Hi! Is there a puffer vest that you all recommend? Maybe a couple of different brands? I know you recommended Duvetica a few years ago. Are they still your #1? Other brands? Thank you! —Chris
A: Thanks so much for the question, Chris. We could go on forever about puffer vests as they're a wardrobe staple.
One warning before we list some options: these best suit taller, thinner MBs. If you're carrying a little extra bulk in your torso, the last thing you want to do is add bulk to your torso while the rest of your body keeps the same thickness. You will just look fatter.
With that caveat, we have three rules on puffer vests. They must:
1. Be filled with down. Goose is better than duck. 2. Have a collar (but not a hood) 3. Have some sort of elastic, whether it's the armholes or the waist. Both is better.
Here are a few for your consideration.
Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Vest. $49.99.
If you are merely puffer vest-curious and want to see if they're for you, by far the best gateway is Uniqlo's Ultra Light Down Vest. At just 50 bucks there is no better overall value. Uniqlo fits true to size but this is cut larger. Size one down. Gamefacing like the model is not allowed. Hey kid, you're in a $50 vest.
Aspesi Slim RE Down Gilet. $312 (from $520).
If we had to pick one puffer vest, this is it. Minimal, oozes quality, and has all the features: goose down, adjustable elastic hem, lycra armholes, zip pockets, and an interior zip pocket. Probably because Aspesi is based just a few miles from the Alps, these are packed with feathers and target US cocktail zone 5 and higher. If you are in a warmer cocktail zone it's likely overkill. Has long since replaced Duvetica as our top pick. Aspesi vests fit true to size.
Polo Packable Water-Repellent Down Vest. $169.
We're not normally one for logos but this polo player is retro, iconic, and lacks legibility. A better choice for warmer cocktail zones — or traveling to them — as it's lightweight enough to pack into itself. What's with the gamefacing? Again, not allowed, even at $169. Polo is a shade big. For our Polo puffer vests we go one size down.
Two weeks ago we settled on four shirts as the first step in the MB Build process: 3 plaids in wide-enough ranging check sizes and color combos to provide sufficient variety, and one solid, necessary for the times our client wears a tie. The total was $240, leaving a $1,760 balance from our original $2,000 budget.
Part 2 is sweaters. For now we're investing more heavily here (3) than our original museum director recommendation and going more lightly on blazers (1), simply because our client is not a museum director. These four items will pair with the shirting, creating a 16-combination torso "uniform" that takes the guesswork out of dressing for work.
Until George Jetson's robotic-arm walk-in closet can be summoned into action with a voice command, our client will still have the chore of putting his arms into armholes and pulling a sweater over his head, but sartorial decision-making can be left to the push of a button.
1, 2 When these two fantastic 4-season silk/cashmere cardigans arrived, we could barely resist keeping them for ourselves. By Heritage, another obscure Italian brand with a 40-year knitwear pedigree that we only discovered after placing this order. We got 'em for $63. They're now back up to $175, which we would still happily pay. If you find any silk/cashmere Heritage you like, buy it.
3 Ballantyne is best known for their funky argyles that rock the links, yet this solid v-neck also tempted us into theft. Like the cardigans, $63 (originally $213).
We Threw This One Back
Uniqlo is likely our top branded retailer, so we ordered this $39.90 merino crewneck. It's a fine sweater. But how ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've tried on Italian-made silk/cashmere?
UP NEXT: Pants or the Blazer, depending on what we find for our client.
For years, I have been unable to find casual pants that offer an appropriate degree of slimness and rise. For background, I lift weights moderately and exercise regularly so I never feel like my thighs have enough room in most standard slim-fit pants (H&M, Uniqlo, Levi's, etc.) On top of that, most slim-fit pants I've tried are low rise which seem - at least to me - to be too constricting in the ..er.. crotch area, and leave me looking like a flat-assed teenager. The problem is that regular fit or straight fit pants invariably have a rather schlubby box fit below and above the thigh, which really becomes apparent after a few washes. What is the correct amount of slimness and rise in a pair of pants for an athletic MB, and where should I look for this elusive clothing. —George
A: George, have you considered skipping leg day?
We consider ourselves quite athletic and actually quite like to be a little bound through the thigh, and yes, even the crotch. We're not talking yoga-pant or needy girlfriend-level constriction here, just enough to feel vital, and remind us of why we bothered to ride 40 miles on a Saturday morning with a hangover so raging it felt like our head was the victim of an Andrew W.K. drum solo.
If that's not your thing, we don't judge. It's just that finding a stylish higher-rise pant with ample thigh room and a non-boxy fit through the thigh is like finding a Trump supporter who can actually afford to spend a night in a Trump hotel.
One suggestion, besides the simple, yet unacceptable solutions of parachute pants or Zubaz, is AG's "Graduate" fit. They're a little fuller through the thigh and still end up at just 7.75" at the ankle, a full ½" narrower than the Levi's 514 equivalent. Give them a try and let us know what you think
How much longer can I get away with wearing white pants? With global warming in full swing I'm thinking Columbus Day. What brand of white pants should I wear now? —Best, Aaron.
A: While Earth has warmed since we last addressed this issue in 2011, we adhere to our advice that white is OK up until the end of the MLB regular season — check the schedule — or until it's still warm enough to have sex outside, whichever is later.
However, recognizing that this is a big country spanning many latitudes — a white pants end date should be different if you live in Fargo or Flagstaff — we added an important corollary to our White Pants Doctrine, and allow an additional 5-day window for each latitudinal degree your location is south of 44° N. Until we create a Google Maps app to show this, the above map shall suffice.
In short, Aaron, depending on where you live, your Columbus Day deadline may be right on the money. Or if you're south of the Mason Dixon line you're abandoning white pants potentially a month too soon. Please look at the map. If you have any questions let us know.
As for brand of white pants, we go primarily for denim these days and can strongly endorse the Uniqlo Selvedge Slim-Fit Jean. Now on sale for $34.90, we're pretty confident in saying they're the best white selvedge denim value on the market. Vanity waist sizing in effect.
If you want to shave a few seconds off the time it takes you to get that place where you're looking into your dresser drawers and saying, "What the hell was I thinking?", then by all means purchase these denim joggers, now 50 percent off at Uniqlo.
Even with their negligible cost — just $19.90 — we estimate that they will help you reach a state of bewildered regret approximately a half minute faster than you would had you purchased the far pricier Dsquared2 leather joggers we panned last spring, which at least have the virtue of clearly signalling to the world that you've got money to burn.
2 parts Germain-Robin Craft Method brandy
1 part Cointreau
1 part fresh lemon juice
Lightly shake with ice, then pour into a ice-filled rocks glass. Based on your tastes, brandy choice, and strength of the lemon juice, you should adjust the Cointreau and lemon juice to find proper balance.