Q: The MB stance is to never wear short sleeved button up shirts because you can't roll up the sleeves giving an ultimate amount of artful dishevelment. But ever since Winston rocked the pattern short sleeved shirt on New Girl, I've been seeing them everywhere. Are they still off limits?
A: Miguel, the primary reason Winston Bishop (Lamorne Morris) rocked the patterned short-sleeve woven is because he looked like Winston Bishop.
If you don't look like Winston Bishop, there is a chance this could turn out badly, as you'll see in a minute.
With the help of Nate Silver and 538, we ran 1000 patterned short-sleeve shirt simulations with a random sample of 35 year-old urban-dwelling men, and here are the results.
Q: Long, longtime fan. So, Calvin Klein stopped making my favorite 100% cotton boxer briefs. I know, only halfway to MB chart, but these provided the perfect balance between scrotal space and glans restriction.
Anyway, I contacted CK to ask for a recommendation, and all I got was a generic copy/paste reply. Worse, they referred to their brand as Tommy Hilfiger, which - as it turns out - shares the sales infrastructure. Needless to say, I’m looking for an alternative, and turn to you for your wisdom and advice.
Kind regards, and keep up the good work, which is much appreciated! —Duncan
A: Reading your note at our editorial meeting the other day caused sudden trembling and nausea, as we wondered out loud if CK also stopped making *our* all-time favorite underwear: CK One Cotton Stretch Slim Fit Boxers.
This soon turned into a full-scale panic attack. Had we sufficiently prepped? Was there a lifetime supply of CK One Cotton Stretch Slim Fit Boxers in storage?
We honestly had not felt this level of existential wardrobe dread since 1979, when we learned JCPenney stopped selling bell bottoms.
We don't have an answer for right now, Duncan. We're still sorting through our emotions, and also a lot of underwear sites. But please stay tuned.
NB: For those wondering why Duncan is referring to scrotal space, here is the original Magnificent Bastard Underwear Guide, from when we were less mature, and funnier.
Some of our cattier, less stylish peers have called these toddler shoes, asked us if they light up, or have wheels, and even suggested we're special needs.
That last one could be true, but trust us when we say that no other footwear has generated as many positive comments from random women as this pair of Atlantic Stars sneakers.
At the risk of reading too much into this unsolicited female feedback, here's why we think it's happening: These shoes communicate that the wearer is playful, confident, has great style, and a passion for obscure Italian sneaker brands. All things women find irresistible. (Recall what we said a minute ago about possibly reading too much into this.)
NB1: Many of the Atlantic Stars shoes do have excessive colored stars, and veer into toddler territory. Tip: if your pre-K nephew says he wants a pair, you have gone too far.
NB2: Like most Italian footwear, these fit one size small.
We've always been interested in developing a philosophy, but it seemed like so much work that until recently, we just ended up going with something off the rack: nihilism.
In fact, the WikiHow on "How to Form a Philosophy (with Pictures)" is an 11-step process, with Step 1 saying it's "a lifelong journey." C'mon! We're not joining AA here – though we should — we simply want to create a belief system to help us interpret our everyday reality.
Along comes a shipment from YOOX, containing some pants by Dondup, and on those pants is the hangtag shown above:
... a very important and wise lama thought that all men are equal: race, colour, and faith have no meaning, all that counts are one's intentions and actions. His name was Dondup.
Was there, in fact, an "important and wise lama" named Dondup? Google says no. But it doesn't matter. This marketing gimmick has been a tremendous time saver!
Maybe Tucker Carlson is right. Maybe there is a masculinity crisis. A men's style site called "Magnificent Bastard," with a logo of a mandeer smoking a cigarette and drinking a brown liquor cocktail, endorses shaving cream from "Nancy Boy," with a dainty flower logo.
We should probably go tan our nuts.
Meanwhile, we're not sure whether it's the organic aloe leaf juice, the pistachio nut oil, or the chamomile (maybe the combination?), but try it and you'll agree: it's the best shaving cream you've ever used.
They closed their SF retail store during the pandemic, and owner Eric Roos is in his 60s, so while we hope for many more years of Signature Shave Cream supply, we're stockpiling white cream jars like a prepper stockpiles toilet paper. And if that runs out, we'll just stop shaving. It's that good.
