With the Cardinals 3-0 win over the Cubs on April 2nd, white pants season officially started. For us they're already on a rotation heavier than a starting pitcher, and with a life expectancy about as long as a doubleheader, we're always looking to stock the bullpen.
Three strikes and we're out?
Yes. But let us first present the MB Deal of the Week: Brooklyn Tailors White Denim Pants. Originally $205, marked down to $69, and now just $34.50 (+ free shipping) these pants are made in BkT's Kathmandu, Nepal factory, where they're usually busy making suits and dress shirts. So we expect a more tailored construction, and paired with the countervailing force of denim, a switch-hitting pant we can wear to both the office and a matinee.
A: We've been publishing for nearly 7 years, with over 1500 posts and dozens of features, and we've made a single passing reference to selvedge denim.
So you could say we've been indifferent.
Selvedge denim does score high on the MB principles of exclusivity and archaism — it's made on looms invented in the 18th century — yet we cannot abide or recommend wearing pants that get washed less frequently than the cast of Duck Dynasty.
If you're debating on whether to get into selvedge denim now, from our viewpoint it looks to be on the wrong side of the trend curve. In the October 2013 GQstyle godfather Glenn O'Brien says, "What I think is changing is ... fanaticism for unwashed indigo." And the February 2014 Details (the one with Aaron Paul on the cover, p. 61) takes it further, arguing, "Trust us. Ultra light-wash denim is making a comeback."
We won't go that far. But we do think that rolled cuffs that expose the selvedges will eventually achieve the same cultural status as popped collars or side-swept hair. And we think that's going to happen sooner rather than later.
Q: Can you please help Mitt Romney with his light colored dad jeans? Thanks. —Larry
A: Late last year Esquire suggested Romney was wearing the light-wash Obama Fit denim (left) to connect with Iowa farmers — not to mention Iowa's jean-wearing moms — which got us wondering: Is Mitt Romney the first presidential candidate to not only say anything to get elected, but also wear anything to get elected?
Apparently not, as he campaigned in New Hampshire in early January in the Iowa Jeans, but then abruptly abandoned his mom jean-wearing principles after withering ridicule, including a mom-jean cartoon from the Los Angeles Times' David Horsey, and adopted a more fitted, lower-rise, faux-distressed look, as shown at a campaign stop in Boise on Friday (right).
Q: Winter is upon us, and I've developed a case of "color matching doubts and anxiety".
— Black pea coat with denim?
— Dark blue sweater with black pea coat?
— Brown sweater with black jeans?
All these look OK in my mind, but I've heard there are rules. Generally, how to wear black other than with black? Please help clear my mind. —Shane
A: Black and blue are a natural pairing, so wear #1 and #2 with confidence. We would never try #3, not because it can't work, but because we don't own a pair of black jeans, primarily to avoid ever looking like anything resembling Justin Theroux. (We don't care if he's plowing The Hottest Woman of All-Time. 40-year-old in a Siouxsie and the Banshees T? Even money says this dude's never even been to a show.)
Anyhow, if you're still suffering from color matching doubts and anxiety after reading this we recommend avoiding black entirely and opting instead for charcoal grey for the outerwear and blue for the jeans. Both of those go with anything.
Q: We're coming up on ski season quickly. What would an MB full ski outfit look like? And yes I mean ski since an MB would not snowboard. —Alex
A: Alex, you are correct. We do not snowboard. In fact we actually limit our ski vacations to Mad River Glen in Vermont and Deer Valley and Alta in Utah. These are the three remaining resorts in the United States that have rightfully banned this boarding horde of mogul-flattening teens. Do not mess with the bumps.
As for the ski outfit, we keep it very simple with stuff we already have in our regular winter rotation, like a puffy coat that hits at the waist, a cashmere hat with a pom, and leather stars-n-stripes "Captain Freedom" gloves. Where we venture outward is on the pants. Naked and Famous has created the coolest ski pants ever, the Slim Guy Snow Pant Jeans. They fit and look like denim but are lined, waterproof, windproof, and have have vented cuffs to fit over your ski boots.
