Talking with David Cameron in 2008, and possibly sitting on a future shirt
Nelson Mandela was a great man with an indomitable spirit. From 1962 to 1990, he was imprisoned by the racist South African government in a bleak concrete box. Then, when he was finally released, he was immediately put under house arrest by Joan Rivers' pajamas.
Just kidding. Mr. Mandela's signature look — aka the "Madibi Shirt" — arose when a young fashion designer named Desre Buirski gave a hand-painted silk shirt to one of Mandela's bodyguards in 1994, a few weeks before Mandela became President of South Africa. Soon thereafter, Buirski became Mandela's official shirtmaker, and as he guided his country through post-apartheid reform, he also liberated South African politicians from wearing drab gray suits. Only rarely, it seems, did he wear the same shirt twice. RIP, Mr. Mandela.
Combining our love of chronic traumatic encephalopathy-inducing bloodsport (aka, the NFL) with our passion for style, we present the first in a regular series.
Each week we break down the postgame press conference film and pick the best and worst-performing quarterbacks from around the league. We take their actual Passer Rating, multiply it by the proprietary Magnificent Bastard Dresser Rating, to arrive at their Total Magnificent Bastard Quarterback Rating.
Total Magnificent Bastard Quarterback Rating: 134.6
NFL quarterback or professor at University of Phoenix (if they had professors)? Palmer is the MB Player of the Week thanks to his unstructured, heartily-lapeled corduroy blazer and studied artful dishevelment. This is how we dress.
We admire Fitzpatrick because he was doing the lumberjack, er, lumberback for years before the look was in vogue. And because he recorded the highest-ever Wonderlic score by a quarterback. Yet he shows the pitfalls involved in wearing a machine-washed fused-collar shirt, and his lapels need to hit the weight room.
Who put Shaggy in a suit? MB coaching tip: If you bear a striking resemblance to a 1970s cartoon character, avoid Peyton Manning's "Toner Cartridge Sales Rep" look and go for a post-game look with a little more grooviness, like this.
Before making the pick, Team Romney should've looked less for skeletons in Ryan's closet and more at the clothes.
Four years ago the RNC spent $150,000 to get Sarah Palin out of polar fleece. You'd think this time around they could've spent a few grand on a style consultation and a tailor. The GOP is clearly getting serious about fiscal restraint.
At any rate, the point of this post isn't to go negative, but to highlight the positive of Ryan's obvious thing for gingham, a pattern we highly endorse. Since the Romney announcement on August 11, Ryan has been on the stump for seven days and appeared in gingham in four of them; a gingham-to-appearance percentage of a whopping 57%, even exceeding our own.
Q: I am madly in love with Ryan Lochte but read on MSNBC that he has 130 pairs of shoes. This is roughly 100 more pairs of shoes than I own. Which team IS he on? —Elizabeth
A: 130 pairs is a lot of shoes, but well below the well-known homosexual shoe-ownership cutoff of 150 pairs. Dude is straight.
While he would bring more shoes into the relationship than you, we'd be far more worried about his taste level than his sneaker collection. In an interview with Women's Health Magazinehe says his celebrity crush is Carmen Electra. This answer was possibly appropriate 15 years ago, when Lochte was 13 and Electra was on Baywatch and in Playboy pictorials. Now ... disturbingly weird old chick fetish!
On Saturday Mark Zuckerberg gave each of his hoodies the day off and donned a suit and tie for his marriage to Priscilla Chan. Zuck impresses with a tie that echoes his jacket's lapel width, the tie's length is just about perfect (the tip nipping at his belt buckle), and he even wore actual shoes instead of the standard Adidas Adilettes (bottom).
But we're definitely not a fan of the wide spread/cutaway collar — a style that works only on Adrian Brody — and the mistake is compounded by pairing it with a four-in-hand knot when a Windsor is called for. Zuckerberg's loosened it up for this pic but when fully tied, a four-in-hand combined with a cutaway or wide spread can expose the part of the tie that's supposed to be under the collar, distracting from the beautiful asymmetry of the knot and, in general, looking like shit. Like this poor bastard on Style Forum.
Q: What's your opinion of dress shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt? —Chase
A: Regular readers know we're raging Anglophiliacs but there are some notable exceptions, like the food, the Windsor knot, and the shirts from Jermyn Street menswear outfitters like Charles Tyrwhitt.
Besides the Windsor knot-ready collar design, their shirts all look far too neat due to the stiff, fused interlinings that inhibit artful dishevelment, an MB principle even more dear than Anglophilia.
By contrast, dress shirts with sewn interlinings (or no interlining at all) aren't just more comfortable, they lend themselves to AD, their collars sometimes taking on as much personality as the person wearing them.
To see what we mean, take a look at Cary Grant's shirt collar in North by Northwest, shot before the invention of fusing. In our view, Grant's shirt from this movie should be equally as revered and admired as his Kilgour suit or Persol sunglasses.
Early last year we wondered if Bubba Watson was a toolbag with MB tendencies or vice versa.
Now we're pretty sure it's the latter.
This season Watson combined a pink head with his pink-shafted Ping G20 driver to support Breast Cancer Awareness (Ping donates $300 for every 300 yard drive Watson hits), and at the Masters he just won he wore the same white-on-white outfit for four days to raise money for Fresh Start, a California charity that provides cosmetic reconstructive surgery for children with physical defects.
Now Watson clothing sponsor Travis Mathew is selling a $200 white polo and belt package with 100% of the proceeds going to Fresh Start. If they sell out, an additional $50,000 will be donated to the California-based cancer research center City of Hope.
While both the polo and belt badly violate the MB principle of legible clothing, we're in, and the Pulaski Goodwill soon be receiving a NWT Travis Mathew polo shirt and belt.
Q: So my cheap Target sunglasses finally broke recently, and I'm upgrading to Randolph aviators. In regards to frame style, my instinct screams bayonet, but I've noticed toolbag frames are usually bayonet. For the up-and-coming, detail-driven magnificent bastard, what is your recommendation? —Sky
A: Never ignore a screaming instinct, we always say. They happen to be right a lot.
While we agree that some toolbag frames are bayonet, Randolph Engineering aviators with bayonet temples are worn by two of our all-time favorite fictional characters: Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now (upper left) and Don Draper in Mad Men (upper right), both of whom would certainly qualify as MBs.
As long as you don't shave your head into a mohawk, wear an oversized Army jacket, and plan on assassinating a presidential candidate, you're good.
A: We absolutely love the idea behind Arnie Wear — who doesn't want to look like Arnold Palmer did in the '60s — it's the execution we have a problem with, with too-long sleeves on the polos, too-long inseams on the shorts, and far too much nylon and quick-dry polyester on everything.
The King never wore quick-dry polyester.
One item we'll be trying out, however, is the Leaderboard dress pant in (mostly) cotton, with a low rise and gentle boot cut (inset). Good golf pants are hard to find, and it looks like you could wear these into the office after a round (unless you get them in Lemon). Plus they'll go great with the Sambas.
Long before Arnie Wear came along, what we've done to put our twist on the '60s Palmer look is find a pair of casual white pants on YOOX, a slim-fitting banded-cuff polo from J.Crew (always on sale), and a fine-gauge cashmere-silk cardigan usually by Cruciani. Add a $4.99 plain white visor from e4hats.com and you are Palmer personified (except for his game).
Welcome to the 3rd 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) — like The Legend favored by reigning People "Sexiest Man Alive" Bradley Cooper — or a $100 credit you can apply toward any vintage frames Allyn Scura carries. It's entirely up to you.
To enter simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with the names of the men pictured, and in the unlikely event of a tie — this is the hardest contest yet — what they all have in common. One entry per email address. Good luck. The deadline for this contest is next Friday, March 9th.
Q: Can you please help Mitt Romney with his light colored dad jeans? Thanks. —Larry
A: Late last year Esquire suggested Romney was wearing the light-wash Obama Fit denim (left) to connect with Iowa farmers — not to mention Iowa's jean-wearing moms — which got us wondering: Is Mitt Romney the first presidential candidate to not only say anything to get elected, but also wear anything to get elected?
Apparently not, as he campaigned in New Hampshire in early January in the Iowa Jeans, but then abruptly abandoned his mom jean-wearing principles after withering ridicule, including a mom-jean cartoon from the Los Angeles Times' David Horsey, and adopted a more fitted, lower-rise, faux-distressed look, as shown at a campaign stop in Boise on Friday (right).
Q: Ben Roethlisberger, post game news conference, WTF? —Wade
A: Big Ben clearly has a hat that's Too Tiny, enhancing the size of his already large and increasingly flabby melon, one that has more chins than the number of TDs he threw against Denver on Sunday.
What struck us though, besides the fact that Roethlisberger bothered to wear something besides an untucked sport shirt, is that this is the same outfit he wore to the ESPY awards in July, 2009, 2½ years ago (below). It's true he's a Hall of Fame toolbag, but you'd think a guy who made $12 million this year would not recycle a dated three-piece suit and prepackaged shirt/tie/pocket square combo he probably picked up at TJ Maxx for $19.99.
If you read the Christmas edition of the New York Times — and who didn't even before opening presents? — you saw this article about the growing size of men's wristwatches. Since men can no longer drive Hummers without being subject to public ridicule (plus the fact that the company has been shut down), some are replacing large vehicles with large watches, which is why Tom Cruise wears a U-Boat watch that's 64.4 millimeters in diameter, or as the Times wryly notes, a watch that's the same size as a White Castle slider.
Don't be Tom Cruise. We've regularly repeated our ≤ 40mm rule since this site started in July 2007, and now more than ever you should either adopt or stick to it. Within months, or perhaps even weeks, wearing a 64mm watch will be even more post-peak than Jersey Shore.
Q: Winter is upon us, and I've developed a case of "color matching doubts and anxiety".
— Black pea coat with denim?
— Dark blue sweater with black pea coat?
— Brown sweater with black jeans?
All these look OK in my mind, but I've heard there are rules. Generally, how to wear black other than with black? Please help clear my mind. —Shane
A: Black and blue are a natural pairing, so wear #1 and #2 with confidence. We would never try #3, not because it can't work, but because we don't own a pair of black jeans, primarily to avoid ever looking like anything resembling Justin Theroux. (We don't care if he's plowing The Hottest Woman of All-Time. 40-year-old in a Siouxsie and the Banshees T? Even money says this dude's never even been to a show.)
Anyhow, if you're still suffering from color matching doubts and anxiety after reading this we recommend avoiding black entirely and opting instead for charcoal grey for the outerwear and blue for the jeans. Both of those go with anything.
A: We never button our cardigans, except for the walk home from the Pulaski bar scene on a chilly night when we will ineptly button them off by one button, and if we've had enough Magnificent Bastard cocktails, two.
Q: What are your thoughts on a shirt and tie with no jacket? The internet style-forum consensus seems to be a resounding no, unless you work in a mail room or are a Jehovah's Witness; but it is still a look one sees all the time (not that that's necessarily an argument in its favor, of course). But if it is so wrong to wear a shirt and tie without a jacket, why do people take off the jacket? Does having the jacket nearby magically change the look of the outfit? If so, at what distance is that magical connection lost? The next desk over? A different floor? Do certain jackets maintain the connection over further distances from others? Thanks! —Ed
A: Ed, forget about the distance your jacket is from your body and focus instead on properly artfully disheveling your shirt and tie.
We agree with the hoi polloi that when you wear only a shirt buttoned to the top with buttoned cuffs and a snugly-tied tie, it looks like either a.) something is missing, or b.) something is missing and you're about to go preaching door-to-door.
So don't wear only a shirt buttoned to the top with buttoned cuffs and a snugly-tied tie. Undo the buttons and roll up the sleeves. Loosen the tie knot and turn it to a side. Does Paul Newman look concerned that he's missing something? Joe Paterno, on the other hand, is super pissed off he can't find his jacket.
Yesterday Lindsay Lohan's estranged father Michael Lohan was charged with four misdemeanors as parf of his two most recent arrests — 1.) domestic violence, 2.) violation of a domestic injunction, 3.) resisting arrest without violence (in an inept attempt to flee from police), and 4.) violating a condition of pretrial release — yet avoided criminal prosecution for what we believe to be the the ultimate toolbag getup (pictured) outside of the OT.
Q: What brand/model/style of glasses did Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis wear? —Ray
A: Al Davis likely took the sure answer to this question to his grave. A Google search says they are vintage Alain Mikli shades, but our best guess is these are vintage or custom Vuarnet — indicated by the V-shaped bridge — a company which was acquired by Mikli in 2009.
Either way, finding a pair will be more difficult than finding an answer to why Davis made JaMarcus Russell the #1 pick in 2007.
Magnificent Bastard is collaborating with this year's Michael Bastian x Randolph Engineering collaboration and giving away a pair of the MBxRE sunglasses. What do you have to do to win? Simply identify the six celebrities wearing Randolph Engineering frames below and identify the Randolph Engineering frame they're all wearing (hint: note the singular use of the word "frame") and email your answer to email@example.com.
The winner will get to pick their favorite MBxRE frame whether it be the Sportsman, the Aviator, the Aviator II, the Intruder, or the P3 in any combination of frame and lens color. It's between a $165 and $225 value. The deadline to enter is Friday, October 7. We'll put all the correct entries into our Super Bowl XLV hat and pick a winner to be announced on Monday, October 10. Good luck!
The correct answers are:
A. Jon Hamm B. Ewan McGregor C. Johnny Depp D. Liev Schreiber E. Elijah Wood F. Tom Hanks
Q: What does the MB think about baldness? Obviously not George Costanza bald, but shaving one's head completely. It comes off as kind-of-MB-ish, potentially, but also frat-boy-ish. Where's the needle on the MB-meter when it comes to a completely shaved head? —Andrew
A: There are a couple things to keep in mind when you're thinking about shaving your head as smooth as a bowling ball. First, does your naked head actually look like a bowling ball? Hair hides a lot of flaws, including asymmetrical facial features, funny-shaped skulls, below-average eyebrows, etc. Even a little hair can help a little bit — when you shave it all off, you may end up calling more attention to aspects of your appearance you'd prefer to keep less visible.
Second, the smooth-shaven look requires a lot of maintenance. That's one reason that we've advocated for a less aggressively shorn look for bald men in the past. That, plus the fact that there's a pretty good chance you're going to end up looking like a penis, a white supremacist, or a magician. Which is not to say that the full Savalas can't work for some men. As our guide below shows, the closer your shaved head looks to a large brown egg, the better your chances of success.
When Tiger Woods finally addressed the media after his sex scandal last year, his statement included 3 "sorrys," 1 "apologize" and 0 "regrets." By contrast, Representative Anthony Weiner's opening statement included 4 "sorrys," 1 "apologize" and 1 "regret."
In other words, Anthony Weiner apologized 33% harder than Tiger Woods, and he didn't even nail any of these chicks!
But do you know what Anthony Weiner didn't apologize for? His promiscuous flag pin usage. Seriously, when Biggovernment.com released this photo of his remarkably hairless chest, we initially thought, "No, that can't be him ... no flag pin. He wears that stupid thing every time a camera's within 500 feet."
Later in the day, however, the horny Congressman admitted to and apologized for almost everything — the dick pics, the sexting, the lying. It was a sad, sordid performance, but let's hope, amidst all the political maneuverings and voyeuristic speculation that's sure to follow, its essential lessons are not lost in the hubbub:
1) When you're peppering Internet strangers with questions about their blow-job skills, that's when you should be discreet. When Andrew Breitbart accuses you of tweeting glamour shots of your dong to your Twitter followers, and you actually did tweet glamour shots of your dong to your Twitter followers, that's when you should be totally candid and transparent.
2) If you're 46 years old and your chest is smoother than an 18-year-old stripper's cooch, you have vanity issues.
We came across this photo of Randy Jackson at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards earlier this week and have been speechless ever since. Seriously, dawg, we're just not feeling it. By our count, Randy's only wearing eleven visible articles of clothing and accessories, and yet we see at least a dozen style misdemeanors!
If you can identify ten or more, send us an email by midnight CT on Memorial Day and we'll throw your name into a hat. On Tuesday, we'll pick one lucky winner, and that winner can pick one of these recommended Mountain and Sackett ties that are guaranteed, in their perfectly executed understatement, to add more style to your wardrobe than there is to be found in whatever extremely large vault Randy Jackson stores his vast collection of shiny baubles. Good luck!
