Not sure if you should wear that Tommy Bahama shirt out tonight? The magnificent bastard is here to help. Go ahead. Ask away.
Q: I'm starting a new school year on Tuesday and want to know: what does an MB teacher wear?
A: As is often the case, movies hold the answer. You want to set yourself apart from the Phys. Ed. teacher, but not go too dressy in the direction of Mr. Hand or Ben Stein's famed economics teacher; it's a slippery slope towards administration, or Looking Like Principal Richard Vernon.
While this was the least believable movie role since Denise Richards played a nuclear physicist in The World is Not Enough, Bradley Cooper's artfully disheveled prep-school teacher in The Hangover strikes a fine balance: vest (one size smaller than normal), sleeve-rolled chambray work shirt, undone repp tie, accessorized with a vintage watch in a black nylon band.
Q: I have a matching gray vest and suit jacket that was once part of a three piece (the pants ripped). Is it MB to wear the top two pieces with pants of a different color? Perhaps black pants? Please advise.
A: No, don't do that. In fact, don't even hang the jacket and vest near each other in your closet. Their relationship is over.
We're not huge fans of this look, but you can salvage the vest by pairing it with denim and a white shirt. The jacket, on the other hand, is probably a lost cause. Since it was once part of a 3-piece suit, it's almost certainly not going to have a cut that works with denim. And combining with dress slacks is a look that should be left to middle-aged men attending Sunday service. Feel good about yourself and donate that jacket to the nearest Salvation Army -- it will help some recently laid off Christian maintain his churchly style even in the midst of financial hardship.
Q: Sweater vests: yea, or nay?
A: We say "Yea," and we've said it before. But upon reflection, proper accessorization is really key to making the look function. Do it like the guy on the top, not so much like the guy on the bottom:
* horn-rimmed glasses
* cigarette dangling at artfully disheveled angle, long ash
* sleeves messily rolled past elbows
* Rolleiflex camera
* flag pin
* WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) bracelet
* team consistently overrated and regularly blown out of national championship games
Q: What is your feeling about vests? I have a green herringbone piece I picked up at a thrift store. It seemed to go over real well with the ladies at happy hour last Friday. It was accompanied by a shirt and tie of course.
A: This is part of the well-known Justin Timberlake Effect. Based on the chicks' reactions, it sounds like you executed this look successfully, which ain't easy given the fairly high degree of difficulty (not to mention the green herringbone). Savvy MBs should proceed with caution; others are probably better off leaving it to the King of Pop. Even without 15 pieces of flair it's easy to veer towards Stan, the manager at Chotchkie's.