Q: Bootcut jeans these days are nose-diving on the stylishness scale. Sources ranging from GQ to random style bloggers now treat bootcut jeans like they're the next shiny square-toed shoes. Why is this? When did this happen? It's frustrating because straight jeans are too tapered to fall properly around any shoe. Unless you get a size that's too short, they just bunch up at the ankle and look sloppy. As a result (and the only way to alleviate this sloppiness), we've got the fashion industry telling us that it's also a great look to roll up our pants legs, because, as we all know, men want to emulate the bastardly Huck Finn and the magnificent Opie Taylor. Please, enlighten us. —James
James, we don't know what happened to bootcut denim but we haven't worn a pair of bootcut jeans in a very, very long time. In fact, we were wondering if one could even buy a pair anymore and did a quick inventory of well-known retailers and their bootcut denim stock.
# of Jeans
# of Bootcut Jeans
Saks Fifth Avenue
Among these retailers, Barney's is the most forward-looking, so this data predicts that in a year or two wearing bootcut denim might exceed shiny square-toed shoes in unstylishness, and perhaps even become the equivalent of wearing Crocs.
As for your bunching dilemma, a proper straight jean is not tapered below the knee. Hence the name. If it is, then it loses it claim on the name and becomes a skinny or slim jean. We encourage you to avoid those as much (well, almost as much) as you avoid bootcut jeans.
If you're looking for a good straight leg jean, our all-time favorite fit is Adriano Goldschmeid's Protege. 17.5" at the knee, 17.5" at the leg opening. Perfect. Cut to the proper length, these won't bunch.
Labor Day has passed, which means you have to put your white pants on furlough for about nine months or so. But only if you have a time machine and plan to visit 1935 for the rest of the year. In 2011, the dictum against wearing white pants between Labor Day and Memorial Day makes about as much sense as making a special trip to the mall to pay $17.98 for an album that only includes three songs you're actually planning to listen to. Some people still do it, sure, but why?
A more sensible approach: Wear white whenever it is weather-appropriate, which is to say, whenever, it's warm enough to have sex outside. For years we've said white pants are okay through the end of the MLB regular season, assuming you live where we do, at about 44° N (northern Wisconsin). We'd like to add an important corollary to the White Pants Doctrine and extend the wearing period five days for each latitudinal degree you are south of Pulaski, until you reach 30° N, where you can safely wear white pants year-round.
See the table below.
Last Day for White Pants 2011
St. Louis, MO
As for the pants themselves, our all-time favorite white jean is the AG Protege (now 33% off at Nordstrom if you're a 33 or 32). For trousers, Costume National Homme makes great whites that can easily be dressed up or down, and they are all on deep discount this time of year.
Read just received a new shipment of nice-looking shirts (we've already ordered the Jake Madras), and at a $98 retail you're getting the style consulting for 52 bucks. If we didn't already strongly resemble the "After" shot — yes, we raided our own wardrobe for the shoot — we'd seriously consider this deal.
In spite of there still being snow on the ground here, white jeans season in nearly upon us, and we strongly endorse getting into a pair (or two). The guiding purchasing principle? Let the white denim do the talking (as it's already talking pretty loudly). In other words, no funky cuts, no colored rivets, no contrast stitching, no distressing. Or as Suprametist artist Kazimir Malevich would say: "Just white jeans." Here are a few of our favorites this season.
These jeans, along with a fine pair of stems, graced the MB masthead when this site launched nearly four years ago. They're great white jeans. Unfortunately this season's inseam measures only 32.5", so they will signal a flood in our office, but may work for you.
Q: Hey guys: Love the website, and a couple of times it's stopped me from making a fashion mistake - I appreciate it. Anyway, I saw these on Gear Patrol and wondered what you thought. They're not crocs or thongs, and I thought the blue ones would look good with some white jeans. I will defer to your expertise though. --David
A: Obey and Generic Surplus are both brands we like, but this plimsoll-boat shoe fusion (top) has us imagining comical sunburn patterns we'd just as soon avoid. We say: Women alone should bear the risk of skin-exposing mesh (bottom).
If you want a navy boat shoe, there is always Sperry, of course, but we also like the Oak Street Bootmakers version, made from Horween Chromexcel and handcrafted and handstitched in the USA.