UPDATE: Winner of the Judge Randy Jackson contest is Mark Delich, who offered the following 11 style misdemeanors:
1) Shiny pleather jacket with excessive pockets/snaps
2) Over-sized clock watch
3) Exposed crucifix on necklace
4) Multiple bracelets/cause wrist band
5) Over-sized wedding ring with stones
6) Soul patch
7) Graphic t-shirt with skull
8) Fat man wearing skinny jeans
9) Excessively glossy and pointy shoes
10) Diamond earring
11) Overall age appropriateness
We also would've accepted "fat man wearing skinny jacket," "flooded pants," and "legible clothing."
Ed. note: This contest far exceeded expectations. Thanks to all who entered and we'll do another one soon.
We didn't realize Trump's run was an either/or proposition between leading the country and giving up his Celebrity Apprentice gig. After all, President Obama finds time to golf every weekend — why couldn't Trump just tape his show on Saturdays?
But apparently his bosses at NBC don't want the host of one of the network's few successful franchises spending any time solutioneering issues like Social Security and health care when more pressing matters of state are at hand — like whether or not to fire Meat Loaf. And given that Trump makes rougly six and half times more money for a single episode of Celebrity Apprentice than President Obama makes in a year, it was easy to see which way the wind was blowing on this one.
Q: We know the MB views linen suits as having too much dishevelment regardless of any artfulness. And this MB agrees. But now Indochino offers suits that are 55% linen and 45% cotton. Does this blend allow them to avoid the problems of shape retention and excessive wrinkling? Please advise. —James
Q: Does the warning against linen apply to shirts as well as to pants? —Jerry
A: Every year about this time we're asked whether there's any sort of special dispensation for wearing linen given our feature Linen: It Sucks. Not really.
Don't be seduced by models wearing perfectly puckered linen shirts. Linen shirts are made out of the same thing as linen pants: Linen. And thus they fall prey to the same problems, veering disastrously from artful dishevelment to plain dishevelment within minutes of wearing.
As for the suit, we've previously argued that whatever material linen is blended with, that material must retain at least a 51% ownership stake. The Indochino suit misses this requirement by 6 percent. While it may not wrinkle as fast as, say, 37-year-old Kate Moss, it will still wrinkle faster than you'd like, even if it never touches a cigarette.
Where is 50%+ linen OK? Whenever the article in question is not expected to sheathe entire limbs — scarves, pocket squares, dinner party napkins, or ties like this black and almost-white gingham from Nashville, TN tiemaker Otis James are all acceptable.
In our cinematic world view there is The Big Lebowski and then there is every other movie ever made. While we could be fatuous with Lebowski references about how owning The Dude's actual sweater could really tie your wardrobe together, we say no funny stuff. For those of you who don't have 12,000 bones or clams or whatever you call them, you can get a vintage Pendleton Cowichan sweater on eBay for around $300. Or you could knit your own.
For those who don't get bogged down in a lotta ins, a lotta outs, or a lotta what-have-yous about the cost of things, see you at the auction.
Important: Even though it's on sale, and you may be an Achiever, do not compromise your ideals with a Little Lebowski.
Q: I've searched the MB site and been a long time reader but cannot find anything about monograms. Pockets, cuffs? Which if either is Magnificent? A reputation is hanging on this. Thanks. —T
A: In the context of clothing, monograms started out as a way for rich people to communicate with their launderers. "These are my shirts," a monogram says. "Return them to me, not Saltonstall."
Over time, monograms evolved into a way for anyone to communicate with people who can't afford a Kindle. "I can afford to spend $5 extra per shirt at Lands' End," a monogram says. "Meanwhile, you're just sitting there reading my shirt. Dick." Do you get what we're saying here? Monograms violate the principle of understatement, and are best left to the Donald Trumps of the world.
Plus, monograms are essentially tattoos for your clothes, and therefore just as superfluous on a truly beautiful shirt as, say, a tiny butterfly would be on Pippa Middleton's ass. Why further adorn that which is already perfect?
"I think that I will take 2 small bottles of Dubonnet and gin with me this morning, in case it is needed."
Strictly speaking, Dubonnet Rouge is an aromatized wine, but we like to use it whenever a sweet vermouth is called for. Its ruby color and spicy aroma will provide a unique twist to any classic recipe. (It goes particularly well in one of our favorites, the Negroni.)
The Queen Mum preferred a weak version of a Dubonnet Cocktail, roughly 2 parts Dubonnet Rouge to 1 part gin. The recipe is quite flexible, though. On really hot days, or days when the royal bloodlines are being diluted even further — a common photographer? — the ratios can be reversed. The classic version, though, has it 1:1. Be sure to include a dash of orange bitters to bring out more complex hidden aromas in the Dubonnet.
* 1 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
* 1 oz. Dry Gin
* 1 dash orange bitters
Combine in ice shaker; shake. Strain into martini glass and garnish with twist of lemon.
Q: Boast USA; I think their polos are pretty MB. Yay or nay? —Chris
A: In Pulaski, Wisconsin, circa 1985, the closest thing we had to a country club was the dart board at the American Legion. So we were unfamiliar with Boast until we started see it showing up on other websites last fall.
At first we figured J. Peterman was trying to outdo himself by inventing the backstory for an entire brand rather than a single piece of apparel. A brand named after a squash shot, started by a Greenwich, Connecticut tennis pro in the 1970s, worn by John Updike, Roscoe Tanner, and a young, crackhead-skinny G.W. Bush? And bearing a logo that looks like a marijuana leaf but is in fact a leaf from one of our favorite trees, the japanese maple? It all sounded a little too good to be true. Especially since when you look at the logos on various vintage shots of the shirts, they all seem to have been harvested at different times — that's a lot of variation in the size of that leaf.
So we did what all serious investigative journalists do when trying to nail down the facts. We poured ourselves some Macallan 18* and started watching Risky Business, which was said to feature a Boast shirt in it. A dozen or so ounces later, there it was, at 1:08:20. Case closed. The brand and its history appear to be as real as Teri Hatcher's breasts.
Anyway. Onward to your question. We like the brand and we especially like their tipped polo. We'd like it even better if it came with no logo whatsoever, but even as is, we still think it's sharp enough for darts at the American Legion. And if there were a tennis court anywhere within ten miles of here, we'd be wearing it there too.
* Why weren't we drinkings MBs? Because we were working, and we save MBs strictly for our leisure hours.
We'd love to believe this story is true — an aide to Libya's Minister of Cultural Affairs sends a letter to NY Times fashion editor Horacio Silva, asking Silva to help curate an exhibit at the Met celebrating Muammar Gaddafi's "four decades of superior dress sense."
To entice Silva to come to Libya to appraise Gaddafi's wardrobe — "3400 items of breathtaking sartorial magnificence," including "leisure wear mostly hand made from the finest fabrics on earth" — the letter-writer offers Silva an "all expenses paid trip to Tripoli."
Unfortunately, we find this missive's letterhead way too understated to be genuine. Not too mention the offer of an all expenses paid junket: Any real Libyan bureaucrat would know the anti-American libruls at the Times are so eager to conspire with evil dictators they'd be perfectly happy to pay their own way if they thought they could get away with it.
What this letter is, we're guessing, is a clumsy attempt to make the Times look bad, in the manner of James O'Keefe's ACORN sting. Silva, however, refused to take the bait. Honest, objective, non-partisan fashion journalism is not dead yet.
Every morning, we eat a plate of bacon that looks more youthful and dewy than Donald Trump's face. Because Trump has presidential aspirations and America rarely elects geezers, Trump appears to be taking his habit of wearing excessively long ties to even more comical lengths than usual. At a recent Tea Party rally in Florida, the Donald was sporting a tie that was long enough to tickle his nads — no wonder he's making that bellowing O-face while those in attendance cower behind a wall of ferns.
While we like the width of Trump's neckwear, the length is all out of proportion. At most, a tie should kiss the top of your pants — and it should only kiss the top of your pants in the way you kiss your best friend's wife — with absolute restraint. Let it dangle any lower, and you begin to look like a kid trying on his father's suit. Which, we assume, is the effect Trump is after — he's trying desperately to look boyish, to distract people from the fact that even though he's just 64 years old, his face now exhibits the stunning orange hue and petrified grandeur of a slab of ancient Moab slickrock. Alas, the average American voter is more likely to mountain-bike him than elect him, and not even a 70-inch tie is going to change that.
After bombing at the Oscars, is Anne Hathaway planning to bomb Kuwait?
We ask because, well, look at the glasses she was wearing when she showed up at the Rio premiere earlier this week. They're dead ringers for the infamous "Birth Control Glasses" the U.S. military forced Saddam Hussein to wear after digging him out of his spider-hole.
While we applaud Anne's decision to make a statement with bold, oversized frames, we think she probably should have gone with something a little less war criminal.The second-to-last thing we want to be thinking of when we look at Anne Hathaway is swarthy genocidal dictators. (The last thing? Anne hosting another Oscars, of course.)
Granted, Prince William will be wearing the most glaring, in-your-face wedding band of all, the wedding band of fame, the wedding band that comes with having more than a billion people around the planet watch you get married....but still, we admire his decision to forsake the tiny golden fingercuff that positions the sacred covenant of marriage as a life sentence rather than a purely elective union between two people who really really want to be there, at least for eleven years or so.
Fifty years ago today, on March 11, 1961, Mattel unleashed a tiny cultural revolutionary upon an unsuspecting world. He was 12 and a half inches tall, he was made from Japanese vinyl, his name was Ken. Ken's influence on the American psyche cannot be overstated -- when you see bros wearing brocade, when you see musclebound peacocks like The Situation and Pauly D. bragging about how much laundry they do, blame Ken.
But surely Ken's most eager student has been Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, who has completely internalized Ken's three rules for cultural domination. 1) Never wear the same outfit twice. 2) Rule with an iron fist....but sheathe that fist in a velvet glove. 3) A true leader doesn't just say he can wear many hats -- he actually wears them.
Q: Your 5/25/10 post on the John Lennon clip-on sunglasses is interesting but impossible to find. I've worn P3's for years. Good enough to storm the beach at Normandy, still good enough for me. But P4's? Can't find them and I've asked some old optometrists and they've never heard of them either. Google doesn't turn up any clues either. Any suggestions? --Scott
A: We've asked our glasses expert for further clarification. "Even people in the industry don't use the terms 'P3' or 'P4' correctly, or at all," he says. "Find 3 people who use the words, and you'll get 3 different explanations, ranging from 'It's a military code word for the frame style,' to 'It's the relationship between the a and b dimensions.'
"Our understanding is that P3 refers to '3 points' -- the P3 shape is like a rounded, upside down triangle ... it has 3 points. Similarly, a P4 has 4 points and is usually a trapezoidal shape. If you look carefully at the photo of Lennon with sunglass clips, you can make out that he has P3 frames underneath and a P4 sunglass clip over them."
To attain the same effect, we recommend you purchase these vintage Polaroid aviator clip-ons. That way, your brain can imagine the world living as one all it wants, but your face will be packing the fire-power of two branches of our Armed Forces.
As a rule, dictators tend to favor tanks or MercedesBenz, but Muammar Gaddafi is not your average dictator. Yesterday the Libyan strongman took to the streets in a strange golf cart hybrid (the mostly electric cart appears to derive additional power from a bunch of sweaty guys in suits).
Given that Gaddafi presides over one of the most oil-soaked countries on earth and counts more than 3000 gas stations in Europe as part of his vast portfolio of international investments, we take this as a canny attempt to appear more progressive -- clearly he's concerned about climate change and doing his part to combat it. And if you're not, well, he just might shoot you in the face.
Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is clearly trying to make a point. In fact, we've actually seen sign language how-to videos that can't match his arsenal of hand gestures, but unfortunately his exposed crewneck t-shirts are communicating a message that drowns out all that finger-pointing and air-chopping: the 38-year-old London School of Economics-educated son of Muammar Gaddafi is in desperate need of a few casual collared shirts!
When it's a little chilly on the first tee, we recommend a white cotton turtleneck. When it's downright cold, a cashmere version like this flannel grey Harrison* (on deep discount) should do the trick. When it's snowing, as it was at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson this weekend, we suggest you book a flight to somewhere where it's not snowing and play there. (There are plenty of nice courses in Maui, where it shouldn't start snowing until at least 2013.)
Whatever you do, though, never wear what Martin Kaymer, the world's newly crowned top-ranked player, was wearing this weekend. On Sunday's broadcast, we learned the hideous scarf-like accessory assaulting his neck is a UV Fishing Buff by artist and retired Florida Keys fishing guide Vaughn Cochran.
The UV Fishing Buff is made from Coolmax Extreme fabric and features a black fly fishing lure pattern that we're pretty sure is guaranteed to actually repel oysters and mollusks, not to mention creatures with actual eyes. The only time to wear such a thing is if you're skippering the S.S. Toolbag. Never ever wear one a golf course.
* Harrison's quality is as variable as Bubba Watson's golf swing. Some of their sweaters are our favorites; others barely make the Vietnam Veterans clothing donation bin. Inspect carefully before committing.
Q: I recently found out that I no longer need glasses, but whereas my vision is perfect in one eye, the other could use a +1.5 reader; in other words, I could legitimately wear a monocle. Now ordinarily I'm a big fan of unusual accessories, but is this going too far? --Peter
A: Quick, name two monocle wearers that immediately come to mind. That's right, Mr. Peanut and Colonel Klink. What this says to us is that in the best-case scenario, people might associate you with a jaunty legume if you start wearing a monocle. And in the worst case, they'll look at you and think "Bumbling Nazi!" Our best advice to you? Squint.
Golf is a gentleman's game. If you work up a sweat, you're working too hard. Go back to the driving range and smooth out your swing. There's no need for performance polyester polos, ever.
For thirty years Bill Murray has been quietly -- albeit in a visually loud way -- preaching this gospel. As far as we can tell, he is the only golfer of note -- pro or amateur -- who consistently wears long-sleeved wovens on the course. Don't let thehats that even Tyler Perry wouldn't wear distract you. Don't be put off by the fact that he invariably looks like a sack of dirty laundry when teeing off. Style-wise, he ends up in bunkers and hazards more than Charles Barkley, but his allegiance to the long-sleeved woven -- starting with his iconic turn as Carl Spackler in Caddyshack and continuing through his first Pebble Beach victory yesterday -- is as straight and true as a Tiger Woods drive (back when he was good).
We are huge fans of Aaron Rodgers. He not only wins, he looks good doing it, with a laid-back but commanding presence on the field. When it comes to passing efficiency, he's the NFL's best ever for quarterbacks with at least 1500 attempts. But when it comes to dressing efficiency, he may trail even Ben Rothleisberger, and that's not a good place to be. On Letterman last night, Rodgers went just 1 for 4. The dark denim is fundamentally sound, but the untucked woven with what looks like a suit jacket is a fumble on the opening drive, and the oversized watch overthrows good taste by at least ten yards. Get this man an offensive coordinator!
With his first Super Bowl victory under his belt, people are already comparing Rodgers to Bart Starr and Joe Montana ... but for the moment, at least, Broadway Joe's legacy as the NFL's most stylish QB ever seems extremely safe.
Earlier: Ben Roethleisberger getting gang-tackled by his ridiculously oversized jacket, shirt, and t-shirt.
Q: What are your views on the T-shirt under casual unbuttoned shirt look? Thanks for your insight. --James
A: We're not saying no one can pull this off, ever, but in general our take is too much dishevelment and not enough artfulness. Case in point: we imagine that there are very few photos in which Kurt Cobain looks like the goofiest member of Nirvana, but here you see one of them (top), and Cobain's shirt-and-tshirt combo is definitely a contributing factor.
Q: Thanks for your style advice for attending sportingevents. I will be attending an epic playoff game in Chicago this weekend. Any tips for a MB in training when attending (outdoor) winter sporting events? I don't want to do the snowmobile suit or work coverall look and some of our midwest neighbors are wont to do. Or, is it a conflict of interest to even provide advice to a Bears fan? --Ryan
A: Your squad is 3.5 point dogs at home, against the #6 seed ... have you thought about wearing a Packers' jersey?
If that's too extreme, we recommend a fairly conservative approach. With good seats running between $1000 to $2000 on StubHub, you're probably shelling out a lot just to be there. With that in mind, do you really want to blow even more cash on a jacket there's a strong chance you'll only associate with depressing memories of Aaron Rodgers doing the Championship Belt in your house? Take Jennifer Aniston's lead and go with a Spiewak snorkel parka. It's as warm as it is cheap.
