Magnificent Bastard

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


See How Donald Trump Inspired the Sale

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: NATO Watch Straps

The Skybolt. A playful and noisy strap to wear when the rest of your outfit is quiet.
The Skybolt. A playful and noisy strap to wear when the rest of your outfit is quiet.

Q: Any recommendations for a brand of Nato straps for my watch? There are a ton of companies/versions out there now.
—Chris

A: Yes, by our accounting there are now are at least as many online NATO watch strap sellers as there are NATO member states!

We've had very good luck with one of them, named, aptly, NATO Strap Co.. They offer a wide variety of quality straps, a 30% discount when you order 5 or more, and frequent promotions. And while they don't have naming or storytelling elan or quite like "The Buscemi" or "The Pretty Nice Rack," they do at least attempt differentiation on what's essentially become a commodity item with "The Black Ops" and "The Inmate."

Give them a shot and let us know what you think.

Earlier: Will the Real James Bond Watch Strap Please Stand Up?

The Greatest Outfit Change in Open History

Left: Stenson lining up his birdie putt on 16, what he called the most pressure stroke of the round.
Left: Stenson lining up his birdie putt on 16, what he called the most pressure stroke of the round.

This award goes to Henrik Stenson, Champion Golfer of the Year, who discarded his toolbag long-sleeve Hugo Boss synthetic mock turtleneck underwear on the 17th tee, just in time to hoist the Claret Jug in a polo. It's the best sartorial move in the 145-year history of the tournament. Well done Henrik.

Dress for the Job You Want, Not the One You Have

President Obama returning from NATO Summit, July 11 2016
President Obama returning from NATO Summit, July 11 2016

Given the alternatives, we wager President Obama would have a credible shot at overturning the 22nd Amendment this fall. But apparently he has higher aspirations than a third term. Comments he made in a Bloomberg interview suggest he may be contemplating a career as a venture capitalist or Silicon Valley CEO.

The President says his interest in science and organization would correlate well with a new life in Silicon Valley. For us, though, it's the outfit he wore when returning from his recent trip to Europe that shows how perfectly ill-suited he is for the highest echelons of high-tech.

In this expert take on Partners Meeting Casual, the President compresses so many awful touches into a single ensemble we imagine he must have access to some fashion-centric version of the Pied Piper platform. While he may not be ready to compete with Zuck or Larry Page yet, we'll certainly put him up against, say, John Doerr or Jeff Bezos. As soon as he ditches that helicopter for a Tesla, that is.

What's wrong exactly? Here's our quick assessment, with links to where we've covered these issues in the past:

See also: From Cool to Tool: Tracking Barack Obama's Descent Into Toolbaggery

Ask the MB: Black Tie for a Funeral

Ask the MB: Black Tie for a Funeral

Q: I need an exceptional black tie for a funeral this Saturday; it will be paired with a black Hardy Amies suit, white shirt, black shoes. Can you help? Sounds simple but a classy black tie is not that easy to find. Sorry such short notice.
—Cristian

A: We understand your dilemma. A black tie sounds simple, but you want to look like Bobby Kennedy — or even Ted — not the lead singer for The Knack or a Halloween mobster. Especially at a funeral. What that means is nothing too shiny, nothing too skinny, nothing too wide.

Our first choice is this Lanvin — which weighs in at the exactly proper MB tie width of 3⅛ — but there's only one left. So either act fast or be prepared to settle for this Brooks Brothers number — which will do in a pinch but does not quite possess the strikingly generic elan of the Lanvin. So we say act fast.

Ask the MB: Blue Blazer for Summer Wedding

Ask the MB: Blue Blazer for Summer Wedding

Q: Want to get your expert opinion on a blazer I'm looking at for a summer wedding in a few days. It's between this Vineyard Vines version (I would not go as preppy as the guy in the picture), this one from Golden Goose, and finally this one from MM by Mariomatteo. What you say, o' Fashionistas?
—Jamie

A: Let's break these down using a modified PMI Chart.

