Magnificent Bastard

Monday, December 22, 2014

Smells Like Holiday Savings!

Smells Like Holiday Savings!

Okay, this is it — our last deal of 2014. From now until December 19, when you buy a tie or belt, we're throwing in a tin of Alfred Lane solid cologne — the Vanguard scent. Eventually we're going to be selling this in our store for $17.95. But it's Christmas time, we're feeling festive, and so we'll be handing them out for free to anyone who gets a tie, a belt, or oil painting.

Until December 19, that is. Then we're headed to Costa Rica to surf for two weeks, and we won't be back until January 3. (You can order merchandise during this time; we just won't be shipping until January 4.)

Okay, got it? Now, we suppose, it's time to address a question longtime readers may have. "Wait," you're probably saying, if you fit this description. "You guys don't like cologne. Why are you selling it in your store?"

And it's true that while answering a question about Axe, we once exclaimed, "We're not fans of cologne per se." And then followed that up a month later with an even stronger declaration: "Ben, no such thing as a 'hot new fragrance' in our book. We've recently made our case against cologne."

But that was in 2008. We're six years older now, which means we're six years smellier. Someone gave us a tin of Vanguard a while back, and we were pleasantly surprised. Unlike traditional cologne, it's solid, which makes it easy to apply with a (literal) subtle touch. Just a dab on our gullet, and its crisp and manly scent — sort of like a filtered pine forest in which a slightly inebriated Nick Nolte is enjoying a bottle of top-shelf bourbon — neutralizes the faint whiff of impending death that now emanates from our wilting telomeres.

What we're saying is we use the stuff, and like it enough to carry in our store. And if you a buy a tie or belt before December 19, you can make your own assessments, on us. Merry Christmas!


Magnificent Bastard Public Service Announcement: Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Magnificent Bastard Public Service Announcement: Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Here at MB HQ, it's that time of the year where our conversations turn toward the ever-worsening trend we describe as the Halloweenification of Christmas. You know what mean: Millions and millions of adults, dressing up in clownishly garish Christmas costumes to honor the birth of our lord Carrot Top.

Has anything ever provided less joy to the world than a grown man or woman, half-sloshed on 100-proof eggnog, trying to camouflage his bone-deep holiday despair by wearing a naughty snowman on his chest?

On December 12th, the 'weenification' of Christmas will reach its awful apex on National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. We understand the profound global forces underlying this phenomenon. Social media has connected us all more tightly, made us all more visible to each other, and yet, paradoxically, all more invisible to each other as well, as everyone battles for attention.

The urge to stand out intensifies in this new milieu — and what better way to signal one's singularly charismatic sense of style than in a context where looking ridiculous is the explicit goal? Talk about a tradition tailor-made for an era where self-esteem and convenience rule.

To all this, we issue a hardy and heartfelt "Bah humbug!"

And advise you to cede National Ugly Sweater Day to Utah. On December 12th, put on a garment that will truly make your heart swell with gratitude for this incredible world we live in, where impeccably crafted garments are always just a click away. We recommend this Rice-Knit Cashmere Cardigan in Burnt Red Melange.

Yes, that name sort of makes it sound like this sweater belongs on a menu rather than your back, but don't be deterred. The cashmere comes from the Bayangovi region of Mongolia, where zero-degree days qualify as "hot" and the local livestock develop suitably thick and fluffy coats to compensate. Nomadic herders hand-comb the wool from these magnificent creatures, and each of these sweaters comes with a label that specifies the exact herder who did the combing! Add some genuine horn buttons, and what you've got is a Christmas sweater that looks as stylish as it does cozy.


Magnificent Bastard Black Tieday Sales Event!

Skip the Black Friday rush. Shop Magnificent Bastard.
Skip the Black Friday rush. Shop Magnificent Bastard.

Seriously, you're planning to get up at 5AM to stand in line and then slug it out with a bunch of coupon-clipping housewives over a cut-rate flat-screen? If you lived in the Soviet Union, circa 1975, we could understand such behavior.

But it's 2014. We are blessed to live in a golden era of mindless consumption. We have so much more to be thankful for than crowded parking lots, long lines, and heavy discounts on last year's straight-out-of-Guangdong tablet. We have e-commerce, home delivery, and 100% wool, made-in-New-York ties, for the mindblowing price of $40, shipping including. And if you buy two or more, we'll throw in a complimentary Secret Agent Belt to help you celebrate the bounty of the season. (Just remember to tell us your belt size.) Finally, if you are an elected member of Ukraine's Parliament and can authenticate this fact, we will send you the tie of your choice, for free.

