Magnificent Bastard

Wednesday, May 23, 2018



Ask the MB: Wardrobe Variety Where It's Hot All the Time

Ask the MB: Wardrobe Variety Where It's Hot All the Time

Q: I teach at a college in the extremely Deep South — think swamps and alligators. I'm pretty happy with my general look, jeans or slacks with a woven button-up and a tie. Dress here is pretty casual; I think I'm the only faculty member who wears a tie. So, any suggestions on adding some variety to my look? Blazers or sweaters would be the solution, but it's too hot for any kind of jacket at least 8 months out of the year here.
—Charles

A: While actually wearing a blazer in the blazing heat might not be an option, have you considered simply carrying one?

In our all-time favorite noir Body Heat, William Hurt rocks the look often during an especially severe Florida heat wave. (Although that was 1981, when the Keeling Curve was at a mere 335 ppm.)

If your arms are already full, consider a vest. While we're not on record endorsing vests — except for down-filled puffy ones — there is strong visual evidence that it works well for an educator like yourself.

Even if you don't look like Bradley Cooper, a vest would offer the variety you are looking for, mixing textures and patterns with your ties and wovens. As usual, try YOOX for a bunch of options. Let us know how it works out ... and keep that watch 40mm or smaller like Cooper does here!

Earlier: Ask the MB: Teacher Look

MB Endorses: Adidas adiCross Classic Golf Shoes

MB Endorses: Adidas adiCross Classic Golf Shoes

The golf shoe marketplace has been MB-hostile at least since the Clinton administration. His running shoes may be to blame, but the athletic aesthetic is now almost completely dominant, with elastic eyelets, neon spikes, and split soles, which one reviewer says, "makes the feet feel activated, the shoes certainly put a spring in one's step."

It begs the question: Do you want to be the medalist of your foursome or dunk on them?

Thanks, Clinton.

Even the names, we're not sure if they're golf shoes or forthcoming Space X rocket boosters:

Ignite PWRADPT <-- not a typo

360 Tour Boost

Lunar Control Vapor 2

Cutting straight through the toolbaggery like a stinger 3-wood is the simple streetwear style of the Adidas adiCross Classic. Adidas even relegated the three stripes to the heel notch, which may be obscured if you wear pants. We haven't been this excited about a new golf shoe since the Adidas "Invader" launched in 2002. Highly recommended.

Fit tip: As is always the case with Adidas, these, too, run one size small.

The Winner of the 8th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

The Winner of the 8th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

Jason Andes.

Jason successfully identified the bespectacled or sunglassified MBs in the 8th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Contest:

1. Stokely Carmichael
2. Bob Marley
3. Bruce Willis
4. Cary Grant
5. Joseph Pulitzer
6. I.M. Pei
7. John Lennon
8. Willem de Kooning
9. Claude Rains (as The Invisible Man)

Jason also nailed the tiebreaker question. "What do they all have in common?" Answer: they all are immigrants.

Stokely Carmichael: Trinidad and Tobago
Bob Marley: Jamaica
Bruce Willis: Germany
Cary Grant: United Kingdom
Joseph Pulitzer: Hungary
I.M. Pei: China
John Lennon: United Kingdom
Willem de Kooning: Netherlands
Claude Rains: United Kingdom

Jason won the contest because he had the good fortune to have his entry randomly selected, as were the two runner ups, who will receive a Magnificent Bastard tie of his choice (2nd place) and a Secret Agent Belt (3rd place).

ASE Angelo in bottle green lenses

Jason, enjoy your new pair of Allyn Scura frames. We always recommend the legendary Legend, or the ASE Angelo, our all-time favorite sunglasses (and we own several dozen). Alternatively, you can put your $125 credit towards a pair of Allyn Scura's vintage or reproduction frames, like these ridiculously oversized and equally fun Kala Chateaus, modeled by Elliott Gould in Ocean's 11. It's your choice.

Thanks to everyone who played and we'll see you again next year for the 9th Annual ASEC.

Ask the MB: MB Watch

Ask the MB: MB Watch

Help! Previous "ask the MB" here (from all the way back in 2010 about the office booze cruise). I'm in need of fantastically MB watch for general use and upcoming wedding I will be attending. Sadly, both previously suggested O&W's are out of stock. I'm not a watch fanatic and go cross-eyed looking on watch forums for suggestions. Are there any other military inspired sub 40mm watches you recommend? What about this Hamilton?

Thanks. And by the way, the minimum viable wallet rocks. And these ties are 10/10 quality.
—Wade

A: First, thanks for the comments on our gear. We agree! We're diligently working on a couple other things we can't wait to show off.

