With their covered faces, camo pants, and simple black tees, this strikingly well-coordinated Mahdi Army flash mob almost looks as if they are about to surrender to 2014's most hegemonic force — normcore. And yet note the emphatic gestures of resistance. Fluorescent explosive devices and sweatbands. Skull face scarves. We are astounded that amongst all the upraised right hands, there is not one clutching an iPhone and taking a selfie — because this is the most self-consciously fashion-forward rebel army we've seen to date. When Opening Ceremony decides to get serious about invading the Gap, they know who to call.
Q: Hi, MB! What do you think of novelty cufflinks?
A: We're not unconditionally opposed to novelty cufflinks. But we are somewhat baffled by the current state of the market. The last time we posted about this — in 2007 — we advised a reader to steer clear of skulls. Seven years later, that prohibition still stands. And from what we can see, you are going to have to do an awful lot of steering — the cufflinks sections on the websites of most major retailers look like the Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp remixed by Hot Topic. (Seriously, when did skulls start accessorizing so heavily?)
Has the Day of the Dead introduced a more formal dress code? While we understand that cufflinks offer a man a chance to signal his sense of style in a understated over-the-top way, and even encourage that, we're a little alarmed by this massive proliferation of skulls. A cufflink is not as permanent as a tattoo, but that shouldn't give you license to turn your sleeve into a black metal album cover from 1993.
Our advice: Stick with novelty cufflinks that allude to an interest in MB-approved pastimes like golf, tennis, sailing, skiing, or eating lobster. And even with those we have some caveats:
For a few years now skulls have been seen only from the toolbag ghetto of designer fashion: Ed Hardy, Monarchy, Affliction, or any other brand The Situation wears. But this fall John Varvatos (one of our faves, BTW) is showing a skull tee (albeit without flames) and skull jewelry.
In spite of the JV endorsement, pass for another season at least.
Q: I have a date with Olivia Palermo (she is on MTV's the City) this Friday. Since she is so into fashion I would like some advice from the pros on what I should wear. Thanks. --Jay
A: Since Palermo has been dating model Johannes Huebl for the last couple years, you've got your work cut out for you. Huebl has the casually stylish investment banker on the weekend look mastered, so we recommend that you counterprogram with this t-shirt from Reborn Couture, which parties in the front and in the back. If you can swing it by tomorrow night, also get the arm sleeve to achieve the full effect.
I'm sure you're totally aware of it, but many guys aren't. I searched MB.com and haven't found much about the fleur-de-lis, but this shit is out of control. I work for a boutique chain that carries men's and women's clothing and a lot of our stock is great, but I swear there must be over 2000 of these damn French flowers floating around the store. They're all over t-shirts, wovens, razorbacks, hats, belts, and even jeans. When is this going to end? A few brands which are completely ridiculous and paste the fleurs-de-lis all over their clothing are: Rebel Spirit, Affliction, Rock Revival, Crash & Burn, Sinful, and Monarchy. I apologize if you already have a piece on the site dedicated to fleur-de-lis awareness, but I think people should be informed of the absurdity associated with wearing one of these on your person. Only the New Orleans Saints should be allowed to don this symbol of heraldry. --Cody
We've previously commented on Bravo being the Toolbag Network. They're clearly listening, and even turning it up a notch with the men on the new Real Housewives of New Jersey with "Steve" (top) in Ed Hardy t-shirt and hat, and "Joe" in 5'5", spiked hair, and screeching eagle-skull t-shirt (bottom).
We're sort of wondering if these guys are real. They are such toolbag archetypes we're not sure.
Q: My brother-in-law is all over Cordarounds. I'm not so sure. Your thoughts? --Jim
A: Horizontal corduroy pants! The world's been needing this for a while now.
While that's a little gimmicky, and their smoking jacket has skull hardware (inset), for just $55 they sell a pair of pants from a print of the Virgin Mary (guitar not included). When you throw this much stuff against the wall, some of it is bound to stick.
At least they have resisted the urge to reinvent the vertical fly.
No one digs Alexander McQueen more than the MB. His collaboration with Puma has practically redefined men's footwear. But Spring 2009 is way, way too late in the game to be featuring skull accessories, even if they do have Swarovski crystal eyes.
Where else on the World Wide Web are you going to get two posts about Guido the Killer Pimp in a 2-week span? Only at magnificentbastard.com. (See earlier one.)
Let's have a look at what's wrong with GtKP (Joe Pantoliano) at the red carpet premiere of Flawless starring Demi Moore and Michael Caine:
1. Beret. Violation of the principle of Anglophilia. Francophilia way less cool. 2. Multiple necklaces. Violation of principle of minimal accessorization. 3. Tucked-in sweater. Never do this. 4. Skull belt buckle. Skulls beyond outgoing. 5. Cane. OK if used for actual physical ailment; never OK for affect. Doesn't really work with skull belt buckle. 6. Multiple rings. (See multiple necklaces.)
A: Sadly, this year track jackets have been replaced by the "hoodie," a trend Magnificent Bastards should not participate in. For instance, look at this ridiculous Kidrobot skulls hoodie (from Barney's Co-Op no less) that you're likely to see on a bum sometime next fall. As a countervailing measure we recommend confident MBs slip into this Adidas hybrid track jacket/cardigan from coolestshop.
Your new item definitely gets points for being an actual human skull (rather than some chincy embroidery on a blazer). However, even though it's encrusted with diamonds, the fact remains it's a skull, and they're outgoing. Sorry. Always ask the MB before spending this kind of bread.
Skulls are about as post-peak as you can get without wearing an American flag lapel pin, yet Juicy Couture still cranks out skull-related stuff like they're coming into style. Even the New York Timescalled skulls dead over a year ago. Unless you're an actual pirate, or child, avoid.