Q: Greetings from Helsinki, Finland, and congratulations to you and the American people for the successful Nasa/Space X Beta-2 mission. It was an impressive show. It's a shame that the outfits were such a distraction. ISS commander Cassidy in cargo shorts and white socks. Your take? —JF
Yes, even in 2001: A Space Odyssey — Stanley Kubrick's disturbing vision of space travel — he never imagined anything as dark as astronauts in knee-length cargo shorts.
As recently as May Corey Lewandowski sported a sort-of-normally-sized flag pin. Yesterday in front of Congress he literally doubled down, and this new pin's weight is affecting his posture and spine angle. Ease up on the patriotism, Cory! Your health depends on it!
Like most people who don't live in Oregon — and probably most who do — we don't pay a lot of attention to Oregon politics. But Brian Boquist, the Republican state senator who recently persuaded 11 of his GOP colleagues to desert their home state and go underground in Idaho to avoid voting on a climate change bill, has caught our eye.
Boquist's behavior is simply unconscionable — and of course we're talking about his alarming allegiance to mock turtlenecks.
Obviously, Mr. Boquist is a bad legislator and a bad human being. But what does it say about our own humanity if we don't intervene in such an extreme case? Must one see eye-to-eye on everything — or anything — to be the beneficiary of sound menswear advice? Maybe if Mr. Boquist didn't look like such a toolbag all the time he wouldn't act like such a toolbag all the time. If there's anything we still believe in strongly after all these years, it's that clothes make the man.
And let's face it. When co2 levels cross the 450 ppm threshold, even Mr. Woods is going to have to ditch his mock on those really hot January nights.
Thus, in an act of mercy and bi-partTIEsanship, we are reaching out to Mr. Boquist and offering him a lifetime supply of ties. All he has to do is supply the shirts, vote when he's supposed to vote, and not threaten any state troopers.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Q: Hi MB, your summer might be over but sunlight never spares me here in Singapore. I am looking for sunglasses for cycling to work. Any suggestions? —Davin
A: We're big fans of Grant Petersen's Just Ride manifesto, which strongly objects to the ubiquitous spandex-infused cycling costume and instead favors "normal" clothing (even woven shirts!) for riding a bicycle*.
While he doesn't specifically address eyewear, we're adding a Just Ride corollary we're sure Petersen would approve of: no matter how long the ride, never wear cycling-specifictoolbagsunglasses.
Now that you're perhaps in the market for a pair of regular sunglasses, our all-time favorites are the Allyn Scura Angelo in Light Havana with bottle green lenses. They're simultaneously retro and modern, and work wonderfully for commuting rides, long rides, daydrinking, sitting around, whatever. Highly recommended.
Q: It's been awhile since you guys have talked about classic black shoes to go with any classic suit. Do you guys still subscribe to the semi-rounded Kenneth Cole oxford, or has a decade brought the square toe back? —Jordan
A: As you imply, it's been nearly a decade since we last addressed this issue. Specifically, in 2008 we created a Shoe Toe Pointiness Chart. While the shoes we were wearing then are long gone, the advice we dispensed remains sound. Indeed, whenever we are moved to produce a chart, it's usually because we are expressing a law that is based in some timeless geometric or mathematical principle of style. Just as gravity persists, so does the aesthetic appeal of a semi-rounded shoe.
Now to the second half of your question: Just because we're right about the correct shape of an oxford doesn't mean society always shares our opinion. And square-toed shoes have been so out of favor, so long, that in an era that celebrates nostalgic reappropriation and contrarianism, they seem like a shoe-in for a renaissance. And yet we still suspect the odds of that happening are only slightly higher than Tiger Woods winning another major anytime soon.
Kenneth Cole's "Bro-Tenial Leather Oxford"
Why? Frankly, we can't recall exactly why square-toed oxfords had their moment in the 1990s in the first place, but our off-the-cuff hypothesis is that their gimmicky novelty was the source of their appeal. Most shoes
were rounded or pointed — so square-toed shoes, and by extension, their wearers — were mavericks! Rebels, Macarena-ing to the beat of a different drummer.
But here's the thing: Who wants to present himself as a guy who thinks his best strategy involves steering as much attention as he can to his feet?
Even Kenneth Cole, who pioneered the square-toed vogue, eventually abandoned ship. His site currently shows 280 shoe styles, and only about six — or 2% — qualify as square-toed. And even they are mostly denatured and relatively streamlined descendents of the ubiquitous right-angled clunkers of Cole's heyday, the New York Oxford. Perhaps the one exception is Cole's "Bro-Tential Leather Oxford," which is exactly as awful as its name warns and unsurprisingly marked down from $118 to $79.
Q: I'm a big fan of the site and your store. Keep up the good work.
I would like to hear your thoughts on Trump's cartoonishly-long ties, especially at the inauguration. This is somewhat common for him although he's not consistent, as he will often wear them at an appropriate length. Given his obsession with his image, what messages is he trying to convey with the stupidly long ties? You wrote about this back in 2011 and it'd be great to have an updated analysis. Thanks. —Andrew
A: Back in 2011 we chalked Trump's excessive tie length up to an attempt to look boyish, like a kid trying on his father's suit.
Now that he's 70, and his face looks like an older, oranger slab of ancient Moab slickrock, we're pivoting from that analysis towards an explanation that's far simpler: obesity.
As Donald Trump loses the battle with his own personal borders and grows squarer and squarer, his long red tie must bear the increasingly heavy burden of creating an illusion of verticality. Note how a tie tied to MB-recommended lengths makes him look even wider.
While Trump's "tiet" is a visually sound tactic, it's risky from an engineering perspective: Trump's ties are now so long they're architecturally precarious.
To increase the load-bearing capacity of his neckwear, Trump uses Scotch tape as a kind of sartorial rebar. But how long before such stopgap measures end in catastrophe? President Trump, your ridiculously long ties need stronger reinforcement. It's time to put some of your beloved steelworkers back to work!
This award goes to Henrik Stenson, Champion Golfer of the Year, who discarded his toolbag long-sleeve Hugo Boss synthetic mock turtleneck underwear on the 17th tee, just in time to hoist the Claret Jug in a polo. It's the best sartorial move in the 145-year history of the tournament. Well done Henrik.
Q: Want to get your expert opinion on a blazer I'm looking at for a summer wedding in a few days. It's between this Vineyard Vines version (I would not go as preppy as the guy in the picture), this one from Golden Goose, and finally this one from MM by Mariomatteo. What you say, o' Fashionistas? —Jamie
A: Let's break these down using a modified PMI Chart.
The swallows have returned to Capistrano. The Twins are already thinking about next year. And we've made a new batch of ties. Ah, spring! This time around, we've got five new additions to the MB catalog, all made from fabrics produced by a mill in Biella, Italy, then meticulously cut and hand-stitched into the ties you see here in a factory in Queens.
Normally, our ties retail for $60. But these are not normal times. Come January, there's a not-insignificant chance that Donald Trump and his Toolbag Militia, which now includes everyone from Bobby Night to Gavin McInnes, will occupy the White House. We admit how wrong we were on this one. Five years ago we thought there was no chance in hell that Trump could credibly contend for the highest office in the land.
But while Trump claims his goal is to make America great again, his track record suggests otherwise, at least when it comes to neckwear. For years, Trump has made shiny corporate ball-ticklers in Chinese factories and fed them to hapless toolbags at approximately $60 a piece.
His alleged rationale: He can't find American manufacturers who can deliver this product at competitive prices.
We don't know if we just got lucky, or if we have great instincts, but it wasn't that hard to find this company. The price they charge allows us to sell our ties at the same prices Donald Trump sells his. And we use fabrics produced in Italy, not China.