Whether this is an oversight by Leo Burnett's continuity team, or a conscious accessory editing decision, Allstate's Mayhem has dropped the collar bar in the most recent ad, first aired during last night's Sugar Bowl. (Hat tip: Wade)
Q: Earmuffs. I don't think you've mentioned a thing about these. I see lots of suited lobbyists (toolbags) here in DC touting the 180s, though they seem like a better option compared to grandma earmuffs. What are your thoughts? Let the ears freeze? Mess up my hair with a hat that does the job? --Jay
A: On January 21, 1961, John F. Kennedy took the oath of office in 22° weather and didn't wear a hat or scarf or earmuffs. Nor did Lyndon Johnson, and he was practically bald!
Not to mention the fact that you've also got fifty years of global warming working in your favor. We checked the latest 10-day forecast for DC -- there's nothing lower than 34° for a high over the next ten days.
But if you reckon you're not as hardy as either JFK or LBJ, forget the earmuffs and go with a cashmere hat which is warm, soft, and delivers a perfectly artfully disheveled head of hair every time.
Q: I am looking to find a pair of frames exactly like the style Jack Benny used to wear. I have pretty good eyes but my prescription is for 1.5 progressives as I am a reader and would wear them regularly every day. I see you show him with glasses on your site. Can you help me? --Alex
A: We're not sure of the exact make/model Jack Benny is wearing, but all the major American eyewear companies made a slightly cat eye style like the one shown during that time. The Zyloware Invincible is close, as is the Criss Apollo. Both would work for progressive lenses, and are made of nylon, which is a big deal for daily wearers because they're significantly lighter than plastic acetate. We're big fans of Criss for this reason, and the fact that they're standard-issue U.S. Penitentiary eyewear.
Sweden wants to lock up WikiLeaks muckraker Julian Assange for blowing his whistle without a condom. The U.S. wants him for data-rape. Supposedly he's sequestered in a U.K. jail cell for the time being, but with Assange can you really ever be sure? His hair is like a Swiss Army knife of disguise. In limp noodle mode, it turns him into B-list bad guy Julian Sands. Seconds later, he's pop art cipher Andy Warhol or America's favorite Ladies Lady Ellen DeGeneres.
So is that really him on lockdown, or are the Brits maybe holding 007 by mistake?
Turns out Tom Brady's Giselle-demanded, Bieberian locks are less fashion statement and more highly-coiffed combover. The increasingly reliable National Enquirer reports Brady's car was spotted outside Leonard Hair Transplant Associates in Cranston, R.I., on Nov. 9. That's the office of Dr. Robert Leonard, who calls himself "New England's foremost authority on hair restoration" (or just "Hair Doctor" for short).
Dude's going bald.
Longtime readers of this site knew that nearly three years ago, as we identified Brady's emerging bald spot during his team's loss to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII (pictured) and claimed it signaled the end of the Patriots dynasty.
In far more disturbing Tom Brady news, he's now in "partnership" with UGG and admits he's "worn and loved the UGG brand for a long time."
Q: Do people who pose questions here truly believe they are ever going to achieve magnificent bastardly-ness? A true MB would not ask style questions; anyone asking a question is clearly TTH. Quite a paradox you have created here. --Solo
A: Some MBs are born, others are made. If you've read this site even a little bit you know a lot of questions come from college students or recent grads. It's a formative period where many learn about opportunity cost and beer bongs and U.S. imperialism, and first develop personal style principles to apply for a lifetime.
Let's take the case of Tom Brady. As a soon-to-be college graduate from Michigan, he showed up at the 2000 NFL combine as a doughy, slow, anti-MB in grandpa boxers. He was drafted in the 6th round. Then the light switch went on and he transformed himself into a style icon who's married to a Brazilian supermodel, and in our view the best QB who ever lived.
While we don't promise the cover of GQ or the NFL Hall of Fame, go ahead and ask away.
Q: So MB - I was at an NBA game on Friday night and there were several MB-looking types wearing patterned driving caps. I've always thought of this as my grandpa's hat, wondering what your thoughts are. --Jennifer
A: We charted the style curve rise and fall of driving/newsboy/ivy caps back in early 2008 and declared the trend dead when Cuba Gooding Jr. showed up at the 10,000 B.C. premiere wearing one (plus flashing hand signs). Now that Gooding Jr. has gone missing, co-starring with Val Kilmer and Christian Slater in straight-to-DVD flicks, and iconic toolbag and the frequent ivy cap-wearing Tony Romo is on injured reserve, this headwear style can now emerge from rehab. In fact, as the NFL season hits the increasingly chilly home stretch, we would not be surprised to see Tom Brady sporting a newsboy for one of his ridiculously stylish post-game press conferences.
On September 30 the NBA implemented a new coaches' dress code that at the time was believed to prevent Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy from wearing his signature mock turtlenecks. It immediately became known as The Van Gundy Rule.
Ten days later the Orlando Sentinelsuggested Van Gundy's mock turtlenecks qualified under the letter of the rules, which state coaches and assistant coaches must wear:
(a) A long or short-sleeved dress shirt (collared or turtleneck), and/or a dress sweater; (b) Dress slacks, khaki pants, or dress jeans; (c) A sport coat; (d) Dress shoes or boots (but not including sneakers, sandals); and (e) Socks.
Any MB knows there is a world of difference between a turtleneck and a mock turtleneck, and it would appear Stan Van Gundy does, too, as he coached the Magic's season opener against Washington in a point-collar woven (and down about 15 pounds).
Not a tip, but I need to point out where you have made an error. GQ has certainly not given up on skinny ties. (See previous post in question.) The tie Ryan Reynolds is wearing is probably 2.75 inches wide, which is about what Gitman Bros runs. If you are still not sure, just compare it to the width of his wrist right on top of it. They are the same. My wrist is 2.5 inches wide. Still don't believe me? Look at the Michael Kenneth Williams spread later. The only tie over 3" is the Tom Ford. Now, I get that you like wider ties, but you have been calling the peak of the thin tie trend for two years. It is starting to feel like wishful bastardly thinking. --Miller
We're glad you brought up Tom Ford, though, because he's the canary in the lapel and tie-width coal mine. For F/W 2010 he's widening pretty significantly (top) and everyone else will follow.
Meanwhile, to switch the metaphor from mining to parade-going, EXPRESS is the equivalent of the dudes at the end sweeping up the elephant shit, and from their advertisement from the same GQ issue, they're still in the 1.5" - 2.5" range (bottom).
Q: Greetings! Love the site. I'm hoping you can tell me where a young professional MB might find a relaxed cotton blazer like the one Bradley Cooper has on here? Thanks. --Drew
A: Blazers like this will be fairly plentiful in a couple of months as retailers/designers roll out S/S 2011 but for now it's slim pickings. First, browse through the sale rack at YOOX (our favorite blazer-hunting grounds) and you might get lucky. If you need this now and have shorter-than-average arms, the Lands End Canvas Chino Blazer is worth a try. It was a return for us but it's $89.50 (was just $69.50 when Canvas launched, BTW), has functioning buttonholes, a modern fit, and it's very close to what Bradley Cooper is wearing, including the alligator-length arms.
NB: Pairing with gingham strongly endorsed.
Ed. Note: Since pointing out that the blazer is 3-button vs. 2-button as Canvas originally advertised, we love how they've modified the copy to make it a 2.5-button blazer: "Also of note: this jacket has a three-button front, but the lapel is designed so only two buttons show."
Listen, dawg. You're probably hitting the gym, doing your tanning, and picking up fresh laundry every day. And maybe you've had some success beating up the beat and creeping on chicks in the club. But do you really think your situation is where it needs to be? Be honest with yourself, bro.
This book here will take your game to a level thought unattainable, given your physical limitations (because we can't all look like Rambo, pretty much, with our shirt off). We start with GTL-the bedrock of life itself. And then we hit the GTL Remix-the rules for getting your personal grooming did. From there it's my guide to the Jersey Shore, battle plans for the club, a primer on grenades and wingmen, and tips for ridding yourself of all levels of clinger. Then I look at the big picture: how to cook the perfect lasagna, how to find a life partner, and how to deal with being one of the most famous people on the planet-which is guaranteed if you follow my advice.
This is the bible for Situation Nation. Read it, live it, and crush it.
UPDATE: Reader Dan astutely observes: "Just in case you missed it, the amazon link you provided for The Situation's book has only two tags: 'hey ma' and 'euthanasia.' Perfection."
Q: What's your take on those half zip sweaters with the collars that kind of stand up, like the J. Crew version? Is this akin to popping a collar? Or, is this acceptable collar territory? --DTC
A: We hate these sweaters. But it's got nothing to do with collar popping and everything to do with them being stuck in a stylistic no man's land between Mark Zuckerbergian fleece outerwear and a regular sweater, much like capri pants are stuck between pants and shorts, or a mock turtleneck is stuck between a turtleneck and a t-shirt. In fact, if you zip one of these up and throw a blazer over it, you're in Van Gundy Rule territory. Avoid.
I read this on The Daily Beast and thought it prudent to advise the MB. Toolbaggery has a deadly weapon in its arsenal: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. --Dino
Over two years ago we added "The Principle of Not Looking Like Mark Zuckerberg" to the MB canon, so we're definitely aware of the threat his fleece, Adidas slides, and non-pedicured toes pose. However, it should be noted that the rise of Microsoft did not lead to widespread adoption of fellow Harvard drop-out Bill Gates' colorblock-sweater-over-floral-woven look.
Ed. note: We are officially madly in love with Rebecca Dana, the author of the Beast piece.
Q: What's your take on collar bars (aka collar pins) as a bastardly accessory? A vintage touch to a magnificent ensemble, unecessarily dressy for everyday at the office, or just TTH? I mean, it's hard to deny the "Mayhem" guy from recent Allstate commercials is a bastard and a half, and wears a tie bar in every ad. --Nate
A: Based on the number of marriage proposals on YouTube, Allstate has an even bigger hit on their hands with Mayhem than Dos Equis had with The Most Interesting Man in the World.
There is a lot to like here: the shirt collar/tie knot combination, the real 5 o' clock shadow, the way he pulls off a receeding hairline, and of course that sinister grin. And the wink, too. It's no wonder women are crazy for this guy.
The only knock is the personalized license plate (pictured), which is the toolbag auto's de facto standard. As for the collar bar, it's a little Mad Men-y and hence played out, but if you're otherwise as artfully disheveled and bruised and cut up as Mayhem, it works to balance out the look.
Apologies for being a tad late with any mention of this news, but for the 2010-11 season the NBA is implementing a new dress code requiring coaches to wear collared shirts during games. Now that mock turtleneck king Don Nelson is out of a job in Golden State, this affects only Orlando Magic coach and MB sartorialpiñata Stan Van Gundy.
While the new rule won't prevent Van Gundy from wearing some appalling shirt/tie combos this year (which we will surely document as they begin to appear), kudos to the NBA for banning this style atrocity. Now perhaps the PGA Tour will wake up and finally apply similar rules for its players. It shall be called the Tiger Woods Rule.
Q: What are the rules for stubble on your neck and face? To me, stubble/five o'clock shadow represent the 'I don't care, deal with it' look. I like it, if I had a thicker coat I'd do it. However, is it wrong to have a problem with those who shave the neck, but leave the face stubbled? --Brian
A: No, it's not wrong to have a problem with this oxymoronic look. It's completely defeating the point of the stubble and doesn't make sense prima facie. Get it?
Add it to the list of other things we don't understand, like decaffeinated coffee, non-alcoholic beer, and dry humping.
Q: My wife and I have a disagreement. We joined a "walk for charity" the other day. Most of the men were wearing ankle socks with their tennis shoes. I have always preferred the calf-high athletic sock pushed down just slightly to give it a disheveled look whenever I run or work out. My wife is trying to tell me that the calf high sock is out of style and the ankle sock is the new style. I think ankle socks are for women tennis players. While a real man wears calf-high athletic socks. Will you please set her straight? --Eamon
A: Congratulations, Eamon, on being a lot less wrong than your wife. We see where you're going with the artfully disheveled tube sock look, but would like it better if they've got a stripe or two, as worn by male tennis players. As for your wife's current thinking on men's socks, ankle socks suck. They offer none of the disheveled/vintage benefits of quarter or crew-length, and leave tan lines that trash the exposed ankle look.
Literally a couple of years after skinny ties were post-peak, GQ covers still featured them, as recently as August with funnymen Zach Galifianakis and Paul Rudd both in ties in sub-3" widths. For September LeBron James was in a Ralph Lauren Purple Label cashmere tie that's pushing 4" at its widest point, and the newly released October issue has Ryan Reynolds in a Gitman Bros. herringbone that looks to be about 3 3/8".
Like Lindsay Lohan, who graced the cover of the August German GQ, we also prefer our ties with a little meat on their bones. Anything in the 3" to 3 1/2" range works for fall 2010.
Q: I'm starting a new school year on Tuesday and want to know: what does an MB teacher wear? --Eric
A: As is often the case, movies hold the answer. You want to set yourself apart from the Phys. Ed. teacher, but not go too dressy in the direction of Mr. Hand or Ben Stein's famed economics teacher; it's a slippery slope towards administration, or Looking Like Principal Richard Vernon.
While this was the least believable movie role since Denise Richards played a nuclear physicist in The World is Not Enough, Bradley Cooper's artfully disheveled prep-school teacher in The Hangover strikes a fine balance: vest (one size smaller than normal), sleeve-rolled chambray work shirt, undone repp tie, accessorized with a vintage watch in a black nylon band.
Toolbag icon Roger Clemens has previously been on these pages for his banded collar shirt and double-breasted suit, but he really brought the heat yesterday thanks to HTH (Human Toolbag Hormone) and an obvious midlife crisis: frosted hair, sort-of goatee, and reflector blades. Thanks, Rocket. We look forward to the trial in April, 2011.
Vacationing on Martha's Vineyard, we get another look at Obama's casual wardrobe, and it has not improved much since the infamous first pitch.
Left: JFK with classic American Optical Saratogas, in slim-fit pique polo with sleeves hitting at bicep. Right: Obama with Maui-Jimmyish Ray-Ban 3217s, in Hefty bag-fit Coolmax polo with sleeves hitting at elbow.
Federal prosecutors were only able to convict former Illinois governer and First Toolbag Rod Blagojevich of a single count of lying to the FBI, but more significantly, they did unearth receipts showing a 7-year, $400,000 clothing budget for he and his wife at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. (If this is ringing a bell somewhere, it definitely should.)
Blago also spent heavily at custom suitmaker Tom James Company and had custom dress shirts made by Geneva Custom Shirts. Yet, in spite of all the expense and bespoke tailoring, he failed to grasp even the most basic style truth: don't combine spread collars with four-in-hand knots.
SEE ALSO: Magnificent Bastard's Custom Shirt Reviews. (Unfortunately Geneva Custom Shirts was not one of the participants.
Q: What are your thoughts on tie clips? I've noticed some articles on ties and suits and thought maybe I skimmed over something on tie clips. I have a wedding coming up and will be sporting a 2 button, single vented, dark grey, slim fitting suit with white/charcoal edged cotton pocket square, purple checked shirt and a solid lavender tie. Will a well placed silver tie clip make the outfit complete? --Mike (MB in training)
Besides strongly recommending a plain white pocket square, we'd pass on the tie clip. Like fused collars, collar stays, creased pants, starch, and excessive hair gelling, tie clips contribute to a too neat, too calculated, too TTH look. We call for freedom for ties! To dangle asymmetrically, to catch a little gust of wind, to do their part contributing to the aesthetic goal of artful dishevelment.
Q: When you finally get the Toolbag Fantasy League section of this site up and running, I call dibs on The Food Network's Guy Fieri. He is clearly the anchor for a championship caliber squad. I happened to flip past him on television last night and the guy is not missing a single facet of toolbagism. I of course am operating under the assumption that he had a cell phone belt holster hiding underneath his size XXL bowling style shirt with flames printed on it. Watch out fellow Fantasy Toolbag Leaguers, I plan on hoisting the silverware at the end of the season. --Steven
As Jack Nicholson demonstrates, MBs can sometimes grow manboobs. While minimizing Jack-sized jugs probably requires breast-reduction surgery, if you've just started growing an unwanted pair there's a way to effectively shrink 'em by covering with pockets, like the two on this $45 Tailgate Clothing Company polo in grey jersey.
