Not sure if you should wear that Tommy Bahama shirt out tonight? The magnificent bastard is here to help. Go ahead. Ask away.
There are more than 75,000 nerve endings in your feet, a fact many sock-makers don't pay proper attention to. We've tried everything. Paul Smith, Happy Socks, Brioni, BOSS, Etro, Corgi, Ecco, Caufield Preparatory, Obey, Thomas Pink. You name it, we've tried it. If price is no object then hands down Nudie Jeans makes our favorite socks. Yeah, even better than Paul Smith or current J.Crew favorite Corgi. They're made in Nudie's homeland of Sweden and are stylish, soft, thick, don't pill, and are worth every krona.
However, if you can't or don't want to spend $25 on a pair of socks we believe we've discovered big value from the nearly 200 year-old Scottish brand Pringle. Asos.com, which has lately been claiming an increasingly large portion of the brainpower we devote to staring at endless arrays of miniaturized backpacks and outerwear, sells 3-packs of Pringle argyle socks* in either cotton or bamboo — apologies to the pandas for wearing your lunch on our feet — for right around 15 bucks. At only $5 or $6 a pair, we've decided to fill up a whole drawer with them.
*Two of the three pair are argyle. The other one is solid color.
Q: I'm currently the proud owner of a Paul Smith naked lady belt. Since last time I've worn it I've dropped 2 inches around my waist. As a result, I need to put it on the smallest hole which goes against perfect prong placement. With a business meeting on Friday should bite the bullet and wear it or purchase a new one? At this point J.Crew and Banana Republic are the only options for last minute shopping.
A: Chris, that's an excellent belt on many counts. We admire your taste, your commitment to perfect prong placement, and your willingness to risk sexual harassment counseling by wearing an accessory with a naked lady on it to a business meeting.
But don't wear it on Friday. You'll leave a mark in the wrong place on the strap. Go with this J. Crew plaque belt as a surrogate. If you don't like it enough to keep, it's a no-hassle return.
As for retrofitting the PS belt to your new waistline, it's going to be a complicated and somewhat expensive operation but totally worth doing, like Matthew McConaughey's hair restoration. First, you'll need to take it to a trusted cobbler for the serious reconstructive surgery -- i.e., taking the extra length off the buckle side and cutting a new prong opening. Then we recommend you take it to a trusted tailor to recreate the signature Paul Smith stitching.
EARLIER: Kenton Sorenson belts and perfect prong placement.
Q: Definitely digging the new header. The holidays are a wonderful time for MBs to do what they do. Alas, the sweater featured on the model in the header is intriguing. Details?
A: Let's get all the header questions out of the way at once:
SWEATER: Heirloom fisherman-knit cardigan, hand-woven in wool by Jean Cooke in Killarney, Ireland
SHIRT: John Varvatos
DENIM: Adriano Goldschmied ("Protege" fit)
SOCKS: Paul Smith
BOOTS: TST (available at YOOX)
CHAIR: Vagabond Vintage
RUG: IKEA Koldby
HOUSE: 1936 colonial
BOW: Michaels (in Green Bay)
WOMAN: 100% Wisconsin, born and bred
I love Paul Smith clothes, but WTF?
It would seem the Englishman's well-known sense of whimsy has taken a turn towards parody, specifically of the infamous Three Wolf Moon Tee (bottom, $13.95). And at $145 it's obvious the chap has good sense of humor, too.
Q: I'm considering these Paul Smith York boots and wanted to know your opinion on the quality and MBness
A: Since you're asking, you can afford them. And since you can afford them, buy them. Then go to your favorite lounge and put your feet up on your table. You have arrived.
via Gent Supply Co.. $10.50.
Q: I have a job that I'm able to dress pretty casually to and therefore wear jeans a better part of the time. My question is this, if I'm wearing something like the beloved Pumas, which may be something other than black or brown, what color of sock is appropriate? I was taught to match the sock with the pant? Does this mean blue socks? And if so, where can I find a respectable pair of socks?
