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.
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 Fashionpredicts 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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 GQhere.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Q: Hi, MB! What do you think of novelty cufflinks?
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?)
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Have we hit peak talus yet? Not by a longshot. Until we see Marco Rubio hugging a windmill, we expect that exposed ankles will continue to exist as both fashion trend and climate change mitigation strategy. These days, the look is so widespread that even designer no-show socks exist — which, if you think about it, is even more oxymoronic than "clean coal" or "gas-sipping SUV." If people can see that you're wearing Paul Smith no-show socks, your no-show socks are broken!
We first endorsed exposed ankles back in 2008, when the Keeling Curve was still safely in the 380s. Ever since, we've been on an epic quest to find the perfect no-show socks. We've invested countless hours, spent more than a few dollars, and emitted a lot of carbon by commanding Banana Republic, J. Crew, Saks Fifth Avenue, Falke, Urban Outfitters, and Mocc Socks to bring us new specimens by ship, plane, and FedEx truck. But we've finally found a no-show sock we're ready to settle down with: the Converse Chuck Sock.
Why do we love this sock? Three reasons. One, they stay on the best. Two, they're thicker than all other no-show socks, which tend to be nearly as thin as pantyhose. (We don't want no-show pantyhose. We want no-show socks.) Three, they're the cheapest no-show socks we've found. (A few years ago, this wouldn't have mattered to us so much. But now that a significant portion of our clothing budget is devoted to producing clothes rather than buying them, we take advantage of opportunities to economize if they present themselves.)
So there you have it. Our quest for the perfect no-show sock is over. On a related note, however, our quest for the perfect white t-shirt persists. (Sorry, environment!)
POST-SCRIPT: Our contest where you can win a free pair of the spring's best luxury slip-on — the Hydrogen-1 Neptunian — is ending tomorrow (May 15)! Enter now, and make sure to have a pair of Chuck Socks on-hand to immediately celebrate your victory if you're the lucky winner.
Forget 40 times, number of bench press reps, Wonderlic test scores, and hours of college tape. If you're an NFL General Manager and still debating between two players at the top of your draft board, let the number of buttons on their jacket be your guide.
Q: Hey guys, was wondering if there's a new tie stock coming to the shop? Something for the in-coming wedding season.
Also Allen Edmonds is now offering made-to-order golf-soles on some of their shoes if you wanted a golfing McAllister. Thanks. —D. Holden
A: While our design and procurement processes remain somewhat "artisinal" — i.e., we are still a little too apt to negotiate with Shengzen factory reps when we've spent the afternoon testing Pourcast — we are slowly mastering the dark arts of product development and do indeed have some new things on the way. Including a tie that we believe will work well at weddings, bar mitzvahs, and funerals of those you loved very, very dearly. However, because of the artwork that will be featured on this tie's tipping — see image — we don't recommend wearing it if you're the groom. (Why start your honeymoon with a jealous wife?)
These ties will feature a bold heart-to-sword regimental stripe and are made of raw silk — perfect for spring, summer, and temperate climates throughout the year. The prototypes are done, so they should be in stock within a matter of weeks. Check back often.
Now, on to the golfing McAllisters. If we were stuck in jury duty in a courtroom with enough room to practice our chipping, we would definitely consider these. They are a handsome shoe — but given that we we find ourselves wearing sneakerized footwear even in places where we might have worn lace-up oxford dress shoes (court appearances, board meetings, IRS audits), we can't really imagine wearing lace-up oxfords on fairways, even if they have the sole for it.
Our current favorite golf shoes are these Puma Clydes, which deliver sporty style but maintain a comfortable distance from Ricky Fowler territory. We recommend them in Castlerock. But at the prices you can currently get them at Amazon — approximately $30 to $45 a pair, depending on color and size — you can buy a different color for every day of the week and still spend less than you would on a single pair of the the McAllisters.
Q: Hi. In the Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge, what kind of sunglasses is Hunter S. Thompson wearing? Thanks! —MP
As you may know, the portrait of Hunter Thompson that we used in our Eyewear Challenge comes from the cover of his 1979 collection of magazine reportage, The Great Shark Hunt. So that's one place you can get a "copy" of those sunglasses, but it can be pretty expensive — a signed version is currently on sale at Ebay for $5000. Also, it would be hard to wear.
Luckily, the sunglasses themselves — the "Davos" model, produced by the German company Rodenstock from 1974 to 1979 — can be had more cheaply. Here, for example, is a mint-condition pair, complete with what looks to be an alligator leather carrying case, for $240 plus shipping.
Our advice for you? We'll quote HST himself: "Buy the ticket, take the ride." Wherever those glasses take you, we suspect there'll be no looking back once you put them on.
(UPDATE: Our correspondent quickly took our advice and snapped up these sunglasses. Thus, the preceding link now routes you to a cached page.)
