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, when you buy any tie in our shop, you get one FREE, shipping included. And if two ties is one too many for you, you can substitute a Secret Agent Belt as the free item.
At this point, you may be wondering: Can you buy a Secret Agent Belt for $30.07, then get a tie free? Sorry, we have not been hitting the egg nog that hard. Buy a tie, then get another tie or the SAB for free.
If you have any other questions, send them to Santa.
And if you want to take advantage of this sale there's no code required. Just email email@example.com with your free item preference (and waist size).
Finally, one last note: All orders between now and December 31 that exceed $200 may get a special Christmas bonus gift, if we sense that you've been nice this year.
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.
We're always on the lookout for uncommon plaids to put into the rotation with ginghams under solid blazers, cardigans, and the rare crew. Throw in a point collar — which is practically on the endangered species list — and we're usually sold, even at full boat.
We've had our eyes on thesetwo Alex Mill examples for months, but based on the wide range of sizes available, wagered on waiting until Barney's Warehouse decided to blow them out, as they are now: originally $155, reduced to $47.40 with free shipping. All sales are final but these fit true to size.
At $63/ounce for Neroli Portofino Limited Eau de Parfum Ford has an interest in customers pouring it, or we suppose, misting it down the drain. Putting any ulterior motive aside, this advice violates at least two Magnificent Bastard axioms:
We are definitely not opposed to cologne. As we've gotten older we've gotten smellier and sometimes need notes of both spice and woods as a countermeasure. But instead of showering under an atomizer, try a couple dabs of a solid cologne like Alfred Lane's Vanguard. We have procured a large quantity of this and will have it available in the shop someday.
Q: We are supposed to be excited about Shinola watches but nearly all models run over the MB 40mm principle. Is it then, shit?
A: Shinola has 127 watches for sale on their site and 29 are at the MB-approved 40mm case size or smaller. Given the dramatic watch size inflation of the past decade — thanks Arnold Schwarzenegger — Shinola's 23% stake in ≤ 40mm watches is something Janet Yellen would admire.
Where Shinola deserves to get labeled as shit is in its value. The cheapest watch they sell is the $500 36mm Runwell. Anyone who would pay $500 (at the minimum) for a quartz watch constructed primarily of Chinese parts (but assembled in Detroit!) doesn't know his ass from his elbow, or even from a hole in the ground.
(We've said this before, but not since 2010: A quartz movement vs. a mechanical movement is the equivalent of motorboats vs. sailboats, gas fireplaces vs. wood fireplaces, or fake breasts vs. real breasts. Naturally, the latter is always better.)
So, AD — and anyone else out there in the market for a new timepiece — save yourself $175 and wrap this 36mm Ollech & Wajs mechanical, military-style watch around your wrist. It's high-quality Swiss-made gear that will likely last your lifetime, and shines the floor with any watch from Shinola.
While we're not about to revive our Monday Morning Quarterback feature — that was like doing two-a-days before the Collective Bargaining Agreement — we will occasionally highlight highs and lows from the NFL post-game press conferences.
Loser: He's in his fourth year in the league and Andrew Luck still has no clue on how to deal with a zone blitz nor a post-game presser. Son, you're never going to win a Super Bowl looking like a worse-dressed version of the Geico caveman.
Winner: Tom Brady threw two 4th quarter TDs in a win over the Jets, but both of those touchdowns pale in comparison to this MVP-level display of trench collar artful dishevelment. This is how you do it.
While conventional wisdom is that Hillary Clinton's 11 hours of testimony provided no new information about the 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, we disagree: Committee chairman Trey Gowdy — with the help of an age-inappropriate, face-lengthening flip-hawk — identified himself as just the third person on earth who belongs wearing a spread collar (which he did!), joining Adrien Brody and the guy in Edvard Munch's The Scream.
Do you have a recommendation for the fourth person on the planet who should wear a spread collar? Drop a note to our editor and if it's worthy we'll post it and send you a free belt, tie, or beverage shields.
Our annual pilgrimage to Lambeau is expected to be colder than we were expecting, with a high of just 52 and low near 40. So we're getting dressed. (As always, check Pourcast to determine what cocktail to be consuming at any day and any time at any place around the globe.)
1. Pants. The best 5-pocket corduroy pants we've ever worn are Uniqlo's Slim Fit Corduroy Jeans. Indeed, you have to be slim and fit to wear these, but as the product description says, they do in fact "create slender, fashionable lines," work during the week, and have the versatility to play on Sundays. We're wearing them in off white. A tremendous value at just $39.90. They're vanity sized about 1 inch in the waist (so size down).
2. Belt. A critical element of our understated fandom gameplan is our own Game Day Belt. Made from the same Horween leather that's used to make the official NFL footballs, and constructed right here in the Twin Cities. Fits perfectly true to size.
3. Shirt. Five years ago we all got this Red Jacket long sleeve anti-jersey and they're still playing in the league. Yes, there is some legibility on the back, but it's the name of perhaps our favorite Packer and MB archetype Paul Hornung, famous less for his football than for his womanizing, drinking, and gambling. Fits true to size. (Lots of other options available from Mike Ditka to Johnny Unitas.)
4. Shoes. Sneakers and exposed ankles are usually the play call for mid-October Packer games, but given the forecast we're audibling into ankle boots. Since our all-time favorite TST chukkas have seemingly gone the way of Peyton Manning's arm strength, we're substituting them for these Joyks with beautiful thick white rubber whitewalls. (We may additionally substitute free-agent white laces.) Fits fractionally small.
5. Vest. We have a thing — bordering on fetish — for goose-down puffer vests. 313, Montecore, and Marville provide the best value, but if you have the cash Duvetica is the way to go. This version — along with a Hall of Fame headbuzz — will stiff-arm the dramatic post-game cool-down, and the blue-and-gold color combo is a subtle, tasteful nod to the Packer throwback jerseys (which the team will be wearing on Sunday). We always size down one for puffer vests, and this is no exception.
(And they are already on sale! Read below for details.)
The five ties in our Fall 2015 collection all share a common pedigree. They start off as wool and wool blend fabrics milled in the Old Country, where the locals have been manufacturing textiles since the Middle Ages. Then, they emigrate to the mean streets of New York, where they are meticulously cut and stitched into the ties you see here in a factory in the Bronx.
Obviously, each tie in the Fall 2015 Wise Ties Collection stands alone, but we like to think of them all working together, as a crew, collectively adding a range of textures, hues, and attitudes to your wardrobe. To facilitate bulk buying, we're offering a deal you can't refuse. Buy one, and it's $60. Buy three, and it's $120. Use the code WISETIES. (This offer only applies to the five ties in the Fall 2015 Wise Ties Collection.)
Besides the Bocca Al Lupo shown, here are the other four that make up the Wise Ties Collection:
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. —David
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.)
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? —David
Q: Quick question. Are TST defunct? —Jim
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 calvinklein.com, but you can always find these at Teej for about half that.
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.
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.
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.
3 shots rye whiskey (or to taste)
1 sugar cube
quarter shot of Absinthe
Soak the sugar cube with the bitters and place in the bottom of a highball glass. Mash with the back of a spoon (or muddler, which we hope has not been used to make a Mojito), add the rye whiskey and fill the glass with ice. Stir for about 30 seconds and then strain into another lowball glass that has been rinsed with Absinthe and filled about halfway with ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.