You know what John Wayne, James Dean, Elvis Presley, and Arthur Fonzerelli all had in common? If you answered that they all wore Levis 501s, you'd be right. But if you answered that they all would have never been caught dead in Levi's latest style for men, the Ex-Girlfriend, then you'd be really really right.
Which is not to say these things haven't found a market. Here's one satisfied customer's assessment: "I know these are marketed toward men, but I'm a 14 year old girl and these things fit perfectly. Super tight and cute. I'm not really sure how a male with proper anatomy could ever wear them though. 5 stars from me though, a 14 year old skinny girl."
Q: Hello MB, I've been around for awhile, and mostly like what I see. But, when it comes to putting the principles into action, I feel overwhelmed and eventually give up. Are there some essential bastardly wardrobe elements that could get me into some semblance of style? Thanks, Hopeless Bastard. --(aka Eric)
A: When you've got a good bottle of scotch and a glass at your disposal, it's hard to make a bad drink. The same holds true for denim and a white shirt. Start with those and you'll be fine. They're virtually toolbag-proof.
THE SHIRT: In China, there are factories the size of sports stadiums filled with workers who aren't allowed to pee until they've produced at least a hundred white shirts that shift, yet finding just the right white is like finding meaning in a Jersey Shore episode. Some guidelines: slim fit, no logo, no breast pocket, point collar, sewn collar (vs. fused), and mother of pearl buttons. The holy grail is a crossover -- something that can work with a tie and casual suit, then later with your new jeans. (We can't strongly recommend anything at the moment -- and may have to make one on our own -- but please stay tuned.)
Where we're from, white sneakers are on about the same wearing calendar as white pants -- Pulaski road slush really does a number on them -- which means the weather almost always calls for exposed ankles with this shoe-pant combo. But don't spare the socks. Even encased in stylish Japanese sneakers, feet without socks stink worse than Van Halen without David Lee Roth.
We've worn these for years and therefore highly recommend Banana Republic no-show loafer socks. They're now discounted so if you buy 3 or more pair they're just $5.43 each. (Choose white for this use, of course.) Another option (that we haven't tried) is young entrepreneur Philip Bunting's Mocc Sock & Co.'s version (pictured), which also come in gray and are only slightly more expensive than BR.
Following the lead of the Commander-in-chief, Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Iraq yesterday with what we believe to be the highest-rise jeans west (but for the moment, east) of the Euphrates. The denim, combined with that blazer, the Tiger Woods belt, and the tassle loafers is setting the worthy causes of aviator sunglasses and exposed ankles back 20 years.
A: We addressed this in early spring as the fad was emerging, in a Steve McQueen-Erkel side-by-side. As with most novelties to sweep the streets of Manhattan, we don't get it. Yeah, exposed ankles can be a very good thing, but pants rolling effectively shortens your legs, making you appear, uh, shorter. It's too bad 7' 7" Manute Bol recently died; he was a perfect pant-rolling candidate! Finally, the fact that the craze was popularized by the shrunken, man-shrinking designer Thom Browne really seals the deal. Our advice: Wait this one out (it won't be long).
Q: I am going to a polo event on June 12th. I have not been to one. What to wear? Obviously weather plays a part in this, so let's assume it is 90 + degrees and sunny. I would love the detail for the outfit and sunglasses (total to spend $2500.00) and I have a great watch. I am more concerned with pant, shirt, jacket, and shoes. Thanks! --JJ
A: This may be your first polo match, but that doesn't mean everyone has to know. Follow the lead of Prince Harry, who has been there before, many times over, and go casual. Based on your budget, here's some specific pieces that will make you look like carefree royalty. (Caveat: Harry gets everything right from the neck down. His Maui Jim-style sunglasses should be left to the toolbag rabble.)
Q: Dear MB: WTF? I bet James Bond never biked to work. Why don't you get back to doing what you do best, for example by telling me whether an MB can or should wear a blue seersucker jacket, and if so, with what pants. --Julian
A: We've seen all the movies -- in somecases dozens of times -- and don't recall any scenes where 007 is rolling along at 5 MPH for 30 minutes behind some toolbag in an Escalade with a "Freedom Isn't Free" bumper sticker. There's nothing magnificent about enduring traffic jams twice a day, which is why we endorse bike commuting in many situations.