A reader asked if we could help his 20 year-old son get dressed for a summer internship at a multi-family rental housing development firm. (He assures us the owners are not slumlords.) Because he's also a good customer, we obliged, and we're excited to share what we think is a killer outcome the client loved.
— No white pants. (Apparently he's not as big of a fan as we are.)
— $1000 max.
We're believers in dressing for the job you want, not the job you have, so our recommendation was to make patterned, textured, washable, deconstructed blazers with 2 buttons and meaty lapels the pillar pieces, and surround them with a variety of solid and smooth pants and shirts.
Here is the best part: By adopting Garanimals/Dresserizer rules — i.e., everything must work with everything else — a mere 9 items results in 27 outfits with blazers on every day, and a total of 36 outfits when they get some time on the bench.
Altea The boldest play, the most casual, and probably the client's favorite. No vent and no buttons on the sleeves. $181.
American men are still being led to believe spread and cutaway collar shirts are in their best interest. We emphatically disagree and think an unbuttoned point collar is the only way to go. It's timeless, suits most men's faces the best, and works the best with the best knot (four-in-hand). The mandeer looks as good now as he did 15 years ago, and will continue looking good in another 15, 30, and even 100 years, when we're all dead.
Anyhow, an old-school Italian brand called Xacus gets this, still makes them, and they're cheap. We went all-in.
Q: I just turned 50. I think I'm getting to the point in my life where I probably should no longer be wearing shorts on a regular basis (if at all). Are there any brands of lightweight pants that you would recommend for summer wear instead of shorts? Also, I don't know if it matters or not, but I'm a larger guy ... 6'1" and around 260 pounds. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you have. —Chris
A: Chris, at the half-century mark this is a wise choice. We're rarely in shorts except for active-leisure activities like golf, tennis, cycling, surfing, and impromptu au naturel testicle tanning.
We also have a rule: never be seen in shorts one minute past civil twilight.
Under normal circumstances we'd recommend echoing our summer regular-leisure uniform: cheap, slim fit, white, 5-pocket, 98 cotton/2 elastane pants at YOOX from obscureItalianbrands.
Our suggestion: Take a look at your local golf big box store, where menswear's best 5-pocket pant style innovation is happening. We're kind of blown away by Puma, Travis Mathew, Walter Hagen, Dunning, and Callaway all offering some remarkably sharp, lightweight pants that will meet your needs this summer. Work, too.
Puma calls their 5-pocket Jackpot pants "the best we've ever made." Customer reviews for Dunning's Player Fit 5-Pocket Golf pants range from "awesome" to "amazing."
The one bummer: they're all 100% some form of plastic. While this is obviously an egregious violation of the organic materials principle, for your 50th, we're giving you, Chris, special dispensation to give them a shot.
There is certainly nothing wrong with a little slippage at the knot; in fact it's preferred. Take a close look at the mandeer and you'll see a looseness similar to yours. It's artful dishevelment, a core MB principle. Contrast this with, say, Donald Trump's too-straight tourniquet. As the de facto leader of Toolbag Nation, whatever he does, do the opposite.
Just ... gross. And then there's the tie.
The bigger issue with shiny silk ties – besides violating the MB matte vs. gloss principle – is that they give off strong old white man vibes, and none of the good ones. There's Trump, of course, but also take a look at the My Pillow Guy, Senate leadership, or a local Rotary Club meeting. (Now imagine the smell of the excessively-applied cologne. P U!)
Stick with your point collars and four-in-hand knots, David. Donate the printed silks to Goodwill and get into textured neckwear. We have a bunch of options, and it's all we've ever made.
And it gets better. A glitch in the De Marchi shop's checkout marks them down further, to €40.98. At today's exchange rate that's just $46; an insane deal for what we're pretty sure are the best leather cycling gloves made.
While you probably won't look quite like the Italian model on a vintage Legnano, you can at least feel like him.
At the risk of turning this site into a ski blog, here's another strong recommendation: OSBE helmets.
