Magnificent Bastard

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Win a Pair of Hydrogen-1 'Neptunian' Slip-Ons

Win a Pair of Hydrogen-1 'Neptunian' Slip-Ons

We filed our taxes. The Timberwolves' season is mercifully over. And the days are getting long enough to golf until 8:15 (if our country club wasn't covered in 2 inches of fresh snow). Life is good (except for the part about snow), so we’re having a contest.

This time we're teaming with our favorite supplier of casualuxe footwear: Hydrogen-1. Take our latest quiz, and you may win a pair of limited-edition "Neptunians" — aka the striking suede slip-ons pictured above.

If you're wondering, their rich hue is officially known as "Capri blue," after the waters that surround the Italian island whose beaches are so desirable it was attracting tourists even before cruise ships were invented. (Roman emperor Augustus had a summer palace there.)

The Neptunians are manufactured in Italy, in the Le Marche region, where four out of every ten residents are employed in the footwear industry and the other six know an awful lot about elasticized gores and textured toe-foxing. The Neptunians feature blue suede leather, a full leather lining, and a vibe that practically guarantees sunny skies overhead and competent bartenders near at hand. Retail price, $355. But one of you people is going to get a pair for free.

Here's how this works.

1) Take the quiz. The deadline to submit is 11:59 PM CST on May 15.

2) Everyone who scores 100 percent on the quiz and tweets the link will be entered into a drawing we'll hold the week after the contest closes. Winner gets the Neptunians. (Note: These shoes come in whole sizes 7 – 12. If your feet are bigger than that and you win, you will have to cut off your toes.)

3) We'll announce the lucky winner, and share this information with Hero Nakatani, the proprietor of Hydrogen-1. Hero will take it from there, providing you with instructions on how to order your shoes.



HINTS

1) http://hydrogen-1.com/collections/le-summer-2014/products/neptunium
2) http://www.universetoday.com/21669/temperature-of-neptune/
3) http://www.criterion.com/current/posts/240-contempt-the-story-of-a-marriage
4. http://hydrogen-1.com/collections/le-summer-2014

Challenge the MB: 3-Button vs. 2-Button Suit Jackets and Blazers

Challenge the MB: 3-Button vs. 2-Button Suit Jackets and Blazers

First I must say I am a great fan of your writing, and I am delighted to find you back.

With that said, I feel compelled to respond to your 3-button / 2-button post of February 18, 2014. I must politely disagree with your conclusion that the 2-button suit shows more class than 3-button.

If you scroll down the Kennedy-Nixon photo in your post so that only the suits are seen (removing the influence of the photogenic Kennedy and the smarmy Nixon), I think it is undeniable that the 3-button suit is more likely to belong to a higher-status individual than the 2-button. Nixon's 3-button could easily be a bank president, while Kennedy's 2-button (with Kennedy removed) could just as easily be the owner of a car dealership or the president of the local Rotary. Replace Kennedy's pocket square with a couple of cigars and you have Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack. Not so with the 3-button.

For the record, I am a committed 2-button man. It suits my build, I like the look, and I feel like James Bond when I'm fitted out in a British-silhouette 2-button. The 3-button has always reminded me of a lab coat. These personal distinctions may result from my early 1960s childhood, when the young and fashionable sported 2-buttons (such as Kennedy, later the Rat Pack) and old men and fuddy-duddies the 3s. But that was BF for me (Before Fussell, who, by the way, I have MB to thank for introducing me), and now I notice and interpret things differently. While I am not arguing Fussell's infallibility, I think the 'proleness' of the 2-button is evident in the way the V broadens the shoulders in the same way as (Fussell points out) do epaulettes, emphasizing strength and, thereby, physical labor. The 3-button wearer in the photo appears never to have done a day of physical labor in his life, and I believe that is the intent.

Even your example of Todd Palin works against your argument, I think: Palin is a physical laborer and could model a 2-button to advantage, yet he dresses (or is being styled) to appear higher-classed. (Forget Ahmadinejad, of course; he looks like he gets his clothes at a rummage sale.)

I am glad to finally get this off my mind, as I had been dwelling on it (and particularly because I had learned about Fussell through your site and have been greatly influenced by him). I have also long intended to write to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. And I absolutely love the new logo. Keep up the great work!
—Paul

A: We welcome reasoned dissent from our readers and it's clear you've given this topic a lot of consideration — we especially admire how you use Fussell's observations regarding epaulettes against us! That hurts. But to continue the discourse, here is a thought: If a 2-button jacket is working correctly, it doesn't merely broaden the shoulders (as we agree epaulettes do). It reinforces the overall V-shape of one's torso, which is to say, it broadens the shoulders while narrowing the waist.

The sort of hard labor that creates this shape, in our experience, is many hours at the gym, many hours in the pool, or perhaps if you have very good genes and disciplined eating habits, many hours on fairways or polo fields. It is a look, in short, that comes from (moneyed) recreation rather than full-time bricklaying or ditch-digging, which tends to create a thicker, lumpier, less elongated look.

