Before we get into what will be the last official fashion recap on the season, I’d like to take a moment to have some human emotions in public, like a loser. I started this column in October after considering doing something of the sort for at least a year, assuming it would be niche content that some people might, maybe, possibly enjoy. I’ve called this the column of my heart before, and it really is the truest, most me thing I’ve ever written for PPP. I want everyone who has read, retweeted, commented on, and/or complimented this series to know how much that means to me.

Anyway, now that that gross display of feelings is taken care of, let’s move on to what matters: the Toronto Maple Leafs might not have come through for me on the ice, but for once, in April they truly gave me everything I asked for off of it. Colorful suits? Check. Fun hats? Check. Magenta, purple, florals? Check, check, check.

Well, except the cravat. Nobody’s busted out a cravat yet.

Auston, as always, spent this month giving us look after look, not all of which were winners, but this was unquestionably the best of the bunch. That wonderful deep red is utterly fantastic on him, and he wisely kept the rest of the outfit simple—a plain tie, socks in a matching red with white polka dots, and a crisp white shirt. The Gucci horsebit loafers he loves so much make a reappearance, and add just a bit of ornamentation to a look that relies very heavily on color. I once mentioned jewel-toned red as a good color choice for Matthews in a conversation on Twitter, so I’m taking this as confirmation that he’s got a sock-puppet account keeping track of my suggestions.

The impact of that red is tempered by the simplicity of the rest of the outfit, which makes it fit in with the general aesthetic Matthews has been wearing this year. He’s spent the whole season rather artfully balancing visual elements that call back to a certain type of elitist traditionalism with his own personal flair; mixing wool waistcoats with velvet suits, tortoiseshell glasses with monogrammed ties and fedoras, and here he throws in a unique but still sophisticated color to upgrade the impact of a simple but well-cut suit.

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Big drip, what you call it

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The waistcoat he’s wearing here is the same one we first saw back at the All-Star Game, only now instead of blue velvet he’s paired it with a relatively restrained navy and a gray wool flatcap, like he’s golfing at St. Andrews instead of walking into an arena before a hockey game. A design element of that waistcoat that I really love is the wide shawl collar; instead of leaving off the lapels entirely, as seen on Freddie’s waistcoat further into the slideshow, the shawl styling combined with the double-breasted placket give an additional level of formality along with a familiarly retro silhouette. He could toss a watch chain on that waistcoat and it wouldn’t look out of place. (Do it, Matthews. Spend some of that new contract money on a pocket watch. You know you want to.)

I have mixed feelings on the hat—a part of me thinks it’s almost too costumey, but the rest of me loves the way it coordinates with the gray wool of the waistcoat and slots right into this “bored aristocrat takes to the countryside” aesthetic. It all fits perfectly into the personal style Matthews has developed over the course of the season, one more remarkable for the strength of its hits rather than its occasional glaring misses.

This one, though? This might be my favorite suit I’ve seen this year, and it’s because Morgan Rielly—Morgan Rielly! I would not have expected this from him!—took the risk and dove headfirst into wearing magenta. It’s a fabulous choice. Magenta is a strong and extremely distinctive color, but it’s also a flattering one, especially with Rielly’s coloring. The striped tie that plays with both cooler purple and warmer pink pastel as a counterpoint to the suit gives the whole thing a very springy vibe. There’s a heathering visible to the texture of the fabric, too, which helps keep the color more on the muted side and gives it a more comfortably lived-in look, as a saturated magenta would risk running into too-punchy, visually overwhelming territory. Mostly, it’s just fun, colorful and interesting and creative, the sort of thing I would never have imagined I’d see on a Leaf not named Auston Matthews as of a year ago.

Speaking of fun, human Labrador retriever Mitch Marner wore a suit with pictures of dogs on the lining, completely redeeming a double-breasted check ensemble that would otherwise have been a swing and a miss. This is, quite literally, the only part of the suit that matters and so it’s the only part of the suit I’m going to include. Dogs! Are all his suits lined with pictures of dogs? Are they specific dogs, dogs he knows, or were they pre-selected dogs? Can you really walk into Garrison Bespoke and order a suit lined with pictures of random dogs? Can I go hang out with that border collie clearly visible in one of the photographs? What’s the border collie’s name? What does Maggie Rielly, the most important Leafs dog, think about all of this? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but I’m in love with the item of clothing that made me ask them.

Finally, FINALLY, one of these men has decided to wear florals for me, and the winner of my undying love and affection is Travis Dermott. Ties are the easiest way to integrate floral patterns into a professional wardrobe—floral shirts are also very fun, but patterned shirts are generally a bit of a dangerous game to play (there are many variables that go into making that look work), and I don’t fault anyone for wanting to dip their toe into non-geometric patterns slowly. With the very low-contrast plaid and neutral tones of his suit, the floral doesn’t clash, and I actually like the choice of wearing a white tie with floral patterning with a white shirt. It keeps things understated, which is important when pattern-mixing, even if the suit pattern is subtle.

