Hi! Is there a puffer vest that you all recommend? Maybe a couple of different brands? I know you recommended Duvetica a few years ago. Are they still your #1? Other brands? Thank you! —Chris
A: Thanks so much for the question, Chris. We could go on forever about puffer vests as they're a wardrobe staple.
One warning before we list some options: these best suit taller, thinner MBs. If you're carrying a little extra bulk in your torso, the last thing you want to do is add bulk to your torso while the rest of your body keeps the same thickness. You will just look fatter.
With that caveat, we have three rules on puffer vests. They must:
1. Be filled with down. Goose is better than duck. 2. Have a collar (but not a hood) 3. Have some sort of elastic, whether it's the armholes or the waist. Both is better.
Here are a few for your consideration.
Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Vest. $49.99.
If you are merely puffer vest-curious and want to see if they're for you, by far the best gateway is Uniqlo's Ultra Light Down Vest. At just 50 bucks there is no better overall value. Uniqlo fits true to size but this is cut larger. Size one down. Gamefacing like the model is not allowed. Hey kid, you're in a $50 vest.
Aspesi Slim RE Down Gilet. $312 (from $520).
If we had to pick one puffer vest, this is it. Minimal, oozes quality, and has all the features: goose down, adjustable elastic hem, lycra armholes, zip pockets, and an interior zip pocket. Probably because Aspesi is based just a few miles from the Alps, these are packed with feathers and target US cocktail zone 5 and higher. If you are in a warmer cocktail zone it's likely overkill. Has long since replaced Duvetica as our top pick. Aspesi vests fit true to size.
Polo Packable Water-Repellent Down Vest. $169.
We're not normally one for logos but this polo player is retro, iconic, and lacks legibility. A better choice for warmer cocktail zones — or traveling to them — as it's lightweight enough to pack into itself. What's with the gamefacing? Again, not allowed, even at $169. Polo is a shade big. For our Polo puffer vests we go one size down.
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.
Q: Hey MB. I also went into an alcohol-fueled spending spree after the devastating loss to the Giants. I did my damage at Mr. Porter's sale, but I have a question about the fit of those Aspesi down jackets. What size did you order? I am 5'10" about 170, 33 waist. I want to replace my rotting Patagonia down jacket, but I wasn't sure what size to order of the Aspesi on The Corner. All that is left is a Large. Any advice?
A: Like most Italian brands, Aspesi fits small. Their XL pushes it for us, but we're all quite a big bigger than you, so our strong hunch is the large Aspesi down jacket will fit you perfectly and be a significant upgrade over anything Patagonia, rotting or not.
If you want to take it up even another notch, get into Z Zegna. Slip it on and you'll agree that the additional $202 was totally worth it. (Zegna fits much more traditional American.)
2 oz gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1 sugar cube (or half teaspoon simple sugar)
soda water (if desired)
Place the sugar cube at the bottom of a lowball glass, add the fresh lemon juice, and mash with the back of a spoon. Fill two-thirds with ice and the gin and stir for at least 30 seconds. Add soda water, if desired, and give a quick stir. Garnish with a lemon wedge.