Our Magnificent Bastard Black Tieday Sales Event starts now and lasts through 11:59 PM, Central Time, Sunday evening. At which point it turns into our Magnificent Bastard Tieber Monday Sales Event and continues for another 24 hours. Unless we run out of ties before then, in which case it ends.

So have yourself a leisurely Thanksgiving. Sleep in on Friday. Get up when you want, check in here, gather your loved ones and friends around your laptop hearth, click a few buttons, and just like that, experience all the magic of America's most sacred and beloved holiday, Black Friday, with absolutely none of the hassle.

And just because Black Friday is an American holiday, this doesn't mean that only Americans and Ukrainian officials can participate in our Sales Event. If you live outside the U.S., are not a member of Ukraine's Parliament, and still want to buy a tie for $40, just send a note to us at shop@magnificentbastard.com. Tell us what items you want, and we'll let you know how much the shipping will cost, how you can pay, etc.

In the end, as Black Friday approaches, it's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of the holiday and lose sight of its true meaning and value. So we'd like to take a moment to reflect on that. At its heart, Black Friday is a celebration of abundance, convenience, and the enduring meaning and connectedness we all derive from retail transactions involving cherished consumer goods. We are honored to do business with you, and hope you feel the same.


Achieving Double-O DiMaso

Deadstock Girard 3700 Sunglasses via Magnificent Bastard, $195.00
Deadstock Girard 3700 Sunglasses via Magnificent Bastard. $195.00.

If you're a regular at our shop, then you may have noticed that we added a new product earlier this week — deadstock Girard 3700 sunglasses as worn by Bradley Cooper in American Hustle.

As we explain in the shop, just putting on these mint-condition specimens from the golden era of aviator glasses will make you feel bolder, nobler, and a little reckless. But what we only learned today, through further self-experimentation, is what happens when you pair the Girard 3700s with our Secret Agent Belt.

Simply put, you achieve a state of mind we can only describe as "Double-O DiMaso." All the boldness, nobility, and recklessness remains, but it is now undergirded by a deep sense of lethal and rock-solid competence.

It's a sensation too wonderful to keep to ourselves, and that's why, in the spirit of the holiday season, we are throwing in a complimentary Secret Agent Belt to anyone who orders a pair of the Girard 3700s. Just remember to include your belt size when you complete your order — use the Note section on the order form — and we will take care of the rest.


Special Edition Belts at a Special Holiday Price

300-Year Belt: Water Buffalo Edition via Magnificent Bastard, $100.00
300-Year Belt: Water Buffalo Edition via Magnificent Bastard. $100.00.

Earlier this year, while vacationing in California, we sampled some gelato made from water buffalo milk, and it was the smoothest, creamiest gelato we'd ever had. It got us to thinking — if water buffalos can be the foundation for great desserts, why not great belts too? So we started investigating, and months later, we've got a new product in our shop — The 300-Year Sterling Silver Buckle Belt: Water Buffalo Edition.

Like the first and no-longer-available version of this belt, this new edition features a beautifully crafted .925 sterling silver buckle by artist Mary Daughtrey. But this time around, the strap is made from water buffalo hide, which, as the photo attests, exudes a blend of rugged but polished character that makes it an understated show-stopper. Wait, rugged and polished? Understated and show-stopping? "You're throwing around a lot of paradoxes, guys," you may be saying to your screen right now. "What exactly are you trying to say here?"

We're saying your waist is going to be getting a lot of admiring double-takes if you buy this belt. And people are going to be asking you a lot of questions.

Here are your answers: You got it from Magnificent Bastard. The water buffalos came from India. The buckle was made in Arizona. The belts were manufactured in Minnesota. It only cost you $100, which, yes, is pretty amazing price for a belt that will stay in style for at least 300 years. (Amortize that, and it's less than a penny a week!) You're not sure if they can get one too — only a limited number were made. But they can try, if they hurry!


Tim Lincecum Saves Giants' World Series Victory Parade

Tim Lincecum Saves Giants' World Series Victory Parade

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.

Between the "Kiss This Ring" sweatshirts and costume-jewelry title belts, and softball-sized watch faces, we weren't sure if we were watching a victory parade or a runway show for a Flavor Flav garage sale.

Even designated savior Madison Bumgarner did little to stem the rampant tide of toolbaggery. With his backward ballcap and orange garbage bag poncho, he looked like he was wearing a Darth Vader Halloween costume from The Nickel Store.

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.

