Handsome Blog

Globe and Mail & Vancouver Magazine

We're always excited to be a part of the conversation in the press, but even more so when it's in two of our favourites! Is there anything better than the Globe & Mail Weekend Style section? Not when you're STROKES Organic Bandana is included in there with a whole host of other amazing gift ideas for Mother's Day from some of the friendliest Canadian brands. 

Globe and Mail Style Section

Then there's the April 2017 Vancouver Magazine with their 6 Style Essentials for Spring which featured our custom Limited Edition silk Pocket Square collaboration with John Fluevog. So much love out there all round... we are always grateful.

Van Mag Coverage

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Shopkeeper Interview: Norwood's Noel Wendt

For many entrepreneurs, when they were younger they maybe had no idea where they were going to end up, but later on you can often chart the path right back to those early moments. (Hindsight is a beautiful thing.) For Noel Wendt of Norwood Clothing Co, those early years were a clear indication of where he was headed, as you'll read in the following interview:
Can you tell us a little bit about your background?
NW: I'm Saskatchewan born and raised. Regina has been home for most of my life outside of a few years for high school in Moose Jaw. I started skateboarding in 1984 and it shaped many things in my future including my profession. 
Norwood Noel Wendt
Before we get started, how do you take your tea/coffee?
NW: Typically black medium roast, tea usually green. 
When did you know that you were going to take the jump and open your first store? Scary or thrilling?
NW: I was kind of eased into it actually. In high school it was hard to find pants that I wanted to wear. It was frustrating to the point where reverse engineering a pair of denim and teaching myself to make jeans made sense. After figuring that out I stumbled across a shop in Regina that was manufacturing clothing in house. They had industrial sewing machines, which I hadn't seen before, and I started probing them with questions. A month later I started making denim for that shop (World of Trout), a year later we started selling skateboards in a corner of the shop, and that blossomed to the point where it needed it's own identity. This was the birth of the Tiki Room in 1996 and it is still in operation. At one point I realized that most skateboarding clothing didn't really identify with my style anymore (though I still skate) and Regina was lacking a contemporary men's store. That's when the gears for Norwood were put in motion. This was around 2010.
Here's a full circle moment, somewhere around 1999 I had a line of skate apparel called 'album' that sold at the Tiki Room!
NW: Geez, I might even remember that! Fashion is a smaller world than people realize. 
Norwood Clothing Co
How long did it take you to plan and launch? Do you remember exactly when opening day was?
NW: Norwood was about a year between planning to completion. Our first day of business was September 8, 2011. 
How did you choose the location? How do you like the area?
NW: The Tiki Room has been in downtown Regina since 1998, so we knew the area well and opened on the next block. Downtown Regina definitely has interesting moments, but it feels like home. Norwood's name actually came from our physical location. We hadn't decided on a name yet even though we were half way through the renovation of the space. I was waiting to cross the street one day outside and noticed a utility cap in the sidewalk that had the word NORWOOD on it. The name was thrown around in our camp and ended up sticking. The cap is still in the sidewalk outside and others can be found all over the city. The streets are advertising for us. 
I love that - sometimes you can try so hard when really you just need to be listening. (I won't mention that I was also born in an area of Winnipeg called Norwood.) What’s one thing that you’ve learned, and that’s really surprised you since opening?
NW: Having been in retail for over two decades there are few surprises, but one that has really stood out was the swift adoption of online retailing. The accessibility to literally any product a consumer wants is a reality that makes brick and mortar retail interesting. 
Norwood Regina
Family: Is it challenging to balance entrepreneurship and family, or do they pair well?
NW: There is definitely a fine line with that mix. Everyone needs to be on board and there are definitely sacrifices that are made. There are also perks in being self employed. Like anything in life you have to take the bad with the good. It all depends on your outlook on the situation.
You’ve got such a great product mix, how do you decide what to carry?
NW: There are a few factors. The story, style and presence of a brand are crucial. Pricing is a factor. You can't carry lines beyond your customer base's budget. We focus on classics and try to provide things that you'll have in your closet for longer than one season. Canadian made products are always a bonus.
Norwood Regina
What are some of your favourite stores or operations out there?
NW: There are plenty of stores that come to mind. Within skateboarding: shops like Antisocial, Ninetimes, Green Apple and Blue Tile are some of my faves (there are too many to list). I like what retailers such as Livestock, Purr, Gravity Pope, Bon Vivant and Still Life are doing. There are many suppliers that we have great relationships with solely based on their employees as well - including Cursor & Thread!
The feeling is mutual - relationships are as important as ever in this industry. Retail is changing all the time, what would be your advice to someone who was thinking about opening a retail store from the beginning?
NW:  In this day and age an online store and active social media are crucial. And be prepared to wear many hats, expand your skill set, and stay humble. 
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Top 5 Style Experts Answer 5 Questions About Spring Fashion

