Magnificent Bastard

Monday, October 5, 2015

From the Shop ↷

Game-Day Belt

Facepainting & foam fingers are not you. A belt made of NFL football leather is. Understated fanaticism FTW!

Game-Day Luxury Box

Transport your game-day suds in style, on a carpet of AstroTurf & a handle made of NFL football leather

Secret Agent Belt

Look like a fictional British Secret Service agent for just $30.07

300-Year Sterling Silver Buckle Belt

Built to look great forever — even if you live to 300

Ask the MB: Corporate Polo Shirts

Ask the MB: Corporate Polo Shirts

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.

A: We like polos, and for the most part, we like corporations. But in our experience corporate polos are always less than the sum of their parts. You hit on one of the primary reasons for this — they're usually made from materials like 100% cationic polyester double knit or 100% polyester pique material with TopShield™ moisture management technology.

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.

Finally, while we know of no randomized control trials to cite, our anecdotal analysis suggests that donning a corporate polo increases your risk of wearing a lanyard by at least 100 percent.

Keeping all these factors in mind, we'd rather go on the dole.

Ask the MB: John McEnroe's Shirt

Ask the MB: John McEnroe's Shirt

Q: Several years back, I found a photo of John McEnroe wearing a shirt I like and I've yet to have it identified. It is a button down, looks to be light blue and has a print of small stars and small moons on it. Hoping you can help. Thanks.

A: That shirt? You cannot be serious! In all candor, this is not a shirt we would recommend — it looks to our eye like a bowl of Lucky Charms designed by Commes Des Garcons. But it is a distinctive shirt, we'll grant you (and McEnroe) that, and we like a good quest as well as anyone.

The photo you've provided was taken on June 23, 2008, at Sotheby's, when McEnroe was selling a Warhol portrait of him and his ex-wife Tatum O'Neal.

McEnroe was clearly trying to coordinate his outfit with the painting — note its use of stars and similar shades of blue. The stars also remind us a bit of another Warhol painting — So Many Stars — but we don't think the shirt itself is a Warhol; the linework is too polished.

Also, the shirt was definitely not part of the deal, because we see McEnroe wearing it again, two years later, at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2010 (along with a horribly fitting blazer).

Unfortunately, the trail runs cold after that, at least for us. We couldn't find anymore images of the shirt in action, or any information about its provenance.

So we're putting this out there to our readers. Do you recognize this shirt? If you do, let us know. First person who can help us definitively ID this shirt will get a Secret Agent Belt from us, in recognition of his/her superior sleuthing skills. And if we do make an ID, we'll post it here.

UPDATE 9/22 11:07 AM: Reader Robert quickly supplies us with an answer: "Johnny Macs horrible shirt? You seem to have overlooked the hearts in the print. A 2 minute Google with that detail and..... It seems very likely that Prada is the responsible designer."

We swear we searched for at least three minutes, on hearts, and all we found was Harry Styles in a Burberry shirt. So we salute your superior sleuthing skills, Robert; a Secret Agent Belt will be on the way to you soon.

As for the shirt itself — it looks like Prada introduced this pattern, in various colorways, in its Spring 2006 collection. We haven't seen any for sale in the exact colorway McEnroe sports, but here's something close.

MB Deal of the Week: 8 Denim Sneakers

8 Denim Sneakers via YOOX, $56.00
8 Denim Sneakers via YOOX. $56.00.

Several years ago we claimed Italian brand 8's cashmere sweaters to be the best cashmere value in the world. It's still true. Now, at just $56, we can confidently claim these 8 low-tops are the best denim sneaker value in the world.

Made in the same factory in the Marche region of Italy as MB favorite Hydrogen 1, they share the same minimalist style, high-quality construction, and comfort. Originally $183. Available in sizes 8-13. Fits true to size. Highly recommended.

Introducing the Game-Day Belt

Game-Day Belt via Magnificent Bastard, $95.00
Game-Day Belt via Magnificent Bastard. $95.00.

No, this is not the official belt of the NFL. That wouldn't make sense, because NFL players don't wear leather belts. For us, though, our new Game-Day Belt has become an indispensable part of our viewing uniform. We have couch-tested in throughout the entire preseason, and we are now looking forward to see how it performs in regulation play, when everything's on the line. For more information, visit our shop.

