Not sure if you should wear that Tommy Bahama shirt out tonight? The magnificent bastard is here to help. Go ahead. Ask away.
Q: Thanks for your style advice for attending sporting events. I will be attending an epic playoff game in Chicago this weekend. Any tips for a MB in training when attending (outdoor) winter sporting events? I don't want to do the snowmobile suit or work coverall look and some of our midwest neighbors are wont to do. Or, is it a conflict of interest to even provide advice to a Bears fan?
A: Your squad is 3.5 point dogs at home, against the #6 seed ... have you thought about wearing a Packers' jersey?
If that's too extreme, we recommend a fairly conservative approach. With good seats running between $1000 to $2000 on StubHub, you're probably shelling out a lot just to be there. With that in mind, do you really want to blow even more cash on a jacket there's a strong chance you'll only associate with depressing memories of Aaron Rodgers doing the Championship Belt in your house? Take Jennifer Aniston's lead and go with a Spiewak snorkel parka. It's as warm as it is cheap.
via Saks Fifth Avenue. $1015.00.
Q: I finally got around to ordering the Spiewak McKenzie Peacoat you recommended in 2008. Naturally it has shoulder straps, which you've since informed us are post-peak. However as virtually all peacoats I've ever seen have shoulder straps is it really worth while getting a tailor to remove them?
A: We've finely-tuned a lot of clothing that's raised both our tailor's eyebrows, like shortening a t-shirt hem by 1", narrowing a tie by 1/2", and, yes, having epaulets removed. But if epaulets are ever OK in a mid-term election year such as this one, it's on a pea coat, military-themed outerwear that's a wardrobe basic. If you're not convinced, rather than spending money on epaulet removal, stick it in your closet until 2012 when they will be sewn back on everything.
TOP: Symbionese Liberation Army leader Donald David DeFreeze
BOTTOM: Spiewak Vintage NYPD Jacket, Autumn/Winter 2010
Typically it's the criminals from the 1970s who are remembered for their style (top). But what about the other side of the law? No, we're not talking about that sloppy undercover hippie, Serpico. We mean the men in uniform. Sure, corruption, urban blight, and a host of other ills turned the Big Apple into a mugger's paradise in those days. But when the thin blue line got so damn thin it looked like a Photoshop ruler guide, there was one thing keeping the world's greatest city from turning into utter chaos, and it wasn't Charles Bronson's Fu Manchu. It was the sleek, no-nonsense style of the NYPD's wool jackets.
Spiewak made them then, and now Spiewak's bringing them back -- this time for civilians. So put away your buffalo plaid and get into some real workwear -- this 26 ounce wool melton jacket with corozo dome buttons, a badge tab, and four front pockets. (That's two for your ammo and two for your bribes.) Sorry Paul Bunyan, but there's nothing more authentically American than a 1970s cop shaking down a bookie on a freezing winter morning in the Bronx.
Here's where you can find it this fall:
* Blake - Portland, OR
* Local 35, Portland, OR
* Salmangundi - Boston, MA
* Z life - Rye, NY
via evogear.com. $164.95.
Q: Winter is upon us and I was wondering what is a MB winter coat? I'm talking for below zero, snowy conditions. I figure puffy, bubble coats and bright colored ski jackets are out. So what is a MB to do when it gets really cold and you have to go out?
A: Puffy coats are definitely not out. Moncler made some of the earliest versions, and the Italians deemed them worthy for the initial ascent of K2 in 1954.
However, if you don't have an extra $900-$1000 lying around we really, really like the Spiewak N3B Snorkel Parka (also developed in the '50s) and it's just $164.95. Yeah, it is a little overkill for your garden-variety winter weather, but a good defense when Jack Frost is nipping at your nose like a pit bull trained by Michael Vick.
Following the Spiewak outerwear tip, I dug up some crazy deals at 6pm.com. Including that snorkel parka at $80.50! Now the dilemma is *which one*?!? (or, at those prices, two?)
A: Unless you live above 45° N, an MB only needs one snorkel parka. (Incidentally, we're at 44° N and change here in Pulaski, WI.) If you insist on buying two pieces of outerwear, make the 2nd one this McClary Field Jacket in charcoal.
via Spiewak. $155.00.
Q: It's starting to get pretty chilly here in PA, and I've been looking into getting a new winter jacket for some time, but I'm not really sure as to what brand. So, what would an MB recommend for a college student, preferably within the $300 price range?
A: Mike, if you've been reading for a while you've seen "MB Deals of the Week" on a Helmut Lang Blizzard Coat and a Rogues Gallery Snorkel Jacket, both in your price range. If you don't like those then we're going to go into broken record mode: currently the best outerwear value on the market is Spiewak, plain and simple. Check out their new fall line at their new site, and you can actually order a few styles at Nordstrom. You'll stay warm and still have enough bread left over to throw a pretty decent kegger.
Q: Need a good black winter coat. Got any favorites?
A: Tripp, your email comes from Duke University, so we'll assume you're at least somewhat on a college guy's budget, and it ain't like Durham gets that nippy even in January. Anyhow, Spiewak always provides great value. For the price ($132.00) we sure like their McKenzie Coat. For a little more dough, this season Banana Republic has a surprisingly good peacoat. If you've been saving up your beer money, for whatever reason, Diesel makes Dean's List.
via Tobi. $102.00.
Q: MB, stumbled across your site and laughed embarrassingly loudly -- now I'm looking in vain for a nice, light denim jacket for spring (Diesel, perhaps, despite the brand's many missteps?) ... any help? Also, once I've got this jacket, how's about pairing it with tan or brownish Steven Alan cords?
A: Andrew: First, nice call on the spring cords; that can be an effective, surprising look. Second, when we hear the word "jacket" the first thing we think of is "Spiewak." As we've mentioned before, their stuff is stylish, well-made, and affordable. This Chester Jacket even has wooden buttons, satisfying (and even exceeding) the MB principle of organic materials.
(Note: Military-inspiration is peaking on the trend curve, so you may not want to feel like wearing it next spring.)
via Nordstrom. $155.00.
Some of the MB staff are headed to the NFC Championship Game this weekend, and given Sunday's forecast in Green Bay (inset) this Spiewak parka is going to come in handy. Along with a few fur-lined cheeseheads.
via Evo. $159.00.
As regular readers know, this season we've been on the hunt for the perfect peacoat, ordering about 8 or 9 of them, and they've all been returned.
We're fucking cold!
The worst of the bunch by far was this Michael Kors travesty. Fit like a goddamn smock and made in China (imported!). The guy has absolutely no business holding court on Project Runway.
Anyhow, our last best hope is this very affordable version from one of our favorite outerwear sources: Spiewak.