To make it even better, the tie itself is this one from Ellie Mae Studios, and the proceeds will be going to Kids Help Phone, a Canadian counselling hotline for young people (Dermott is not alone, either; Dylan Strome also showed up wearing the same tie and a matching pocket square in March). According to the designer the cotton fabric used to make the tie is courtesy of Liberty of London, which is unsurprising to me, a florals-obsessed human who’s spent a lot of time drooling over their designs. Liberty’s florals always manage to look decisively sophisticated, never twee, and this lovely, irregular design is a standby that dates to 1933 and is currently manufactured in several different color schemes. I adore the one Ellie Mae Studios chose, with the use of predominant cool blue tones and the saturated, punchy highlights of bright green, mustard yellow, and light and dark pink. It’s a modern sort of combination that keeps that vintage floral design from verging into dated, and blue is a great base color to pick for a floral tie because it’s already a very common color in menswear.

Side note: Travis is also wearing the exact same Gucci horsebit loafers as Auston, and I cannot overstate how hilarious that is to me.

Quick Hits:

I have both praised this suit at length and criticized his subtly mismatched greens at length, but this is the first look we’ve seen at the suit lining, and that is just absurdly good. A white shirt—or hell, even a pastel blue shirt to pull out one of the colors in that lining—would make this look perfect.

This brown and burgundy plaid three-piece is a significant upgrade from the light blue one Kasperi Kapanen wore last month. If he’s going to continue to lean into the aggressive 70s aesthetic, (down to the color scheme, in this case! He could easily pass as a background extra in Slap Shot if that shirt had a bigger collar) this is the direction he should take it.

Moving right past what Auston’s wearing—a lot of these pictures of the guys getting on the bus at their hotel from this series seem to be of half-finished outfits, so I am assuming for my own peace of mind that he added a tie and belt somewhere between getting on the bus and arriving at the rink—Morgan’s jacket and boots are real winners. The coat is great, and I’m glad that he realized multiple shades of blue would coordinate best with a rich brown, but those pointed side-buckle boots are just so fun. They’re subtly witchy in a masculine way, which I would like to be clear is a compliment.

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Her names boss baby

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Forget Naz’s tracksuit, he should take tips from that adorable child and her leather moto jacket and patent boots. That kid has style.

This plaid coat is great, and I would like to humbly ask Morgan Rielly to never wear it with a plaid suit outside of this photograph I am assuming was taken at a fitting. From the hips up, sloppy tie knot aside, this is a fun example of how to take many different tones of a single color and combine them into something with a lot of visual interest. I’m particularly enjoying the contrast between the sharply geometric pattern of the coat and the abstract, paint-dab pattern of the tie, which works because both pieces share the exact same color palette.

Frederik Gauthier wore not one but two windowpane check suits this month, which is a truly fantastic level of commitment to a theme. Considering that the rectangular orientation of windowpane check is sometimes used to give the impression of added height, I just love that Freddie Gauthier, who is six foot five the whole game, has decided he wants to look like even more of a big friendly giant. I personally prefer the gray suit because I’m just not wild about that particular shade of yellow-toned brown, but there is something about the cohesiveness of that second outfit—the striped silk tie, the black flatcap—that I find charming. He looks like he stepped out of a Sears catalog from the 1940s. Also, he’s wearing a tie clip, and I just cannot hate on that level of maturity.

The amount of purple the Leafs have worn this year has brought joy to my otherwise cold and dismal existence. This dark purple shirt is a really good look on Nazem Kadri and I wish we’d gotten to see it from outside the pressbox this series. I like the purple shirt with the gray jacket, although I’d recommend swapping out the black tie, which is too close in depth to the shirt. Perhaps a dark gray with purple stripes or dots?

This short-collar jacket on Jake Muzzin in lieu of a blazer is unorthodox but in a way that really works (I think it’s a tab collar, although it’s hard to tell from this single picture). I also like the monochrome black and white with the checked shirt and impressively skintight pants. What hell-sent fabric blend was involved in the manufacture of those pants? I own actual jeggings that fit more loosely. Anyway, there are enough sophisticated details on this one (the tie, the strong check of the shirt, the high gloss on his dress shoes, the extremely thematic accessory of the coffee cup) to give the whole outfit an air of business-hipster-cool. Next year, I’d love to see more players experiment with jacket cuts other than the traditional single or double-breasted blazer.

Mitch Marner’s season-long flirtation with a big cat motif—his Gucci tiger jacket, his velvet leopard loafers, his leopard tie—comes to a fitting conclusion with these Nike Air Max sneakers, which contain all of the animal prints—leopard, tiger, and a zebra trim to finish it off. (Shouts to Arvind, as always, for his help tracking down the sneaker brand and colorway.) The pony hair fabric might look tacky on another sneaker, but it’s maybe the third or fourth most extra thing about these shoes, and at that point it’s best to simply embrace the gloriousness of the look. The mix of textures and patterns going on here is legitimately a lot and yet, like those velvet loafers, it’s great in its own bonkers way. Props to Mitchy for wearing them with a red Raptors jersey and a tan hat, both pieces that coordinate with colors already present in the sneaker. Double props to @highglve for bringing this to my attention.

Auston Matthews standing there, unimpressed, checking his phone while Team Dad Patrick Marleau wears a sweatshirt with a picture of his teammate on it like this is a deeply normal thing to do seems like a fitting way to wrap up this series. There’s no better way for a father to tell his son that he’s proud of him.

With that, the monthly fashion reports come to a close (until next season, probably, because I have become addicted to yelling about color matching on the Internet). Again, thanks to everyone who’s followed along on a wild ride that started with an anime coat and ended with a magenta suit. It’s been real.

May the Leafs be very, very good to us on Instagram throughout the offseason.