Magnificent Bastard

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

RIP Ben Bradlee

RIP Ben Bradlee

Sometimes legendary newspaper man Ben Bradlee — who presided over the Washington Post during Watergate — stood up to White House power. Other times he sat down and snuggled with it. Both approaches took a bedrock sense of self-assurance that every man should aspire to. RIP, Ben Bradlee.

NFL Flair: What's Acceptable and What's Not

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder, strengthening his marriage while on his way to a 42-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder, strengthening his marriage while on his way to a 42-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

We know the NFL would like to project a less sociopathic image these days. But in our book, wearing two pieces of conspicuously wholesome flair on one appendage constitutes an illegal formation penalty. Seriously, a wedding ring, in the middle of a game? From coin toss to the final tick of the game clock, the only ring any NFL player should be thinking about is a Super Bowl ring. You don't play for the Minnesota Grooms, Mr. Ponder. You play for the Vikings. Five yard penalty!

Magnificent Birthdays: Mahatma Gandhi

Magnificent Birthdays: Mahatma Gandhi

As a young, London-trained barrister, Mahatma Gandhi wore traditional business attire and pulled it off with aplomb. But it wasn't until he shed his suit and tie in favor of simple hand-spun sheet of locally produced cloth — aka khadi — that he emerged as a world-changing force. While rulers and revolutionaries alike typically signal their power and/or aspirations to power through crowns, brocade, epaulettes, sashes, and other ostensibly dazzling sartorial semaphores, Gandhi went in the complete opposite direction. His entire wardrobe appeared to consist of a bedsheet.

But if clothes make the man, it's also true, though much rarer, that the man can sometimes make the clothes. Gandhi donned a simple sheet and established himself as an icon of understated but indomitable will. His message was so true, and his convictions so strong, that he didn't need to clothe them in anything more elaborate than plain white cloth.

Now let us be clear here. We're not saying everyone — or really even anyone — should dress like Gandhi. If we said that, we'd never sell another belt or tie. But talk about artful dishevelment! Talk about not trying too hard! While Gandhi's wardrobe lacked variety, it had style to spare. And that's why, today, on Gandhi's birthday, we are breaking out the Bulleit and the Laphroaig and toasting the father of an independent India — and the father of business casual. Before Hef went to work in a bathrobe, before Steve Jobs prowled the hallways of Atari in bare feet, before Mark Zuckerberg taught mankind to share everything in a hoodie, there was Gandhi, showing the world you don't always need a power tie to be powerful. Our glasses are raised in his honor.

Ask the MB: Tie with Gingham Shirt and Navy Suit

Why Knottery?
Why Knottery?

Q: Hey MB. I'm going to a wedding next week; I was planning on wearing a navy Hardy Amies suit with a (Deo Veritas) dark lavender gingham shirt, black shoes and no-show socks. Would you give me some tie recommendations? I have been waiting for your summer tie but was thinking maybe a solid lavender tie might do in its place. Thanks so much for all your advice. Seriously.
—Cristian

A: With your Hardy Amies suit and Deo Veritas shirt, we suspect you're already going to be better dressed than the groom, and possibly the bride. That said, you don't want to outshine them too much — it's their day to be in the spotlight.

Thus, we are going to suggest something fairly low-key: A solid knit tie in burgundy. With a dark lavender gingham shirt, you're already making a statement — so you don't need a patterned tie adding yet another loud voice to the conversation happening on your chest. The tie we're envisioning weighs in silently but noticeably, with its rough texture and complementary shade adding visual contrast in a subtle but intriguing way. We predict that bridesmaids will be fondling your neckwear all day.

Now here's the thing about knit ties: The industry standard is to circumcise them and leave a flat edge at the bottom, and starve them to boot. DO NOT GET A SKINNY CIRCUMCISED TIE! (Yes, for the record, that is the first time we've ever used all-caps on this site.) You need a tie with a pointed end, and it must be at least 3 inches wide.

We looked around for a tie with these specs, and stumbled upon an online store called The Knottery. The name gives us pause, and so does the price point of their ties — just $35. These ties are probably not made in the U.S. — you'll need to spend at least $45 for that. But the Knottery's merchandise has gotten positive press from GQ, Esquire, Kempt, and many others. So we encourage you to take a chance on this burgundy knit. It fits our specs — pointed end, 3.25 inches wide, 100 percent silk — and you can apply the money you save on it toward a wedding gift. Give our best to the bride and groom!