Q: First off - thanks a lot for all the tips!! Great stuff!!
I am out hunting for a great laptop bag in the under-$500 region. I really like the looks of the Billykirk schoolboy satchel, but it doesn't serve my purpose since I fly a lot for work, and the lack of any zippers and additional pockets makes it painful. Could you provide me with a few MB recommendations for a laptop (13 inch laptop and an iPad) bag which is also utility focused (a couple of zippered pockets, no belt buckles - takes too long at the airport, has a strap to attach to a stroller handle). Also I would like it to be sleek (I don't care for laptop padding - don't like the bulk) and would prefer it not being made with nylon. I wear open collar suits to work and am 26, so I would prefer it not being too college like but also not something my dad would use.
I know its a lot of requirements. Is there anything out there? —TJ
A: If there's one domain where a senseless lack of utility loses a little bit of its gravitational pull on our hearts, it's airports. Translation: Sure, we get that you need fewer buckles and more pockets than the Schoolboy has to offer when, say, you're trying to make a connection at O'Hare.
For business travel luggage, we like Mandarina Duck. Much of its product incorporates nylon and other synthetics — but note that we're talking Italian synthetics here, and "avant-garde" synthetics at that.
For your purposes, we're going to point you toward the Sistema Workbag. A mix of leather, cotton, and polyurethane, it's as functional as it is sleek — lightweight, compact, but spacious enough for your electronics, with a suitably sub-divided main compartment and an exterior pocket as well.
Taking its aesthetic cues from 80s-era post-modern design, it has nary a whiff of the Ivy League or Dad's study about it. But it will continue to deliver timeless on-the-go style in today's airports, tomorrow's airports, and probably in whatever the 22nd century's architects dream up too.
At only $219, it's well under your price range — but that just mean you'll have more to spend on drinks and car service on your next trip.
We filed our taxes. The Timberwolves' season is mercifully over. And the days are getting long enough to golf until 8:15 (if our country club wasn't covered in 2 inches of fresh snow). Life is good (except for the part about snow), so we’re having a contest.
This time we're teaming with our favorite supplier of casualuxe footwear: Hydrogen-1. Take our latest quiz, and you may win a pair of limited-edition "Neptunians" — aka the striking suede slip-ons pictured above.
If you're wondering, their rich hue is officially known as "Capri blue," after the waters that surround the Italian island whose beaches are so desirable it was attracting tourists even before cruise ships were invented. (Roman emperor Augustus had a summer palace there.)
The Neptunians are manufactured in Italy, in the Le Marche region, where four out of every ten residents are employed in the footwear industry and the other six know an awful lot about elasticized gores and textured toe-foxing. The Neptunians feature blue suede leather, a full leather lining, and a vibe that practically guarantees sunny skies overhead and competent bartenders near at hand. Retail price, $355. But one of you people is going to get a pair for free.
Here's how this works.
1) Take the quiz. The deadline to submit is 11:59 PM CST on May 15.
2) Everyone who scores 100 percent on the quiz and tweets the link will be entered into a drawing we'll hold the week after the contest closes. Winner gets the Neptunians. (Note: These shoes come in whole sizes 7 – 12. If your feet are bigger than that and you win, you will have to cut off your toes.)
3) We'll announce the lucky winner, and share this information with Hero Nakatani, the proprietor of Hydrogen-1. Hero will take it from there, providing you with instructions on how to order your shoes.
If you scroll down the Kennedy-Nixon photo in your post so that only the suits are seen (removing the influence of the photogenic Kennedy and the smarmy Nixon), I think it is undeniable that the 3-button suit is more likely to belong to a higher-status individual than the 2-button. Nixon's 3-button could easily be a bank president, while Kennedy's 2-button (with Kennedy removed) could just as easily be the owner of a car dealership or the president of the local Rotary. Replace Kennedy's pocket square with a couple of cigars and you have Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack. Not so with the 3-button.
For the record, I am a committed 2-button man. It suits my build, I like the look, and I feel like James Bond when I'm fitted out in a British-silhouette 2-button. The 3-button has always reminded me of a lab coat. These personal distinctions may result from my early 1960s childhood, when the young and fashionable sported 2-buttons (such as Kennedy, later the Rat Pack) and old men and fuddy-duddies the 3s. But that was BF for me (Before Fussell, who, by the way, I have MB to thank for introducing me), and now I notice and interpret things differently. While I am not arguing Fussell's infallibility, I think the 'proleness' of the 2-button is evident in the way the V broadens the shoulders in the same way as (Fussell points out) do epaulettes, emphasizing strength and, thereby, physical labor. The 3-button wearer in the photo appears never to have done a day of physical labor in his life, and I believe that is the intent.