Regarding the seersucker, if your blazer is cut more like J. Crew instead of J. Press, it would look great with denim, especially white. 'Tis the season.
Until recently we could safely say that jorts were the worst thing to happen to summer since domed baseball stadiums. Then, someone invented dorts -- designer jean shorts. As the weather gets hotter, they're showing up everywhere -- just like mosquitos. Consider these things carriers of a deadly neuroinvasive style virus and repel at all costs.
Wear these dorts if you want people to think you robbed a midget hipster's cuffed jeans.
Have you heard the one about the doctor who removed a patient's perfectly functioning lung while leaving the cancerous one in place? This is the jeans version of that. The least offensive part of these things -- the legs -- have been amputated. The hideous malignant pockets are left intact. Who are the quacks in charge of pants surgery at Antik? They should be sued for malpractice.
Q: I need your help with the issue of cuffed/rolled up jeans. I see it around a lot and admit to liking the look. Is it MB? If so, what type of jeans are ideal? How wide of a cuff? A single roll or two? --Jeff
A: Unless you're flying through the air on a motorcycle at at least 70 MPH, cuffing can be extremely dangerous. Thus, we pretty much only do it when it's at least 70 degrees outside and we're within walking distance of a major body of water.
Q: I'm looking for some new jeans, what can you tell me about PRPS, and are they really worth the money? --Chris
A: We like PRPS denim, but we're not so crazy about the brand's pursuit of "authenticity" by torturing a perfectly good pair of jeans until they look just like a 25-year-old pair of Wranglers worn by an overworked house-painter with a second-rate washing machine. We think it's fine to spend $300 - $400 on a pair of jeans, but only if that price doesn't stop you from doing things you'd do if you were wearing a pair of 501s. They're jeans, after all, not limited edition art objects.
If you like their fit -- and fit is everything with denim -- get something like the dark wash selvedge and start making your own holes.
Fashion is an often enigmatic industry, but every once in a while, we run into a product that truly baffles us. For example, Dad jeans for women. Who is this for exactly? In honor of Sherlock Holmes, we spent a few moments today trying to solve this sartorial mystery.
Most women in America are deathly afraid their asses look just like a middle-aged man's and spend big bucks on Spanx, Pilates class, liposuction, and other means of keeping/making their derrieres shapely. Most men aren't exactly begging their wives/girlfriends to dress up like Pop. No doubt there is a small demographic of closeted gay men who'd like the women in their lives to look more like men, but presumably, they want their women to look like stylish men, not men who wear Dad jeans.
Q: Though there have been many a discussion on jeans, whether white, distressed, old or young, what is the MB's take on black jeans? Not too black, not too gray? What is the best course of action, or stay clear all together? --Todd C.
A: We're not going to tell you not to wear black jeans. But we stay clear because we only see them fully successful when worn on stage. And none of us can sing a lick.
Q: I've got a pair of super-comfy CK jeans and I've worn them so much that they've started to get holes in the knees. I've considered cutting them into shorts because it's summer in OZ. Should I? And if so, how short? --Reece
A: Whoa, mate. Rather than make a mistake that might get you on the front page of jorts.com, instead take this opportunity to begin creating some seriously cool, organically destroyed jean pants. Find a tailor with an interest in being less like a seamstress and more like a designer, and show him this picture (here is a super-big version). Get him to put the patch behind the hole and damn-near embroider on the top with a high-contrast, heavy-weight thread. Then get to work making some new holes.
(Jeans pictured owned by: Carl Chiara. Design director, Levi's Capital E and Red Collections.)
Q: Are you ever going to touch on the atrocity of wearing flip-flops and jeans together? Your silence suggests it is still appropriate attire as you pontificate pearls of bastardly fashion from your cozy West Hollywood cyber-cafe. --Larry
A: Woah, Lar. There's actually a bit of a chill this morning on the terraced patio here at Urth Caffe on Melrose, warmed only slightly by an organic dolce espresso and the sight of Meg Ryan. Anyhow, we're from a small farming community in the middle of Wisconsin, and we say flip-flops and jeans are fine, but only if you've had a pedicure in the last 21 days.