We were going to write this post a couple of years ago after scoring a couple NOS leather-clad units on eBay, and while ridiculously luxe, were disappointed in the fit and the visor functionality. Stuck with Bollé.
Something changed. The style of the Rigel model with the "classic visor" (shown above) is so irresistible we recently tried again, and love 'em so much it's already on the MB HOF ballot.
Other brands do offer the integrated visor (a real no-brainer), but nothing compares to the Rigel for a style/value combination. A KASK (also Italian) will set you back nearly $600. A similar style from CP (Swiss) is $365. At current exchange rates the Rigel is $136, and to our eyes, look better than both of them.
(Side note: SKI Magazine's top helmet/goggle pick for 2022 is a Bollé Ryft Evo ($220) combined with Bollé Torus goggles ($170). That's nearly $400 for an unnecessarily complicated combo with a reflector lens.)
Some of the Rigel styles are a little funky, so we recommend sticking with black or white in matte. Added bonus: the white matte can probably do double-duty as part of a low-fi Skywalker costume to go trick-or-treating with the kids.
OSBE fits small. If you're a size 7 or larger, definitely go for the Large (58-61cm).
Hey thanks for the tip on the Rossignol boots. Pretty dope. And you nailed the size. Any jacket & bib/pant recommendations? —Adam
A: You're welcome on the boots. Glad you got them before they sold out (in black). We're looking forward to loading up on lifetimes' supplies next fall when Rossignol says they'll be reloaded. (Yep, they're that good.)
As for a jacket/pants recommendation, why not more Rossignol? Last week at our annual ski summit — this year at Sun Valley — we discovered the Rossignol concept store and learned there are three others at Aspen, Park City, and NYC.
That works for us.
While browsing, for pants we really liked the Palmeres, a "style that mimics five-pocket jeans." $350. No, they're not our beloved Naked & Famous Snow Pant Denim, but those are all long gone, even on eBay.
For the jacket, the standout was the Hiver. $550. It's packed full of "traceably-sourced" down, has a detachable hood, pass pocket, and subtle tricolor branding. Magnifique!
As you would expect, Rossignol fits slightly small. Go up one size.
Hi! Is there a puffer vest that you all recommend? Maybe a couple of different brands? I know you recommended Duvetica a few years ago. Are they still your #1? Other brands? Thank you! —Chris
A: Thanks so much for the question, Chris. We could go on forever about puffer vests as they're a wardrobe staple.
One warning before we list some options: these best suit taller, thinner MBs. If you're carrying a little extra bulk in your torso, the last thing you want to do is add bulk to your torso while the rest of your body keeps the same thickness. You will just look fatter.
With that caveat, we have three rules on puffer vests. They must:
1. Be filled with down. Goose is better than duck. 2. Have a collar (but not a hood) 3. Have some sort of elastic, whether it's the armholes or the waist. Both is better.
Here are a few for your consideration.
Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Vest. $49.99.
If you are merely puffer vest-curious and want to see if they're for you, by far the best gateway is Uniqlo's Ultra Light Down Vest. At just 50 bucks there is no better overall value. Uniqlo fits true to size but this is cut larger. Size one down. Gamefacing like the model is not allowed. Hey kid, you're in a $50 vest.
Aspesi Slim RE Down Gilet. $312 (from $520).
If we had to pick one puffer vest, this is it. Minimal, oozes quality, and has all the features: goose down, adjustable elastic hem, lycra armholes, zip pockets, and an interior zip pocket. Probably because Aspesi is based just a few miles from the Alps, these are packed with feathers and target US cocktail zone 5 and higher. If you are in a warmer cocktail zone it's likely overkill. Has long since replaced Duvetica as our top pick. Aspesi vests fit true to size.
Polo Packable Water-Repellent Down Vest. $169.
We're not normally one for logos but this polo player is retro, iconic, and lacks legibility. A better choice for warmer cocktail zones — or traveling to them — as it's lightweight enough to pack into itself. What's with the gamefacing? Again, not allowed, even at $169. Polo is a shade big. For our Polo puffer vests we go one size down.
We've been looking for something like this since we grew out of Moon Boots 30 years ago, and Rossignol has nailed it with these lightweight, sporty, sneakerized après ski booties.
