Welcome back Laundry List for the shopping savvy men. Brought to you by the fine people of EastDane.com, Textstyles is combing the city of Toronto to seek out the coolest, dandiest, best dressed men you may or may not know. Today, we bring you Dr. Parambir Singh Keila, not only does he work in geriatrics he can also wax poetic on Tom Ford to Raf Simons and can choose a lovely sparkling rosé.
Sorry ladies, he’s otherwise taken, his lovely wife Anjli Patel (who you will meet soon I promise!) sat in with us while we chatted about fashion, turbans and Parambir’s take on men’s style at the gorgeous d bar in Yorkville.
When did you start getting into fashion?
Parambir: I’ve always been interested. I think one of the greatest synergies of my relationship with Anjli has been a greater appreciation and realization of my own sense of style and what suits me and to explore that.
What did you wear on your first date?
P: Oh gosh!
Anjli: that’s a good question ;)
P: I remember what you wore the first time we met. I don’t know if I remember what I… oh, no. Our first date was to a Cuban music concert in Kingston. And it was two days before my birthday. I was turning 24. I have no idea what I wore.
Was that the precursor or was that when it was starting to form?
You can trace it back to high school because I was still trying to explore and find out what was me. I played with hip hop style, I played with prep, I did a little bit of goth for one season. And that’s one of the things about fashion right now is that it’s not all the same. I can love Damir Doma, Rick Owens and at the same time I love what Tom Ford and Brunello Cucinelli offer. So I can play on the different axeses of my personality. It’s not the 80s or the 90s where everything was more homogenous. And that’s the challenge of our time as well.
Day to day is it a mood that strikes you or do you have a go to ensemble?
Traditionally men dress really uniformly. I think that plays out in part when I’m at work. I love what I do and I work with an older population, I do geriatrics, so I have to dress a certain way to respect my patient and the encounter. I have these little old ladies who wake up hours before their appointment and they take out their best jewellery and their brooches and get their hair done—they are going to see their doctor. It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t do the same. Minus the curlers. But when it’s my time I think I actually spend more time thinking about what I’m going to wear when I’m not at work. Work is shirt, trousers, shoes and then I’ll add something else depending on the occasion. I’ll add on a tie or a cardigan or a jacket.
Do you find that your clients dress up even more cause you’ve got such sharp style? Like you met the first time and maybe he/she wasn’t that great and the next appointment they’re all tricked out in their vintage Dior?
I’m waiting for that moment, I’m sure it’s going to happen soon. I haven’t had the time to create that kind of continuity yet.
Back to personal style what’s most important to you?
I dress to the occasion and I like to explore different things at different times. It could be that I’m playing with a certain colour or pattern, a silhouette. Once fall comes around I’m much more in the mood for clothing that drapes in a different way. Spring comes and I play with something else, season plays a definite role. I like to make sure that I’m dressed up for an occasion. I think it’s fun and fashion is a creative output and you should have fun with it and I try to do that.
Where does your inspiration come from: blogs, magazines, other references…?
All of the above. I think Toronto is a wonderful city to live in because in my opinion the renaissance that’s going on in men’s fashion. So I take inspiration from the men around me, from blogs, from my wife and what she tells me. At the end of the day I buy something because I love it and I keep on adding to it with each new season. So I’ll mix and match and create these ensembles that to me are beautiful and very representative of what I’m feeling like. But aren’t necessarily reflective of what’s going on in mainstream fashion at that moment.
What’s the hardest part about shopping for you?
Tailored clothing is very difficult to fit. I’m fortunate that I do often fit jackets off the rack. I like to still get them tailored to me. Trousers are a different story and I find that out of the ensembles the uniform, the hardest thing for me is the shirt.
What is it that doesn’t work for you?
Collar length, under arm and waist fit. My waist works for what most designers are creating but not for what most work/business attire are taking into consideration. They’re thinking of the gentleman that has a few more around his…
How much do you hunt online?