Q: I have a couple of pairs of jeans that are both a bit too long. Wondering what your thoughts and advice is for bringing jeans to the tailor? --Julius
A: It's a fact of life, superior jeans tend to be sized for folks with superior genes. Nothing too wide in the waist department, and typically with a 32-inch or 34-inch inseam. If your own legs don't measure up to that standard, you have two options. 1) Walk around as if your cuffs are trying to harbor your fugitive feet. 2) Take your jeans to a tailor. The latter is certainly OK.
Q: I'm prone to rocking the Canadian tuxedo more than most, but I've always been under the impression that the key was pairing a washed out jacket with new, crisp jeans, or vice versa OR just rocking them with different colors altogether. But lately I've been told that the denim should match as closely as possible. I think this looks like a boiler suit, or maybe a denim onesie. What's your opinion? --Robert
A: First, we should note that funny questions always move to the front of the line. Second, we're not opposed to you "rocking" the Canadian tuxedo, but know that the degree of difficulty is extremely high. For every Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain there are 100 Neil Diamonds on the album cover for "Hot August Night." (And yes we know we just recommended a gay cowboy over a vintage Jewish mega-stud, but fashion's fashion.)
Upon returning to Alaska after last November's defeat, Sarah Palin was criticized for not boning up on policy and generally just not bothering to learn stuff, like how many stars are on the American flag. Well those critics are wrong! Case in point: When you have a case of mom-ass (inset) that can't be handled with the right pair of denim, best just cover it up with a jacket, as she demonstrated yesterday at the annual Governor's Picnic in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Earlier this year we mocked 44's first pitch wardrobe as "soccer dad jeans and space-age running shoes." Months later, things have not improved, and probably even taken a turn for the worse as he's added white socks and a girlish early release point.
Q: Help me settle an argument: If you tuck in your shirt while wearing jeans should you wear a belt? My position is that you should always wear a belt when you tuck something in. --Eric
A: We hope you don't have too large of a wager, because it's certainly OK to forego the belt with jeans when you tuck. 9 out of 10 times we'll wear a belt for either accessorization or pant-holding-up purposes (actual function). However with the right denim or right shirt, feel free to leave the belt in your closet.
Q: I read your article about shorts at night and wanted present a more specific scenario. You said, "Wearing shorts after dark is strictly for college boys and parking valets." However, I live on an island (Galveston, TX) where local culture seems to allow shorts at any time and nearly any place. Would shorts after dark be MB-approved in this situation? --Justin
A: Sure, you can wear shorts after dark in Galveston, but only if you're planning to make an appearance on COPS. If you are, we also recommend ditching your shirt and your teeth too, to complete the outfit. If a COPS cameo is not in the cards, get to know lightweight denim like this AG version; they will change the way you think about jeans. Just don't pair with those boots.
It's May Day, which means it's time to break out the white jeans (even if at our Pulaski, WI offices it's barely 60 degrees). We've had a few and we always come back to the Adriano Goldschmied version in the "Protege" fit. They're worn in this early MB header photo. Women's legs draped over yours not included, but highly recommended nevertheless.
If you're shopping at the (Your Favorite Team) Pro Shop or mlb.com, being a stylish baseball fan is about as difficult as hitting a Roger Clemens fastball when he was tricked out on the juice. Bring your own heat this spring with an updated look that will separate you from the crowd. And above all, leave the glove in the trunk.
Kevin Federline nearly sent the trilby to the big hat rack in the sky. With K-Fed's welcome fade from the public eye and careful rehabilitation from the likes of Brad Pitt, the trilby is back, and Modern Amusement's version will announce your presence with authority. Especially since everyone else is wearing a baseball cap, and a few of them are even backwards. Modern Amusement "Take It Easy" Trilby, $58
Jersey - Top
Major league baseball players get paid millions of dollars to wear polyester. Unless you're under contract for 5 years, $35 million, skip the oversized faux jersey with sleeves down to the elbows. You go to the gym for a reason. Display the results of your hard work with these cotton t-shirt versions from Red Jacket inspired by the time before the designated hitter. Red Jacket "Remote Control" Jersey, $45
Jersey - Bottoms
No fake holes, no whiskering, no fading, no obnoxious design on the rear pocket (none at all, in fact. See our chart.). This is denim with a capital D: straight-leg selvage in a dark wash. Versatile, too, like a utility infielder: they work at the ball game and the club later in the evening. Citizens of Humanity selvage jeans in Virgin wash, $229
Baseball is America's pastime, and Converse is America's shoe, on par with other really American-y things like hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevro... ah, nevermind. Complete the retro-cool look with this garment-dyed twist on a classic. Leave the space-age running shoes for the 10K benefit, and the white New Balance cross-trainers for inside the house. Converse Jack Purcell shoes, John Varvatos Limited Edition, $110.