As for that Hamilton, while it fulfills the size and movement requirements, the dial is waaaaay TTH. Partial seconds? That's reserved for NBA shot clocks and the Olympics. And by our count there are 37 numbers, which is 1133% more legibility than the minimalist O&W Kartago (three).

We're not sure when the wedding is, but a timepiece isn't as necessary as, say, pants. Don't settle. Westcoastime assures us the O&W M-65 will be back in stock by the end of June (2018). That's a good watch. If you can wait a while longer, we're in contact with Mr. Wajs — the "W" in O&W — and negotiating on a small run of the Kartago to put in the shop.

Ask the MB: Silicon Valley Jacket

Ask the MB: Silicon Valley Jacket

Q: I'm looking for a versatile, high-quality, lightweight jacket that will impress me every time I put it on. Also, I live in Silicon Valley and only need some degree of wind/water protection. Any suggestions or guidance would be appreciated.
—Sean

A: In a place where a disproportionate number of car doors open on the y-axis, we especially like the vaguely Steve McQueen-inspired Geox windbreaker we recommended late last year. It gets a disproportionate number of positive comments, and it's just 69 bucks.

Russ Hanneman explains how Silicon Valley billionaire car doors work.

We've kept our eyes peeled since you asked the question a month ago, and also suggest considering this equally sporty Jil Sander bomber ($252) or this Columbo-lite Belstaff peacoat ($222). Like the Geox, both are deeply discounted and available in a range of sizes, which is an almost irresistible contrarian "buy" signal that we rarely regret acting upon.

(Sale prices good through tomorrow — 3/30 — so hurry.)

Previously: Dan Rather debates whether to keep his trench collar up or down and concludes, "Nobody wears a trenchcoat with the collar down."

MB Contest: 8th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

MB Contest: 8th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

Welcome to the 8th Kind-of-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge, sponsored by our all-time favorite eyewear and sunglass outfitter, Allyn Scura.

THE CHALLENGE: Identify the nine bespectacled or sunglassified MBs above and you will be entered to win a pair of Allyn Scura frames ($175 value) or a $125 credit you can apply toward any vintage frames Allyn Scura carries. It's up to you. And same as last year, we're adding a couple of MB sweeteners. The runner up gets a Magnificent Bastard tie of his/her choice and 3rd place gets a Secret Agent Belt.

To enter simply fill out the form located here with the names of the men pictured, and, in the event of a tie, what they all have in common. One entry per person. USA only. Good luck. The deadline for this contest is Friday, April 6 at midnight CDT.

MB Deal of the Week: Kit and Ace Polo Shirts

MB Deal of the Week: Kit and Ace Polo Shirts

About this time a year ago, "luxury athlesiure" company Kit and Ace closed all its US stores to focus on online retail.

But let's face it — bricks and mortar, online, it doesn't matter. In Donald Trump's America, where employment is at record highs, and coal-miners and factory workers alike are working overtime so they can buy more Berkshire Hathaway shares, no one has time "luxury athleisure." There are capital gains to be had!

So now K&A stuff is showing up on Century 21 at 85% off.

While most of it doesn't fit our aesthetic, their Crossover Polo is an interesting twist on a classic. Made from 10% cashmere, it reminds us of our own Cashmarello Easy Shirt — except that at $15 a pop, you can get 16 for what you would have had to pay for an Easy Shirt! (Not to mention that even if you have the $250 we charged for an Easy Shirt, you can't get one — as we sold out of them long ago.)

It's perhaps the most comfortable polo we've ever worn. Fits true to size.

Ask the MB: Young Museum Director Wardrobe

Ralph Lauren Basic Charcoal Serge Wool Suit Jacket & Pants via Century 21, $219.99
Ralph Lauren Basic Charcoal Serge Wool Suit Jacket & Pants via Century 21. $219.99.

Q: I just found your site and I am pretty thrilled someone is finally calling out the rules. I am a big guy so I tend to pay attention as much as I can to look good. I have just accepted a new position as a director at a cool museum. One of the largest and most prominent. My co-workers dress well and I need a primer for what to buy as far as basics. I want to dash the old frumpy look of a security director and add the young flavor and style to compliment my new administration.
—Phill

A: Congratulations on your new gig! Follow our advice, and you'll be on the path to a wardrobe that may even have your colleagues in Acquisitions & Accessioning looking to preserve for the edification and delight for future generations.

Since you said nothing about a budget for this endeavor, we suspect that's not a major concern or constraint for you. But since you're starting from scratch, and don't have a firmly established idea of what you'll like best or what works for you, we're going to steer you toward options that represent good values.

Our point: When you're starting out, you want the freedom to experiment, without worrying about potential sunk costs and buyer's remorse. Or to put it another way, when you start golfing, you shouldn't buy Pro V1s until you've reached the point where you are no longer sending multiple drives into the woods and water every round. Develop your swing, then step up to $6 golf balls.

