July 24, 2006

Wedding Tux Survival Rules and How to Tie a Bow Tie

This week's column focuses on dinner jacket faux-pas and rules to follow if you're renting a one.

  • If there's a space at the back of the neck of your jacket, it doesn't fit you.

  • Try to rent one size smaller and, if that doesn't work, go for one-button jackets which are cut tighter.

  • Don't wear a cummerbund - do you really need something that's described in The Oxford Concise as a loin band. If you want to simplify the point where the pants and shirt meet, wear a satin sash...on second thought, forget about it.

  • Rent it if the body fits and the sleeves don't...sleeves can be adjusted.

  • Never rent the shirt.

  • Never show more than three buttons or studs on your shirt when your jacket is buttoned. It's supposed to be a shirt not an elevator control panel.

  • Frills never, pleats not good, plain front shirts just right.

  • Belts or suspenders, neither. Your pants should fit you without either. Use the side tabs for comfort as the evening goes on.

  • Show an inch of cuff to flash the man bling.

  • Leave your regular wallet behind.

  • Bow ties are meant to be tied, long neck ties are meant to be worn at the office or with a day suit, aka business suit. A dark blue (preferable midnight blue) suit is perfect attire for a groom. Just pair it with the most elegant of ties: the Macclesfield - a tie with a repeating design of small circles.

  • With dinner jackets, white ties are for waiters, collecting the Nobel, and state dinners, and members of Duran Duran, unless you're marrying into royalty, stick with the black.

  • Wing collars look good on people trying to annex neighbouring countries, go with the more modern and softer turn-down.

July 11, 2006

Neglected tombstones restored in memorial project

JJ Lee tours a memorial garden designed to address the history of abuse at the Woodlands Institution in New Westminster.

The Woodlands Institution in New Westminster originally buried dead patients in an on-site cemetary. It's believed 3300 bodies are there.

Most of the buried were patients at the asylum and many were children with physical and mental disabilities.

While the Woodlands has been closed since 1996, a provincial inquiry concluded in 2002 there was a history of sexual and physical abuse at the institution.

The deceased at Woodlands were treated no better. Back in the 1970s the burial ground was designated a park and most of the tombstones were removed. Many stones were recycled for use in the staff barbeque pits and to line drainage ditches. Some were unceremoniously dumped and buried as waste.

But this summer, the site is being transformed into a memorial garden. Driving the rehabilitation is series of residential developments on the old Woodlands grounds.

Erik Lees has the job the recuperate the neglected burial ground, to be renamed the Woodlands Memorial Garden. He's a landscape architect based in Vancouver who specializes in cemetary and memorial design.

Erik Lees took JJ Lee on a tour of the garden on a Sunday morning.

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