Magnificent Bastard

Monday, November 19, 2018



Ask the MB: Scarf to Wear With Plaid Woolrich Shirt Jacket

Ask the MB: Scarf to Wear With Plaid Woolrich Shirt Jacket

Q: Hi MB. Based on your recommendation, I recently got a Woolrich White Label Quilted Mill Shirt Jacket. I love it. Thanks. What are some great (and relatively inexpensive) scarves that you'd recommend to go with it? Thanks!
—Chris

A: Glad you like that jacket as much as we do.

As for winter scarves, we have one hard and fast rule: must be mostly cashmere. It's the only thing soft enough we allow draped around our necks, besides the the drunk temp at the office Christmas party.

As for colors and patterns, we've had great luck pattern-matching all kinds of outerwear with Missoni's funky stripes. And in the case of this this jacket, it's irresistible going high-low, pairing a workwear jacket designed in Pennsylvania with a cashmere scarf designed in Lombardy, Italy.

But you asked for "relatively inexpensive."

One glance at YOOX, and you can play it safe with a solid grey scarf from Arte Cashmere ($67), or if you're feeling slightly more adventurous, there's a beginner plaid-plaid matching opportunity with more Arte Cashmere in black or khaki.

Good luck and let us know what you decide on. And don't forget to check out our scarf-tying guide: 7 Ways to Tie a Scarf Based on the Game-Time Temperature at Lambeau Field.

Ask the MB: What Happened to the YOOX Brand 8?

Ask the MB: What Happened to the YOOX Brand 8?

Q: Hello, MB! I have recently discovered the YNAP "8" brand and was impressed with the quality, design, and bang-for-the-buck ratio. However, there is not much information about it on the internet, your Sept 7, 2017 post being the most comprehensive material. Anyhow, 8 items are suddenly unavailable @ yoox.com, and I'm wondering whether you have any insight on this. Is this a temporary situation? Is the line permanently discontinued? Any thoughts would be great, thanks.
—Irene

A: We have a post that's the most comprehensive on the internet, no matter how esoteric? That's a first, and we are celebrating with a round (or two) of Magnificent Bastard Cocktails.

Yum!

We agree with you on 8, of course, and it would be a bummer if YNAP shuttered the brand. We asked YOOX about it via Twitter. While it's somewhat cryptic, and perhaps written by someone whose first language is Italian (check the time), it sounds like 8 might not be dead just yet.

Stay tuned right here, Irene, to the internet's leading source of 8 news.

Ask the MB: Moving to Norway

The Genève, along with Bergen's 7-day forecast
The Genève, along with Bergen's 7-day forecast

Q: Hello MB, I am moving to Norway and I need a raincoat. Any recommendations? I'm looking for something lightweight and affordable. I'll also be bringing along my Mobster Galoshes (thanks for that tip)!
—Jay

A: Jay, we're glad you like the Mobster galoshes. They're on our "All-Time Favorites" list … which only exists in our minds right now, but which we will someday publish when we think of a catchier name for it.

The Mobsters are made by Swims, which is based in Oslo, so let's keep things simple: Buy more Swims! Norwegian rain is probably not all that much different than American rain, but why take that chance? Get something by the locals.

Of course, Swims gear is actually manufactured in China, because Donald Trump is not President of Norway (yet). But it is engineered in Norway, where they are such experts in shitty weather they don't even call the piece we're going to recommend to you a "rain jacket," because any jacket you plan on wearing more than once a year in Norway better be able to hand the rain.

Don't believe us? Oslo gets 161 days of rain a year. Bergen, Norway's second largest city, gets 240! Seattle, only 150.

(No, you didn't just accidentally land on weather.com. But honestly, stopping making such a big deal about all the rain you get, Seattle. Compared to Bergen, you're a desert paradise.)

Okay, back to our recommendation. Take a look at the Genève, described as a "sporty, all-weather, all-day, all-seasons, all-purpose jacket." Which we suspect is the Old Norse way of saying "raincoat."

If you need technical proof, here are its specs: "20.000 g/sqm/24h, 20.000 hydrostatic water column." Yup, raincoat.

We don't own The Geneve — yet — but if we ever find ourselves living in a place that gets more than 150 days of rain a year, it will be high on our purchase list. And every piece of Swims outwear we do own has been a terrific investment.

So buy with confidence, and good luck on your exciting new adventure.

