Q: It's just topped 70 degrees and sunny in Seattle, which means" suns out, buns out" is in effect. It also means it's time for sunglasses. Currently, I'm using my father's vintage glacier glasses from the late 70s, with the leather side shades removed, but they're not prescription lenses and I'd like to have a less blurry world. What are your thoughts on sunglasses for those of us who wear prescriptions? Get Rx lenses in the sunglasses, go clip-on like Lennon, or just swap out our glasses as needed (in which case, what to do with the Rx specs while out in the sun)? —Brian
A: Indeed, if it's "buns out" clear vision is mandatory.
Long ago we wrestled with the same dilemma, first trying contact lenses plus regular sunglasses, then clip-ons, and finally settling on Rx sunglasses.
We recommend fast-forwarding directly to Rx sunglasses.
You didn't suggest contacts as an option — probably because you've worn them — and clip-ons are just too fussy and fragile and overall TTH. Also note that John Lennon is photographed wearing those clip-ons well into his Yoko Ono phase.
Anyhow, take your dad's old glacier glasses into Seattle's top-rated optician for Rx lenses and get their slimmest hard case. Swapping frames and dealing with a case is definitely not ideal, but we've found it's rarely an issue:
The number of times you're out and truly need both glasses and sunglasses are far fewer than you think.
In those situations there is often a puffer vest or jacket or blazer to slip it into without any trouble; surely it's a similar situation in Seattle as it is in Minneapolis.
Since we've fully embraced our own Minimum Viable Wallet technology there's now additional room in our pants, in a pinch.
Having convinced our client to adopt fairly slim-fit shirts and sweaters, we felt confident trying the same approach with pants. It didn't work out. Every attempt from MB favorites Dondup, Myths, Uniqlo, and AG made our client uncomfortable, either being too tight through the thigh, or leg opening, or both.
Low-rise, testicle-snugging, ankle-exposing Italian party pants apparently aren't for everyone. This revelation forced us to pivot.
Just as no one ever got fired for buying IBM, we're hopeful the same goes for buying Levi Strauss & Co. We tried several different fits from the 511 (way too aggressive) to the 514 to the 502, and those, too, were out of his comfort zone, so we retreated to the roomy-thigh high ground of the 505, the original Levi zip fly.
Are we happy about this? No. A strong case can be made we just got our client into dad-fit pants. But we purchased items he'll wear, and the colors and fabrics we chose help make the uniform work. (We will post the one-touch uniform dressing app next week.)
We Threw This One Back
These didn't make the cut, but Uniqlo's Ezy Jeans are the invention many men have been yearning for: stealth sweatpants. As one reviewer says, To the outside observer, they appear to be jeans, but on your body, they feel more like sweatpants."
Q: When will you release the Allyn Scura challenge? Huge fan!!
—Rob (and many others)
A: Hi Rob:
Well there's a reason we called it the Kind-of-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge. This year we're busy getting aguydressed, developing some new products for fall, and putting the finishing touches on the MB golf bag.
But we already have a concept for the 2020 Challenge and will give you a head start on your entry by showing 3 of the 9 MBs. And don't forget the all-important tie-breaker question: What do they have in common?
Two weeks ago we settled on four shirts as the first step in the MB Build process: 3 plaids in wide-enough ranging check sizes and color combos to provide sufficient variety, and one solid, necessary for the times our client wears a tie. The total was $240, leaving a $1,760 balance from our original $2,000 budget.
Part 2 is sweaters. For now we're investing more heavily here (3) than our original museum director recommendation and going more lightly on blazers (1), simply because our client is not a museum director. These four items will pair with the shirting, creating a 16-combination torso "uniform" that takes the guesswork out of dressing for work.
Until George Jetson's robotic-arm walk-in closet can be summoned into action with a voice command, our client will still have the chore of putting his arms into armholes and pulling a sweater over his head, but sartorial decision-making can be left to the push of a button.
1, 2 When these two fantastic 4-season silk/cashmere cardigans arrived, we could barely resist keeping them for ourselves. By Heritage, another obscure Italian brand with a 40-year knitwear pedigree that we only discovered after placing this order. We got 'em for $63. They're now back up to $175, which we would still happily pay. If you find any silk/cashmere Heritage you like, buy it.
3 Ballantyne is best known for their funky argyles that rock the links, yet this solid v-neck also tempted us into theft. Like the cardigans, $63 (originally $213).
