Q: I just bought tickets to The Nutcracker for December 6th in Minneapolis. What would a Magnificent Bastard wear to a ballet? I have a new grey cashmere turtleneck by 8, I want to wear if possible. —David
A: David, glad to hear you're into an 8 cashmere turtleneck. 6 years after our original recommendation, we still have a strong buy rating on this item, and it's definitely on the ballot for the forthcoming MB HOF.
To complete the outfit, consider:
1. PANTS: Makers & Riders Travelers Jean in Coal. $89. A few weeks ago we said we'd try these and we're glad we did. They're not just stretchy (6% spandex) but also remarkably flexible: we cannot think of an activity or event where they wouldn't feel right, including The Nutcracker. Owner Chris Ontiveros is closing down Makers & Riders so get these before he shutters, or we sell him out. (Seriously, we're buying enough of these to last 50 years.) Use the code MR15 for 15% off. NB: These are vanity-sized by a full 2 inches.
2. BLAZER: 8 by YOOX in Glen Plaid. $179.
8 provides such great value there was panic last year when YOOX pulled all things 8 from their site. But just a few months later the brand was reincarnated as "8 by YOOX" — finally owning up to its corporate ownership — and it's better than ever. Their blazers are fantastic and check all the boxes: a modern fit, meaty lapels, and functioning buttonholes. This Glen plaid version is just $179. NB: Unlike everything else 8, the blazers run small. Order one size up, and if you're between, two.
3. SHOES: Pantofola d'Oro Brown Wing-Tips. $185.
Longtime readers know we've been fully sneakerized. But we respect those who are still dipping their toes into it, which is why we're suggesting these wing-tipped training wheels. NB: In the Italian style, PdO runs one size small.
4. FLASK: Wentworth Pewter 6 oz. Flask. ~$68.09.
Our live events involve lots of tequila shots, vodka Red Bulls, and overly-aggressive pat-downs. We're betting The Orpheum has none of those, and you may need help getting through the 2nd act. Will fit inconspicuously into the blazer's inside pocket; plus, Anglophilia.
Q: What is your position on turtleneck sweaters? —Aaron
A: We're big fans.
Although we were concerned a few weeks ago when, in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, it seemed like Michael Cohen could set back the cause of turtleneck sweaters 3-5 years. It was the biggest threat to the clothing article since 2012 when Michael Lohan tried it in-between tanks and mocks.
(Side note: A schlub like Cohen encroaching on established MB looks can have a real impact: Isaia's sales of blue checked blazers dropped more than 50% after he strutted around Manhattan in this one in October.*)
But the Michaels are no match for McQueen, Jagger, Bowie, Archer.
A few suggestions:
As with scarves, don't have anything in contact with your neck that isn't cashmere (or cashmere/silk).
Only a compression tee is less forgiving than a finely-woven turtleneck sweater. Unless you're built like Archer, pair with a blazer.
Rather than fold the collar like these guys, simply rely on gravity to let it settle naturally and unevenly around your neck (Principle of Artful Dishevelment).
Where should you look for good options? Where else but YOOX?** This, or this, or this are all great values. Their winter sale ended last night, but it will be just days until another one. Use our Twitter-based price-tracking tool (still in alpha) to be notified of price changes.
Q: Clarification on the turtleneck. Surely you refer to the ribbed/knit examples you show and NOT the cotton tight-necked number we all remember from childhood winters. --Palmy
A: Paul Newman made a fairly tight-necked turtleneck work pretty well in perhaps the most famous turtleneck photo of all time. Palmy, maybe your 2nd-grade sartorial memories aren't as bad as you think.
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.
A: Yes, Steve McQueen certainly was a Magnificent Bastard, but we can assure you that at no time in Bullitt did he wear a mock turtleneck. Take a closer look and you'll see it's perhaps Film's Most Famous Real Turtleneck; a blue ribbed turtleneck sweater, shown underneath a tweed blazer (top).
Overshadowed by the famous turtleneck was McQueen's demonstration of how to nail a chunky shawl collar cardigan with woven shirt (bottom).
2 oz scotch
1 oz sweet vermouth
dash of bitters (your choice, your mood)
Fill rocks glass with ice. Pour in scotch, vermouth, bitters. Stir. Garnish, if you must, with a lemon twist.