On Butchers and Barbers

The Less-Identified Barbershop

As the mercury starts to rise in Vancouver, the telltale signs of summer are everywhere – patio drinking has re-taken it’s place as everyone’s post work hobby of choice, spike ball games spring up like weeds in your local park, and the first taste of wildfire smoke came and went through the city two weeks ago.

Summer also means more time walking slowly, without the ever-driving rain keeping you away from spontaneous discoveries in your own neighbourhood. For me, Uptown Barber was one of these discoveries. Hidden in plain sight between a skateboard shop and a window of For-Lease signage in Mount Pleasant, the business has no sign to make its appearance known.

Once inside, there is sparse seating in the muggy one-room outfit, and three heavily tattooed and pierced barbers operate on a cash-only basis. The music is a toss-up, unidentified metal during my afternoon session, but the employees, mostly musicians from the sound of it, are keen to chat on any style or flavour that you mention. When I mentioned upstart outlaw guitar picker Colter Wall, my barber Ben had a half dozen Vancouver-based country artists to list off, surely a bit of trivia for a city known more for electronic and Carly Rae Jepsen.

There’s something about sweating under a sheet for half an hour for a shade over twenty dollars and wanting to come back. For lack of a better word, a lot of barbershops reek of scene, and are tough on the wallet too. Businesses like Uptown are something special.

On Striped Shirts

Second only to cuban collars and rayon, wide and colourfully-striped shirts are quickly becoming my favourite summer staple. Part of the key to this is opting for a wider stripe and vintage-inspired colours. Known as a butcher’s stripe, there is no clear measurement for what sets it apart from any other stripe.

Interestingly, the name derives from the setting apart of a master butcher from an apprentice, who would wear a thinner pinstriped apron until they progressed to broad accompanied with narrow, and finally the coveted wide-striped edition.

High cutaway or button-down collars serve these shirts well, and although I have found a lot of inspiration where these shirts are paired with ties, most of these are undoubtedly from Pitti Uomo. Needless to say, this may not work in Vancouver.

G. Inglese for No Man Walks Alone

On another note, who doesn’t like moody bedroom synth pop in the summertime? I stumbled upon local artist Diamond Cafe on the advice of a friend-of-a-friend at a party, and immediately took a liking to his work, which conjures the end of the night in a backyard soiree with tiki torches and cigarette smoke. Enjoy!

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