Presented in collaboration with Fusion of Effects, this interview is part of a series discussing signature style and other aspects of menswear blogging with some of Toronto’s most influential up-and-comers. See all the interviews here.
Classic. It’s the easiest way to describe Jonathan Cavaliere, but it isn’t necessarily the best way. To reduce him to a single term would be a disservice to a friend I know makes it a mission to push menswear in exciting new directions. Indeed, I’ve met few bloggers — hell, career menswear journalists — whose enthusiasm for men’s fashion match that of Cavaliere’s. His style blog, Mr. Cavaliere, is all about putting a twist on tradition without losing the elements that make it great. I sat down with him ahead of our photo shoot for Fusion of Effects’ sixth anniversary celebration to talk about making a statement, mixing modern and traditional styles and what’s next for Canada’s sharpest man.
The Gentleman Journalist: What is your signature piece?
Jonathan Cavaliere: The madras blazer. The reason I really like that Ralph Lauren jacket is because it’s quite bold, but at the same time it has this traditional feel. And that’s what my style’s all about — traditional elements with kind of a modern twist or take on it.
TGJ: Any guy can pull on a madras jacket, but they can’t necessarily wear it just like you do. How do you wear yours differently?
JC: I think most guys would probably stay away from madras jackets in general. [laughs] But if they were to do it, they’d probably do it more neutral, probably just go with a white shirt, maybe no tie, with like a grey pant. The way I do it is slightly more fashion — so I’d do it with like a knit tie, with a printed white on white shirt, tie bar and slim pants. A little more updated, a little more fashion.
TGJ: Do you believe having a signature look — in your case, a colourful take on traditional pieces — is important in this business of menswear blogging?
JC: Oh, for sure. I would say menswear blogging is all about not necessarily making a statement, but having signature that people can identify you by. For me, it’s that kind of — not necessarily All-American —but I’d say more traditional menswear with a modern aesthetic. And I like incorporating little things like a beard.
TJG: What are some ways you’d mix modern elements with classic looks?
JC: First things first — a tailored fit is what makes a traditional piece look modern. Another way to incorporate traditional menswear in your look is to pair modern elements with them. For example, wearing a blazer, shirt and tie with white sneakers is a great way to make classic items look new.
TGJ: Signature looks creates an instant first impression, giving people a calling card. In terms of your online presence and blog, what niche does it occupy?
JC: The goal of the blog from the beginning was to give real guys tips on how to dress better. We try to focus on giving beginners the tools to create a great look, and dapper gents a new way to wear something they already own. We think by doing this we are not only influencing guys to care about there wardrobe choices, but we feel that we can be a crucial part of this new 21st century man who cares about his appearance.
TGJ: In terms of your brand and blog, how do you plan to make a lasting mark in the industry?
JC: To be honest, I am not sure what’s coming next. The blog has brought in such amazing opportunities over the past five years that I would have never dreamed of. I think creating a full-service website would probably be the next step. Video content is something I am quite interested in exploring. Maybe designing a collection. I am not sure yet, but I am excited for what’s to come.