As for Todd Palin, we agree with your analysis — he no doubt turns to 3-button suits because Frank Luntz (or some other top-notch GOP campaign consultant) has determined through extensive focus-group testing that small-town conservatives of a certain age equate 3-button jackets with bankers, brokers, and other corporate nine-to-fivers maintaining the lower rungs of the top quintile.

But who, other than Todd Palin's wife, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Chris Christie want to win that vote? Not us, and not you! As we think Fussell would agree, there's a difference between what a prole thinks an upper looks like, and what an upper looks like. In this case, the difference is as subtle as a single button. But as you have found out from your own experience, that single button (or lack of it) makes all the difference in the world. Keep wearing 2-button jackets, and keep challenging us to think more deeply about the choices we make. We appreciate the feedback!

New MB Feature: Craft Beer Name Generator

The culprit that started the craft beer craze.
The culprit that started the craft beer craze.

Yesterday was National Beer Day. In recent years, National Beer Day has grown as commercialized as Christmas, with all sorts of promotions, festivals, and special offers attached to it. But we prefer to celebrate it in the traditional manner, like our grandfathers would have celebrated it had it not been invented in 2009 on Facebook: By drinking Grain Belts from dawn, urinating prolifically, and complaining about progress.

Around the fourth or fifth pitcher, our conversation focused on the current state of craft brewing in the U.S., which, to our palates, has essentially devolved into the current state of craft marketing. There are nearly 2500 craft breweries in the U.S. now — an increase of more than 1000 in under a decade. And we fear that all this rapid growth has led to a craft brewing bubble, a gold rush of sorts, with more and more "brewers" looking to cash in on the craze by slapping a silly name onto the same overly-hopped plonk.

Indeed, we think some of these places spend more time crafting authentic, artisanal-sounding names than they do crafting beer.

We continued to grumble about this for awhile, but then we remembered our no-nonsense, can-do grandfathers. And we thought to ourselves: Would they have just complained about this? Or would they have taken steps to make the situation better, by building a Javascript app that automatically generates craft beer names by combining flavorings, yoga poses, and beer types, so brewers can spend less time marketing and more time actually brewing quality beer?

Clearly, it was the latter. So that's what we did too. Today, in honor of our grandfathers, we give you the MB Craft Beer Name Generator.

This isn't the web's first Craft Beer Name Generator, but we believe it's the best due to our proprietary brewing recipe: take a flavoring or preparation technique, add a yoga pose or bicycle part, and finish with a beer type. So, in an instant craft breweries can achieve memorable, brandable names and focus instead on making actual beer, instead of vats of isomerized alpha acid. A few examples:

Dried Apricot Crankset Dunkelweizen
Jalapeño Crescent Moon Pumpkin Ale
Fire-Roasted Crane Pose Blonde Ale
Multigrain Half Frog ESB
Lemongrass Rearview Mirror Witbier

Try it for yourself, and let us know what you think.

Ask the MB: Penny Loafers

Top: Original Weejuns. Bottom: Ferragamo Twist
Top: Original Weejuns. Bottom: Ferragamo Twist

Q: I'm getting some Penny Loafers. Which would the MB stand behind? These Rancourt & Co. Beefrolls, these Prada, or these Allen Edmonds? I like the Pradas the best, but you know, they're $650.
—Zach

A: As you probably know, George Henry Bass created the original penny loafer, aka the Bass Weejun, in 1936. Since you haven't included the Weejun as one of your potential choices, we assume you're hoping to find a shoe that puts a twist on this menswear staple. That's a good instinct, but to our eye, your choices are still a little too Old Footwear — even the Prada with its "high-shine leather" and the stylized orifice of its penny keeper still looks fairly traditional.

So we think you should double down on your seeming desire for a twist and go for something even more different than the archetypal penny loafer. While we aren't huge penny loafer fans, there are some things about them that appeal to us. Namely, no laces and no buckles. They are, at heart, a casual shoe, and perfect for those tough mornings-after when a shoe with laces just feels too complicated to operate — you don't even need hands to put on a pair of penny loafers.

Thus, when you're looking for a twist, we encourage you to focus on the "loafing" aspect of penny loafers. The thick crepe sole on this pair of penny loafers from our friends at Oak Street Bootmakers make us want to nestle into a bean bag while our old lady refills our hash pipe. And these sneakerized penny loafers from Salvatore Ferragamo look both comfortable enough to get a heart surgeon through a 12-hour transplant and yet simultaneously sporty enough to propel us to a relatively painless six-minute mile.

The Winner of the 4th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

The Winner of the 4th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

Here are the correct answers to the challenge:

1. Harry Truman
2. Winston Churchill
3. Johnny Depp
4. William Faulkner
5. Clark Gable
6. Dean Martin
7. Hunter S. Thompson
8. Humphrey Bogart
9. Franklin Roosevelt

Many of you scored 100 percent — nice work! But of course there was the tiebreaker question too, and that was, by design, somewhat difficult. Namely: What do these nine men have in common? No, they are not all Freemasons, and no, they are not all dead, although Johnny Depp does fall victim to an annual death hoax. One entry did correctly note that they are all white. But the answer we were looking for is that whiskey was/is their preferred poison, either drunk straight or as the main spirit in their favorite cocktail. Of course, bourbon is the main spirit in our favorite cocktail, The Magnificent Bastard.