For those of us in Climate/Cocktail Zone 6, they fill the stylish foul-weather footwear chasm that exists between 6" of snow — when we pull out the Sorel Pacs — and a mere dusting. In fact, we like these so much they're an instant MBHOF candidate, paired here with current MBHOF member, the Makers and Riders M1Z jeans.
This is our outdoor uniform for the next 6 months (including après ski).
NB: These run really small. Order at least 1 size up, and if you're borderline, 1.5.
UPDATE 12/23/2021: Days after this post Rossignol went out of stock on most sizes (and there weren't a lot of options at other retailers). We emailed customer service and over a month later got a response: "We will not be receiving more of the Après Ski boot for this season, but will have them again next season with some new colorways." We'll post about these again when they become available, right after we purchase lifetime supplies.
In 2016 we made an unimpeachable case that Donald Trump won the GOP nomination primarily because voters were raging against establishment casual and casting ballots against anyone wearing a zip mock neck sweater.
That Republican Glenn Youngkin won a blue-state gubernatorial race clad in a fleece vest means that L.L. Bean is again a safe space for 2024 GOP hopefuls.
We predict that Donald Trump — ever the follower — will soon appear in meekly-rolled sleeves, a yellow Ashli Babbitt cause bracelet, and zippered fleece of some kind.
Next week: How to pick a vest that doesn't make you look like Glenn Youngkin.
Q: Hey Bastards: I have a good friend whose springtime wedding this year was postponed and is now set for October. Granted, we're in southern California, so the elements won't really be a factor, but what does one wear to autumnal nuptials? Dress code is semi-formal, so I intend to wear a suit, but I don't want to go in brown tweed and look like an elbow-patched professor... or do I? Thanks. —Joe
A: Joe, we know you asked this in early Q2. Hope our reply isn't too late!
Whenever we see anything about dress code, we immediately recall "The X Way Out" chapter of Paul Fussell's Class. (Becoming an X person, Fussell argues, is the only escape from class.)
... X people tend to dress for themselves alone, which means they dress comfortably, and generally "down." One degree down will usually do the trick: if black tie is designated an X person appears in a dark suit (of a distinctly unstylish, archaic cut) and a notable necktie. If suits are expected, he omits the tie. If "informal" is the proclaimed style, his jeans will be torn and patched, his cords very used, if not soiled. If others are wearing bathing suits, X people are likely to show up naked.
As aspiring Xers, we'd probably show up in 5-pocket white pants, an unpressed point-collar shirt with an askew tie, velvet blazer, and some sort of sneakerized footwear. Basically the MB mandeer.
But if you insist on a suit, we recommend one that looks vaguely semi-formal when together, but when separated become casual pieces you can wear day-in and day-out. And also throw in the wash.
Something like this Boglioli fine-wale corduroy suit is exactly what we're talking about. The day after the wedding you can nurse your hangover at brunch in the pants and a $10 t-shirt, and at night pair the patch-pocket jacket (i.e. blazer) with shorts or denim or anything to finally cure the hangover with more alcohol.
If you insist on a tie, our own Italian Tickler would be a fun contrasting texture-on-texture play. It's also notable.
Thanks for using the proper form of "whose," and have a great time.
Maybe it's a little too MB Bold Play for most, or maybe it's just really ugly to most, but over the past year it's stayed in stock and has gone from merely aspirational to MB Deal of the Week. Here's its journey:
As for the scarf itself? About what you would expect from Gucci: fantastic.
Q: I love your site, why did I come so late to the party?? Just watched the movie Patton and watch George C. Scott exclaim about Rommel, "You magnificent bastard, I read your book!!!" as he bombed the shit out of his tank procession.
But now...I need more content!!
What is my question....hmmm....
Is it ever ok to flirt a little with your wife's sister?
A: In response to your very good question, we first started developing a complex algorithm involving objective attractiveness differential between wife and sister; flirter's degree of flirting prowess; time and geo-location, presence of alcohol and/or other intoxicants; and whether or not Mike Pence's wife is on-hand to chaperone or not.
Then we realized: If you're asking us, you think there could be a problem. Which means there will be a problem.
