Not sure if you should wear that Tommy Bahama shirt out tonight? The magnificent bastard is here to help. Go ahead. Ask away.
Hi MB. I am into soft knit winter/fall hats, and really like this one from J. Varvatos. It's soft cashmere and looks pretty good without being douchy. Any ideas that don't cost flipping $168? It's a hat!
A: We have a simple rule about winter hats. If it costs more than $100 it must be 100% cashmere. Maybe even 110%. Either that, or there should be one extremely cold beaver somewhere. That Varvatos hat, while a fine-looking chapeau, is $168 and it's only 25% cashmere. Not even close!
For similarly-styled, pure cashmere alternatives, check out the $75 Barney's Co-Op Basic Skully (top). When we strongly recommended it last year it was ten bucks less but it's still worth it. Same goes for the Portolano cashmere hats at Bluefly that are just $36.
Not that we're saying you should pinch your pennies when it comes to your head. After all, you'd surely spend $168, and probably even much more, on a pair of shoes you really like — and what are your feet but the day laborers of your body? Your head, meanwhile, is the CEO. So don't skimp! To that end, we like this cabled Bottega Veneta cashmere cap (bottom). Sure, it's $260, but like all CEOs, doesn't your head deserve a nice Christmas bonus?
Q: I have a bit of an issue with polo shirts. I'm 5'6 with an athletic/weight-trained physique. I normally wear either a L or XL golf/polo shirt...my issue is, the length of short sleeve. Some of these shirts come down past my elbow. Could you recommend a golf/polo shirt with a shorter length short sleeve? I'm not liking the thought of having to take them to be tailored down. Your thoughts?
A: We've spent $20 to have sleeves shortened on otherwise-perfect $10 t-shirts, so we know and appreciate the importance of precise sleeve length. (For tees we're not quite at Brando cap-sleeve territory, but within an inch or two.)
As for polos, anything that comes down past the elbow are for old people (top). But if you really like the shirts that have longer sleeves, pay for their shortening surgery. You won't regret it. If you're looking for shirts that already come with short sleeves, Lacoste is an obvious choice if you prefer banded sleeves, like The King used to (bottom). If you prefer no logo, J. Crew's vintage tailored polos show just enough bicep to verify your absence of a barbed-wired tattoo. Wyatt, which makes our favorite polo shirt at the moment and, as far as we can tell, is only available at bluefly, offers a similar cut with open sleeves.
As Jack Nicholson demonstrates, MBs can sometimes grow manboobs. While minimizing Jack-sized jugs probably requires breast-reduction surgery, if you've just started growing an unwanted pair there's a way to effectively shrink 'em by covering with pockets, like the two on this $45 Tailgate Clothing Company polo in grey jersey.
via bluefly.com. $396.00.
If you think we've lost our collective minds endorsing $396 sandals, well, maybe we have. But for the same price as 26 pair of post-peak mix grape Havaianas from Urban Outfitters, you get a pair of sandals you can dress up with a suit, dress down with denim, and wear to the beach. Plus, like men, they'll get better with age, while the long since discarded Havaianas (and equivalents) will be stacked up in a landfill.
Channing Tatum's got the Vans part right
Q: MB, what are your thoughts on airplane attire? Comfortable is a plus, but of course it must be bastardly enough to defy the disturing trend of pajama wearers who have inundated our nation's skies.
A: We agree, today's fliers look like they're ready to either a.) attend a slumber party, or b.) run the 100 meter hurdles. Millions of Americans in tracksuits is probably not the outcome Osama bin Laden had in mind, but in the War on Style, the terrorists have won.
Just a couple of simple rules here: 1.) Wear pants that don't require a belt (no drawstrings or elastic allowed), and 2.) Wear a pair of shoes you can easily slip on and off, like these John Varvatos canvas slip-on loafers or for something more casual, Sperry slip-ons, or Vans.
The designer Jersey Shore tees have washed up on discount site bluefly.com, and this Crooked Monkey version has us seriously re-evaluating our massive house music collection. But even "The Situation" cannot diminish our enthusiasm for Basement Jaxx.
Thank you for answering my MB polo shirt buttoning policy question! Here's a follow up: With Christmas around the corner family has been asking what I want. I've decided I'm ready to ditch the Clarks and get a legit pair of new business casual shoes for work (black and brown). To accomplish this I'm going to request gift cards but they'll have to be to the same store in order to stack them all together. But which store is the best for MB shoe shopping? Was thinking Nordstrom but haven't been that impressed with their selection. I'd also prefer an actual store versus online but will defer to your expert opinion. Where do you get your shoes?