Just in Time for Opening Day: The Magnificent Bastard Game-Day Luxury Box

Game-Day Luxury Box via Magnificent Bastard, $90.00
Game-Day Luxury Box via Magnificent Bastard. $90.00.

Exhibition games are mercifully over. Final cuts have been made. It's time for a new season of NFL action, and that means it's also time to introduce our latest lifestyle accessory: The Magnificent Bastard Game-Day Luxury Box. Crafted by fourth-generation woodworker Kyle Huntoon of Hunt & Noyer, this Super Bowl-caliber six-pack caddy is constructed from sturdy furniture grade pine, real football leather from Horween, genuine AstroTurf, and our own hard labor. (It's true; we screwed the straps into the boxes ourselves.)

Let's huddle and break this down in a little more detail. The box itself is made in Detroit. The strap comes from a Chicago leather supplier. The strap was cut and finished in a Minneapolis leatherworks, and all the finishing touches were done in our garage by Packer fans. Talk about a team effort — that's 100% of our all-time favorite division, the NFC North!

Buy one this week, and we'll throw in a six-pack's worth of Disposable Letterpress Beverage Shields on the house.

MB Deal of the Week: Henry Cotton's Madras Blazer

Henry Cotton's Madras Blazer via YOOX, $67.00
Henry Cotton's Madras Blazer via YOOX. $67.00.

On September 9, at 45° N, the wearing window for an unlined madras blazer is barely open wide enough for a mosquito to pass through. But if you are in lower latitudes, the southern hemisphere, or just want to prep for spring 2016, we recommend this Henry Cotton's slim fit version.

Because it is madras, yes, it is partially linen. But cotton retains a controlling 55% stake. Functional buttonholes. Proper ball-sack length. Perfectly proportioned lapels. Originally $309, marked down to $67, and with the 20% discount code FRIENDS this statement piece is just 53 bucks. (Order up a size, and if you're on the fence, two. Discount code valid through 9/13.)

Ask the MB: TST Shoes: Endangered, Extinct, or Just Very Exclusive?

TST Low-tops via YOOX, $144.00
TST Low-tops via YOOX. $144.00.

Q: Hey, dig your site. I'm a fan of TST sneakers and have had a few pairs over the years. Any idea where I could find some these days (online, in store)? Yoox doesn't seem to have much at all. Or, if no TST (crying inside) any recs on a similar styled pair/producer?

Q: Quick question. Are TST defunct?

A: We are glad to see readers are still interested in TST, a longtime MB favorite characterized by its commitment to wabi-sabi and generally elusive quality.

Even in its heyday, this Japanese brand from designer Seisha Tanaka was as hard to spot as a Siberian tiger. And in the last couple years, we had begun to suspect it had crossed over from endangered species to extinct one.

But you never know, right? A lot of people probably think we're dead too, and yet here we are, still as vital and full of life as Jackie Stallone. So we decided to contact to TST HQ directly and ask if it is still producing shoes. Here's the response we received:

"Thank you for your contact to Tanaka Universal. Yes, we are producing TST brand shoes as well as Maccheronian, CEBO and CEBOG. We sell only shops and are not selling to end customer. If we can be of any help please do not hesitate to contact us again."

Alas, our follow-up inquiry regarding what shops it sells to has been met with eerie silence so far. We don't know what CEBO or CEBOG are, but they sound a little like something an organization staffed entirely by robots might produce; we think perhaps that initial email response we received came from the last human employed at the company, just before the final coup. If we learn otherwise, we'll let you know.

In the meantime, we have seen a few more models pop up on YOOX lately, including a pair of snogues that we're especially fond of. Alas, the largest size they're available in is 11. If, like us, you're a true fan, you'll spend the next half hour debating how necessary your toes really are. (They run nearly a full size small.)

Ask the MB: Give Us 100% Cotton or Give Us Death

Ask the MB: Give Us 100% Cotton or Give Us Death

Q: I appreciate your effort, but it looks like your Trump Tie Sale isn't doing much to stem The Great Toolbag Rebellion of 2015. The latest polls show that Trump is now "the clear leader in the race for the GOP nomination."

Is it time for all MBs in arms to take up more extreme measures and get a Hillary t-shirt?
— Alex

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.

EARLIER: How Donald Trump inspired our sale.