  Plus Minus Interesting Score
Vineyard Vines
—Horn Buttons (+2)
—Dual Vent (+3)
Ends at Nutbag (+4)
—Photographic Pairing with White Pants (+5)
—Strictly Spring/Summer (-3)
—Exposed Interlining on Flap Pockets (-3)
—Dated Lapels (-4)
—"Imported" (-1)
—Price [$395] (-2)
—VV founders do not inspire confidence; may actually register positively on the toolbag self-assessment (-5)
—Endorsed by John Kerry (-3)
-7
Golden Goose
—Functional Buttonholes (+3)
—Updated Lapels (+4)
Ends at Nutbag (+4)
—4-Season (+4)
—Made in Italy (+3)
—Patterned Fabric (-2)
—Single Vent (-1)
—S/M/L Sizing (-2)
—Price [$312] (-1)
—Golden Goose generally makes great gear (+3) 15
MM
—Price [$198] (+4)
—Dual Vent (+3)
—Patch Pockets (+4)
—4-Season (+4)
—Updated Lapels (+4)
Ends at Nutbag (+4)
—Made in Italy (+3)
—Non-functional Buttonholes (-3) —MB founders own MM blazers, and with some aftermarket buttonholing, they've been terrific buys (+5) 28

Considering a few items and can't decide? Ask away and we'll apply modified PMI methodology to your sartorial conundrums.

Style Red Card: Recklessly Foul Play

Style Red Card: Recklessly Foul Play

Here is 56-year-old Joachim Loew, head coach of the German national team, during today's European Championship game against Ukraine. As you can see, Loew's compression tee is age-inappropriate, waist-inappropriate, and pit-inappropriate — which is a lot of violations to pack into a single t-shirt. We're not sure what he's celebrating, but we're hoping it's an emergency antiperspirant air-drop.

Earlier: 2010 World Cup quarterfinal predictions based on coaches' style

Rick Owens Cargo Sandals: Unsafe at Any Price?

Black/White Cargo Sandal via Totokaelo, $457.50
Black/White Cargo Sandal via Totokaelo. $457.50.

Over the years, Rick Owens has won our grudging admiration for his seemingly inexhaustible ability to create ludicrous menswear. Case in point: These "cargo sandals," which to our eye look like an ugly sports wallet/blood-pressure cuff roosting on a orthopedic forearm splint, which in turn is built on a foamy, Croc-likes sole as imagined by the set designer of Saw III.

As aesthetically awful as they are, what puts them over the top for us is the paradoxical illogic of their ostensible utility. Our contention: Any man who would ever consider wearing cargo pockets on his ankles would in fact already be wearing cargo shorts with more pockets than anyone wearing shorts should ever need. So why would he require even more carrying capacity?

We have two theories here.

1) These sandals are designed for ambivalent nudists, who are drawn to their capacity to both carry a wallet and keys and also distract attention from the fact that the wearer is otherwise naked. With these sandals, we're fairly certain, you could walk buck-naked into a boardroom and everyone's primary response would be, "What the fuck are you wearing on your feet?"

2) Rick Owens is a crazy genius whose thought processes we should not even attempt to decipher.

Currently we are learning toward the second option and starting to think about Rick Owens in a new way. While we continue to maintain that you should never ever wear his most ridiculous offerings, it has crossed our minds that we should begin to collect some of these things as a kind of conceptual art, for display inside sterile vitrines that we would surreptitiously install into, say, Lars Ulrich's man cave.

The takeaway: If these sandals drop from their current sale price of $457.50 to $300 or below, we may put our plans into action.

Ask the MB: Does the Minimum Viable Wallet Work?

Ask the MB: Does the Minimum Viable Wallet Work?

Q: My wang is out for the Horween MVW, but only a video will convince me that the elastic strap will be hold what matters. Need to see it in action.
—Aaron

Here's the Minimum Viable Wallet in Horween Chromexcel Brown and Lambeau Pride strap, fitted with two cards and three Jacksons, held by Donald Trump's tiny hand, in front of some of our best friends.

Just because it's the MVW doesn't mean it hasn't gone through extensive development and QA. Over the past 12 months we've tweaked every element of the platform and its plug-ins to bring you the best in minimalist wallet technology.

Introducing The Minimum Viable Wallet

Minimum Viable Wallet in Horween Chromexcel Brown via Magnificent Bastard, $25.00
Minimum Viable Wallet in Horween Chromexcel Brown via Magnificent Bastard. $25.00.

Are you walking around with a piece of 19th century technology in your back pocket? Today, we introduce the antidote to bulky, obsolete legacy billfolds that were designed for an era when wallets moonlighted as photo albums: The Minimum Viable Wallet.