Now, granted, Trump sold his ties through retail channels, and we sell ours directly to you. But so could he. If he really wanted to support American businesses and offer good value to American consumers — to make America great again — he could do it. But he hasn't, even though it's incredibly easy to do.
Why not? The only rational conclusion is that Donald Trump loves ugly 100 percent Chinese ties. Just look at his neck, right now, wherever he is — that's all the proof you need.
Our prediction? If Trump is elected president, he will push for a new era of tie control, with regulation that protects his own long-standing business interests by favoring cheap Chinese imports over American-made ties like our own.
Now, in other words, is the time to buy stylish, American-made neckwear. Because when 2017 rolls around, the Toolbag Militia will probably be breaking down doors and confiscating any tie that is not shiny enough to serve as a ribbon on a four-year-old girl's birthday present.
We're not waiting until then to start a resistance movement. We believe it is our duty as Americans to resurrect our Anyone But Trump sale from last summer. What we said then, we say now: Just to prove that good old American know-how and entrepreneurism can still compete with Chinese tie sweatshops equipped with color-blind slave robots, we are offering the following deal, now through July 15 (or until supplies run out): Two Made in USA ties for $60. 4 for $120. 8 for $240. Shipping included. This includes all of our Spring 2016 ties, and every other tie we currently have in inventory. Just be sure to use the code ANYONEBUTTRUMP when ordering. Show your patriotism, and buy now!
Q: Big fan of your posts. I love your products too. The Emperor's Tourniquet is the best tie in my closet for sure.
So, I hit the gym pretty regularly, it's not as classy as JFK and sailing, but then not all of us own boats and horses.
The appalling apparel worn by most men to the gym makes me nauseous (baggy shorts and low cut tank tops - the ones that have armpit holes which show the entire torso). Anyway what are your recommendations for gym clothing and shoes that are acceptably MB and yet functional enough (sweat wicking)?Against my initial apprehensions I am considering some of the men's gear from lululemon - what are your thoughts on the clothing on their website?
A: Good question. At Complex.com, they advise that "wearing gym clothes out in public" is a major mistake. We take that philosophy a step further. Or maybe even a dumbbell lunge further: Wearing gym clothes in the gym is usually a mistake too.
What makes a man think that because he's working up a sweat his style gets to take a break?
We're not sure. But what we do know is that many men who would never dream of dressing like a toolbag in the office or a bar find bandana headbands, deep armhole tank tops, and over-the-knee polyester mesh shorts perfectly acceptable as long as they are within 50 feet of an elliptical trainer.
You're showing the right instinct with that lululemon site, at least in terms of its emphasis on dark, solid colors and clothes that fit closely without getting too clingy. But following our foundational principle of organic materials, we look for workout wear made from merino wool, which we aren't seeing there.
Because no one has ever seen a sheep on a treadmill, or even doing anything except standing still on a hillside, people don't necessarily think of wool as being a good material for the gym. But as lazy cyclists have long known, wool wicks well and doesn't stink even after repeated usage.
With shorts, though, we're not as concerned about the materials as we are about some general guidelines. Namely, no stripes and no mesh, and leave any pair that gets within 3 inches of the top of your kneecap to that guy by the weight bench who looks like Guy Fieri's ripped twin.
In the 2016 campaign for the White House, conventional wisdom says the electorate is angry with the establishment, and this explains why a short-fingered vulgarian is on the brink of winning the GOP's nomination for president.
True enough, but the analysis lacks depth. Specifically, what is it about the establishment that has everyone so frosted?
We've been developing a theory over the last several months and now believe we've compiled enough evidence to go public with it.
There's one cultural force that blue-collar Republicans, the Mobile Home Majority, disaffected Democrats, and various other constituencies find even more threatening than Mexican immigrants, Syrian refugees, or even ISIS: the zip mock neck sweater.
Have a look:
While we understand the animus underlying this trend, we fear its consequences. A Trump presidency could potentially turn America into the world's first toolbagocracy. Just look at the notables from whom Trump has already collected official endorsements: John Daly. Jerry Falwell, Jr. Hulk Hogan. Ted Nugent. Dennis Rodman. Willie Robertson. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and the list goes on.
Oh, and just in case you're not already checking real estate prices in New Zealand? Yes, Guy Fieri "could be interested" in a Trump presidency.
America's only hope, as far we see it? Between now and November, somebody's gotta convince Trump to put on zip mock neck sweater.
Q: Why is there no section taking a position on corporate polos? I'm not sure if the MB finds them — particularly the ones made from whatever-unnatural-fiber they're all made from — quite a distasteful as I do. They seem to be a badge of honor amongst many of my co-workers. I, myself, wear jackets to trade shows so that I can cover them up as soon as I leave the trade show floor on the way to the hotel to change shirts. —David
Then, there's the tailoring. Anticipating a market of sedentary cubicle serfs, most corporate polos are designed using a Teletubby rather than an actual person as the fit model, with predictably unflattering results.
A: $30 for a "union printed, American made" t-shirt that's 50 percent polyester? Seems a bit expensive to us. For comparison's sake, Bernie Sanders is offering a 100 percent cotton t-shirt that is "union-made and printed in the USA" for half the price — $15. So we guess we know who UNITE HERE is backing.
We also think that stylish campaign-wear is extremely difficult to pull off. In fact, the only successful effort we can think of off-hand is Ronald Reagan's cheerleading squad from the 1966 California gubernatorial election.
So we're going to pass on the t-shirts for now and just take our chances in November 2016. If worse comes to worst, our bunker is stocked with more than enough Bulleit and Apfelkorn to see us through the Trumpacolypse.
TIME-SAVING BUT LESS ENTERTAINING VERSION: 2 Made in USA ties for $60. 4 for $120. 8 for $240. Shipping included. Use code ANYONEBUTTRUMP at checkout.
We didn't think it was possible for us to think any less of Donald Trump than we already do. Then, he started talking about the economic realities of global menswear manufacturing.
Trump, of course, is a kind of toolbag da Vinci. He makes garish hotels, fussy golf courses, unwatchable TV shows, and generically glitzy menswear. Now that he's stumping for president on a platform of closed borders and trade protectionism, media watchdogs are starting to call him out for his seemingly hypocritical embrace of ill-tailored immigration — most of the clothes that bear his name are made overseas.
A couple weeks ago, investigative tie-wearer Jake Tapper donned a Trump tie for an interview with the candidate. Like most of the shiny corporate ball-ticklers in the Trump line, this tie was made in China.
When Tapper asked him about whether it was hypocritical to complain about losing jobs to China and Mexico while outsourcing the production of his clothing line to such countries, Trump responded that it is "impossible for our companies" to compete with Chinese ones because of how its government manipulates its currency.
Pressing him on the issue, Tapper asked, "What do you say when somebody says why don't you be a leader and make them in Philadelphia? I'd be willing to pay more for this tie..."
In reply, Trump exclaimed, "It's very, very hard to have anything in apparel made in this country." The implication: You just can't find American clothing manufacturers, at any price.
The truth, of course, is that there are plenty of American clothing manufacturers these days. And in many cases, they're not even economically prohibitive.
Take, for example, ties. Tapper encouraged Trump to start up a tie-manufacturing concern in Philadelphia. In reality, Trump wouldn't need to start something from scratch. Nor would he have to go to Philadelphia.
Our Magnificent Bastard ties are made in Queens, New York, which, coincidentally, is also Donald Trump's birthplace.
When we decided we wanted to make ties, we weren't on a quest to find a U.S. production facility or anything like that. We just wanted to find a place that made high-quality ties at prices a small brand like ourselves could afford. And ultimately it wasn't that hard to find such a place — we think we spent a few hours.
