Over chocolate and fruit waffles at The Only Café on the Danforth, a magnetic Murray Foster reveals he’s committed his share of style-related crimes.
“Oh my god … Well, go to my Facebook page and you’ll see a history of unpardonable sins, fashion-wise,” he exclaims as his eyes widen.
His past is littered with ugly sweaters, weird patterns and oversized tops. And in high school at Thornlea Secondary School he even wore the same shirt two days in a row.
As a teenager in Thornhill (where he first gained notoriety in the band Moxy Früvous) he remembers thinking that fashion was pretty frivolous and shopped for clothing only once a year, whether he needed to or not.
“I really didn’t care how I looked, and I looked ridiculous a lot of the time,” he confesses. “But as you get older you sort of recognize the place for fashion, that there’s a use for it.
“Plus, you get embarrassed about looking terrible all the time.”
As the only Toronto-based member of the east coast band Great Big Sea, Foster says he started stepping up his look about seven years ago, by dressing more formally in his everyday life. He achieves this by adding touches like a tailored jacket to an outfit, which he says is also perfect for the coming fall weather.
Although Foster spends a lot of time on the road as a bassist and back-up singer, his style is consistent whether he’s on stage or off, especially when it comes to his favourite jeans.
“These Mavi jeans are serving me very well,” he says, adding that he recently bought three identical pairs. “In terms of touring, they look good on stage, but because they’re stretchy, they’re comfortable for just on the tour bus and kicking around.”
Foster says it’s important for men to know their proper size. He wore a large for years, when he actually needed a medium.
“I was mistaken for a long time,” he notes. “I was like, I’m grown up so I must be large.
“Now I’m big, so I’m large.”
He also believes that if men look hard enough they will find a store that suits them, even if they hate shopping. One of his favourite destinations for jeans is Body Blue at 199 Danforth Ave., which is near his Riverdale home. He also heads downtown to frequent Jeans West at 465 Queen St. West — which he says is a fairly recent discovery — and Grreat Stuff at 870 Queen St. West.
When it comes to fashion inspiration, he says he’s more likely to look at people for what not to do. He gives a shoutout to fellow musician Brendon Canning for perfecting the slouchy I-just-woke-up look, but says it’s something he just can’t pull off himself.
He can, however, be spotted in more casual threads when he goes to U of T’s St. George Campus to play in a pickup soccer league.
Shopping around for an outfit to wear to the Juno Awards in March, he wound up rocking a vest and tie with a dark wash denim jean, which he calls an old stand-by look. It’s also what he’s sporting for the day’s photo shoot and it encompasses how far he has come from his defiantly anti-fashion past.
“I would say over the last six or seven years I made a conscious effort to not dress like a homeless person,” he says. “It’s really shot upwards.”
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