Ask the MB: Shirt Buttoning Rules

Ask the MB: Shirt Buttoning Rules

Q: A lot of fellas are buttoning their collars all the way to the top these days, was just wondering your take & if the old MB shirt buttoning rules still apply. Just received my chocolate sandwich cookie cashmere belt btw, my waist is happy.
—Andre

A: Our goal here is style, not fashion. And style is ultimately about ... math. Ratios, angles, golden means, etc. In other words, good rules for style aren't just rules. They're laws, as immutable as anything Sir Isaac Newton ever put down in his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

So our take on buttons remains the same as always. For polos, N - 2.

When you're wearing a buttondown with a jacket and tie, button all the way to the top. If you take off your jacket, then ask yourself What Would Newman Do? The answer: Unbutton your top button and loosen your tie.

If you're wearing a sports shirt, there is no simple rule of thumb, because the answer depends on multiple sartorial and biological factors, including collar size, button spacing, and chest follicle density. See this post for elaboration, but in general, we encourage restraint. Just as you never want to go full Grimley, you also never want to go full Cowell. And even Newman himself can misstep when he starts heading in the latter direction.

Finally, we're glad to hear you like your belt. Thanks for your patronage.

Ask the MB: Is it Time for the Apple Watch?

Ask the MB: Is it Time for the Apple Watch?

Q: http://www.apple.com/watch/ ???
—Ben

A: As loyal readers know, we are suckers for a senseless lack of utility. And a timepiece that can't make it on its own from dawn until dawn surely qualifies as that. In addition to its presumably short battery life, the Apple Watch will use wireless charging — which introduces even more paraphernalia to the mix. As we understand it, to fully use an Apple Watch, you need an iPhone, the Watch's wireless charger, and, say, a Timex, to determine how many minutes until your Apple Watch runs down and to keep track of the time while it's juicing up again.

All told, that's not a "watch" — it's a time-telling system almost as technologically clunky as our beloved Geochron.

And yet here's the issue as we see it: The Apple Watch starts at just $349. And even the higher-end versions aren't likely to be that expensive — the Business of Fashion predicts a price point of around $1000 for the 18-karat gold model. In the realm of luxury timepieces, this qualifies as "sensibly affordable." And the $349 Apple Watch is downright cheap.

Throughout its history, Apple has always functioned as much as a fashion company as a technology company. (When it was designing its breakthrough product, the Apple II, co-founder Steve Jobs couldn't find a shade of beige for its case that pleased his discerning eye — even though the vendor he was working with offered 2000 choices.) Now, with the Apple Watch, it's leaving technology almost entirely behind and attempting to disrupt bling. For the $10,000 or so you might pay for a used, lightly scratched Submariner, you can get Apple Watches in a couple dozen different varieties. Or to put it another way, the 21st century finally has a Swatch to call its own.

In short order, these things are going to be ubiquitous, and that's why we want no part of them. At least until we've turned Pourcast into an app that sends you an alert every time you step within 100 feet of a bar stocked with all the ingredients that a Magnificent Bastard cocktail requires. Alas, unless someone invents a watch that magically adds a few extra hours to each day, that's still a ways down the road.

Adam Smith Cashmere Belt on Sale — Thank the Trivago Guy

Adam Smith Belt in Chocolate Sandwich Cookie (+ Trivago Guy) via Magnificent Bastard, $50.00
Adam Smith Belt in Chocolate Sandwich Cookie (+ Trivago Guy) via Magnificent Bastard. $50.00.

Sometime last year, the data scientists at Trivago figured out a simple metric for identifying potential customers: If you can't afford a belt, you probably are in the market for a good deal on a hotel room. Thus, an advertising campaign was born. In a commercial that started airing last year, a pitchman who would ultimately become known as Trivago Guy began captivating television viewers. Bedraggled, bleary-eyed, and, to connect with the target audience, beltless, Trivago Guy looks like he has spent the last 20 years draining hotel room mini-bars dry while leaving the pillows untouched. And yet who can deny the easygoing but absolute assurance he projects when explaining what to look for in an online hotel reservation service?

#trivagoGuy, in short, was a hit. But now that he has apparently captured the unshaven-and-beltless traveler demographic, Trivago has decided to give him a makeover. Share a photo of what he should look like on social media, and you can win a five-day trip to Berlin.

In the old days, of course, only new CEOs were allowed to wreck winning ad campaigns. Now, thanks to the democritization of media, we all can.