This Week in Kickstarter: BankNote Backpack

The BankNote Backpack in Forest
The BankNote Backpack in Forest

Here at MB, we like to travel lightly, especially on any excursion lasting less than 24 hours. That means we try to limit the things we carry to whatever we can fit in our pockets and maybe a small-ish correspondent bag or briefcase.

But we're also lifelong learners and committed library-goers, so we'll always have a place in our lives for a backpack that can comfortably hold a fortnight's worth of books. Which for us isn't a lot — we're slow readers.

Beyond that basic requirement, we figure less is more. If a backpack requires consultation with an architect to decipher its floorplan, it has too many compartments for us. If it can hold more than, say, a third of Suzanne Somers' collected works, it's too big. We like a backpack that exerts stringent curatorial judgment on our behalf.

All of which brings us to a Kickstarter project by BankNote NYC, a brand we hope to work with at some point if all planets align.

Their new backpack is made out of canvas, leather, synthetic cotton (?), and cork (!). That sounds complicated, but the object itself exudes a stylish simplicity. We're confident we won't need a map to navigate its chambers and sleeves, nor will we spend hours trying to discern the purpose of extraneous straps and buckles and grommets. See, it's making us more productive already and it doesn't even exist yet.

If, like us, you want to help bring it into being, you've got approximately three weeks left to pledge.

Build a Wall, Mr. Trump!

Build a Wall, Mr. Trump!

At first glance, last night's presidential debate looked like a highlight reel from an unusually sycophantic episode of The Apprentice, as Wisconsin governor Scott Walker desperately tried to position himself as Donald Trump's first-string yes-man. After awhile, however, we began to think Walker was actually engaging in a subtle but sophisticated attack on Trump's main talking point. If Trump can't even secure his own personal borders from such brazen illegal immigration, how likely is he to shore up 2000 miles of rugged desert terrain?

Get Dressed: Lollapalooza in Chicago 2015

Get Dressed: Lollapalooza in Chicago 2015

We do music festivals about as often as we vote for President, but this Sunday's lineup is irresistible with Galantis (our current fave), The Chainsmokers, ODESZA, Florence + the Machine, and Kygo. (Speaking of the latter, check out his remix of Sexual Healing.)

We need to get dressed.

1. Shorts. These Todd Snyder Navy Plaid Shorts are one of our favorite purchases of 2015. They're a slim fit, so skip if you're currently carrying too much chub or have Tour de France competitor-sized thighs, but these are highly tailored shorts in a fabric with a terrific hand and a stylish, yet understated plaid pattern. We'd even consider paying the original $225 but they're just $59, and 30% off through August 2 with code THIRTYOFF. (That's $41.30.) (Check your size using Todd Snyder's highly-accurate sizing wizard.)

2. Shirt. Like country clubs have a collared shirt policy, Lollapalooza should have a collarless shirt policy. With t-shirts there is a high risk of violating the MB Legibility Principle, but this is easily avoided with this simple New Look T-Shirt with Crew Neck, which is the closest we've come to discovering the perfect white T, and it's 11 bucks. Order one size larger than normal. (New Look is like the UK's GAP, except it's not closing 25% of its stores.)

3. Shoes. Comfort usually trumps style in extreme walking-and-standing situations, but you can get both with these Tretorn Nylites in aurora red chambray, and they're on sale for $45. If some lightweight Millennial sprays on them, no big deal. (These run slightly large.)

4. Sunglasses. Girard 3700s. If you weren't one of the lucky dozen to get a pair of the same frames worn by Bradley Cooper in American Hustle, we have five more pair of the red-framed ones. Not every man is capable of pulling these off, but if that's you, you'll look like a million bucks.

MB Endorses: Verso Day Cream

Verso Day Cream with SPF 15. And Nic Cage in <em>Outcast</em>.
Verso Day Cream with SPF 15. And Nic Cage in Outcast.

We thought our search for a daily face moisturizer with sunscreen ended way back in March 2009, when we endorsed Kiehl's Facial Fuel Moisturizer with SFP 15. This stuff was indeed facial fuel, until Kiehl's messed with the formula in about October 2013, replacing the subtle cologne-esqe fragrance and eye-opening skin energization with the weight and grease of a cheap sunscreen.

In short, this new Kiehl's product is an unmitigated disaster. Check the feedback on We haven't seen this many 1-star reviews since the release of Nic Cage's latest movie.