A: We addressed this in early spring as the fad was emerging, in a Steve McQueen-Erkel side-by-side. As with most novelties to sweep the streets of Manhattan, we don't get it. Yeah, exposed ankles can be a very good thing, but pants rolling effectively shortens your legs, making you appear, uh, shorter. It's too bad 7' 7" Manute Bol recently died; he was a perfect pant-rolling candidate! Finally, the fact that the craze was popularized by the shrunken, man-shrinking designer Thom Browne really seals the deal. Our advice: Wait this one out (it won't be long).
Q: I've been rambling through the web for months now hoping I could find a name and model of the black horn-rimmed glasses the late wonderful Mr. Cary Grant wore. They were so plain yet held their own level of style among the simplicity. What can you all tell me? --T.R.
To our eye, Roccos look not so much like glasses as the theatrical prop version of glasses -- glasses that even the folks in the last aisle of the balcony can see. This isn't to say we don't like them -- just that the degree of difficulty in pulling them off is high. Unless your face is a leading man type itself, they will steal the scene from it every time. And who wants to be upstaged by their glasses?
Q: What does MB think of David Beckham and Fabio Capello's Umbro suits for the 2010 World Cup? Is this a winning look? --Brennan
A: Nicely proportioned lapel, two button front, four button (which we presume to be functioning) cuffs, double rear vents in the traditional British style, and a three-lion crest. If you can excuse the creases in the pants, there is a lot to like here -- but unfortunately FIFA doesn't award any points for the amount of fearsome wildlife on your breast pocket.
With England currently 0-0-2, with just one goal to its credit, and unlikely to make it out of the weak Group C, the suits are looking a little TTH, like Beckham and Capello spent more time preparing their wardrobe than their team.
Q: MB, what are your thoughts on airplane attire? Comfortable is a plus, but of course it must be bastardly enough to defy the disturing trend of pajama wearers who have inundated our nation's skies. --Stephen
A: We agree, today's fliers look like they're ready to either a.) attend a slumber party, or b.) run the 100 meter hurdles. Millions of Americans in tracksuits is probably not the outcome Osama bin Laden had in mind, but in the War on Style, the terrorists have won.
Just a couple of simple rules here: 1.) Wear pants that don't require a belt (no drawstrings or elastic allowed), and 2.) Wear a pair of shoes you can easily slip on and off, like these John Varvatos canvas slip-on loafers or for something more casual, Sperry slip-ons, or Vans.
Q: Long time reader. How do you like the glasses Tom Cruise is sporting in his latest flick? --Hector
A: Tom Cruise is oh-for-three at the Oscars, but your question got us thinking. If the Academy ever gives an award for Lifetime Achievement: Eyewear, he'll be a strong contender. It doesn't matter if he's playing a boyishly charismatic high school pimp with a dynamite smile, or a boyishly charismatic Nazi with a dynamite smile, he always demonstrates a fearless, daring, almost reckless willingness to commit to whatever eyewear the role requires.
Those Persol 2931's Cruise is wearing in Knight and Day that you're asking about are definitely a high mark -- we are certified fans of this approach to sunglasses -- but for us he reached his zenith with the eyepatch he sported in Valkyrie. An eyepatch is a gimmick, sure, but as everyone from Sammy Davis Jr. to Snake Plissken to David Ogilvy can attest, it's a remarkably effective way to inject your persona with a sense of mystery, gravitas, and sex appeal. Especially if you only have one good eye.
If you don't have enough hair for Mother Nature to style, we recommend the sort of low-profile, long-billed cap that Ernest Hemingway used to favor (top). Quaker Marine has been making them since 1948. Their Original Swordfish model will give you the protection from the sun you need while steering you clear of captain's hats, which have been relegated to the style brig for decades now due to their popularity amongst 1970s-era nautical toolbags and screw-ups.
In your recent post "Cool Sunglasses for Summer 2010", I believe the Cary Grant sunglasses from North by Northwest are Persol P0714's. Just thought you and your readers would want to know in case people wanted to get a pair for themselves! --Alex
A: Alex, you're getting your classic movie sunglasses mixed up. Steve McQueen wore Persol 714's in The Thomas Crown Affair (bottom). While Persol 714's are folding sunglasses, Grant's sunglasses broke in half while he was being stowed away by (the ridiculously sexy) Eva Marie Saint. And that's not the only reason we're virtually certain Grant's aren't Persols:
* They're lacking the trademark silver arrow
* The first known big-screen sighting of Persol was on Marcello Mastroianni in Divorce Italian Style (1961)
* Persol was first introduced to the U.S. in 1962
* North by Northwest was made in 1959
A definitive ID of Grant's sunglasses definitely requires more research, and we've got some of vintage eyewear's best minds working on it, but we suspect they're what we originally thought: horn-rimmed eyeglasses fitted with tinted lenses.
Bill Clinton got tripped up by a blue dress. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama got done in by a blue, red, green, purple, yellow, and black shirt. Yesterday the politician resigned after just eight months in office, his popularity eroded in large part because of a shirt he wore to a barbecue and other out-of-the-box fashion choices. Always remember this, readers: Sometimes, cheating on good taste can get you into even more trouble than cheating on your wife.
Q: I was just thinking about how Bryan Ferry hasn't ever popped up on this site (at least that I can remember)...I think he deserves a little more recognition than he gets for a few reasons:
1. His music is some of the best made in the 80s. Particularly with Roxy Music. Contemporary at the time but still classic despite the normal pitfalls of the era (very "80s" production, dependence on models gracing the album covers).
2. Impeccable style. Look at literally ANY photo of him. Perfectly rolled sleeves, check. Askew bowtie or loose necktie, check. Commitment to a classic hairstyle for 40 years, check.
3. Dated Amanda Lear, Jerry Hall (BEFORE Mick Jagger), married Lucy Helmore...
4. He's British.
Basically what we're talking about here is the Bond of Rock'n'roll. --Carter
A: We like the idea of a "Bond of rock 'n' roll" and appreciate the case you make for Ferry. There is, however, the little matter of this photo from 1972, which clearly suggests the influence he would eventually have on cultural icons as diverse as Wild at Heart-era Nic Cage, Ed Grimley, and Siegfried & Roy. That's a tough legacy to overcome, and to be honest, while we know he played a crucial role in synth-pop's evolution as aural tranquilizer, Avalon never made us feel all that comfortably numb. While a better candidate for the Bond of rock 'n' roll doesn't immediately come to mind, we're abstaining from voting for now.
Q: You seem to really like the aviator style for sunglasses. Do you consider them MB for eyeglasses as well? --John
A: Aviator frames without tinted lenses are like non-alcoholic beer or vegetarian Beefaroni -- they're missing the thing that makes the thing the thing! To illustrate our point, look at Bradley Cooper in tinted aviators (top) and GQ Style Editor Jim Moore in aviators with clear lenses. The former displays classic MB style. The latter, as we've observed in the past, looks like our high school algebra teacher. If you want to stay on the winning side of this equation, leave the clear aviators to Moore and Lumberg, mmm'kay?
We'd never heard of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama until he showed up to a barbecue dressed like a cross between giant Rubik's Cube and a Vegas mobster (see photo). Normally, we're not fans of patchwork shirts, black turtlenecks, or greasy pompadours, but if you put them all together and you're the ruler of one of the weirdest countries on the planet, well, what can we say? We like this look, Prime Minister Hatoyama!
Not everyone agrees with us. Japanese designer Don Konishi called Hatoyama's shirt outdated and out of touch, just like his political ideas and policies. (Glass houses department: Look at Konishi's own line of clothes.)
If you don't want to wait until S/S 2011 to get your Hatoyama Shirt, the early adopters at Shirtsmyway.com are offering a limited-edition version now, for $500. Drably dressed leaders of the world, take note.
Q: I've been trying to find sunglasses like the ones John Lennon wore in this photo. Any suggestions? (Feel free to comment on how great they are as well.) --Zach
A: Imagine there are no designer sunglasses, Zach. It isn't hard to do...
In such a world, even millionaire rockstars wear "P3" frames issued by the government's nationalized healthcare program. And when it's sunny out, they slap on a pair "P4" clip-ons. This, at least, is what our glasses expert tells us Lennon is doing in that pic. While we're dubious about the common-man pretensions underlying the gesture, we can't argue with the aesthetic results. Done right, eyewear layering equals artful dishevelment. The key is to make sure your glasses don't match your clip-ons too closely. If you need more inspiration, see Woody Allen circa 1968.
Q: With baseball season under way, I've been looking around to add to my collection. I love vintage, understated quality and think I've found the fit with Red Jacket. What do you think? MB or minor league? http://www.redjacketclothing.com/ --AR
Q: I have a date with Olivia Palermo (she is on MTV's the City) this Friday. Since she is so into fashion I would like some advice from the pros on what I should wear. Thanks. --Jay
A: Since Palermo has been dating model Johannes Huebl for the last couple years, you've got your work cut out for you. Huebl has the casually stylish investment banker on the weekend look mastered, so we recommend that you counterprogram with this t-shirt from Reborn Couture, which parties in the front and in the back. If you can swing it by tomorrow night, also get the arm sleeve to achieve the full effect.
Q: Dear MB: WTF? I bet James Bond never biked to work. Why don't you get back to doing what you do best, for example by telling me whether an MB can or should wear a blue seersucker jacket, and if so, with what pants. --Julian
A: We've seen all the movies -- in somecases dozens of times -- and don't recall any scenes where 007 is rolling along at 5 MPH for 30 minutes behind some toolbag in an Escalade with a "Freedom Isn't Free" bumper sticker. There's nothing magnificent about enduring traffic jams twice a day, which is why we endorse bike commuting in many situations.
Regarding the seersucker, if your blazer is cut more like J. Crew instead of J. Press, it would look great with denim, especially white. 'Tis the season.
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.
Q: Robert Downey Jr. has been on the cover of damn near every magazine this month sporting t-shirts by Alternative Apparel: www.alternativeapparel.com. Their clothes seem to follow MB principles, but I don't want the TH (Too Hollywood) look if I pick up a few. Thoughts? --Chris
A: On the cover of the May 2010 Men's Journal he's wearing the Eco-Grey aa1973 Eco-Heather Crew, and while it's not TH, is definitely TTH with ingredient complexity exceeding that of a Slim Jim. Plus we're not crazy about that chubby ringer tee collar on a non-ringer tee. But their other options look somewhat promising in our quest for The Perfect White T-shirt, especially The Dean Slub Crew.
Q: We can all agree Wayfarers have peaked in popularity and aren't even a consideration for sunglasses this summer. Aviators are timeless, but not original. What's the recommendation to separate from the Wayfaring pack and be able to say in a few summers, "I've been wearing those for years." --Sean
A: If you own any Wayfarers, send them to a needy Third World celebrity. Even in the Risky Business era we never wore 'em, and never will. Aviators, on the other hand, are like black boots: every MB should have at least one pair in his wardrobe.
But if you're wanting to be out ahead of the trend curve -- and it sounds like you do -- put tinted lenses in a pair of horn-rimmed eyeglasses. Done most famously by Cary Grant in North By Northwest more than 50 years ago, and restared 5 years ago by Johnny Depp with his pair of vintage Tart Arnels, they're trending. See Robert Downey Jr. at the Oscars (in the Oliver Peoples Sheldrake), and Bradley Cooper in The A-Team, opening next month (in the Allyn Scura Legend). But skip the blue lenses for brown or green. They're TH (Too Hollywood), or just plain TTH.
Q: I love my girlfriend and everything she does or wears is sexy and beautiful. Except for one thing, she plucks her eyebrows so thin it makes her look like a surprised doll. I wish she would grow them out naturally, but I have no idea how to tell her -- plus I don't think an MB would ever try to correct his girl's appearance. But the eyebrows are making me crazy -- I was even thinking of taking her camping for three weeks just to force them out. What can I do?
A: Lee, first off, thanks for entrusting us with your love life -- we are always surprised at how few people seem to think a men's style website is the most appropriate venue for solving tricky relationship problems.
In any case, our first thought is that we generally prefer cat-like women: graceful, inscrutable, with fastidious grooming habits. But we agree that plucked, or at least overplucked, eyebrows take fastidious grooming one step too far.
So here's what we suggest you do. Casually browse through one of your girlfriend's old photo albums, tell her how cute she looks, etc. When you find a photo from her pre-plucking years, ramp up the praise even more: "Oh my God, look at you. Those eyebrows. You look like Brooke Shields!" Don't overdo it or she'll get suspicious. Just the one comment and move on to some other subject. Now, the seed has been planted. If your girlfriend fails to take action, that's a clear sign she'd prefer to look like Divine than Brooke Shields. In which case you have our deepest sympathies.
At the Oscars, Robert Downey Jr.'s goatee was fairly subtle, but also showing signs of gray, which experienced facial hair analysts typically interpret as a warning sign of brewing facial hair trouble. Thus, his Goatee Advisory System, aka his sunglasses, were indicating a threat level of blue, or "Guarded: General risk of jet-black Vegas magician goatee attack."
At the Hollywood premiere of Iron Man 2, things had taken a clear turn for the worse, with Downey's Goatee Advisory system getting the upgrade from blue to red, or "Severe: Severe risk of jet-black Vegas magician goatee attack." If you're located in Southern California, it can't hurt to stock up on bottled water and canned food until the Robert Downey Jr. Goatee Advisory System drops to at least yellow. ("Elevated: Significant risk of jet-black Vegas magician goatee attack.")
Sorry, ya'all. There is no such thing as an MB scooter helmet because scooters just ain't MB. Especially nuevo-retro scooters. Riding a scooter is like fucking a fat chick. It might be fun until your friends find out. Said another way, did McQueen ever ride a scooter? Fuck no. He was a MAN, and he rode a MOTORCYCLE. Take a hint. Scooters are either for dorks or toolbags. --Chris
Last week, after our scooter helmet post, we learned that many of our readers do not like scooters one bit. Or helmets. One reader even concluded the post was so off-brand that we had to be paid by either Genuine Scooters or Bell helmets to write it.
That's not true. In fact, our policy on advertisers is the same as our policy on fat chicks. When we land one, we tell everyone!
But we're getting off-track. This post is about scooters. As longtime readers know, we've always liked 'em. Making them work does, however, have a high DD (degree of difficulty). It helps if you're ex-CIA with an unflappable patrician air, but even imminent rock superstars can sometimes pull it off. Of course, the failure rate will always be high, as Hugh Grant (top), Hugh Jackman, and James Gandolfini demonstrate. But there's nothing MB about never risking spectacular failure.
Also, we nearly forgot: Steve McQueen didn't only ride motorcycles (bottom).
Q: No comments about Tiger's Nike sunglasses at the Masters? I hope they enhanced his game, because they did nothing for his already lacking MB-ness. --Nate
We know Woods spent the last few months in sex rehab, but based on his appearance at the Masters, we're wondering about the cure. To our eye, it looks like his therapists have simply stuck a pair of super-dark blind-guy glasses on him in the hope that they will prevent him from spotting trashy blonde blabbermouths in the gallery. And fed him a lot of donuts. On the bright side, he's wearing a collared shirt. And every day you can stay off the mock turtlenecks is a good day.
The Masters Green Jacket is without a doubt the most shapeless piece of poly-blend, gold-buttoned hideousness we would happily wear. As ugly as it is, however, if you devote 99.9% of your life trying to keep the putterhead square through impact, there's a good chance you can make it look even worse.
#5 Bernhard Langer, 1985
First, Berhnard Langer spent 18 holes looking like history's only Aryan Temptation. Then, he donned the green jacket and transformed himself into history's largest elf.
#4 Larry Mize, 1987
What's the golf equivalent of showing up to the Oscars without a speech written in case you win? Wearing a striped purple polo that you might have to combine with a green blazer.
#3 Tiger Woods, 2005
The only thing that can make Tiger's text messages to porn star Joslyn James seem relatively tasteful: his toolbag casual mock-n-blazer combo. ("You are my fucking whore. Hold you down while I choke you. And make you stare at my stupid Nike shirt until your eyes puke.")
#2 Ben Crenshaw, 1995
Ben Crenshaw does his best impression of a golf nut's bulletin board.
#1 Nick Faldo, 1990
The most convincing case we've ever seen for a five-button Green Jacket? Nick Faldo's argyle fireman sweater.