Earlier: 7 Ways to Tie a Scarf Based on the Game-Time Temperature at Lambeau Field


RIP Ben Bradlee

RIP Ben Bradlee

Sometimes legendary newspaper man Ben Bradlee — who presided over the Washington Post during Watergate — stood up to White House power. Other times he sat down and snuggled with it. Both approaches took a bedrock sense of self-assurance that every man should aspire to. RIP, Ben Bradlee.


NFL Flair: What's Acceptable and What's Not

Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder, strengthening his marriage while on his way to a 42-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder, strengthening his marriage while on his way to a 42-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

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!


Magnificent Birthdays: Mahatma Gandhi

Magnificent Birthdays: Mahatma Gandhi

As a young, London-trained barrister, Mahatma Gandhi wore traditional business attire and pulled it off with aplomb. But it wasn't until he shed his suit and tie in favor of simple hand-spun sheet of locally produced cloth — aka khadi — that he emerged as a world-changing force. While rulers and revolutionaries alike typically signal their power and/or aspirations to power through crowns, brocade, epaulettes, sashes, and other ostensibly dazzling sartorial semaphores, Gandhi went in the complete opposite direction. His entire wardrobe appeared to consist of a bedsheet.

But if clothes make the man, it's also true, though much rarer, that the man can sometimes make the clothes. Gandhi donned a simple sheet and established himself as an icon of understated but indomitable will. His message was so true, and his convictions so strong, that he didn't need to clothe them in anything more elaborate than plain white cloth.

Now let us be clear here. We're not saying everyone — or really even anyone — should dress like Gandhi. If we said that, we'd never sell another belt or tie. But talk about artful dishevelment! Talk about not trying too hard! While Gandhi's wardrobe lacked variety, it had style to spare. And that's why, today, on Gandhi's birthday, we are breaking out the Bulleit and the Laphroaig and toasting the father of an independent India — and the father of business casual. Before Hef went to work in a bathrobe, before Steve Jobs prowled the hallways of Atari in bare feet, before Mark Zuckerberg taught mankind to share everything in a hoodie, there was Gandhi, showing the world you don't always need a power tie to be powerful. Our glasses are raised in his honor.


Ask the MB: Tie with Gingham Shirt and Navy Suit

Why Knottery?
Why Knottery?

Q: Hey MB. I'm going to a wedding next week; I was planning on wearing a navy Hardy Amies suit with a (Deo Veritas) dark lavender gingham shirt, black shoes and no-show socks. Would you give me some tie recommendations? I have been waiting for your summer tie but was thinking maybe a solid lavender tie might do in its place. Thanks so much for all your advice. Seriously.
—Cristian

A: With your Hardy Amies suit and Deo Veritas shirt, we suspect you're already going to be better dressed than the groom, and possibly the bride. That said, you don't want to outshine them too much — it's their day to be in the spotlight.

Thus, we are going to suggest something fairly low-key: A solid knit tie in burgundy. With a dark lavender gingham shirt, you're already making a statement — so you don't need a patterned tie adding yet another loud voice to the conversation happening on your chest. The tie we're envisioning weighs in silently but noticeably, with its rough texture and complementary shade adding visual contrast in a subtle but intriguing way. We predict that bridesmaids will be fondling your neckwear all day.

Now here's the thing about knit ties: The industry standard is to circumcise them and leave a flat edge at the bottom, and starve them to boot. DO NOT GET A SKINNY CIRCUMCISED TIE! (Yes, for the record, that is the first time we've ever used all-caps on this site.) You need a tie with a pointed end, and it must be at least 3 inches wide.

We looked around for a tie with these specs, and stumbled upon an online store called The Knottery. The name gives us pause, and so does the price point of their ties — just $35. These ties are probably not made in the U.S. — you'll need to spend at least $45 for that. But the Knottery's merchandise has gotten positive press from GQ, Esquire, Kempt, and many others. So we encourage you to take a chance on this burgundy knit. It fits our specs — pointed end, 3.25 inches wide, 100 percent silk — and you can apply the money you save on it toward a wedding gift. Give our best to the bride and groom!


Ask the MB: Shirt Buttoning Rules

Ask the MB: Shirt Buttoning Rules

Q: A lot of fellas are buttoning their collars all the way to the top these days, was just wondering your take & if the old MB shirt buttoning rules still apply. Just received my chocolate sandwich cookie cashmere belt btw, my waist is happy.
—Andre

A: Our goal here is style, not fashion. And style is ultimately about ... math. Ratios, angles, golden means, etc. In other words, good rules for style aren't just rules. They're laws, as immutable as anything Sir Isaac Newton ever put down in his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

So our take on buttons remains the same as always. For polos, N - 2.

When you're wearing a buttondown with a jacket and tie, button all the way to the top. If you take off your jacket, then ask yourself What Would Newman Do? The answer: Unbutton your top button and loosen your tie.