A: No, Dave, it does not mean blue socks. We're not really into sock-matching in trouser situations, and with denim no rules apply, except of course the immutable rule that white socks are for athletic activities (and no, Obama, it does not include throwing out the first pitch).
We've mentioned this before but we really dig Paul Smith socks. Each spring and fall he adds just the right seasonal touches with material, color, and style. Unfortunately they retail for $30/pair. A more affordable option we've been happy with is Happy Socks (pictured), available from Gent Supply Co. for $10.50.
Q: What kind of surgical mask does the MB recommend for the coming swine flu pandemic?
A: For this kind of, uh, "in your face" accessory, simple and understated is strongly recommended. And, white or light blue go with just about anything. Please, no pig noses. This is a good opportunity for designer surgical masks, like this MB prototype, inspired by British designer Paul Smith.
Christopher Columbus and the 'Indians'
Q: Having compared the sock wear of English and Italian friends I find myself in a quandary. The Englishman tends toward the characteristic, and perhaps dull, understated look reaching to the lower calf with the Italian chaps opting for bright stripes and patterns that reach almost to the knee. It's clear to me that there is a certain boldness and verve to the Italian option but is that joy in keeping with the studied coolness characterized by the MB? What do you suggest?
A: Astute observation on your part, Mark, though British designer Paul Smith makes some of the boldest socks on the market (inset). Regardless, we lean pretty strongly towards the British approach you note. No surprise there given our severe case of Anglophilia, not to mention the Italian socks-pulled-up-to-the-knees technique is both too serious and too 15th century explorer. However, colorful socks are still perfectly OK. They're a subtle way to add some personality to your wardrobe, and are under wraps until you cross your legs.
Anyhow, now that it's nearly spring, we recommend showing some ankle.
Bad news - it looks like Paul Smith missed your memo about skulls: A sobering occurence, I'm sure you'll agree.
A: This kind of extreme post-peak-ism is expected from the likes of Ed Hardy, not Paul Smith. Definitely a head-scratcher.
via Barney's Co-Op. $129.00.
Q: Thanks for the pedicure PSA. Open toed sandals + big-jagged-yellow toenails are almost worthy of the official toolbag list. It is really a huge problem out there. In fact, it is probably better that the MB just recommend that open-toed are always completely out and unacceptable in its continued effort to rescue humanity.
A: First, we're not out to rescue humanity. Lost cause! We're out to stop humanity -- specifically men -- from wearing pleated khakis.
Second, your suggestion sounds reasonable until you realize how many wicked good-looking flip flops and sandals are on the market. Most of humanity has wicked-ugly toes, but if you're one of the lucky ones, combine them with a pedicure and sandals and turn them into a valuable summer asset.
via Paul Smith. $90.00.
After longing for a slimmer wallet, I finally picked up this card carrier and it's great. The only problem I have, however, is that there's not much room for cash. I can cover most of my daily routine with plastic, but cash is nice for incidentals, such as a quick pint at the pub, tipping, etc. There is room for a couple C-Notes in the center, but then the problem that arises is what to do with the bills that come back in change. I'm trying out the idea of also carrying a money clip, but that doesn't seem ideal to me.
So my question is: How much cash should a Magnificent Bastard carry these days?
A: First, give the money clip a try. May we suggest this Paul Smith model to accompany your new purchase? Second, we reckon anything less that $100 is when the gas light goes on for a refill. Waving around a credit card all the time can make you look like you're leveraged to the hilt, like some piss-poor South American country, or the USA.
via Barney's Co-Op. $49.00.
Last week we headlighted, er, highlighted a Paul Smith naked lady keychain, and now Barney's Co-Op cut the price of his sterling-silver version in half.
via Bloomsbury. $101.48.
It's an age-old dilemma: What do you get the man who's got everything? How about a pair of cans on his keychain?
Enter Paul Smith, who likes to do this sort of thing. Lovely!
If you're feeling lucky, you can double-down, so to speak, and get 4 jugs for the price of 2 with this BNIB naked lady wallet and naked lady keychain package, via ebay. Current bid: $99.99.