But the truth is Trivago Guy does provide an instructive lesson in when artful dishevelment stops being artful and crosses over into Stage I Homelessness. His rumpled hair? Fine as is. His three-day stubble? Also okay. His shirt? Incorrectly disheveled. He should switch from full tuck to semi-tuck. And most importantly, as London mayor Boris Johnson showed us in 2009, Trivago should indeed put on a belt.

We think our Adam Smith Cashmere belt in Chocolate Sandwich Cookie is exactly what Trivago Guy needs to perfect his look. And to emphasize this fact, we're having a sale, from now through August 30, or until we run out of belts, whichever comes first. Regular price $90. Sale price $50, shipping included. We're sure Trivago Guy himself would approve — he knows a deal when he sees one.

Wartorialist: Homeland Edition

Wartorialist: Homeland Edition

Ferguson, Missouri's police department has approximately 54 uniformed officers — and according to the city budget, it has spent more than $213,000 on "wearing apparel" over the last four years. That works out to just a little under $4000 per officer, and from the look of things over the last few days, much of that is being spent on camo. So we have to wonder — where are they shopping?

While menswear designers have been bombarding shoppers with an endless barrage of weaponized swim trunks and combat-ready varsity jackets for the last several seasons, the War On Plaid has mostly been a losing battle. Everywhere you look, camo is on deep discount. With $213,000, you should be able to outfit an entire U.S. Army division! So the Ferguson police department isn't just trampling on the 1st Amendment rights of American citizens. It also appears to be wasting their money.

Earlier on The Wartorialist:
Civilian Edition
Sadr City Edition
On the Street...Baghdad

Introducing the Secret Agent Belt

Secret Agent Belt via Magnificent Bastard, $30.07
Secret Agent Belt via Magnificent Bastard. $30.07.

When you're chasing extremely fit and agile villains up scaffolding in the midst of a chaotic but scenic construction site in the Bahamas, do you really care what time it is? Or is it more important that your belt remains secure? We're not secret agents ourselves, but we know a guy at The Sardine Can who swears he is — or was, until he learned a little too much about Area 153. (Nope, we'd never heard of it either, and of course that makes sense. It's three times more top-secret than Area 51.)

Anyway, Spiro — probably an alias — assures us that a secure, durable, and dashing belt would be an incredibly useful item for a genuine secret agent. So rather than give the world one more lookalike watch strap, that's what we've created. Based on the iconic color scheme of the watch band James Bond wore in Goldfinger, we present the Secret Agent Belt. Country of origin: China. Price: $30.07. Ships concealed in a handsome semi-automatic box, and available in our shop now.

Society's best defense against bad men wearing bad belts are good men wearing unusually stylish belts. Will you answer the call of duty?

The Incredible Shrinking Kanye West

The Incredible Shrinking Kanye West

In reality, Kanye West is a reported 5' 8", i.e. just a tiny bit shorter than the average U.S. male. And yet despite his statistically confirmed averageness, West, who appears on the cover of the August GQ, is also a rare example of a celebrity who apparently aspires to be smaller than life. Over the last five years, we've watched in puzzlement as he has shown an increasing attachment to an extreme form of sartorial foreshortening. The deadly combo?

* Tshirts that cover more leg than any dress in Miley Cyrus's wardrobe.
* A "bunched" pants aesthetic that should be left to Sharpeis.
* High-tops.

Decreasing the apparent length of your legs from both above and below frequently results in a highly identifiable visual brand — as both the Oompa Loompas and Mr. Magoo can attest. But while it works for them, are these really the role models Yeezy wants to emulate? Unless you are a grotesquely adorable cartoon character, we discourage this method of dress.

See the full-size, shrunken-down Kanye West from the August 2014 GQ here.

Earlier: Spread collars fatten your face and neck

Ask the MB: A Stand-In for the J. Fold Trooper Weekend Bag

Scout Series Navy Duffle via Wheelman & Co., $159.00
Scout Series Navy Duffle via Wheelman & Co.. $159.00.

Q: I am looking for a cool weekender bag with good organization. I found the perfect one in the J. Fold Trooper bag, but unfortunately it appears to have been discontinued as I can't find it anywhere. Do you know of anything comparable I should consider?
—Eric

A: We are sad to hear the Trooper bag no longer appears to be in production — we continue to use ours often and four years down the line it is holding up well.

The Trooper had a fairly distinct profile that was based on standard-issue Soviet military bags from the 1960s and 1970s. Alas, in a quick survey of our favorite bag manufacturers, we were unable to find any offerings that closely approximate the Trooper's doctor's bag-like shape in weekender-style dimensions and materials.