A few deadstock tubes of the Kiehl's Facial Fuel OF from eBay got us through until we discovered Neutrogena's Age Fighter Face Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF. (If you don't have a few wrinkles and lines yet, you will, and Retinol is effective at fighting them.) Cheap, and well reviewed, this is not a bad product, although it burns like a MFer and if you get it in your eyes you temporarily go blind.

Enter Verso Day Cream. Invented in Sweden by Lars Fredriksson, it is formulated with a kinder, gentler Retinol (Retinol 8) that claims to be eight times more effective than Retinol in the same dosage, and yet paradoxically, doesn't feel like you're applying a flamethrower to your face. It smells great, has SPF 15, and has made our faces glow brighter than Rudolph's nose while he's banging Vixen. The only downside: you'll have to hide this from your SO, because once they try it, they steal it. You have been warned.

Announcing the Magnificent Bastard 'Anyone but Trump' Tie Sale!

Announcing the Magnificent Bastard 'Anyone but Trump' Tie Sale!

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.

If you ask us, that's a bargain.

But as it turns out, Trump's ties are even less expensive — at least at the moment. On Amazon, you can currently get one of his shiny corporate ball-ticklers for $29.99.

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.

Get Dressed: Taking a Sickie for Monday British Open Final Round

Get Dressed: Taking a Sickie for Monday British Open Final Round

1. Attire We don't always wear underwear, but we do when we're sitting on the sofa at 5AM on a Monday for 7.5 hours of British Open coverage, and we prefer CK One Cotton Stretch Slim Fit Boxers. Slim, yet unconfining, and discreet even under the shortest, tightest, and lowest-rise shots, these have been our favorites virtually since Seve won on a Monday at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in 1988. They're the best. 2 for $30 at, but you can always find these at Teej for about half that.

EARLIER: Chart! Underwear and Testicle Constriction
EARLIER: RIP: Seve Ballesteros — Inventor of the Sunday Uniform

Historically Bad Handshakes - John McEnroe

Historically Bad Handshakes - John McEnroe

Just look at this photo. If you didn't know better, you'd think John McEnroe just lost the 1984 Wimbledon final. But he crushed Conners in straight sets, 1-1-2.

The handshake is one thing any MB always does right. Never eye avert like McEnroe is inexplicably doing here. When you shake another man's hand — especially one you made look like a fool on Centre in the Final — you look him straight in the eye.

Earlier: Ask the MB: How to Shake Hands (Teaser: Not like Tricky Dick)

Get Dressed: Tennis Match During Wimbledon

Get Dressed: Tennis Match During Wimbledon

We're trying something new: Get Dressed.

We get a lot of "what should I wear?" questions at Ask the MB, so we thought than on occasion, when we're having an occasion, we'd share what we wear. Articles and accessories will reflect core MB tenets like archaism, Anglophilia, artful dishevelment, and a few others that don't start with the letter A.

The first occasion: A singles match at the club during Wimbledon.

For any tennis played during this fortnight we always channel two of our all-time favorites, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe, and split the difference where we can. We also strictly follow the Club's hopelessly vague and wonderfully antiquated "almost entirely white" rule.

1. Shorts. While ATP players' shorts have not yet reached the slacks-like length of the NBA and NCAAB, they're still far too long for our taste. We want zero restriction as we go wide to reach for our opponent's cross-court volley, and tanned thighs nicely accompany a down-the-line winner in response. 4" max inseam here, and cotton of course (principle of organic materials). So we're wearing these Sergio Tacchinis (the McEnroe brand) from a terrific UK eBay shop called honourabletype. Bookmark this one. $43.69.

2. Shirt. McEnroe got the shorts, so naturally Borg gets the shirt. What else but Borg's iconic Fila striped polo with oversize collar and 4-snap placket? $41.99.

3. Shoes We could take the court with the left foot wearing a Borg Diadora and the right foot in a McEnroe Nike, but instead we're opting for the classic style, relative obscurity, and archaism of Pantofola d'Oro low-tops in white. Launched in Ascoli Piceno, Italy in 1886, these are made for the street but hold up great on the court, and no one else wears them. $210.00.