Only two entrants got this correct: Andrew Klein and Maxwell Bernt. Because there can only be one winner, we needed a tiebreaker tiebreaker. So we flipped a coin. Andrew was heads and Maxwell was tails. And the winner is...

Maxwell Bernt

Enjoy your new pair of Allyn Scura frames &mdash. We recommend The Legend or The Sergio &mdash. Or perhaps put your $125 credit towards these new old stock Graceline Optical Darrens in demi-amber. It's your choice.

And, Andrew, while fate was not on your side in the tiebreaker tiebreaker, we'd still like to offer you a consolation prize in the form of a tie. Tell us which of our ties you'd like, and we'll send one out to you.

Thanks to everyone who played and we'll see you again next year.

New MB Feature: Pourcast

New MB Feature: Pourcast

Traditional weather reports are good as far as they go. But if you're in the midst of a killer heat wave, or a tornado is headed your way, you don't just want to know the current temperature or what the wind chill factor is. You want more information. Like what geographically relevant cocktail to drink. And that's what Pourcast provides. You're welcome.

You can't just create an app like this with coding. It took some traveling. And many all-night bouts of cocktailing. In the midst of our development efforts, we started experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome from all the repetitive glass-lifting we were doing. So there are still improvements to make. But we think this is a good first pass at pairing the proper cocktail with your location's temperature, cloud cover, and precipitation.

Pourcast defaults to Minneapolis. But you can use it for any city on earth (including places where alcohol consumption is illegal, so watch your step). Here, for example, are a flight of cities that start with "P" expertly matched with cocktails that complement the weather conditions that were in effect when we made this chart.

Paris
68° Partly Cloudy

Martinez
Poughkeepsie
43° Sunny

Whiskey Manhattan
Pyongyang
55° Clear

Boulevardier
Pago Pago
82° Partly Cloudy

Pimm's Cup
Prague
61° Partly Cloudy

Negroni

So give it a try. When a drink is recommended, click on the link for the recipe.

We're looking for feedback, so please drop a line to editor@magnificentbastard.com with any issues or suggestions.

Ask the MB: Spring Blue Blazer

Ask the MB: Spring Blue Blazer

Q: MB, ran across this while waiting for a cut this morning. Got me thinking of getting a spring blazer. Love the blazer and the look. Found this at J. Crew this afternoon.

2.5" lapels but it's only $171 this week with a 25% discount. Lapels too narrow?
—Eric

A: Are you trolling us? On the very day we lament the unfortunate Ludlowization of the suit market, you send us a link to a J. Crew blazer that bears the mark of the beast!

For the most part, we think you are showing the right instincts. An unconstructed, patch-pocketed blue blazer is an essential item in any man's wardrobe. And we like the cut and color of Brûlé's blazer, even if we're somewhat wary that it violates our prohibition against garments where linen retains a majority ownership stake in the blend.

But you already seem to know one of the big problems with that J. Crew blazer. Its lapels are so skinny they could have served as Matthew McConaughey's body double in Dallas Buyer's Club. We're also not crazy about its tint. The blue of Brûlé's jacket has a natural organic depth to it. The Crew version has a slightly electrified sheen that makes us think of Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell dancing the night away.

The overall impact? Even J. Crew's model is desperately trying to claw his way out of that Ludlow! Look at the poor guy's fingernails.

Our recommendation: Spend a little more than you were perhaps hoping to spend, and get into this blazer from Z Zegna — assuming it's the right size for you. If it's not, keep looking for something with wider lapels and a subtler shading. The gratification you feel when getting a great deal lasts for a moment. The gratification you get from wearing exactly what you want to be wearing lasts much longer.

Ask the MB: Where is the Best Place to Buy a Suit?

This Prada suit costs less than a J. Crew Ludlow
This Prada suit costs less than a J. Crew Ludlow

Q: Where is the best place to get a men's suit? Budget is 1K max.
—Jessica

A: As longtime readers know, our favorite place for suit shopping is yoox.com, a Milan-based e-commerce site. Three days ago, The Telegraph called it "the Amazon of the fashion world."

At Yoox, you will find loads of stylish, Italian-made suits for as cheap as a couple hundred bucks. And here's the best part: the site's vast selection and 100-country reach means that your guy will be the only man within his zip code — or maybe even his time zone — wearing whatever suit you choose.

This is in stark contrast to what we perceive as the Ludlowization of the young, upwardly mobile professional suit market — named after J.Crew's increasingly ubiquitous invasive species. The popularity of the Ludlow eludes us. Why spend $700 on a made-in-China suit with prop buttons and anemic lapels when you can buy Prada, Piombo, or Martin Margiela for less? Pick up one of these, and you'll have more than enough left over to add a tie from our store to your shopping list.

Ask the MB: Pool and Beach Footwear

Ask the MB: Pool and Beach Footwear

Q: Hey MB: Headed to Miami and Key West next week and need footwear for the beach and pool. That sounds easy but I struggle with open-toe and also need arch support. I've tried OluKai, Sanuk, and I am embarrassed to say, Teva. None have worked out. Any ideas?
—John

A: A Google search for "stylish orthopedic closed toe sandals" returns zero results.