Okay, that's enough context. Without further ado, here's the MB Sartorial System — Young Museum Director Version (Fall/Winter). See below for assembly instructions.

SUIT [1]
charcoal grey
When you and the mayor cut the ribbon for that new Impressionist wing, you're going to want to wear a suit. As you may have read, we're big fans of two-button charcoal grey ones. And you're in luck because Century 21 (our new favorite site, right up there with YOOX) has this Ralph Lauren version, likely in your size and with functional buttonholes, for just $220. (15 bucks off with code JOINUS31 for purchases over $150.)

BLAZERS [3]
1 velvet, 1 corduroy, 1 plaid
We've found this to be a winning combination of F/W textures to accompany the shirts and pants you'll see in a minute. Our go-to YOOX brand for value, 8, wants just $109 for their camel velvet version. (Choose one size up.) For the others, just make sure they meet our blazer requirements.









SWEATERS [2]
1 v-neck, 1 cardigan (both merino)
For under one of those blazers or alone on Casual Friday, you're going to need a couple of sweaters. A brand we recently discovered — and love — that provides perhaps even stronger value that 8 is +U Plusultra. Yes, its name sounds like a condom brand created by a marketing AI optimized for redundancy. But their cardigans (again, likely in your size) are now just $46.









SHIRTS [4]
1 white, 1 blue, 1 gingham, 1 plaid (all point collar)
Getting this right is key for a fully functional system. The white and blue shirts cannot have button-down collars, because you may use them with a tie (the gingham and plaid are fine with buttons). These days point collars are an endangered species, but hang in there and don't settle for a spread or cutaway that both fattens your face and will be at resale shops shortly. Century 21 has this Steven Alan plaid for a ridiculous $25 as a starting point.





PANTS [3]
2 brushed/moleskin, 1 corduroy (all 5-pocket)
It doesn't take a very stable genius to recognize that regular trousers on a big guy can send you into Trump territory fast. But that's not the only reason to go the 5-pocket route. 5-pocket pants are also more comfortable and modern, and can easily be dressed up for your new role. While Bonobos' version is more expensive than most of what we're recommending here, its straightforward style and overall utility make it a very safe investment.




BELTS [1]
We're normally not ones to toot our own horn, but we have created a belt that is not only a work of art, but will work with every system combination herein, including the suit. It's the 300-Year Belt (either in Classic or High Plains Noir), with a sterling silver buckle handmade by Arizona-based artist Mary Daugherty. (Free Secret Agent Belt with purchase.)



TIES [2]
OK, so maybe we are ones to toot our own horn. Both The Cosina Veloce and The Kakutani bring unique textures and a rakishness to the system on dress-up days. (Wear with both the white and blue shirts.)

SHOES [2]
1 shiny, 1 matte (both sneakerized)
Perhaps the easiest way to dump frumpy security director is via footwear. We've rhapsodized often about shoe sneakerization, and for both pair recommend splurging on something in the Common Projects vein, like these Common Projects dark brown will work with everything but the suit.

So, not counting the suit separates or the ties, this system provides 60 different permutations of pants, shirts, and blazers/sweaters. Throw out the handful that don't jibe (like the corduroy pants and corduroy blazer) and you still have enough variety to keep you going until spring, when we can do this all over again. Thanks for the question. It was fun.

Good luck on the new job!

Ask the MB: Best Dressed Republican?

Ask the MB: Best Dressed Republican?

Who is the best dressed Republican now?
—Aaron

A: This will take some time to figure out, but our first reaction to your question reminds us of the proverb, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who looks as uncomfortable as we are seeing this picture.

Meanwhile, it's safe to say anyone attending last weekend's Republican leadership meeting at Camp David is out of the running, especially at the top:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell paired a brass button blue blazer with dad jeans and Hush Puppies.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who's somehow devolved from his losing 2012 look, wore creased wide-legged khakis with fleece, beneath a suit jacket with underweight lapels.

If anyone has suggestions for Best-Dressed GOP please drop us a note and if we use your suggestion on air we'll send you free stuff.

Ask the MB: Millennial Pipe

Churchwarden on the left, Prince on the right
Churchwarden on the left, Prince on the right

I've decided to take up smoking again because, well, I'm a nihilistic millennial, and was wondering if I could get some guidance on pipe smoking. I was set on a Churchwarden's pipe, as it's distinctive but not predictable and overused like a calabash. I feel it meets the principles of archaism, senseless lack of utility and natural materials, but will it look like I'm trying too hard?