We start with a single folded piece of Horween leather. We add an elastic strap that attaches to the folded piece using two brass clips. You store your credit cards inside the folded leather. You use the elastic strap to secure your cash.

Sure, we could have made it even simpler, but then it would not be viable. What you see here is exactly how much wallet a man with a large line of credit and an enduring desire to occasionally brush his fingertips against a few real bills needs to function in the current moment.

The straps are changeable, because we know a man gets restless, even with his wallet. With our system, you can customize your Minimum Viable Wallet as the situation warrants. Going to the game? Then you'll need the Lambeau Pride strap. Meeting with Moroccan arms dealers? The Secret Agent works best for that. When you purchase a Minimum Viable Wallet, you get three straps of your choice. And you have three leather platforms to choose from: Horween Chromexcel Brown, Horween Chromexcel Black, and last but definitely not least Horween Latigo Rio. Just $25. Have a look.

All MB Ties On Sale Until July 15 — Including Our New Spring/Summer 2016 Collection

This is what your ties could look like in 2017. Resist the Toolbag Militia!
This is what your ties could look like in 2017. Resist the Toolbag Militia!

The swallows have returned to Capistrano. The Twins are already thinking about next year. And we've made a new batch of ties. Ah, spring! This time around, we've got five new additions to the MB catalog, all made from fabrics produced by a mill in Biella, Italy, then meticulously cut and hand-stitched into the ties you see here in a factory in Queens.

Normally, our ties retail for $60. But these are not normal times. Come January, there's a not-insignificant chance that Donald Trump and his Toolbag Militia, which now includes everyone from Bobby Night to Gavin McInnes, will occupy the White House. We admit how wrong we were on this one. Five years ago we thought there was no chance in hell that Trump could credibly contend for the highest office in the land.

But while Trump claims his goal is to make America great again, his track record suggests otherwise, at least when it comes to neckwear. For years, Trump has made shiny corporate ball-ticklers in Chinese factories and fed them to hapless toolbags at approximately $60 a piece.

His alleged rationale: He can't find American manufacturers who can deliver this product at competitive prices.

Last summer, we explained the shortcomings of that argument. To make Magnificent Bastard ties, we use a manufacturer based in Queens, New York — aka the town where Trump grew up.

We don't know if we just got lucky, or if we have great instincts, but it wasn't that hard to find this company. The price they charge allows us to sell our ties at the same prices Donald Trump sells his. And we use fabrics produced in Italy, not China.

Now, granted, Trump sold his ties through retail channels, and we sell ours directly to you. But so could he. If he really wanted to support American businesses and offer good value to American consumers — to make America great again — he could do it. But he hasn't, even though it's incredibly easy to do.

Why not? The only rational conclusion is that Donald Trump loves ugly 100 percent Chinese ties. Just look at his neck, right now, wherever he is — that's all the proof you need.

Will any of this change if Trump becomes president? Unlikely. In fact, as recently as two months ago, he was still emphatically pledging his allegiance to ugly Chinese ties.

Our prediction? If Trump is elected president, he will push for a new era of tie control, with regulation that protects his own long-standing business interests by favoring cheap Chinese imports over American-made ties like our own.

Now, in other words, is the time to buy stylish, American-made neckwear. Because when 2017 rolls around, the Toolbag Militia will probably be breaking down doors and confiscating any tie that is not shiny enough to serve as a ribbon on a four-year-old girl's birthday present.

We're not waiting until then to start a resistance movement. We believe it is our duty as Americans to resurrect our Anyone But Trump sale from last summer. What we said then, we say now: Just to prove that good old American know-how and entrepreneurism can still compete with Chinese tie sweatshops equipped with color-blind slave robots, we are offering the following deal, now through July 15 (or until supplies run out): Two Made in USA ties for $60. 4 for $120. 8 for $240. Shipping included. This includes all of our Spring 2016 ties, and every other tie we currently have in inventory. Just be sure to use the code ANYONEBUTTRUMP when ordering. Show your patriotism, and buy now!

Ask the MB: Acceptable Gym Clothes

Ask the MB: Acceptable Gym Clothes

Q: Big fan of your posts. I love your products too. The Emperor's Tourniquet is the best tie in my closet for sure.