If you're wearing a sports shirt, there is no simple rule of thumb, because the answer depends on multiple sartorial and biological factors, including collar size, button spacing, and chest follicle density. See this post for elaboration, but in general, we encourage restraint. Just as you never want to go full Grimley, you also never want to go full Cowell. And even Newman himself can misstep when he starts heading in the latter direction.

Finally, we're glad to hear you like your belt. Thanks for your patronage.


Ask the MB: Is it Time for the Apple Watch?

Ask the MB: Is it Time for the Apple Watch?

Q: http://www.apple.com/watch/ ???
—Ben

A: As loyal readers know, we are suckers for a senseless lack of utility. And a timepiece that can't make it on its own from dawn until dawn surely qualifies as that. In addition to its presumably short battery life, the Apple Watch will use wireless charging — which introduces even more paraphernalia to the mix. As we understand it, to fully use an Apple Watch, you need an iPhone, the Watch's wireless charger, and, say, a Timex, to determine how many minutes until your Apple Watch runs down and to keep track of the time while it's juicing up again.

All told, that's not a "watch" — it's a time-telling system almost as technologically clunky as our beloved Geochron.

And yet here's the issue as we see it: The Apple Watch starts at just $349. And even the higher-end versions aren't likely to be that expensive — the Business of Fashion predicts a price point of around $1000 for the 18-karat gold model. In the realm of luxury timepieces, this qualifies as "sensibly affordable." And the $349 Apple Watch is downright cheap.

Throughout its history, Apple has always functioned as much as a fashion company as a technology company. (When it was designing its breakthrough product, the Apple II, co-founder Steve Jobs couldn't find a shade of beige for its case that pleased his discerning eye — even though the vendor he was working with offered 2000 choices.) Now, with the Apple Watch, it's leaving technology almost entirely behind and attempting to disrupt bling. For the $10,000 or so you might pay for a used, lightly scratched Submariner, you can get Apple Watches in a couple dozen different varieties. Or to put it another way, the 21st century finally has a Swatch to call its own.

In short order, these things are going to be ubiquitous, and that's why we want no part of them. At least until we've turned Pourcast into an app that sends you an alert every time you step within 100 feet of a bar stocked with all the ingredients that a Magnificent Bastard cocktail requires. Alas, unless someone invents a watch that magically adds a few extra hours to each day, that's still a ways down the road.


Adam Smith Cashmere Belt on Sale — Thank the Trivago Guy

Adam Smith Belt in Chocolate Sandwich Cookie (+ Trivago Guy) via Magnificent Bastard, $50.00
Adam Smith Belt in Chocolate Sandwich Cookie (+ Trivago Guy) via Magnificent Bastard. $50.00.

Sometime last year, the data scientists at Trivago figured out a simple metric for identifying potential customers: If you can't afford a belt, you probably are in the market for a good deal on a hotel room. Thus, an advertising campaign was born. In a commercial that started airing last year, a pitchman who would ultimately become known as Trivago Guy began captivating television viewers. Bedraggled, bleary-eyed, and, to connect with the target audience, beltless, Trivago Guy looks like he has spent the last 20 years draining hotel room mini-bars dry while leaving the pillows untouched. And yet who can deny the easygoing but absolute assurance he projects when explaining what to look for in an online hotel reservation service?

#trivagoGuy, in short, was a hit. But now that he has apparently captured the unshaven-and-beltless traveler demographic, Trivago has decided to give him a makeover. Share a photo of what he should look like on social media, and you can win a five-day trip to Berlin.

In the old days, of course, only new CEOs were allowed to wreck winning ad campaigns. Now, thanks to the democritization of media, we all can.

But the truth is Trivago Guy does provide an instructive lesson in when artful dishevelment stops being artful and crosses over into Stage I Homelessness. His rumpled hair? Fine as is. His three-day stubble? Also okay. His shirt? Incorrectly disheveled. He should switch from full tuck to semi-tuck. And most importantly, as London mayor Boris Johnson showed us in 2009, Trivago should indeed put on a belt.

We think our Adam Smith Cashmere belt in Chocolate Sandwich Cookie is exactly what Trivago Guy needs to perfect his look. And to emphasize this fact, we're having a sale, from now through August 30, or until we run out of belts, whichever comes first. Regular price $90. Sale price $50, shipping included. We're sure Trivago Guy himself would approve — he knows a deal when he sees one.