Q: I'm a 52 year old woman, 5' 2", my build is medium (not skinny, not chubby) kind of average. However, for awhile, my butt has been going south and I can't do anything else about it besides lots of lunges. What would you suggest is the best jean to lift up the derriere. --Mireya
A: Mireya, don't you just wish you could put that droopy ass up in a ponytail? No doubt everyone would benefit if you and other women in your situation could have an occasional bad ass day. Whip that thing up there and forget about it! Alas, since slinging ass isn't part of our current reality, you're smart to realize you can build a better butt with the right pair of denim.
Start with MB-endorsed Hudson. Signature back pockets (pictured) give the illusion of that desirable apple roundness. They're cut a bit higher in the waist as well (deliberately showing ass crack is so Last Year). This is also advantageous if you've got anything cookin' in the muffin top department.
Another brand worth investigating is Fidelity. You'll likely catch a few compliments with these; again the secret is those back pockets. Yeah, they're a little spendy, but consider it an investment in your bottom line. All it takes is one pair and Boom!, it's like a bailout for that junk in your trunk.
Here are five things you need once the snow melts, and you have about $2K burning a hole in your pocket:
1. Khaki Trench
The khaki trench doesn't just protect you from the elements, when left unbuttoned all that fabric can create the illusion of a man of action, intrigue, and dramatic flair, even if you work in a cubicle. And it goes with everything (except, of course, khakis). To avoid looking like Inspector Clouseau, choose one without a belt and all those cluttering loops, like this Tiger of Sweden version.
2. Lightweight Cashmere V-Neck Sweater
The average April temperature at our Pulaski, Wisconsin offices is just 48 degrees, so this Lono Piana sweater is practically a necessity. No matter where you live, toss it over a rumpled, washed white shirt with denim, or under a blazer and you're suddenly oozing casual elegance.
3. White Pants
Conventional wisdom holds that unless you're a rock star or live in South Beach, white pants are strictly a Memorial Day to Labor Day thing. As we've said before, baloney. By the time your favorite team has gone through a couple of pitching rotations, you can start rotating in white pants. This season, Gucci's 5-pocket denim are especially inspired, and at $595 they better be.
4. Gingham Shirt
Nothing signals longer days, warmer weather, and bugs quite like a gingham shirt. Fear not, this ain't your granddad's Sunday brunch gingham shirt. It's a classic interpreted with a couple of twists by Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana.
5. Walking Umbrella
So you're rocking a few of the items above and it starts to rain. Don't veer toolbag with one of those $5.99 popups or a contrast-panel Titleist better suited for a shower on the 15th green. Paul Smith has you covered much more stylishly with his signature stripe trimmed, chestnut-handled version.
Q: My boyfriend loves your site and I enjoy it too so I told my dad to check it out because he takes pride in his appearance and has a sense of humor...well when he looked up what kind of jeans he should wear you told him diapers. Not cool! --Carrie
A: Not just any ol' diapers, Carrie! Depends®! Of course 60 year-olds can wear denim. Just have your pop avoid anything with a design on the back pocket, in a weird wash, or too high or low-rise. For easy and affordable, J. Crew or Banana will work. If he's feeling up to it, have him take a look at our favorite: AG. Finally, get your old man's sense of humor in for a tune-up.
A: We don't believe in following the latest fad to emerge from some blog photographing some guy on a street in NYC. Anyhow, $100 says this look is actually unaffected and the result of his jeans being too skinny to go over his goddamn boots. Christ. Yet another unsightly byproduct of the skinny trend.