No doubt we could find a factory in China or Taiwan that makes ties even cheaper than our supplier does. But the truth is this family-run company in Queens, which has been making ties since 1957, offers very competitive prices. In fact, its prices are so competitive that we are able to offer hand-stitched, natural fabrics ties, including some that come with poetry attached to them, for $60.
That puts us in a place where we're going to have to put our money where our mouth is, so that's what we're doing.
Yes, we're having a sale.
Just to prove that good old American know-how and entrepreneurism can still compete with Chinese tie sweatshops equipped with color-blind slave robots, we are offering the following deal, now through September 1st (or until supplies run out): Two Made in USA ties for $60. 4 for $120. 8 for $240. Shipping included.
With your savings, you could (a) Buy a drink for an illegal immigrant who makes your life better in some way (b) Make a campaign contribution to any other candidate, or (c) Buy more ties from us.
Ultimately, of course, the choice is yours. Just be sure to use the code ANYONEBUTTRUMP when ordering.
Earlier this month, the New York Timespredicted that "retro-chic watches with cases smaller than 40 millimeters" will be, in a medium-sized way, the next big thing. Which, of course, we were pleased to see. As longtime readers know, we are unwavering advocates of the 40mm maximum, observing it more faithfully than we do speed limits, point spreads, and suggested burrito microwave times.
Unfortunately, it's going to take more than a single NYT article to change some hearts and minds. Proving that toolbaggery is a timeless force, impervious to good taste and the vagaries of changing fashion alike,
Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to release a new line of comically oversized wristwatches. Needless to say, skulls will be involved.
For aging bodybuilders whose failing eyesight necessitates a clock-sized face, but whose forearms remain powerful enough to hoist such an oversized load, we can see how these timepieces might be helpful in maintaining a precisely calibrated creatine dosing schedule. But at what cost to overall aesthetics? If you fall into this demographic, we still encourage you to get a smaller watch — your body may wither but your style will flourish. And in the long run, only style stands the true test of time.
If it's true that you should always "dress for the job you want, not the job you have," then we think Senator Ted Cruz (R - TX) just announced his intention to run for Assistant General Manager of a Subway franchise in Salina, Kansas. If we're wrong about this — and even worse, if America is prepared to elect a man who wears a t-shirt under a sport shirt to its highest office — we are heading to Canada and demanding reparations.
The Giants' World Series victory parade through downtown San Francisco was an alarming if not unpredictable display of brute toolbag power. Like a murderer's row of Jersey Shore extras, one player after the next swung for the fences and knocked good taste out of the park.
Luckily, relief finally showed up in the unlikely form of little-used pitcher Tim Lincecum. Though the one-time superstar only saw 1 ⅔ innings of action in the series, during a Game 2 loss to the Royals, his victory parade mechanics were in top form. No team colors? Check. No trash-talking commemorative sweatshirts or visible logos of any kind? Check. Well-tailored shacket paired with an artfully disheveled scarf and what looks to be a cashmere beanie? Check.
Put this guy back in the starting rotation, skip! He's ready to play.
We know the NFL would like to project a less sociopathic image these days. But in our book, wearing two pieces of conspicuously wholesome flair on one appendage constitutes an illegal formation penalty. Seriously, a wedding ring, in the middle of a game? From coin toss to the final tick of the game clock, the only ring any NFL player should be thinking about is a Super Bowl ring. You don't play for the Minnesota Grooms, Mr. Ponder. You play for the Vikings. Five yard penalty!
In solidarity with besieged Ukrainian troops in Crimea, Turchynov is wearing his own uniform, The Michael Lohan, which consists of a black mockneck under a blazer. While we believe that this no way to run a country, we continue to support President Turchynov in his effort to maintain Ukrainian independence in the face of increasing Russian aggression.
Whether you're voting for Tom Barrett or Scott Walker, or abstaining out of principle like us — this is what regular elections are for — one thing all parties can surely agree on is that Scott Walker is a toolbag. Shown to the left at Quad Graphics last Friday sporting not one, but two cause wristbands. (Not pictured: Walker's pleated pants, belt-clipped cell phone, and Crocs.)
Q: So my cheap Target sunglasses finally broke recently, and I'm upgrading to Randolph aviators. In regards to frame style, my instinct screams bayonet, but I've noticed toolbag frames are usually bayonet. For the up-and-coming, detail-driven magnificent bastard, what is your recommendation? —Sky
A: Never ignore a screaming instinct, we always say. They happen to be right a lot.
While we agree that some toolbag frames are bayonet, Randolph Engineering aviators with bayonet temples are worn by two of our all-time favorite fictional characters: Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now (upper left) and Don Draper in Mad Men (upper right), both of whom would certainly qualify as MBs.
As long as you don't shave your head into a mohawk, wear an oversized Army jacket, and plan on assassinating a presidential candidate, you're good.
Q: I'm looking to layer up in London over the winter. What are your feelings on long sleeves under a tshirt? Is there any way I can pull off this kind of layering without looking like a douche/toolbag? —Bradley
A: Layering is a key MB principle, but this look has always seemed backwards to us, like putting underwear over your pants.
Q: Ben Roethlisberger, post game news conference, WTF? —Wade
A: Big Ben clearly has a hat that's Too Tiny, enhancing the size of his already large and increasingly flabby melon, one that has more chins than the number of TDs he threw against Denver on Sunday.
What struck us though, besides the fact that Roethlisberger bothered to wear something besides an untucked sport shirt, is that this is the same outfit he wore to the ESPY awards in July, 2009, 2½ years ago (below). It's true he's a Hall of Fame toolbag, but you'd think a guy who made $12 million this year would not recycle a dated three-piece suit and prepackaged shirt/tie/pocket square combo he probably picked up at TJ Maxx for $19.99.
If you read the Christmas edition of the New York Times — and who didn't even before opening presents? — you saw this article about the growing size of men's wristwatches. Since men can no longer drive Hummers without being subject to public ridicule (plus the fact that the company has been shut down), some are replacing large vehicles with large watches, which is why Tom Cruise wears a U-Boat watch that's 64.4 millimeters in diameter, or as the Times wryly notes, a watch that's the same size as a White Castle slider.
Don't be Tom Cruise. We've regularly repeated our ≤ 40mm rule since this site started in July 2007, and now more than ever you should either adopt or stick to it. Within months, or perhaps even weeks, wearing a 64mm watch will be even more post-peak than Jersey Shore.
Yesterday Lindsay Lohan's estranged father Michael Lohan was charged with four misdemeanors as part of his two most recent arrests — 1.) domestic violence, 2.) violation of a domestic injunction, 3.) resisting arrest without violence (in an inept attempt to flee from police), and 4.) violating a condition of pretrial release — yet avoided criminal prosecution for what we believe to be the the ultimate toolbag getup (pictured) outside of the OT.
Well, we looked it up, and, no, there's no such penalty as "Unnecessary Toolbaggery." But if there were, Ford Field would have been adorned with more flags than a Tea Party rally at the end of Lions-Niners game on Sunday.
No doubt you've seen the replay already — after the resurrected 49ers handed the Lions their first defeat of the season, Coach Jim Harbaugh, pulled his shirt up to show (a) he wasn't packing any heat and (b) he has been packing on the pounds. That was good for Flag 1. Then, he tried to execute a chest-bump with one of his players. This alone would have been good for Flag 2, but he compounded the toolbaggery by failing to break contact with the ground — that's Flag 3 — and failing to make contact on the chest-bump — that's Flag 4.
Then, instead of giving Lions coach Jim Schwartz a traditional post-game handshake — which requires coming to a complete halt, looking one's opponent in the eye, and giving him a solemn, almost funereal shake — he treated Schwartz like a fan standing between him and the post-game buffet and simply gave him a rolling shake and a hearty back slap. That was Flag 5.
