Magnificent Bastard

Friday, September 4, 2015


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Ask the MB: Jogger Pants Trend

What Kanye Hath Wrought: Vince Leather Jogger Pants via Saks Fifth Avenue, $537.00
What Kanye Hath Wrought: Vince Leather Jogger Pants via Saks Fifth Avenue. $537.00.

Q: Please weigh in heavily on the jogger pants trend that is sweeping shamefully across the country.
— Dave

If we ever find ourselves on the tennis courts at the Red Raider Community Fitness Facility in April or October, we like cotton sweatpants for the first 20 minutes or so. We also endorse cashmere sweatpants under the following conditions: Intercontinental plane travel; domestic train travel that spans at least three states; recovery from any surgery that pushes you over your out-of-pocket maximum for the year; and house arrest.

Beyond that, we cast a wary eye toward sweatpants, loungewear, joggers, or whatever you want to call them.

Now, granted, in the era when we initially developed this wariness, sweatpants came in two main varieties: Shiny silk or shapeless polar fleece.

The new generation of sweatpants offers an alternative to such fare. They're cut more closely, they come in cotton, wool, and cashmere, and when designers aren't trying too hard to make them novel or sporty, there are an abundance of good options to choose from if you need a pair for any of the purposes we describe above.

And this current abundance doesn't surprise us — we see it as the inevitable consequence of aging millennials seeking relief from the unforgiving skinny jeans of their higher-metabolism youth. And of course it's yet another manifestation of culture's primary shaping force over the last 40 years or so — business casual.

But despite the significant advances in sweatpants manufacture, we don't find ourselves wanting to wear them more often. While $300 tailored sweatpants are certainly a step up from onesies, they still strike us as somewhat infantile when worn in nightclubs, restaurants, etc. And at work they cross the chasm from business casual to trying too hard (TTH).

Indeed, if your need to gamify your Monday morning meeting is so strong that you leave your colleagues wondering if you're planning to dunk on them or just share your thoughts on the Q3 revenue forecasts, you are spending way too much time at the office and not enough time engaging in actual leisure. Put on a belt, knot up your tie, and pour yourself a drink. Work shouldn't be that strenuous.

Tim Lincecum Saves Giants' World Series Victory Parade

Tim Lincecum Saves Giants' World Series Victory Parade

The Giants' World Series victory parade through downtown San Francisco was an alarming if not unpredictable display of brute toolbag power. Like a murderer's row of Jersey Shore extras, one player after the next swung for the fences and knocked good taste out of the park.

Between the "Kiss This Ring" sweatshirts and costume-jewelry title belts, and softball-sized watch faces, we weren't sure if we were watching a victory parade or a runway show for a Flavor Flav garage sale.

Even designated savior Madison Bumgarner did little to stem the rampant tide of toolbaggery. With his backward ballcap and orange garbage bag poncho, he looked like he was wearing a Darth Vader Halloween costume from The Nickel Store.

Luckily, relief finally showed up in the unlikely form of little-used pitcher Tim Lincecum. Though the one-time superstar only saw 1 ⅔ innings of action in the series, during a Game 2 loss to the Royals, his victory parade mechanics were in top form. No team colors? Check. No trash-talking commemorative sweatshirts or visible logos of any kind? Check. Well-tailored shacket paired with an artfully disheveled scarf and what looks to be a cashmere beanie? Check.

Put this guy back in the starting rotation, skip! He's ready to play.

Earlier: 7 Ways to Tie a Scarf Based on the Game-Time Temperature at Lambeau Field

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: What to Wear for Skiing?

Italian ascending K2 in 1954; Spyder toolbag in 2013
Italian ascending K2 in 1954; Spyder toolbag in 2013

Q: This winter will be my first time hitting the ski slopes since pursuing the MB lifestyle. What do you recommend I wear to look good and stay warm without looking like a Spyder Toolbag?
—Ian

Q: Great to have you back! I checked out your ski channel, and while I liked the suggestions, (especially the pants), I'm unable to locate a pair in my size. That was back in 2011, any chance on getting an updated recommendation for a full ski outfit?
—Matt

A: We keep things really simple when we hit the slopes, using, for the most part, what we normally wear in winter. (See earlier post on the matter.) There's no reason to get into a special synthetic sports uniform — see "Spyder Toolbag" look — unless there's a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract involved.

Here are some suggestions from bottom to top:

PANTS
Naked and Famous throws a lot of denim against the wall and some of it — like our highly-recommended Snowpant Denim — unfortunately doesn't stick. (These were nearly 60% off at Neiman Marcus and still took over a year to sell out.)

We contacted N&F and there are no plans to make more. However, Tate and Yoko have 29 and 30 in stock, and there are always a few pairs floating around on eBay and about half the price. Set up an alert.

UNDERLAYER
Smartwool Merino next-to-skin. This works for winter biking, snowshoeing, football game watching, or just sitting by the fire.

SWEATER
Cashmere turtleneck from 8. No, this is not Brunello Cucinelli cashmere. But we believe 8 to be the best cashmere value in the world.

