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January Fashion Recap: Winter formal

Auston Matthews has put me in a glass case of emotion.

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2020 NHL All-Star Friday Night Concert Featuring O.A.R Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome back, everybody! The January fashion recap is one of my favorites; between the All-Star Game and the Blue and White gala, someone inevitably gives us pictures of the Toronto Maple Leafs in (what they think is) formalwear. Nothing brings more joy and light to the hellscape of our current existence than a beautiful dinner jacket.

Guys, I unironically love Mitch’s jacket. It looks like it’s made out of couch upholstery from a bordello and would melt if you lit it on fire, and I still love it. It’s weird. I want to get my hands on it for a good look at that splotchy two-tone weave, but it provides a fascinating effect, like satin brocade woven after drinking half a bottle of vodka. There’s a splendid level of contrast between the frankly tacky effect of the pattern and sheen and color scheme and the expensive sophistication of a bespoke dinner jacket, and it’s that contrast that makes it work.

In my opinion, that’s a jacket you pair with a white tuxedo shirt and a bow tie, because the black-on-black lessens the impact of a piece of clothing that works entirely because it’s a hard left turn away from traditional. Keeping everything else as classic as possible lets you lean hard into interesting with a statement piece, because that jacket should be the focal point. On top of being black on black, the shirt and the tie have a textured pattern to them, and it’s just way too much, not even getting into the gigantic houndstooth weave on the shirt. I’m not even going to pretend to understand that as an aesthetic choice.

Moving on from Mitch making choices that are both good and deranged, at the All-Star Game, Auston Matthews decided he wanted to attempt murder. Mine, specifically.

I hate this outfit more than words can describe. I hate it so much that I don’t even know how to make fun of it. We could start off with the white turtleneck, which belongs on a red carpet about as much as the ratty Uniqlo sweatpants I’m wearing as I type. I know it’s the NHL All-Star Game red carpet, which is to sophistication as my sweatpants are to a ballgown, but look: it’s not even that the turtleneck isn’t formal, it’s that it’s informal and hideous, and if you’re going to break convention you had better look good in the process.

The turtleneck is really a minor detail. The thing about this that truly broke me is the buttons. Not only is it a double-breasted suit with only two buttons placed horizontally, because obviously the problem with your average double-breasted jacket is that it’s too functional, but placing all of the stress on a single button makes it obvious that the jacket doesn’t quite fit correctly, only compounded by the pulling on the inseam of those trousers. Neither of these things are helped by the color and sheen of that fabric, both of which make every little crease and bunch extremely obvious. (I strongly suspect that the jacket was tailored to fit closely over a lawn dress shirt, and the much thicker fabric of a turtleneck sweater has affected how it sits.) I would have hated this look if it fit immaculately, but at least I would have been able to make a few Ron Burgundy jokes and move on.

Does Travis Dermott’s floral tie match his purple (!!!) plaid three-piece suit? Not particularly. Does it clash? Not particularly. Is it fun as hell? Incredibly. Dermott’s sense of style can be described as “silly” and I don’t mean that as a criticism—his clothes are colorful, with a lot of delightfully distinctive pieces (floral ties, pink plastic glasses frames, lilac pants, purple plaid suits). On a team of young guys with the wardrobes of 45-year-old stockbrokers—yes, this is a Morgan Rielly callout post—Dermott isn’t afraid to look like he’s 23. He has fun with fashion, but doesn’t take it seriously, even if in this picture he’s wearing a suit that probably cost more than my car.

I am beyond thrilled that I can once more include Sarah Nurse and Natalie Spooner in the fashion recap. Nurse’s glam tracksuit might be informal but unlike the turtleneck, it is terrific (the ivory satin fabric! the snaps up the front of the legs that carry over into the jacket! The vents at the front to show off her shoes! The coordination of her oxblood heels with the burgundy striping! It’s a cohesive look, and it looks fabulous). Spooner, as always, is dressed like she just stepped out of a Netflix romcom about young professionals in a big city—colorfully, fashionably, and a little bit quirkily. The pops of red in the feather on her hat and her lipstick are just tremendous, and those pants are wonderful—Spooner is a tall woman, and floor-length, wide-legged pants in a vivid color don’t overwhelm her, but instead emphasize her height. Natalie Spooner’s dress sense is impeccable, and I have missed writing about it so much.

Quick Hits:

The whiplash I got looking at these two pictures is absolutely incredible. The outfit on the right is a fantastic look—I love the black and white base and then the open shirt to incorporate some color and pattern. The pastels in the shirt are grounded by the black and white, too. It’s a great, distinctive, fun outfit.

The sweatshirt, which is 100% organic cotton and looks like it was designed by an alien whose only exposure to Earth culture was a back issue of Vogue and a bootleg tape of Fantasia, is currently available on the Gucci website for $1,400 USD.

Look, purses are great (and Frederik, there is no such thing as a “man purse”), especially if you are like me and like to carry no fewer than 10 tubes of lipstick, a bottle of kombucha, and a full-sized hardcover novel at all times. Purses are great, this purse is horrifying. This looks like Kapanen lifted it off a geriatric Hell’s Angel who moved to Florida because the warm weather helps his arthritis. It’s leather. An animal died for this.

Screenshot taken from Toronto Maple Leafs on Twitter (https://mobile.twitter.com/mapleleafs/status/1214318580315119623?s=21)

Last month, I praised Willie for combining dove gray and millennial pink, and I’m going to praise him again now for doing it again, with a really cute tie. The pattern is quirky (tiny dots and stars) and would probably have come off as too childish on a brighter background, but works perfectly on the brown, and the softer neutral of a brown tie meshes better with the muted colors in the rest of the look than something like black or navy blue.

Also, this happened.

First off: when I saw Engvall’s pants, I actually said the words “oh honey” out loud, to myself, in my living room.

Second: Travis Dermott is putting on a little clinic here for all of us in how to do pattern mixing, in a look that I’m still a bit bewildered works as perfectly as it does. The color scheme of his suit and tie match each other near-exactly—pinkish lavender and a plum so warm and muted that it’s almost burgundy. Those are two busy prints, and while Dermott made a floral tie and a plaid suit work fine at the Blue and White Gala through, as far as I can tell, sheer verve, this is more than fine. This is excellent. This is one of my favorite outfits I’ve seen yet this year, and not just because “purple and also floral” is the sort of perfect combination that a Victorian spirit medium might use to summon my ghost.

On that high note, that’s it for the January fashion recap. What do the Leafs have in store for us for February? Is Dermott going to wear sequins in an attempt to keep me from ever criticizing him for anything? Which character beloved by the boys in my high school senior class is Auston Matthews going to cosplay as next? Did Kapanen actually buy that fanny pack, and will he wear it with a gameday suit? (If he bought it, he better wear it with a gameday suit). Tune in next month to find out.