It’s a new year, and after a hiatus for December, I’ve returned with a backlog of inspiration and, as always, a few too many opinions. What brought me back, you might ask? Well, a few days ago I was innocently sitting at my computer, innocently fucking around reading Wikipedia articles on mysterious disappearances at sea, when I felt a great disturbance in the Force. That was when I opened my DMs and discovered that Mitch Marner had gone out in public wearing this:

(Yes, I am aware that this is from January, not November or December, but consider this: time isn’t real.)

I want to be clear about one thing here. In the abstract, this is a beautiful suit. With the somewhat textured non-wool fabric and the light color, I wouldn’t really consider it the sort of suit one reaches for in January, but I wore pastel lilac lipstick last week, so glass houses, etc, etc. I genuinely love the suit. I have no quarrel with the suit.

The problem is putting that color—a warm shade of peach with very little pink to it—on Mitchell Marner. It truly does him no favors. He’s got pale skin and cool-toned, high-contrast coloring, and the suit is working against him in too many different ways. A darker shade of orange, something closer to rust, or a pinker shade of peach would both wash him out less, but as it is, the color does nothing for him. (Neither does that facial expression, but haven’t we all been forced into fancy clothes before we’ve had coffee in the morning?). That suit should go to Willie, who would look fantastic in that color, and Mitch should go buy himself something else in vivid purple.

Speaking of William, way back in November, this happened:

[twenty solid minutes of me screaming into a pillow]

This is, obviously, a test of my own personal willpower.  I don’t even know what to say about this. He looks like he’s dressed up as Andy Samberg from a Lonely Island video. He looks like the guy who sits in the corner of my neighborhood Italian bakery and always seems to be reading the exact same issue of Oggi. He looks like 1985 threw up on him. He looks like he’s just entered Witness Protection, and the only clothes they had on hand were someone’s Barry Gibb Halloween costume. I could keep going like this for the rest of a 2,000-word article, only at the end of it, I’d somehow talk myself into believing that this outfit was a good idea. Fashion is art, and art is supposed to generate strong emotions in others, right?!

Honestly, the worst part about all of it is that I actually love that track jacket.

“Charcoal herringbone wool three-piece suit” is such a gimme that it almost feels like cheating to say I love this. It’s simple, but that herringbone keeps it from tipping over the edge into boring. I have a massive soft spot for both textured wool and Matthews’ self-consciously vintage formal aesthetic—he’s very good at picking out visual elements reminiscent of the 1920s and 1930s and applying them to modern silhouettes and styles (note that despite the Peaky Blinders references, he is not wearing pleated pants that come halfway up his ribcage—it’s an interpretation of the fashion of that time, not a mimicking of it). At some point he’s going to show up in a jacket with elbow patches and/or a pocket watch on a chain, mark my fucking words.

First off: thank you to Maple Leafs social media for tweeting out pictures so high-quality I can zoom in close enough to tell that Willie’s shoe is untied.

Second: while I love the color on Willie (light gray suits him so well!), and I am certainly not opposed to the idea of suits made out of more comfortable fabric than wool or stiff cotton, I have to draw a line somewhere, and that line is drawstring waists.

Those pants have a drawstring waist (again, shouts to the image quality here! I will carry the pain of this knowledge with me forever). It’s a sweatsuit with lapels. I am both impressed and resentful that I did not notice immediately from the drape of the fabric—that is the best-tailored sweatsuit I have ever seen.

I had barely emotionally recovered from this before I was confronted by one of the greatest betrayals of my life:

I would like to make a deep and heartfelt plea to all of the Maple Leafs: if you are going to do this, please, please, tuck that drawstring into your waistband so I can continue to live in blissful ignorance. Those jackets are cut tremendously well (especially Freddie’s—the patch pockets on Willie’s are a bit of a giveaway that the fabric is some kind of jersey) and, to be very candid, what I don’t know won’t hurt me. The knit jersey fabric I can come to cope with, after drinking a lot of cups of chamomile tea and learning some deep-breathing techniques.

This is not a perfect outfit, but I want to start off by saying that it is also the greatest, and wonderful, and has endeared Travis Dermott to me forever. That color! While I wish he’d gone for head-to-toe lavender, I am very pleased that he matched a bright pastel with another bright pastel in the light-blue jacket—those two pieces look like they belong together, and it’s because they’re both light, cool-toned colors with a strong white base. The tie isn’t what I would have gone for (personally, I’d have chosen to try and match the pants instead of the blazer, to balance the lavender over the whole look), and I also wish that those pants were about an inch longer (it’s a fine line between showing off your shoes and looking like you hit a growth spurt since you got your pants hemmed). On balance, though, this is utterly delightful. It’s vivid and cheerful and different, but with enough coordination to not look busy.

Quick Hits:

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Quick visit from dad 💙

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Absolutely beyond charmed at Jace Tavares’s knit Maple Leafs sweater. I would like to know a) if that was handmade and b) if yes, how much do I have to pay to get one that’s adult-human-sized?

I give William Nylander a lot of shit in this column, especially about color matching, so I also feel compelled to point out when I think he’s doing something right. This is great. Millennial pink and dove gray is a very trendy color combination for a reason—they pair really well together, and the muted nature and lack of a strong white base means they’re easier to wear than a lot of pastels. They’re also exactly the kind of soft tones that would flatter someone with light skin and blond hair.

This look is also great. I really appreciate the use of the pale blue shirt with the black suit—stark black and white isn’t great on Willie, but that shade of blue is an easy, naturally flattering color for him, and so having it right next to his face softens everything and makes the suit look a lot less severe. The dark green tie is an unexpected choice that I really like (plus, it matches Kappy’s suit!).

Kasperi Kapanen has worn a bunch of great suits lately, but this is probably my favorite—maroon plaid with a contrasting black waistcoat. I’m a big fan of a plaid suit with a plain waistcoat as a way to stick with the three-piece look but avoid the Wall Of Pattern effect, and the black and red color scheme is fabulously dramatic and just a little bit goth without edging into Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way territory.

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Stylin on Saturday night

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You guys know I respect creativity, and there’s a lot to like about this look from Dermott—the clear pink glasses frames are very cute, and I give him a ton of points for that—but something about the sum total of this look is coming across as less “cool and sophisticated” and more “that one overeager creative writing professor who liked to call everyone’s prose supple”. He should probably put the jacket back on, and he should definitely find a different tie. That pattern mixing is not working for me because the color palettes are way too different—a muted pale pink silk to match the glasses would be my suggestion, which I think would bring the look back from messy to quirky.

Every time a hockey player wears florals, an angel (me) gets her wings (a celebratory glass of wine). I love Mitch Marner showing that floral prints don’t have to be brightly colored, but can be a great way to make neutrals fun. The monochrome black/white/gray palette lets him pair that black and white floral tie with a plaid suit—bringing colors in there would risk making that pattern-on-pattern look overwhelming. Shouts to @tmltrash on Twitter for bringing this to my attention.

[Seriously, a huge thank you to everyone who sends me stuff for this column. I lose track of who’s tagged me into things on Twitter, but you are all wonderful, and I could not do this without your help]

That’s a wrap for the first fashion recap of the new year. What lies ahead for us in January? Will Freddie betray my trust and love for him further? Will Travis Dermott dig out a lavender jacket and go head to toe purple, winning 2020 before it’s really started? Which 80s pop icon will William Nylander decide to emulate next, and will it involve sequins? (I will never criticize him again if it involves sequins). I’ll be back in February to let you know.