Wartorialist: Homeland Edition

Wartorialist: Homeland Edition

Ferguson, Missouri's police department has approximately 54 uniformed officers — and according to the city budget, it has spent more than $213,000 on "wearing apparel" over the last four years. That works out to just a little under $4000 per officer, and from the look of things over the last few days, much of that is being spent on camo. So we have to wonder — where are they shopping?

While menswear designers have been bombarding shoppers with an endless barrage of weaponized swim trunks and combat-ready varsity jackets for the last several seasons, the War On Plaid has mostly been a losing battle. Everywhere you look, camo is on deep discount. With $213,000, you should be able to outfit an entire U.S. Army division! So the Ferguson police department isn't just trampling on the 1st Amendment rights of American citizens. It also appears to be wasting their money.

Earlier on The Wartorialist:
Civilian Edition
Sadr City Edition
On the Street...Baghdad


Introducing the Secret Agent Belt

Secret Agent Belt via Magnificent Bastard, $30.07
Secret Agent Belt via Magnificent Bastard. $30.07.

When you're chasing extremely fit and agile villains up scaffolding in the midst of a chaotic but scenic construction site in the Bahamas, do you really care what time it is? Or is it more important that your belt remains secure? We're not secret agents ourselves, but we know a guy at The Sardine Can who swears he is — or was, until he learned a little too much about Area 153. (Nope, we'd never heard of it either, and of course that makes sense. It's three times more top-secret than Area 51.)

Anyway, Spiro — probably an alias — assures us that a secure, durable, and dashing belt would be an incredibly useful item for a genuine secret agent. So rather than give the world one more lookalike watch strap, that's what we've created. Based on the iconic color scheme of the watch band James Bond wore in Goldfinger, we present the Secret Agent Belt. Country of origin: China. Price: $30.07. Ships concealed in a handsome semi-automatic box, and available in our shop now.

Society's best defense against bad men wearing bad belts are good men wearing unusually stylish belts. Will you answer the call of duty?



The Incredible Shrinking Kanye West

The Incredible Shrinking Kanye West

In reality, Kanye West is a reported 5' 8", i.e. just a tiny bit shorter than the average U.S. male. And yet despite his statistically confirmed averageness, West, who appears on the cover of the August GQ, is also a rare example of a celebrity who apparently aspires to be smaller than life. Over the last five years, we've watched in puzzlement as he has shown an increasing attachment to an extreme form of sartorial foreshortening. The deadly combo?

* Tshirts that cover more leg than any dress in Miley Cyrus's wardrobe.
* A "bunched" pants aesthetic that should be left to Sharpeis.
* High-tops.

Decreasing the apparent length of your legs from both above and below frequently results in a highly identifiable visual brand — as both the Oompa Loompas and Mr. Magoo can attest. But while it works for them, are these really the role models Yeezy wants to emulate? Unless you are a grotesquely adorable cartoon character, we discourage this method of dress.

See the full-size, shrunken-down Kanye West from the August 2014 GQ here.

Earlier: Spread collars fatten your face and neck


Ask the MB: A Stand-In for the J. Fold Trooper Weekend Bag

Scout Series Navy Duffle via Wheelman & Co., $159.00
Scout Series Navy Duffle via Wheelman & Co.. $159.00.

Q: I am looking for a cool weekender bag with good organization. I found the perfect one in the J. Fold Trooper bag, but unfortunately it appears to have been discontinued as I can't find it anywhere. Do you know of anything comparable I should consider?
—Eric

A: We are sad to hear the Trooper bag no longer appears to be in production — we continue to use ours often and four years down the line it is holding up well.

The Trooper had a fairly distinct profile that was based on standard-issue Soviet military bags from the 1960s and 1970s. Alas, in a quick survey of our favorite bag manufacturers, we were unable to find any offerings that closely approximate the Trooper's doctor's bag-like shape in weekender-style dimensions and materials.

Of what we did see, we were most intrigued by this Scout Series Navy Duffle from Wheelmen & Co., which strikes us as a nice combination of durability and modestly understated style. The overall shape is more conventional than the Trooper, but the volume is essentially the same and we suspect the Scout is easy to pack. Silver hardware is always our first choice over the far more ubiquitous brass, and while there are no photos of the bag's interior, we like the sound of it. Multiple pockets (including one zippered) and orange lining (presumably bright) to make it easier to ID small loose items in dim conditions.

So until Putin annexes the U.S. and commands J. Fold to start making Troopers again, we encourage you to consider the Scout. And if you do go ahead and purchase it, let us know what you think.


Unsafe At Any Price: Jil Sander Leather and Calf-Hair Collar

Jil Sander Leather And Calf-Hair Collar via Barneys, $147.25
Jil Sander Leather And Calf-Hair Collar via Barneys. $147.25.