I am a large fan of your well placed words of wisdom, and I'd like to pick your mind momentarily and add to a question that was recently asked of you pertaining to suits with sneakers. On March 18th, John Stewart of The Daily Showwas revealed to be wearing white deck shoes with his ensemble. I thought he rocked it, but I decided to seek sounder minds. What do you think? --Colin
A: Colin, If you're going to wear white sneakers with a suit, don't grab one from Jon Stewart's closet. The suit he's wearing is too dark, too baggy, and too Men's Wearhouse Business Generic to combine with anything but black Florsheims, and white sneakers are a particularly bad choice for it. At first we thought he was wearing socks.
If you want to combine white sneakers with a suit, follow Will Arnett's lead and choose something casual, fitted, and not too dark.
UPDATE: Many readers have written in to inform us that the sneakers Jon Stewart are wearing are essentially part of a Glenn Beck costume and thus worn in the name of comedy. Our knowledge of Beck and his typical shoewear choices is limited, but if he is in the habit of pairing baggy navy suits with sneakers so white it looks like he's been standing in a vat of vanilla ice cream all morning, then our criticisms of Stewart may be applied to Beck instead.
Guys, if you want to project that "Yes, I'll cheat on an adorable millionaire who loves my children as if they were her own" vibe, then by all means adopt this look -- which takes the Showbiz Toolbag look that we've previously documented to its natural end-point.
Sandra, we love you, always have, always will, no matter how many awful romantic comedies you make, but frankly, what did you expect from a guy who thinks the Oscars represent a great opportunity to dress like an undertaker at his junior prom? That suit alone should have been enough to initiate divorce proceedings.
Q: Can you identify these sunglasses worn by Johnny Depp in the movie Blow? I've not been able to find any leads. Thanks. --Rick
A: There were a handful of companies that marketed this aluminum frame in the '70s. The ones Depp is wearing are called the "Fast Back." They were pre-fabricated sunglasses with not very good lenses. As you can kind-of see (bottom pic), there are no openings in the frames to install a lens (typically metal frames open somewhere and are reattached with a screw). Replacing these lenses require what's called "cold popping," i.e., it's forced in. It may be OK for a sunglass non-corrective lens but may be tricky to "cold pop" certain Rx lenses.
If you'd like to buy a pair, our friends at allyn scura are ready to take your order.
Q: Sneakers with suit...what's the MB take? I know the Prada sport line is great as are most Sabelt, but what about Adidas Samba or similar? --Brooke
A: Great question. The closer you get to a footwear brand's "originals" the harder it is to pull off (and risk looking like you're TTH). Lots of guys can wear Puma Sport Fashion with a cool, casual suit. But are you up to combining that suit with Puma Suedes?
In the May 2009 GQ Will Arnett clearly made classic Adidas Rod Lavers work with a $100 cotton H&M suit (left). The comparatively schlubby Jason Segel did the same with Chuck Taylors on the red carpet in 2008's Forgetting Sarah Marshall (right). So what can be learned?
* Only attempt with slimmer, casual suits
* Wear flat front, and preferably un-creased pants
* Pair with a polo or artfully disheveled woven
* Occasionally do a little dancing and hand gesturing
Q: Being a younger MB in training (think college) whenever I'm around my mom she bitches about how wrinkled my shirts are, no matter how pressed they are. Now, please don't mock me too much for mommy problems, but I want your take. Are wrinkles ever appropriate? --Tyler
Do you think Rose Kennedy got on John's case for wearing this shirt on the beaches of Hyannis Port? Unlikely, probably because a.) she had like 7 or 8 other kids to deal with, and b.) JFK knew to enough to tell his maid to pull that woven out of the dryer right before the timer ended, easily achieving the precise amount and depth of rumple.
Q: I need your help with the issue of cuffed/rolled up jeans. I see it around a lot and admit to liking the look. Is it MB? If so, what type of jeans are ideal? How wide of a cuff? A single roll or two? --Jeff
A: Unless you're flying through the air on a motorcycle at at least 70 MPH, cuffing can be extremely dangerous. Thus, we pretty much only do it when it's at least 70 degrees outside and we're within walking distance of a major body of water.
Like the Snickers bar and the Belstaff jacket, Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars were a near-perfect design right from the start, requiring only minor tweaking to attain icon status. Then, someone at Converse decided Chucks were essentially Etch-a-Sketches with slightly less arch support, and over the past few years, we've seen their timeless simplicity assaulted more brutally than Sylvester Stallone in the last fifteen minutes of a Rocky flick. Freakish mutations, hideous graphics -- there is no end to the indignities this classic, unassuming shoe has been made to suffer in the name of fashion.
Now, Converse has introduced the Chuck Taylor All-Star Slim line, which, like Michael Jackson's seventh nose job, appears to be a nearly invisible twist on an already unnecessary alternative, the Chuck Taylor All-Star Light. We say enough is enough. Like Liv Tyler, Chucks just look right a little chunky, and we wouldn't have them any other way.
Q: Hey guys: I am really liking the Allyn Scura site a lot - thanks for the tip about the Apollos. Could you give a recommondation about a style and color/colors that you like in the sunglass section?
Love the site. --Tim
A: Tim, without knowing a little more about your style, it's a little like asking us what kind of car to buy. However, one thing even capitalists and communists can agree on: A pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses with a nice, substantial frame never go out of style. And Allyn Scura has a pair that can make you look like a Greek shipping magnate without having to divert too many funds from your socialized healthcare program. They're $40.
(From top: Aristotle Onassis, Fidel Castro, Sant'Angelo II 907.)
Q: What's MB's stance on chest hair grooming? Obviously a shaved chest is unacceptable but chest hair run rampant seems less than magnificent. I tend to trim mine short using a buzzer but this seems like the most favorable alternative to an unbecoming chest. Any suggestions would be appreciated. --Brandon
A: Not to hedge, but this all depends on the amount and type of chest hair growth. The 40 Year-Old Virgin clearly needed to "wax that Teen Wolf thing right out," as his pal Jay rightly put it. Besides wearing film's best-looking suit, Cary Grant also sports one of film's best-looking, artfully disheveled chests in North by Northwest. (Incidentally, he's 55 years old in this picture.) If you just have a few unsightly stragglers poking out from around your nipples, go for the laser. It hurts like wax but after a few treatments they're gone forever, and you're ready for a Dolce & Gabbana shoot.
Q: I was looking for a place to buy a pair of sunglasses like the ones that the character Tony D'Annunzio from Caddyshack wears to the pool. I saw you put them as an example in one of your answers but I can't seem to find where I could buy a pair, or something like them and I was wondering if you knew of a place? --James
A: Was Tony D'Annunzio The Situation before The Situation?
We cannot determine the exact make or model of D'Annunzio's sunglasses. (If you know, let us know.) The closest we think you're going to get -- and it's pretty close -- is vintage I Ski reflectors like the ones 44 is wearing (inset) before he turned into the most powerful toolbag on earth. These always turn up on eBay or vintage eyewear sites.
Normally, we don't endorse breaking up with your your clothes on the red carpet. But there is one exception: If it looks like you borrowed your fat uncle's shiniest suit, going full McConaughey may be the lesser of two evils. Nice call, Situation!
Q: Should an aspiring MB apply the polo shirt N-2 buttoning policy to sport shirts? Should one ever wear such a shirt with only the very top button unbuttoned, or would this be an example of toolbaggery? --Russell
A: Unfortunately that simple formula does not apply to sport shirts because there are other factors at work, like button spacing, collar shape and size, and abundance (or, preferably, absence) of chest hair. In other words, it depends.
But to illustrate where we lean, take a look at a TBT (Typical Bravo Toolbag) at the top with two unbuttoned, and MB icon Paul Newman in a western -- a shirt almost demanding N-2 -- with just the top button unbuttoned.
Q: I'm definitely on board with tucking in your sport shirts (I don't like Bravo, either). But I've been wearing sport shirts under sweaters a lot recently, and was wondering about the protocol on the sport shirt underneath. Tucked or not? --Christopher
A: First of all, we love Bravo, just not the guys who give the dudes on Jersey Shore a run for their toolbaggery.
Second, the tuck rule still applies for shirts underneath a sweater. I.e., if your shirt is designed to be untucked, go for it; if it's designed to be tucked, tuck it. This way you'll achieve the desired artfully disheveled shirt-barely-peeking-out look as demonstrated here by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer.
Ed. note:(500) Days of Summer is the best romantic comedy we've seen since Annie Hall. OK, maybe it's the only romantic comedy we've seen since Annie Hall. Anyhow, the only thing better than the flick (just by a whisker) is the soundtrack that includes tunes from The Smiths, Hall and Oates, and Spectacular Bitch par excellence Carla Bruni.
Q: What's the difference between artful dishevelment and not trying? I can't seem to get the technique down, because I either end up looking like a slob or I'm trying too hard. Please enlighten me, MB. --Mike
A: Mike, for questions like these, Nick Nolte usually has the answers.
Q: MB Gods, my question is about sunglasses, specifically color. What's your stance on white sunglasses on men? I occasionally see them on pro snowboarders or surfers and they seem to pull it off but the guys I see on the streets in white shades are always toolbag-ish. Partly because they are either Oakleys, really big frames, or both. But mainly because, well...they're white! So white shades: Mag-Bastardly or Toolbaggy? --Kasper
A: Neither MB or TB, more like TTH. The fictional character Max Headroom was able to pull them off, as did Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, but he also successfully wore girls' cardigans, fingernail polish, and even made suicide seem cool. Similar to our answer to a question about pulling off a white blazer, if you have to ask, don't try.
Q: As a top-flight plain clothes supervisor in a major southern police department, this question must be asked: Holster on the belt or go with the shoulder holster? I feel pretty good about my overall MB status but this one keeps me awake. I like the convenience of the belt holster but really feel like the shoulder rig is the only real MB choice for those of us in a suit. Your call - just the right call for the classic MB police style or just trying too hard (TTH)? --Ray
A: Our call is that it's the right call. The MB plain clothes cops we know -- Virgil Tibbs, Harry Callahan, Jack Cates -- all choose the shoulder holster and for good reason: it hides the pistol's bulk beneath your jacket (form), and also allows for a quick draw (function) as demonstrated by Sydney Poitier in 1970's They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!.
About the couples you mention: Megan Fox (age 23) probably had a crush on Brian Austin Green (age 36) since she was 10 and he was on 90210. George Clooney is rich, famous, and handsome. Any one of those three is usually enough. Angelina Jolie? Ick!
Q: Though there have been many a discussion on jeans, whether white, distressed, old or young, what is the MB's take on black jeans? Not too black, not too gray? What is the best course of action, or stay clear all together? --Todd C.
A: We're not going to tell you not to wear black jeans. But we stay clear because we only see them fully successful when worn on stage. And none of us can sing a lick.
Q: I shave my head, due to hair loss, and feel that it detracts from your artfully disheveled standards. Are there any general rules for us smooth-domed MB wannabes that I should be following? --Dan
A: Dan, you said you shave your head, but how often do you shave? We ask because in our opinion, the fully shaved look (aka the Savalas) as a can't-miss cure for baldness is ultimately about as can't-miss as Rogaine or Propecia -- it doesn't always work as advertised. If you're Michael Jordan, go for it. If not, well, just look at Jack (top) -- suddenly one of the world's coolest dudes looks like a bigger toolbag than Joe the Plumber.
Our advice: when you shave, leave enough stubble to make your wife/girlfriend think twice about asking for special favors. Then, don't shave again until you start worrying about the impact wind/hats are having on your hair. The more hair you have left on top, the more frequently you'll have to shave. When you're looking like Jackson Pollock (bottom), you're looking just right. When you're looking like Larry Fine (inset), you've let it go too far.
Like Don Draper, Tiger Woods has great taste in wives. Like Bill Clinton, he's got awful taste in mistresses. Seriously, we haven't seen this much toolbag arm candy since we were backstage at a Mötley Crüe reunion show a couple years ago. (Don't ask.)
Check their resumes, and we're betting 85% of them are Girls Gone Wild alumnae, classes of, oh, 1999-2002.
MB's #1 rule for picking mistresses: Do not count on a woman with fake boobs, fake nails, and fake hair color to be discrete.
MB's #2 rule for picking mistresses: If more than 50% of your side dishes have stripper names (Jaimee, Kalika, Cori, etc.), make sure you have a bulletproof pre-nup.
Top: Tiger signals his intent to spawn by taping large salmon to chest. The ladies love it!
1. Rachel Uchitel 2. Jaimee Grubbs 3. Kalika Moquin 4. Mindy Lawton. (We don't get this one. Is it possible she's banging some other guy named Tiger Woods?) 5. Jamie Jungers 6. Cori Rist 7. Holly Sampson 8. Artist depiction of Mistress #8. You know she's coming any minute, along with #9, #10 ... soon he'll have 18 holes.
(Memo to Jon Gosselin: Step up your game, because it looks like Tiger wants your Toolbag of the Millenium crown, and you know there's no one more clutch when a title is on the line.)
Q: The top or bottom button on a 2 button suit. MB can you settle a debate on button etiquette? We have always been told NOT to use the bottom button on any jackets? Is it ever appropriate to a.) use both buttons on a 2 button jacket? b.) use only the bottom button on a 2 button jacket? --Dave
A: There are only two occasions when it's OK to button both buttons on a jacket: during your wedding vows or during your oath of office. And never only button the bottom button. Even a total schlub like Nixon, in complete disgrace, in a crappy Windsor knot and flag pin, knew to only button the top one.
Q: I was talking to my girlfriend today about MB and she mentioned that she wished there was a version of MB for women. I was curious as to whether you folks had ever thought about finding some fabulous ladies to run a sister site with a similar style? --Mark
A: Funny you should ask, Mark. We're diligently working on our sister site, spectacularbitch.com. Okay, we're not diligently working on it. But we're working on it. Check back in in early 2010, and we should at least have the website equivalent of Carla Bruni's top. In other words, not a lot of substance, perhaps, but loads and loads of style.
Yesterday the New York Timesprofiled Rent the Runway, dubbed "A Netflix model for haute couture." A couple of thoughts:
1. As if to minimize skepticism about how a frequently mailed dress will hold up over time, co-founder Jennifer Hyman (left) models a dress that has been clearly run over by a FedEx truck and still looks great!
We were looking through images on Google and found the Magnificent Bastard that puts all others to shame.
See exhibit A and B. We can't help but notice Albert Einstein's artful dishevelment and dignified countenance. In short: too bastardly for us to compete with. Also, we noticed the tuxedo collar is used with a high sense of class. What is your opinion on this Magnificent Bastard?
Zach and Jon
A: In theory, Einstein should qualify as an MB. But while we don't know much about physics, we do know that artful dishevelment does not mean being so preoccupied with quantized atomic vibrations that you don't realize you've put on your wife's shorts and sandals instead of your own. Sorry, Albert!
Q: Two part Q, if that's ok. First - and please excuse the ignorance - I purchased a suit with the hopes of having it tailored to a slim fit (along these lines). Is that possible if the suit is not originally in that mold (it fits more so in this manner)? I have had it taken in a bit in the torso, however, I'd like the sleeves thinned out (narrower) and the shoulders to be less wide, rather more fitted to me. So I wasn't sure if the tailor was limited in ability or correct in saying that was not possible. With that comes the second part. Would MB happen to know who that suit (Roger Sterling plaid suit) is by/what style that would fall under exactly? Thanks a lot. I really appreciate all the help. --Carlos
A: Carlos: First, your tailor is wrong. Anything can be tailored to your specifications. But stop throwing good money after bad. The suit you bought (upper left) has three buttons and therefore is not what you're going for. Second, the Roger Sterling (played by John Slattery) suit in the photograph (upper right) is by D&G and it retailed for $1,425 in August 2008. Third, Brooks Brothers has a Mad Men Edition suit designed by the show's costume designer, Janie Bryant (bottom). Finally, we have a very strict rule at magnificentbastard.com, and we hope you take it under consideration: once a TV show look is available at Brooks Brothers, it's officially post-peak.
Q: Dear MB: I am writing to get your official position on a matter that arose last night between my girlfriend and I regarding sweaters: V-neck or crewneck? My girl (who claims she knows her stuff with clothing) told me to go with a crewneck and steer clear of v-necks if I am wearing a collared shirt underneath, as the V-neck would not be appropriate. I, on the otherhand, I prefer the v-neck and don't care for the crewneck, as it reminds me too much of those John McCain sport coat-sweater-tie combos that he was running around in last fall (sort of an older man's look to me). Does MB have an official preference for v-neck or crewneck sweaters, or am I just a dumb bastard for not listening to my girl? --Ryan
A: We agree with you and not your girl. When Paul Newman died last year, we cited his v-neck-woven shirt combination as his life's greatest achievement. And just look at James Dean in a v-neck and woven. This is artful dishevelment defined.
