Magnificent Bastard

Friday, September 19, 2014

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banana republic

Ask the MB: Funeral Attire

We recommend buttoning up for the ceremony
We recommend buttoning up for the ceremony
Q: I have to attend a viewing/funeral with my girlfriend for someone I don't know. It's Saturday and I am in college so I don't have much time to plan. What would the MB recommend for an aspiring MB?
--Matthew


A: Matthew, use this stranger's death as an opportunity to prepare for the next phase of your life: get into a four-season charcoal gray suit. Besides rocking the funeral, it will serve you nicely for forthcoming interviews, peers' weddings, and just about any other occasion that calls for a suit.

With the deadline just two days away, online and custom are clearly not options, which can be a good thing since they sometimes cause anxiety due to The Paradox of Choice.

Two acceptable suits available at popular offline stores are the oft-recommended J. Crew Aldridge, or, of you're a bigger guy or prefer a more traditional cut, BR's version which is $80 cheaper. Either way, just be sure to stay clear of Men's Wearhouse.

Ask the MB: What Color Socks with Jeans and Sneakers?

Ask the MB: What Color Socks with Jeans and Sneakers?
Q: What color socks should I wear with my white TST sneakers and dark-blue AG jeans? What's the underlying principle here?
--John


A: John, you've got superb taste.

Where we're from, white sneakers are on about the same wearing calendar as white pants -- Pulaski road slush really does a number on them -- which means the weather almost always calls for exposed ankles with this shoe-pant combo. But don't spare the socks. Even encased in stylish Japanese sneakers, feet without socks stink worse than Van Halen without David Lee Roth.

We've worn these for years and therefore highly recommend Banana Republic no-show loafer socks. They're now discounted so if you buy 3 or more pair they're just $5.43 each. (Choose white for this use, of course.) Another option (that we haven't tried) is young entrepreneur Philip Bunting's Mocc Sock & Co.'s version (pictured), which also come in gray and are only slightly more expensive than BR.



Ask the MB: Corduroy OK?

Ask the MB: Corduroy OK?
Q: Corduroy pants, yea (suggestions?) or nay?
--Nathan


A: Corduroy pants are staple of any fall wardrobe. Wear with confidence. Except, of course, for cordarounds. Here are three brands we've worn the cord right off:

Top: John Varvatos. Unfortunately these are a little difficult to find at the moment, but worth the search. Try eBay.

Middle: Barney's Co-Op. Barney's Co-Op house brand stuff is really good and these five-pocket cords are totally worth $125.

Bottom: Banana Republic. This isn't exactly inspired on our part, yet for $60 Banana cords never disappoint.

Ask the MB: Quickie Summer Suit

Ask the MB: Quickie Summer Suit
Q: OK, so linen is out, and I understand that. But what about this chino suit at Banana Republic? It's 65% Cotton, 35% Linen. Thanks. This is kind of an emergency because I've got a wedding to go to this weekend and it could be very hot. Other options?
--Nick


A: Online shopping is out given the urgency, which is too bad because YOOX always has something worth trying out. Anyhow, you can do a lot worse than that Banana suit, and the 65% cotton will keep it from looking like you slept in it. A couple of recommended edits and suggestions:

1. Have your cleaner take out the creases. We don't endorse creases, especially on a casual suit like this.

2. Do not pair with penny loafers as pictured. Check our shoes channel for all kinds of better options.

3. Expose your ankles (use these socks).

Ask the MB: Christmas Suit

Of course you'll wear yours with a collared shirt
Of course you'll wear yours with a collared shirt
Q: I am planning on pooling some X-mas money together to purchase a suit (the purchase would double this MB-in-training's collection). I am looking for something that says I'm ready for the position/adventure. I've asked for gift certificates to Banana Republic from a couple people, so if you had a few suggestions, maybe you could start there.
--Matt


A: Matt, for a fella who's just starting out you could do a lot worse than a Banana Republic suit. Just make sure it's a two-button version, and nothing too trendy like the 3 external jacket pockets they're showing on some of their Monogram line.

One other place you should explore before making a decision is yoox.com. They have better, more unique suits than BR for equivalent prices. Even the least expensive Banana pant-jacket combo is going to run you $475. For an additional $100 you could get into this Costume National suit (originally $1000) that would announce very clearly you're ready for the adventure, and set you apart from the competition.

Ask the MB: Black Coat

Ask the MB: Black Coat
Q: Need a good black winter coat. Got any favorites?
--Tripp


A: Tripp, your email comes from Duke University, so we'll assume you're at least somewhat on a college guy's budget, and it ain't like Durham gets that nippy even in January. Anyhow, Spiewak always provides great value. For the price ($132.00) we sure like their McKenzie Coat. For a little more dough, this season Banana Republic has a surprisingly good peacoat. If you've been saving up your beer money, for whatever reason, Diesel makes Dean's List.

Spring/Summer Looks. MB Endorses: Exposed Ankles

Spring/Summer Looks. MB Endorses: Exposed Ankles
Now that spring's arrived it's time to consider what to do with your footwear/sockwear. The cashmere Paul Smith socks have been filed away in the "seasonal" drawer, so now what? MB recommends letting your ankles feel the increasingly warmer breezes and the splash of April showers ... not to mention, nothing quite exudes the devil-may-care raffishism we're all trying to achieve than exposing one's ankles, especially in the workplace.

(If you decide to try this look we insist on a pair of loafer socks so your shoes don't smell like the locker room at the Y after 5 minutes.)

Ask the MB

Ask the MB
Q: Dear MB: I like to think of myself as an MB in training and the one thing that I want for Christmas is a new coat. Preferably one as MB-like as possible. Does this Three Quarter Coat from Banana qualify? Or should I go the moleskin route? I need your guidance!
—Chauncy


A: Well, given the two choices, go with the wool/cashmere option. The moleskin version looks like something ol' granddad would wear (if he were still alive). Chauncy, we gotta tell ya: on a lark we ordered a couple of coats from Banana this season and were appalled by both the quality and the completely un-MB-like fit. Use Banana only for the basics, like this wonderful pair of cashmere socks.

The Incredible Shrinking Collar

BR monogram barrel cuff textured-stripe shirt via Banana Republic, $98.00
BR monogram barrel cuff textured-stripe shirt via Banana Republic. $98.00.
First Banana Republic unleashed the spread collar on unsuspecting twenty-something male professionals. Now with the new "BR Monogram" line they're removing even more material with the "cutaway collar" shirt. Soon the collar may disappear entirely. Henley dress shirts anyone? Avoid this trend, and no matter how long your face, stick with the point collar, preferably a high one like this beautiful YSL version (inset).

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