So, I hit the gym pretty regularly, it's not as classy as JFK and sailing, but then not all of us own boats and horses. The appalling apparel worn by most men to the gym makes me nauseous (baggy shorts and low cut tank tops - the ones that have armpit holes which show the entire torso). Anyway what are your recommendations for gym clothing and shoes that are acceptably MB and yet functional enough (sweat wicking)?Against my initial apprehensions I am considering some of the men's gear from lululemon - what are your thoughts on the clothing on their website?

—TJ

A: Good question. At Complex.com, they advise that "wearing gym clothes out in public" is a major mistake. We take that philosophy a step further. Or maybe even a dumbbell lunge further: Wearing gym clothes in the gym is usually a mistake too.

What makes a man think that because he's working up a sweat his style gets to take a break?

We're not sure. But what we do know is that many men who would never dream of dressing like a toolbag in the office or a bar find bandana headbands, deep armhole tank tops, and over-the-knee polyester mesh shorts perfectly acceptable as long as they are within 50 feet of an elliptical trainer.

That's incorrect.

You're showing the right instinct with that lululemon site, at least in terms of its emphasis on dark, solid colors and clothes that fit closely without getting too clingy. But following our foundational principle of organic materials, we look for workout wear made from merino wool, which we aren't seeing there.

Because no one has ever seen a sheep on a treadmill, or even doing anything except standing still on a hillside, people don't necessarily think of wool as being a good material for the gym. But as lazy cyclists have long known, wool wicks well and doesn't stink even after repeated usage.

Outlier makes our preferred gym shirt, a v-neck short sleeve of 100 percent Merino. Unfortunately, they're currently sold out. We're taking that as a good reason to skip the gym for a while, but if you're feeling more ambitious than us, here's two alternatives: The Wooly Clothing Merino, made in China, and the Rambler's Way Cross Neck Tee, made in the USA.

Finding all-wool shorts is difficult. These days we're settling for this wool blend version from Smartwool.

With shorts, though, we're not as concerned about the materials as we are about some general guidelines. Namely, no stripes and no mesh, and leave any pair that gets within 3 inches of the top of your kneecap to that guy by the weight bench who looks like Guy Fieri's ripped twin.

The Winner of the 6th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

The Winner of the 6th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

Karl Foote.

Karl was part of the 81% of entrants who identified the bespectacled or sunglassified MBs in the 6th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Contest. Clockwise from upper left: George Clooney, John Cusack, John Travolta, Robert De Niro, Sean Penn, Woody Harrelson, James Coburn, Louis Gossett Jr., James Earl Jones.

Karl was also part of a much smaller cohort — 11 — who nailed the tiebreaker question (which was biased towards fans of a Terrence Malick masterpiece). "What do they all have in common?" Answer: they all starred in a movie with our spiritual advisor, Nick Nolte.

George Clooney — The Thin Red Line
John Cusack — The Thin Red Line
John Travolta — The Thin Red Line
Robert De Niro — Cape Fear
Sean Penn — The Thin Red Line
Woody Harrelson — The Thin Red Line
James Coburn — Affliction
Louis Gossett Jr. — The Deep
James Earl Jones — Three Fugitives

Finally, Karl lucked out as his entry was randomly selected from the 11, as were the two runner ups. The unfateful eight will receive complimentary letterpress beverage shields for their participation and acumen. (Keep an eye on your inbox for details.)

Karl, enjoy your new pair of Allyn Scura frames. We always recommend the famed Legend, or for a less traditional look, the Sergio. Both are terrific and draw positive feedback as either eyewear or sunglasses. Alternatively, you can put your $125 credit towards a pair of Allyn Scura's vintage frames, like these Carrera 5425 sunglasses, modeled by De Niro in Casino. It's your choice.

MB Endorses: Makers and Riders 3-Season Dispatch Rider Jean

MB Endorses: Makers and Riders 3-Season Dispatch Rider Jean

Regular readers know our affection for Naked and Famous's Snow Pant Denim, indigo jeans designed for the slopes that double as terrific daily cold-weather biking trousers.

Unfortunately, eBay sightings of these long-discontinued pants are rarer than a David Brooks fan at a Donald Trump rally, and here in Minneapolis, winter is sticking around just as stubbornly as John Kasich. We need some more warm cycling-friendly pants.

Enter Makers and Riders' brand-new 3-Season Dispatch Rider Jean.

Honestly, we never imagined we would ever approve of a product made out of "exclusive AeroFleece." But when we saw that Bill Murray was a fan, we figured we'd give them a chance.