We have been watching this Jil Sander collar for what feels like years now, wondering who might pay $1480, then $589, and now $147.25 for this item. On the one hand, we were conceptually intrigued by Sander's merchandising innovation — she was trying to appify or unbundle something that had traditionally been considered a part of a shirt or jacket rather than a standalone accessory. On the other hand, there was the item itself, which always made us think, "Damn. Somewhere, there's a really toolbaggy, circumcised leather jacket walking around." Now, months later, the snipped foreskin, er, collar, can be had for a 90% discount. And yet sizes S, M, and L are still available. Verdict: Unsafe at any price!


The Wartorialist: Civilian Edition

Givenchy Camo-Print Reverse Inlay Shirt & Camo Trousers via Bergdorf Goodman, $825.00
Givenchy Camo-Print Reverse Inlay Shirt & Camo Trousers via Bergdorf Goodman. $825.00.

With professional peacekeepers like these Yemeni riot police dressing with the bombastic flair of a back-up dancer in some lost Janet Jackson video, Givenchy has decided to deploy all its firepower in its effort to put an R&R spin on battledress. The result: An outfit so garish not even the fog of war can dampen its destructive force. We expect to see these on the streets of Baghdad soon.


Show Us Your Game Face, Dude! KTZ Yellow Digital Map Print Mask T-Shirt

Show Us Your Game Face, Dude! KTZ Yellow Digital Map Print Mask T-Shirt

Male models of the world, a gauntlet has been thrown down. The guy in this latest installment of Show Us Your Game Face, Dude! has already proven that he can maintain a visage as emotionally inscrutable as Half Dome even when wearing a terry cloth hat that would prompt Zeno of Citium into a fit of giggles.

Now, he's taking on — and handily defeating — what appears to be a suit of chainmail that can only hope to offer protection against barbarians with a bad sense of direction. Ladies and gentlemen, our first Game Face two-time winner!

Have you seen a candidate for Show Us Your Game Face, Dude!? Send a note to editor@magnificentbastard.com and if we use it on-air we'll send you a Magnificent Bastard tie of your choice. (No kidding! We are currently sold out of the usual Game Face prize — Disposable Letterpress Beverage Shields — so the next Game Face submission winner gets a tie.)


Ask the MB: Reversible Belts

W.KLEINBERG Ostrich/Croc Reversible Belt, Navy/Brown via Bergdorf Goodman, $374.00
W.KLEINBERG Ostrich/Croc Reversible Belt, Navy/Brown via Bergdorf Goodman. $374.00.

Q: Wondering what you think about reversible belts like this croc/ostrich one — toolbag gimmick or useful wardrobe expansion technique? Also, that buckle looks strangely familiar.
—Jim

A: At first glance, a belt that efficiently moonlights as another belt might seem to violate the principle of senseless lack of utility. In this case, though, the utility manifests itself in the realm of style. That is to say, a reversible belt doesn't make any claim to hold up your pants better, or provide some other practical benefit. It just multiplies the possibilities of looking magnificent. And that's the kind of utility we can embrace. In fact, we have plans to someday release a reversible belt ourselves.

Nonetheless, while we conceptually endorse reversible belts, there's still the matter of execution. Regarding the belt you've got your eye on, we love the Caiman crocodile side. But we think the full-quill ostrich side should probably bury its head in the sand. In other words, we'd approach this one as a strictly one-sided belt if we were to incorporate it into our wardrobe.

Finally, yes, that buckle does look familiar. Same one we use on our cashmere belts. Good eye!


The Wartorialist: Sadr City Edition

Photo: New York Times
Photo: New York Times

With their covered faces, camo pants, and simple black tees, this strikingly well-coordinated Mahdi Army flash mob almost looks as if they are about to surrender to 2014's most hegemonic force — normcore. And yet note the emphatic gestures of resistance. Fluorescent explosive devices and sweatbands. Skull face scarves. We are astounded that amongst all the upraised right hands, there is not one clutching an iPhone and taking a selfie — because this is the most self-consciously fashion-forward rebel army we've seen to date. When Opening Ceremony decides to get serious about invading the Gap, they know who to call.


The Wartorialist: On the Street....Baghdad

Photo: New York Times
Photo: New York Times

Normally we steer readers who ask away from camo. But if there's anyone on earth who should be taking advantage of the collapsing camo market's post-peak prices, it's Blue Steel and Le Tigre here as showcased by this NY Times article. As ISIL runs unchecked across Iraq, shooting anything that moves, these guys are wearing electric vermillion and plaid? While we admire their commitment to style in the face of adversity — if not actually their style — we can't help but wonder about their choices. Even wrapping themselves in a giant matador's cape would be an improvement over their current outfits.