Yours Bastardly,
Erik

A: Thank you for smoking! We also appreciate your nihilism; your letter has given us a lot to be hopeful for as the holidays approach and we fret about where the world is heading. But choosing a 12" long pipe is the equivalent of a guy who wears extra-long ties.

As A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie-the-Pooh once observed, "A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake–you are undoubtedly a man." But a 12" pipe is a signal that you really, really, really want to broadcast that message, and even dull-eyed observers will suspect there is some deficiency informing this effort. Don't short-change yourself in this manner!

Meanwhile, we agree on the Calabash; that is purely Sherlock Holmes costume-wear.

As a much better alternative, we recommend a Prince. While lacking the senseless lack of utility of a Churchwarden, it more than makes up for it with its Anglophilia. According to The Pipe Guys, it was fashioned for Prince Albert who would later ascend to the British throne as King Edward VII, and is also accurately identified by TPG as "simple and understated."

Best of luck on your new vice!

MB Endorses: Free Secret Agent Belts

Left to Right: 300-Year Belt 'Classic' Edition, 300-Year Belt 'High Plains Noir' Edition, Game-Day Belt, Secret Agent Belt
Left to Right: 300-Year Belt 'Classic' Edition, 300-Year Belt 'High Plains Noir' Edition, Game-Day Belt, Secret Agent Belt

Holiday coffee cups just dropped at Starbucks; Pandora suggested Willie Nelson Holiday Radio; Metro Transit attacked Minneapolis railways in the War on Christmas. 'Tis the season, and we're participating by offering a FREE Secret Agent Belt with any purchase of the one of our leather belts:

300-Year Belt — "Classic" Edition (left)
We've been sold out for months while Arizona-based artist Mary Daughtrey carefully crafted dozens more sterling silver buckles. Leather Works Minnesota attached them to thick slabs of water buffalo that exude rugged character, are incredibly durable, and yet surprisingly soft to the touch — sometimes when we start rhapsodizing about these belts, we're not sure if we're talking about them or Clint Eastwood's face. Anyhow, it's fully back in stock. We've worn this belt every day since the first sample in 2014, it's that good. Just 297 years to go.

300-Year Belt — "High Plains Noir" Edition (2nd from left)
The "Classic" was such a hit we made another version in dark brown that we're very excited about and proud of. Get the Eastwood-inspired "High Plains Noir" Edition while they last.

Game Day Belt (2nd from right)
Never miss a game but still content to leave the body paint and giant foam finger to others? This belt all but shouts "football!" — but not in a sloppy, spit-flecked way that breathalyzers can detect at 20 paces. The strap is made from Horween "Tanned in Tack" leather — the same stuff the NFL uses to make its footballs. The buckle resembles a football, but we have it made out of metal, in Italy, to cut down on the chances of Tom Brady deflating it.

Buy any of these and receive a Secret Agent Belt (far right) for FREE, while supplies last.

Free 2-day shipping. Free returns. Always.

MB Endorses: Geox Midweight Windbreaker

MB Endorses: Geox Midweight Windbreaker

It was love at first sight with this white Geox windbreaker, which to our eye looked like a low-key Steve McQueen Le Mans reference, except with 100% less asbestos.

But the starting price of $266 seemed rich, even if it's Italian and comes with Geox's patented "Respira" tech that claims to combine rain and wind resistance with breathability.

Using our price-tracker app — which we are sure hoping to get to beta by the end of the year — we watched with pleasure as the price dropped to $158, $77, and even $66 before recovering to $77, where we purchased a few. Lots still available in all four sizes. Highly recommended for spring 2018 and beyond.

NB: This item runs about 1.5 sizes small. If you are in between, go up two full sizes.

Ask the MB: What Kind of Cane Do You Recommend?

Howell vintage wooden cane with sterling and horn handle
Howell vintage wooden cane with sterling and horn handle

Q: I recently injured my left knee and need to use a cane. The insurance company supplied an ugly blue aluminum number that looks like it came from a drug store. Since it seems that I will need a cane for some time to come, I am thinking of trying to find a plain aluminum one or getting a nice wood cane. What do you think?
—P.T.

A: P.T., if you've read our recent post about peacoats and the wisdom of following MB Principles of Anglophilia, Archaism, and Organic Materials, isn't the answer obvious? You need a vintage wooden cane from England.

More specifically, you need a Howell cane. According to cane aficionado Canequest, the brand was founded by John Howell in London in 1832, and his canes were the shit with it mid-19th century Londoners suffering from knee injuries like yours.

As you might expect, eBay UK is the place to find them. We're so smitten with this £110.00 sterling and horn-handled version we may just pre-purchase in case of an ACL. Get it before we do.

