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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Seriously, you're planning to get up at 5AM to stand in line and then slug it out with a bunch of coupon-clipping housewives over a cut-rate flat-screen? If you lived in the Soviet Union, circa 1975, we could understand such behavior.
But it's 2014. We are blessed to live in a golden era of mindless consumption. We have so much more to be thankful for than crowded parking lots, long lines, and heavy discounts on last year's straight-out-of-Guangdong tablet. We have e-commerce, home delivery, and 100% wool, made-in-New-York ties, for the mindblowing price of $40, shipping including. And if you buy two or more, we'll throw in a complimentary Secret Agent Belt to help you celebrate the bounty of the season. (Just remember to tell us your belt size.) Finally, if you are an elected member of Ukraine's Parliament and can authenticate this fact, we will send you the tie of your choice, for free.
Our Magnificent Bastard Black Tieday Sales Event starts now and lasts through 11:59 PM, Central Time, Sunday evening. At which point it turns into our Magnificent Bastard Tieber Monday Sales Event and continues for another 24 hours. Unless we run out of ties before then, in which case it ends.
So have yourself a leisurely Thanksgiving. Sleep in on Friday. Get up when you want, check in here, gather your loved ones and friends around your laptop hearth, click a few buttons, and just like that, experience all the magic of America's most sacred and beloved holiday, Black Friday, with absolutely none of the hassle.
And just because Black Friday is an American holiday, this doesn't mean that only Americans and Ukrainian officials can participate in our Sales Event. If you live outside the U.S., are not a member of Ukraine's Parliament, and still want to buy a tie for $40, just send a note to us at email@example.com. Tell us what items you want, and we'll let you know how much the shipping will cost, how you can pay, etc.
In the end, as Black Friday approaches, it's easy to get caught up in the frenzy of the holiday and lose sight of its true meaning and value. So we'd like to take a moment to reflect on that. At its heart, Black Friday is a celebration of abundance, convenience, and the enduring meaning and connectedness we all derive from retail transactions involving cherished consumer goods. We are honored to do business with you, and hope you feel the same.
As our archives can tell you, we don't necessarily think bow ties should be illegal or even heavily regulated. But we do think you should wear them only in certain situations, namely summer weddings and black tie.
That said, we love this beaver fur bow tie from Vanities. In general, bow ties aim to convey the wearer's unique sense of style in a playful, unexpected, and attention-getting way, usually by using bright colors and/or vivid patterns. This fur bow tie, however, is simultaneously over-the-top and engagingly understated.
Also, as we have counseled in the past, artful dishevelment is a must when it comes to bow ties. And this one has the artful dishevelment built right in.
Even on sale at Barney's Warehouse, it's a little pricey. But don't think of it as a $169 bow tie. Think of it as the only bow tie in the world that can credibly double as a luxury shaving brush.
If there's one hard and fast rule that defines the menswear industry, it's this: What starts on the streets of Pulaski eventually trickles up to the runways of Manhattan. And so it was at New York Fashion Week this year — where we spotted a Michael Bastian tie (and blazer) that is not-quite the identical twin of our beloved Buscemi, but certainly a brother from the same mother. Same pattern, same nubbiness, from the same mill in Biella, Italy. The colorway we chose has a bit more blue, which gives it that playfulness that makes it work on boardwalks as well as boardrooms.
Also, our model is better looking.
In any case, if it was ever in any doubt, it is now confirmed: Michael Bastian has great taste in ties. And he seems to have fallen in love with this particular fabric — using it for a bow tie as well as the aforementioned tie and blazer.
But if you don't want to wait until Fall 2014 to get his tie, you can get the Fall 2013 Buscemi now.
And because we know Mr. Bastian has had trouble affording his own clothes in the past, we've decided to make it easy for him — and anyone else — to pick one up. Starting now, the Buscemi, the Leotardo (whose fabric comes from the same Italian mill as the Buscemi), the Kakutani, and the Buckley, are all on sale, for just $45 each. Yes, with free shipping included, this almost qualifies as a humanitarian gesture. But what can we say? We're artists, not businessmen.
Q: What can you advise for those seeking magnificence without a great deal of financial means? I'm talking below the poverty line here: I'm a graduate student, and after rent, transportation, and tax, I have less than $120 to spend a month for food, drink, laundry, and so forth. So in what ways can a guy get the most bang for bastard buck? —Evan
A: Have you ever thought about learning to play the guitar or building a time machine? The only way we know to live on $4 a day and still attain a degree of magnificence involve imminent rockstardom (and the helpful female benefactors that come with that) or inhabiting the 18th century.
Our best advice for you circa 2011 if you don't think you have it in you to be the next Axl Rose? Spend $15 a week on food. (That should get you a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, a jar of peanut butter, a giant sack of rice, and maybe some butter.)
Devote $10 a week toward your entertainment fund, by which we mean a monthly 1.75L bottle of Bulleit. Also, get a library card. We sound like a public service announcement here, but reading is one of those rare pleasures that can be enjoyed as much by a pauper as a king.
