For a demographic that wears a lot of suits, hockey players rarely appear in actual formalwear—even if a red carpet is rolled out for an event, a lot of players will stick to the same suits they wear on game days. This January, though, thanks to the NHL All-Star Game and the MLSE Foundation gala, Frederik Andersen and Auston Matthews gave us a look at some outfits that were, if not full black-tie formalwear, more formal than usual.
Freddie, for instance, showed up at the Blue and White Gala in an actual dinner jacket.
This outfit isn’t perfect, but damn, it’s interesting, and beyond all else I value interesting. That shade of cobalt blue is not only very appropriate for a MLSE event (Leafs blue!) but it’s maybe the most flattering color Andersen could have chosen—it keeps all that black from washing him out and the contrast lights up his hair. Adding the texture and shine to the blue fabric of the jacket and wearing it with a black dress shirt downgrades the formality a bit, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because all of Andersen’s teammates showed up in ordinary suits and he already is the outlier among a sea of black, navy blue, and plaid.
My chief complaint, unfortunately, is that there is too much texture and sheen in this outfit, words that I honestly never thought I’d say out loud. The traditional dinner jacket is dark wool with satin lapels, usually worn with a white shirt and bow tie. Changing the body of the jacket from dark wool to bright textured satin means that other aspects of the look also have to change—namely, Andersen’s tie of differently textured satin creates, as Tim Gunn would say, A Lot Of Look. It competes, and that dinner jacket doesn’t need competition. At the very least, the tie should be plain to match the jacket lapels, although I actually think a simple white shirt and black bow tie would work better here. It’s the rare outfit where a bow tie would be a more understated choice, and let’s face it—he’s already looking more dressed up than everyone else on his team. He might as well lean into that.
Also, I’m very disappointed that no one got this man a pocket square. For shame.
This suit, on the other hand? It’s not formalwear, but I just have to talk about it at length, because this suit is a work of art.
I want to send the people at Garrison Bespoke a fruit basket. Whoever suggested that shade of plum to Andersen is an actual, honest-to-God genius. I’ve mentioned before that Freddie wears a lot of blue, which is the standard, easy color choice for a redhead, but wearing the same color all the time must be boring. This is anything but boring. This shade hits the colorful-suit sweet spot I mentioned with Kapanen a few months ago—different, but still muted and flattering enough to wear head-to-toe. There’s just enough red to it that it doesn’t wash him out, but not so much it clashes with his hair. A white shirt and a tie in the same color of plum—patterned to keep it from looking too matchy-matchy—finishes off what might be my favorite Leafs suit so far this year. It’s beautiful and unique, but still perfectly fits with the classic style Andersen seems to prefer.
This video, which I’m not sure wasn’t taken on the set of a Vogue photo shoot (the snow! the brick sidewalk! Dear God), shows Andersen wearing the waistcoat from the plum suit with a gray plaid suit and a matching, plum coat. It is also perfect. That shade of gray is a great neutral to mix with the plum, picking up the coolness while not looking harsh the way black would, and swapping in the plain plum waistcoat is a great way to counteract the somewhat-dizzying visual effect that a plaid three-piece can have—it breaks up the lines. I think he’s wearing oxblood shoes, too, although that may be wishful thinking on my end.
Speaking of Garrison Bespoke, and their forthcoming Edible Arrangements delivery from yours truly (question for the people at Garrison—do you guys like the ones with the marshmallows? I like the marshmallows, myself), Auston Matthews showed up at the NHL All-Star Game red carpet dressed like gender-swapped Caroline Bingley, which I would like to make very clear is a compliment. There’s such a high level of attention to detail in this outfit composition, from the mother-of-pearl waistcoat buttons that pick up the flecks in the tie that themselves match the gray silk pocket square, and the color combination of that lovely deep blue with dove gray as an accent is stellar.