But we have a couple of suggestions.

First, try to find a pair of Converse All-Star Chuck It mesh slip-ons on eBay. Arguably Converse's greatest contribution to footwear since the All-Star high-top in 1917, these are our all-time favorite beach/pool shoes. Sporty, light, submersible as a Triton 100, quick-drying, comfortable, and oddly enough, boasting better arch support than the traditional All-Stars provide. Unfortunately, Converse hasn't produced them since 2010, which is why you'll have to hunt for new old stock on eBay.

Second, since you're headed to Florida but stressing over arch support, we assume you're not going there for Spring Break — you sound like someone who is probably a little more seasoned than a college student, and presumably a little more well-heeled (and simultaneously weak-arched). So we think you probably have the means to invest in these Prada espadrille sneakers. While you won't be able to swim in them, they've got an insert, so are far more comfortable than most espadrilles that are set on a flat jute slab. And they will give you all the support your arches need no matter how heated things get on the shuffleboard court. Enjoy your vacation!

Glenn Beck's Scarlet Shame

Glenn Beck's Scarlet Shame

As everyone knows, Gilligan's Island was a product of liberal Hollywood's fervent Cold War dreams of post-capitalist utopia. On an Edenic island paradise in the South Pacific, an economically and socially disparate group of Americans pioneer a new world where plutocrats, academics, military men, and members of the hoi polloi stand shoulder to shoulder, as one. There are no supermarkets, no banks, no department stores, no fancy colleges, and no churches, just an egalitarian collective of makers collaborating and co-existing in Marxist harmony. The flag of this brave new "nation"? Gilligan's striking, Communist-red shirt.

Given this pedigree, we were surprised, to say the least, to see Glenn Beck, avowed defender of capitalism, selling this emblem of the Red Menace.

Like Jay-Z, Snoop Lion, and many others before him, the professional socialist hunter has diversified into clothing design. His apparel company, the 1791 Supply Co., features t-shirts, polo shirts, caps, DIY quilts, old-timey patches, and selvedge jeans using denim from Cone Mills. Thanks to Beck's efforts, Red State America can now purchase a special edition axe or a small-batch made-in-Portland notebook without ever having to step into a Williamsburg dry goods store.

Most improbable of all, though, is an item Beck is passing off as the 1791 Fox Hunt Rugby. While Beck has added a patch to the shirt that celebrates George Washington's passion for fox-hunting, that's just a smoke screen. Because strip this shirt of that patch, and it is undeniably exposed as the Gilligan, as manufactured and marketed by Columbiaknit. The copy at Beck's site even identifies the shirt's source as a family-owned knitting factory in Oregon that has been making clothes since 1921 — i.e., Columbiaknit.

To further obscure his agenda, Beck charges $29 more for his version than Columbiaknit charges for the standard-issue Gilligan. But can such superficial nods to capitalism really do anything to dull the brilliant red hue of Gilligan's shirt, an ersatz banner to communist ideals that liberal Hollywood used for generations to persuade impressionable children that a collectivist, cash-free, class-less society was the way to go? If you truly love America, boycott this shirt.

Ask the MB: Watch Bracelets and Straps

Ask the MB: Watch Bracelets and Straps

Q: I'm so glad to see you guys back and actively posting again. You all are hilarious!

I recently got my first metal/bracelet watch, and I'm not sure how loose or tight to wear it. I generally wear my leather strap watches relatively snug, but I saw someone at work with a suit wearing their metal bracelet watch much lower. It looked pretty cool going along with the rest of the cuff game. I wanted to ask, is a low-slung watch MB, or just sloppy?
—Bill

A: We hate to disappoint a longtime reader, but you asked, and we can only offer our honest opinion. Even by its name — you tellingly called it a metal bracelet — your new acquisition falls into the category of jewelry. Check out our jewelry channel to see what we think about jewelry, but the short answer is that 95 percent of what we spend on jewelry is intended for some woman's neck, ears, or nipples.

As for wearing a metal bracelet loosely, our feeling is that this just compounds the error. We grant that such calculated sloppiness might be viewed as artful dishevelment, but for us it just conjures hazy but unpleasant memories of handcuffs. Our ultimate advice: Nip this metal bracelet phase in the bud and stick to your leather straps (organic materials principle). And while we're giving out watch-wearing advice, a reminder. Keep the watch case to 40mm or less.

Earlier: Big Watches Favored Primarily by Toolbags

Ukrainian Update

Oleksandr Turchynov, at a press conference March 12, 2014
Oleksandr Turchynov, at a press conference March 12, 2014

The Leotardo we sent acting Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov has apparently not been able to break through the Toolbag Curtain.

In solidarity with besieged Ukrainian troops in Crimea, Turchynov is wearing his own uniform, The Michael Lohan, which consists of a black mockneck under a blazer. While we believe that this no way to run a country, we continue to support President Turchynov in his effort to maintain Ukrainian independence in the face of increasing Russian aggression.

The Monocle is Having a Moment

The Monocle is Having a Moment

Once Google Glass hit the streets, we knew it was only a matter of time before monocles experienced a resurgence. It's Newton's Third Law of Fashion: For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction.