Of what we did see, we were most intrigued by this Scout Series Navy Duffle from Wheelmen & Co., which strikes us as a nice combination of durability and modestly understated style. The overall shape is more conventional than the Trooper, but the volume is essentially the same and we suspect the Scout is easy to pack. Silver hardware is always our first choice over the far more ubiquitous brass, and while there are no photos of the bag's interior, we like the sound of it. Multiple pockets (including one zippered) and orange lining (presumably bright) to make it easier to ID small loose items in dim conditions.

So until Putin annexes the U.S. and commands J. Fold to start making Troopers again, we encourage you to consider the Scout. And if you do go ahead and purchase it, let us know what you think.

Unsafe At Any Price: Jil Sander Leather and Calf-Hair Collar

Jil Sander Leather And Calf-Hair Collar via Barneys, $147.25
Jil Sander Leather And Calf-Hair Collar via Barneys. $147.25.

We have been watching this Jil Sander collar for what feels like years now, wondering who might pay $1480, then $589, and now $147.25 for this item. On the one hand, we were conceptually intrigued by Sander's merchandising innovation — she was trying to appify or unbundle something that had traditionally been considered a part of a shirt or jacket rather than a standalone accessory. On the other hand, there was the item itself, which always made us think, "Damn. Somewhere, there's a really toolbaggy, circumcised leather jacket walking around." Now, months later, the snipped foreskin, er, collar, can be had for a 90% discount. And yet sizes S, M, and L are still available. Verdict: Unsafe at any price!

The Wartorialist: Civilian Edition

Givenchy Camo-Print Reverse Inlay Shirt & Camo Trousers via Bergdorf Goodman, $825.00
Givenchy Camo-Print Reverse Inlay Shirt & Camo Trousers via Bergdorf Goodman. $825.00.

With professional peacekeepers like these Yemeni riot police dressing with the bombastic flair of a back-up dancer in some lost Janet Jackson video, Givenchy has decided to deploy all its firepower in its effort to put an R&R spin on battledress. The result: An outfit so garish not even the fog of war can dampen its destructive force. We expect to see these on the streets of Baghdad soon.

Show Us Your Game Face, Dude! KTZ Yellow Digital Map Print Mask T-Shirt

Show Us Your Game Face, Dude! KTZ Yellow Digital Map Print Mask T-Shirt

Male models of the world, a gauntlet has been thrown down. The guy in this latest installment of Show Us Your Game Face, Dude! has already proven that he can maintain a visage as emotionally inscrutable as Half Dome even when wearing a terry cloth hat that would prompt Zeno of Citium into a fit of giggles.

Now, he's taking on — and handily defeating — what appears to be a suit of chainmail that can only hope to offer protection against barbarians with a bad sense of direction. Ladies and gentlemen, our first Game Face two-time winner!

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 a Magnificent Bastard tie of your choice. (No kidding! We are currently sold out of the usual Game Face prize — Disposable Letterpress Beverage Shields — so the next Game Face submission winner gets a tie.)

Ask the MB: Reversible Belts

W.KLEINBERG Ostrich/Croc Reversible Belt, Navy/Brown via Bergdorf Goodman, $374.00
W.KLEINBERG Ostrich/Croc Reversible Belt, Navy/Brown via Bergdorf Goodman. $374.00.

Q: Wondering what you think about reversible belts like this croc/ostrich one — toolbag gimmick or useful wardrobe expansion technique? Also, that buckle looks strangely familiar.
—Jim

A: At first glance, a belt that efficiently moonlights as another belt might seem to violate the principle of senseless lack of utility. In this case, though, the utility manifests itself in the realm of style. That is to say, a reversible belt doesn't make any claim to hold up your pants better, or provide some other practical benefit. It just multiplies the possibilities of looking magnificent. And that's the kind of utility we can embrace. In fact, we have plans to someday release a reversible belt ourselves.

Nonetheless, while we conceptually endorse reversible belts, there's still the matter of execution. Regarding the belt you've got your eye on, we love the Caiman crocodile side. But we think the full-quill ostrich side should probably bury its head in the sand. In other words, we'd approach this one as a strictly one-sided belt if we were to incorporate it into our wardrobe.

Finally, yes, that buckle does look familiar. Same one we use on our cashmere belts. Good eye!