4. Socks Simple. Wigwam King Knee High Tubes. Push 'em way down, exactly opposite as pictured. $8.00.

Ask the MB: Tie to Get Married In (Again)

Left and center: Emperor's Tourniquet. Right: Roman Holiday
Left and center: Emperor's Tourniquet. Right: Roman Holiday

Q: Hey MB, if I sent you 60 bucks will you send me a tie to get married in? You can pick. It's my second wedding if that matters. Cheers!
— Derek

A: Ah, passion and optimism in the face of experience and disenchantment! We are great fans of sequel marriages here at MB, and hope yours turns out well.

With its floral motif, we think the Emperor's Tourniquet is the right tie to signal new love in bloom. And if your new bride ends up ripping your heart out, well, you'll have a bandage close at hand. (We make no medical guarantees regarding its efficacy, however.)

In addition, we'd like to send you the Roman Holiday as our gift to you. Or should that be Roamin' Holiday? In our experience, second wives aren't nearly as liberal-minded as third or fourth wives, and we anticipate she'll be expecting total monogamy at least through the first year.

In any case, congratulations to you and your bride! We wish you the best.

Ask the MB: Summer Cabrales

Ask the MB: Summer Cabrales

Q: Summer Cabrales. Would you say these are nonchalant poolside shoes, or do you just come off looking like you're wearing a muppet pelt on your feet... Thanks in advance.
— Jack

A: 100% cotton terry is our go-to après swim/surf fabric, usually in the form of a towel, a cabana jacket, or a polo. So we love the idea of extending terry's shag carpet-like comfort to your feet in the form of footwear, even if it's at the expense of Gonzo and Camilla the Chicken.

Ready to dip your toe in? We really like the options from Industry of All Nations. Handmade in Mexico, using a coconut fiber inner heel and a recycled composite inner sole, they're a minimal footprint.

And at just 55 bucks they're a value to comfort extremities that may have just dealt with rocks and shattered Maker's on the rocks. But if that's too pricey check out IOAN's Sport Espadrilles in denim, at just $35, are fashionable, disposable, and biodegradable summer style.

MB Deal of the Week: Neiman Marcus PJ Combo

Plaid Two-Piece Pajama Set via Neiman Marcus, $56.00
Plaid Two-Piece Pajama Set via Neiman Marcus. $56.00.

Some people say they'll sleep when they're dead. If you ask us, that's setting a pretty high barrier to entry for one of life's most consistent pleasures. So we'll sleep when we're fed. In fact, we work intermittently, we play languidly, but we sleep hard, night after night. And that means we're always on the lookout for a new pair of pajamas. Like this mixed set from Neiman Marcus, which offers just enough plaid, and just enough not-plaid, to keep us happy. On sale now for just $56, it's one deal you should absolutely sleep on.

Ask the MB: Spring/Summer 2015 Sunglasses

From Top: Giorgio Sant'Angelo, Oliver Goldsmith, Cutler and Gross, Girard
From Top: Giorgio Sant'Angelo, Oliver Goldsmith, Cutler and Gross, Girard

Q: So, spring and summer are both in the air. And that means sunny days and sunglasses. Randolph Engineering hasn't had a lot of options as of late... do you have any suggestions for other, MB-approved shades?

A: With sunglasses, we prefer to gaze backwards, into the past. A few recommendations:

Allyn Scura
We always start at Allyn Scura and usually find something old, obscure, and interesting, like these deadstock Giorgio Sant'Angelos in brown tortoise. Yes, there is a high degree of difficulty here. But we can also imagine anyone from Kurt Cobain to Cary Grant looking good in these — they're versatile. So if you think you have what it takes, here's a little more info. Made in NYC in the '80s, they were designed by Mr. Sant'Angelo, born a nobleman in Florence Italy and, according to Wikipedia, an influencer to John Galliano and Marc Jacobs. At just 49 bucks the style/dollar ratio is higher than AMZN's P/E ratio. (WARNING: Pairing these with either Springtime in Italy or Roman Holiday will result in you actually becoming an Italian nobleman.)

Oliver Goldsmith and Cutler and Gross
Our next stops are bookmarked eBay searches to add an Anglophilic twist: Oliver Goldsmith and Cutler and Gross, two of our favorite eyewear designers. For the former, these Glynn aviators catch our eye, and for the latter, we've admired these 90s-era tortoise frames for months.

Magnificent Bastard
Finally, you can't ask us about sunglasses and not expect us to mention the Girard 3700s, as worn by Bradley Cooper in American Hustle. We're down to two pairs in our shop, and for all we know, they may be the last two mint-condition deadstock pairs left in the universe. Or maybe not. But do you really want to take that chance?

