Magnificent Bastard

Saturday, September 20, 2014

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MB Endorses: Chuck No Show Socks

MB Endorses: Chuck No Show Socks

Have we hit peak talus yet? Not by a longshot. Until we see Marco Rubio hugging a windmill, we expect that exposed ankles will continue to exist as both fashion trend and climate change mitigation strategy. These days, the look is so widespread that even designer no-show socks exist — which, if you think about it, is even more oxymoronic than "clean coal" or "gas-sipping SUV." If people can see that you're wearing Paul Smith no-show socks, your no-show socks are broken!

We first endorsed exposed ankles back in 2008, when the Keeling Curve was still safely in the 380s. Ever since, we've been on an epic quest to find the perfect no-show socks. We've invested countless hours, spent more than a few dollars, and emitted a lot of carbon by commanding Banana Republic, J. Crew, Saks Fifth Avenue, Falke, Urban Outfitters, and Mocc Socks to bring us new specimens by ship, plane, and FedEx truck. But we've finally found a no-show sock we're ready to settle down with: the Converse Chuck Sock.

Why do we love this sock? Three reasons. One, they stay on the best. Two, they're thicker than all other no-show socks, which tend to be nearly as thin as pantyhose. (We don't want no-show pantyhose. We want no-show socks.) Three, they're the cheapest no-show socks we've found. (A few years ago, this wouldn't have mattered to us so much. But now that a significant portion of our clothing budget is devoted to producing clothes rather than buying them, we take advantage of opportunities to economize if they present themselves.)

So there you have it. Our quest for the perfect no-show sock is over. On a related note, however, our quest for the perfect white t-shirt persists. (Sorry, environment!)

POST-SCRIPT: Our contest where you can win a free pair of the spring's best luxury slip-on — the Hydrogen-1 Neptunian — is ending tomorrow (May 15)! Enter now, and make sure to have a pair of Chuck Socks on-hand to immediately celebrate your victory if you're the lucky winner.


MB Endorses: Hydrogen-1 Shoes

MB Endorses: Hydrogen-1 Shoes

Designed in California and made in Italy, Hydrogen-1s are a little bit like a mullet in shoe form: Business on top, party on the bottom. Or at least comfortable sneaker sole on the bottom. We bought our first pair of Hydrogen-1 Magnesiums at full price a couple months ago and liked them so much we quickly bought a back-up pair.

The Magnesiums are all gone now, but Hydrogen-1 is currently clearing out its Founder Edition Collection at prices even Black Friday can't believe.

If you work at an Internet start-up, these wingtips will help you look like a grown-up when you go to pitch VCs, yet still give you the traction you need to radically change course when your first business plan tanks.

If your office is, say, an NBA arena, try these blue brogues. Even with their sneaker soles they're not quite as tuned for professional sports competition as a pair of Air Jordans. So you may lose a step to Chris Paul or even Marc Gasol. But you'll look fantastic going up and down the court. (As long as you’re wearing some dark denim jeans, that is. We don't recommend pairing these with gym shorts.)



MB Endorses: Swims 'Mobster Boot' Overshoes

Swims 'Mobster Boot' Overshoes via Allen Edmonds, $149.00
Swims 'Mobster Boot' Overshoes via Allen Edmonds. $149.00.
When a pair of galoshes is the year's best purchase, it could be argued that 2011 was a pretty lousy year for gear. Either that or Swims' "Mobster Boot" Overshoes are that good.

Whether you wear Chuck Ts or wing Ts to work, these protect them from rain, snow, sleet, (and even hail!), keep your feet warm, and they pair as nicely with a pair of denim as pair of wool trousers. They even have a reflective square on the heel for inclement cycling, which is what we've adopted them for. $149 is not cheap for something that may cost more than the shoes you're trying to protect, but they're totally worth it.