The Wartorialist: Sadr City Edition

Photo: New York Times
Photo: New York Times

With their covered faces, camo pants, and simple black tees, this strikingly well-coordinated Mahdi Army flash mob almost looks as if they are about to surrender to 2014's most hegemonic force — normcore. And yet note the emphatic gestures of resistance. Fluorescent explosive devices and sweatbands. Skull face scarves. We are astounded that amongst all the upraised right hands, there is not one clutching an iPhone and taking a selfie — because this is the most self-consciously fashion-forward rebel army we've seen to date. When Opening Ceremony decides to get serious about invading the Gap, they know who to call.

The Wartorialist: On the Street....Baghdad

Photo: New York Times
Photo: New York Times

Normally we steer readers who ask away from camo. But if there's anyone on earth who should be taking advantage of the collapsing camo market's post-peak prices, it's Blue Steel and Le Tigre here as showcased by this NY Times article. As ISIL runs unchecked across Iraq, shooting anything that moves, these guys are wearing electric vermillion and plaid? While we admire their commitment to style in the face of adversity — if not actually their style — we can't help but wonder about their choices. Even wrapping themselves in a giant matador's cape would be an improvement over their current outfits.

Jay Carney Keeps it Wrong to the End

Jay Carney Keeps it Wrong to the End

With the exception of his odd — and thankfully short — facial hair experiment earlier this year, White House press secretary Jay Carney has been a model of McDonald's-like consistency for nearly 3.5 years and 1,000 or so press conferences: the same Type A bedhead, the same equivocation and obfuscation, and the same structurally entrenched shirt and tie knot inequality.

If you insist on artificially boosting your jowl optics by wearing a spread collar, at least have the sense to tie a Windsor knot.

While Carney replacement Josh Earnest has a look that calmly proclaims "I'm the number 2 producer in the Topeka field office.," at least he understands the geometric benefits of point collars and proper knot pairings.

Earlier:

The only guys who should wear spread collars are Adrien Brody and the guy from Edvard Munch's The Scream

Visual proof: spread collars make your face and neck fatter

Ask the MB: Novelty Cufflinks

Ask the MB: Novelty Cufflinks

Q: Hi, MB! What do you think of novelty cufflinks?

Your fan,

Deb

A: We're not unconditionally opposed to novelty cufflinks. But we are somewhat baffled by the current state of the market. The last time we posted about this — in 2007 — we advised a reader to steer clear of skulls. Seven years later, that prohibition still stands. And from what we can see, you are going to have to do an awful lot of steering — the cufflinks sections on the websites of most major retailers look like the Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp remixed by Hot Topic. (Seriously, when did skulls start accessorizing so heavily?)

Skulls with crowns
Skulls with ballcaps
Skulls with sunglasses
Skulls with bow ties
Skulls w/ headphones
Skulls with blackface
Skulls with mustaches
Skulls with mohawks

Has the Day of the Dead introduced a more formal dress code? While we understand that cufflinks offer a man a chance to signal his sense of style in a understated over-the-top way, and even encourage that, we're a little alarmed by this massive proliferation of skulls. A cufflink is not as permanent as a tattoo, but that shouldn't give you license to turn your sleeve into a black metal album cover from 1993.

Our advice: Stick with novelty cufflinks that allude to an interest in MB-approved pastimes like golf, tennis, sailing, skiing, or eating lobster. And even with those we have some caveats:

MB-Approved Novelty Cufflink Novelty Cufflink Caveat

Golf-related

Must have a USGA handicap index of 5.0 or lower.


Tennis-related

Must have a USTA rating of 5.0 or higher.


Skiing-related

Must have a ski level of 8 or higher.


Sailboat-related

Must own one of at least 28 feet.


Lobster-related

You're hungry, but you don't eat like a toolbag.

Buckle Up. The Unicorn Belt is Here.

Unicorn Belt via Magnificent Bastard, $150.00
Unicorn Belt via Magnificent Bastard. $150.00.

Unicorns are typically presented as fancy, flouncy creatures, like show ponies in drag. As it turns out, that's not true at all.

How do we know? Let's just say that on an elk hunting trip in Jackson Hole last year, we got the surprise of our lives.

Hypothetical question #1: Is it wrong to turn the most fantastic specimen the universe has ever produced into luxury menswear?

Hypothetical question #2: When a weaponized ungulate is bearing down on you at 60 MPH, does instinct sometimes take over?

Okay, truth is, these questions aren't so hypothetical. One moment, we were placidly contemplating the merits of two-button suits. The next, Satan's hell-horses were upon us. Racing toward us at impossible speeds. Snorting like dragons with hay fever. Suddenly, it was the age-old story: Man vs. beast. Them or us.