MB Endorses: Wearing a Nametag Even if You're Hosting a Party

MB Endorses: Wearing a Nametag Even if You're Hosting a Party

His image is plastered on every vertical surface in Beijing, yet at his speech at the twice-a-decade national congress, Chinese president Xi Jinping wore a nametag. This might strike some as false modesty, but it strikes us as just plain modesty. The 2nd most powerful man in the world wore a nametag like everyone else.

The 91 year-old and former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Jiang Zemin remained unimpressed.

Ask the MB: Is the Peacoat a Timeless Classic or Out of Style?

Ask the MB: Is the Peacoat a Timeless Classic or Out of Style?

Q: I recently bought a peacoat - dark navy, well fitted, none of those goofy epaulettes or anything like that. I say it's a timeless classic but my girlfriend says they're out of style. Who's right?
—Peter

A: Peter your GF is so spectacularly wrong we're gravely concerned about any sartorial advice you may have taken from her.

Would Tom Ford be asking $4,950 for his peacoat take if he thought they were out of style?

We're big fans too, because the garment adheres to at least 3 key MB principles:

1. Principle of Anglophilia
It originated in the British Royal Navy.

2. Principle of Archaism
It's been a standard part of the United States Navy uniform since 1881.

3. Principle of Organic Materials
The definitive Naval Clothing Factory peacoat is 100% wool, with corduroy-lined pockets (cotton).

You nailed a few of our peacoat requirements (i.e. navy, flair-less, slim fit), and hopefully our most important one: a Three Days of the Condor Collar. You need to be able to stand it up tall like Redford.

When it comes to peacoat collars, size does matter.

Style blog consensus favors the Billy Reid "Bond" version ($695; pictured upper left), but the anemic collar is in desperate need of growth hormone, and is a disqualifying feature. For others who might be in the peacoat market, first check the local military surplus, and if you're flush consider this gorgeous Maison Margiela option.

Ask the MB: Cycling Sunglasses

Ask the MB: Cycling Sunglasses

Q: Hi MB, your summer might be over but sunlight never spares me here in Singapore. I am looking for sunglasses for cycling to work. Any suggestions?
—Davin

A: We're big fans of Grant Petersen's Just Ride manifesto, which strongly objects to the ubiquitous spandex-infused cycling costume and instead favors "normal" clothing (even woven shirts!) for riding a bicycle*.

While he doesn't specifically address eyewear, we're adding a Just Ride corollary we're sure Petersen would approve of: no matter how long the ride, never wear cycling-specific toolbag sunglasses.

Now that you're perhaps in the market for a pair of regular sunglasses, our all-time favorites are the Allyn Scura Angelo in Light Havana with bottle green lenses. They're simultaneously retro and modern, and work wonderfully for commuting rides, long rides, daydrinking, sitting around, whatever. Highly recommended.

*Does not include winter riding. Please consult our Biking to Work in Arctic Conditions guide for suggestions on how to do this both stylishly and warmly.

Ask the MB: YOOX 8 Shoes

8 Sneakers via YOOX, $89.00
8 Sneakers via YOOX. $89.00.

Q: You've been a big fan of "8" brand clothing over at Yoox, and I agree it's great bang for ze buck. But what do you know about their shoes? Kind of digging these sneakers. Might be hard to pass on for $100.
—Joe

A: While we don't have as much experience with 8 shoes as 8 clothes, yes they seem equivalent in terms of bang for the buck. Two years ago we recommended these 8 Denim Sneakers as an MB Deal of the Week and we'd recommend them all over again if they were still in stock.

As for those joggers, they're now marked down to $89 and you better grab them before we do.

Side note: We've long suspected that 8 was the YOOX in-house brand, and despite a flat-out denial from Omar from Customer Service, we can confirm that 8 is in fact a trademark of YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP S.P.A., serial number 79186766.

(This fact should not diminish in the slightest enthusiasm for 8 stuff.)

MB Endorses: Tom Ford Sunglasses

MB Endorses: Tom Ford Sunglasses

Tom Ford will sell you a Prince of Wales slim fit shirt for $655, and a pair of selvedge denim for $680, so it's a treat to discover a way to wear the world's greatest designer on your face for something less than the annual per capita income of Burundi.

Our two favorites from a large collection on Bluefly:

Left: Tom Ford Omar Aviator Sunglasses. $99. (76% off; will expunge lens legibility)

Right: Tom Ford FT0443 Aviator Sunglasses. $189. (57% off)

MB Endorses: Forthcoming MB Price-Tracking App

MB Endorses: Forthcoming MB Price-Tracking App

Part of the reason we haven't been posting much this year — besides chronic laziness, combined with chronic drunkenness — is that we've been working on a price-tracking application we think you're going to really like. You simply post something that interests you, whether it be on Amazon, eBay, YOOX, or thousands of other sites, and when it goes on sale we send you an alert with the new price.

