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March Fashion Recap: Unsung Heroes

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Not everyone is going to wear blue velvet suits, and that’s okay.

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Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Going into our sixth fashion report this month, regular followers of this column will have noticed that I’ve focused on certain members of the team more than others. Lest anyone think I’m playing favorites (to be clear: I am), this month we’re making a point to bring in some variety! I want to highlight some Maple Leafs not named Auston Matthews or Frederik Andersen for once.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Leafs have done a lot with three-piece suits this season, and so seeing this sportcoat look on Morgan Rielly is a deviation from the norm. Admittedly, this is an outfit I suspect looks much better in person than in photographs—a fine check plus movement combine to make Rielly’s upper half look like a staticky television, or a page out of one of those optical illusion books (cross your eyes, and the jacket will turn into a dolphin!). I’m not going to blame the jacket for that, though, and I do really like the dark blue and white checked pattern paired simply with navy blue trousers. It’s different from anything else we’ve seen this year, but it works. He’d probably have been better off going with a blue tie rather than charcoal gray, but that’s more of a nitpick than anything else.

Meanwhile, I want to swap out Tyler Ennis’s black tie for one that matches his beanie—black ties with black shirts are a dangerous game, and unless you’re going to commit to head-to-toe black and looking like a supervillain, it’s one that is best avoided. The black shirt and jacket with the very slim-cut gray pants is great! A contrasting tie would make this look a bit less top-heavy, and since the shirt and pants are both neutrals, the look could handle a bit more color. Other than that, thumbs up. The choice of that rich maroon for the hat is swell, it’s a great, flattering color that’s still muted enough to coordinate well with black and gray.

While I genuinely really enjoy Auston’s choice of sweatshirt—it might be Gucci, a fashion house that has become the bane of my existence over the past six months, but that needlepoint teddy bear art has a tongue-in-cheek subversiveness I really appreciate—the true star of this photograph is Morgan. That outfit is a masterpiece of coordination that doesn’t look overly coordinated, and it all starts with those great red-white-and-black sneakers (which are these Air Jordans, stick tap to Arvind for the ID). Everything else in the outfit was chosen to pull out an element of those shoes—the black pants, the white sweatshirt with a detailing that’s warm-toned so it coordinates with the red in the sneakers, the red logo on the hat. It creates a cohesive look, but it’s not too matchy-matchy, which helps keep the whole thing casual.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A three-piece suit worn with a backpack is such a strong choice I can’t even find it in me to mock it. Like, do you know the amount of swagger that takes? The commitment? John Tavares didn’t even go with a more formal backpack option, like the leather Louis Vuitton one William Nylander has lying around somewhere, but instead that thing appears to be deeply practical. It’s probably ripstop nylon. He could take it hiking. I bet he’s brought it to the farmer’s market when he needs to stock up on kale. I’ve talked before about the importance of matching levels of formality between an outfit and accessories, but in spite of myself I’m thoroughly charmed by this big high school math teacher energy. He’s even got some quirky striped socks on to complete the look. This man is definitely on his way to try to explain the quadratic equation to a group of confused teenagers for the fifteenth time.

The Toronto Marlies signed defender Joseph Duszak out of Mercyhurst, and he immediately made the best first impression possible by showing up to his Marlies debut wearing pink. Pink is an incredibly underutilized color in menswear—it’s fun and cheerful, it’s great in the spring, and it looks good on most people, especially that soft shade Duszak chose for his dress shirt (pastels as a color category can be tricky depending on the wearer’s skintone, but this one doesn’t wash him out). The brighter, cooler, more Pepto-Bismol color of his tie almost doesn’t work, but with the black suit and the black stripes, I think there’s just enough contrast between the tie and the shirt to pull this off. Great first showing for the new guy. Do florals next, new guy!

[sighs heavily]

[takes off glasses, rubs bridge of nose]

You guys. Is this a conversation we need to have? Sneakers are great. And fun. I even like mixing them in with dressier items occasionally for some high-low style. They can be awesome with a suit if you’re going on a date, or to a party, or want to make a particularly good impression on the employees of your local grocery store. Don’t wear them with a gameday suit, okay? The point of a NHL player’s gameday suit is the formality—it’s workplace attire, and I judge it as such—and sneakers miss that point spectacularly. Also, the black shirt/black tie combination is apparently haunting the Leafs as a team. I want to know who told these men “black goes with everything” because they have a lot to answer for.

The CWHL Awards were last Friday, and there were honestly too many good looks to include them all, but I’d like to pay special attention to this ensemble from Markham Thunder GM Chelsea Purcell. That black shift dress is lovely, but she paired it with seafoam green patent-leather pumps, which combines for an absolutely fantastic look—the simple dress lets that gorgeous pop of vivid color and shine take center stage.

Shouts to the Thunder twitter account, by the way, for catering to my needs so directly with this photograph.