Everything happened too fast for photos, but after hours of hypnosis, and in collaboration with acclaimed wilderness artist Darrell Bush, we have re-created the scene in oil and canvas.

Also, we have some belts for sale. A limited edition series of 150. The roller on the brass buckle: genuine horn. The strap: genuine hide. The raw materials were shipped to New York City, where a fancy leather goods manufacturer produced the finished product you see here.

These belts aren't just belts. They're beautiful works of art that you could hang on the wall over your sofa.

Or, if you're stylish and brave, wear them as belts. Why "brave"? Well, as the postcard we're including with your purchase explains, we've been undergoing some odd effects when we wear these belts. The most significant: When we belch, it sounds like a dainty wind chime. Probably all in our heads, but considered yourself notified.

As for the wall over sofa, we've got that covered too. Along with the original oil painting we commissioned from Darrell Bush, we've also ordered a limited-edition run of 100 canvas giclée prints. These are signed and numbered by Darrell, and come with a certificate of authenticity. A less exclusive but still stunning portrait of this timeless hunting scene is available on archival paper, too.

Lightning rarely strikes twice. So while it's certainly possible we may run into a pack of angry unicorns a second time, we have to believe the chances of a Series #2 belt are low. If you want to be part of Series #1, act now.

Ask the MB: Walter White's Eyeglasses in Breaking Bad

Ask the MB: Walter White's Eyeglasses in <em>Breaking Bad</em>

Q: I've find this website on Google and, let me tell you, I admire what you do. I've always searched a website that knew how to recognize the brands of sunglasses, eyeglasses or wardrobe. Really Good! So, I'm asking you if is it possible to recognize the brand and the model of the eyeglasses wore by Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad as Walter White. I'm not talking about the last frame he used (which is Republica - Montreal) but the classic iconic metal frame that he wore in the entire series. I know they're safety because they have some hooks in the temples which are required because of side shields but I can't figure it out what brand are they, I'm really becoming mad searching that frame. Hope you could be helpful for me. Thanks.
—Carlo

A: Carlo: What's worse? Going mad or wearing glasses that make you look like a middle-aged high school chemistry teacher? (Or a middle-aged high school algebra teacher? See our earlier post on GQ Creative Director Jim Moore's questionable eyewear decisionmaking.)

We'll let you decide.

Meanwhile, as you ponder that, we're going to hit you with what will likely be disappointing news: We have sought input from all our usual eyewear sources and yet are unable to come up with a definitive ID.

We can tell you that the frames Cranston wears in Breaking Bad are pretty close to these B.M.E.C. Big Mens Sam Eyeglasses. In fact, some people believe these are what Cranston is wearing.

We think the nose pads are different, so close but no meth pipe. And frankly with a frame this generic it is ultimately going to be almost impossible to make a case for any brand that goes beyond a reasonable doubt. If you really feel you need verification before making a purchase, we suggest you figure out how to contact the show's propmaster. That's what we'd do if we really wanted to identify a specific product and the world's most authoritative men's style website left us hanging.

Ask the MB: Shoes for Long Walks in the Woods

#17 at Minocqua Country Club, where we're fortunate enough to be playing this weekend, in between loafing and drinking.
#17 at Minocqua Country Club, where we're fortunate enough to be playing this weekend, in between loafing and drinking.

Q: Can you recommend a good shoe to take for an extended walk in the woods? I don't eat near enough Nature Valley bars to feel comfortable even trying on anything from Patagonia or Merrell.

Also, is there anything I simply must add to my summer reading list? Your past recommendations have only done me good.
—Donnie

A: Donnie, our only extended time* spent in the woods is either:

a. hitting recovery shots back to the fairway, or

b. tree skiing at Deer Valley

These activities involve wearing golf shoes or ski boots, neither of which we can confidently recommend for extended walks in the woods. Sorry.

As for the summer reading list here are three recommendations, one for each of our three favorite things: Golf, Leisure, and Cocktailing.

GOLF
Every Shot Counts
"Moneyball" for golf that changes the way you look at the game, how you practice, and how you play.




LEISURE
How to Be Idle
A collection of essays celebrating naps, taking a sick day, daytime drinking, and many other joys of life.




COCKTAILING
The Modern Drunkard
The Bible for drunks, in seven short chapters, each of which you can finish in the time it takes to consume a cocktail (this makes for a highly enjoyable sitting).



* Late last fall we took a short hunting trip to Jackson Hole — where we wore boots — and got the surprise of our lives. Much more on this adventure soon.