We love getting inspiration from our favourite fashion bloggers, stylists, design enthusiasts, and general fashionistas on instagram, which is why we thought we'd pick their brains on 2017 Spring Style. We asked them all the same questions and got some very different answers, which was awesome! Take a read below, and we encourage you to follow the ones you identify with. Enjoy!

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@thedailyhedonist

Alexander and Matthieu are purely about the platform. They're based in Paris and Berlin, and they clearly love photography. They post on fashion and travel and use each other as the subjects most of the time. You'll get an excellent window into their tastes and style, while touring around the world (with a smile).

The Daily Hedonists

1. What’s an accessory that you’re particularly keen on this Spring?

DH: I'd love to see more light scarves and hats, personally.

2. What’s something we’ll see more of on the street this Spring that might surprise people?

DH: Flared pants for both genders is something we think you'll see more of - get ready :)

3. What’s your preference on what to do with, or how to wear a bandana?

DH: Alex loves to wear a bandana as a scarf or headband and he looks great doing it. I have yet to incorporate one into my personal style though.

4. What’s your most reliable Spring piece or accessory that you’ve kept going back to over the years?

DH: Hats, hats, hats, and colourful woven belts :)

5. A piece of advice for people looking at, or adding to their Spring wardrobe?

DHI think sometimes it's nice to reduce the overall colours in your wardrobe and have some nice colour accents in the shape of accessories or single pieces to pull out as needed.

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@odessapaloma

Based in Toronto, Odessa is the real deal: she's the fashion editor at the Globe & Mail (Canada's national newspaper), the founder of Vintage Crawl Toronto, and is a constant reminder to have fun with what you choose to wear. As long as we have known Odessa, she's been a big supporter of the fashion industry in Canada from young start ups to the established creative, and always has intelligent insights on the industry. Web: Odessa Paloma Parker 

Odessa

1. What’s an accessory that you’re particularly keen on this Spring?

OPP: I love Chelsea boots, and spring is a great time to wear them – no fear of the elements mucking them up.

2. What’s something we’ll see more of on the street this Spring that might surprise people?

OPPColour! Specifically orange, yellow, pink and green.

3. What’s your preference on what to do with, or how to wear a bandana?

OPPTie it to a handbag!

4. What’s your most reliable Spring piece or accessory that you’ve kept going back to over the years?

OPPI have quite a few patterned blazers; they tie any look together and also double as a great alternative to a denim jacket on cooler evenings.

5. A piece of advice for people looking at, or adding to their Spring wardrobe?

OPPEmbrace the sunshine – look for pieces with bold colours and metallics, even if they’re just a little hint of brightness in your outfit.

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@viranlly

Get ready to love what you see... and maybe get a little hungry. Based in Vancouver, Viranlly is the loveliest of gentlemen, who seems to look good in everything. He likes all the same things you do... coffee, travel, style, and delivers all his images with a perfect dose of light-hearted wit. Web: Viranlly

Viranlly

1. What’s an accessory that you’re particularly keen on this Spring?

V: Suede anything (and everything)!