It’s fun. I like to go through ad read what the editorials present. I enjoy daydreaming about different outfits. I’ll do that when I’m bored. I shop online only on 3 occasions: one for a designer I can’t find locally. Second, for a designer or the look/item I can’t find locally, and third is the sale.
If you had to give your style a city, which would it, be?
Toronto! To me it’s a potpourri of different things going on at this moment. When I travel to different cities I dress to what the style of that city is. I’m very different in Miami compared to London or New York to Los Angeles. What I’m part of is what’s going on in Toronto. I’m very proud of the fact that we’re Canadian and we get to be part of this city and what’s going on here right now.
It’s such a different city style wise just based on all these co-existing cultures!
Guess what the most common question I get?
Why is your turban black and what does it mean?
They think you have like a black belt in something? It must mean he has tamed a tiger!
Anjli: I love it!
P: Exactly. So first people feel that this is a very personal question.
Like totally taboo.
So they start by saying, “Is it ok if I ask you a very personal question?” And I always think about if they’re going to ask me if I’m married.
Or your sexuality, or something actually…
P: They’ll be like, what does the colour mean. Absolutely nothing, I like black and that’s it. My father wears neutral colours and my grandfather used to wear royal blue.
Anjli: your father would never wear black!
What about orange?
Sometimes my grandfather would.
Anjli: Orange is my favourite colour.
Same! It’s happiness basically.
Anjli: But it’s not universally loved colour.
You’re right it’s a real knee jerk reaction. You’re either for or against. Do you ever just invite shit though? I’d totally just take the piss. Black means I’m in mourning.
Sometimes. Yeah, I’ve achieved a higher level of consciousness than yours.
I’ve sat atop the mountain for three months.
Next, it’s always “do you tie it yourself.” Yes, every morning. And then “how long is it” and I tell them it’s seven meters of cloth folded and then wrapped multiple times.
Seven meters really?
I used to wear a smaller one that was only five meters. Seven meters long, one meter wide, half-half-half and then a third. I iron it to get it nice and creased straight and then I wrap it. The next question is always about my beard. Do you trim it? And I’m like no, but that’s usually the sequence.
As for the turban is it something that evolves in a man’s lifetime or do you stick with the same? Does the way of tying mean something?
Yes. In Punjab, which is where Sikhs come from, a different style turban represented your province or village. If someone has just come from Punjab I can still usually tell where they’re from based on the turban. Mine is just a preference but most people will always be like “Oh you’re from here…” and I’m always like, “No and you shouldn’t judge!”
Punjabi culture is so colourful do you think that’s part of your love of colour?
Definitely, and also I’ll credit Anjli who brought out my colourful side.
Isn’t that lovely!
I’m someone who’s bold enough to wear it but wont necessarily think of trying it without that little prod. The tee shirt I was wearing before Anjli had bought for herself, I think it was Givenchy Resort 2013. The colours reminded her of the Maharaja jewels, but it didn’t fit her, it’s massive, it barely fits me so I’ve inherited it. Which is nice cause usually it’s the girls who steal from us.
Definitely, I’m always like “I want this, this, this and this. Thanks, Ha!”
Try getting it back!
Anjli: I do end up doing that a lot, especially with his scarves.
You must be a master at tying scarves too.
Of course! I tied this tie while I was waking over.
Any parting words for the guys out there?
Clothing is a social commentary. And at the end of the day we’re all tribes men/women and when we see someone dressed similarly to ourselves that our sense of belonging. Because I’ll see other well dressed guys and we’ll give each other that little once over and the head nod.
Thank you Parambir!!
Clockwise from top left: Linda Farrow tortoiseshell glasses; Band of Outsiders Flasher Tie; A.P.C. micro stripe tee; Rag & Bone swim shorts; Richard James linen scarf; Quoddy boat mocs; Eddie Borgo leather bracelet; A.P.C. striped belt; Band of Outsiders blazer; Band of Outsiders chinos; Bill Amberg hunter tote.