Magnificent Bastard

Tuesday, April 24, 2018



bonobos

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: 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: Bonobos

Bonobos pink polo via Bonobos, $68.00
Bonobos pink polo via Bonobos. $68.00.
Q: What is the MB's stance on Bonobos polos and Bonobos in general? Their polos are slim but not too slim and come just high enough above the bicep with a tight fit. However there is a small logo on the lining of the buttons near the color? Does this violate the MB policy?
--Todd


A: We don't really have a stance on Bonobos pants, though one reader did rate them very high on his own "gay factor" chart. The polos look promising. Nice sleeve length, but we could do without that piping. The logo isn't really a big deal because you can choose "matching logo," and if you follow the MB n-2 buttoning policy (as shown by the model pictured) you'd be hard-pressed to even display it.

Ask the MB -- White Pants Q & A

Ask the MB -- White Pants Q & A
Q: Please tell me that the bastard on your front page banner isn't wearing linen pants.
--John


A: No, the Magnificent Bastard on the front page banner is most definitely not wearing linen pants, because we've all witnessed the disaster they turn into. Just cotton with a dash of elastane.


Q: Again with the white pants. At the risk of sounding like Tim the homophobe, I'm concerned that you may not appreciate the gay factor of some of these endorsements. I have prepared this graph for your reference.
--Thom




Queerness Chart

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