2. What’s something we’ll see more of on the street this Spring that might surprise people?

VSmaller bags for men :)

3. What’s your preference on what to do with, or how to wear a bandana?

VWear a small one, tie it around your neck to go underneath your button down shirt.

4. What’s your most reliable Spring piece or accessory that you’ve kept going back to over the years?

V: Light wash denim.

5. A piece of advice for people looking at, or adding to their Spring wardrobe?

VPastels! Pastels! Pastels!

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@afashionnerd

Amy is the most tireless humans we may have ever come across - she never seems to stand still, and continues to take on new projects. If she admitted that she has a team of 25, we'd finally be able to understand, but she doesn't. Based in Los Angeles, Amy founded Fashion Tap before anyone was even thinking about being able to shop straight from Instagram posts, and she produces mountains of truly wonderful content on all relevant platforms... everyday! Always the subject, she has more looks than Christmas has tinsel, and is constantly engaging. Web: Amy Roiland

A Fashion Nerd

1. What’s an accessory that you’re particularly keen on this Spring?

AFN: Eyeglasses of course! And guess what... you don't need a prescription. You can pop the lenses and wear them with your look. Imagine that!

2. What’s something we’ll see more of on the street this Spring that might surprise people?

AFNYou'll see more light fabric trench coats this Spring. Trench coats in all different fun colours.

3. What’s your preference on what to do with, or how to wear a bandana?

AFNTie 'em around your neck 60s style!

4. What’s your most reliable Spring piece or accessory that you’ve kept going back to over the years?

AFN: Knee high socks no question. I wear a lot of skirts and dresses and they fit in perfectly for Spring.

5. A piece of advice for people looking at, or adding to their Spring wardrobe?

AFNWear what you love! Wear what makes you happy. Don't follow the trends, make your own trends. Let everyone follow you!

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@stayhomme

Based in San Francisco, Adriel is a stylist, a graphic designer, an artist, and a body positive menswear enthusiast. Needless to say, this cat's got skills. With an excellent perspective on things and a positive outlook, his contributions will absolutely brighten up your feed. Authenticity is something that a fashion feed can often use a little more of, and you'll feel like you know Adriel personally the longer you travel with him. Web: Adriel Socrates

Stay Homme

1. What’s an accessory that you’re particularly keen on this Spring?

SH: Bandanas. They already made their comeback last year, but this year fashion brands have restyled them in fresh new ways. Break away from the paisley and go for a fresher print!

2. What’s something we’ll see more of on the street this Spring that might surprise people?

SHEven more muted desert tones and oversized silhouettes. Street style seems to have started this trend, but it's taken over the New York Runways as well!

3. What’s your preference on what to do with, or how to wear a bandana?

SHI like to wear them around my neck, using a leather cuff to secure it (instead of knotting it).

4. What’s your most reliable Spring piece or accessory that you’ve kept going back to over the years?

SHMy black wide-brimmed fedora. It instantly adds sophistication to any look and I always get compliments on it. Paired with a statement shoe, you can practically get away with wearing anything, because it pulls the look together.

5. A piece of advice for people looking at, or adding to their Spring wardrobe?

SHDon't be afraid of playing around with Spring trends and making it your own. Go for thick stripes over thin ones, be easy on the floral, and lastly, go big with colour! Try to find timeless pieces you'll wear for years to come.

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The 5 Best Black and White Ties of 2017

You don't have to be attending a stuffy event or conservative party to wear a black and white bow tie or necktie, nor should any of our top 5 black and white ties be considered in any way boring. Some of the most exciting scenarios are perfect for black and white or grayscale neck adornment. Consider any event in a location with an overload of colour, or where most patrons will be full of fauna and floral. In these situations, a tasteful or even bold use of black and white is instantly classic yet contrasting.

