Magnificent Bastard

Sunday, November 23, 2014

organic materials

Ask the MB: Reversible Belts

W.KLEINBERG Ostrich/Croc Reversible Belt, Navy/Brown via Bergdorf Goodman, $374.00
W.KLEINBERG Ostrich/Croc Reversible Belt, Navy/Brown via Bergdorf Goodman. $374.00.

Q: Wondering what you think about reversible belts like this croc/ostrich one — toolbag gimmick or useful wardrobe expansion technique? Also, that buckle looks strangely familiar.
—Jim

A: At first glance, a belt that efficiently moonlights as another belt might seem to violate the principle of senseless lack of utility. In this case, though, the utility manifests itself in the realm of style. That is to say, a reversible belt doesn't make any claim to hold up your pants better, or provide some other practical benefit. It just multiplies the possibilities of looking magnificent. And that's the kind of utility we can embrace. In fact, we have plans to someday release a reversible belt ourselves.

Nonetheless, while we conceptually endorse reversible belts, there's still the matter of execution. Regarding the belt you've got your eye on, we love the Caiman crocodile side. But we think the full-quill ostrich side should probably bury its head in the sand. In other words, we'd approach this one as a strictly one-sided belt if we were to incorporate it into our wardrobe.

Finally, yes, that buckle does look familiar. Same one we use on our cashmere belts. Good eye!


Ask the MB: Watch Bracelets and Straps

Ask the MB: Watch Bracelets and Straps

Q: I'm so glad to see you guys back and actively posting again. You all are hilarious!

I recently got my first metal/bracelet watch, and I'm not sure how loose or tight to wear it. I generally wear my leather strap watches relatively snug, but I saw someone at work with a suit wearing their metal bracelet watch much lower. It looked pretty cool going along with the rest of the cuff game. I wanted to ask, is a low-slung watch MB, or just sloppy?
—Bill

A: We hate to disappoint a longtime reader, but you asked, and we can only offer our honest opinion. Even by its name — you tellingly called it a metal bracelet — your new acquisition falls into the category of jewelry. Check out our jewelry channel to see what we think about jewelry, but the short answer is that 95 percent of what we spend on jewelry is intended for some woman's neck, ears, or nipples.

As for wearing a metal bracelet loosely, our feeling is that this just compounds the error. We grant that such calculated sloppiness might be viewed as artful dishevelment, but for us it just conjures hazy but unpleasant memories of handcuffs. Our ultimate advice: Nip this metal bracelet phase in the bud and stick to your leather straps (organic materials principle). And while we're giving out watch-wearing advice, a reminder. Keep the watch case to 40mm or less.

Earlier: Big Watches Favored Primarily by Toolbags


Ask the MB: Kombi Captain Freedom Gloves

Bucco Bruce Top; Wigens Bearclaw Gloves Bottom via amazon.com, $150.00
Bucco Bruce Top; Wigens Bearclaw Gloves Bottom via amazon.com. $150.00.
Q: I was all set to pick up a pair of the MB-approved Kombi Captain Freedom gloves for a ski trip in Jackson Hole, when I discovered that the folks at Kombi have altered the design. (new one here: http://www.snowshack.com/detail/SNW+KB-30324+L). It's like New England getting rid of the Pat Patriot helmet. Some things just don't make sense. Nonetheless, the gloves are still pretty sweet. Do you approve?
—Andrew


A: What's worse? New England getting rid of Pat Patriot or Tampa Bay abandoning the winking pirate Bucco Bruce? We say the latter by a nautical mile.

At any rate, we were completely joking about wearing the Kombi Captain Freedom gloves for skiing. (Though we weren't joking at all about wearing the Naked and Famous Snowpant Denim; they are terrific for banging bumps.)

What we're wearing this year is Wigens bearclaw gloves (bottom). Made in Sweden, these not only protect your fingers from Jack Frost, they also double as part of a Halloween costume if you're dressed as a black bear. 100% goat leather plus 100% rabbit on the outside, the only problem with these is they're too warm.

Ask the MB: J.Crew's Mougin & Piquard Watch

Real breasts
Real breasts
Q: Just saw on J.Crew's website that J.Crew has teamed with Tourneau to create a watch by former watch makers Mougin & Piquard. I think it would be a great watch to add to the collection. What's your opinion on how MB it is and is it worth the $425 price tag?
—Zack


A: Normally we're in favor of watches made by defunct Swiss manufacturers that require a pronunciation guide — it's pronounced mooj-awe and peek-are — but this watch is a definite pass. It's ironic that J.Crew is resurrecting a brand that was killed off by the quartz movement craze of the '70s, yet with Tourneau's help fits this watch with a quartz movement!

We've said it before, but quartz vs. a mechanical movement is the equivalent of motorboats vs. sailboats, or gas fireplaces vs. wood fireplaces, or fake breasts vs. real breasts. It's a corollary to the long-standing MB principle of organic materials. For around $300 you can get a decent Swiss-made military-inspired mechanical watch and save enough money to buy a cord of firewood.

ELSEWHERE: The "quartz crisis" that laid waste to Mougin & Picard and many other Swiss mechanical watch manufacuters.

Ask the MB: Espadrilles

ASOS Gingham Espadrille Shoes via asos.com, $17.24
ASOS Gingham Espadrille Shoes via asos.com. $17.24.
Q: What is your take on espadrilles?
—Bill


A: In the June 2011 GQ creative director Jim Moore stops just short of endorsing them but recognizes their popularity saying they're "a big trend this summer," and that they're best "anytime you'd wear your flip-flops." [page 58]

Even though they were invented in the 14th century (principle of archaism), and are usually made of canvas and rope (principle of organic materials), for us they fall into the footwear no-mans land between a shoe and a sandal, currently occupied by MB bête noires Sanuks and Crocs.

However, if your preferred pedicurist is booked — June is Pedicure Awareness Month, BTW — we say go for it, as long as they're a. less than 20 bucks, and b. gingham.

Earlier: Brad Pitt wears Sanuks so they're OK. Right?

Earlier: 4 year-old Rory McDermott lost the nail on his big toe thanks to Crocs. Ow!

Ask the MB: Prince William's Big Hat

Ask the MB: Prince William's Big Hat
Q: Is it considered MB to wear an animal's entire wardrobe on your head?
—Ev345


A: Well, it's pretty magnificent to be heir to the throne of the fading empire that gave us the Magna Carta and golf, and wearing hats like the one Prince William was wearing this weekend is part of the job description.

As for anyone else? William's bearskin hat is certainly characterized by a senseless lack of utility, and scores high on archaism, organic materials, and Anglophilia as well. But its primary historical purpose — to make a soldier look bigger and more imposing in battle — violates the principle of understatement and essentially establishes the garment as elevator shoes for your head.

As you allude to, the standard hat of the British Foot Gaurds is made out of an entire bearskin. It weighs 1.5 lbs. and, most consequentially, stands 18.5 inches high. Getting in and out of limos and taxis would be a huge hassle while wearing one of these things, so until horseback reemerges as the predominant form of travel, we say "pass."

POURCAST

BETA

Old Fashioned

  • 1 raw sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 3 oz bourbon

On bottom of Old Fashioned glass (what else?) dribble bitters on sugar cube. Muddle. Fill with ice, then with bourbon. Garnish with lemon twist. No, not a thick orange wedge, handful of cherries, or a cup of fruit salad. A simple lemon wedge.


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