Not sure if you should wear that Tommy Bahama shirt out tonight? The magnificent bastard is here to help. Go ahead. Ask away.
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?
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.
Earlier: Four good bike to work shoes
Q: Oh oracle of basterdom, could you give us a rundown on what the ex-toolbag in the header is wearing?
A: The toolbag has transformed from camo cargo shorts, a waffle-knit Florida State long-sleeve T, a royal blue windbreaker, and running shoes (see a picture of the poor guy) into:
Shirt: Levis. $100.
Tie: Mountain and Sackett. $59.
Jacket: Belstaff 'The Racer'. $450.
Pants: J. Crew vintage slim (wheat). $98.
Shoes: Allen-Edmonds McAllister. $325.
Watch: Timex Vintage Field Army. $150.
Belt: Stylist's own
Which reminds us, the header promotion sponsored by LKc Style — three hours of personalized online style consulting, including a free shirt from Read's Clothing Project for $150 — ends when we turn Miss August into recycling and say hello to Miss September.
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?
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.
Earlier: Rafael Nadal: A weird combination of Menudo and Rambo.
Earlier: Umbrella recommendations.
Q: Fall season is upon us, and I really need to get a leather jacket. Recently, GQ did 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?
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.
To avoid his fate, look for something non-black with texture, either in the form of quilting or washing or nappa. This Salvatore Ferragamo quilted leather bomber isn't just timeless, it's an heirloom. And probably a bank-breaker, too. If that's too rich, try this Diesel charcoal leather field jacket. Exactamundo!
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.
via Bloomingdales. $296.25.
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: Real Simple - How do you feel about Belstaff products? Especially the bags and leather jackets.
A: It's hard to knock Belstaff given their Anglophilic pedigree. Hollywood certainly loves 'em, and has had success in wildly varying degrees:
Clockwise From Top:
* Older Brad Pitt in the "Button" jacket in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
* Will Smith in "Trialmaster" jacket in I Am Legend
* Tim Allen and others in various Belstaff jackets in Wild Hogs
* Shia LaBeouf in "Mutt" jacket in Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
In fact, part of the reason we can't fully endorse them is they're almost a little too Hollywood. At a certain age the women start getting Botox, the men start wearing leather Belstaff jackets.
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?
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.
via Tobi. $102.00.
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?
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.)