We've been in alpha for a while here at the office, and here are a few things we finally pulled the trigger on, with their price history. Yes, we're really digging sportswear that may make some wonder whether we play sports for money.

Moschino Sweater

(Fits small. Go one size up, and two if you are on the fence. Also check it in red.)

Date Price
7/4/2017 $89.00
6/28/2017 $110.00
6/15/2017 $160.00
5/28/2017 $230.00
Luigi Borelli Napoli Polo Shirt

(Fits true to size.)

Date Price
7/1/2017 $105.00
6/14/2017 $114.00
5/28/2017 $229.00
8 Sweatshirt

(All 8 stuff fits small and this is not exception. Add a size.)

Date Price
6/30/2017 $60.00
6/15/2017 $69.00
5/28/2017 $78.00

We're hoping to have this launch later this summer. Please stay tuned for updates.

The Winner of the 7th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

The Winner of the 7th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

Lee Lerner.

Lee was part of the 92% of entrants — too easy this time! — who identified the bespectacled or sunglassified MBs in the 7th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Contest.

1. David Mamet
2. Wilt Chamberlain
3. Dennis Hopper
4. John Wayne
5. Elvis Presley
6. Frank Sinatra
7. Jack Nicklaus
8. James Caan
9. Sammy Davis, Jr.

Lee was also part of a much smaller cohort — 12 — who nailed the tiebreaker question. "What do they all have in common?" Answer: they all are (or were) members of the Republican party.

Lee also lucked out as his entry was randomly selected from the 12, as were the two runner ups, who will receive a Magnificent Bastard tie of his/her choice (2nd place) and a Secret Agent Belt (3rd place).

Lee, enjoy your new pair of Allyn Scura frames. We always recommend the famed Legend, or for a less traditional look, the Sergio. Both are terrific and draw positive feedback as either eyewear or sunglasses. Alternatively, you can put your $125 credit towards a pair of Allyn Scura's vintage or reproduction frames, like these ridiculously oversized and equally fun Kala Chateaus, modeled by Elliott Gould in Ocean's 11. It's your choice.

Ask the MB: What if Bonobos and Walmart Get Married?

Dondup near-denim trousers via YOOX, $98.00
Dondup near-denim trousers via YOOX. $98.00.

Q: If the Walmart/Bonobos marriage gets consummated, can you recommend a Bonobos alternative? I refuse to give money to the evil empire.
—Dave

A: Unfortunately, whether this particular marriage gets consummated or not, you are now faced with a grave question: Do you keep hooking up with a brand that (a) has seriously considered the possibility that Walmart would be a good home for it? And even worse is (b), in the eyes of Walmart, a highly desirable acquisition target?

Think of your dilemma as a variant on the old Groucho Marx koan: I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member.

While we're fans of Bonobos' moleskin jeans, it's otherwise not a brand that holds any special allegiance in our hearts. Mostly, it has always struck us as an attempt to leverage dot-com venture capital into, say, a slightly more colorful James Perse for the masses. In other words, Walmart's attempted acquisition of it seems like a logical and ultimately inevitable endpoint.

Thus, we say why wait until the marriage is officially consummated to start looking elsewhere to fulfill your clothing needs?

Just the fact that the deal has reached due diligence is a strong signal that we're at Peak Bonobos. In another month or so, they may come out with their own version of the RompHim!

Lucky for you, good alternatives abound. Here's a couple Italian brands we've recently discovered on YOOX that we highly recommend:

Myths
We own a bunch of Myths pants and shorts are they're both terrific. Fair warning: You may have to skip leg day every once in awhile in order to get them all the way on. Innovative combinations of fabrics and pocket lining material, and a senselessly-over-engineered-yet-charming 3-button closure system (even on the shorts). Mostly best for 18 holes or a casual workplace. True to size.
Myths 2017 S/S collection.

Dondup
Without a doubt our current favorite trouser maker. Generally dressier and more expensive than Myths — and slightly more forgiving — these are pants you wear to the office with a woven, and so comfortable you keep on while transitioning your top to a knit at home. The only knock on these is a discreet, riveted gothic-font "D" on the rear right pocket (we've tried removing without success). They're modesty-sized; go up one and maybe two inches on the waist.
Dondup 2017 S/S collection

Ask the MB: Sneakerhead?

Puma Suede Classic Sneakers. Don't buy size 13. via Lord and Taylor (!), $64.95
Puma Suede Classic Sneakers. Don't buy size 13. via Lord and Taylor (!). $64.95.