I also love the way this outfit plays with texture. The short-pile velvet of the suit, the wool waistcoat, the patterned silk tie—each piece hits the perfect series of notes. It’s luxe, but still masculine; flashy, but not tacky; vintage, but not dated. Matthews looks like he lives somewhere with a wine cellar and a butler, and his tie knot is so sloppy because his valet usually does it for him. He looks like he has made his fortune in trade and is seeking to marry into the landed gentry. He looks like he enjoys fox-hunting on the weekends. He looks, in a word, amazing.
I think Mitch Marner has a much better sense of style than he gets credit for, but this one is a miss, to put it delicately. There’s nothing wrong with the tie, suit, or shoes individually, but none of those three pieces go together, especially not the suit and shoes. I love those shoes, they’re absolutely bonkers and I will defend Marner’s right to take fashion inspiration from Louis XIV until I’m blue in the face, but the Sun King would not mix leopard-embroidered burgundy velvet with gray plaid, and neither should Mitch.
I would also like to give Zach Hyman a different tie. It needs either more or less contrast with his suit.
More plum, this time on Kasperi Kapanen, who’s really upped his game this year. It’s a bit hard to tell with the lighting, but I suspect his shirt is pale lavender, which is a wonderful choice. I love pastel dress shirts when they’re deployed carefully, and this is a great example.
In the background, William Nylander looks like he wants to sell me a mortgage, but in a very sexy way. We’ve talked about that green suit before; I continue to love it.
“Hot teacher’s assistant” seems to be the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Look Of The Moment, as worn here by Willie. If that beanie fit him properly, I would have no criticisms about this look. The artfully draped scarf is an especially nice touch, and I’m really fond of those glasses frames on him—with his coloring, they’re nice and understated in a way black frames wouldn’t be.
Tavares and Matthews weren’t the only Leafs representatives at the NHL All-Star Game. Carlton showed up as well, looking extremely dapper in his own suit jacket. The lack of pants is somehow more off-putting when he’s only wearing half of a suit instead of a jersey, but he’s a polar bear. One must make allowances.
This is a lovely coat on Matthews, but most importantly, it looks warm (alpaca is exactly what you want to buy if you are both rich and cold). I’m very glad that our favorite Arizonan, who thought fingerless gloves were appropriate in Toronto winter his rookie year, is investing in quality outerwear.
auston what is this outfit choice pic.twitter.com/ct2EWrtiVt— Mel (@swedechildomine) January 31, 2019
He has also started wearing socks with sandals, which I think is proof that he loves Canada and feels deeply at home there. Pairing white tube socks and rubber sandals with mesh drawstring shorts and a shirt that says “Wild Ones” is like the fashion version of a one-line joke (is there anything less wild than socks with sandals? Cargo shorts are wilder than that), and I’m just so glad it seems like he’s enjoying his bye week.
[Note: it is very important to make sure you expand this picture to see the outfit in its full glory]
At this point, it basically seems to be a rule that I must include Natalie Spooner in every fashion recap. This month, what with CWHL All-Star Game promo, we had several great Spooner outfits to choose from—this red and black blouse she wore on Hockey Central was a particularly strong contender—but since the month’s theme is formalwear, I went with the red carpet dress. The lace bodice and ruffle around the hem softens the severity of a black sheath dress into something both less traditional and more feminine; it’s still fancy, but in a girly, fun way. I like the choice of a simple high ponytail and gold hoops—with all that lace, going simple with the jewelry is more effective, and an updo lets that lace detailing take center stage instead of being hidden under her hair.
Renata Fast’s red carpet outfit is much more casual than Spooner’s, presumably because she knew she’d be taking it off and putting on hockey pads in a very short amount of time, but that sheer white peasant blouse and black jeans is still a fabulous look. I love the contrast of the soft white frilliness of the blouse with the black, and the white manicure is a great finishing touch.
This wraps up January’s fashion recap (these seem to get longer every month, and I refuse to apologize). I would like to offer my personal, and very sincere, thanks to Frederik Andersen for taking the spotlight off Auston Matthews for once. Will someone else (William, mayhap? Kappy? Mitch?) step up for February? With how the season is going, my hope is we can get someone doing the Hockey Night In Canada walk-in wearing a cravat before the season is out.