A: We get our shoes all over the place. Any of the retailers linked on our home page, if they sell shoes we've probably bought a pair. Our biggest wins, however, have come from bluefly and we recommend it for you in spite of its online-ness. Great options for your immediate bizcash need and depending on your adventurousness and line of work, they've always got interesting sport/fashion from Prada, Puma, Tod's, and Adidas, which is the direction we're going these days.
via bluefly.com. $1012.00.
Except for the fact that people who can afford $1000 wallets rarely carry cash, we have nothing against the idea of charging that much for one. Especially if it's as perfectly plain as this Hermes brown calfskin number. But dropping the price from $1125 to $1012 -- are they going for the frugal spendthrift market? We admit we're baffled.
via bluefly. $96.00.
Q: What is the MB take on square-toed vs. round-toed shoes? I thought square-toe was out but I still see them quite a bit. Thanks MB.
A: Mainly thanks to Kenneth Cole, square-toed shoes had their day late last century. In this millenium, go with a round shape, or a wing tip-style shape is also MB-approved. Consult the Official MB Shoe Toe Pointiness Chart below for guidance.
via bluefly. $21.00.
Q: So I read your "missive" on Penguin clothing and was wondering what you thought about illustrated Penguin t-shirts like this one, featuring a guy teaching a woman how to play golf. Thanks.
A: We like anything that demonstrates to the fairer sex the proper:
* stance width
* waist bend
This question reminds us of the old joke about how you teach your girlfriend or wife how to play golf: A bucket of balls, a 1-iron, and a downhill lie.
Q: Dear MB: Over the past several months, I've come to trust your sense of style and taste. I'm curious to know if the MB is up for the challenge of applying your gift of knowing what's right and wrong in the world of style to the opposite sex. I'm facing my 20-year high school reunion this summer, which will be held at an upscale downtown drinking establishment (no VFW for this group). I'm tall (5'9") and thin in a healthy way. I want an ensemble that conveys success and looks good with a Tanqueray and tonic in hand, and doesn't scream Stepford wife or "I'm a suburban mom of two" (which I am). Do you think you can help?
Of course, dear.
Before we get to our outfit suggestions, a couple of important MB Class Reunion Principles to follow:
#1. Principle of Looking Like You Don't Give a Shit. Try looking like you don't take this event too seriously, like you and your husband were out for a casual dinner or gallery opening and then you thought, "Geez, isn't tonight my 20th class reunion?"
#2. Principle of Investing in Your Wardrobe. Don't waste a penny of precious clothing budget on something like a cocktail dress that you'll wear once. Class reunions are chock full of anticlimax. Splurge, but only on something that will likely be in style at the 30th.
And now on to the recommendations:
Pants: Denim, for sure. Not too tight, with a wide opening to allow the ballet flats (below) just enough room to peek out. For women we're partial to AG (pictured, $82.00 -- on sale) and Hudson, but denim is personal so go with whatever fits you best and makes you feel good.
Top: Something simple and updated, like this Vince sheer jersey tee. $48.00, via Barney's Co-Op. Cap sleeves will increase the already heightened drama of your long appendages.
Footwear: Ballet flats, of course. Consider making your shoes your statement piece (only one allowed per outfit), like these faux snakeskin lowcuts from London Sole ($155.00). Suitable for dancing.
Handbag: Pay tribute to one of the all-time greats (and simultaneously keep it casual) with this Yves Saint Laurent brown pebbled messenger bag. $632.00, via bluefly. There might even be room for a diaper and wipes in there.
Outerwear: What if it rains? Or if the event makes its way outside? Let Rag & Bone protect you from the elements, evening chill, and small talk with their Mac Trench. $585.00, via shopbop.
Accessories: Wow that wedding band of yours is serious business. Communicate your fun side -- you read this site after all -- with something whimsical (and affordable) like this blue lucite bracelet with cameo. $14.99, via Target.
Have fun and let us know how it goes.
There has been a bit of discussion about sunglasses lately. "What should I buy?" If you're looking for a way to protect your eyes and put yourself on the fast-track to MB-dom, pick up a pair of Tom Ford sunglasses from Bluefly.
(Note: This site is in no way affiliated with either Tom Ford or Bluefly. We just admire cool shit.)
via Bluefly. $25.00.
Graphic Project E tees no longer even register on the trend curve. Avoid even if they're being given away.
via Bluefly. $198.00.
Of all the things Tom Ford designs, he's possibly best at sunglasses. Newly available at bluefly are these tortoise aviators.
via Bluefly. $359.00.
Intarsia cashmere sweaters are definitely outgoing, but Mudflap Girl is just such a powerful, meaningful icon it makes this Hickey sweater very hard to resist.