Jay Carney Keeps it Wrong to the End

Jay Carney Keeps it Wrong to the End

With the exception of his odd — and thankfully short — facial hair experiment earlier this year, White House press secretary Jay Carney has been a model of McDonald's-like consistency for nearly 3.5 years and 1,000 or so press conferences: the same Type A bedhead, the same equivocation and obfuscation, and the same structurally entrenched shirt and tie knot inequality.

If you insist on artificially boosting your jowl optics by wearing a spread collar, at least have the sense to tie a Windsor knot.

While Carney replacement Josh Earnest has a look that calmly proclaims "I'm the number 2 producer in the Topeka field office.," at least he understands the geometric benefits of point collars and proper knot pairings.

Earlier:

The only guys who should wear spread collars are Adrien Brody and the guy from Edvard Munch's The Scream

Visual proof: spread collars make your face and neck fatter


Ask the MB: Novelty Cufflinks

Ask the MB: Novelty Cufflinks

Q: Hi, MB! What do you think of novelty cufflinks?

Your fan,

Deb

A: We're not unconditionally opposed to novelty cufflinks. But we are somewhat baffled by the current state of the market. The last time we posted about this — in 2007 — we advised a reader to steer clear of skulls. Seven years later, that prohibition still stands. And from what we can see, you are going to have to do an awful lot of steering — the cufflinks sections on the websites of most major retailers look like the Crypt of the Sepulchral Lamp remixed by Hot Topic. (Seriously, when did skulls start accessorizing so heavily?)

Skulls with crowns
Skulls with ballcaps
Skulls with sunglasses
Skulls with bow ties
Skulls w/ headphones
Skulls with blackface
Skulls with mustaches
Skulls with mohawks

Has the Day of the Dead introduced a more formal dress code? While we understand that cufflinks offer a man a chance to signal his sense of style in a understated over-the-top way, and even encourage that, we're a little alarmed by this massive proliferation of skulls. A cufflink is not as permanent as a tattoo, but that shouldn't give you license to turn your sleeve into a black metal album cover from 1993.

Our advice: Stick with novelty cufflinks that allude to an interest in MB-approved pastimes like golf, tennis, sailing, skiing, or eating lobster. And even with those we have some caveats:

MB-Approved Novelty Cufflink Novelty Cufflink Caveat

Golf-related

Must have a USGA handicap index of 5.0 or lower.


Tennis-related

Must have a USTA rating of 5.0 or higher.


Skiing-related

Must have a ski level of 8 or higher.


Sailboat-related

Must own one of at least 28 feet.


Lobster-related

You're hungry, but you don't eat like a toolbag.


Buckle Up. The Unicorn Belt is Here.

Unicorn Belt via Magnificent Bastard, $150.00
Unicorn Belt via Magnificent Bastard. $150.00.

Unicorns are typically presented as fancy, flouncy creatures, like show ponies in drag. As it turns out, that's not true at all.

How do we know? Let's just say that on an elk hunting trip in Jackson Hole last year, we got the surprise of our lives.

Hypothetical question #1: Is it wrong to turn the most fantastic specimen the universe has ever produced into luxury menswear?

Hypothetical question #2: When a weaponized ungulate is bearing down on you at 60 MPH, does instinct sometimes take over?

Okay, truth is, these questions aren't so hypothetical. One moment, we were placidly contemplating the merits of two-button suits. The next, Satan's hell-horses were upon us. Racing toward us at impossible speeds. Snorting like dragons with hay fever. Suddenly, it was the age-old story: Man vs. beast. Them or us.

Everything happened too fast for photos, but after hours of hypnosis, and in collaboration with acclaimed wilderness artist Darrell Bush, we have re-created the scene in oil and canvas.

Also, we have some belts for sale. A limited edition series of 150. The roller on the brass buckle: genuine horn. The strap: genuine hide. The raw materials were shipped to New York City, where a fancy leather goods manufacturer produced the finished product you see here.

These belts aren't just belts. They're beautiful works of art that you could hang on the wall over your sofa.

Or, if you're stylish and brave, wear them as belts. Why "brave"? Well, as the postcard we're including with your purchase explains, we've been undergoing some odd effects when we wear these belts. The most significant: When we belch, it sounds like a dainty wind chime. Probably all in our heads, but considered yourself notified.

As for the wall over sofa, we've got that covered too. Along with the original oil painting we commissioned from Darrell Bush, we've also ordered a limited-edition run of 100 canvas giclée prints. These are signed and numbered by Darrell, and come with a certificate of authenticity. A less exclusive but still stunning portrait of this timeless hunting scene is available on archival paper, too.