As a side note, John McCain typically did do the coat-sweater-tie combo until, hopelessly behind late in the campaign, tried the v-neck look with disastrous results.
Q: I'm prone to rocking the Canadian tuxedo more than most, but I've always been under the impression that the key was pairing a washed out jacket with new, crisp jeans, or vice versa OR just rocking them with different colors altogether. But lately I've been told that the denim should match as closely as possible. I think this looks like a boiler suit, or maybe a denim onesie. What's your opinion? --Robert
A: First, we should note that funny questions always move to the front of the line. Second, we're not opposed to you "rocking" the Canadian tuxedo, but know that the degree of difficulty is extremely high. For every Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain there are 100 Neil Diamonds on the album cover for "Hot August Night." (And yes we know we just recommended a gay cowboy over a vintage Jewish mega-stud, but fashion's fashion.)
Q: Is Roger Federer a Magnificent Bastard? --Cosgrove
A: In the past there's been a lot to place Federer firmly in MB territory. He doesn't sweat, he doesn't grunt like an animal on every groundstroke, and even when he gets destroyed (see 2008 French vs. Nadal) he's so graceful it looks like he's actually winning.
But the last year has given us pause. He cried like a baby at the Australian, looked like a waiter at Wimbledon, and last night whined about the foolproof electronic line calling system after losing to a Slam finals rookie who dresses like The Karate Kid.
A: We think boat shoes are fine, but encourage you to wear them only if you're actually on a boat or headed toward one. As for specifics, we all know the default choice when talk turns to boat shoes. Paul Sperry invented the category in 1935; the Top-Sider is an American classic. But so is Donald Trump and we don't want him anywhere near our feet. We don't feel quite so strongly about Top-Siders ... we've even given them a conditional thumbs-up in the past. But if you're in the market for something whose style is a little more amphibious, check out these Puma Decker slip-ons. We also like the Harrys of London Blake in dark tan, which is to the Top-Sider what ScarJo is to Marilyn Monroe, a more streamlined update to a tried-and-true design.
Q: I know your policy on tucking in polo shirts, but how about t-shirts? Marlon Brando had them tucked in in A Streetcar Named Desire, but I believe he was wearing undershirts. Is this something that can be pulled off? --Dave
A: While the current dominant style is untucked, we think you can tuck if you like, and Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Steve McQueen agree with us. A couple of other thoughts on the matter:
* Any t-shirt that makes it into your wardrobe should look good untucked as well as tucked. In other words, if you're tucking because your t-shirt is too long or too wide at the bottom, you should demote that t-shirt to garage rag.
* Take a close look at Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire and you'll see he's actually demonstrating the MB-endorsed artfully disheveled tuck. (Avoid the rip, though -- that's a little too Flashdance.)
We'll cut the kid some slack since he's just 17 years old, but Twilight star Taylor Lautner needs to work on his footwear. Spotted in LAX yesterday on the way to shoot Eclipse, Lautner demonstrates acceptable shirt length and sleeve rolling, but then wrecks the ensemble with a pair of Florsheim-ish dress shoes it looks like he borrowed from his dad's closet.
A: If by "all the celebrities" you mean Twilight series star Robert Pattinson, then you're right. He doesn't leave home without them. But just like Pattinson is at peak, so are the Ray-Ban Clubmaster, and you want to stay on the left side of the trend curve.
Q: Is it MB to wear a dark shirt (think black, navy blue, brown) and a tie with a suit? MB-in-training in crisis as I have a number of nice, dark shirts and don't feel right wearing em with suits and ties. --Moshe
A: Moshe, your instincts are strong. If you combine dark shirts with suits, the good news is that you are all but guaranteed to become a huge success in the entertainment industry. The bad news is on the left.
Upon returning to Alaska after last November's defeat, Sarah Palin was criticized for not boning up on policy and generally just not bothering to learn stuff, like how many stars are on the American flag. Well those critics are wrong! Case in point: When you have a case of mom-ass (inset) that can't be handled with the right pair of denim, best just cover it up with a jacket, as she demonstrated yesterday at the annual Governor's Picnic in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Q: I'm in an upcoming wedding, and we're wearing pocket squares. Any suggestions on how to fold those suckers like an MB? --Mike
A: Mike, we've covered this before and stand by the advice given: apply Occam's Razor and keep it simple with either a one-point or flat fold. Even moreso for a wedding because those photographs have a way of lingering on mantles, walls, side tables, and Facebook -- and those two options have best stood the test of time.
Top: Ol' Blue Eyes with some youthful indiscretion.
Bottom: More mature Sinatra goes artfully disheveled, timeless.
Jon & Kate Plus 8 reality TV star Jon Gosselin (32) was recently seen in St. Tropez with new squeeze Hailey Glassman (22) and "fashion designer" Christian Audigier. He was appropriately decked out in a signature Audigier shirt (pictured) which is only 2 skulls short of being the ugliest piece of clothing we've ever seen.
The French designer is possibly the greatest single contributor to what we've decided to refer to as neo-toolbagism, designing for or working on brands like Affliction, Von Dutch (remember the Von Dutch hat?), Ed Hardy, and his namesake Christian Audigier.
Crocs isn't dead. Yet. The company/product that created more fashion casualties than Zubaz and parachute pants combined is determined to take at least one more victim with it on the way down. The Washington Postreports that the company, which has been on the verge of bankruptcy for weeks, says it has gotten George Clooney to agree to "work with the company." But asking Clooney to save Crocs is like asking an ant to bang an elephant. It's not the elephant that's going to get crushed when the relationship doesn't work out.
We've previously been critical of Robert Pattinson's fashion-victim look, but on the set of Remember Me, he's giving a clinic on how to properly select and wear an untucked sport shirt. (Sleeves could be rolled a bit higher, however.)
Q: What brand and model of sunglasses does Robert Duvall's character, Col. Kilgore, wear in Apocalypse Now? Searching for those for a while and can't figure them out. --Jason
A: We had a strong hunch they were Randolph Engineering aviators, and after contacting their marketing department yesterday, confirmed it. They're $99 and available here. But fair warning: these really work best for Col. and above.
(See previous post regarding Kilgore's slightly less-successful dogtag and bracelet accessorization.)
Q: Really enjoying your site. What's your view on facial hair? Specifically, the perpetual five o'clock shadow? I realize we are well past the days of Miami Vice, but I think you can be MB if you keep it neat (figuratively speaking) and pair it with an appropriate contrast (e.g. with a suit). --AP
A: AP, we see where you're going with the contrast idea, but consider this: the reason why Don Johnson never quite looked right is that he was otherwise so perfectly styled -- you can practically smell his cologne from this photograph -- that the five o'clock shadow looked affected. Any man who can find time for highlights can certainly find time to shave.
It works for Jason Statham, on the other hand, because it looks like he probably slept in those clothes, and reeks of cigarette smoke, bourbon, and possibly blood. Our recommendation: if you are absolutely nowhere near a razor blade for long enough to acquire stubble, then it's permitted (e.g. hostage situatons, elevator breakdowns, desert island plane wrecks.) Otherwise, shave or carry a big gun wherever you go, so it's clear you're not a gigolo.
Q: My inner caveman has to ask: is it ever appropriate to wear clothing or accessories with animal-print patterns? --Pierlo
A: Roy is wearing gallons of hair gel, approximately $30,000 worth of unconvincing plastic surgery, and a couple of blinged-out crosses even MC Hammer would dismiss as tacky, and you know what? His jacket is still the worst thing in this picture. Which is all you need to know about wearing animal-print patterns. We do endorse wearing animals, however -- but not on your face, while they're still alive.
Q: I really like the glasses Brad Pitt wears in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" and was wondering if you knew where to get a pair of similar looking specs. --Michael
A: Pitt's character is wearing an old P3 wire frame (a.k.a. Marshwood). It was at peak popularity in the 1930s and 40s. All the big american frame companies had a version during that time (American Optical, Artcraft, Bausch & Lomb, Shuron), so you will easily be able to find them on eBay or your local antique store. Besides Benjamin Button, Lennon and Truman are among past prominent wearers of this style.
Q: Here's the plan: my friends and I have rented out a house in Nosara, Costa Rica for a month. We will all be surfing. What style is appropriate for:
a) Pre surfing?
b) when surfing? (we are beginners)
c) post surfing?
We are all in our early to mid twenties (23-24 years old). Thanks a lot for any suggestions MB! --Eric
A: Eric, we think you're planning at least one too many costume changes -- you're going surfing, not performing in a Cher concert (she'll be at Ceasars in September). 5-7" inseam boardshorts are what's needed here for all three scenarios (see our swimsuit length graphic). Except for the apres surf we'd recommend pairing with a terrycloth cabana jacket or robe, just like what Paul Newman would do (pictured).
A: It is indeed difficult to turn the Wimbledon Whites into toolbag, though Rafa Nadal did it last year in the finals. Even the typically MB Roger Federer raised several of our eyebrows with his warmup vest in this year's first round. In between sets, does he moonlight as a waiter? We'll take a round of gin and tonics. Hendrick's.
Anyhow, like Nadal, Janko just has TB in him. Look at him at the French, with tank top and matching blades (bottom). And that tattoo, which we're pretty sure says "No fat chicks!" in kanji. Wimbledon's rules can only tamp the TB down. The good news: he's out after the 2nd round.
Q: I recently noticed Phil Mickelson wearing golf shirts with shorter than standard short sleeves. As a guy with short muscular arms I would love to get shirts with these extra short sleeves. Where does he get them or are they made special for him? --Ron
A: Phil Mickelson has a large endorsement deal with Callaway, so it's a very safe bet they make his shirts. And, being the #2 player in the world, he can get Callaway to make anything he wants. (Though someone at Callaway should have the courage to tell Phil to add a little material around the torso. It's looking increasingly sausage-like, with a side of manboobs.)
Anyhow, we strongly endorse shorter sleeves on polos, especially if you have pipes worthy of display. The sleeve length on many of today's golf shirts, one can't tell if they're short long-sleeves or long short-sleeves (see John Daly at last week's St. Jude Classic). But don't make this a big concern. You can have your golf shirt sleeves shortened to taste by a tailor for $10-$15. And if you're cursed with Mickelson's waistline, try to find a tailor who moonlights as a plastic surgeon.
Q: As a recent college graduate, and as a Staples Center suite ticket owner, what is appropriate attire for Lakers games? I know a jersey and jeans just wont cut it. Thanks for your help! --Chris
A: A recent college graduate and Staples Center suite owner? Pace yourself, Chris. You don't want to peak too early.
Anyhow, a jersey and jeans is indeed out. Just have a look at Joel Madden and this other jersey and foam-finger wearing fella (top). Don't be that guy. For the celebrity set there's an ongoing competition to see who can most successfully affect the just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-showed-up-at-Lakers-game look. Jack Black, we declare you the winner. In spite of the unfortunate fact that your team's primary color is purple, we recommend trying to look like a fan without trying too hard, like David Beckham in this barely-purple fine-knit crewneck sweater (-tie).
Game 1 on Thursday, Chris, and we'll be there in spirit. In reality, we'll be in Pulaski, WI.
After Rafael Nadal won Wimbledon last summer, we chastised his sleeveless, collarless look as being "some kind of weird combination of Menudo and Rambo." At the Australian earlier this year he added sleeves (top). At the French he added a collar (bottom) and promptly lost in the 4th round to Robin Soderling, the 25th-ranked player in the world. To thine own toolbag self, be true.
We're all in favor of bringing back some '70s style to the course -- the MB in the header photo is wearing vintage flowered Lilly Pulitzer shorts -- but Scott Woodsworth's Loudmouth Golf is an homage gone horribly wrong:
Top: John Daly at the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club, England, over the weekend in Loudmouth Golf's "Disco Balls" pants. Looks like a clown's pajamas.
Bottom: The "Chicks Dig Loudmouth" photo gallery is a toolbag extravaganza.
Fastidiously manscaped goatee? Untucked sport shirt? When Fine Living Network (FLN) realizes what the world really needs right now is a show where straight men give style advice to toolbag casual gay men, ostensible "style expert" Lloyd Boston, of the new show Closet Cases, can be the first makeover candidate.
The primal scream is the same, the fist pump is toned down a bit, and Tiger Woods is thankfully back to wearing collard shirts on Sundays instead of the skin-tight mock turtleneck. Phil Mickelson, please take note.
Q: A question and a comment. What is the MB stance on snugness of a suit jacket? I recently got a steal on an Armani cashmere/silk sport jacket which is too big around the waist for my slim build. I want to get it altered to fit better but don't know how snug it should be. My comment is that I'd love for you to open up your posts to comment! Sure you'll get some rabble but it can add so much to what you're doing here. Which, by the way, I love! --Seth
A: Seth, head to the tailor. The snugness of the fit should be directly in proportion with one's fit(ness). Slim fellas in more generous cuts can quickly start looking like David Byrne. Bigger guys in snug fits can send crowds scurrying for cover to duck flying buttons. We've provided a handy chart below to demonstrate:
Q: MB, I am a 20 year old college student and recently was very excited to find a pair of new Puma Contacts at a thrift store and have been wearing them occasionally. I only wear them with plain black skinny jeans, because I don't want to be too elaborate. My girlfriend on the other hand feels that they are too ridiculous and make me stand out in a bad way. Am I wrong? --Jacob
A: Jacob, your girlfriend would've been more accurate to say you stand out in a too Joey Ramone way. This is fine if you're the 6'6" frontman for an up-and-coming college punk rock cover band. Otherwise save this ironic footwear for the hardcourts.
A: Sorry, there aren't enough distinguishing characteristics even to make an educated guess. However, if you've got the requisite confidence, we heartily endorse big, chunky, '60s-inspired sunglasses like the ones he's wearing. Also, the video is worth watching:
DETAILS' Courtney Colavita says the fat Windsor is "guaranteed to make you look like a dick," and we couldn't agree more. Just have a look at Jeremy Piven (off the set of Entourage): big tie knot, big watch ... he's clearly overcompensating for something that is quite small, other than his 5' 6" stature.
Q: Is it ever appropriate or acceptable to wear sunglasses indoors and/or at night? I'm not talking Oakley Blades with crazy-ass reflective lenses, but vintage Neostyles and Dunhills with soft blue and brown gradients. I know the official MB stance on the practice, but I hope against hope that there are exceptions. --Michael
Ben Roethlisberger is just 26, has two Super Bowl rings, and is likely headed to the Hall of Fame. But the poor fella would probably trade it all for even a shred of style.
Well, maybe not. But since "Big Ben" is single, and apparently only dating the struggling Canadian-born actress and Hilary Swank look-a-like contest winner Missy Peregrym, one upside of the Steelers' win is there aren't any pictures of Brenda Warner descending on her husband like a blue, crew-cut alien.
I just wanted to point out a video of a recent public appearance of Vanilla Ice at a Denver Nuggets halftime show. Not only is it basketball (see recent post about ball size), Mr. Ice appears to follow every rule for looking (and acting) like a complete toolbag. --Joshua
A: We are working on a new feature that examines toolbags through the ages, from the cavemen to the guys on Tool Academy, and we've discovered in our research that Vanilla Ice should get special merit for reinventing himself several times, yet having his essential toolbaggery always shine through.
Now, while I realize that part of being an MB is a healthy contempt for authority, is it really fair to apply the criteria of Magnificent Bastard-dom to the office of the President? I mean, isn't that something of a double standard?
Consider how a Magnificent Bastard would likely win an election:
1. A Magnificent Bastard certainly would be the underdog, running against an establishment incumbent. 2. A Magnificent Bastard would likely campaign however the hell he wanted, surrounding himself with good people, and he certainly wouldn't "prepare" for debates. (This would be Trying Too Hard). 3. A Magnificent Bastard, faced with inevitable defeat, would likely win the election anyhow, using the system itself to take the reins of power. 4. Having taken the presidency, a Magnificent Bastard wouldn't dare be seen sitting behind a desk. Why not schedule several photo ops doing something outdoors, and manly, with a cowboy hat and boots (appropriate in the state of Texas), denim, and sleeves appropriately rolled past the elbows.