We Threw This One Back
Uniqlo is likely our top branded retailer, so we ordered this $39.90 merino crewneck. It's a fine sweater. But how ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've tried on Italian-made silk/cashmere?
UP NEXT: Pants or the Blazer, depending on what we find for our client.
1. Naked & Famous Snow Pant Denim. "Trump Skis in Jeans" is a popular bumper sticker out here. He only wishes he could be so stylish! We've raved about Naked & Famous's Snow Pant Denim for a decade, or about as long as they've stopped making them. Please join our quixotic effort to get Naked & Famous to resume production, and send them a note.
2. Valentino Ski Jacket. This purchase resulted in a confirmation call from American Express, and we said, "Yes, sir. Thanks for asking. Signature pieces are worth this expense." Valentino is currently owned by the Qatari royal family — where they're probably 1500 miles from the nearest ski resort — but got some excellent consulting, packing it with down, a high collar, knit cuffs, and left-breast lift-pass pocket.
3. Wigens Bear Claw Gloves. Part of our Biking to Work in Arctic Conditions collection, these are also great for skiing. Every ride up the chair people ask, "Where did you get those?!" Wigens has stopped making them, and instead inexplicably focused their business on newsboy caps, so they're available only on eBay.
4. K2 Mambas Yes, Hart's F17 Fusion are the bump ski standard, but we were unable to resist the '70s colorblock styling on the K2 Mamba "bump killers." (Also they are half the price.) Compared to either the Hart or the K2, today's all-mountain, wide-waisted skis feel like you've strapped on a pair of 2x4s.
5. Bollé 711s Unless it's snowing, we're part of the 1% who still prefer sunglasses over goggles. Our favorites are these Bolle 711s with sideshields, designed for glacier mountaineering. They're just $75 and available at the official MB eyewear outfitter, Allyn Scura.
As we said in the intro we're starting with shirts. The target archetype is "urban landed gentry," which in terms of shirts calls for plaids, so we went for three plaids and a casual-ish white dress shirt as a necessity for when he wears a tie.
1. Aspesi is an MB favorite, and we scored this large-scale plaid for $52. Had we waited a bit longer we could've gotten it for just 29 bucks, where it's at now. Aspesi's sizing is all over the place but in this case an L fit the client well. (He's 5' 10", 185 lbs.)
2. When we think of Brooks Brothers we don't think of plaids quite this involved, but this fits our bill, and also Dave (client). Marked "slim," its USA-style fit was more roomy than most Italian brands' regular. $41.
3. Growing up we could only find Wrangler at Fleet Farm, but in the past couple of years the iconic brand's been showing up on designer sites like YOOX and ASOS. What took so long?! This shirt was $75, and rounds out our plaid collection. Runs a little small.
4. Back during the Bush 43 Administration Marc Jacobs made dress/casual white shirts for his discount "Jacobs by Marc Jacobs for Marc Jacobs" line. But these shirts were no joke, with sewn collars and shanked buttons. We liked them so much we bought 15, and sold one of the NOS to our client for what we paid, $58. (Side note: Marc Jacobs is planning to resurrect a discount line called "The Marc Jacobs," set for release in fall 2019.)
We Threw These Back
1, 2 Deperlu and Xacus are two reasons why we're in love with YOOX. Both are smallish Italian brands most people have never heard of that make clothes you'll never see on anyone else. The issue is that, being Italian, the fit is Italian, which means if you're not an athlete on a restricted Mediterranean diet you may feel like a kielbasa and the shirt is the casing.
3, 4 More Wrangler, but we stuck with the version that both fit the best and the client liked the best.
UP NEXT: Sweaters. Plus a tool to help our client get dressed every day at the click of a button.
Recently we identified what we won't be wearing on the links in 2019 and beyond: Jim Nantz by Vineyard Vines. But it got us thinking, what is the Nantz antidote? What can we wear this spring to counter the effects of comfort-fit khakis and quarter-zip sweaters?
One answer: Canali.
We've had our eye on Canali — typically known for its Italian suiting — since the 2014 Ryder Cup, when Europe crushed USA in their ridiculously sporty plaids, while some members of Team USA actually thought it was OK to wear mock turtleneck compression tees under polos. Bubba Watson championed this look even more than Jim Furyk, and seemed more interested in dressing up like a Yankee Doodle Toolbag than competing, going 0-3.