So when some people start wearing computers on their faces, others will move in the opposite direction, donning crippled glasses. Inevitably, the monocle is having a moment. According to the New York Times, the one-lensed eyepiece is a certified "mini-trend."

Is this particular fashion moment one you should take part in? On the one hand, the monocle is archaic, Anglophilic, and even when providing vision correction, characterized by a senseless lack of utility. On the other hand, it's an extreme affectation, a facial prop for men who don't think bow ties are fussy enough.

To help clarify where we ultimately come down on the issue, we've created a new decider.

Ask the MB: Leather Bag for 21-Year-Old's Birthday

No. 236 Schoolboy Satchel via Billykirk, $385.00
No. 236 Schoolboy Satchel via Billykirk. $385.00.

We want to get a special gift for my son's 21st birthday. We are thinking a leather messenger bag. Recommendations?
—Erik

First, pour you and your son a couple of MBs. Then, sit down and have an important conversation about the virtues of forbearance. Why are you having this conversation now? Because we're about to recommend a bag that is currently out of stock.

It's from Billykirk, and it's called the No. 236 Schoolboy Satchel. We specifically like this version in Brown Dublin leather from Horween. Which unfortunately sold out very quickly and is now out of stock.

We think the name is a bit of misnomer. These days, schoolboys tend to carry Cordura backpacks, or if they're on the path to MB-dom, maybe waxed canvas. All-leather bags, on the other hand, are generally a hallmark of adulthood. And not just adulthood. To our eye, most all-leather briefcases read as "middle-aged banker."

That's why we like the No. 236 so much. It projects substantially more maturity and sense of purpose than a backpack does. But it still has an obvious sense of play about it. And it's not too big, so it's impossible to weigh yourself down with this bag. Finally, the No. 236 in Brown Dublin has an especially artfully disheveled look to it, which we obviously appreciate. All of these factors make it perfect for a 21-year-old, and worth the wait until it's available again.

That might be a while — we have asked Billykirk if there is a target restock date and will update this post if we hear anything. But the No. 236 in Brown Dublin has a timeless style. Indeed, in 30 years or so, we suspect it will be something your son will be able to hand down to his own 21-year-old. So we encourage you to encourage him to take the long view. And in the meantime, pour yourselves another MB. The days, months, and years go fast.

UPDATE: We've received a reply from Billykirk: "We may be releasing a few more of the Dublin in the coming weeks, but we are currently working with a new leather for the Spring season. These should release online towards the end of March."

Based on this news, our advice remains largely the same: Wait. More specifically, sign up for the Notify Me When Available option on the Brown Dublin page, then wait. If the new Spring season version appears before the Brown Dublin does, who knows? Maybe it will also be a viable option.

If you and/or your son absolutely can't wait — and simultaneously have truly long-term patience, J. Crew is selling a version of the No. 236. It lacks the overt artful dishevelment and rich character of the Brown Dublin version — but it is available immediately. And a decade or so of hard use will undoubtedly improve its richness and resonance.

MB Contest: Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

MB Contest: Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

Welcome to the 4rd Kind-of-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge, sponsored by our all-time favorite eyewear and sunglass outfitter, Allyn Scura.

THE CHALLENGE: Identify the nine bespectacled or sunglassified MBs above and you will be entered to win a pair of Allyn Scura frames ($175 value) or a $125 credit you can apply toward any vintage frames Allyn Scura carries. It's up to you.

To enter simply fill out the form below with the names of the men pictured, and, in the unlikely event of a tie, what they all have in common. One entry per person. USA only. Good luck. The deadline for this contest is Monday, March 31 at midnight CDT.

DIPLOMATIC TIES: MB Sends a Care Package to Ukraine's Acting President

DIPLOMATIC TIES: MB Sends a Care Package to Ukraine's Acting President

We freely admit our knowledge of global affairs is limited. But Ukraine has us especially baffled. Based on this photo of Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, Ukraine's Parliament appears to have a two-drink minimum. But no dress code?

As longtime champions of business casual, we love that tall tumbler of what we're interpreting as bourbon on the new Acting President's desk. But isn't there some provision in the Geneva Convention that says that when you're the leader of an entire country, you have to wear a tie to work?

Obviously, Mr Turchynov has a lot of things on his plate right now, and shopping for ties is not one of them. Which is why we're reaching out, in a gesture of global goodwill, and sending him a complimentary wool tie.

As the photos above document, a Leotardo is now on its way to Kiev.

Ask the MB: Shirt Pairing for the Buscemi Tie

The Buscemi
The Buscemi

Q: Hey MB! I'm going to buy your Buscemi tie tomorrow and wanted some simple advice. I was going to buy a shirt from Deo Veritas but was unsure what would go with that specific tie? I've been a longtime fan and always practice MB principles.

Thank you in advance,
—Jason

A: Much more so than our other ties, the Buscemi is a statement piece. Given the principle that the number of statement pieces per outfit should always be less-than or equal-to 1, the rest of your look should be quiet, a canvas on which the Buscemi's off-kilter charisma can shine.