At that point, Schwartz took over, chasing down Harbaugh and staring him down without actually looking at him — Flag 6 (pictured). Then, when some space opens up between him and Harbaugh and he no longer has a real shot at him, he gets really angry and starts trying to go at him again, except that somehow he cannot make the proper turn upfield and just keeps heading for the locker room, as if he were wearing bowling shoes instead of cleats. Do we have any flags left? If we do, that gets one too.
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.
If we ever get around to writing The Magnificent Bastard Guide to Life, one of our foundational pieces of advice will read something like this:
It's easiest to take the high road when you're winning, so always take the high road when you're winning. That way, when you're faced with taking the high road in more challenging scenarios — and you should always take the high road — you'll have some experience to fall back on.
Surely, Steve Williams, Tiger Woods' caddie for 13 years and 13 major championships, could have used this advice on Sunday. After his new boss, 31-year-old Aussie Adam Scott, won at Firestone this weekend, Williams had this to say to CBS's David Feherty: "I've been caddying for 33 years and that's the best week of my life ... and I'm not joking ... honestly that's the best week of my life; I've caddied for 33 years, 145 wins now, and that's the best win I've ever had."
Now, it may be that Tiger Woods is such an awful person to work for that what Williams said was true: Winning the Bridgestone Invitational was actually better than winning the 2005 Masters (who can forget the chip-in on 16?), or the 2008 U.S. Open (possibly Woods' last major). But why shift attention away from your new boss on his big day, just to send out a subtle fuck-you to your old boss? Especially if it truly is the best week of your life? If you still have room for petty grievances in the best week of your life, then it's not the best week of your life.
Q: What kind of motorcycle is that in your header? And why does he look upset that the girl is riding it in the apartment? She could bring it to my living room anytime. —Joe
A: The bike is a 1964 Honda Dream. As for the guy, he's not upset, just surprised. But we can see where you might be confused, especially if you haven't been following the pictorial narrative we've created to illustrate the service offered by our current masthead sponsor LKc Style.
In the first image of the sequence, we showed a troubled toolbag telling his
story of sartorial woe to his wardrobe therapist. In the current one, she's arriving from a shopping expedition to present him with clothing options that better reflect how he'd like to present himself to the world. He's surprised because she has returned so quickly, and because she has somehow managed to drive a cherry red 1964 Honda into his third-floor loft, even though his building only has stairs.
In other words, it's kind of Bergmanesque — allusive, visually striking, hard to follow.
There's more to come, though, so stay tuned. And be sure to check out LKc Style. We can't promise she'll arrive on a vintage sport bike, but we do think her introductory offer for MB readers is a pretty good deal.
Nothing tests the Magnificent Bastard principle of understatement more than holidays. Halloween is the worst, followed closely by the 4th of July. Red, white, and blue are great colors for Ol' Glory and beer cans, but unless you're a superhero, too much red, white, and blue in your wardrobe at any one time can make you look like you're hitting the bricks to shill your local tax return service. If you're looking for a role model, choose Founding Father Thomas Jefferson over Uncle Sam — subtlety trumps bombast every time.
Of course, on a day when bombs — or at least their Las Vegas cousins, Class 1.1G fireworks — are bursting in air, subtlety's a relative concept and some red, white and blue in your wardrobe is completely appropriate. With that mind, here are 5 ways to show your patriotism without looking like Yankee Doodle Toolbag on the 4th of July.
Block Headwear makes our favorite hats. Salute the spirit of Betsy Ross by hiring a seamstress to create a new temporary hatband for you using 67 cents worth of grosgrain ribbon from M&J Trimming. Get the 7/8" size.
It's become popular in recent years to bash the French, but while America was fighting for its independence, the French gave us the spirit of Enlightment that would later inform our Constitution, military support, and, we're guessing, some pretty good pastries. Show your gratitude with this Moncler track jacket.
FINAL WORD OF ADVICE: Choose only one of these items and leave it at that. Except for the beer koozie. That goes with everything.
Why is it every digital disrupter since Bill Gates and Steve Jobs dresses exactly like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs? We get it, high-tech billionaires. You're too busy innovating to waste any brain cycles on tucking in your shirts. You're so rich and powerful you have absolutely no need to dress to impress. But, honestly, would it kill you to give your cellphone holsters a day off on occasion? And maybe take a gander at Gilt.com while your flunkies are bludgeoning you with PowerPoint presentations? You're the economic leaders of the 21st century and you are not inspiring confidence.
Larry Page, Google
Never wear a shirt that employed more graphic designers than your home page did.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook
Facebook Beacon was actually only Zuckerberg’s second worst invention. His first? Business Fleece.
Dick Costolo, Twitter
This shirt is so over capacity in the arms and torso it could fit the #failwhale
Andrew Mason, Groupon
Mason models the answer to the question: Is there anything on the planet so worthless even Groupon can't unload a few thousand SKUs of it at 90 percent off?
Tim Cook, Apple
Stylistically, Steve Jobs left some very tiny shoes to fill at Apple. But Cook's baggy "Reverse Hansbrough" is barely an upgrade to Jobs' perennial toolbag trifecta of Dad jeans, turtlemock, and New Balance 992s.
After the producers of his TV show officially fired Charlie Sheen, the supernatural sitcom star said the most sensible thing he's uttered in months, possibly years: "I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension."
Turns out that while Sheen may have despised his Two and a Half Men wardrobe as much as the rest of the sighted world, he also endorses and even helped design a clothing line -- the Charlie Sheen Signature Series by DaVinci -- that markets these two-toned, polyester-blend torpedos of retinal destruction.
What good is having tiger blood and Adonis DNA if you cover it up all in Herculean toolbaggery that looks like the official jersey of the Las Vegas Blackjack Dealers Association bowling league?
Only a next-level genius like Sheen can answer that question. What really worries us, though, is that when DaVinci launched Sheen's Signature Series in 2009, the renaissance madman said he planned to expand the line beyond shirts in the future.
Now, he's got the time to do it. And since his first clothing venture, Sheen Kidz*, a "couture-quality" line of clothing for little girls who aspire to dress like the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, went belly up a couple years ago, we figure he'll be channeling all his clothing design energy into his DaVinci line. We bet Tom Arnold is clearing up some space in his pants closet at this very moment.
* Note the use of "z" in "kidz," to make satin-accented couture-wear for four-year-old girls seem more street. Winning!
When it's a little chilly on the first tee, we recommend a white cotton turtleneck. When it's downright cold, a cashmere version like this flannel grey Harrison* (on deep discount) should do the trick. When it's snowing, as it was at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson this weekend, we suggest you book a flight to somewhere where it's not snowing and play there. (There are plenty of nice courses in Maui, where it shouldn't start snowing until at least 2013.)
Whatever you do, though, never wear what Martin Kaymer, the world's newly crowned top-ranked player, was wearing this weekend. On Sunday's broadcast, we learned the hideous scarf-like accessory assaulting his neck is a UV Fishing Buff by artist and retired Florida Keys fishing guide Vaughn Cochran.
The UV Fishing Buff is made from Coolmax Extreme fabric and features a black fly fishing lure pattern that we're pretty sure is guaranteed to actually repel oysters and mollusks, not to mention creatures with actual eyes. The only time to wear such a thing is if you're skippering the S.S. Toolbag. Never ever wear one a golf course.
* Harrison's quality is as variable as Bubba Watson's golf swing. Some of their sweaters are our favorites; others barely make the Vietnam Veterans clothing donation bin. Inspect carefully before committing.
You know the sort of conspicuous consumption that involves dining on tiny $95 portions of Il St. Canut suckling pig with hedgehog mushrooms and celery root? We're all for it. But when you devour that suckling pig like a barnyard hog snorting up a pile of grain, that's the sort of conspicuous consumption that's a little too conspicuous. If you're not a celebrity and everyone in the restaurant's still staring at you when you eat, you are probably following our handy little guide a little too rigorously. We present: Top 7 Ways to Eat Like a Total Toolbag.