Arnold Schwarzenegger Will Be Back...At Precisely 11:30 AM

Arnold Schwarzenegger Will Be Back...At Precisely 11:30 AM

Earlier this month, the New York Times predicted 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.

Ask the MB: Jogger Pants Trend

What Kanye Hath Wrought: Vince Leather Jogger Pants via Saks Fifth Avenue, $537.00
What Kanye Hath Wrought: Vince Leather Jogger Pants via Saks Fifth Avenue. $537.00.

Q: Please weigh in heavily on the jogger pants trend that is sweeping shamefully across the country.
— Dave

If we ever find ourselves on the tennis courts at the Red Raider Community Fitness Facility in April or October, we like cotton sweatpants for the first 20 minutes or so. We also endorse cashmere sweatpants under the following conditions: Intercontinental plane travel; domestic train travel that spans at least three states; recovery from any surgery that pushes you over your out-of-pocket maximum for the year; and house arrest.

Beyond that, we cast a wary eye toward sweatpants, loungewear, joggers, or whatever you want to call them.

Now, granted, in the era when we initially developed this wariness, sweatpants came in two main varieties: Shiny silk or shapeless polar fleece.

The new generation of sweatpants offers an alternative to such fare. They're cut more closely, they come in cotton, wool, and cashmere, and when designers aren't trying too hard to make them novel or sporty, there are an abundance of good options to choose from if you need a pair for any of the purposes we describe above.

And this current abundance doesn't surprise us — we see it as the inevitable consequence of aging millennials seeking relief from the unforgiving skinny jeans of their higher-metabolism youth. And of course it's yet another manifestation of culture's primary shaping force over the last 40 years or so — business casual.

But despite the significant advances in sweatpants manufacture, we don't find ourselves wanting to wear them more often. While $300 tailored sweatpants are certainly a step up from onesies, they still strike us as somewhat infantile when worn in nightclubs, restaurants, etc. And at work they cross the chasm from business casual to trying too hard (TTH).

Indeed, if your need to gamify your Monday morning meeting is so strong that you leave your colleagues wondering if you're planning to dunk on them or just share your thoughts on the Q3 revenue forecasts, you are spending way too much time at the office and not enough time engaging in actual leisure. Put on a belt, knot up your tie, and pour yourself a drink. Work shouldn't be that strenuous.

Ask the MB: Polo Shirt with Blazer

Ask the MB: Polo Shirt with Blazer

Q: Let's say this spring/summer I find myself closing deals pool- or courtside and I'm wearing a tennis shirt and a blue blazer. Should the shirt be tucked or untucked? Any other thoughts on pulling this look off?

A: Should your polo be tucked or untucked? Both.

We often poke fun at J. Crew's narrow blazer lapels — which are so badly proportioned models try to claw their way out of them. But their polo page is an instructive display of artful dishevelment, a core MB principle. Our advice on achieving this look is similar to our advice on how to tie a bow tie: drink three martinis very quickly, put on your pants, and then just try to tuck in your shirt.

As for the blazer, pairing it with a polo is already a high-low play so don't overdo it. Nothing that's too shiny or too padded, and nothing that looks like your suit has joined the sharing economy and is now renting out its jacket to schlubs who cannot afford a proper standalone blazer. Finally, a note on blazer length. As Leonardo da Vinci helped us demonstrate a few years back, a well-fitted blazer should never extend below your ball sack.

Bonus MB Tip: We own several polo shirts that are sometimes the most expensive thing we're wearing that day. But every wardrobe needs a strategic reserve of disposable white polos that are all but guaranteed to suffer a 100 percent casualty rate amidst the chaos of summer leisuring. This year we can highly recommend the ASOS house brand jersey polo. It's 18 bucks, has an athletic but not binding fit, and comes with free shipping and returns. To avoid the latter, order up one size.

Ask the MB: Family Crest Ring

Ask the MB: Family Crest Ring

Q: I have just inherited a family crest ring from my grandfather. How does MB feel about such rings. Should they be worn?

A: There are certain things we'd happily inherit from our grandfather: His 1961 Jaguar E-Type. His Mizuno MP-14s. Money.

Then there are other things we'd rather not: Male pattern baldness. An elevated PSA. His third wife Mitzi.