Q: Hi. I like old school Nikes (Jordans), Asics, Adidas and so on. Is it MB to be a sneakerhead? I assumed it wasn't. Am I correct?
—Richard

To paraphrase Craig Finn, certain brands they get so scratched into our souls. And when we really start thinking about it — and we have been, because of your question — we realize that many of the brands that have been scratched into our souls (and, yes, soles) deepest and longest are sneaker brands.

It's possible we were introduced to McDonald's, Mars, Inc., and Coca Cola earlier than we were introduced to Puma, Adidas, Pony, and Converse. These days, however, we go years without a Big Mac, months without a Snickers bar, and sometimes even a week without a Coke. Whereas we believe that there is probably no 72-hour period over the course of our post-toddler lives where we have not worn one of the aforementioned brands for at least a couple hours.

And of course those brands have company in our overall collections — a quick assessment of our three nearest closets nets approximately 140 pairs of sneakers from roughly 30-plus brands, with heavy emphasis on Golden Goose, Tod's, Diemme, and Maison Margiela.

That said, we've never owned a pair of Air Jordans, much less cleaned them with a toothbrush. So are we sneakerheads?

As we understand the term, sneakerheads seem to focus on (a) shoes that NBA superstars and other professional athletes might credibly wear in regulation play, (b) shoes that Captain America might go jogging in, or (c) shoes that Marc Benioff might wear while delivering a keynote address at Dreamforce.

While we can embrace option (a) in limited contexts — we're not going to play tennis in our Maison Margielas — options (b) and (c) don't appeal to us under any scenario. Instead, we stick to vaguely businified sneakers — i.e., sneakers we could wear to work without, as we've said in the past about sweatpants, making our colleagues wonder if we're about to dunk on them.

In the end, we think the best way to express our thoughts on this is a Venn diagram:

MB Contest: 7th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

MB Contest: 7th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

Welcome to the 7th Kind-of-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge, sponsored by our all-time favorite eyewear and sunglass outfitter, Allyn Scura.

THE CHALLENGE: Identify the nine bespectacled or sunglassified MBs above and you will be entered to win a pair of Allyn Scura frames ($175 value) or a $125 credit you can apply toward any vintage frames Allyn Scura carries. It's up to you. And same as last year, we're adding a couple of MB sweeteners. The runner up gets a Magnificent Bastard tie of his/her choice and 3rd place gets a Secret Agent Belt.

To enter simply fill out the form located here with the names of the men pictured, and, in the event of a tie, what they all have in common. One entry per person. USA only. Good luck. The deadline for this contest is Wednesday, May 31 at midnight CDT.

Ask the MB: Paul Weller's Glasses

Ask the MB: Paul Weller's Glasses

Q: What make/model of sunglasses has Paul Weller been wearing for the last 20+ years? Gold / single wing in gold across the top / rimless brown lenses. Seemed to be wearing them from mid '80s onward. Maddening....
—Andy

A: Andy, we asked our eyewear expert about these frames and he's confident Weller's glasses are a 1960s frame by Amor.

What's unique about these frames is they use a double-stick adhesive strip to mount the lens to the top rim. We're not making this up: the lenses are literally taped to the frame, using 1960s-era adhesive technology.

Which may account for their relative rarity today and also Weller's enduring allegiance to them. Fragile attachments often exert a strong psychic pull on us.

Anyway, you probably want to know how realistic it is to get your hands on a pair if you're not a fastidious rockstar with a well-cultivated and sufficiently capitalized sense of style.

Well, you're in luck. Not only does our eyewear expert Allyn Scura have a pair of the frames in stock — he also believes he's found the supplier of that double-stick adhesive tape. Send a note to info@allynscura.com if you're interested in a pair.

And speaking of Allyn — we haven't been doing our annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Contest for quite as long as Paul Weller has been wearing his Amor sunglasses, but we're just as attached to it. Next week, we'll be launching our 8th edition of the Contest. As always, the winner will get a pair of Allyn Scura frames (or credit towards a vintage pair). And there will be a bunch of MB goodies for the runners up. Please check back and enter to win.

PICTURED: Paul Weller reading George Orwell's 1984 in what looks like a Martini Racing watch strap. We have that strap (plus two others of your choosing!) available on a wallet in brown, black, and tan.

Ask the MB: Belstaff H Racer Jacket

Ask the MB: Belstaff H Racer Jacket

Q: I've my eyes on the Black Racer Jacket from Belstaff that you featured in your makeover header from a few years back. Is this jacket still MB recommended? I've found one for a pretty good price and in good condition on eBay and I'm considering whether to go for it.
—Conor

A: When Google's self-driving clown cars are established as the only vehicles that can legally operate on our roads, the Belstaff H Racer may seem a little superfluous. But we predict that that's going to take a good five years. Until then, we endorse the H Racer, albeit with one caveat:

As we alluded when we first posted about Belstaff jackets in 2009, human beings are not quite as timeless as a streamlined leather jacket.