Decade after decade, Bill Murray has rarely steered us wrong — and he hasn't this time either. While we don't quite like the Rider jeans as much as we like Caddyshack, we'll put them right up there with Rushmore, Quick Change, and even Groundhog Day. Which is to say, we like them a lot.

Clean and simple styling? Yes. Slimming? Yes. Gusseted crotch, anti-chainring tapered legs, tasteful reflectivity? Yes. Yes. Yes.

They won't work for sub-zero commutes, but with a pair of long underwear we've been plenty comfortable down to 10°F. Without long underwear, we reckon we will wear them into the low to mid 50s, at which they'll be too hot and we'll switch over to shorts.

Like the Snow Pant Denim, the Rider Jeans are versatile. In the same way that Bill Murray was designed for comedy but can handle straight dramatic roles with great skill, the Rider Jeans, designed for cycling, are also awesome shoulder-season golf pants. As Mr. Murray himself has discovered. (You didn't think he was biking to work, did you?).

Rage Against Establishment Casual

Donald J. Trump, potential leader of the first toolbagocgracy, in casualwear look that's winning with voters: open collar shirt, blazer, legible baseball cap.
Donald J. Trump, potential leader of the first toolbagocgracy, in casualwear look that's winning with voters: open collar shirt, blazer, legible baseball cap.

In the 2016 campaign for the White House, conventional wisdom says the electorate is angry with the establishment, and this explains why a short-fingered vulgarian is on the brink of winning the GOP's nomination for president.

True enough, but the analysis lacks depth. Specifically, what is it about the establishment that has everyone so frosted?

We've been developing a theory over the last several months and now believe we've compiled enough evidence to go public with it.

There's one cultural force that blue-collar Republicans, the Mobile Home Majority, disaffected Democrats, and various other constituencies find even more threatening than Mexican immigrants, Syrian refugees, or even ISIS: the zip mock neck sweater.

Have a look:

While we understand the animus underlying this trend, we fear its consequences. A Trump presidency could potentially turn America into the world's first toolbagocracy. Just look at the notables from whom Trump has already collected official endorsements: John Daly. Jerry Falwell, Jr. Hulk Hogan. Ted Nugent. Dennis Rodman. Willie Robertson. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and the list goes on.

Oh, and just in case you're not already checking real estate prices in New Zealand? Yes, Guy Fieri "could be interested" in a Trump presidency.

America's only hope, as far we see it? Between now and November, somebody's gotta convince Trump to put on zip mock neck sweater.

EARLIER: Ask the MB: What do you think about half-zip sweaters?

MB Contest: 6th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

MB Contest: 6th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

Welcome to the 6th Kind-of-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge, sponsored by our all-time favorite eyewear and sunglass outfitter, Allyn Scura.

THE CHALLENGE: Identify the nine bespectacled or sunglassified MBs above and you will be entered to win a pair of Allyn Scura frames ($175 value) or a $125 credit you can apply toward any vintage frames Allyn Scura carries. It's up to you. This year we're sweetening the deal. The runner up gets a Magnificent Bastard tie of his/her choice and 3rd place gets a Secret Agent Belt.

To enter simply fill out the form below with the names of the men pictured, and, in the event of a tie, what they all have in common. One entry per person. USA only. Good luck. The deadline for this contest is Thursday, March 31 at midnight CDT.

Sorry, this contest is closed.

Unsafe at Any Price: Denim Joggers

Denim Joggers via Uniqlo, $19.90
Denim Joggers via Uniqlo. $19.90.

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.

Ask the MB: Ray Ban Outdoorsman Aviator

Ask the MB: Ray Ban Outdoorsman Aviator

Q: I wear Ray Ban aviators (outdoorsman} style from the late '50s early '60s. Are they in or out of style? Trying to be magnificent is not easy!!
—Matt

A: The Outdoorsman is a little, uh, familiar. ("Familiar" being English for "cliché.") But not as familiar as a pair of Wayfarers, and to our eye, a solid look. While it won't capture attention the way that, say, a pair of Angelos in light havana will, it will also never go out of style. So you're good.

If your pair was indeed produced by Bausch & Lomb in the '50s/'60s, the 12k gold-filled frames should hold up nicely indefinitely. What you need to watch out for is the plastic brow sweat band. Once it starts breaking down or cracks, you can't replace it, and the glasses look goofy and broken without it.