Q: I live in a total flannel shirt and NASCAR baseball hat state but consider myself a MB. Going back to your article "The Tyranny of the Untucked Sport Shirt", there sems to be a little lack of clarification. Is it OK to tuck in the sport shirt when wearing jeans? As a 32 year old guy, I don't want to exude that older, dad look. Please advise. --Evan in Maine.
Joe Wurzelbacher, also known as "Joe the Plumber," has hired a publicist and may run for Congress, but he's already got a full-time job as the anti-MB. Yesterday in Defiance, OH: inarticulateness, shirt-sleeve legibility, and tapered jeans with cowboy boots.
Q: As an early 40's MB whose M has slipped a bit, what do you recommend as the basic wardrobe essentials for bring it back? --RG
A: As a one-time true MB, your perceived slippage probably has less to do with wardrobe selection than it does with hair loss, weight gain, or your wife going to pot. Instead of having an affair, try two far less expensive options:
Denim: We see far too many aging men wind up in "Dad Jeans" (top) -- aka "Jerry Seinfeld Jeans" (bottom). Get into a good pair of denim; something that's not Levi's tapered high-rise.
Footwear: Something else we see far too much of: white New Balance running shoes. These have become the Hush Puppies of aging Gen-Xers. Along with your new jeans, try a pair of Campers, or Adidas Originals, or anything from Puma's Alexander McQueen collection, and start getting your M back.
Q: Whenever I dress in a t-shirt and jeans I always look so plain. What are some ways I can look more magnificent, other than things like sunglasses and v-necks? --John
A: Well, you can call it plain. With the just the right denim and just the right t-shirt, combined with thoughtful accessorization (yes, beyond sunglasses) or footwear, we call this The Uniform.
But don't just take our word for it. Victoria Beckham, up-and-coming designer and former Posh Spice, in the October issue of Details magazine, documents her 10 Rules of Style. Her #1 rule is something we heartily endorse:
Style isn't about money. One of the nicest outfits on a man is pair of jeans, some old, messed-up boots, a simple white tee, and a vintage leather belt. You don't have to spend a lot. It's about mixing and matching and getting things that fit properly.
We'll try to demonstrate this visually in future editions.
The Wall Street Journal isn't known for its style coverage, and rightfully so. Yesterday's piece on "How to Pull Off 'CEO Casual'" highlighted Trevor Kaufman, chief executive of digital-branding agency Schematic. He might be pardoned for watching Mad Men "with zeal," but wearing no-iron cotton Brooks Brothers dress shirts and pressing his Levi's 501s turns the MB aesthetic of artful dishevelment right on its head. Squatting on desktops is also off-MB-brand.
So what do you think of Apple founder Steve Jobs' sense of style? These days, he almost always wears the same outfit in public, consisting of: 1) black mock turtleneck; 2) jeans; 3) white or grey New Balance sneakers; and 4) iPhone. Is it just me, or does this technological visionary dress like a toolbag? --Evan
A: We haven't specifically addressed Jobs' particular sense of "style," but your sense of the MB ethos is strong, Evan.
Conventional wisdom holds that unless you're a rock star or live in South Beach, white pants are strictly a Memorial Day to Labor Day thing. That's baloney. May Day -- i.e. today -- is the official opening of white pants season, and it runs into October (see earlier post on the matter). If you're looking for a pair, we recommend something with an attractive woman's long, lean stem draped on top. May cost extra.
Q: I am an aspiring MB. I do my best to adhere to your teachings. I ran into some trouble the other day while shopping for a new pair of jeans. I was at Nordstrom, going from section to section looking for a good pair, I inquired with the clerk what jeans would work best for my build (tall slim). The problem came when I realized I didn't like any of the jeans. Every pair was distressed and creased, they looked like they had all been pulled form fire at the Levi's factory. Now mind you I don't mind a little fad to the color, or even a tasteful fringe. But I feel like designers are just going overboard with this distressed thing. I feel like it's gone the way of the skull. (I figure if you see Hulk Hogan in it, it is non-MB) Anyway I left the store without buying anything. I settled on nice pair of slightly faded black Von Dutch. What is the MB stance on distressed? Is it done? --Cooper
A: Well, it's not done according to AG, who's selling a "25 Year" jean for $325. We've never been a fan of distressed because it's unauthentic, like fake boobs. Wear your favorite pair of AGs for a few years and they'll be distressed, and real.