Anyhow, 5 years later we've invested wisely enough to invest in a little Canali, like this mercerized cotton polo, and for the team photo this blazer that epitomizes nearly everything we've written about blazers over the past 11 years. Is this enough to counter the powerful effects of Jim Nantz and the Vineyard Vines marketing team? We're unsure, but we're certainly going to try.
One of our readers recently started a new white-collar gig in downtown Minneapolis, and based on an Ask the MB post from last year, asked us to get him dressed in a similar way. For the right price, we agreed.
STYLE ARCHETYPE: Our client's target archetype was "English landed gentry," and while Anglophilia is an MB principle, it immediately conjured thoughts of Roger Stone at Trump's inauguration. After some back-and-forth we landed on "urban landed gentry," which forgoes top hats and double-breasted suits in favor of plaids, tweets, velvets, and corduroys. It also allows for sneakerization of his footwear.
BUDGET: We settled on $2000 as a ballpark to purchase 4 woven shirts, 3 sweaters, 2 blazers, 3 pants, 2 shoes, one suit, and a few accessories for a fall/winter collection. It's a somewhat arbitrary number but constraints are useful to drive creativity and craftyness. Bonus: F/W 2018 is on sale we should get tremendous bang for the buck.
TIMING: We are preternaturally lazy — and also perpetually lit — so our client is currently going to work naked. But we plan on having him wearing his new F/W clothes just in time for S/S.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?: It's one thing to sit here and publish suggestions to a newly-minted museum director. It's quite another to actually order the items, try things on, see what fits and works in the overall look, and what doesn't. We plan on posting tasting notes on the keepers and the ones that got thrown back (and why) for our readers' benefit. Finally, and most importantly, we are getting paid.
FIRST UP: Woven shirts. We'll hopefully have a report on our successes — and failures — next week.
Because lots of golfers want to look like a 60 year-old sportscaster with no history of being even vaguely stylish, here's Jim Nantz by Vineyard Vines. Available February in select pro shops and online.
Q: What is your position on turtleneck sweaters? —Aaron
A: We're big fans.
Although we were concerned a few weeks ago when, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, it seemed like Michael Cohen could set back the cause of turtleneck sweaters 3-5 years. It was the biggest threat to the clothing article since 2012 when Michael Lohan tried it in-between tanks and mocks.
(Side note: A schlub like Cohen encroaching on established MB looks can have a real impact: Isaia's sales of blue checked blazers dropped more than 50% after he strutted around Manhattan in this one in October.*)
But the Michaels are no match for McQueen, Jagger, Bowie, Archer.
A few suggestions:
As with scarves, don't have anything in contact with your neck that isn't cashmere (or cashmere/silk).
Only a compression tee is less forgiving than a finely-woven turtleneck sweater. Unless you're built like Archer, pair with a blazer.
Rather than fold the collar like these guys, simply rely on gravity to let it settle naturally and unevenly around your neck (Principle of Artful Dishevelment).
Where should you look for good options? Where else but YOOX?** This, or this, or this are all great values. Their winter sale ended last night, but it will be just days until another one. Use our Twitter-based price-tracking tool (still in alpha) to be notified of price changes.
Q: I am trying to find something that I am not sure exists. I play tennis fairly regularly and I am looking for a performance tennis shoe that doesn't look like I just stepped out of an Academy. Currently I wear these (Asics). I like these a lot performance-wise, but I want something with a more vintage look like these (Nikes) or this (K-Swiss). Am I chasing a unicorn here? —John
A: John, those Asics you're wearing have "gel" in the model name, which we're pretty sure is a footwear prereq for enrollment into IMG/Bollettieri.
We play tennis year-round on clay, hardcourt, and even grass (see below) and have recently struggled with the same problem. For many years we wore the Rod Lavers — which are similar in style to the Nikes you admire — and while hardcourts shredded them faster than a 4.5 playing a 3, it was a small price to pay for their comfort and low-key iconicism.
Then in 2014 Adidas ruined the Rod Laver. They made them "freakishly heavy" with a sole that "feels like a 100lb slab of concrete," per the reviewers at adidas.com, with one critic adding, "If I could give a zero-star rating, I would." It's all true. Now they're discontinued entirely, which has led to the creation, naturally, of a Save the Adidas Rod Laver shoe" Facebook page. (BTW, please Like.)