Devote $5 a week toward your wardrobe and pay close attention to the "Classifieds" sales that Landsendcanvas.com has fairly regularly. (A new sale just started this weekend.) If you're lucky, you can pick up a polo shirt for as little as a $1.50.
It won't be as nice as a $150 polo shirt, but you will have at least one advantage on your side: The flattering silhouette of a man surviving on 2 bucks worth of food every day.
If you find that extreme hunger is making you dizzier than the bourbon is, adjust your budget accordingly — i.e., forgo the wardrobe budget for a month or two and spend more money on food. Don't ever compromise on the bourbon — that's your recreation, your health plan, and your heating bill all combined into one convenient package.
Late last summer we crowned TST our all-time favorite sneakers, and the intervening 9 months have done nothing to curb our enthusiasm for these hand-sketched, hand-finished shoes by designer Seishi Tanaka (pictured). We now own two pairs of the sneakers, two pairs of the boots, and are putting our Chucks on injured reserve.
These are the best Japanese export since the Walkman.
Most skateboards look like they were designed by graffiti artists who ran out of buildings to deface or flunkies from the local art school. Or both.
In stark contrast is the MAKR ox blood deck, custom shaped of white walnut, hand stained, with individually numbered leather risers. Normally $80, it's 15% off — like everything else at makr.com — while owner/designer Jason Gregory is vacationing in Europe*. At just $68 for something that looks like it should cost at least a couple of hundred bucks, this is one of the best values on the whole internet.
* He left March 22, so this sale will likely be ending soon. (An MB correspondent tells us that while Mr. Gregory is on vacation, orders still ship quickly. His key chain arrived just a few days after the order was placed.)
We agree, anytime you can get a Trussardi 1911 bag for $255, then get it. Meanwhile, we picked up a Number Five (very underrated/unknown Italian brand) blazer for $69 and a Jil Sander jacket for $145. NB: Buy wisely; there are no returns.
Q: I have a couple of polo shirts that have gotten lines in the collars from lots of wear. I iron them, but it doesn't seem to remove the whole line. Is there any way remove/prevent this from happening? --Tom
A: Tom, do you realize J. Crew has an entire division of fabric engineers dedicated to creating ersatz collar lines, and they still have not duplicated what you've achieved naturally via hundreds of wash cycles? Accept and embrace these lines, and most importantly, like tax returns, leave all ironing to professionals.
(Take an extra 20% off Final Sale with code Extra20)
Ideeli.com is a Gilt wannabe primarily geared towards women and women shopping for their kids, but on Friday, July 2 at 11AM ET they're having a men's (and women's) Mandarina Duck sale. This is really good stuff worth your money. If you'd like an invitation to ideeli.com, here you go: www.ideeli.com/invite/magbas
The fall-winter sale at YOOX has started. We don't know of any other place on the internet where there are 12,000 items from the world's best designers, on sale at up to 70% off. (If you do, let us know.)
If you've ever worn anything from Bottega Veneta then you know. There are very few things on the market quite like BV, and that includes this tweed cashmere hat available in three colors. We guarantee you will be both warm and thrilled with any of them.
I know you guys are fans of Yoox. I just thought you'd like to know they are having a great sale rignt now, and I was able to find a coupon (green@yoox) for an extra 5% off. Got these Prada loafers for $185! Thanks for making me aware of the site. --Matthew
You're welcome. That sale is pretty damn good (though everything is final sale). All hail the recession!
Urban Outfitters' sale page has been the pits for over a year now, however there is a gem hidden amongst the graphic tees and cheap cardigans: a J. Fold weekend bag. We're huge fans of their wallets and their bags are (almost) as cool.
Q: What's a guy to do when his taste runs to magnificence (Barney's, etc.) but his wallet is keyed more to the Gap? —Andrew
A: Simple one, Andrew: Get a bigger wallet.
But seriously, the less bread you gots, the harder you gots to work to discover magnificence. Use the "sale" links on the right-hand side of our home page, and regularly. Every season great values are to be had, and it's actually fun as shit to find that great-looking deal. It's the thrill of the hunt, like you're big-game hunting on the African cape.
Barney's has decided to put a shitload of stuff on sale and we suggest diggin' in. Don't miss the chance to get into a pair of John Varvatos boots for less than $300. Black boots are an MB closet staple, and this side-zip model is an excellent choice.
A URL for any MB is the UO sale page, sorted by "new additions." They do not fuck around with their discounts, and we like that. Take, for instance, these stylin' Stock cutoff shorts, once $39.99, now just $9.99.
While there's some good stuff, be sure to avoid these Etro Linen Trousers. Sure, they might look nice on the model now, but literally seconds after that picture was taken they looked like shit. Don't believe us? Check out the time-lapse photography from a new MB feature: Linen. It sucks.
1 1/2 oz bourbon
1 oz Campari
1 oz sweet vermouth, preferably Carpano Antica
Stir over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry.