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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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NEW! 'Springtime in Italy' Tie

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Secret Agent Belt

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300-Year Sterling Silver Buckle Belt

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Disposable Letterpress Beverage Shields

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tretorn

Ask the MB: Spring Essentials 2015 Edition

Ask the MB: Spring Essentials 2015 Edition

Q: It's almost time to pack the corduroys away depending on where you live (sorry New England). So, what would you say are some essentials for spring?
—Jack

A: Just 10 days ago, on the most frigid commute of the entire season, the thought of spring essentials seemed as distant as our final destination. But Jimmy the Carnivorous Groundhog was right, and Insta-Spring — it was 68 yesterday in Minneapolis — now has us consuming the following:

The Last Word

There is no cocktail that personifies and embodies spring more than The Last Word. Equal parts gin, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, Green Chartreuse, and fresh lime juice, one sip of this emerald Prohibition-era tipple immediately conjures thoughts of tournament basketball, The Masters, green grass, and swallows returning to Capistrano. It also serves as an excellent alternative to green beer, the toolbag drink of choice tomorrow.

White Pants

Spring means baseball, and Opening Day is the opening day of the newly-expanded white pant season (more on this later). The Cardinals play at Wrigley in just 20 days. The best place to find something cool, unique, and cheap is YOOX, as usual, and free shipping is now standard. Otherwise Levi Strauss & Co. makes white denim in the 501, 511, 514, and 569.

Todd Snyder Japanese Indigo Crew Sweatshirt

Our favorite purchase of 2015 by a wide margin. Is $275 a lot for a cotton sweatshirt, even if it's made by Canadian factory workers using Japanese indigo? Yes. But while this garment is marked 100 percent cotton, we actually suspect it might be 120 percent cotton, or maybe even 125 percent. It's that soft. Paradoxically, it's also incredibly sturdy. In fact, we're betting its tank-like construction will yield a life expectancy of at least a decade. Amortize its cost over that term and it's actually cheaper than a $15 Old Navy sweatshirt that you will be downgrading to "paint rag" by Independence Day.

Nylite Chambray in Aurora Red

During the chambray boom that happened a few years ago, when folks were making pants, suits, and even a few trendy hotels out of chambray, we did not buy in heavily. Indeed, we think chambray is a little like heroin or Jim Carrey — something to savor in small doses. But when it's used right it can be very effective. Here, for example, a splash of chambray gives these Tretorn Nylites — originally invented in 1964 and typically made out of a canvas — thinking about April matinees at Target Field. So make ours a double!

(And be on the lookout for our spring tie line, which will also be using chambray in sparing fashion.)

Vintage Onion Content

Insta-Spring has us recalling one of our favorite Onion pieces, this one from 1996: Area Students Prepare Breasts for Increased Springtime Display. "Female college students from across the northern U.S. celebrated the improved weather this week, preparing their breasts for the increased exposure and display that the warm weather now demands."

Ask the MB: European Vacation Walking Shoes

Ask the MB: European Vacation Walking Shoes
Q: I'm heading to Europe this summer for a few weeks of tromping around. I need some footwear advice - I'm looking for something that can support LOTS of walking around being on my feet all day, and doesn't scream 'American Toolbag'. Bonus for something that works with pants and shorts, but I'd be willing to get two pairs to cover both ends of summer bottoms. Thoughts?
—Peter


A: Peter, a trip to Europe is definitely time to heed Tom Ford's five easy lessons in how to become a modern gentleman and leave the shorts at home. You might not scream "American Toolbag" in them, but unless you're at the beach or in the midst of a 5-setter you definitely scream "American."

Not that that's necessarily a bad thing. For previous questions regarding European travel we've endorsed getting your American on — your feet — and for your excessively ambulant vacation we suggest you get into a pair of Cole Haan Air Mercury lace oxfords.

They don't have the pedigree of some more iconic trailblazers in the casual sneaker field — Chucks, PF Flyers, Tretorn T56s. But if you're doing lots — and especially if you're doing LOTS — of walking, we recommend the Air Mercurys. There's a reason why America embraced car culture so enthusiastically — walking in Chucks can turn your feet into bloody stumps even faster than Jigsaw or Freddie Kreuger can. Go with the Air Mercurys and you should be good for at least 15-mile days if necessary. (The black ones are on sale at colehaan.com for just $59.95).

As for that other pair of shoes you offered to pack, definitely bring along some loafers for after the sun goes down.

Earlier: Ask the MB: French Honeymoon

10 Sneakers for Summer 2010

10 Sneakers for Summer 2010
Last week we had a shorts-with-shoes question and answered the first part. Now for some shoe suggestions.

First, some guidelines:

1.) Clear some room at the end of the bench for Chuck and Jack this summer. They've been playing non-stop all year and could use a breather.

2.) Sneakers that you plan to wear with shorts are one item where we give more leeway than we usually do to bright colors, patterns, and logos. Don't go crazy though. If Turtle from Entourage would wear it, you've probably gone too far.