MB Endorses: Fur Armor Beaver Fur Chopper Mitts

MB Endorses: Fur Armor Beaver Fur Chopper Mitts
At the 2007 NFC Championship game in January 2008 one of us nearly lost a toe to frostbite even though his feet were inside a pair of Sorels. Yeah, it was that fucking cold.

Meanwhile, everyone's hands were toasty because they were sheathed by Fur Armor's beaver fur chopper mitts. At $189 ($209 for the sheared beaver model) they're a terrific investment for a lifetime of hand warmth, and they're not just for ice fishing or arctic evenings at Lambeau Field; we occasionally pair them with a tweed blazer, scarf, and hat to great effect.

The best part? They're handmade in Bemidji, Minnesota at the Fur Armor factory located on Paul Bunyan Drive. Really. Our only quibble is with the Polartec lining, which we immediately removed and replaced with ragg wool chopper liners from Bemidji Woolen Mills.

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

Back in Stock: Ollech & Wajs Kartargo

Back in Stock: Ollech & Wajs Kartargo
We've recommended the Ollech & Wajs Kartargo to the point where Westcoastime sold out of the watch, disappointing many readers looking for a simple, understated, small Swiss-made mechanical, military-style watch for under $500. Well, WCT has just received another shipment of this ETA 2824-2-powered gem and while the price has increased to $489 thanks to the strength of the Swiss franc (check the chart) it's still a timepiece well worth your money.

MB Endorses: Owning The Dude's Sweater

MB Endorses: Owning The Dude's Sweater
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.

Earlier: Magnificent Bastard Champagne Guide (Fucking Amateurs)

MB Endorses: MAKR Ox Blood Skateboard

MAKR Ox Blood Skateboard via makr.com, $68.00
MAKR Ox Blood Skateboard via makr.com. $68.00.
Most skateboards look like they were designed by graffiti artists who ran out of buildings to deface or flunkies from the local art school. Or both.

In stark contrast is the MAKR ox blood deck, custom shaped of white walnut, hand stained, with individually numbered leather risers. Normally $80, it's 15% off — like everything else at makr.com — while owner/designer Jason Gregory is vacationing in Europe*. At just $68 for something that looks like it should cost at least a couple of hundred bucks, this is one of the best values on the whole internet.

* He left March 22, so this sale will likely be ending soon. (An MB correspondent tells us that while Mr. Gregory is on vacation, orders still ship quickly. His key chain arrived just a few days after the order was placed.)

MB Endorses: Love Moschino Blazer

Love Moschino Blazer via yoox.com, $195.00
Love Moschino Blazer via yoox.com. $195.00.
We just got a great big shipment from YOOX and love love love this Love Moschino corduroy blazer. Slim fit, short length, longer-than-normal sleeves, two buttons, and wide lapels -- you can see which direction the Italians are headed with lapel width -- this is one of our favorite purchases of 2010. It's on sale for $195 (normally $315) and has one internal pocket just wide enough to hold an 8 oz. flask. It even comes in blaze orange for those warmer deer hunting days. (Currently free shipping at YOOX, so try it out on their dime.)


MB Endorses: Reed & Barton Lead Crystal Shaker

Reed and Barton Crystal Martini Shaker via The Foundary, $49.00
Reed and Barton Crystal Martini Shaker via The Foundary. $49.00.
We're always on the lookout for glass shakers worthy of mixing the Magnificent Bastard cocktail. Glass is a requirement because it doesn't conduct heat as well as metal, therefore glass shakers make less-diluted cocktails than metal shakers. They also happen to look cooler. Anyhow, for the budget-conscious we recommended this Pottery Barn glass shaker (minus the monogramming), then found this lead crystal version at Williams Sonoma stores for $99. Now, thanks to new flash-sale site The Foundary, you can pick up a Reed & Barton lead crystal shaker for just $49.

It's available for about three more days, unless we buy them out first. If you'd like an invite to join The Foundary just drop us a line. It's brand new and looks like it could be the housewares equivalent of Gilt.