Even your example of Todd Palin works against your argument, I think: Palin is a physical laborer and could model a 2-button to advantage, yet he dresses (or is being styled) to appear higher-classed. (Forget Ahmadinejad, of course; he looks like he gets his clothes at a rummage sale.)
I am glad to finally get this off my mind, as I had been dwelling on it (and particularly because I had learned about Fussell through your site and have been greatly influenced by him). I have also long intended to write to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. And I absolutely love the new logo. Keep up the great work! —Paul
A: We welcome reasoned dissent from our readers and it's clear you've given this topic a lot of consideration — we especially admire how you use Fussell's observations regarding epaulettes against us! That hurts. But to continue the discourse, here is a thought: If a 2-button jacket is working correctly, it doesn't merely broaden the shoulders (as we agree epaulettes do). It reinforces the overall V-shape of one's torso, which is to say, it broadens the shoulders while narrowing the waist.
The sort of hard labor that creates this shape, in our experience, is many hours at the gym, many hours in the pool, or perhaps if you have very good genes and disciplined eating habits, many hours on fairways or polo fields. It is a look, in short, that comes from (moneyed) recreation rather than full-time bricklaying or ditch-digging, which tends to create a thicker, lumpier, less elongated look.
As for Todd Palin, we agree with your analysis — he no doubt turns to 3-button suits because Frank Luntz (or some other top-notch GOP campaign consultant) has determined through extensive focus-group testing that small-town conservatives of a certain age equate 3-button jackets with bankers, brokers, and other corporate nine-to-fivers maintaining the lower rungs of the top quintile.
But who, other than Todd Palin's wife, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Chris Christie want to win that vote? Not us, and not you! As we think Fussell would agree, there's a difference between what a prole thinks an upper looks like, and what an upper looks like. In this case, the difference is as subtle as a single button. But as you have found out from your own experience, that single button (or lack of it) makes all the difference in the world. Keep wearing 2-button jackets, and keep challenging us to think more deeply about the choices we make. We appreciate the feedback!
Yesterday was National Beer Day. In recent years, National Beer Day has grown as commercialized as Christmas, with all sorts of promotions, festivals, and special offers attached to it. But we prefer to celebrate it in the traditional manner, like our grandfathers would have celebrated it had it not been invented in 2009 on Facebook: By drinking Grain Belts from dawn, urinating prolifically, and complaining about progress.
Around the fourth or fifth pitcher, our conversation focused on the current state of craft brewing in the U.S., which, to our palates, has essentially devolved into the current state of craft marketing. There are nearly 2500 craft breweries in the U.S. now — an increase of more than 1000 in under a decade. And we fear that all this rapid growth has led to a craft brewing bubble, a gold rush of sorts, with more and more "brewers" looking to cash in on the craze by slapping a silly name onto the same overly-hopped plonk.
Indeed, we think some of these places spend more time crafting authentic, artisanal-sounding names than they do crafting beer.
This isn't the web's first Craft Beer Name Generator, but we believe it's the best due to our proprietary brewing recipe: take a flavoring or preparation technique, add a yoga pose or bicycle part, and finish with a beer type. So, in an instant craft breweries can achieve memorable, brandable names and focus instead on making actual beer, instead of vats of isomerized alpha acid. A few examples:
A: As you probably know, George Henry Bass created the original penny loafer, aka the Bass Weejun, in 1936. Since you haven't included the Weejun as one of your potential choices, we assume you're hoping to find a shoe that puts a twist on this menswear staple. That's a good instinct, but to our eye, your choices are still a little too Old Footwear — even the Prada with its "high-shine leather" and the stylized orifice of its penny keeper still looks fairly traditional.
So we think you should double down on your seeming desire for a twist and go for something even more different than the archetypal penny loafer. While we aren't huge penny loafer fans, there are some things about them that appeal to us. Namely, no laces and no buckles. They are, at heart, a casual shoe, and perfect for those tough mornings-after when a shoe with laces just feels too complicated to operate — you don't even need hands to put on a pair of penny loafers.
Thus, when you're looking for a twist, we encourage you to focus on the "loafing" aspect of penny loafers. The thick crepe sole on this pair of penny loafers from our friends at Oak Street Bootmakers make us want to nestle into a bean bag while our old lady refills our hash pipe. And these sneakerized penny loafers from Salvatore Ferragamo look both comfortable enough to get a heart surgeon through a 12-hour transplant and yet simultaneously sporty enough to propel us to a relatively painless six-minute mile.
1 raw sugar cube
2 dashes Angostura bitters
3 oz bourbon
On bottom of Old Fashioned glass (what else?) dribble bitters on sugar cube. Muddle. Fill with ice, then with bourbon. Garnish with lemon twist. No, not a thick orange wedge, handful of cherries, or a cup of fruit salad. A simple lemon wedge.