3.) Sticking with white or gray is your best bet for picking a shoe that can work with a wide variety of shorts. (Important note: If you're a size 12 or over, do not go with an all-white shoe unless you're trying to pick up work as a clown at children's birthday parties.)

4.) If you're dying to incorporate red velour into your wardrobe, a pair of sneakers is the only place to do it.
Topman

Topman Grey Jersey Plimsolls
$32

If the world must have sleeveless t-shirts, we like to think that all those amputated sleeves go to some greater style purpose -- like adding a textural twist to classic gray plimsolls.
ShoeLab

ShoeLab Dark Brown Sneaker
$49

The sneaker scientists at the UK brand ShoeLab get the overdying just right on these. They look nicely faded and disheveled, but stop short of trying too hard.
Tretorn T56

Tretorn T56 Canvas
$55

The T56s offer timeless style. Our great-great-great-great-great-grandkids will be wearing these in 2210. In 2010, they're the shoes we reach for when we know the evening's going to involve some furious table tennis action.
Superga

Superga 2750 Classic
$65

"Leave your socks at home," the Superga website enthuses, because the interior of the 2750 feature finished inseams. We like that touch but we're not going to go that far. For all summer sneaker-wearing we recommend the Banana Republic no-show socks.
Williot

Williot Gabardine Wool Sneakers
$79

Williot is a Spanish brand that made its debut in the U.S. market last summer. If you want to look sporty but not athletic -- i.e., you aren't planning to do anything more strenuous than mixing cocktails by the pool -- these are a great choice.
Lyle & Scott

Lyle & Scott Canvas Plimsolls
$85

Scottish brand with a golfing heritage, founded in 1874. Just like Scottish singer Susan Boyle, these plimsolls are built a little more solidly than many others on the market.
Cole Haan

Cole Haan Air Mercury Sport Oxfords
$98

Why are we recommending these Chuck clones and not the real thing? Thanks to the hidden Air Nike technology hidden in the heel, they're one of the few Chuck-style shoes that you can play basketball in and not sentence your feet to a lifetime of Bill Walton-like pain. When your day involves anything more strenuous than a J. Crew photo shoot, wear these.
TST

TST
$125

Designer Seishi Tanaka hand-draws the sketches for the TST line and it shows. This model leans toward the more athletic end of the athleisure shoe spectrum -- we think we could actually play some touch football in it -- but it has an organic quality not found in the hyper-engineered footwear of, say, Nike or Reebok.
Pataugas

Pataugas Rock
$138

If you want to add a Gallic touch to your Fourth of July barbecue, try these sneakers from Jean Paul Gaultier's shoe line, Pataugas. (You can pick up last year's slightly different model at yoox.com for only $89.)
Prada

Prada Velour Sneaker
$295

For those with the bucks, deluxe Chucks. "Red velour" and "understated" aren't words that usually go together, but we think they apply here.

MB Deal of the Week: Tretorn T56 GTOs

MB Deal of the Week: Tretorn T56 GTOs
Does Sweden still have an army? Yes, apparently, and according to Wikipedia, it's currently around 2160 soldiers strong. We found a picture and suspect these troops may be doubling as Ikea salespeople, but that's not why we're delving into Swedish military history today.

We're doing so because the Tretorn T56 GTO, a washed leather version of a style that debuted in 1956 as a training shoe for Swedish infantrymen, is on sale at 6PM.com. For just $24 (regularly $80). Meaning you could shod the entire Swedish Army for just for just $51,840!

We don't think you could win a tetherball match in them, much less a war -- comfort-wise, 1956 shoe technology leaves much to be desired. But if you're looking for a "new classic" alternative to the ubiquitous Chuck Taylor, these fill the bill nicely.

UPDATE: That super-deep discount is temporarily suspended; now they're $48 a pair. A decent price, but unless the Swedish Army decides to make a run on them, we're pretty sure they'll be back down to $24 eventually. Hold your fire until then.

Ask the MB: Pedicure Alternative

Ask the MB: Pedicure Alternative
Q: If you have nasty feet and shouldn't be wearing sandals, what do you recommend with shorts? Some Pumas with low socks? Thanks.
--Chris


A: Over the last three decades, thousands of Vietnamese immigrants have journeyed across oceans in boats we'd be afraid to board in a wading pool just to make your feet presentable in sandals. Get a pedicure! And if you think that sounds kind of girly, do you know who else gets pedicures? Lions! Well, circus lions anyway. And if it's man enough for them, it's man enough for you too.

And what if you have some kind of physical deformity a pedi can't cure? You're on the right track. We prefer anything vintage from Puma, Tretorn, Adidas, with no-show socks or none at all. You'd have a hard time going wrong picking just about anything from Classic Sport Shoes' Adidas Originals page.

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  • 2 oz Plymouth gin
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 1/8 oz crème de violette

Lightly shake, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with lemon twist.


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