The Winner of the Hydrogen-1 Blue Suede Slip-Ons Is…

The Winner of the Hydrogen-1 Blue Suede Slip-Ons Is…

Thanks to all who entered our recent contest. This time, only a small number of participants achieved a perfect score. The question that stumped many of you? Number 2, the one about what beings on Neptune would probably wear if they existed and had feet. While we're sure they would appreciate the easy style and Italian craftsmanship of the Hydrogen-1 Neptunians, Neptune also has an average temperature of around -328 F (as our hint page revealed). That's even colder than it gets it in NYC, in the midst of a polar vortex — so the Sorel Caribou Reserve Lined Pac Boots were the correct answer.

Four of you got that one and all the other questions correct. Thus, we assigned you each a number and ran these number through the True Random Number Service. The lucky winner? Adam Dewitz. Adam, let us know your size and mailing address, and we'll connect you with your new pair of Neptunians, just in time for summer.

Those of you who came up short, take heart. We'll be announcing a new contest soon.

MB Endorses: Chuck No Show Socks

MB Endorses: Chuck No Show Socks

Have we hit peak talus yet? Not by a longshot. Until we see Marco Rubio hugging a windmill, we expect that exposed ankles will continue to exist as both fashion trend and climate change mitigation strategy. These days, the look is so widespread that even designer no-show socks exist — which, if you think about it, is even more oxymoronic than "clean coal" or "gas-sipping SUV." If people can see that you're wearing Paul Smith no-show socks, your no-show socks are broken!

We first endorsed exposed ankles back in 2008, when the Keeling Curve was still safely in the 380s. Ever since, we've been on an epic quest to find the perfect no-show socks. We've invested countless hours, spent more than a few dollars, and emitted a lot of carbon by commanding Banana Republic, J. Crew, Saks Fifth Avenue, Falke, Urban Outfitters, and Mocc Socks to bring us new specimens by ship, plane, and FedEx truck. But we've finally found a no-show sock we're ready to settle down with: the Converse Chuck Sock.

Why do we love this sock? Three reasons. One, they stay on the best. Two, they're thicker than all other no-show socks, which tend to be nearly as thin as pantyhose. (We don't want no-show pantyhose. We want no-show socks.) Three, they're the cheapest no-show socks we've found. (A few years ago, this wouldn't have mattered to us so much. But now that a significant portion of our clothing budget is devoted to producing clothes rather than buying them, we take advantage of opportunities to economize if they present themselves.)

So there you have it. Our quest for the perfect no-show sock is over. On a related note, however, our quest for the perfect white t-shirt persists. (Sorry, environment!)

POST-SCRIPT: Our contest where you can win a free pair of the spring's best luxury slip-on — the Hydrogen-1 Neptunian — is ending tomorrow (May 15)! Enter now, and make sure to have a pair of Chuck Socks on-hand to immediately celebrate your victory if you're the lucky winner.

MB NFL Draft Guide

1998 Draft: Ignoring the Button Indicator, More GMs Preferred Ryan Leaf Over Peyton Manning
1998 Draft: Ignoring the Button Indicator, More GMs Preferred Ryan Leaf Over Peyton Manning

Forget 40 times, number of bench press reps, Wonderlic test scores, and hours of college tape. If you're an NFL General Manager and still debating between two players at the top of your draft board, let the number of buttons on their jacket be your guide.

Earlier in The Great 2-Button vs. 3-Button Debate:
— Kennedy vs. Nixon
— A Reader Challenge to 2-Button vs. 3-Button

Ask the MB: Any Summer Wedding Ties?

Ask the MB: Any Summer Wedding Ties?

Q: Hey guys, was wondering if there's a new tie stock coming to the shop? Something for the in-coming wedding season.

Also Allen Edmonds is now offering made-to-order golf-soles on some of their shoes if you wanted a golfing McAllister. Thanks.
—D. Holden

A: While our design and procurement processes remain somewhat "artisinal" — i.e., we are still a little too apt to negotiate with Shengzen factory reps when we've spent the afternoon testing Pourcast — we are slowly mastering the dark arts of product development and do indeed have some new things on the way. Including a tie that we believe will work well at weddings, bar mitzvahs, and funerals of those you loved very, very dearly. However, because of the artwork that will be featured on this tie's tipping — see image — we don't recommend wearing it if you're the groom. (Why start your honeymoon with a jealous wife?)