JACKET
They cost nearly as much as a Vail lift ticket, but if Moncler is good enough for Italians scaling K2 (pictured), it's good enough for us to scale the St. Regis bar at the top of Deer Valley. But any down puffy jacket will do, and if you want to keep it stylishly Italian and starting with the letter M, YOOX always has great deals on Montecore, Moschino, Martin Margiela, and Museum.

HAT
Cashmere hat with a pom. (Similar to pictured.)

SUNGLASSES

Vintage Carrera 5425s in tortoise, from Allyn Scura, the official eyewear provider to Magnificent Bastard, and the film American Hustle (opening nationwide on Friday).

Michael Bastian Now Shopping at GAP?

Michael Bastian Now Shopping at GAP?
About this time last year Esquire ran a terrific little piece on top designer Michael Bastian, and how he couldn't afford his own clothes due to an expensive relationship with launch partner Brunello Cucinelli.

We speculated at the time that Bastian was shopping at J. Crew.

By going out on his own it was thought Bastian could lower his prices by 20%, but in fact it seems prices for his clothes have increased by about that much. Just in at thecorner.com:

* $810 for a Western shirt
* $2,915 for a blazer
* $360 for a pair of shorts
* $225 for a tank top
* $1,800 for a cashmere sweater with a ridiculous logo

That cashmere sweater (pictured) has us interested in the emerging field of Designer Algebra. In the Michael Bastian equation, a grey cashmere v-neck sweater is $300. Suede elbow patches are a buck seventy-five. The felt appliqué is 50¢. Put them together and it adds up to $1,800.

Ask the MB: Sweater Under a Blazer

Ask the MB: Sweater Under a Blazer
Q: Now that we're in sweater weather, what are the rules for wearing a sweater with a suit or sportcoat?
—Dave


A: We only have one rule when it comes to sweaters under blazers: don't look like Gene Siskel or Roger Ebert (top).

Instead, go for something fine-gauge in crewneck as demonstrated by Robert Redford, or our personal preference, the turtleneck as shown by Steve McQueen most famously in Bullitt (bottom).

While we're pretty sure McQueen could handle wool against his skin, we suggest opting for cashmere. If you have the bread, Malo is the obvious, best choice. If you don't, take a look at 8, available at YOOX. We've obsess over cashmere sweaters and have discovered 8 is the best value going, and this version is on sale for just $135. Fits slightly small.

Ask the MB: Fall/Winter Hats

Ask the MB: Fall/Winter Hats
Hi MB. I am into soft knit winter/fall hats, and really like this one from J. Varvatos. It's soft cashmere and looks pretty good without being douchy. Any ideas that don't cost flipping $168? It's a hat!
—Dan


A: We have a simple rule about winter hats. If it costs more than $100 it must be 100% cashmere. Maybe even 110%. Either that, or there should be one extremely cold beaver somewhere. That Varvatos hat, while a fine-looking chapeau, is $168 and it's only 25% cashmere. Not even close!

For similarly-styled, pure cashmere alternatives, check out the $75 Barney's Co-Op Basic Skully (top). When we strongly recommended it last year it was ten bucks less but it's still worth it. Same goes for the Portolano cashmere hats at Bluefly that are just $36.

Not that we're saying you should pinch your pennies when it comes to your head. After all, you'd surely spend $168, and probably even much more, on a pair of shoes you really like — and what are your feet but the day laborers of your body? Your head, meanwhile, is the CEO. So don't skimp! To that end, we like this cabled Bottega Veneta cashmere cap (bottom). Sure, it's $260, but like all CEOs, doesn't your head deserve a nice Christmas bonus?

MB Endorses: Barney's CO-OP Cashmere Hat

MB Endorses: Barney's CO-OP Cashmere Hat
It's really unfortunate Barney's CO-OP has labeled this $65 cashmere hat a "basic skully" because "skully" gives off negative vibes associated with TTH urban hipsters and age-inappropriately styled NFL quarterbacks. This is simply an excellent "winter hat," in cashmere, that strongly lends itself to artful dishevelment and fits nothing like a skully.

Speaking of the NFL, in handicapping lingo this is our F/W 2010 accessory lead pipe lock.

Tip the MB: Qiviut Hat

Tip the MB: Qiviut Hat
Forget cashmere hats. Qiviut is the wool of the muskox. It is ridiculously expensive and ridiculously warm. The material is thin and lightweight, yet warm enough to let muskox survive brutal winters in Siberia and northern Alaska. It's also more rare than cashmere. As an added bonus, the value of qiviut-made clothes goes up as they age because the material absorbs oils and becomes softer.
--Andrew


We welcome the tip from the Siberian Qiviut Producers Association, and weren't even aware this beast existed, since it looks like something that went extinct 10,000 years ago.

If you demand that your qiviut accessories be made in the USA, David Morgan sells a qiviut hat that's hand-knit by the Eskimo women of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers' Co-operative in Alaska for $170.

