Now Is the Time to Embrace the Canadian Tuxedo

Still, denim on denim felt like something else entirely—a look for the truly brave, but more importantly, a look for people who get their hands dirty. As somebody who spends all day in the content mines, I just didn’t feel right dressing like I worked in actual mines. I avoided the double denim, until one unseasonably warm February day, the temperature unexpectedly hit 60 and windy. Suddenly, the idea of a denim western shirt and a pair of 501s felt… right. And if I was doubling down, I might as well triple down by wearing a denim jacket over all this. So that’s what I did: I slipped into my triple denim, put on some Birkenstock sandals, and got my egg and cheese at the bodega. It felt right. It felt good.

I decided to try it again a few days later. This time, with the weather inching up towards a very nice number in the high-60s, I didn’t need a jacket—so I tossed on a vintage denim western shirt and a pair of straight-leg jeans from Everlane that my wife says I look good in, which is really all that matters. Another problem I’ve always had with the denim on denim thing was footwear. But if I didn’t go with a boot, then I wouldn’t look like I was trying to be an urban cowboy.

So I decided to get as far away from that as possible by going sockless with a pair of beat-up G.H. Bass loafers that have seen better days. I tossed on a “Books Brothers” dad hat from Book/Shop in Oakland and went about my day. The trick to pulling off a good Canadian tuxedo, I learned, is really just mixing it up a little. Don’t make it look like blue-collar cosplay, especially if it’s a pair of expensive Acne Studios jeans that you pray never get dirty beyond the “authentically lived-in look and feel” they came in upon purchase.

LOS ANGELES – 1973: Soul singer and songwriter Marvin Gaye at Golden West Studios in 1973 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jim Britt/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images)Jim Britt

The other part that makes the Canadian tux more fun is what you add to it. I’m a fan of popping a few buttons and showing off the necklaces I wear, but I’ve also been really into wearing a handkerchief around my neck a la the late Peter Bogdanovich. When I do an old chambray work shirt, I’ll toss on a t-shirt from Online Ceramics or something with some color under it. And I always pay attention to the footwear, as that’s what can make or break things.

It’s all about what you bring to the look. Just look for old pictures of guys like Marvin Gaye or Ralph Lauren, two all-denim kings. Ralph being Ralph, he’s done everything from going full cowboy to tossing on a sport coat over the look—proof that there’s no one right way to do it, as long as you keep it fun. There’s something a little 1970s about the Canadian tux, and, as we know, the good stuff from the ‘70s never really goes out of style. The important thing to remember is that the denim can be rigid, but the look shouldn’t be.


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