Thus, our answer is relatively simple: The only time it's okay to flirt with your wife's sister is if you're already sleeping with your wife's mother. In that scenario, some well-played misdirection is highly advisable. In all other instances, you're just asking for trouble.
It's almost as though they've unleashed a dangerous and virulent toolbag variant. We've seen golfers at the club playing with them and having conversations while they're hitting a shot. We're not making this up.
As for a recommendation, perhaps our favorite purchase of 2021 are the Sony WH-1000XM4s. Your music and podcasts will sound terrific in them, but what you'll love most is the noise-cancelling technology that turns off the cacophony: the airplanes, the leaf blowers, the neighbor's dog, the kids across the street screaming "Lemonade!", and most importantly: that fucking guy on a call with AirPods.
Dear Bastards: I've been learning from you for a decade now and finally have reached a level of success as a professor. Being the classy gent I am, I would like to finally get a luxury watch of my middle class dreams. My dream is the IWC Portuguese Chronograph — a thing of refined beauty and taste. My only issue is that the case is 41mm and is 1mm too large. Given the pedigree of this brand and line of watch, can the 1mm be excused?
A: Glenn: Thanks for being a reader for a decade. That's deeper loyalty than shown by some of the people behind this site!
Regarding your request for dispensation to break the 40mm watch rule, there is precedent as we waived it back in 2018 for a reader who is 6' 5" and 350 lbs (and also for Kim Jong-Un).
Take our simple test: wrap one hand around the other wrist. If your thumb and middle finger overlap or touch, abide by the rule. If they don't, go ahead and enlarge your watch diameter 1mm for every 1cm of gap (46mm max).
As for this specific watch, to our eyes 41mm is slightly overwhelming the wrist of the IWC hand model, who, we're betting, can touch finger to thumb. We much prefer the understated watch/wrist proportions on James Bond and Q, or Phil Mickelson as he hoisted the Wanamaker trophy on Sunday with a 39mm Rolex Cellini.
Let us know what you end up doing, and congrats on being able to afford a watch that's more than the per capita GDP of Brazil.
Last week Canali announced the arrival of the "shacket," the sartorial fusion of a shirt and a jacket into a single piece of clothing.
While "brunch," "spork," and even "throuple" have nothing to worry about anytime soon, their new proprietary portmanteau does more efficiently describe, for the most part, an MB must-have: a slim-fitting, unstructured, unlined blazer with patch pockets, made of organic materials.
Key benefits include:
Quickly dresses up any outfit — but not too much — without looking like you TTH
More often than not, you can safely disregard any care instructions and simply throw it in the wash with your boxers
Since it comes out of the laundry, there's integrated artful dishevelment
Here in Cocktail Zone 6 it still feels completely natural — even obligatory — to be holding brown liquor as we sit next to the fire while we hunt for style on YOOX and add finds to our price tracking app (still in early beta).
But soon, when the crabgrass emerges in our lawns and evening lows stay above freezing, we'll pivot to clear.
For at least the past decade the first clear cocktail out of the chute has been the ridiculously delicious Last Word. The only "problem" is it's packed with booze. Our doctors recently conferred and it turns out that an average of 49 drinks per week, per person is too many.
Enter another Prohibition-era cocktail that doesn't make you blind (at least not immediately): the Ranier Dog.
We discovered this one on a recent road trip to The Nation's Icebox and a stay at the outstanding Cantilever Hotel in Ranier, MN. We tweak the bar's original recipe slightly with a little less gin (doctors' orders), a little less simple syrup (fatness), and balance the volume with a little more juice. Like the Last Word, it's a cheerful palette powerwash that echoes what Mother Nature does to the outdoors this time every year, and hints at all the seasonal awesomeness that's just days away.
Ranier Dog (original recipe)
2 oz. Juniperus Gin
3 oz. grapefruit juice
1.5 oz. lime juice
1.5 oz. simple syrup
Mix the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake a couple of times and pour over ice into a salted 16 oz. glass. If you have any limes left over, garnish with a robust wedge, sparing any heavily-salted zone.
Editor's Note: We are so passionate about pairing cocktails with the weather we built an app for the purpose. Check out your location's Pourcast and let us know what you think.