Still, there's no reason to be too careful. If you experience a plastic failure, you can purchase another pair at our eyewear partner Allyn Scura for a buck fifty.

Ask the MB: Is Yoga Bad?

Ask the MB: Is Yoga Bad?

Q: Is yoga bad?
—Aaron

Unbeknownst to many Westerners, there's more to yoga than asanas. Mind you, we're speaking strictly as spectators here — but even with our limited second-hand knowledge, we know that yoga is an ancient system of metaphysics that also places major emphasis on yoga pants, soy-based accent candles, and gentle breezes.

As you might expect, our restless hummingbird mind usually settles on the pants. We love how yoga can quiet the hips and self-actualize the pelvic floor. At the same time, we've also noted a recurring theme amongst some of the most devoted yogis we know: As their bodies grow more flexible, their minds turn rigid. Bikram class cannot be missed. Gluten is criminalized. Only compostable, eco-dyed hemp t-shirts will do.

So while our eyes say yoga is good, our heart-eye isn't quite as enthusiastic. Namaste.

MB Deal of the Week: Saturdays Surf NYC 'Bowery' Sweatshirt

Grey Heather Bowery Sweatshirt via Totokaelo, $49.00
Grey Heather Bowery Sweatshirt via Totokaelo. $49.00.

We stalk TOTOKAELO for deals on Martin Margiela cardigans and Ann Demeulemeester longline tanks, but have unearthed great value on a plain old sweatshirt.

Now, you might be wondering: How many plain old sweatshirts does one man really need? Well, let's see. If you're like us, you need one for sitting around. Then, you also need one for sitting around drinking. Then, there's sitting around drinking and watching sports.

In short, if you share our very active sitting-around lifestyle, you'll need a full complement of plain old sweatshirts.

Which brings us to Saturdays Surf NYC's sweatshirt collection. For us, it's right up there with the best of them. Available in grey, navy, or black, they're $49 plus free shipping. (FYI, more sizes are also on sale straight from the source.) If you opt for the navy or black pullover hoodies, they're only $32.40. Fits true to size. You will not be disappointed.

Get Dressed: Biking to Work in Arctic Conditions, the Ultimate Guide

Get Dressed: Biking to Work in Arctic Conditions, the Ultimate Guide

Al Gore and Leo DiCaprio are going to have to take a lot more trans-oceanic plane trips before they manage to put a dent in the bone-bruising chill that greets us every morning in Minneapolis this time of year. But while there's nothing we can do to avoid the snow, sleet, and ice, we can avoid the even-worse-than-usual traffic and parking-space hunts that come with them. How? By continuing to ride our bikes to work, even in the face of sub-zero temperatures.

How do we pull this off without looking like we're about to engage in some heavy breathing with a couple of broad-shouldered Scandinavian beauties at the Winsport Olympic Luge Track? We lay out our strategy below.

HEAD

Smartwool Balaclava underneath a Smartwool Reversible Training Beanie. This is the warmest headwear combination that can still fit under your helmet.

1. Bell Faction in Matte Black. Minimal. Cheap. Works for the afforementioned DiCaprio, and us, too.

2. Nannini "TT" Goggles. Made for motorcyclists but adopted by cyclists looking for a stylish way to keep your eyelids from freezing shut.

TORSO & LEGS

3. Smartwool Baselayer underneath a 8 Wool Turtleneck. A baselayer under a jacket is all we usually need in anything above 10°F but it was -6°F this morning so we layered with a wool turtleneck. 8 makes a stylish one, with value.

4. Love Moschino Long Down Puffer. Down blazer-style jackets and some days even down shirts work for Minneapolis winter commuting. But not this neo-Polar Vortex shit. At anything below 0°F we pull out the long down puffer. Jack Frost may nip at your nose, but first he nips at your toes, then, surprisingly, your ass. Having goose feather coverage back there helps prevent his bite.

5. Smartwool Baselayer underneath Naked and Famous Snowpant Denim. Naked and Famous is responsible for some of the most important innovations in the history of denim, like scratch and sniff raspberry scented jeans. But their all-time best effort is the discontinued Snowpant Denim, a deep indigo wash treated with a waterproof and wind-resistant coating, and lined in comfy fleece. Look for them on eBay and try to grab them before we do.