Yesterday Bubba Watson won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. He has a driver with a hot pink shaft and buttons his polo shirts like he should be wearing a tie (note the N-2 rule), but give the man credit for recognizing the value of wearing a visor when one has a full head of long hair. This look (bottom) is at arfully disheveled as his golf swing.
Q: So MB - I was at an NBA game on Friday night and there were several MB-looking types wearing patterned driving caps. I've always thought of this as my grandpa's hat, wondering what your thoughts are. --Jennifer
A: We charted the style curve rise and fall of driving/newsboy/ivy caps back in early 2008 and declared the trend dead when Cuba Gooding Jr. showed up at the 10,000 B.C. premiere wearing one (plus flashing hand signs). Now that Gooding Jr. has gone missing, co-starring with Val Kilmer and Christian Slater in straight-to-DVD flicks, and iconic toolbag and the frequent ivy cap-wearing Tony Romo is on injured reserve, this headwear style can now emerge from rehab. In fact, as the NFL season hits the increasingly chilly home stretch, we would not be surprised to see Tom Brady sporting a newsboy for one of his ridiculously stylish post-game press conferences.
Listen, dawg. You're probably hitting the gym, doing your tanning, and picking up fresh laundry every day. And maybe you've had some success beating up the beat and creeping on chicks in the club. But do you really think your situation is where it needs to be? Be honest with yourself, bro.
This book here will take your game to a level thought unattainable, given your physical limitations (because we can't all look like Rambo, pretty much, with our shirt off). We start with GTL-the bedrock of life itself. And then we hit the GTL Remix-the rules for getting your personal grooming did. From there it's my guide to the Jersey Shore, battle plans for the club, a primer on grenades and wingmen, and tips for ridding yourself of all levels of clinger. Then I look at the big picture: how to cook the perfect lasagna, how to find a life partner, and how to deal with being one of the most famous people on the planet-which is guaranteed if you follow my advice.
This is the bible for Situation Nation. Read it, live it, and crush it.
UPDATE: Reader Dan astutely observes: "Just in case you missed it, the amazon link you provided for The Situation's book has only two tags: 'hey ma' and 'euthanasia.' Perfection."
I read this on The Daily Beast and thought it prudent to advise the MB. Toolbaggery has a deadly weapon in its arsenal: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. --Dino
Over two years ago we added "The Principle of Not Looking Like Mark Zuckerberg" to the MB canon, so we're definitely aware of the threat his fleece, Adidas slides, and non-pedicured toes pose. However, it should be noted that the rise of Microsoft did not lead to widespread adoption of fellow Harvard drop-out Bill Gates' colorblock-sweater-over-floral-woven look.
Ed. note: We are officially madly in love with Rebecca Dana, the author of the Beast piece.
Apologies for being a tad late with any mention of this news, but for the 2010-11 season the NBA is implementing a new dress code requiring coaches to wear collared shirts during games. Now that mock turtleneck king Don Nelson is out of a job in Golden State, this affects only Orlando Magic coach and MB sartorialpiñata Stan Van Gundy.
While the new rule won't prevent Van Gundy from wearing some appalling shirt/tie combos this year (which we will surely document as they begin to appear), kudos to the NBA for banning this style atrocity. Now perhaps the PGA Tour will wake up and finally apply similar rules for its players. It shall be called the Tiger Woods Rule.
Q: Naturally, an MB attracts the opposite sex at any time of day or night whether he is going outside to pick up the paper or waiting in line at the DMV. But, for those of us that like to go out to clubs and bars at night to meet women, what is MB-endorsed night party wear? --Amir
A: We recommend Mark Nason boots, distressed jeans with a bunch of shit on the back pockets, and an untucked striped sport shirt.
Amir, we're just fucking with ya! Only wear this if you want to look like a participant in some sort of local university's toolbag cloning experiment.
Anyhow, the whole "club wear" concept is foreign to us and feels very TTH. On the contrary, you want to look like you didn't really try at all; you and some friends had dinner and just happened to end up on the floor, fist-pumping like Vinny from Jersey Shore.
Toolbag icon Roger Clemens has previously been on these pages for his banded collar shirt and double-breasted suit, but he really brought the heat yesterday thanks to HTH (Human Toolbag Hormone) and an obvious midlife crisis: frosted hair, sort-of goatee, and reflector blades. Thanks, Rocket. We look forward to the trial in April, 2011.
Federal prosecutors were only able to convict former Illinois governer and First Toolbag Rod Blagojevich of a single count of lying to the FBI, but more significantly, they did unearth receipts showing a 7-year, $400,000 clothing budget for he and his wife at stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. (If this is ringing a bell somewhere, it definitely should.)
Blago also spent heavily at custom suitmaker Tom James Company and had custom dress shirts made by Geneva Custom Shirts. Yet, in spite of all the expense and bespoke tailoring, he failed to grasp even the most basic style truth: don't combine spread collars with four-in-hand knots.
SEE ALSO: Magnificent Bastard's Custom Shirt Reviews. (Unfortunately Geneva Custom Shirts was not one of the participants.
Q: When you finally get the Toolbag Fantasy League section of this site up and running, I call dibs on The Food Network's Guy Fieri. He is clearly the anchor for a championship caliber squad. I happened to flip past him on television last night and the guy is not missing a single facet of toolbagism. I of course am operating under the assumption that he had a cell phone belt holster hiding underneath his size XXL bowling style shirt with flames printed on it. Watch out fellow Fantasy Toolbag Leaguers, I plan on hoisting the silverware at the end of the season. --Steven
Q: Great posts about biking. However, and I feel stupid for asking, my GF loves to Rollerblade. Is this an activity I can enjoy with her without looking like a total toolbag? --Jared
A: Jared, watch this instructional Rollerblade video for ten seconds -- no, make that two seconds -- and the answer should be clear. In addition, we encourage you to read our extremely effective dating and relationship guide: separate interests. Okay, now re-read it, memorize it, and put it into action. When she goes Rollerblading, go play golf. When she's at yoga, take a nap. When she's gardening, pop a beer and watch The Big Game*. To paraphrase the Roman poet Sextus Propertius, the less time you spend together, the longer you'll stay together.
She was drinking Magnificent Bastards.
I was getting amazingly plastered.
Rocking Tommy Bahama,
I'm like, "Yo, babymama!"
(There are rules I still haven't mastered.)
Congratulations to Kevin. For writing poetry that maybe took 10 minutes he's won a year's supply of Magnificent Bastard "Morning After" Roast, two cool coffee mugs, and a Hario grinder. Enjoy, Kevin. We like your sense of humor and we sure hope you're kidding about rocking Tommy Bahama.
If you don't have enough hair for Mother Nature to style, we recommend the sort of low-profile, long-billed cap that Ernest Hemingway used to favor (top). Quaker Marine has been making them since 1948. Their Original Swordfish model will give you the protection from the sun you need while steering you clear of captain's hats, which have been relegated to the style brig for decades now due to their popularity amongst 1970s-era nautical toolbags and screw-ups.
Category 5 toolbag Stan Van Gundy is merely a regional style catastrophe 10 months out of the year. Every spring, however, the coach of the Orlando Magic becomes a national one during the NBA playoffs. Last night reader Nick wrote:
"Surely Stan Van Gundy of the Orland Magic deserves elevation to some sort of super toolbag status based on his 'attire' (using the word loosely) for Game 1 against Atlanta. The combination of mafia suit style, with black t-shirt, all completely ill-fitting even had my wife pausing in astonishment."
To Van Gundy's credit, he has replaced last year's mock turtleneck with a polo shirt. If he keeps that up, he may be downgraded to Category 4.