Wait, wait, wait. This all seems very familiar. No wonder there's a picture of Dubya tucked in your current banner image. You sly dogs.
Q: You can't think of any fat guys who are MBs? How about Sydney Greenstreet or Charles Laughton? Auric Goldfinger or the Kingpin?
Magnificent Bastards all. --Marcus
A: Let's just say we have different definitions of Magnificent Bastard-dom. Who's the MB in this picture? (Hint: It's not the guy on the left who cheats at both cards and golf.) Now, if you had said "Fat Elvis" instead of some tubby Brits and a comic book character, you'd have an argument.
UPDATE: Reader Sid chimes in with an MB-endorsed observation:
As to whether or not a fat guy can be an MB, I'm going with "yes, but it's really hard to pull off."
Case in point: Winston Churchill. yeah, he's a Brit, but a certain degree of Anglophilia is well within MB rights (you've said as much yourselves). Snappy dresser, master drinker, always ready with a quip, and pretty much singlehandedly kept Britain's shit together during WW2.
I'll admit, he started off skinny (like Brando) and got increasingly fat and nasty (like Brando) but the height of his MB-dom was obviously during WW2, at which point he was definitely on the tubby side of things.
Corrolary: Orson Welles. Sure, he also got fat and nasty by the endgame, but Welles was an MB's MB.
Q: Howdy: I'm looking at buying a suede jacket. Last night, my wife and I were watching the movie, Music and Lyrics on HBO. Hugh Grant was wearing a really nice brown one. I said I want one similar ... my wife said the collar was too wide. We agreed to let you decide. What say you? --John
A: We're not sure about the age-inappropriate necklace or the quarter-zip mock neck sweater, but the collar on that jacket, while bold, is just fine by us. The only problem: good luck finding it. Since she lost the argument, put your wife on the search.
Q: Can fat guys be MBs? They can't pull off the perfect suit, or show off a sweet non-pleated pant, but I'm sure there have been some badass big MB guys in the past. I'm not talking Michael Moore fat (and unkempt), but maybe a guy that goes to the Big and Tall store a touch more for the "Big" than the "Tall." --Fat Bastard
A: We're pretty sure there exists a fat MB, it's just that we can't really think of one outside of perhaps Santa Claus ... and he still has to put on polyester once a year.
A little additional chub can still work, but not too much. Just look to Marlon Brando for guidance:
Top: Fit Brando the iconic image of cool American masculinity.
Bottom: Fat Brando the iconic image of diabetes, waddling, hanging out at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch.
On our extended break -- incidentally, we consumed enough Dewar's Rob Roys to kill the average bloke -- there were some very disturbing photos taken of the President-elect. (We had our suspicions back in July when he met the troops.) Sure, Barack Obama might soon be the 44th President of the United States, but the poor fella is a raging toolbag.
Q: Suits: are we still in 2-button, double-vent mode, or is there something new on the horizon? It is time to update the old wardrobe? Can I still wear my old 4 button models or are those too far gone? --Allen
A: The 2-button, double-vent mode is still a great choice. Heck, even an alien like Klaatu (Keanu Reeves) from The Day the Earth Stood Still knows it. (If you look closely you can pick out the double vents.)
Regarding the 4-button versions in your possession, we're going to invoke the well-known Charles Barkley rule and request that they remain in your closet.
Typically a man becomes more MB with age, as he learns from earlier mistakes and takes on the patina of someone who's endured polar fleece and Dockers. An obvious exception to this rule is Kevin Costner, seen in the most recent issue of People sporting a soul patch.
Q: What kind of hoodie is Will Smith wearing in Hancock and where do you get one? --Ric
A: The actual hoodie worn by Smith in the scene pictured is now for sale on eBay (auction ends Wednesday). It's a grey Russell Athletic you can get just about anywhere. As for the two-tone version he's wearing on the beach (inset), we're doing some digging.
Please accept my nomination for TOW (Toolbag of the Week). Kevin Jonas, of the Jonas Brothers tucked his jeans into his rather feminine looking boots AND is wearing a shawl collared sweater with ghastly patches, stripes and a soccer player design on the breast. --Matt
A: Matt, this may qualify as TOY (Toolbag of the Year). The worst part of this ensemble is the Lamborghini. It screams TTH. The principle of artful dishevelment extents to an MB's automobile. Kevin Jonas might've even made those boots work had he arrived in a rusty '81 Chevy Caprice.
(Again, someone please explain why we're wrong about pant tucking.)
Q: Clarification on the turtleneck. Surely you refer to the ribbed/knit examples you show and NOT the cotton tight-necked number we all remember from childhood winters. --Palmy
A: Paul Newman made a fairly tight-necked turtleneck work pretty well in perhaps the most famous turtleneck photo of all time. Palmy, maybe your 2nd-grade sartorial memories aren't as bad as you think.
Q: I'm unclear on your turtleneck position. Are saying it was only ok in 1968 and for chaps much more MB than I'll ever be? I have a navy tall mock turtleneck (taller than a mock but not enough to fold over) that I love. Not MB? --Scott
A: We're saying McQueen, Player, and Newkirk helped make the turtleneck forever cool. If you don't have enough material to fold over, or let flop down in an artfully disheveled way, then you ought to keep it in your closet. Or perhaps burn it. Anything even veering towards mock should be avoided or you might start looking like Tiger Woods. And that ain't good.
A few months ago we were asked how we'd give Hillary Clinton a makeover. She appears to be reading the site and followingour advice, except for the part about not looking like a special guest on Project Runway for the Hefty Cinch Sak challenge.
Wow, what a difference 12 years make. In 1996 Vince Vaughn practically defined Magnificent Bastard-dom as Trent Walker in Swingers. In 2008 he's playing opposite Reese Witherspoon as a bloated married man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and straw hat in Four Christmases. About the only thing recognizable are the sideburns.
Q: A sweater with a shawl collar: a fleeting trend or an MB wardrobe staple? --Wadie
A: The shawl-collar sweater doesn't quite reach the high "wardrobe staple" bar, but in 1968's Bullitt Steve McQueen definitively made it more than a "fleeting trend." Wear with confidence this year, and next.
John McCain meekly rolls his sleeves only two turns, and too neatly. Barack Obama makes three turns, which explains his lead in the polls. However, both could take sleeve-turning lessons from all-time MBs Paul Newman and James Dean, who turn them up past their elbows.
Her recent events drew scruffy high-schoolers in backward baseball caps, tank-topped bikers in bandanas and long-bearded veterans in berets. They crashed the rope line for photos and autographs. "Marry me, Sarah," a man implored in Weirs Beach, N.H., while Ms. Palin held up a tow-headed toddler and patted his little chest. She ignored, or didn't hear, the proposal, but signed the dude's ratty baseball cap.
Q: Whenever I dress in a t-shirt and jeans I always look so plain. What are some ways I can look more magnificent, other than things like sunglasses and v-necks? --John
A: Well, you can call it plain. With the just the right denim and just the right t-shirt, combined with thoughtful accessorization (yes, beyond sunglasses) or footwear, we call this The Uniform.
But don't just take our word for it. Victoria Beckham, up-and-coming designer and former Posh Spice, in the October issue of Details magazine, documents her 10 Rules of Style. Her #1 rule is something we heartily endorse:
Style isn't about money. One of the nicest outfits on a man is pair of jeans, some old, messed-up boots, a simple white tee, and a vintage leather belt. You don't have to spend a lot. It's about mixing and matching and getting things that fit properly.
We'll try to demonstrate this visually in future editions.
Longtime readers know how much we dug Paul Newman. In an interview earlier this year we cited Newman as one of the four most stylish people who've influenced us, along with Oscar Wilde, Yves Saint Laurent, and Chi-Chi Rodriguez. With two of the four dying this year, 2008 has really sucked. Hang in there Chi-Chi!
Anyhow, beyond the movies, the blue eyes, the philanthropy, and the tasty salsa and salad dressing, Paul Newman's greatest achievement -- even better than being on Nixon's enemies list -- was demonstrating the coolness of a v-neck sweater with woven white shirt.
Q: Regarding North Face fleece, just what exactly is the principle of organic materials? --Lee
A: The principle of organic materials is simple: It's that organic materials are inherently superior to anything made by man, even if they are less practical. So when given a choice, always choose organic materials.
Try this thought experiment to illustrate the point: Imagine the ultimate MB -- JFK -- sailing a boat made out of fiberglass. Your head just exploded. See what we mean? Plus, given that organics are the result of Mother Nature, there are always slight imperfections that enhance another core MB attribute: artful dishevelment. (Note JFK's look.)
Use the following table to help guide your decision-making.
The winner -- total toolbag Paul Azinger -- is wearing a mock turtleneck. The loser -- MB-ish Nick Faldo -- in an artfully disheveled collared shirt.
It's one thing for Mr. Azinger to be unstylish -- that's par for the course with him -- but does he need to dress up the entire team in that awful outfit?
In spite of the lopsided victory, that photo will not stand the test of time. In 20 years people won't be looking at the winning 2008 Ryder Cup team and say, "Geez, those guys really had style back then." Exactly the opposite.
Cindy McCain is an heiress to a large beer distributorship, and she'll be goddammed to let some WT chick from Alaska with bangs upstage her. So last night she pulled the pin, let it down, curled it, and went Farah.
Top: Cindy McCain, pre Sarah Palin Lower Left: Cindy McCain, post Sarah Palin Lower Right: Farah Fawcett
Q: The last time I got my hair cut, the stylist (at Sport Clips) suggested that I start wearing it in a faux hawk. Even though I'm still an MB in training, I'm doubtful. So, what is your opinion on hairstyles (and going to Sport Clips)? --Byron
A: The faux hawk is the urban mullet. Yes, David Beckham can pull it off adequately, but he is David Beckham. Everyone else is simply a sad variation of Martin Short's SNL character, Ed Grimley (inset).
Regarding Sport Clips, all you need to do is look at the picture they use on the "About Sport Clips" page: the man most in need of an MB makeover on the planet. Byron, find yourself a hot young stylist who will shampoo your hair, give you a scalp massage, and not suggest bad hairstyle ideas.
Ultra-casual Brett Favre looked surprisingly natural in a suit at last month's ESPY Awards, but he clearly missed the MB memos on camo and graphic tees as he left Green Bay yesterday. Also, those sunglasses veer dangerously close to reflector blades. A true diva needs true diva shades. Like Madonna in Versace.
So what do you think of Apple founder Steve Jobs' sense of style? These days, he almost always wears the same outfit in public, consisting of: 1) black mock turtleneck; 2) jeans; 3) white or grey New Balance sneakers; and 4) iPhone. Is it just me, or does this technological visionary dress like a toolbag? --Evan
A: We haven't specifically addressed Jobs' particular sense of "style," but your sense of the MB ethos is strong, Evan.
Q: With gas prices where they are the idea of commuting on a scooter is looking more attractive. The problem is I don't want to look like a toolbag. Is there anyway to avoid this? By the way I am not a 20 year-old, 100 pound, Starbucks barista. --Ben
A: Making a scooter work definitely has a high DD (Degree of Difficulty) but can be very MB (Magnificent Bastardly), primarily due to scootering's importance in the British "mod" scene of the '60s and '70s. Sting is riding one with aplomb in the poster for the 1979 film Quadrophenia (top). So they meet the MB principle of Anglophilia straight away.
Also, Certified Magnificent Bastard William F. Buckley is riding one on the cover of his 1968 book "The Jeweler's Eye" (bottom). Take note of these examples -- check out Buckley's dress, hair, and facial expression -- and ride with confidence.
The Shark's signature final-round folds remain the same, but thankfully his wardrobe has changed. Eschewing bright colors and patterns in favor of neutrals, now he chokes in style. Might this style evolution be the influence of new bride Chris Evert?
Top: Norman at his last triumph in 1993 at Royal St. George's, looking quite peculiar
Bottom Left: Norman on Saturday in white polo with ivory cashmere v-neck
Q: Even the minions of the MB can see that Hillary Clinton is in need of some fashion assistance. If the MB were to provide her with some advice and consent what would you suggest that she do to amend her fashion mistakes? --Chris
A: 15 years ago SPY magazine offered a good suggestion for Hillary's wardrobe: dominatrix. Unfortunately the United States Senate has clear rules against leather, whips, and chokers. So, here is our 3-point plan that might still get Hillary in the White House:
1. Ditch the Crazy-Ass Color Palette
Nobody looks good in head-to-toe royal blue. Or turquoise. Or especially the bumblebee yellow-and-black. Heck, that color combination even makes Bumblebee Man look sad. Go with neutrals. Try just black for once.
2. Implement Disproportionately-Wide Hip Mitigation Plan
For whatever reason, Hillary chooses to feature her worst feature -- those hips -- by repeatedly wearing pantsuits. Try a tie shirt-dress or, and this is really radical, a skirt. Yes, they expose the cankles but still preferable.
3. Abandon Dress Barn as Wardrobe Source
Or wherever she gets her current outfits. It's true: Prada does not make a size 18, but try Neiman Marcus or Saks and get into brands like Eileen Fisher, TSE, Gayla Bentley, or Shirin Guild.
Something just ain't right about seeing the completely unstylish Rafael Nadal triumph on the completely stylish lawns of Wimbledon. Nadal's match with Roger Federer may be an instant classic, but neither that dreadful sleeveless top nor those long shorts will stand the test of time. Poor fella looks like some weird combination of Menudo and Rambo.
Our deep-seated issues with legibility and hoods have officially met their match when Dolce & Gabbana puts an original Magnificent Bastard like Steve McQueen on the front of a sweatshirt. (Note McQueen's rolled sleeves, undone top button, four-in-hand knot, and the absence of jewelery.)
Q: I am happy to see that Penguin is at least somewhat MB endorsed. However, much of their offering breaks the rule of logoed clothing -- is there a time and a place for the Penguin logo, or should I stick with their non-branded items? --Mark
A: Toughest question we've received so far. Logoed Penguin duds were especially cool pre-2003, when you could only find them on ebay or at vintage clothing shops. Now that their rebirth is in its 6th year these items are much more common. Yet it's such an iconic brand, and they still make very good-looking (logoed) clothing it's a real MB dilemma.
ORIGINAL PENGUIN by Munsingwear became a staple among the masters of suburban leisure well into the 1980s –- worn by the likes of Arnold Palmer, Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Richard Nixon.
Problem solved. Thanks originalpenguin.com!
Simply print out and then cut out the Magnificent Bastard Spinner below. Attach arrow to board with pin. Before you decide to wear your obviously logoed Penguin clothing, spin the arrow. If it lands on the hack comedian or Dick, wear something else. If it lands on the legendary golfer or legendary entertainer, wear the Penguin with confidence.
Q: While shopping this weekend I noticed a lot of tacky women's cowboy hats with crunched up brims in hideous colors. I would never judge a person for their personal style but hasn't this gone on long enough? Madonna wore one in a video 15 years ago and even back then it looked awful. Aren't two season of Rock of Love enough to finally end this travesty? --Rita
A: What's wrong with judging a person for their personal style? It's a really great timesaver.
While we can't endorse tacky cowboy hats in hideous colors (or two seasons of Rock of Love for that matter), the "cowgirl" look is as American as apple pie and obesity. Love it or leave it, Rita!
Though it doesn't sound like you'll be attempting this look, the trick to making it work is to be sparing with the cowgirl elements, or it'll look like you're late for a date at either the County Fair or the O.K. Corral.
For instance: a cowboy hat with denim and boots = about right. Cowboy hat with denim, boots, and 6-shooter (like Jane Russell) = too much.
Clockwise from upper left: Betty Boop, Lynda Carter, Cher, Veronica Lake, Jane Russell, Jane Fonda.
Q: I know that you have long heralded the death of skinny ties, and I mostly agree. However, a skinny (not too skinny, though) tie can be worn well in some situations. I am very young (18), very tall (6'4") and thin. Sometimes I like to wear a black suit with slim lapels and a white shirt and top it off with a slim black tie. Given my circumstances, is this really that bad? Can one not pull off the skinny tie with the right body and suit? Thanks. --Bo
A: Waiter! Another round of Dewar's. Rocks.
Bo, leave the skinny (even not too skinny) ties to guys like Zac Efron, who use them to appear 5'3" instead of 5'1". Use your God-given stature to your advantage, and try a play on scale, with a short, wide tie ... and a different colored suit.