Lightning rarely strikes twice. So while it's certainly possible we may run into a pack of angry unicorns a second time, we have to believe the chances of a Series #2 belt are low. If you want to be part of Series #1, act now.


Ask the MB: Walter White's Eyeglasses in Breaking Bad

Ask the MB: Walter White's Eyeglasses in <em>Breaking Bad</em>

Q: I've find this website on Google and, let me tell you, I admire what you do. I've always searched a website that knew how to recognize the brands of sunglasses, eyeglasses or wardrobe. Really Good! So, I'm asking you if is it possible to recognize the brand and the model of the eyeglasses wore by Bryan Cranston in Breaking Bad as Walter White. I'm not talking about the last frame he used (which is Republica - Montreal) but the classic iconic metal frame that he wore in the entire series. I know they're safety because they have some hooks in the temples which are required because of side shields but I can't figure it out what brand are they, I'm really becoming mad searching that frame. Hope you could be helpful for me. Thanks.
—Carlo

A: Carlo: What's worse? Going mad or wearing glasses that make you look like a middle-aged high school chemistry teacher? (Or a middle-aged high school algebra teacher? See our earlier post on GQ Creative Director Jim Moore's questionable eyewear decisionmaking.)

We'll let you decide.

Meanwhile, as you ponder that, we're going to hit you with what will likely be disappointing news: We have sought input from all our usual eyewear sources and yet are unable to come up with a definitive ID.

We can tell you that the frames Cranston wears in Breaking Bad are pretty close to these B.M.E.C. Big Mens Sam Eyeglasses. In fact, some people believe these are what Cranston is wearing.

We think the nose pads are different, so close but no meth pipe. And frankly with a frame this generic it is ultimately going to be almost impossible to make a case for any brand that goes beyond a reasonable doubt. If you really feel you need verification before making a purchase, we suggest you figure out how to contact the show's propmaster. That's what we'd do if we really wanted to identify a specific product and the world's most authoritative men's style website left us hanging.


Ask the MB: Shoes for Long Walks in the Woods

#17 at Minocqua Country Club, where we're fortunate enough to be playing this weekend, in between loafing and drinking.
#17 at Minocqua Country Club, where we're fortunate enough to be playing this weekend, in between loafing and drinking.

Q: Can you recommend a good shoe to take for an extended walk in the woods? I don't eat near enough Nature Valley bars to feel comfortable even trying on anything from Patagonia or Merrell.

Also, is there anything I simply must add to my summer reading list? Your past recommendations have only done me good.
—Donnie

A: Donnie, our only extended time* spent in the woods is either:

a. hitting recovery shots back to the fairway, or

b. tree skiing at Deer Valley

These activities involve wearing golf shoes or ski boots, neither of which we can confidently recommend for extended walks in the woods. Sorry.

As for the summer reading list here are three recommendations, one for each of our three favorite things: Golf, Leisure, and Cocktailing.

GOLF
Every Shot Counts
"Moneyball" for golf that changes the way you look at the game, how you practice, and how you play.




LEISURE
How to Be Idle
A collection of essays celebrating naps, taking a sick day, daytime drinking, and many other joys of life.




COCKTAILING
The Modern Drunkard
The Bible for drunks, in seven short chapters, each of which you can finish in the time it takes to consume a cocktail (this makes for a highly enjoyable sitting).



* Late last fall we took a short hunting trip to Jackson Hole — where we wore boots — and got the surprise of our lives. Much more on this adventure soon.


The Winner of the Hydrogen-1 Blue Suede Slip-Ons Is…

The Winner of the Hydrogen-1 Blue Suede Slip-Ons Is…

Thanks to all who entered our recent contest. This time, only a small number of participants achieved a perfect score. The question that stumped many of you? Number 2, the one about what beings on Neptune would probably wear if they existed and had feet. While we're sure they would appreciate the easy style and Italian craftsmanship of the Hydrogen-1 Neptunians, Neptune also has an average temperature of around -328 F (as our hint page revealed). That's even colder than it gets it in NYC, in the midst of a polar vortex — so the Sorel Caribou Reserve Lined Pac Boots were the correct answer.

Four of you got that one and all the other questions correct. Thus, we assigned you each a number and ran these number through the True Random Number Service. The lucky winner? Adam Dewitz. Adam, let us know your size and mailing address, and we'll connect you with your new pair of Neptunians, just in time for summer.

Those of you who came up short, take heart. We'll be announcing a new contest soon.


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