Why are Earth's polo shirt logos morphing into giant mutant cartoons? Am I in any danger? --Owen
Owen, we assume you're talking about Lacoste's oversized reptiles and Ralph Lauren's iconic equestrian, which in recent years has grown bigger than most real-life jockeys.
In the case of Lacoste, as long you don't mind looking like the world's biggest three-year-old, there is no real danger. Ralph Lauren, on the other hand, has essentially created the preppy version of Ed Hardy shirts with his Big Pony and Rugby lines. If you ask us, one giant logo per polo shirt is one too many. Clutter things up with stripes, patches, flags, and other Anglophilic flair (TTH edition) and you've got a look that shouts "Muffy says no penilingus unless we rent in Sagaponack, but my heart is at the Jersey Shore." Keep your distance from these things -- second-hand toolbagism is a very real possibility.
Q: No comments about Tiger's Nike sunglasses at the Masters? I hope they enhanced his game, because they did nothing for his already lacking MB-ness. --Nate
We know Woods spent the last few months in sex rehab, but based on his appearance at the Masters, we're wondering about the cure. To our eye, it looks like his therapists have simply stuck a pair of super-dark blind-guy glasses on him in the hope that they will prevent him from spotting trashy blonde blabbermouths in the gallery. And fed him a lot of donuts. On the bright side, he's wearing a collared shirt. And every day you can stay off the mock turtlenecks is a good day.
Guys, if you want to project that "Yes, I'll cheat on an adorable millionaire who loves my children as if they were her own" vibe, then by all means adopt this look -- which takes the Showbiz Toolbag look that we've previously documented to its natural end-point.
Sandra, we love you, always have, always will, no matter how many awful romantic comedies you make, but frankly, what did you expect from a guy who thinks the Oscars represent a great opportunity to dress like an undertaker at his junior prom? That suit alone should have been enough to initiate divorce proceedings.
Q: Shockingly you have never mentioned anything about your stance on earrings. I wear a very small silver hoop in my left ear and I consider myself to be moderately MB. My hot PhD wife certainly finds it sexy. What do you think? --Mark
A: Sorry, Mark, here at Magnificent Bastard we think of earrings, even relatively understated ones like you describe, as a gateway drug to a spot on the next season of Jersey Shore. First comes the hoop earring, next comes Pauly D's blowout hairstyle.
Since Prada is advertising this look for Spring 2010 there is a chance -- albeit unlikely -- of it metastasizing to other menswear designers in upcoming seasons. Don't partake. This look is and always will be Major Toolbag.
Q: I was looking for a place to buy a pair of sunglasses like the ones that the character Tony D'Annunzio from Caddyshack wears to the pool. I saw you put them as an example in one of your answers but I can't seem to find where I could buy a pair, or something like them and I was wondering if you knew of a place? --James
A: Was Tony D'Annunzio The Situation before The Situation?
We cannot determine the exact make or model of D'Annunzio's sunglasses. (If you know, let us know.) The closest we think you're going to get -- and it's pretty close -- is vintage I Ski reflectors like the ones 44 is wearing (inset) before he turned into the most powerful toolbag on earth. These always turn up on eBay or vintage eyewear sites.
Q: Should an aspiring MB apply the polo shirt N-2 buttoning policy to sport shirts? Should one ever wear such a shirt with only the very top button unbuttoned, or would this be an example of toolbaggery? --Russell
A: Unfortunately that simple formula does not apply to sport shirts because there are other factors at work, like button spacing, collar shape and size, and abundance (or, preferably, absence) of chest hair. In other words, it depends.
But to illustrate where we lean, take a look at a TBT (Typical Bravo Toolbag) at the top with two unbuttoned, and MB icon Paul Newman in a western -- a shirt almost demanding N-2 -- with just the top button unbuttoned.
Q: I'm not sure whether this is an "Ask the MB," a "Tip the MB," or just a general MB PSA, but: Can we all agree that wearing anything fleece -- ESPECIALLY a zip-up mock turtleneck -- under your suit or blazer rather than a coat *over* it is a one-way ticket to Toolbagville? It pains me to say that I have seen this with increasing frequency here in NYC (though mainly in the Midtown business-douche districts), and I can only conclude that these guys have finally discovered what exactly NOBODY ever wanted to find: the male equivalent of wearing sneakers with a skirt or pantsuit for the walk in to work. Please, for the love of God, people: Get a proper winter coat. Stop the madness. --Chris
A: This is a look we'd expect to see in Pulaski, WI, not the Big Apple (though it would be fleece under a Carhartt jacket instead of a suit jacket). We're opposed to fleece because it violates the principal of organic materials (it's made from something called Polyethylene terephthalate), and we avoid wearing anything that sounds like it might give us cancer.
The 3rd season of Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker starts tonight, and host Patti Stanger has a whole new look, clearly based on the MB makeover advice given last year. Gone are the bangs, the painted fingernails (nude is OK), and the too-short skirts. You're welcome, hon! (Now for an MB intervention with her fiance. A heart-shaped diamond ring screams TB.)
Q: I shave my head, due to hair loss, and feel that it detracts from your artfully disheveled standards. Are there any general rules for us smooth-domed MB wannabes that I should be following? --Dan
A: Dan, you said you shave your head, but how often do you shave? We ask because in our opinion, the fully shaved look (aka the Savalas) as a can't-miss cure for baldness is ultimately about as can't-miss as Rogaine or Propecia -- it doesn't always work as advertised. If you're Michael Jordan, go for it. If not, well, just look at Jack (top) -- suddenly one of the world's coolest dudes looks like a bigger toolbag than Joe the Plumber.
Our advice: when you shave, leave enough stubble to make your wife/girlfriend think twice about asking for special favors. Then, don't shave again until you start worrying about the impact wind/hats are having on your hair. The more hair you have left on top, the more frequently you'll have to shave. When you're looking like Jackson Pollock (bottom), you're looking just right. When you're looking like Larry Fine (inset), you've let it go too far.
Like Don Draper, Tiger Woods has great taste in wives. Like Bill Clinton, he's got awful taste in mistresses. Seriously, we haven't seen this much toolbag arm candy since we were backstage at a Mötley Crüe reunion show a couple years ago. (Don't ask.)
Check their resumes, and we're betting 85% of them are Girls Gone Wild alumnae, classes of, oh, 1999-2002.
MB's #1 rule for picking mistresses: Do not count on a woman with fake boobs, fake nails, and fake hair color to be discrete.
MB's #2 rule for picking mistresses: If more than 50% of your side dishes have stripper names (Jaimee, Kalika, Cori, etc.), make sure you have a bulletproof pre-nup.
Top: Tiger signals his intent to spawn by taping large salmon to chest. The ladies love it!
1. Rachel Uchitel 2. Jaimee Grubbs 3. Kalika Moquin 4. Mindy Lawton. (We don't get this one. Is it possible she's banging some other guy named Tiger Woods?) 5. Jamie Jungers 6. Cori Rist 7. Holly Sampson 8. Artist depiction of Mistress #8. You know she's coming any minute, along with #9, #10 ... soon he'll have 18 holes.
(Memo to Jon Gosselin: Step up your game, because it looks like Tiger wants your Toolbag of the Millenium crown, and you know there's no one more clutch when a title is on the line.)
We've previously noted Oakley is the King Midas of contemporary design. Anything it touches instantly turns toolbaggy. In this case, however, they've added a new STD twist: the first watch line with a bad case of metallic genital warts.
If it's that rocker vibe you need, try the more toned-down style of Rock & Republic. They keep the skulls and other junk on the sole. An even more understated choice that still passes as rock 'n' roll is John Varvatos, and you don't have to worry about keeping your feet off of anyone's desk.
