Style Icon: Ivan Coyote

Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of ten books, the creator of four short films, and has released three CDs that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and long-time road dog, and over the last eighteen years has become an audience favourite at storytelling, writer’s, film, poetry, and folk music festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam.


The Globe and Mail newspaper called Coyote “a natural-born storyteller” and the Ottawa Xpress once said that “Coyote is to Canadian literature what kd lang is to country music: a beautifully odd fixture.”

Ivan often grapples with the complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity in their work, as well as topics such as family, class, social justice and queer liberation, but always with a generous heart, a quick wit, and the nuanced and finely-honed timing of a gifted raconteur. Ivan’s stories remind of us of our own fallible and imperfect humanity while at the same time inspiring us to change the world.

Ivan’s talents are matched equally by their amazing classic dapper style, which has been coveted by our readers for years. We finally connected with Ivan to get their insight and advice on achieving a stylish, tailored look.



Ivan’s Advice:
My advice on clothes? I shop alone or with a trusted friend whose style I admire, or my partner. I pick a day when I am in generally good spirits, and when I have a little time. I usually start with a jacket that I really like and that fits well, and I build my outfit around that. I like shirts from Hugo Boss; They are expensive, but I see them as an investment. Good quality and classic cuts.

I have also had pretty fine luck combing the sales racks at The Bay (Canadian department store) and have often found great designer dress shirts there on a steep mark down. I like dark jeans with a narrow leg, and I always always get them hemmed properly. There is nothing worse than a great outfit with too-long hems and the jeans or pants all bunched up or getting stepped on. If you can, find a denim with a bit of spandex in it your jeans will stretch a little and be way more comfortable and wearable. I don’t know exactly who can walk around with that stiff raw denim between their thighs in the summer, but it sure isn’t me. Top Man makes a style of pants called “skinny carrot” that have a narrow leg, but with room for a bit of something in the ass area. They come in a wide variety of colours, and they won’t kill your wallet dead.


I like a thin tie. Then come the details: pocket squares, cuff links, tie clips, funky socks. Go for it. They don’t call it dressing up for nothing.

And find a good tailor. Get your sleeves shortened if you need to. Shorten the tails of your shirt if you have to buy a bigger size to allow room for your chest. Take in the waist of a bigger pair of pants to allow for hips if you got them, like I do. And don’t let yourself get discouraged. Back in my early days as an artist, when I was really struggling financially, I still found some fantastic suits in second-hand stores, and then got them altered to fit me. The world is going to try to squeeze you into so many things that do not fit you, but your clothes do not have to be one of them. And a really good quality clothes iron is one of your best friends. Be sharp. Be pressed. Take pride, and have fun with it.


Ivan’s 411:

Photography by Robin Toma Photography

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  • Getting clothes tailored changed the way I dressed completely. Now I don’t have to settle for what fits me, I can buy whatever clothing item catches my eye and *make* it fit me.

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