But you didn't ask for a recent history of the Rod Laver. You want a performance tennis shoe with a vintage aesthetic, and we have it: The Puma GV Special. Now, Guillermo Vilas was no Rod Laver, and they were released a decade later than the Rods (1980), but they're far more rugged, and maintain compatibility with white Borg-inseam shorts and McEnroe headbands. Plus, if you look hard enough you can sometimes find them for about 35 bucks. Try 'em out and let us know what you think.
About those grass courts...
One of the many great treasures of our home state of Wisconsin is Sand Valley Golf Resort in Nekoosa. Besides 36 terrific walking-only holes (with 18 more coming in 2021), they have 9 grass courts. So along with your 3-wood and white balls, pack your woody and white balls.
Way back in April the New York Timesendorsed American Trench's Silver Crew Socks, noting AT's colorful upgrade to military socks, which are normally limited to "drab olive and other camouflage tones."
They're fine socks. They're even true military spec — which means Donald Trump won't visit them in a war zone — but we believe American Trench makes better socks. In fact, we believe they make perhaps the best socks: The Merino Activity Socks with Silver.
61% wool and 1% silver, which is enough to keep away the stinky microbes, but not enough to trigger a TSA pat-down screening. And they're not kidding about "activity"! They're the sporty sock equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife. We've used them for lumberjacking, cycling, tennis, golf (alongside pants), and even poolside DJing (alongside shorts and high-tops). They're awesome for just lying around, too, especially when when temps are in brown liquor territory.
Why did we wait until Cyber Monday to tell you about them? Two reasons: One, they were out of stock on most of the colorways for most of 2018. Two, they weren't on sale until now: 15% off until 11:59 PST Monday, November 26.
Q: Hi MB. Based on your recommendation, I recently got a Woolrich White Label Quilted Mill Shirt Jacket. I love it. Thanks. What are some great (and relatively inexpensive) scarves that you'd recommend to go with it? Thanks! —Chris
A: Glad you like that jacket as much as we do.
As for winter scarves, we have one hard and fast rule: must be mostly cashmere. It's the only thing soft enough we allow draped around our necks, besides the the drunk temp at the office Christmas party.
As for colors and patterns, we've had great luck pattern-matching all kinds of outerwear with Missoni's funky stripes. And in the case of this this jacket, it's irresistible going high-low, pairing a workwear jacket designed in Pennsylvania with a cashmere scarf designed in Lombardy, Italy.
But you asked for "relatively inexpensive."
One glance at YOOX, and you can play it safe with a solid grey scarf from Arte Cashmere ($67), or if you're feeling slightly more adventurous, there's a beginner plaid-plaid matching opportunity with more Arte Cashmere in black or khaki.
Q: Hello, MB! I have recently discovered the YNAP "8" brand and was impressed with the quality, design, and bang-for-the-buck ratio. However, there is not much information about it on the internet, your Sept 7, 2017 post being the most comprehensive material. Anyhow, 8 items are suddenly unavailable @ yoox.com, and I'm wondering whether you have any insight on this. Is this a temporary situation? Is the line permanently discontinued? Any thoughts would be great, thanks.
A: We have a post that's the most comprehensive on the internet, no matter how esoteric? That's a first, and we are celebrating with a round (or two) of Magnificent Bastard Cocktails.
We agree with you on 8, of course, and it would be a bummer if YNAP shuttered the brand. We asked YOOX about it via Twitter. While it's somewhat cryptic, and perhaps written by someone whose first language is Italian (check the time), it sounds like 8 might not be dead just yet.
Stay tuned right here, Irene, to the internet's leading source of 8 news.
Q: Hello MB, I am moving to Norway and I need a raincoat. Any recommendations? I'm looking for something lightweight and affordable. I'll also be bringing along my Mobster Galoshes (thanks for that tip)! —Jay
A: Jay, we're glad you like the Mobster galoshes. They're on our "All-Time Favorites" list … which only exists in our minds right now, but which we will someday publish when we think of a catchier name for it.
The Mobsters are made by Swims, which is based in Oslo, so let's keep things simple: Buy more Swims! Norwegian rain is probably not all that much different than American rain, but why take that chance? Get something by the locals.
Of course, Swims gear is actually manufactured in China, because Donald Trump is not President of Norway (yet). But it is engineered in Norway, where they are such experts in shitty weather they don't even call the piece we're going to recommend to you a "rain jacket," because any jacket you plan on wearing more than once a year in Norway better be able to hand the rain.