Q: Can you tell me your thoughts about the ECigarette? --Randall
A: Randall, besides being a gross violation of the principle of organic materials, the first time we saw this thing we thought it was a gag gift, on par with fake vomit and fake dog shit. Remarkably it's real (and incidentally delivers a real dose of nicotine). Can you tell how we feel? If not, we've created a useful chart below.
A week after his girlish first pitch, it's Barack Obama's soccer dad jeans that are still in the news. Yesterday on the Today show Obama admitted to being "a little frumpy," and said, "I hate to shop."
A few observations:
* "I hate to shop" is not something a president should be saying during a recession!
* "I hate to shop" is such a lame refrain, as if by implicitly asserting his masculinity (because shopping is something guys don't like to do) that excuses his lousy style.
* We've been covering Obama's lousy style for over a year. He wore the infamous All Star Game getup 9 months earlier at a White Sox playoff game on October 12, 2008 (pictured). After winning the election his toolbaggery accelerated at such an alarming rate we wrote an entire feature on the phenomenon: From Cool to Tool: Tracking Barack Obama's Descent Into Toolbaggery.
Obama's most recent sartorial slip-up is just the latest in his crusade to win the crown of Least Stylish Black Man from Al Roker.
Jon & Kate Plus 8 reality TV star Jon Gosselin (32) was recently seen in St. Tropez with new squeeze Hailey Glassman (22) and "fashion designer" Christian Audigier. He was appropriately decked out in a signature Audigier shirt (pictured) which is only 2 skulls short of being the ugliest piece of clothing we've ever seen.
The French designer is possibly the greatest single contributor to what we've decided to refer to as neo-toolbagism, designing for or working on brands like Affliction, Von Dutch (remember the Von Dutch hat?), Ed Hardy, and his namesake Christian Audigier.
We've previously commented on Bravo being the Toolbag Network. They're clearly listening, and even turning it up a notch with the men on the new Real Housewives of New Jersey with "Steve" (top) in Ed Hardy t-shirt and hat, and "Joe" in 5'5", spiked hair, and screeching eagle-skull t-shirt (bottom).
We're sort of wondering if these guys are real. They are such toolbag archetypes we're not sure.
Q: What is the MB stance on drinking beer on the golf course? I like beer as much as the next guy and have been known to enjoy a beer during a round. But I turned a buddy down during a recent round when he asked if I wanted one. Aside from any possible negative effects on my score, the reason was that I realized that about 95% of the people I see drinking beer on the course exhibit all the symptoms of a toolbag (cargo shorts, untucked shirts, Oakleys, taking way too long, etc.). So I came to the conclusion that, while drinking beer while playing may not be inherently toolbag, it becomes toolbag by association.
So what says the MB? Is drinking beer on the course ever acceptable? If not, is there an acceptable alternative alcoholic beverage? --Brett
A: Brett, you started off by asking a question, and then, after some toolbag observation and deductive reasoning, answered it on your own, correctly. Well done. As for Part 2 of your question, we never drink on the golf course as it negatively affects performance, again, as you observe. However, once we putt out on 18 it's a stampede to the bar that's sometimes a potentially life-threatening The Who-like experience.
Q: I'm an avid reader... and have to say... you're starting to read my mind. Last night, my wife and I were watching TV -- and saw the belt bug spray fan-thing. I said, I bet the MB would NOT approve of that. She agreed and said it looks like a flea collar. Now, less than 12 hours later, you post something on it. You da man.
Now here's a situation that you're sure to agree with me. I bought these shoes. They have the feel of Crocs (though, I must say I have NEVER owned a pair.) I plan to wear them to the pool, at the beach and when we go whitewater rafting. But the other day, I saw someone wear a pair to the movies. When will toolbags learn? --John
A: John, we may need to graduate you to full-on Vulcan mind-meld. The fact that you mentioned Crocs in the same breath as a recent footwear purchase should set off alarm bells. Do you still have the receipt?
We're strongly opposed to this entire genre of footwear, whether it be Crocs, Keen, or Teva. These are for the fleece and granola set, where MBs are as rare as a dodo bird.
Incidentally, for the rafting we recommend an old pair of Jack Purcells. They work great and look amazing.
Unless you're a superhero or cop, nothing should hang from your belt. Seriously, we don't even recommend this for professional exterminators. This thing belongs in a closet, next to the box of Cinch Saks and the Swiffer.
We're all in favor of bringing back some '70s style to the course -- the MB in the header photo is wearing vintage flowered Lilly Pulitzer shorts -- but Scott Woodsworth's Loudmouth Golf is an homage gone horribly wrong:
Top: John Daly at the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club, England, over the weekend in Loudmouth Golf's "Disco Balls" pants. Looks like a clown's pajamas.
Bottom: The "Chicks Dig Loudmouth" photo gallery is a toolbag extravaganza.
Sure, the iPhone is fine for urban applications. But what if you want to take your tweeting off-road? Then, you need something a little more rugged, like Oakley's new Hummerized iPhone case. We suspect it gets terrible gas mileage. We suspect Arnold Schwarzenegger already owns seven of them. Naturally, this seals it for us. Oakley is the King Midas of contemporary design. Anything it touches instantly turns toolbaggy. Don't believe us?
Q: So I have to attend this (outdoor charity) event for Mother's Day with my wife and son (2 yrs) where your entry ticket is this gaudy t-shirt that violates every known MB principle: logos, legibility, ugly, etc. My question is: since I have to wear this (I have to attend), is there any way to salvage it? Should I wear the rest of the ensemble as if I was wearing some other MB-approved shirt? Or would that just look too stupid (i.e. too much of a clash between MB-ness and clear toolbaggery) and should I just throw in the towel and just toolbag this all the way? Sorry for the short notice but I was just informed yesterday, and Mother's Day is just a few days away! --Rob
A: Rob, your mother probably once told you: Two wrongs do not make a right. Don't cave and go full-on toolbag. Even the ugliest event t-shirt can be mitigated and possibly overcome with the right ensemble. Since you are going to be very unformfortable on top, get very comfortable on the bottom with your go-to denim and sneakers (or sandals, if you've recently had a pedicure). Even if monsoons are predicted, add some vintage sunglasses to the look. They can block toolbaggery almost as well as UV rays, and will provide cover for pained facial expressions.
Of course, even with these tactics, you won't be able to forget the fact that you're wearing the shirt -- because you'll be surrounded by it -- so we also advise that you get drunk as quickly as possible. Skip the beer and go straight to the hard stuff.
Ben Roethlisberger is just 26, has two Super Bowl rings, and is likely headed to the Hall of Fame. But the poor fella would probably trade it all for even a shred of style.
Well, maybe not. But since "Big Ben" is single, and apparently only dating the struggling Canadian-born actress and Hilary Swank look-a-like contest winner Missy Peregrym, one upside of the Steelers' win is there aren't any pictures of Brenda Warner descending on her husband like a blue, crew-cut alien.
I just wanted to point out a video of a recent public appearance of Vanilla Ice at a Denver Nuggets halftime show. Not only is it basketball (see recent post about ball size), Mr. Ice appears to follow every rule for looking (and acting) like a complete toolbag. --Joshua
A: We are working on a new feature that examines toolbags through the ages, from the cavemen to the guys on Tool Academy, and we've discovered in our research that Vanilla Ice should get special merit for reinventing himself several times, yet having his essential toolbaggery always shine through.
Although the New York Times reports Obama is "clinging" to his BlackBerry and he says, "They're going to pry it out of my hands," it looks as though Barack Obama might have to give it up. Next thing on the agenda -- far more important than any stimulus package: find a decent casual wardrobe.
Next week VH1 is premiering a show called Tool Academy where "9 frustrated women, all dating complete tools, will take one last chance at reforming them by enrolling them in the only place that can make a difference and transform them: the Tool Academy." Either this is the best thing since The Pickup Artist or the worst thing since that Geico Caveman show, but we demand royalties regardless. Watch the "supertrailer."