Q: I often wear jeans and find myself puzzled. What do I, a MB in training, wear on thy feet? Are Nike Dunks acceptable? --Joshua
A: Sure, Nike Dunks are acceptable (top), as long as they're all white. If you truly want to be MB, however, go for the white New Balance 652s, with ABZORB shock absorption technology in the heel and toe. And don't forget to match with white sport socks!
Q: I'm 50, in great shape, confident, straight, single and I like to wear designer denim, typically bootcut and not overstressed or treated, usually a nice pair of AGs, PPD, Levis, and for Friday nights, my favorite Rock & Republics. I have the waist and the torso to wear them semi-low cut (not too much), and want to ask the forum - is it acceptable that a man in his 50's wear these type of jeans. I feel great in them all be it some are tight in the thighs, I think most women (those on the prowl) like them and I feel sexy when I wear them. So, guys, tell me...what do you think and by the way, what do you wear? Oh yes, I can suit up also and do Mon-Fri. —Rick
A: Rick, we've covered this before, and you're not too far off. We recommend ditching the R&Rs and sticking with the AGs, even on Friday nights.
If we plot these Evisu jeans on the wildly popular Magnificent Bastard Jeans Chart (which suggests appropriate wearing ages based on the amount of shit on the back pocket), this pair is targeted towards toddlers.
Regular readers know we're really high on Adriano Goldschmied jeans for men. As much as they may make dudes' asses magically look good, they make the female form look even better, as witnessed by his four new wide-leg styles. Girls, if ya'll 'r readin' this, get into a pair of these.
Q: The rules of what constitutes cool in the jeans world is really too much for a man to keep track of. What cut? What wash? Dark? Plain? Bootcut? Stovepipe? Design on the pocket? Seven? Joes? Lucky? And then there is the question of age. Cool jeans should be different for the man of 38 than cool jeans for the man of 21. WTF? —David
A: Jeans are a lot like women. Some guys like blondes, some like brunettes, a few like redheads. Some like 'em skinny, some like a little meat on the bones. Some like big breasts, some like 'em a little smaller, some like 'em about the size of fully ripe Braeburn appl- ... anyhow, you get the idea. Point is, there are no hard-and-fast "cool" rules with regard to cut and wash (but always remember to play to your strengths).
About the second part of your question: Definitely nothing looks more ridiculous than a 40 year-old guy in a pair of Evisu jeans. Please consult the following age-jeans chart for guidance:
We're perpetually perplexed by the apparent success of
True Religion jeans for men. Where do they get off charging $282 for their denim?
True Religion works great on select women, and men with significant amounts of extra chub, but if you work at staying in shape, why would you ever consider hiding a potentially winning asset behind long, deep pockets with flaps and large shiny buttons? You wouldn't.
This brand is headed post-peak. Avoid, even if on sale.
Q: White jeans? Alright for a straight man to wear? If so, is there a specific time of the year they are acceptable? —Mike Stevens
A: Short answers: Yes. Of course. Not really.
We don't know where the notion that only gay men can wear white jeans came from, but we don't like it one bit. They're a required item in any Magnificent Bastard's closet. White jeans, a cool tee or polo, and non-plastic sandals or flip-flops ... that's winning no matter if MB prefers dudes or chicks.
Regarding timing, old school says Memorial Day to Labor Day. In this case, old school is wrong. It takes a certain degree of confidence and "I don't care what anyone thinks" mentality (MBs have both of these in spades), but even if you're not a rock-n-roller you can wear white jeans to a May Day parade and to the final regular season MLB baseball game. Check your favorite team's schedule.
It's true. We're not sure what kind of magic Adriano Goldschmied works, but even if you're not working out to the "Buns of Steel" DVD, his jeans make your ass look way better than it really is. Available at discount at Costco, and deep discount at the Bergdorf Goodman summer '07 blowout.
Rusty Gets Nailed
An MB-updated version of the Rusty Nail (3 oz scotch / 1 oz Drambuie).
a healthy dose of a single malt scotch (The Macallan)
splash of Drambuie
Serve on the rocks with a lemon twist. An hour later roll yourself into bed (not necessarily alone).