Don't believe us? Oslo gets 161 days of rain a year. Bergen, Norway's second largest city, gets 240! Seattle, only 150.
(No, you didn't just accidentally land on weather.com. But honestly, stopping making such a big deal about all the rain you get, Seattle. Compared to Bergen, you're a desert paradise.)
Okay, back to our recommendation. Take a look at the Genève, described as a "sporty, all-weather, all-day, all-seasons, all-purpose jacket." Which we suspect is the Old Norse way of saying "raincoat."
If you need technical proof, here are its specs: "20.000 g/sqm/24h, 20.000 hydrostatic water column." Yup, raincoat.
We don't own The Geneve — yet — but if we ever find ourselves living in a place that gets more than 150 days of rain a year, it will be high on our purchase list. And every piece of Swims outwear we do own has been a terrific investment.
So buy with confidence, and good luck on your exciting new adventure.
As our original Converse CFCs have approached threadbare, along came Mack Weldon's more prosaically named "no-show socks", restoring a proper organic materials dominance of 85% cotton, with a padded footbed and an elastic top that perfectly balances keeping them on vs. cutting off circulation.
We're such big fans of these socks that we took advantage of Mack Weldon's 20% off $200 offer and got 26 pair of socks for $171.60 (including free shipping). Crazy? Perhaps. But as Keeling Curve data would suggest, longer ankle-exposing seasons only show signs of getting longer. (Also, we know a valuable and rare item when we see it, and when that happens we buy in bulk. Yet to regret it.)
Someday we're going to post a new feature listing our all-time favorite purchases, and the Makers & Riders Dispatch Rider Jean will be one of the first items on it. We've written about them extensively here, and while their pedigree is riding, they are as versatile a pant as Bill Murray is an actor. As one reviewer says, "These are the best pants out there! I do everything with these! Hiking, Biking, Snowboarding, you name it!"
Despite the Trumpesque capitalization, it's all true.
Is $139 still a lot for a pair of pants? Perhaps. Yet these are in our forthcoming Hall of Fame, and this price is as low as they go. On sale through August 14.
When we go a couple of weeks without posting it's because we're lazy and drunk. This time, though, we've just been drunk, and busy in the lab concocting what we believe will be the most desirable golf bag ever created. Leather, naturally. Perhaps even more minimal than the Minimum Viable Wallet. All materials and construction Made in the USA.
What's taken the longest is designing the single side bag, which is in fact 3 bags in 1: a main bag for balls and tees, a valuables pocket for your phone and wallet and keys, and another one for your cashmere sweater or windbreaker.
It's going to be magnificent. Stay tuned for updates. Our goal is to have it ready to ship for Christmas. Just don't hold us to a specific year.
It's down to 16. Who will advance? This weekend has four games, and we've run all the data through our proprietary algorithm that uses predictive analytics based on a coach's sideline presence to determine game outcomes. Here's what's going to happen, and why:
France vs. Argentina
Didier Deschamps — France
Jorge Sampaoli — Argentina
Gold bracelet. Chunky wedding ring. Ridiculously oversized watch. Between his excessive male jewelry and his "Bring me my goddamned Harvey Wallbanger!" body language, Deschamps looks more than ready to hit the Baccarat table at Caeser's. But at least his lapels are the right size. That gives him a slight edge over Sampaoli who completely undermines pretty good "Are you fucking kidding me?" Jesus Arms with a black blazer over black tee combo that Michael Lohan would be proud to rock at wherever Michael Lohan is rocking it these days. Plus it looks like he might be smuggling a couple keys of cocaine in his shoulder pads — and given recent news emanating from Argentina, that gives us pause. MB Prediction: France, 3-1.
Uruguay vs. Portugal
Óscar Tabárez — Uruguay
Fernando Santos — Portugal
Uruguay rolled through the Group A like they were all riding on Óscar Tabárez's motorized scooter, but despite sleeve-rolling at near MB levels, look for Portugal to advance on the sheer will of Santos's artful dishevelment and insouciance. He's just not into that cigarette. MB Prediction: Portugal, 1-0.