Where does jewelry fall? Somewhere in the middle. Jewelry with a heraldic knight helmet? As our original logo attests, we have a soft spot for heraldic imagery. But when you put it on a big gold ring, we can't help but think this is what the 14th century version of Michael Lohan/Donald Trump would have worn. And that means that on our inheritability continuum, it's veering towards prostate cancer.

Our suggestion: File this item in a high-quality ring box and pass it down to your progeny, so in 30 years he can Ask the MB about wearing a family crest ring from his great-grandfather. We'll be here.

MB Deal of the Week: Brooklyn Tailors White Denim Pants

MB Deal of the Week: Brooklyn Tailors White Denim Pants

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.

NB: Brooklyn Tailors' Sizing Chart

Ask the MB: Slim-Fit Navy Wool Blazer

Ask the MB: Slim-Fit Navy Wool Blazer

I am in need of a slim fit navy wool blazer. Please point an aspiring MB in the right direction.

A: Well, definitely not J.Crew. A full year after a spring blue blazer post, this J.Crew model's fingernails show he's still desperately trying to claw his way out of an overpriced, prop-buttoned, anorexically-lapelled Ludlow (left).

Earlier: The Ludlowization of the Suit Market

We'd suggest giving one of these two Hardy Aimes blue blazers a try. They're the requisite wool and slim-fit, have lapels with a BMI in the normal range, and being from Savile Row, fulfill our Principle of Anglophilia. And the best part? Until 11:59 EDT April 6 they're each about 80 bucks.

The Winner of the 5th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

The Winner of the 5th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

Here are the correct answers to the Challenge:

1. Jesse Ventura
2. Bob Dylan
3. Vince Vaughn
4. Prince
5. Ethan Coen
6. Charles Schulz
7. Paul Westerberg
8. Sinclair Lewis
9. Josh Hartnett

This year there were lots of entries with perfect scores, and unfortunately our tie-breaker question — what do they all have in common? — was too easy and answered correctly by all entries, even by the guy who thought Sinclair Lewis was Garrison Keillor. The answer: They were all born in Minnesota.

This forces us to rely on to select a winner and runner-up, and those titles go to...

Joe Schachtner and Clint Miller.

Joe, enjoy your new pair of Allyn Scura frames. We always recommend the famed Legend, or for a more offbeat look, the Sergio. Both are terrific and consistently draw positive feedback. Alternatively, you can put your $125 credit towards a pair of Allyn Scura's vintage frames, like these Carrera 5595 sunglasses, modeled in a 1986 print ad by Formula 1 racing legend Niki Lauda. It's your choice.

Clint, as the runner-up you get to select a tie from our growing collection. Let us know what strikes your fancy and we'll send one out to you.

Thanks to everyone who played and we'll see you again next year for the 6th-Annual Challenge.

New Tie: 'Springtime in Italy'

Springtime in Italy via Magnificent Bastard, $60.00
Springtime in Italy via Magnificent Bastard. $60.00.

As nice as it once was in Minneapolis, we have to believe it's far nicer right now in Biella, Italy. Or maybe it's just that we're in an Italian state of mind, now that a couple of our new ties are here, in the shop, ready for purchase. To celebrate, we're pouring ourselves a Last Word, heading to Olive Garden for a Never Ending Pasta Bowl®, and putting on "Springtime in Italy," which is what we're calling one of our two new ties featuring fabric from Lancifico Subalpino, our favorite Mediterranean fabric house.

This beautiful specimen is made from a textured lightweight cotton that reads as crisp, alert, and artfully dishevelled. Put it on, and you may sense that your blood alcohol level has magically risen by 0.01 percent. But no higher — this tie makes you feel playful, not sloppy. You'll have trouble staying in the office, but if you duck out, even Shelly in HR will understand. A tie like this is made for striding boldly down springtime streets, not staring at spreadsheets at your standing desk.

NB: "Springtime in Italy" is one of a handful of MB ties available for the runner-up in the 5th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge. Take the Challenge now! Deadline to enter is March 31.



Old Fashioned

  • 1 raw sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 3 oz bourbon

On bottom of Old Fashioned glass (what else?) dribble bitters on sugar cube. Muddle. Fill with ice, then with bourbon. Garnish with lemon twist. No, not a thick orange wedge, handful of cherries, or a cup of fruit salad. A simple lemon wedge.


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Old Fashioned

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