HANDS

6. Wigens Bear Claw Gloves The synthetic lobster claw gloves you see most winter commuters wearing are neither a warmth nor a dexterity match for these Swedish leather and fur marvels. Unfortunately Wigens seems to have stopped making them. Set up an eBay alert.

FEET

Minnesota-based 45NRTH makes the popular Wölvhammer commuter boot, but they're nearly as heavy as a pair of Pacs, only rated to 0°F, and don't abide by our un-gear aesthetic. After several years of trial and error we've concocted a 4-step footwear solution that's fairly lightweight and can hold up to a 45 minute commute at -20°F.

Darn Tough Hunting Socks. Not all wool socks are created equal. We've tried a dozen different brands and Darn Tough are the best. Made in Vermont.

7. Fleece-Lined Sorel Slip-on Sneakers. Yes, fleece-lined sneakers. These run large.

Teosport Neoprene Toe Covers. Put these over the Sorels.

8. Swims "Mobster" Rubber/Neoprene Waterproof Boots. Wrap the cozy package up in perhaps our all-time favorite footwear and off you go.

Ask the MB: Christmas Gift for New Casual Girlfriend

Ask the MB: Christmas Gift for New Casual Girlfriend

Q: What do I get a girl for Christmas who I have been casually seeing for one month?
—Late to the Party

A: Some of us have been with the same woman for more than a month, and in some cases even several months, and have faced the same Christmas gift-giving dilemma. From experience we can say one thing is for certain: physical objects are an absolute no-no. Even seemingly sure-fire presents like sports cars and private islands can blow up in your face — "This latitude is too low!" — and the return policies are a nightmare.

This is why we strongly recommend this simple, convenient, relatively affordable, and extremely popular solution: a spa gift certificate.

There isn't a woman on earth who doesn't like to be pampered with a facial, massage, pedicure, or achiote hydrating wrap, and in some cases the treatments are mutually beneficial. Further, depending on how much you want to spend, this gift opens up several hours of free time to watch a football game, drink beer with your mates, or do both of those things simultaneously.

It's a win-win-win.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

MB Declares War on Nine Days of Christmas

MB Declares War on Nine Days of Christmas

We admit it. As much as we love Christmas, we sometimes think of it as the guest that won't leave. 12 days? You're staying 12 days — really?

Yesterday we declared War On Nine Days of Christmas. We'll take the ladies dancing, the maids a milking, and let's see, the calling birds. (We'll leave the gold rings to Justin Trudeau.) Everything else, we're not interested. From here on, we're celebrating the 3 Days of Christmas and that's it.

For readers of this site, we're paradoxically spreading our scroogery with three days of special deals:

December 15: On the 1st Day of MB Christmas, we're offering a Secret Agent Belt for 50 percent off, only $15.03, shipping included. Use the code SECRETSANTA. (This offer has been extended until 11:59PM CT December 16.)

December 16: For the 2nd Day of MB Christmas, it's our cashmere belts' turn. Cozy? There is nothing cozier than 100 percent cashmere. Forgiving? Go ahead and have that seventh piece of pumpkin pie — our Adam Smith cashmere belt has micro-adjustable prong placement. For these reasons, it's our go-to belt for the holiday season. Today only, you can get one, while supplies last, for only $50, shipping included. (Regular price, $90.) Use the code SOFTERTHANSANTASBEARD.

December 17: Unicorn Art! Specifically, prints of the original oil painting we commissioned from acclaimed wildlife artist Darrell Bush to commemorate our dramatic encounter with the universe's most fantastic creatures. Today only, you can get one for only $35, shipping included. (Regular price, $65.) Signed by the artist and printed on archival paper, this 17" x 12.5" print is suitable for display in taverns, lodges, banquet halls, and select private residences. Use the code RUNRUNRUDOLPH.

Finally, don't forget to take advantage of our ongoing "Reason for the Season" sale as well. Two Made in USA ties for $60, shipping included. Use the code JESUSTHATSADEAL.

Ask the MB: Corporate Christmas Party Attire

Bradey Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Harvey Weinstein
Bradey Cooper, Johnny Depp, and Harvey Weinstein

Q: I'll be attending a corporate holiday party with a "black and white semi-formal attire or LA cocktail attire" dress code. Can I get some suggestions? I don't want to look like a broken groom who was just left at the alter. Thanks.
—Gerard

A: For all but the most exclusive occasions, party dress rules are like speed limits: No one expects you to follow the absolute letter of the law. Or in your case, even the spirit. To wit, we ran the phrase "LA cocktail attire" through Google Translate and, here, apparently is the rough approximation: "If you look like Bradley Cooper or Johnny Depp, wear whatever the fuck you want. If you like Harvey Weinstein, consider a tie and jacket. But still wear whatever the fuck you want."