Spain vs. Russia
Fernando Hierro — Spain
Stanislav Cherchesov — Russia
"Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" is always good advice, and Spain's Fernando Hierro should have taken it. Instead, the Interim Head Coach is dressed like an Interim Head Coach — a solid performance (minimal accessorization, crest on the blazer) but nothing extraordinary, and the slightly oversized watch makes us wonder if he's truly a long-term fit. In the short term, it doesn't matter, because he's matched against Cherchesov, whose rumpled three-piece suit, black patent shoes, and over-sized ID Badge makes him look like he's head of security for a boy band from Novosibirsk. Sometimes in the World Cup, it's all about the luck of the draw. MB Prediction: Spain, 2-0.
Croatia vs. Denmark
Zlatko Dalić — Croatia
Åge Hareide — Denmark
Obviously, Knockout Phase matches cannot end in a draw, but Dalić and Hareide are pretty evenly matched here, in the timeless and understated uniform of charcoal pants, white woven, black sweater. As far as accessorization goes, Hareide's black-out sunglasses are slightly outplaying Dalic's tie — but whatever advantage that gives him is completely erased by an ID badge that appears even bigger than Cherchesov's. And maybe even bigger than a Denny's menu. We're still debating that here at MB headquarters, but giving the win to Dalic in the interim. MB Prediction: Croatia, 2-1.
Q: I'm a big dude. 6'5, 350lbs. I wear a grizzly beard and teach high school English in Canada. I'm also a fiend for wristwatches. My daily work watch is an Omega Seamaster Chronograph (41.5mm). My weekend watch is normally a Sea Dweller (43mm). Both violate the 40mm rule you live by. The issue is, if I put on either of my Submariners (39mm), my Datejusts (36mm) or my DayDate (36mm), it looks like I'm wearing my mother's watch.
I get a ton of compliments on both the Seamaster and the Sea-Dweller, and really think they look normal on my wrist (read: they don't look like a Breitling Avenger II).
What should I do? Should I wear a smaller watch, or should I keep rocking the bigger ones? —John
A: Four Rolexes? How much do they pay English teachers in Canada?!
Anyhow, in the interest of keeping things simple, the 40mm rule was meant for most guys, not men with the dimensions of an NFL offensive tackle. Nor, apparently, for chubby leaders of hermit nations.
We hereby grant you — and also Kim Jong-Un — a waiver on the 40mm rule. So keep rocking the bigger ones. Unfortunately Mr. Kim is stuck; he's wearing North Korea's only watch.
Everyone else out there wondering if they qualify for a waiver, here's a simple test: wrap one hand around the other wrist. If your thumb and middle finger overlap or touch, you're good to go. If they don't, go ahead and enlarge your watch diameter 1mm for every 1cm of gap (46mm max).
If you live north of roughly the 40th parallel, tomorrow is opening day at your private club's pool. Here's what we're wearing, alongside a handful of XL G&Ts.
1. Sunglasses Conceived as eyeglasses by designer Allyn Scura, our favorite sunglasses are the Angelo with bottle green lenses. They're simultaneously retro and modern, and comfortable enough to wear from sunrise to sundown. We've invested heavily in sunglass diversification but it has not been money well spent; we almost always end up simply grabbing the Angelos with bottle green lenses. Made in Japan.
2. Swim Trunks. In 11 years we've never made a strong swimwear recommendation despite trying everything from Penguin to Vilebrequin, but we can now: Robinson Les Bains (Oxford Long cut). While these are not nearly as unforgiving as, say, Speedo, there's not much material available for chub concealment. But if you've mixed in some salads in the off-season you're rewarded with a terrific fit and delightful touches like elasticised snap side tabs, a zipped valuables pocket, and depending on the model, a waterproof pouch. Made in France.
As you'd expect, the widest selection is at the Robinson Les Bains store. If you're not into spending 195€ (~$230), keep an eye on YOOX as these pop up often at a fraction of retail.
Bonus: Robinson Les Bains designer Christophe Vérot's 10 Rules of Style. #1: Stay fit, stand tall, and keep your head up.
Fit tip: Being French, these run petit. Order one size up.
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!
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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  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  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  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  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  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.
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.)
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  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.
What else could possibly explain Trump tying his tie at the proper length?
As Trump himself has previously instructed on tie length: "At most, a tie should kiss the top of your pants — and it should only kiss the top of your pants in the way you kiss your best friend's wife — with absolute restraint."
1 oz Plymouth gin
1 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1 oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz fresh lime juice
Combine over ice, stir for 30 seconds, then pour into a martini glass.