In other words, we recommend it on a solid. But not just any solid. You want a distinctive play on texture here, pitting the yin of the tie's nubs against the yang of smooth, tightly-woven shirting. This leads us directly to the Thomas Mason broadcloths in white, baby blue, or light pink.

Be sure to opt for the sewn collar and mother of pearl buttons. It will add up to a fairly hefty $139, but it's 25% off through Feb. 28.

And take note re: the Buscemi. While we're having reinforcements made, there are just a few left from our initial production run. If you want to avoid delays, order it sooner rather than later.

WARNING: Onesie Virus on Verge of Turning into Epidemic

Do you want a piece of me, Tinky Winky?
Do you want a piece of me, Tinky Winky?

Like flu doctors at the Center for Disease Control, we have been grimly monitoring worldwide onesie activity for the past year, noting national baselines, tracking geographic spreads, and conducting constant lab work to test for resistance, etc. (No animals are harmed during these experiments.)

In the past, only infants and very old people in assisted-living facilities succumbed to onesies, but a new and extremely virulent strain has surfaced in recent years. So far, outbreaks have mostly been limited to furries, Norwegians, and the occasional celebrity, but field reports from Sochi last week have us worried. Commenting in the New York Times, Olympic bobsledder Cory Butner warned, "I guarantee this is going to catch on in the States. In three months, they'll be all over the States."

As the Times story graphically documents, even Olympic-caliber athletes in prime health are starting to adopt this deadly Norwegian fashion trend and deliberately making themselves look like frumpy Teletubbies.

Our research reveals to us that the best way to inoculate yourself from the coming epidemic is to simply wear a belt. Perform this one basic task of human adult grooming every day, and your body will generate enough antibodies to naturally resist the onesies virus.

We recommend our Adam Smith Cashmere belt — but any belt will do. Don't wait until it's too late. No one is 100 percent immune if they don't take proper precautions.

Ask the MB: Advice for Older Men

Ask the MB: Advice for Older Men

Q: Dear MB: Although the site would appear to be geared to a different age scale; a few style pointers for those of us in our late 60's would be helpful as well. We too buy and care how we look.

Love your positioning on multiple levels.
—RJ

A: The core MB principles you've read about here — artful dishevelment, organic materials, and understatement to name a few — will serve you as well in your twilight years as they do in the glory of your youth. Stick to them unwaveringly.

Beyond that, the best advice we can give you and any other man in his 60s is to make sure you are standing safely between Giving Up (sweatpants, Hush Puppies, C-cup manboobs) and Trying Too Hard (Soul patches, concert tees, hoodies).

With age comes wisdom, and yet perhaps the most common mistake we see from men of a certain age involves their craniums.

If you've got hair issues, accept it gracefully. Paul McCartney is hitting the juice so hard these days, Ringo is finally the best-looking Beatle. That stuff on Gene Simmons' head looks durable, stain-proof, and capable of handling heavy foot traffic, but it doesn't look like hair.

MB Endorses: Vanities Fur Bow Tie

MB Endorses: Vanities Fur Bow Tie

As our archives can tell you, we don't necessarily think bow ties should be illegal or even heavily regulated. But we do think you should wear them only in certain situations, namely summer weddings and black tie.

That said, we love this beaver fur bow tie from Vanities. In general, bow ties aim to convey the wearer's unique sense of style in a playful, unexpected, and attention-getting way, usually by using bright colors and/or vivid patterns. This fur bow tie, however, is simultaneously over-the-top and engagingly understated.

Also, as we have counseled in the past, artful dishevelment is a must when it comes to bow ties. And this one has the artful dishevelment built right in.

Even on sale at Barney's Warehouse, it's a little pricey. But don't think of it as a $169 bow tie. Think of it as the only bow tie in the world that can credibly double as a luxury shaving brush.

EARLIER:
Ask the MB: Bow Ties Again
Ask the MB: Bow Ties
How To Tie a Bow Tie

Ask the MB: Is Paul Fussell Wrong on 2-Button vs. 3-Button Suits?

Ask the MB: Is Paul Fussell Wrong on 2-Button vs. 3-Button Suits?

Q: Page 60 of Paul Fussell's book Class, last paragraph 3rd line down states "the two-button suit is more prole than the three-button Eastern-establishment model."

Just wondering if I shouldn't listen to this part of the Bible due to your stance on the three-button suits, at least for the average size man. And keep wearing the two-button.

P.S. Rest in Peace Fussell. He was a God among not just men, but gentlemen.
—Jack

A: Last week, researchers in Tel Aviv determined that camels didn't exist in Israel until centuries after Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph lived — yet the Bible mentions camels more than 20 times.

The Bible Bible, that is. Not Class. But sometimes Fussell can be fallible too. Two-button suits elongate the torso, and elongated torsos have long been the grail of the American overclass. Which is why yoga studios per capita tracks so precisely with income per capita in the U.S. (We are totally making this up but are certain it is true.)

An elongated torso helps accentuate the natural V of a man's body, and as Tom Ford has suggested in the past, emphasizing that natural V is the key to a magnificent presence.

To see this principle in action, consider the classic portrait of John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon above. JFK looks vital and commanding, the King of Camelot. Nixon looks stout, shifty, Nixonian.