If you're under 45, wear the H Racer as you please.

Once you pass 45, certain conditions apply. In a nutshell, the skinnier you are, the longer you can wear an H Racer without looking like you're trying to recapture your lost youth in the wake of your third divorce.

More specifically, if you have a BMI of 21-23, you can the H Racer until you're 50.

If you have a BMI of 20-21, you can wear it until you're 55.

If you have a BMI of 19 or lower, you can wear it forever.

Ask the MB: Dad's Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M

Ask the MB: Dad's Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M

Q: My father passed away recently, and I've inherited his Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Skyfall. I'll be wearing it either way, but I just wanted to get your opinion: Is this watch suitably MB?
—Matt

A: Whether it's a strong backhand, a weakness for good bourbon, or a slightly oversized limited-edition timepiece, we are big believers in honoring the entire catalog of what a father bestows upon his son(s).

To our coolly dispassionate eye, your watch is 2mm too wide, and we give the "007" on the dial a 4 out of 10.

On the plus side, the Seamaster is built like a waterproof tank, it has a rich pedigree, and yours is part of a sold-out limited edition of just 5007.

Our verdict: Even if that Seamaster was passed down to us from our least-favorite uncle, we'd probably keep it and wear at least as often as we crossed paths with Aunt Miriam.

But yours is from your dad, and that's a whole different enchilada.

That you've already committed to wearing it regardless of what a somewhat unreliable website has to say about the matter suggests your pop gave you far greater gifts than a highly collectible watch. But the watch now exists as an immediate, highly tangible, and appropriately symbolic totem of your dad, your bond with him, and the way we mortals push back against the inescapable march of time with love, loyalty, and fantastically precise Swiss movements. And all of that is MB as heck.

We extend our sincere condolences for your loss, and are veering from our usual MB nightcap to raise a martini, shaken, not stirred, in honor of your dad.

WINNERS! The "Holy Fucking Shit! Donald Trump is President" Contest

WINNERS! The

We combined our latest sale — two Made in USA ties for $60; use code BUYAMERICAN at checkout — with our latest contest: Identify the 13 people/rodent labeled in the banner ad and win free stuff.

First, the correct answers:

1. Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek
2. Kim Kardashian
3. Will Ferrell as Buddy in Elf
4. Queen Elizabeth II
5. Clint Eastwood as Walt Kowalski in Gran Torino
6. Janet Leigh as Marion Crane in Psycho
7. Jeff Bridges as The Dude in The Big Lebowski
8. Richard Simmons
9. Dramatic Chipmunk
10. George W. Bush
11. Katy Perry
12. Will Smith as Will Smith on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
13. Hillary Clinton

We needed to make this more difficult as most entries scored a 100%. Just about all of the failed entries were the result of identifying the Dramatic Chipmunk as a squirrel.

Anyhow, we ran the perfect scores through random.org and the winners are:

1st Place: Gregory Miller — A MB University tie
2nd Place: Conor Deegan — A Minimum Viable Wallet
3rd Place: Patrick Franz — A Baker's Dozen Letterpress Beverage Shields

Thanks to everyone for playing. In April we'll run the 7th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Contest where you can win a great pair of sunglasses or eyeglasses, and MB will be sure to throw in some goodies, too. Stay tuned.

Ask the MB: Minimum Viable Wallet

Ask the MB: Minimum Viable Wallet

Q: Love the site. Sorry don't have a burning menswear question other than, I was wondering, how many cards fit in the wallet you current stock? I like the look, but need to carry 2 credits and some other flat cards (library, insurance, metro) and am wondering if they'll all fit.
—AJL

AJL, as much as we'd like to sell another Minimum Viable Wallet — available in Horween Chromexcel Black, Horween Chromexcel Brown, and Horween Latigo Tan — we cannot ensure its viability under the conditions you describe.

The Minimum Viable Wallet doesn't just boast a simple construction. It demands a simple life. While it can fit five cards, or even ten if, paradoxically, you have great patience and a lot of credit card debt, we designed it to work best with just three cards. It's a bit of choice architecture that keeps us judicious about what we really need in life — our driver's license, our Coutts World Silk Card, and of course our Trump Card.

Those three cards plus a wad of cash keeps us prepared but nimble. While we admire your commitment to intellectual development (library card) and urban sustainability (metro), the honest unvarnished truth is that because we optimized the MVW for the three cards we use, each additional card you add to the equation becomes infinitesimally more difficult to remove and insert. And we didn't create this wallet to make life more complicated — we created it to make life simpler!

If you ever decide to give up reading, planning for the worst, and one of your credit cards, let us know. Only then will we be able to sell you an MVW in good conscience.

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