These ties will feature a bold heart-to-sword regimental stripe and are made of raw silk — perfect for spring, summer, and temperate climates throughout the year. The prototypes are done, so they should be in stock within a matter of weeks. Check back often.

Now, on to the golfing McAllisters. If we were stuck in jury duty in a courtroom with enough room to practice our chipping, we would definitely consider these. They are a handsome shoe — but given that we we find ourselves wearing sneakerized footwear even in places where we might have worn lace-up oxford dress shoes (court appearances, board meetings, IRS audits), we can't really imagine wearing lace-up oxfords on fairways, even if they have the sole for it.

Our current favorite golf shoes are these Puma Clydes, which deliver sporty style but maintain a comfortable distance from Ricky Fowler territory. We recommend them in Castlerock. But at the prices you can currently get them at Amazon — approximately $30 to $45 a pair, depending on color and size — you can buy a different color for every day of the week and still spend less than you would on a single pair of the the McAllisters.

Related: Top 7 Ways to Golf Like a Total Toolbag

Ask the MB: Gear and Clothing in Las Vegas. Hunter Thompson's Sunglasses.

Ask the MB: Gear and Clothing in Las Vegas. Hunter Thompson's Sunglasses.

Q: Hi. In the Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge, what kind of sunglasses is Hunter S. Thompson wearing? Thanks!
—MP

As you may know, the portrait of Hunter Thompson that we used in our Eyewear Challenge comes from the cover of his 1979 collection of magazine reportage, The Great Shark Hunt. So that's one place you can get a "copy" of those sunglasses, but it can be pretty expensive — a signed version is currently on sale at Ebay for $5000. Also, it would be hard to wear.

Luckily, the sunglasses themselves — the "Davos" model, produced by the German company Rodenstock from 1974 to 1979 — can be had more cheaply. Here, for example, is a mint-condition pair, complete with what looks to be an alligator leather carrying case, for $240 plus shipping.

Our advice for you? We'll quote HST himself: "Buy the ticket, take the ride." Wherever those glasses take you, we suspect there'll be no looking back once you put them on.

(UPDATE: Our correspondent quickly took our advice and snapped up these sunglasses. Thus, the preceding link now routes you to a cached page.)

Ask the MB: A Leather Laptop Bag That's Suitable for Travel

Ask the MB: A Leather Laptop Bag That's Suitable for Travel

Q: First off - thanks a lot for all the tips!! Great stuff!!

I am out hunting for a great laptop bag in the under-$500 region. I really like the looks of the Billykirk schoolboy satchel, but it doesn't serve my purpose since I fly a lot for work, and the lack of any zippers and additional pockets makes it painful. Could you provide me with a few MB recommendations for a laptop (13 inch laptop and an iPad) bag which is also utility focused (a couple of zippered pockets, no belt buckles - takes too long at the airport, has a strap to attach to a stroller handle). Also I would like it to be sleek (I don't care for laptop padding - don't like the bulk) and would prefer it not being made with nylon. I wear open collar suits to work and am 26, so I would prefer it not being too college like but also not something my dad would use.

I know its a lot of requirements. Is there anything out there?
—TJ

A: If there's one domain where a senseless lack of utility loses a little bit of its gravitational pull on our hearts, it's airports. Translation: Sure, we get that you need fewer buckles and more pockets than the Schoolboy has to offer when, say, you're trying to make a connection at O'Hare.

For business travel luggage, we like Mandarina Duck. Much of its product incorporates nylon and other synthetics — but note that we're talking Italian synthetics here, and "avant-garde" synthetics at that.

For your purposes, we're going to point you toward the Sistema Workbag. A mix of leather, cotton, and polyurethane, it's as functional as it is sleek — lightweight, compact, but spacious enough for your electronics, with a suitably sub-divided main compartment and an exterior pocket as well.

Taking its aesthetic cues from 80s-era post-modern design, it has nary a whiff of the Ivy League or Dad's study about it. But it will continue to deliver timeless on-the-go style in today's airports, tomorrow's airports, and probably in whatever the 22nd century's architects dream up too.

At only $219, it's well under your price range — but that just mean you'll have more to spend on drinks and car service on your next trip.

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

POURCAST

BETA

Negroni

The classic Negroni is simply equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. You can do better.

  • 5 parts Plymouth gin
  • 2 parts Campari
  • 1 part Pimm's No. 1 Cup
  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • 1 part dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters

Quick shake or stir and pour into chilled Martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.


In-Depth Negroni Coverage:

Magnificent Bartender: Negroni

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