Ask the MB: Winter Hat

Most recent Brad Pitt newsboy sighting: August 2009
Most recent Brad Pitt newsboy sighting: August 2009
Q: I need a winter hat. The Chicago winter is fast approaching and I have been scouring both brick and mortar and the internet for a hat that works for me. It's difficult because flat caps seem to be way too ubiquitous. Also, every fedora type hat I have ever tried on makes me feel like a total toolbag. That leaves very few styles short of just your standard knit cap, which I sometimes wear. However, I long for something a little more unique. I have looked into the Stormy Kromer hat you mentioned last year, but I feel the baseball bill really isn't my thing. Any help you could give in steering me towards a new hat would be greatly appreciated.
--Steven


A: Besides being ubiquitous (in spite of Cuba Gooding Jr. signaling them as outgoing a while back), a flat cap vs. Chicago winter is the equivalent of scissors vs. rock. Same with a fedora.

In the winter months we advocate cashmere from head to toe, and if you can't currently swing a drawer full of $250 Maurizio Amadei cashmere boxers and $64 Paul Smith cashmere socks, start with the head and work your way down. This this 5+1_Annapurna ($98) and this Malo ($79) and this Bottega Veneta ($220) are all knit caps, but they're far from ordinary.

Ask the MB: Cashmere Pants

Ask the MB: Cashmere Pants
Q: What do you think about cashmere pants for my girlfriend? What about for myself?
--Kel


Loose-lipped hotel workers in Hawaii recently blabbed to the Daily Star that George Clooney won't go anywhere without his cashmere "security blanket." Say what you will about the fact that a 48-year-old man has a special blanket. George Clooney is one of the few people on earth who can get whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, and apparently what he wants is cashmere. If that's not an endorsement for the world's best fabric, we don't know what is.

We think cashmere should be a year-round part of everyone's wardrobe. So get your girl those pants. And get some for yourself while you're at it. But don't actually wear them until at least October. In the summer months, you want to limit your cashmere usage to blankets, lightweight sweaters, and golf club headcovers.

Ask the MB: Naked and Famous

Ask the MB: Naked and Famous
Q: I was shopping around in Toronto recently, and as I was looking around for a new set of jeans I stumbled upon Naked and Famous jeans (http://www.nakedandfamousdenim.com/). I really liked the quality feel, and the basic appearance, but they do seem to have a thing for skinnier fits. The jeans are made in an old-style denim machine, and are made out of fine Japanese denim. I thought they seemed MB-esque. What do you think?
--Matt


A: There is definitely a lot to like about Naked and Famous. Like you say, they're made from quality materials, they're cleanly designed, and one version even contains 8% cashmere (and an MB can never be ensconced in too much cashmere). It's the fits we have a problem with. Perhaps they just need taller models, but the Slim Guy is unflattering (top), and The Skinny Guy should just be left to The Skinny Girl (bottom).

Best to go with the shirts.

MB Follow-up: Cashmere Scarf

MB Follow-up: Cashmere Scarf
I wanted to update you on my efforts to knit the perfect scarf. You were kind enough to obtain the dimensions of the SOH Cashmere Scarf so that I could knit it for my dear son. I found the ideal cashmere yarn and have just finished the last stitch of scarf. My son will be celebrating his 25th birthday on Saturday and this will be a truly fitting gift to commemorate his quarter-century mark.

With sincere thanks, Bonnie


A: That truly warms our hearts, Bonnie. Now, if you enter our MB Cocktail Contest and submit an entry that your son will be proud to order in any bar in America, you will truly be en route to winning Mom of the Year!

MB Endorses: Malo Cashmere Sweaters

Malo Cashmere Sweater via YOOX, $225.00
Malo Cashmere Sweater via YOOX. $225.00.
From about the time the Yankees are eliminated from the playoffs to the time Yankee fans start thinking Steinbrenner's latest overpriced impulse buy will make a difference this year, we practically live in cashmere sweaters. And it's why we feel especially confident about our endorsement of Malo cashmere. If you've ever worn Malo cashmere you know what we're talking about. Their entry level v-neck is still $225 at YOOX, but this is a far better investment than $188 for J. Crew cashmere that starts pilling within 5 minutes of wear.

MB Endorses: SOH Cable Hand-Knit Scarf

SOH Cable Hand-Knit Scarf via Pamela Robbins, $380.00
SOH Cable Hand-Knit Scarf via Pamela Robbins. $380.00.
At least once in a man's life, he should buy a scarf that costs more than the most expensive suit at Men's Warehouse. We recommend the new 70 cashmere/ 30 superfine merino wool cable hand-knit scarf from new designer Song Oh. It takes more than a week to knit each piece. A Men's Warehouse suit takes like 18 minutes to assemble, tops.

This beauty is available exclusively at Pamela Robbins in Scarsdale, NY. And we also have a handy guide on how to achieve the "lofty wrap" look. SOH hand-knit cable scarf

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  • 2 oz Tequila (100% agave, blanco is fine)
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice

Shake all the ingredients and pour into a martini glass, rimmed very lightly with salt.


In-Depth Margarita (MB-Endorsed) Coverage:

Cinco de Mayo. Spanish for 'Margarita Day'

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