Shanna Martin-Book

This outfit from Laura Fortino was another standout on a night full of standouts, and not just because I am a noted lover of the paper bag waist (it’s a Look, but when you style it like Fortino does here with a tucked-in fitted shirt, it’s a fun, flattering one!). Rust-colored, wide-legged linen trousers belted with a sash, paired with chunky coral jewelry and tan mules is a fantastic semi-formal ensemble. I’m particularly fond of the coral jewelry with those pants, the color palette here is great and just a bit hopeful for summer.

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day ☘️

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Here we have Auston Matthews, on his way to audition for the role of Sky Masterson in a gritty modern reboot of Guys and Dolls. I would pay real money to get a closer look at whatever that emblem is embroidered on his tie, but putting that aside, this is stellar. I love this look less for its component parts—there is one man on the Toronto Maple Leafs who double-breasted suits really, genuinely flatter, and he is named Frederik Andersen—and more because Auston is clearly shooting for an aesthetic. He wants to look like a 1920s bootlegger, like he’s got a Tommy gun stashed in his locker, like he’s about to make some risky choices at the gaming tables, like he’s the forgotten twelfth member of Sinatra’s Ocean’s Eleven. There’s a delightful intentionality to how Matthews dresses, an understanding of how to use clothes to say something beyond I am rich and have access to a very good tailor, and it’s fabulous, even though I personally would have gone with a tie in a brighter shade of green.

Speaking of Looks with a capital L, Mitch Marner—the Leafs’ fashion dark horse—has moved from tigers onto leopards with this outfit, and it’s excellent. I’ve waxed rhapsodic about those (super extra, absolutely wonderful) velvet loafers before, and here he’s paired them with a tie with a matching leopard emblem on it and a black textured suit. The suit fabric texture is supposed to be camo, but it also works well with the overall theme—that spotted design evokes leopard print in a subtly delightful way. There’s a fabulous cohesion to this outfit, except for the beanie, which I am disregarding for my own peace of mind. At least wear a leopard-print beanie next time, Mitchy. Lean into the theme.

[Side note: you will also want to read the article linked in this tweet, because there are things that are more important than fashion, and this is one of them.]

Our Danish prince Frederik met the actual Danish Prince Frederik postgame, looking extremely sophisticated in a blue suit with the gray check waistcoat from this Garrison Bespoke set. Blue really, really is Andersen’s color; it is so easily, naturally flattering on him. The way it contrasts with his hair is just unbelievably good.

Truly, Auston is the only one of these Leafy fucks who cares about me, because he’s regularly wearing the damn fedora I’ve been trying to persuade/cajole/guilt various players into all season. Pairing it with a gray and blue plaid scarf and that gorgeous gray alpaca coat is a fantastic look, even if I want to teach him how to wrap a scarf in a way that doesn’t make it look like it’s slowly choking the life out of him.

I believe in positive reinforcement, so I’m going to say that this look on Willie is really, really good and I’m proud of him! The gray cable-knit beanie and silver-rimmed glasses go well together and with his coloring, as does the camel-hair coat—more of the NHL’s blonds should try camel hair, it’s an underutilized choice that’s softer and more naturally flattering than black with his lower-contrast coloring.

Way back in January, I said that Freddie should have worn this dinner jacket to the Blue and White gala (as seen in the second photo in the slide) with a white shirt, and Garrison Bespoke chose to post this photo to show us all just how much better it would have looked. I’m also reasonably sure that this is the blue version of the fabric of Mitch’s black suit pictured above—it’s a fantastic texture that’s way more sophisticated and versatile than anything called “camo print” rightfully should be.

That plaid suit on Kasperi Kapanen has potential, but it doesn’t manage to fulfill it. A three-piece plaid suit is a lot of look, one I will admit off the bat I’m not a huge fan of, and the secret to pulling one off is immaculate construction and fit. The tell with Kapanen’s suit is at the shoulder seams; the lines of the plaid where the sleeves are inset are skewed, especially obvious because the colors in the plaid are so high-contrast. They should rightly line up (as seen in this photograph of a surly Morgan Rielly at a suit fitting), and that lack of attention to detail gives the whole thing a subtle wrongness. I’m not sure if the waistcoat actually doesn’t fit quite right or if that scarf and the open jacket is just screwing up the lines, but the unbroken wall of pattern created by the jacket and waistcoat definitely does it no favors. I do like the lighter blue base of the plaid, although it would look less busy if the color scheme was lower-contrast.

The scarf itself is Gucci, because of course it fucking is.

It’s not a fashion recap if Natalie Spooner doesn’t show up! Her CWHL Awards outfit of ankle-length tan trousers, dove-gray purse, and a really gorgeous soft aqua blouse is relaxed but still beautifully polished. I love the volume on the sleeves of the blouse as a contrast to the slim-fit cut of those pants, and the aqua/tan/dove gray color combination is just so soft and dreamy.

That wraps up our last entirely-regular-season fashion recap, but unlike the Storm Surge, this column will continue for as long as the Leafs are playing. Will the postseason urge the Maple Leafs to new heights of sartorial weirdness? Is anyone ever going to wear florals for me? Which of your grandmother’s favorite needlepoint patterns is Auston Matthews going to wear on a sweatshirt next? Tune in next month to find out.