The Soirée

Black and white floral can be tough to find, but it's not tough to look good in.

black and white floral tie

The General

We loved the simplicity of this bow tie the second we made it. Black and white plaid is very rare and this material has got more life to it than some rainbows.

black and white bow tie

The Specials

Whether you're a fan of SKA or not, this necktie truly can blur the line between casual and formal. 

black and white check necktie

The Henry Polka Dot

One of our best sellers in neckties, bow ties and pocket squares, this chambray will look sharper than a unicorn in a pencil sharpener factory. In fact, the more you put in while pairing this piece, the more dividends it will pay out.

polka dot bow tie

The Slade Necktie

This is a tie for a true gentleman, so whether you fit the bill or are an impostor, no one will know the difference... until you say something. 

Slade Grey Tie

No matter which way you go, make sure you enjoy what you wear, and enjoy the compliments.

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John Fluevog Pocket Square Collaboration

We've done some awesome collabs with ACE Hotel, l.a. Eyeworks, Peau de Loup and others, but this is our third partnership with our friends at John Fluevog Shoes and this time we've brought you sumptuous silk pocket squares. We worked with the team at Fluevog to produce a custom silk featuring two different floral patterns that will be prominent in their upcoming collection. Each pocket square was made in Canada, has rolled & serged edges in their famous Fluevog Box colour, and as usual they come with a folding square. They are available in each of Fluevog's 20 stores and on their site, but in very limited quantity. Help address unique soles and pocket emptiness!

Fluevog Pocket Squares

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Shopkeeper Interviews: Muddy George

Sometimes the world just wants you to be a retail entrepreneur whether you have the experience or not. That's what happened to Altaf Baksh when he just couldn't resist opening Muddy George in Toronto's Bloorcourt neighbourhood, where he provides a carefully selected range of menswear brands, including Cursor & Thread. 

How do you take your tea or coffee?

AB: I'm an Orange Pekoe guy in the morning and like a coffee in the afternoon. Both double-double.

Muddy George Toronto

Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

AB: Before opening the store, I spent the previous nine years in a corporate setting, in HR. While I didn't hate what I was doing, it wasn't my passion. While I had no retail or fashion industry experience to count on while planning and running the store, I've always had an interest in fashion and enjoy running a business. 

When did you know that you were going to take the leap and open your first store?

AB: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit about me, which I get from my dad. I always said that I would open up a store if I won the lottery, but I don’t actually play, so it was never a real consideration. That is until the summer of 2014, when my girlfriend started to really push me to do it. It was definitely an exciting process but the unknowns made it a little scary at the same time. As I met with different brands and got immersed in conversation, I knew this was something I really wanted to do.

Muddy George Toronto

How long did it take you to plan and launch?

AB: In the late summer of 2014, I started to write a business plan and then contact local brands and, thanks to their support, my progress started to snowball. I really began to look for spaces in January 2015 and finalizing a lease took much longer than I thought.

Can you tell us a little bit about the name Muddy George?

AB: Muddy refers to Toronto when it was called York. Back then, there were no sewers or storm drains, and the streets were unpaved. When it rained, the water would accumulate on the dirt roads, transforming them into often impassable muddy avenues. Hence the disparaging Muddy York was coined. My mom to this day, calls me George, from Curious George. So I combined the two nicknames.

Muddy George Toronto

How did you choose the location? How do you like the area?

AB: I knew I wanted a neighbourhood shop... something that the locals could relate too. So I stayed away from the bigger streets where stores already existed. Granted I'd get more foot traffic but I want to have a connection with people that come in, and I just don't feel I'd have that being just another shop on a busy street. The area of Toronto I'm in (Bloorcourt) is very bar and restaurant dense. There are a couple of women's & vintage shops in the area but generally it's food-heavy... so we really stand out. The area is changing (gentrifying) but it's still a little sketchy at times so that keeps the rent a little lower =). But I do love the neighbourhood... one of the reasons I choose it was because my girlfriend and I would often come to Bloorcourt to eat, and being a shopper, there really wasn't anywhere for me to shop... so I figured the area could do with a men's store.

When did you first open the doors to the public?

AB: After about six weeks of renovations we opened late August, 2015. 

What’s one thing that you’ve learned, and that’s really surprised you since opening?