Q: I know you guys love the Style Guy but he just made a huge error in the June edition of GQ. He said that you cannot take out the pleats in pleated trousers. They should buy their suits at MARK SHALE. They do it all the time for no charge and they turn out beautifully. --Larry
A: We do like Glenn O'Brien (the Style Guy), though as you point out he is dead wrong about about removing pleats. Not just Mark Shale can do it; so can any competent tailor. Maybe he was having a senior moment like his contemporary, John McCain.
We're pouring some forties for YSL, who was recently cited in an MB post about pocket squares. Not only was Yves Saint Laurent a fashion icon, he was one of those rare individuals who aspiring MBs could learn from just about every time he was photographed. Take, for instance, this July 1968 picture with Lauren Bacall and daughter Leslie. Velvet suit (in July) with dramatically wide (and short) tie, dressed-down with button-down shirt matched with uber-casual grommet belt. And of course the trademark frames and flowing locks. Brilliant.
Q: What's up with the new "ballet flats" that I've seen women wearing lately? I've watched them in disgust from afar as springtime rolled in and now the inevitable has happened. My wife bought a pair. What do I do? I've conveyed to her in no uncertain terms that women should always be in heels -- out on the town, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, etc. -- but she just does not get it. I'm going to have to steal her flats and hide them. Can you provide backup for me on this? --Jaison
A: Jaison, we understand your question is mainly for comedic effect, but you know what you really ought to do? Give your wife a hug and a kiss because ballet flats are an all-time classic. Think Audrey Hepburn, regular ballet flat wearer, also an all-time classic, and near the top of the Magnificent Bastard Favorite Babes list.
Though your wife may not wear heels in the bedroom, you done good, son.
The June issue of GQ is literally the straw that broke the camel's back. It's got Shia LeBeouf (5'2" 113 lbs.) on the cover. This on the heels of Zac Efron (5'3" 115 lbs.) on the front of the Jan/Feb issue of Details and Hayden Christensen (5'5" 133 lbs.) on the cover of the March Details.
These are men's magazines, not Boys' Life. It's probably too much to ask for this generation to find equivalents to Paul Newman, Marlon Brando, and Burt Lancaster, but Shia Freaking LeBeouf?! His latest role is Indiana Jones's sidekick; or, a slightly taller Short Round. Who's set for the July issue? That 17 year-old guy who was a runner-up on American Idol?
A: Yes, Steve McQueen certainly was a Magnificent Bastard, but we can assure you that at no time in Bullitt did he wear a mock turtleneck. Open your fucking eyes and you'll see it's perhaps Film's Most Famous Real Turtleneck; a blue ribbed turtleneck sweater, shown underneath a tweed blazer (top).
Overshadowed by the famous turtleneck was McQueen's demonstration of how to nail a chunky shawl collar cardigan with woven shirt (bottom).
Q: Simple question: how many buttons should their be on the front of your suit? --Ray
A: We've weighed in on this before when analyzing Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's three-button David Byrne look-alike "Psycho Killer" suit.
We officially endorse two buttons. We're not adamantly against the three-button, like we are against skulls or tapered soccer-dad jeans or wearing an electronic device on your belt like some cable-access version of Batman. It's just that we know for certain that four-buttons are out because Charles Barkley wears them. And 3 is closer to 4 than 2, so that's bad.
Matthew Broderick has been spending an inordinate amount of time on the red carpet these days, which is a good thing because he regularly demonstrates what not to do. Though this is an upgrade over his latest appearance, the former Ferris Bueller is still a mistake. At a mere 5' 6", 5' 7" tops, the man should not be in a pair of slim-cut trousers; they merely highlight his much wider ass and belly, which he is apparently trying to disguise with a coat that's two sizes too big.
Q: Where does the MB stand on (male) facial hair? I see your page is now adorned with a fella gettin' a shave so I guess I already know the answer. This wanna-be MB has had a goatee for a long time but has been recently thinking about finding a razor. Thoughts? --Dan
A: Listen, partner. You reckon you ever seen a fella who's an MB with a goatee? Thought so. Yeeehaw!
Either be fixin' to find a razor or grow it out, like Iron Man Robert Downey Jr., on the cover of this month's GQ, who's also the winner of the George Clooney look-alike contest.
Q: MB: Ball caps? Nope, never worn them. Flip it backwards? Are you kidding me? Visors? Yup. Wear 'em. Even feel like a bastard at times. How 'bout you? Visors? I'm talking on the golf course, and off. --C.D.
A: The highly-destructive Tiger Woods Apparel Effect has contributed to making visors quite rare these days. MB strongly endorses them, but only when both of these rules are met:
1. You're on a golf course, and 2. You've got the locks to show off.
(Clockwise from upper left: Fred Couples, Trevor Immelman, Phil Mickelson, Tommy Armour III.)
George Clooney at the Los Angeles premiere of Leatherheads (opening today), not praying to the tired "skinny" god of GQ and Band of Outsiders, but, as you might expect from Mr. Clooney, doing his own thing. How refreshing, and MB.
Age-appropriate dress is a tenet of lifelong Magnificent Bastard-dom, and it can be a tricky thing to get right. Most men thankfully don't wear thumb
rings at age 51 like Anthony Bourdain -- or thumb rings at all -- but we sometimes wear jeans with too much shit on the back pocket, and it looks wrong.
At the other end of the spectrum is dressing prematurely old man. Witness Matthew Broderick at the premiere of Smart People (starring wife Sarah Jessica Parker). He's just 46 and he looks like a U.S. Senator or a banker nearing retirement on "crazy tie" day.
Jamie Lee Curtis has gone from hot, naked Hollywood star (Trading Places) to granny-looking shill for Activia yogurt -- the one that "helps to naturally regulate your slow intestinal transit" -- but she still sure has a nice set of cans.
Top Chef's lead judge Tom Colicchio, last night decked out in an unbuttoned black woven shirt, over a black t-shirt. We bet Mr. Colicchio $1000 his shirt, besides being black, was also overlong and untucked.
Where else on the World Wide Web are you going to get two posts about Guido the Killer Pimp in a 2-week span? Only at magnificentbastard.com. (See earlier one.)
Let's have a look at what's wrong with GtKP (Joe Pantoliano) at the red carpet premiere of Flawless starring Demi Moore and Michael Caine:
1. Beret. Violation of the principle of Anglophilia. Francophilia way less cool. 2. Multiple necklaces. Violation of principle of minimal accessorization. 3. Tucked-in sweater. Never do this. 4. Skull belt buckle. Skulls beyond outgoing. 5. Cane. OK if used for actual physical ailment; never OK for affect. Doesn't really work with skull belt buckle. 6. Multiple rings. (See multiple necklaces.)
Q: What are your feelings on undershirts when your shirt is not all the way buttoned up? Crew neck, v-neck, or none at all....My father who always dresses well tells me if it is going to be any at all it should be a v-neck, but if at all possible none at all... What do you think? —Brandon
A: Your papa taught you how to wipe your ass, shave your face, and tie your tie. Let's not start doubting him now.
Few things are more vulgar than a white crew neck tee under an unbuttoned woven shirt; you'll look fully unstylish and clueless. A v-neck isn't much better -- the lines look like ass and are the men's equivalent of panty lines -- but may be permissible in extremely cold conditions, either outside or in the office.
In conclusion, do what your dad says and leave the undershirt for the weekend.
(Note: Nothing we just said applies if you are Carson Kressley.)
West Virginia beating Duke. Coached by gold watch, mini-mock turtleneck, black blazer, used car salesman haircut-wearing Bob Huggins, the Moutaineers defeated a team coached by the at least somewhat well-dressed (though over-accessorized) Mike Krzyzewski. One can only imagine the smell of Mr. Huggins' cologne.
Last night's episode of Top Chef clearly illustrated the principle of playing to your strengths, and minimizing (or completely covering) your weaknesses. In this case, going sleeveless.
Top: Host/judge Padma Lakshmi can rock sleeveless (and a lot of other things) six ways 'til Sunday so that look works beautifully. On the other hand...
Bottom: Judge Gail Simmons from Food & Wine -- with a fairly cute face and above-average cleavage -- should call attention to those features, and not her arms, which look like they're both victims of one too many food judging competitions.
Q: I'm looking for a new watch, and I thought I'd get the official MB opinion on leather vs. metal bands since I do respect your opinion here. Personally, I feel like the leather band is a nice throwback to the classics. Am I alone on this one? —Joe
Don't worry Joe, you're not alone. Leather is a nice throwback to the classics and we won't fault you for choosing it. However, may we recommend you consider eschewing both leather and metal in favor of nylon grosgrain? It satisfies the MB principle of understatement, and has greater versatility than either leather or metal. Grosgrain's naturally casual so it's easy to dress it down, but you can also dress it up -- way up -- as demonstrated by James Bond in Goldfinger.
As a general rule, whenever Cuba Gooding Jr. wears something, it officially ends that trend. He wore a newsboy cap last week at the premiere of 10,000 B.C. Here's the somewhat-recent history of the newsboy cap trend:
Pop quiz: William F. Buckley's greatest cultural contribution was:
A. Founding the modern conservative movement B. Founding National Review magazine C. Hosting Firing Line for 33 years D. MB icon and poster boy for the principle of artful dishevelment
Correct Answer: D.
From the top: Buckley demonstrating the proper black tie alignment; Buckley on the set of Firing Line hitting the trifecta of hair, jacket, tie dishevelment; casual Buckley demonstrating casual rumpledness (portrait).
Last week the Rocket threw a strike with his banded collar shirt presentation. This week he's throwing heat again with a double-breasted suit, a la American Beauty's Brad Dupree. This guy is solid toolbag gold. Whatever he does, do the opposite.
Q: It's time for me to look into a new hairstyle, and recently a flat top was suggested. Just wondering what the overall opinion of a flat top is. Is it too meat-head-ish? I'm wondering if the pros think it clashes with good clothes. I tend to pull off short hair very well, so I was seriously considering trying it out. However, I figured I needed to ask the experts before assuming anything. —Mike
A: Let us state this in the most unequivocal way possible: this is a really, really fucking bad idea. When Hall of Fame defensive lineman and TV star Howie Long can't pull it off, it's likely a sign no one can. Getting this haircut actually lowers your IQ, hence damaging your social standing, your career standing, and any standing with chicks (or at least any chicks of interest). Avoid at all costs, unless you've been drafted, and we ain't talkin' 'bout the NFL.
For a while we've beensaying skinny -- especially skinny ties -- is over. Last night at the Critics' Choice Awards, George Clooney not only dealt skinny a death blow, he signaled the welcome return of wide.
If you're an MB.com reader and live in New Hampshire, please consider a vote for Hillary Clinton tomorrow. The latest CNN-WMUR poll has her down by 10 points, and a USA Today-Gallup poll has her being crushed by 13. A Hillary defeat deprives this site of nearly 10 months of stylecommentary that practically writes itself.
Please consider a vote for Clinton, and more importantly, for the MB!
Q: I just got invited to The People's Choice Awards by my sister. This was unexpected but she already bought my ticket out there (i'm from Chicago) and have me set up in a hotel - not bad. So my question to you is what do I wear to a function like this? I am hoping it is not
a tux. I would just love to rock out a pair of nice jeans, a shirt, and a sport coat but I am sure that is not accepted. —Adam
A: Katherine Heigl is going to be there, right? So may we suggest a blue-grey suit along with a traditional Kazakh wedding bag to be placed over her head (who cares if she was recently
married)? But seriously, jeans + shirt + blazer is a tad overdone and common. Instead, try rocking out in Varvatos that's currently on sale, like this.
Not only do the Cowboys have to overcome their NFC opponents to make it to the Super Bowl, they need to overcome the ongoing toolbaggery of their quarterback. Interviewed by NFL Network over The Jessica Simpson Episode, Tony Romo wore a bright salmon, logoed button-down collar shirt with the buttons unbuttoned. In most cases we would expect the Significant Other to correct this situation, but Jessica Simpson most likely dressed him for the interview.
Toolbag quarterback Tony Romo has landed what we consider to be the perfect toolbag accessory: ditzy fake blonde with dark roots, huge hoop earrings, and sunglasses propped on her head. She's only about 1/2 a notch up the white-trash-o-meter from Britney.
Donna Karan was the guest judge last night on Project Runway, seemingly promoting some of the flabbiest arms we've seen since our grade school cooks serving up hot lunch. Donna, we admire a lot of your work (especially Signature), but please cover that shit up. Geez.
Superbad's Jonah Hill is the closest thing to John Belushi since, well, John Belushi. So perhaps his faded Richard Pryor tee is this generation's equivalent to Bluto Blutarsky's blue "College" sweatshirt.
Now here's a lapel pin we can get behind. French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in town (wearing a lapel pin) and while we couldn't get a close-up tight enough for visual confirmation, evidence points in the direction that it may be a portrait of Marquis de Lafayette (inset) -- the French general and hero of the Revolutionary War who named his son after George Washington -- placed between the American and French flags. Here's to rapprochement between America and one of her greatest friends.
Update/Correction: Even though the above makes for a tear-jerking story of two great nations kissing and making up, Sarkozy's accessory selection was wishful thinking on our part. Anyhow, the Marquis/French flag/US flag pin, from the Durel's jewelry shop in Lafayette, LA, wins strong MB endorsement.
Dear MB: I just read your post on N. Sarkozy. The pin he sports is most probably not the Lafayette / Flags pin, but rather the symbol of the highest order in the French Legion of Honor. A French president automatically gets this highest order when he gets elected; all members of the legion of honor place a small symbol on jackets (plain red for a Chevalier, the first level, then various additions of colors as a person grows in the order). It's actually kind of cool as it's a discreet reminder of an old-fashioned but still sought-after French membership. —Thomas
Billionaire YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley on Oprah yesterday* demonstrating the Official YouTube Yuniform: blue blazer, open collar blue dress shirt, black belt, jeans, black dress shoes.
That's Dan Rather's quote from this clip sent to us by reader William Schroeder, which shows Mr. Rather debating for 19 minutes and 42 seconds about whether to wear a coat, and if so, whether the collar should be turned up or down.
These are big decisions.
In a previous post we were down on popping collars up, but that was specifically for polo shirts. Here, Mr. Rather is correct. What you see him struggling with in the video is achieving the correct amount of artful dishevelment, as demonstrated by Mr. Bogart (aka MB) is "that scene" from Casablanca.
An update on those sunglasses Jamie Foxx wore in The Kingdom: We finally got a hold of Armies of the World (the company that did the props for The Kingdom) and they did everything except Mr. Foxx's sunglasses. Which makes sense since we have visual confirmation from several MB.com readers that an extreme closeup reveals "Dolce & Gabbana" on the temple. The only "Armies of the World" we can imagine being fitted with D&G sunglasses are a.) the Italian army, and b.) the Spartans from 300.
Anyhow, the model Mr. Foxx's sunglasses look most like are the 2022s (top), but it's not an exact match. Our guess is it's a bespoke pair, but we're in touch with Dolce & Gabbana for confirmation. If you have any other info, please let us know.
So we're watching the trailer for The Kingdom (opening nationwide tomorrow) and we're like, "Holy shit! Jamie Foxx looks like a total badass MB in that pair of shades!" And then we're like, "Where have we seen these before?" And then it occurs to us that Harrison Ford wore a similar pair -- albeit much less badassly -- in Apocalypse Now (after he did Star Wars, can you believe it?). Then we wondered what that frame was, and until we get a call back from Susan Matheson (costume designer for Armies of the World, who fitted Mr. Foxx and the rest of the cast of The Kingdom), a very, very close version (minus the tapered temples) is the Ray-Ban Caravan, available at amazon for $97.50.
We reckon Iranian president Ahmadinejad has loads more style than the adverb-challenged dude holding the sign. After all, he's got a jacket named after him and, like Hugh Grant, recognizes the simple sophistication of a crisp white dress shirt. However, he's not without flaws. Besides an odd understanding of world history, his coat looks shoddily made and way too big; clearly better suited for David Byrne in Stop Making Sense. Furthermore, we're not real big fans of the 3-buttons. Even though some top shops still make them, they look dated to us, like something we saw on the sale rack at Banana Republic about 2 years ago. 3-buttons look best on the guys sitting at the end of an NBA bench, and all 7 analysts on ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown.
She's clearly not a candidate for either bare midriff or jeans tucked into boots. However, Britney Spears makes a strong case for the potential IQ-increasing power of appropriate eyewear. In her case, those frames represent about a 20-point swing.