Feature: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant - LLEGANCE
interview charles desnoyers

Feature: Surmesur’s Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant

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On a gloomy Tuesday evening, I walked into the beautiful custom suit shop, Surmesur. It’s one of the trendiest shops in Montreal for young professionals, so I was eager to meet the staff and to find out more. As I opened the door, the manager at Surmesur, greeted me immediately. I must say, walking into that store feels like a luxury experience. From the wall of books filled with fabric to the large dressing area, there was definitely no shortage of class. I took a seat at the far end of the store and after a while, my interview guest, Charles Desnoyers, came to join me. Check out what Charles Desnoyers had to say on everything from his personal style to how he became a sartorial consultant at Surmesur.

The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant - LLEGANCE ; Find out all secrets on sartorial art from an sartorial artist! Here's my Charles Desnoyers interview from Surmesur. A classic suit lover and Pitti fanatic. The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant

AZ: Tell me a bit about the evolution of your style.

​CD: I’m in the men’s fashion industry currently, but my interest in men’s fashion began from watching movies when I was young. I used to watch a lot of movies and admire the different costumes like the vintage ones or the three piece suits in movies like The Gang of New York or the Godfather. There’s this little bit of magic in the suits you see in these movies.

I also always watch television series like Downton Abbey just for the suits. I love it and I even have suits inspired my Downton Abbey that I designed myself. It’s always about what story I can tell each day, which character I can be. Some days I’m Gatsby or other days I’m the Godfather. All these stereotypes come with rules that can be bent, but it’s about knowing the rules and having fun playing with them.


AZ: Is your love for men’s fashion what lead you to sartorial art consulting?

CD: Yeah, I think so. When I was in high school, I always wore a cool jacket. I always had that jacket as like a statement piece or tried to imitate what I saw in the movies, but I never had the money or the knowledge necessary to pull those looks off. I would try over and over, but eventually I fell into sartorial art and started studying it.

Now it’s great because as a sartorial artist, I know how to take the measurements for all the different types of suit styles. The Peaky Blinder style isn’t the same measurements as the Godfather style for example. It’s almost like I can be a magician because I now understand how all the different types of suits are made.


AZ: Who inspires your style and how did your love for fashion begin?

CD: I used to work at Aldo and Terra Nostra, so I was always a retail guy. Along the way I would meet people with different styles. One of my old managers, Romain Delègue from Paris taught me a lot about real fashion since we got along very well. After that, I came across a guy who opened a business on bespoke suits and I worked for him for three years in a row. He taught me a lot too.

Another guy who works at Surmesur and who has been in the industry of suiting for 35 years, Peter Lloyd, has the same style as me. In the beginning though, I didn’t understand why he wore high waisted pants. He’s really a traditional guy with the top hat and beard, a real dandy, but he is a big influence for me now.

The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant - LLEGANCE ; Find out all secrets on sartorial art from an sartorial artist! Here's my Charles Desnoyers interview from Surmesur. A classic suit lover and Pitti fanatic. The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant

AZ: Describe your current look.

CD: My look is more “sprezzatura“, an Italian look, more vintage. It’s about the high waisted pants, the bigger shoulders, and everything else is a little bit bigger. Since I make the measurements at Surmesur, my suits now fit perfectly without creases or anything. When suits are tighter, you tend to look bigger and it’s not as flattering for me. It’s been a year that I’ve been dressing this way.

My style used to be a lot tamer, but I was always interested in suits and dressing up. 10 years ago, I used to follow the Pitti Uomo images and I would put them together in albums on Facebook as inspiration. Now it’s crazy to think that I walk with the same guys at Pitti Uomo and take photos with them. It was a dream for me. I get to meet people from Italy, France and even Japan who have similar styles to mine.


​AZ: What is your take on trends regarding men’s suits?

CD: I’m not against following trends regarding men’s suits, but you know when you look back at old photos of your father? His suits looked odd and outdated because it was the fashion back in the day. However, sartorial art is not actually about trends, it’s more about what flatters you. If you have big shoulders, you don’t need thin lapels because you would look disproportional. However, it’s a rule that can be bent and there’s always an element of a trend you can incorporate.

You need to know the rules and why it is a trend before you can change something. I’m now in deep sartorial art, and I know people don’t get it. It’s a quest and I’m alone in Montreal doing this, but Surmesur allows me to dress the way I want. Since I’m not a lawyer or anything, I can wear colors and the type of fit I want, which is nice.

The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant - LLEGANCE ; Find out all secrets on sartorial art from an sartorial artist! Here's my Charles Desnoyers interview from Surmesur. A classic suit lover and Pitti fanatic. The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant

AZ: What do you wear on the weekend?

CD: I wear a jacket, jeans, and I always wear a dress shirt because I don’t like t-shirts. I like linen too and more sporty high waisted pants. I also wear the Japanese trend where the pants have a low crotch because I try to be more street, but it’s not always my vibe.


AZ: How do you go about putting together the perfect suit?