So while our admiration for Fussell remains as strong as ever, our thoughts on two-button versus three-button are as fixed as the word of God on a stone tablet. Leave the three-buttons to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Todd Palin, and Tricky Dick.

Ask the MB: Robert De Niro's Eyeglasses in American Hustle

Ask the MB: Robert De Niro's Eyeglasses in <em>American Hustle</em>

Q: Hi. You listed some of the American Hustle actors and the sunglasses they wore. Please, if you are able, add the make, model and size of Robert De Niro's glasses to the list. They are fantastic!
—William

A: Robert De Niro is wearing Ray Ban Wayfarers in American Hustle. You may have blanked on IDing this iconic frame because:

a. They're not immediately recognizable when used as eyeglasses, somewhat similar to how Christian Bale was as a fat, bald guy, and

b. Since Luxottica purchased Ray-Ban from Bausch & Lomb in 1999, they junked them up with logos on both temples and the right lens, as shown in the middle image above. This frame is the eyewear equivalent of a NASCAR vehicle.

The vintage models, like De Niro's and Tom Cruise's in Risky Business are clean. Get these. And don't hesitate to use them as eyeglasses. The only clear eyewear role reversal failure we've seen is GQ Style Editor Jim Moore putting clear lenses in a wire aviator.

Earlier:
What sunglasses is Bradley Cooper wearing in American Hustle?
Did Jim Moore get his glasses at our high school algebra teacher's garage sale?

Magnificent Bastard Tie Sale

Magnificent Bastard Tie Sale

If there's one hard and fast rule that defines the menswear industry, it's this: What starts on the streets of Pulaski eventually trickles up to the runways of Manhattan. And so it was at New York Fashion Week this year — where we spotted a Michael Bastian tie (and blazer) that is not-quite the identical twin of our beloved Buscemi, but certainly a brother from the same mother. Same pattern, same nubbiness, from the same mill in Biella, Italy. The colorway we chose has a bit more blue, which gives it that playfulness that makes it work on boardwalks as well as boardrooms.

Also, our model is better looking.

In any case, if it was ever in any doubt, it is now confirmed: Michael Bastian has great taste in ties. And he seems to have fallen in love with this particular fabric — using it for a bow tie as well as the aforementioned tie and blazer.

But if you don't want to wait until Fall 2014 to get his tie, you can get the Fall 2013 Buscemi now.

And because we know Mr. Bastian has had trouble affording his own clothes in the past, we've decided to make it easy for him — and anyone else — to pick one up. Starting now, the Buscemi, the Leotardo (whose fabric comes from the same Italian mill as the Buscemi), the Kakutani, and the Buckley, are all on sale, for just $45 each. Yes, with free shipping included, this almost qualifies as a humanitarian gesture. But what can we say? We're artists, not businessmen.

Ask the MB: Has Selvedge Left the Building?

Ask the MB: Has Selvedge Left the Building?

Q: What are your thoughts on selvedge jeans?
—JD

A: We've been publishing for nearly 7 years, with over 1500 posts and dozens of features, and we've made a single passing reference to selvedge denim.

So you could say we've been indifferent.

Selvedge denim does score high on the MB principles of exclusivity and archaism — it's made on looms invented in the 18th century — yet we cannot abide or recommend wearing pants that get washed less frequently than the cast of Duck Dynasty.

If you're debating on whether to get into selvedge denim now, from our viewpoint it looks to be on the wrong side of the trend curve. In the October 2013 GQ style godfather Glenn O'Brien says, "What I think is changing is ... fanaticism for unwashed indigo." And the February 2014 Details (the one with Aaron Paul on the cover, p. 61) takes it further, arguing, "Trust us. Ultra light-wash denim is making a comeback."

We won't go that far. But we do think that rolled cuffs that expose the selvedges will eventually achieve the same cultural status as popped collars or side-swept hair. And we think that's going to happen sooner rather than later.

Deo Veritas Shirt Contest Winners

Deo Veritas Shirt Contest Winners

It is time to announce the winners of our contest. There are two, and they are each getting a made-to-measure shirt from our favorite online custom shirtmaker, Deo Veritas, because they a.) correctly answered all the questions on our our quiz and b.) were lucky enough to have their entry number chosen by the random number generator at random.org.

Congratulations, Paul Loya and Patrick Duffin! May we suggest something in purple gingham?

Deo Veritas owner Vinnie Sikka will be in touch with details, and if you feel like tweeting your good fortune to the world, we will not object! (And if you want to keep it all to yourself, that's fine too.).

Meanwhile, if your name is neither Paul Loya nor Patrick Duffin, do not despair. Starting on March 1 we're doing our 4th-annual (if you don't count 2013) Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge, where you ID famous people wearing glasses and the winner picks up a free pair of Allyn Scura frames. For April we're working on something with our new favorite shoemaker, Hydrogen-1.