Tool Academy premieres next Monday, January 12 on VH1.
On our extended break -- incidentally, we consumed enough Dewar's Rob Roys to kill the average bloke -- there were some very disturbing photos taken of the President-elect. (We had our suspicions back in July when he met the troops.) Sure, Barack Obama might soon be the 44th President of the United States, but the poor fella is a raging toolbag.
Q: I'm unclear on your turtleneck position. Are saying it was only ok in 1968 and for chaps much more MB than I'll ever be? I have a navy tall mock turtleneck (taller than a mock but not enough to fold over) that I love. Not MB? --Scott
A: We're saying McQueen, Player, and Newkirk helped make the turtleneck forever cool. If you don't have enough material to fold over, or let flop down in an artfully disheveled way, then you ought to keep it in your closet. Or perhaps burn it. Anything even veering towards mock should be avoided or you might start looking like Tiger Woods. And that ain't good.
In spite of her ass, we have a strong hunch that Sarah and Todd Palin will slowly fade back into obscurity, and end up as an Admiral Stockdale-equivalent historical footnote. Which is a shame because this is a couple that keeps on giving.
Yesterday Newsweek reported Sarah Palin actually spent more than $150,000 on her wardrobe and makeover, and big chunk of dough went to clothe her husband:
One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.
We find this report a little hard to believe. Unless he's buying gold-plated boxers, there just ain't no way $20-$40K is going for cheap-looking 3-button black suits, shiny red silk ties, logoed fleece, and square-toe oxfords.
Her recent events drew scruffy high-schoolers in backward baseball caps, tank-topped bikers in bandanas and long-bearded veterans in berets. They crashed the rope line for photos and autographs. "Marry me, Sarah," a man implored in Weirs Beach, N.H., while Ms. Palin held up a tow-headed toddler and patted his little chest. She ignored, or didn't hear, the proposal, but signed the dude's ratty baseball cap.
Three cheers to Details magazine for coining a new term: bluetool
n. A person who wears a Bluetooth earpiece at any time other than while driving. Provenance: Annoyed pedestrians Usage: "The bluetool behind me on the sidewalk was telling the loudest story about who he hooked up with the night before."
Fans and critics are both saying Usain Bolt could've run even faster than 9.69 had it not been for the last 10m of showboating (top). Maybe, but he certainly would've been faster without the drag of the cause wristband, pinkie ring, and shiny gold ring (bottom).
It's sometimes useful to look to cinema for reinforcement of style principles. When the creators of Bull Durham wanted to create a shlubby, clueless rookie pitcher "with a million dollar arm and the 5-cent head" they dressed Ebby Calvin 'Nuke' LaLoosh in:
1. Pleated, linen pants. (Note the wrinkles!) 2. Tommy Bahama-style camp shirt. 3. Shiny gold watch and ring. 4. Pinkie ring.
Yes, we've got Bravo on full-time in the MB office, partially because it's The Toolbag Channel. The examples of what not to do are irresistable. Like Slade from Date My Ex. Shiny gold watch, shiny gold ring, and that scarf epitomizes TTH (Trying Too Hard). MBs can safely avoid all three things (and the hand gesturing, too).
Does anyone in the Clinton campaign have even a shred of style? Hillary isclearlyadisaster, and it's rubbed off on senior advisor and head worm Harold Ickes, yesterday on Meet the Press strobing like a discotheque in an ill-fitting checked blazer paired with checked shirt.
And it didn't require some kind of exhaustive worldwide search, either. This tool was visible from sofas nationwide: Simon from Real Housewives of New York.
1. Dude squirted cologne on his face eight fucking times. 2. Wore a gold bow tie, pocket square, and cummerbund; rode to Metropolitan Opera in Lincoln limo. The vulgarity! 3. Actually attaches value to wife appearing in Style section of New York Times. 4. Crashes wife's Girls' Night Out. And wears poor-man's fu-manchu moustache. Dude!
Top Chef's lead judge Tom Colicchio, last night decked out in an unbuttoned black woven shirt, over a black t-shirt. We bet Mr. Colicchio $1000 his shirt, besides being black, was also overlong and untucked.
Not only do the Cowboys have to overcome their NFC opponents to make it to the Super Bowl, they need to overcome the ongoing toolbaggery of their quarterback. Interviewed by NFL Network over The Jessica Simpson Episode, Tony Romo wore a bright salmon, logoed button-down collar shirt with the buttons unbuttoned. In most cases we would expect the Significant Other to correct this situation, but Jessica Simpson most likely dressed him for the interview.
Toolbag quarterback Tony Romo has landed what we consider to be the perfect toolbag accessory: ditzy fake blonde with dark roots, huge hoop earrings, and sunglasses propped on her head. She's only about 1/2 a notch up the white-trash-o-meter from Britney.
Last night Bravo previewed their new show Millionaire Matchmaker, and it's proof positive that all the money in the world (or even $1 million) can't by a nickel's worth of style. When the show launches in January these guys promise to deliver countless hours of toolbag amusement. Clockwise from top left: in a music video; spinning on a stripper pole; strapping electronic shit to his belt holding up his saggy-ass ripped denim; in a grotesquely ugly shirt.
We realize we're a day late on this news, but it occurs to us the reason why Jacksonville lost its upset bid against the Colts on Monday night wasn't because its starting quarterback got knocked out of the game, or because Indianapolis is a better team. No, it was all due to the extreme toolbaggery of the Jacksonville Jaguar fans. Thing 1 sports a cause bracelet, while Thing 2 -- presumably an adult male -- eats out a foam vagina.
Oddmakers have made the Patriots a 5-point favorite over the Cowboys for this weekend's big game, but it should be at least a touchdown given the quarterback matchup: a Magnificent Bastard vs. Tony Romo and his toolbag tendencies.
You already suspected this, with his Men's Warehouse pinstripes and $19.99 red ties. Now there's likely confirmation as he sports a cause wristband, definitely a strong indicator of toolbaggery. If only he'd chosen a yellow "Livestrong" version (in place of the pink) he'd still be Attorney General.
You hopefully caught this bit on last night's Daily Show, where Jon Stewart and Rob Corddry were having fun attributing footwear to gay sex in men's bathrooms:
JS: So different taps mean different things?
RC: That's right Jon, it's a complex language. Wing tips mean you're a married man. Socks with sandals means this is your first time. Oh, and Jon, any one of those brightly colored plastic crocs, that means
anything goes. We're talking hard-core ass-to-mouth stuff; scat play!
And Jon, that's not just in bathrooms, OK? Anytime you see anyone wearing crocs, be wary. Be wary.
JS: What does that mean Rob?
RC: If they are wearing crocs they are soliciting incredibly deprived gay sex. You can take that to the bank.
Q: I am wondering how you acquired the photo of the toolbag in the wild (Marlin Perkins Would Be Proud). I believe I can place the sighting and actually visited the establishment last evening. Even though I try not to look like a toolbag myself I am concerned I need to be extra careful since it appears establishments I frequent are being watched. —Concerned Citizen
A: Indeed, a MB staffer spotted this toolbag at Brit's Pub in downtown Minneapolis, and a few cell phone pics were surreptitiously snapped. Believe us when we say no one feels worse about this than we do. It's just that when wanton toolbaggery appears at one of our favorite hangouts (and a Minneapolis institution no less), that kind of naked aggression against style will not stand, man, and something needed to be done.
You've surely heard of the Edmund Burke quote: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." It applies here.
Just like Marlin Perkins was out there, researching pygmy elephants for Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, staffers at magnificentbastard.com are out looking for toolbags in the wild. They're out there. Be careful.