Since our last rant three years ago, golf shoe style has deteriorated even more precipitously than our distance off the tee. The April 2021 issue of Golf Digest features not one, but two pages of their picks for shoes only Dylan Frittelli should wear.
Acceptable alternatives are about as rare as salads are for Ian Woosnam, but here are a couple of options we like (for the most part).
Puma's golf shoe designs get weirder every year. This season there's a model better-suited for a domestic terrorist attack than a round of golf. Fortunately they continue to produce the OG, which is basically a waterproof Clyde with nubs on the sole. We're stocking up while we still can.
These are more than 2x the price of the Pumas, but we love the saddle styling of our dads' spiked shoes, and G/Fore golf shoes are famously comfortable. There is one caveat: there's a skull in the insole. In lieu of some Dr. Scholl's, this can be just between you and your club's locker room attendant. "Porterhouse!"
Pre-pandemic, the vast majority of our bike miles were strictly utilitarian: getting from home to the office and back in a small fleet of cargo bikes and rugged, studded-tire-clad winter beaters. The remaining miles were pleasure rides: going to the liquor store and back.
While we still occasionally fake-commute, COVID-19 has made most rides for fun, and made us rediscover the joy of going fast on minimalist vintage steel road bikes (Principle of Archaism). This year we're completing the look and going full-on Breaking Away (with the addition of a helmet and a 25% higher BMI):
1.De Marchi Classic Merino Shorts (Principle of Organic Materials)
While they're a tad long — even classic Italian brands are not immune to decades of shorts' expanding inseams — it's nothing our tailor can't adjust (and remove the branding while he's at it). The "Elastic Interface Endurance" pad adds comfort for the longer rides, even if you draft off a semi for a segment.
2.EGi Merino Wool Tank Top (Principle of Organic Materials)
Ever hear of EGi? Us either. We took a flier on this Italian-made tank and we're getting more. Slim-fitting yet stretchy, seamless, super comfy. Cheap. Runs one size small.
3.De Marchi Classic Leather Gloves (Principle of Organic Materials)
Almost a perfect late-'70s period match, top-notch Italian craftsmanship, and like the shorts, padding where you need it.
4.Puma Speedcat Sparco Suede Low-Top Sneakers
We've written extensively about the sneakerization of just about all footwear, but unfortunately road cycling shoes remain largely unaffected. So we've turned the Puma Speedcat into a cycling shoe, and so far, so good. They're light, have a low profile, and rigid sole for good pedaling power. Puma runs one size small. If you have any other strong suggestions please drop us a note.
A: As we said back in 2011, Al Davis probably took the sure answer to the suspected Vuarnet/Mikli sunglasses to his grave, and perhaps he did with these, too.
But we have a strong suspicion they are the Rodenstock Bristol: a distinctive navigator style frame with a tightly-spaced double bridge, ful-vue mounted temples (i.e. mounted high vs. center mount), and tapered frame bottoms.
Did we sell you? It turns out that Allyn Scura — the official eyewear provider to Magnificent Bastard — has one pair left. $85. Email them if you're interested.
While you're at it, make an MB Bold Play and pick up a pair of the Rodenstock Roccos, the most famed Rodenstock frame. If you don't think you can pull these off as eyewear, try them as sunglasses.
Finally, we've had a bunch of people asking about the Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Contest, and it's living up to its official name as the Kind-Of-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear contest, as we've been busy cutting timber. We'll be back in February 2022 with our most challenging Challenge yet!
4. Pro Mark 9-Layer Apron Chaps. When you're 30 miles from the nearest hospital, the last thing you need is to rip open your femoral artery. These chaps' 9 layers of cut-retardant material can prevent that, have a handy front pocket, and add an additional layer of warmth.
5. Wells Lamont Winter Weather Work Gloves. We've been through a bunch of winter work gloves and these are the warmest, most rugged we've found. 4.5/5 at Amazon with over 1000 reviews. Runs about 2 sizes small (that's the reason for most of the negative reviews). Made in Ethiopia!