CD: It’s a story I want to tell. The next outfit I ordered is made of flannel. It’s more for fall because it’s a little thicker, double breasted, navy blue with chalk strips, which are big white strips on the suit, and a pair of crisp white pants. It’s the story of a captain and I know it’ll make a very nice photo, but will still be comfortable. People will understand the suit because it’ll remind them of the captains they see in movies. I also take a lot of inspiration from books; I like the Dandy and all these old guys with top hats.

How to style the best suit accessories here !


AZ: What is it about bright colors you love?

CD: In sartorial art, you need to go with your skin tone, hair tone or eye color. We base ourselves on low contrast, medium contrast and high contrast. High would be a darker skin color or one with yellow undertones. Medium is for olive skin tone and low contrast is for fair skin tones. For myself, I really like the lilac color on my skin tone. It’s floral, it’s more summery, it brings joy and represents the sun.

I have lilac suits, but I like lilac shirts and ties and I can pair the color with brown shoes or blue accessories. I now also gravitate towards pastel colors in general because it’s currently a trend I like and can pull off since I work at Surmesur. I would wear a lilac suit to a wedding too, as I know how to wear it. You need to own your look.

The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant - LLEGANCE ; Find out all secrets on sartorial art from an sartorial artist! Here's my Charles Desnoyers interview from Surmesur. A classic suit lover and Pitti fanatic. The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant

AZ: What are three styling tips would you give a guy not into fashion?

CD: Trust your stylist. There’s a lot of men that come here and don’t trust me because I’m a guy. It’s my job to do this, so trust your stylist. Also, go seek inspiration and look at photos, blogs, videos or Instagram. I’m not into all the other facets of fashion, but I will still read magazines and understand fashion. Subscribe to really good men’s fashion magazines like The Rake. The Rake is like the mature GQ. There are a lot of beautiful pictures, articles and information on real men’s fashion. It’s not about street style, but this is what you should read if you are into suits.

Check out the hashtag suits on Instagram too for inspiration. Another tip is to add touches to your outfits with pocket squares and ties. I have the impression that wearing a tie these days is like a rebellious act. I wear big ties to be a rebel or even small scarves.


AZ: Why did you gravitate towards Surmesur, as opposed to another custom suit shop?

CD: We don’t sell off the rack. It takes 6 weeks to receive the suits. It’s not just about measuring; it’s also about the position of the body. We are really ahead of competitors for that because me make sure the suits don’t just fit, but look flattering too. It’s really important for us to communicate that to our supplier in China. It’s about the position of the body, not just the fit, almost like a puzzle or a challenge each time.

The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant - LLEGANCE ; Find out all secrets on sartorial art from an sartorial artist! Here's my Charles Desnoyers interview from Surmesur. A classic suit lover and Pitti fanatic. The Exclusive Interview: Surmesur's Charles Desnoyers, Young Sartorial Consultant

AZ: Why is Surmesur great for young professionals in the corporate world?​

CD: Because it’s not expensive. You can get a really nice suit for $600. The lowest we sell is $450, but then you get polyester. I personally don’t like polyester because it’s plastic and doesn’t look the nicest. I prefer natural fibers. Not to mention that it’s about your image. People will judge you and if they see someone that doesn’t make an effort, people judge you.

In Montreal though, there’s a taboo about being well dressed because you seem to be on the side of the rich people. Everywhere else in the world it’s the opposite. I see men wearing awful suits, but they make a lot of money and then they go sign big contracts in their awful suits. It doesn’t make much sense. Thankfully, it’s changing slowly. Regarding the store, it’s semi-lux and you still get good quality for the price.

Expensive items worth the splurge here!


AZ: Aside from Surmesur, what stores do you shop at?

CD: I’m always at the thrift stores like Village des valeurs or Renaissance. I go to five thrift shops every week. I go to the ones in Verdun and Pie 9. I really love going there. I always find the most beautiful pieces of my wardrobe there. I find coats, overcoats, cufflinks, ties, even suits actually. For $6, I have found a nice Dolce & Gabbana suit that was definitely worth the tailoring. I always find something original in thrift stores so I’m often there. I even dress my girlfriend like a doll. There are more options for women in thrift stores than there are for men.


Conclusion

There you have it! All elegant young professionals should seek a sartorial consultant’s opinion when it comes to work attire. Hope you enjoyed the interview with Charles Desnoyers. Be sure to say hi to Charles Desnoyers next time you walk into to Surmesur. Charles Desnoyers works at the on in Montreal on de la Gauchetière. 🙂

Comment below what type of suit you like to wear?

P.S. Follow Charles Desnoyers on Instagram here and Charles Desnoyers ‘s store Surmesur here.

Adrianna Zakher
adriannazakher@hotmail.com

Adrianna the founder and editor in chief of LLEGANCE. As a professional, she understands that buying clothing for work can be a challenging task. Not only do you have to figure out how to style office wear, but you also may not have the time to buy new clothing pieces. She loves making feel and look confident at the office so they can close more deals, earn more money and accelerate their career. In her spare time she enjoys hanging out with friends, shopping of course, taking her dog for a walk and going to the gym.

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