MB Endorses: The Van Gundy Rule

MB Endorses: The Van Gundy Rule
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 sartorial piñata 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.



MB Endorses: Spiewak Vintage NYPD Jacket

TOP: Symbionese Liberation Army leader Donald David DeFreeze<br />BOTTOM: Spiewak Vintage NYPD Jacket, Autumn/Winter 2010
TOP: Symbionese Liberation Army leader Donald David DeFreeze
BOTTOM: Spiewak Vintage NYPD Jacket, Autumn/Winter 2010
Typically it's the criminals from the 1970s who are remembered for their style (top). But what about the other side of the law? No, we're not talking about that sloppy undercover hippie, Serpico. We mean the men in uniform. Sure, corruption, urban blight, and a host of other ills turned the Big Apple into a mugger's paradise in those days. But when the thin blue line got so damn thin it looked like a Photoshop ruler guide, there was one thing keeping the world's greatest city from turning into utter chaos, and it wasn't Charles Bronson's Fu Manchu. It was the sleek, no-nonsense style of the NYPD's wool jackets.

Spiewak made them then, and now Spiewak's bringing them back -- this time for civilians. So put away your buffalo plaid and get into some real workwear -- this 26 ounce wool melton jacket with corozo dome buttons, a badge tab, and four front pockets. (That's two for your ammo and two for your bribes.) Sorry Paul Bunyan, but there's nothing more authentically American than a 1970s cop shaking down a bookie on a freezing winter morning in the Bronx.

Here's where you can find it this fall:

* Blake - Portland, OR
* Local 35, Portland, OR
* Salmangundi - Boston, MA
* Z life - Rye, NY

MB Recommends: Kenton Sorenson Leather Belts

Kenton Sorenson Vegetable Tanned Leather Belt via Context Clothing, $130.00
Kenton Sorenson Vegetable Tanned Leather Belt via Context Clothing. $130.00.
If you're in the market for an artfully disheveled, wear-it-with-denim belt, we highly recommend Kenton Sorenson's brass roll-buckle and distressed brass buckle options. Kenton has tapped into his Scandinavian roots and designed minimalistic belts cut from hearty 10 oz. leather, then hand sewn by his wife and daughter in his Cottage Grove, Wisconsin home studio, just 150 miles south of Pulaski. They're delivered by horseback and sold exclusively at another small business to make Wisconsin proud: Context Clothing on King St. in Madison, just a stone's throw from the capitol.

If you're like us and obsessed by perfect prong placement -- it should always be inserted into the third hole and never change -- there's no mass-production 28/30/32/34/36/38 guesswork or compromise; each belt is punched to order.

MB Endorses: Bottega Veneta Sandals

Bottega Veneta basketwoven leather thong sandals via bluefly.com, $396.00
Bottega Veneta basketwoven leather thong sandals via bluefly.com. $396.00.
If you think we've lost our collective minds endorsing $396 sandals, well, maybe we have. But for the same price as 26 pair of post-peak mix grape Havaianas from Urban Outfitters, you get a pair of sandals you can dress up with a suit, dress down with denim, and wear to the beach. Plus, like men, they'll get better with age, while the long since discarded Havaianas (and equivalents) will be stacked up in a landfill.


MB Endorses: Masters Tickets

2010 Masters Day Pass via Costco, $849.99
2010 Masters Day Pass via Costco. $849.99.
Maybe Gatorade was right to drop Tiger Woods as a sponsor. He's making his dramatic return to golf at the Masters next month, and yet tickets are readily available. So readily available, in fact, that you can get a day pass at Costco for only $850. It's seriously worth your consideration. You get your choice of attending Thursday-Sunday, and have full access to the The Lodge on Magnolia which is about an 8-iron from the entrance. $850 + travel is a lot of bread, but trust us: If you haven't already, this is one thing you need to do.

