Q: I've my eyes on the Black Racer Jacket from Belstaff that you featured in your makeover header from a few years back. Is this jacket still MB recommended? I've found one for a pretty good price and in good condition on eBay and I'm considering whether to go for it. —Conor
A: When Google's self-driving clown cars are established as the only vehicles that can legally operate on our roads, the Belstaff H Racer may seem a little superfluous. But we predict that that's going to take a good five years. Until then, we endorse the H Racer, albeit with one caveat:
If you're under 45, wear the H Racer as you please.
Once you pass 45, certain conditions apply. In a nutshell, the skinnier you are, the longer you can wear an H Racer without looking like you're trying to recapture your lost youth in the wake of your third divorce.
More specifically, if you have a BMI of 21-23, you can the H Racer until you're 50.
If you have a BMI of 20-21, you can wear it until you're 55.
If you have a BMI of 19 or lower, you can wear it forever.
It's Week 4 of Monday Morning Quarterback, a feature that combines our love of chronic traumatic encephalopathy-inducing bloodsport (aka, the NFL) with our passion for style.
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.
Once again Romo had a costly pick, but saved it for the postgame presser. MB tip: only go deep into the ear canal when there's blown TV coverage. As for the dresser rating, the non-throwing arm at this angle should expose a wide-open shirt cuff.
When you're 6'2" and 220 lbs., it's not easy finding a shirt that looks at least two sizes too big for you. We encourage the Rams QB to stop shopping JC Penney's Husky Linemen section and get into something a little more fitted.
With his red union suit and sad, shell-shocked gaze, back-up Matt Flynn looks like a nine-year-old on Christmas morning slowly coming to grips with the fact that he's going to go at least one more year without a BB gun.
As the week's lowest-rated passer, we applaud Cassell's instinct to look inconspicuous. However, we think his Week 14 beanie, pulled completely over his face, 7-Eleven robbery style, would have been more effective than his baseball cap disguise.
We suppose if your last name is Luck, it's inevitable that you develop superstitions, and after a month of MMQB, it's clear what Luck's post-game ritual is: Skip the showers; hit the presser wearing lucky performance T; make a face like the Geico caveman. It's not the strangest superstition we've ever heard of, but it's certainly a contender for the least stylish.
Q: I'm in need of a warm winter jacket I can wear while I bike to work. I've been wearing a North Face jacket and while it's kept me warm and dry, it does not look magnificent. Any suggestions? —William
A: A good winter cycling jacket for urban/utilitarian riding should (a) keep you warm (b) offer some protection from rain (c) wick sweat away from your body (d) be comfortable without flapping all over the place and (e) look so good it will feel a little insulted that you think of it as a "cycling jacket" and not just a "jacket."
That's a lot to ask from a single garment of clothing, especially if you're planning to ride in freezing or near-freezing temperatures and/or major downpours. If you're limiting your riding to less extreme winter conditions, we have two recommendations: Sheila Moon's Red 'Tooth Jacket and Rapha's Tailored Jacket.
The former's a wool/poly blend, the latter 100 percent wool. Wool's not going to repel water like GoreTex, eVent, or other synthetic fabrics so technically advanced they defy the laws of proper capitalization. But wool stays warm even when it gets wet, and we think it works just fine for commuting-length rides. We don't think you can win the Tour de France in either of these jackets, but you would sure look good soft-pedaling down the Champs-Élysées. Or sprinting down Main Street as you race to make it to your Monday morning meeting.
If you're looking for something a little more casual, any full-zip wool sweater will do. We like this one from Khuna. It's made from 100 percent yak wool. And if yak wool can keep a yak warm and toasty on its morning commute, it should do the same for you.
Read just received a new shipment of nice-looking shirts (we've already ordered the Jake Madras), and at a $98 retail you're getting the style consulting for 52 bucks. If we didn't already strongly resemble the "After" shot — yes, we raided our own wardrobe for the shoot — we'd seriously consider this deal.
Q: I'll be traveling across the pond to see Wimbledon next month and I'd like to strike a balance between artful dishevelment and weather preparedness. What would you suggest in the way of light outerwear that would be appropriate for Centre Court and/or tea with William and Kate? —Eric
A: An obvious choice is the classic and almost entirely logo-free "Made in England" Baracuta Harrington G9. It's got a touch of Teflon to repel the inevitable rain delay, and it has long been the choice of stylish Yanks (McQueen, Sinatra) adept at adding a note of elegance to even the most casual look. But it doesn't offer much in the way of artful dishevelment or surprise. Kate will be bored.
Instead, we recommend this bonded blouson, a collaboration between iconic British brand Barbour and Japanese designer Tokihito Yoshida. Barbour's almost as old as Wimbledon itself, and holds three royal warrants for its waterproof and protective clothing. (What, you don't know what a royal warrant is? Brush up on your Anglophilia.)
Tokihito infuses Barbour's classic style with some 21st century urban streamlining. With their traditional abundance of pockets, buckles, and heavy waxed cotton, much of Barbour's stock is a little too busy for us. But this collaboration is strikingly pared down, retaining just enough flaps and buttons and zipper pulls to provide some texture for the artful dishevelment you seek.
Note: Prices on this range from $245 to $450, so shop around.
Q: Fall season is upon us, and I really need to get a leather jacket. Recently, GQdid a piece on popular leather jackets for the upcoming season but I wasn't sold on any of them. Where can I get a timeless leather jacket that won't break the bank? How about this one from Banana Republic? --Christopher
A: We weren't sold on them either, Christopher, and we're not really sold on that BR jacket (bottom) you're suggesting, either. It's just one epaulette away from Members Only.
Unfortunately, Arthur Fonzerelli's most lasting cultural influence was irreparable damage to the leather motorcycle jacket. He's basically the sun, and that BR jacket is the equivalent of wearing Icarus's wax and feathers. And we all know how that turned out.
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.
Regular readers know we're pretty big John Varvatos fans. His strongest suit is perhaps outerwear, like this olive green herringbone four pocket work jacket, now on sale at bloomingdales.com. You can wear this in fall and early spring, and we can virtually guarantee it will become your favorite jacket. (Order one size larger than normal.)
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: MB, stumbled across your site and laughed embarrassingly loudly -- now I'm looking in vain for a nice, light denim jacket for spring (Diesel, perhaps, despite the brand's many missteps?) ... any help? Also, once I've got this jacket, how's about pairing it with tan or brownish Steven Alan cords? --Andrew
A: Andrew: First, nice call on the spring cords; that can be an effective, surprising look. Second, when we hear the word "jacket" the first thing we think of is "Spiewak." As we've mentioned before, their stuff is stylish, well-made, and affordable. This Chester Jacket even has wooden buttons, satisfying (and even exceeding) the MB principle of organic materials.
(Note: Military-inspiration is peaking on the trend curve, so you may not want to feel like wearing it next spring.)
The classic Negroni is simply equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth. You can do better.
5 parts Plymouth gin
2 parts Campari
1 part Pimm's No. 1 Cup
1 part sweet vermouth
1 part dry vermouth
2 dashes of orange bitters
Quick shake or stir and pour into chilled Martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.