suit up
Credit: Tina Chang

May 23, 2019
Category: DT Advantage Summer 2019

Strong Suit

The new season is here and your office wear is ready for a major refresh. Say hello to light, breathable fabrics and bold colours 

Photography BY Tina Chang, Hair and Makeup Katie Matson, Shot on location at Global Furniture Group (10158 103 St.)

In August, Rust Magic festival director Annaliza Toledo will unveil a new large-scale mural somewhere Downtown. It’s whereabouts and the artist behind the brush strokes are hush-hush for now, but Toledo promises the public art piece will be tallest that Edmonton has ever seen. Since starting Rust Magic three years ago, Toledo has been quietly changing the face of urban art Downtown.

The festival’s large-scale murals, painted by local and international street artists, are edgy, extremely dramatic and eye-catching, which aptly describes Toledo’s style too. It’s fiercely individual and stands out from the crowd. “I love special one-of-a-kind pieces. Perhaps something from a vintage store, boutique or independent shop,” says Toledo. “I’m not into blending in.”

Coat, Smythe, $995, Blu’s. Cardigan, Rundholz, $325, Blu’s. Skirt, Anne Klein (vintage), $90, Swish Vintage. Earrings, Fei Su, $280, Alberta Craft Council. Ring, Jacqueline Cullen, $2,100, The ArtWorks 

STYLE TIP When colour blocking, pick two or three colours that are adjacent or opposite each other on the colour wheel. Gray and beige are good neutrals to block against in the summer.

Toledo attributes her signature style to a period in her childhood that she sees as deeply formative: the neon-coloured, shoulder-padded 80s. During those years, her fashion-forward mother and aunts would often take her thrift shopping. She reminiscences about sifting through the racks looking for that perfect find.

Jacket, Moschino, Swish Vintage. Brooch, $95, Flower Power, The Artworks. Brooch, $380, Charles Lewton-Brain, Alberta Craft Council.

Fearless in her approach to dressing, Toledo, who is also a visual artist, never shies away from colours and prints. The key to pulling off a bold look without looking too costume-y is minimalism. You only need one statement or dramatic piece, says Toledo. “When I dress for a business meeting, I’ll wear tailored pants and a turtleneck for example, but I’ll add one bold accessory,” she says. “It can be a pair of oversized earrings, statement bracelet or necklace, or my shoes can be pretty funky.” It seems counterintuitive, but a minimal approach produces a maximum look. 

STYLE TIP A signature piece of jewelry can be an inexpensive way to transform a plain and simple outfit.

“My dad was a developer so he wore a suit every day,” says Vieri Berretti from his 106 street office. He’s recalling childhood memories spent watching his father head off to work daily in his navy pinstriped double-breasted suit. Ironically, his dad hated wearing a suit, says Berretti who is a partner and lobbyist at Statecraft Political Consultants.

Suit, Luigi Bianchi Mantova, $1,395, Henry Singer. Shirt, Eton, $285, Henry Singer. Tie, Drakes $185, Henry Singer. Bracelet, $6,750, Vandenberg Design,  Vandenbergs Jewellers. Ring, Lashbrook Designs, $1,575, Vandenbergs Jewellers.

In contrast to his father, Berretti loves wearing a suit and is rarely spotted Downtown not wearing one, whether he’s heading to a Friday afternoon meeting, riding his motorcycle to the office or shopping for groceries. “I honestly believe that a man can never be overdressed.”

Instead of playing it safe, Berretti is not averse to taking fashion risks. Case in point: double-breasted suits, wide-bottom pants and peak-lapels are welcome wardrobe choices, alongside timeless investment pieces collected over the years. One of the best colours to go with year-round is navy blue. It’s versatile, foolproof and pairs well with most colours. “Black is for weddings and funerals. I rarely wear black, and when I do, it’s usually for a special occasion.”

Sport Jacket, Luigi Bianchi Mantova, $995, The Helm. Shirt, Hugo Boss, $250, Holt Renfrew. Tie, Hugo Boss, $175, Holt Renfrew. Jeans, AG Denim, $285, Henry Singer. Ring, Verragio, $2,145, Vanderberg Jewellers. Shoes, Loake 1880, The Helm. 

Berretti claims he never consciously thinks about how he looks. It’s an instinctive and organic thing with simple rules. One, labels don’t matter; fabric and colour do. Two, don’t over accessorize. Three, know what a well fitted suit looks like on your body type. And most importantly, don’t follow fashion trends. “Know what looks good on your body type,” says Berretti. “When you feel that you look good, you’re more comfortable and confident.” 

STYLE TIP During the summer, switch to lighter-weight wool that provides airflow, minimizes heat but looks structured. Linen, cotton and chambray are popular summer suit fabrics too but be mindful of wrinkling.


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