MB Endorses: Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters

MB Endorses: Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters
Two entries that made the cut into the Magnificent Bastard Cocktail Contest called for dashes of Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters. This was harder to get our hands on than an anorexic stripper in a vat of baby oil. To the rescue came fourth-generation owner Joe Fee, who sent us a bottle of the 2010 vintage weeks before its release to the general public. (Incidentally, the two aforementioned drinks advanced to the Sweet 16). In a couple weeks you'll be able to pick up this distinctive, strictly limited edition aged aromatic bitters at contest sponsor KegWorks. Ignore any impulse toward restraint when procuring this stuff. When it's gone, it's gone.

Cocktail Contest Update: Tomorrow night there are 8 more matchups, which will leave only the Elite Eight. Winners of this round to be posted on Saturday, March 13.

MB Endorses: Jansport Heritage Bags

MB Endorses: Jansport Heritage Bags
Lately we've been seeing backpacks so technical it looks like the wearer is either about to make a run at Everest or preparing to jump out of a plane.

Enter Jansport Heritage -- particularly the Wayback -- a bag designed by two hippies in 1969. We can think of no better pedigree, because let's face it, if you were a hippie in 1969 and you were spending your free time inventing backpacks instead of getting stoned with George Harrison and balling nubile runaways from Topeka, well, you had to really like backpacks!

At the same time, you wouldn't waste a lot of effort creating tiny little compartments, weird loops only a French alpinist could decipher, and various other "functional" ornamentation -- because George wanted to get stoned. And those runaways were pretty cute.

There are two straps, two zippers, and two compartments -- a big one for your weed and a small one for everything else. Beyond that, what else do you really need?


MB Endorses: J. Crew Jaspé Jersey Polo

Jaspé jersey polo via J.Crew, $19.99
Jaspé jersey polo via J.Crew. $19.99.
OK, we know you don't normally read MB to be recommended a shirt from J. Crew. But we just got a shipment of these and we wish we'd bought more. This slubby, slightly off-kilter polo embodies artful dishevelment, and it's the rare shirt you can wear for 18 holes in the afternoon, then throw on a pair of denim and hit the bars at night (hopefully with a shower in between). We can just about guarantee you'll love it. On sale for just $19.99 a pop. Final sale. No returns. Fit is true to size.

(For collar-buttoning advice, see our polo shirt buttoning policy.)

MB Endorses: Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries

Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries - 360g Jar via kegworks.com, $16.75
Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries - 360g Jar via kegworks.com. $16.75.
With any luck the inlaws have finally cleared out and you can un-hide your top-shelf booze and condiments. The latter should include Luxardo gourmet maraschino cherries. There's nothing more wrong than topping off a finely-mixed drink with a cherry that's better suited for a kiddie cocktail.

Keep that in mind as you prepare your submission to the Magnificent Bastard Cocktail Contest. Winner to receive a $500 shopping spree from KegWorks. You've got exactly 31 days until the deadline, so get mixin'.



MB Endorses: Gilt Man

MB Endorses: Gilt Man
We were introduced to Gilt almost a year ago and have been digging it ever since. Now we're digging it even more as they've separated out all the girl stuff with Gilt Man. Deep discounts on great brands. Well worth signing up. Right now: Theory.

MB Endorses: Malo Cashmere Sweaters

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

MB Endorses: SOH Cable Hand-Knit Scarf

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

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



MB Endorses: John Varvatos Work Jacket

John Varvatos Star USA Men's Four Pocket Work Jacket via Bloomingdales, $296.25
John Varvatos Star USA Men's Four Pocket Work Jacket 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.)

Magnificent Bartender Endorses: Regans' Orange Bitters

Magnificent Bartender Endorses: Regans' Orange Bitters
Careful readers of the cocktail posts by the MBartender may have noticed our frequent use of orange bitters, the classic choice for bitters. Unfortunately, the local Pulaski, WI taverns haven't fully embraced the growing trend in upscale bars to brew their own bitters, so we have to rely on what we can get shipped in via FedEx. We reviewed the three orange bitters we are able to have delivered to our northern Wisconsin offices.