AB: I thought my clientele would be 25 to 35 year olds but it's really 30 to 65, which surprised me a little. But it's great at the same time. More than that, a lot of women also buy things for themselves which is awesome too.

Muddy George Toronto

You’ve got such a great product mix, how do you decide what to carry?

AB: Thanks! About 75% of the stock we carry is made in Canada, with the rest being made in Japan, the US and Europe. While each brand offers something unique in their own way, they all share the same passion for quality and craftsmanship. The unifying theme of the brands carried is that each piece is well made, wearable and timeless. We have a lot of accessories too: men’s jewelry, apothecary and bags. Everything lasts multiple seasons. The idea is that you won’t have to clean out your closet twice a year (or throw stuff out after a couple of washes). 

What are some of your favourite stores or operations out there?

AB: I try and support independent and local businesses as much as possible, particularly in the neighbourhood. Restaurants like Actinolite and The Emerson usually end up taking my money. Pop Box Market, Village Pizza, The Common and Gasparro's are great neighbourhood joints.

What would be your advice to someone who was thinking about opening a retail store from scratch?

AB: It's a cliché but honestly follow your dream, especially if it's opening up a retail store. There are minimal barriers to entry and if you're passionate and work hard, success is bound to follow.

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Personalized Custom Gifts for Holiday and Christmas

We all know that accessories make the perfect gifts of the season, whether it's a made in Canada bow tie,

pocket square, necktie or suspenders. But receiving a gift with your name right on the custom box in the same lettering as the style information is another level. Being a champion gift giver is as simple as these steps:

  1. Choose a gift for someone on Cursor & Thread
  2. Tell us the name you want stamped on the box, in the COMMENTS at checkout.
  3. We ship it to you, or directly to them... Holiday Success!

Christmas Customized Gift Boxes

Custom Gifts

 Personalized Bow Tie

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Nifty Do Menswear Shop

One of our favourite things about running Cursor & Thread is being able to work & build relationships with awesome people and their shops. Nifty Do, with stores in Vancouver, Canada and Seoul, South Korea is one of those operations with great people and great brands.

Nifty Do

They are very selective with the brands they carry as they usually mirror their stock between their stores, appealing to two different markets at the same time. They also do a great job educating their consumers with a terrific store Nifty Do Blog.

Cursor & Thread Nifty Do

As mentioned, we love working with all the stores we do, and to see a list of them you can click here: Cursor & Thread Retailers. To see a post that Nifty Do did on us, you can click here - click around in there and you'll learn about some other amazing brands. Enjoy your day!

Nifty Do C&T

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The best rubber stamp makers, Le tampographe

We use a ton of rubber stamps in our packaging, and we love the guys at Le Tampographe who are the makers of some of the most creative and fun rubber stamps we've seen. Baked in Paris, they produce some amazingly direct simple stamps but also seem to have perfected the two colour rubber stamps like the ventriloquist or the swallows below. When life takes you to Paris you should certainly stop in and see the 'gallery' for yourself, but they also sell online of course. The only thing that limits these guys seems to be the edges of their creativity which they don't seem to have found yet. 

Rubber Stamps Ventriloquist

swallow rubber stamp

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Black and white polka dot bow tie

The Henry black and white polka dot bow tie is made in Canada using a chambray fabric with woven dots. It's one of our best sellers and there are a number of reasons why. 

  • Self tie bow tie
    • This is a self tie bow tie, but comes with a back clip if you want to save time after it's been tied once. The hardware is very subtle, and it's the best quality we've ever found.
  • Formal fashion
    • The Henry bow tie can rub shoulders at the highest formal occasion whether that's with politicians (honest or dishonest) or bankers (no comment).
  • Casual fashion
    • Additionally, the Henry bow tie is right at home going for a Sunday afternoon stroll, or taking a bike ride to a barbecue... tied or untied.

If you're in need of a black and white polka dot bow tie, get the one that will give you the most in any situation... and remember to wear a shirt (pants optional).

black and white polka dot bow tie

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