Dandy & Dapper
I need a smoking jacket but can't decide on the style. I'm also torn on the colour.
Mr Dandy: Oh, yes. I like your thinking. So does Hugh Hefner. I say yes to colour here - just know what suits your skin tone best. I'm in love with the Dolce & Gabbana burgundy velvet version with classic cord details but also a bit of modern deconstruction (HK$19,000; Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2525 5815). At Brioni, you can buy it in purple (HK$33,995; The Landmark, Central, tel: 2530 1733). Paul Smith's take is in purple or navy, and there's an unstructured, unlined version (HK$6,800 to HK$13,200; The Landmark, tel: 2523 5868). Roberto Cavalli's gone all out with a croc-effect fabric in violet (HK$32,300; Pacific Place, tel: 2116 1700). Or make black interesting, with Gucci's trellis-patterned jacket (HK$37,000; Pacific Place, tel: 2524 0412). Don't forget off-the-beaten-track Hackett, where there's a tailored navy version with black lapels (HK$5,600; 8 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, tel: 3101 0008).
Mr Dapper: Wrong. Dandy has listed a series of velvet blazers and jackets for tuxedos (known, confusingly, as le smoking), which are different. The traditional smoking jacket was created for gentlemen who had adopted the habit of smoking as global trade made it the fashion. More akin to a housecoat back then, it was worn over one's clothes to protect them from ash and such. Although it evolved around the time of the Crimean war into shorter, more tux-like proportions, it is still very much reserved for entertaining at home. First, I would make a Google images search for style references. Websites such as www.favourbrook.com are helpful. Then, I would rely on my tailor to sew one up to my specifications.
My dad used to use this stuff called "Vitalis" hair tonic and I remember his hair always looked good. What is that and would you recommend it?
Mr Dapper: Now, that is a product I have not heard mentioned in decades. Vitalis was introduced by Bristol-Myers Squibb in the late 1930s as a way to control unruly hair. Its ingredients include alcohol, water, butyl ether, benzyl benzoate, colourings and a scent sometimes likened to Pine Sol. I was amazed to discover that it is still widely available in local Hong Kong pharmacies, such as Victoria Dispensary (20 Stanley Street, Central, tel: 2522 8518) and Kam Lun Dispensary (21 Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2881 1706). The average price point is HK$65. I tend to wash my hair and leave it at that, so I will hand over to Dapper for styling advice.
Mr Dandy: Woah. Vitalis is awesome for its retro, Mad Men effect, but in real life you'll just end up looking greasy. In the modern day, dude, LAB Series does the Root Power Restorative Hair Tonic, but that's anti-balding (HK$460; Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 7777). Hair care for guys has come a long way since those days, so look for keywords such as "shine", "anti-frizz", "serum" and "emulsion". To add a little healthy gloss, there's super-stylist Frederic Fekkai's Fekkai Advanced Brilliant Glossing Sheer Shine Mist (HK$280; Lane Crawford).
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