Angostura Orange Bitters (right)
The subtle orange taste is overwhelmed by a candy-like cardamom flavor. Certainly acceptable, but you can do better.

Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters (center)
This had the strongest and cleanest orange flavor, but lacked any interesting aromatics. The Jessica Alba of orange bitters? This would be fine for tossing in a few dashes into a strongly flavored drink like a Negroni, but lacks the required complexity to properly enhance a well-structured martini.

Regans' Orange Bitters (left)
We might have given these bitters the nod simply based on the admirable and magnificent quest by Gary Regan to develop the perfect orange bitters. Easy for us, after several attempts and the aid of the Sazerac company, he succeeded. These bitters combine an appealing orange flavor with sophisticated aromatics that feature a pleasant emphasis on caraway. These are the bitters that are going to bring out the depth of flavors in both the premium gin and vermouth in your martini.


MB Endorses: Short Shorts*

Juicy Couture Sailor Short via shopbop.com, $148.00
Juicy Couture Sailor Short via shopbop.com. $148.00.
It broke 60° yesterday at our Pulaski, WI offices and it moved a few women to break out one of mankind's greatest inventions: short shorts. Now, up here in northern Wisconsin, our women's legs might not be the most toned, and they're clearly a little sun-deprived, and there might be a little more hair than we'd probably like**, but doggone if we still don't really, really dig short shorts. Just wait until it hits 70! Bikinis!

* Not to be confused with short jorts.
** Model clearly not from Pulaski, WI vicinity



MB Endorses: Cedar Strip Kayak

Cedar Strip Kayak via Justin Charles, $16000.00
Cedar Strip Kayak via Justin Charles. $16000.00.
Now that the ice has finally cleared from the rivers near our Pulaski, WI offices, we're wanting to work our deltoids, triceps, backs, abdomens, and Latissimus Dorsi (lats) in this ridiculously beautiful hand-crafted cedar strip kayak. Put $8,000 down, pay an additional $8,000 upon delivery, and Justin Charles will throw in free shipping. Allow 14-16 weeks for delivery.

Spring/Summer Looks. MB Endorses: Exposed Ankles

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

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

MB Endorses: Dolce & Gabbana Dress Shirts

Dolce & Gabbana light blue stretch poplin slim-fit dress shirt via Bluefly, $220.00
Dolce & Gabbana light blue stretch poplin slim-fit dress shirt via Bluefly. $220.00.
Yeah, Dolce & Gabbana sometimes missteps badly, like this pair of pink & silver logo mesh sneakers (inset). But they get it way right with their dress shirts. Modern and flattering cuts, top-quality fabrics and buttons, and traditional-with-a-twist collars make for a very MB shirt-wearing and shirt-owning experience. Expensive, but worth it. Especially for you.

MB Endorses: Lounge Pants

Lounge Pant via Adam, $195.00
Lounge Pant via Adam. $195.00.
Yeah, your un-MB peers might heap scorn and ridicule on the idea of spending $195 on what they likely refer to as simply "sweatpants." Screw 'em. When you're kickin' it in the Caribbean, and climb out of your villa's infinity pool and slip into this stylish pair of Adam Lounge Pants (made from the finest organic Japanese cotton, of course) you -- and everyone else who sees you -- will know exactly where that extra $175.01 went.

(This post actually reminds us of a core MB rule that will be demonstrated more clearly in future posts: in order to look good, you gots to pay.)



POURCAST

BETA

Martinez

  • 2 parts Hayman's Old Tom Gin
  • 1 part sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula or Dolin Rouge)
  • 1/4 part Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Shake or swirl lightly, garnish with a lemon twist.


In-Depth Martinez Coverage:

MB Holiday Cocktail Guide

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