Finally, we'd like to give a shout-out to the surprisingly large number of you who guessed that gin is the secret ingredient in our Buckley tie. Our tie manufacturer tells us it's impossible to create a tie with an ABV of 5% or higher, but given your seeming desire for such a product, we're asking him to experiment harder. For the record, here is the Deo Veritas Quiz with the correct answers in bold:

1. What is the secret ingredient that gives our Buckley ties their rakish confidence?
      a. Gin
      b. First-rate Ivy League education
      c. White wooly fibers that resemble Gandalf's beard
      d. Orlon

2. What was Joseph Kandell’s job description at his previous gig?
      a. Communications officer
      b. Consumer-facing legacy accessories specialist
      c. Book publishing editorial assistant
      d. User experience designer

3. How many cuff styles does Deo Veritas offer?
      a. 8
      a. 8
      a. 8
      a. 8

4. Which material is not used in the construction of our Pretty Nice Rack?
      a. Solid white oak
      b. Oil-impregnated bronze
      c. Eight-point buck antlers
      d. Medical-grade silicone

5. Do you have to have health insurance to purchase a Buscemi?
      a. Yes.
      b. No.
      c. It depends on whether Obamacare is repealed or not.
      d. Strictly speaking, no. But it couldn’t hurt.

Earlier:
Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge - Year 1
Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge - Year 2
Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge - Year 3

Shocking Miley Cyrus Photo Shoot

Shocking Miley Cyrus Photo Shoot

Photojournalism's most prized quarry? It used to be the rare and elusive snow leopard. In the last few years, however, a new grail emerged: An image of Miley Cyrus with her tongue fully concealed. And, at last, W magazine has managed to do it — not just once, but at least four times! We suspect camera traps were involved, but heartily applaud their tenaciousness and ingenuity just the same.

Michael Bastian is Moving on Up

Michael Bastian is Moving on Up

One hundred years ago this month, Henry Ford shocked the business world with his decision to pay his workers $5 an hour and limit their work day to eight hours. At the time, nine-hour days were standard and the average wage was just $2.40 per hour.

But Ford was radically automating his operation, which (a) made the work far more tedious and (b) greatly increased the number of cars he could produce, which in turn meant he also needed to figure out some way to manufacture more buyers. His solution was the $5 per hour wage. It made a boring assembly line job tolerable and also turned Ford employees into potential Ford customers. (The Model T cost $440 at the time.)

What does this have to do with Michael Bastian? In a 2009 NYT piece, Bastian exclaimed, "I can't even afford my own clothes." Two years later, Esquire reported that "Bastian found that he often couldn't afford to buy his own clothes."

In this month's Details, however, we see evidence that maybe the economic outlook really is improving, and not just for Chinese robots. Here's Bastian on what he looks for in gym shorts: "I have a hard time finding gym shorts that aren't too long or baggy or over logo-ed, so I really like the fleece ones we make in our own line."

How this news failed to make it into President Obama's State of the Union address we can't explain. But once again, America is a place where designers can afford to buy their own clothes! In our own bid to make 2014 a "year of action," we are following Bastian's lead, giving ourselves raises, and buying ourselves cashmere belts.

Earlier: Michael Bastian Forced to Shop at J. Crew?

Ask the MB: Marcello Mastroianni's Glasses in 8 1/2

Ask the MB: Marcello Mastroianni's Glasses in <em>8 1/2</em>

Q: Hey MB: I'm looking for the spectacles Marcello Mastroianni is wearing in the movie 8 ½. Can't find them anywhere, neither the name of the brand. Any clue? Or any look-alikes? Thx in advance.
—Amir

A: Trying to identify the eyeglasses Marcello Mastroianni wore in 8 ½ is as challenging and inconclusive as the movie itself. The eyewear fetishists at styleforum have been trying to answer this question since 2008 and not only couldn't come to a satisfactory conclusion, they couldn't find a suitable substitute.

And what's with that? At a time when scientists are routinely cloning sheep and exploring the possibilities of bringing back the Pyrenean ibex, you'd think it'd be easy enough to resurrect a pair of extinct glasses, especially when the market is demanding it.

But we digress. Our best guess — with the help of Allyn Scura — is that MM's glasses are a Safilo frame from the early '60s. AS sometimes has it in stock, but unfortunately now is not one of those times. The closest they have at the moment is this French frame from the same era. Contact them if you're interested. And if we get more definitive info on this 50 year-old mystery, we'll post it here.

Show Us Your Game Face, Dude! KTZ Tattoo Cap

Show Us Your Game Face, Dude! KTZ Tattoo Cap

This black tattoo toweling cap is one size fits all — if you're a Talosian. (Yes, we're really into original Trek.) It takes real talent to game-face from multiple angles while wearing a terry-cloth polo hat fit for a macrocephalic alien. Hats off to you, male model!

Thanks to reader Benjamin Thompson, who pointed us toward the hat and earned a 4-pack of Disposable Letterpress Beverage Shields for his efforts.

Have you seen a candidate for Show Us Your Game Face, Dude!? Send a note to editor@magnificentbastard.com and if we use it on-air we'll send you some Beverage Shields too.

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Mezcal Rob Roy

  • 1 oz mezcal (Del Maguey Chichicapa)
  • 1/2 oz dry vermouth
  • 1/2 oz sweet vermouth
  • 1/4 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur

Stir all ingredients over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


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