Indeed, have you seen a red carpet lately?

But we don't recommend dollar bill or feather prints. Instead we suggest, from bottom to top:

FOOTWEAR: If you think you can pull off a pair of sandals, then do that, and make certain you schedule a pedi for the day of. Buff. A less-bold play that still requires no lacing or socks are these Prada loafers in two-tone color and fabric.

PANTS: Our tendency is to make slacks the star of the show, and these Dries Van Noten wool tartans are clearly down with the holidays.

SHIRT: White and crisp with a point collar. Top two unbuttoned.

BLAZER: Deferring to the pants, keep this simple. Blue, of course, but let's echo the shoes with Jil Sander.

Ask the MB: Should I Keep All These Piercings?

Paul Fussell expresses his opinion on excessive piercings
Paul Fussell expresses his opinion on excessive piercings

Q: This week I realized I still have the piercings I got in high school, but I'm in university now. As an 18 year old hoping to be a little classier than she started out as once I'm done with my schooling, what are your stances on piercings? I have my ears pierced twice over, as well as a simple cartilage piercing. I usually wear small sliver sleepers. I also have my naval pierced (despite knowing it's trashy) and am justifying it because only my boyfriend has seen it. I haven't changed it either, since anything that dangles or had rhinestones was just too gaudy even for my younger self. Should I take any of these out? What should I wear if I keep them in? Thank you!
— Tessa

A: Our favorite Ask the MB submissions are the ones where readers answer their own question. It's a real timesaver!

Trust that your forthcoming jewelry and infection-reduction strategy is firmly grounded in the core principle of understatement, and would be zealously endorsed by MB patriarch Paul Fussell (RIP), who wrote in Class, "Both men's and women's elite looks are achieved by a process of rejection — of the current, the showy, the superfluous." He's talking about cartilage piercings here, Tessa.

Best of luck in college, and may any naval scarring be at a minimum.

MB Christmas Sale

The Bocca Al Lupo, Jesus, and the Secret Agent Belt
The Bocca Al Lupo, Jesus, and the Secret Agent Belt

Here at MB, we may be heathens who have never fully embraced the notion that Jesus is magic. But that doesn't we mean don't love Christmas or understand the reason for the season. Christmas exists to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and more generally, the Godly virtues he embodied — including gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, and humility. There are more, of course. But these are the values that resonate for us when we've been hitting the egg nog extra hard, and the ones we celebrate when we celebrate Christmas through deep discounts on non-denominational menswear. Which is to say, yes, we're having a Christmas sale.

Now through December 31, you can get any two ties in our shop for $60, shipping including. Or four ties for $120. Or eight ties for $240. You get the idea.

Use the code JESUSTHATSADEAL.

All orders $120 and up will get a special Christmas bonus gift, if we sense that you've been nice this year.

SHOP THE TIES!

Ask the MB: South Korean DMZ Guards' Sunglasses

Ask the MB: South Korean DMZ Guards' Sunglasses

Q: Hello MB, I must know. What type of sunglasses do South Korean DMZ guards wear? The South Korean guards that hold the line at the cold war's last hotspot are dressed and hand-picked to look physically imposing and intimidating. I was looking at their specs, and I wanted to know more. Look into it, or don't. But I would prefer it if you did. Love the site.
— Armand

A: The uniform, helmet, and poker face are all official ROK issue, yet the directive from DMZ HQ on the sunglasses seems to be flexible: an American brand with with gold frames and a pedigree.

The guard on the left is wearing the Ray Ban Caravan. The guard on the right is wearing the American Optical Pilot and available at our favorite eyewear outfitter Allyn Scura. Meanwhile, the North Korean DMZ guards go without UV protection, probably lunch, and have to share a pair of binoculars.

POURCAST

BETA

Martinez

  • 2 parts Hayman's Old Tom Gin
  • 1 part sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula or Dolin Rouge)
  • 1/4 part Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Shake or swirl lightly, garnish with a lemon twist.


In-Depth Martinez Coverage:

MB Holiday Cocktail Guide

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