6. Carolina Steel Toe Work Boots (Model CA7503). Red Wing gets all the glory, but for actual work Carolina is better. Great for all sorts of labor beyond lumberjacking, especially when your toes are at risk from being crushed or cut off. Made in USA (and they never let you forget it). Carolina runs one size small.
7. Stihl MS 261 C-M. If there is a single piece of advice you take away from this site — besides, say, proper sleeve-rolling technique — it's this: never, ever buy any hardware or tools or machinery labeled "homeowner." Or even "farm & ranch." Always buy pro gear. It's more but always less expensive. This Stihl saw is light and powerful and could last your lifetime.
Longtime readers will note that we've often argued against legible clothing and for organic materials since our founding in 2007, but we're confessing to breaking both rules when it comes to these hats. (And after all, they're officially accessories.) Why? It's simple: They look so fucking groovy. Here are four we have worn during Zoom calls this winter:
Q: As a young activist/Marxist revolutionary in the Philippines, what's the best way to look good on the streets while still ready to take down an oppressive government?
A: We suspect even a hint of New People's Army garb — a Mao cap with a red star, or green shirt — will get you jailed, or worse.
Our first thought was an updated Mao suit jacket — something like this — that Duterte's goons wouldn't pick up on, but would wink to the intellectual class that you're on the same team, and allow you to literally wear on your sleeve the Four Virtues its four pockets represent: propriety, justice, honesty, and a sense of shame.
But that thought didn't last long, once we remembered the Philippines is tropical. While we fully support your cause, if uniting the workers of the world means having to wear a buttoned-up wool suit jacket in 75°F dew points, we're out, and cannot recommend it for you.
Here's what we came up with instead, along with our rationale:
The shirt is climate-appropriate, foremost, with faint echoes of the Mao suit's utilitarianism and militarism. The shorts support the top, sharing the same elastane content and slim cut. And the shoes, while maybe not strictly proletarian, is an application of our high-low approach to outfits (and more importantly, they're comfortable on the streets). Finally, everything is black, which not only fulfills on the Maoist monochromatism maxim, is also practical when trying to slip out, undetected, to the nearest NPA camp.
Be smart, James. Stay safe. We wish you the best of luck.
After unboxing these tonight, we're ashamed to even admit we've previously used aluminum poles.
Handmade by a small shop in Steamboat Springs, they almost entirely fulfill on the MB "organic materials" principle, not just with the 'boo of course, but also the rubber grips. And they're covered with a marine-grade coating that looks rugged enough to withstand a yard sale at the annual Big Sky Pond Skim.
There's only one incongruous detail keeping these out of our HOF: the recycled polyester straps. But to MB-mod these all you need is a Phillips screwdriver, boxcutter, hole punch, and your favorite 5oz. leather. We used some brown Horween Chromexcel scraps leftover from our wallet production that turned out great.
Due to Covid-related supply delays they are 2 weeks out. So plan ahead and be ready for the first big dump.
Tip: Allyn Scura has a cache of Ray-Ban "Caravan" frames in both cable and standard temples in a variety of sizes. They’re so bad assed that they'll make anyone look like a tin-pot dictator. I bought 5 pairs. I suspect that should last the rest of my life. —Ben
Thanks for the tip. A few thoughts:
1. We fully endorse binge-buying and hoarding lifetime supplies of great gear. You never know when something you love is discontinued, permanently out of stock, or the company that makes it goes brown. And if you die before your inventory runs out, you'll leave your progeny something of value beyond great genes: tons of cool shit that will serve as mementos ... or as inventory for a killer eBay store.
2. While you may have dented Allyn Scura's Ray-Ban Caravan inventory, we're told there is still a cache of all the other Ray-Ban styles on their site. According to AS — eyewear supplier to the Fargo and Elvis productions — vintage Ray-Bans are making a comeback, as well as vintage Carrera, and Faosa.
3. We're not sure Caravans are the right frame for the tin-pot dictator look. All we could think of was Manual Noriega, and we're not sure they're Caravans. Tin-pot dictators tend to gravitate towards more bold, slightly more angular frames:
2 oz Bulleit bourbon
1 oz Berentzen Apfelkorn
1/8 oz Laphroaig 10-year scotch
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir languidly for 28 seconds. Strain into ice-filled rocks glass.