's old tuxedo, or jeans and a T-shirt.