MB Endorses: Mack Weldon No-Show Socks

MB Endorses: Mack Weldon No-Show Socks

For over a decade we've been a strong advocate for exposed ankles and recommending Converse "Cut for Chucks" socks as the best way to do it. But in the past year or so Converse has gone full-on former Trump associate, flipping the materials mix from ~90% cotton to 98% polyester.

It almost ought to be illegal!

As our original Converse CFCs have approached threadbare, along came Mack Weldon's more prosaically named "no-show socks", restoring a proper organic materials dominance of 85% cotton, with a padded footbed and an elastic top that perfectly balances keeping them on vs. cutting off circulation.

We're such big fans of these socks that we took advantage of Mack Weldon's 20% off $200 offer and got 26 pair of socks for $171.60 (including free shipping). Crazy? Perhaps. But as Keeling Curve data would suggest, longer ankle-exposing seasons only show signs of getting longer. (Also, we know a valuable and rare item when we see it, and when that happens we buy in bulk. Yet to regret it.)

MB Endorses: Makers & Riders Jeans at 42% Off

Bill Murray golfing in the Makers & Riders Dispatch Rider Jean
Bill Murray golfing in the Makers & Riders Dispatch Rider Jean

Someday we're going to post a new feature listing our all-time favorite purchases, and the Makers & Riders Dispatch Rider Jean will be one of the first items on it. We've written about them extensively here, and while their pedigree is riding, they are as versatile a pant as Bill Murray is an actor. As one reviewer says, "These are the best pants out there! I do everything with these! Hiking, Biking, Snowboarding, you name it!"

Despite the Trumpesque capitalization, it's all true.

Is $139 still a lot for a pair of pants? Perhaps. Yet these are in our forthcoming Hall of Fame, and this price is as low as they go. On sale through August 14.

MB Laboratory: Golf Bag

MB Laboratory: Golf Bag

When we go a couple of weeks without posting it's because we're lazy and drunk. This time, though, we've just been drunk, and busy in the lab concocting what we believe will be the most desirable golf bag ever created. Leather, naturally. Perhaps even more minimal than the Minimum Viable Wallet. All materials and construction Made in the USA.

What's taken the longest is designing the single side bag, which is in fact 3 bags in 1: a main bag for balls and tees, a valuables pocket for your phone and wallet and keys, and another one for your cashmere sweater or windbreaker.

It's going to be magnificent. Stay tuned for updates. Our goal is to have it ready to ship for Christmas. Just don't hold us to a specific year.

World Cup Russia Predictions — Knockout Phase 1st Weekend

World Cup Russia Predictions — Knockout Phase 1st Weekend

It's down to 16. Who will advance? This weekend has four games, and we've run all the data through our proprietary algorithm that uses predictive analytics based on a coach's sideline presence to determine game outcomes. Here's what's going to happen, and why:

France vs. Argentina

Didier Deschamps — France
Jorge Sampaoli — Argentina

Gold bracelet. Chunky wedding ring. Ridiculously oversized watch. Between his excessive male jewelry and his "Bring me my goddamned Harvey Wallbanger!" body language, Deschamps looks more than ready to hit the Baccarat table at Caeser's. But at least his lapels are the right size. That gives him a slight edge over Sampaoli who completely undermines pretty good "Are you fucking kidding me?" Jesus Arms with a black blazer over black tee combo that Michael Lohan would be proud to rock at wherever Michael Lohan is rocking it these days. Plus it looks like he might be smuggling a couple keys of cocaine in his shoulder pads — and given recent news emanating from Argentina, that gives us pause.
MB Prediction: France, 3-1.



Uruguay vs. Portugal

Óscar Tabárez — Uruguay
Fernando Santos — Portugal

Uruguay rolled through the Group A like they were all riding on Óscar Tabárez's motorized scooter, but despite sleeve-rolling at near MB levels, look for Portugal to advance on the sheer will of Santos's artful dishevelment and insouciance. He's just not into that cigarette.
MB Prediction: Portugal, 1-0.



Spain vs. Russia

Fernando Hierro — Spain
Stanislav Cherchesov — Russia

"Dress for the job you want, not the job you have" is always good advice, and Spain's Fernando Hierro should have taken it. Instead, the Interim Head Coach is dressed like an Interim Head Coach — a solid performance (minimal accessorization, crest on the blazer) but nothing extraordinary, and the slightly oversized watch makes us wonder if he's truly a long-term fit. In the short term, it doesn't matter, because he's matched against Cherchesov, whose rumpled three-piece suit, black patent shoes, and over-sized ID Badge makes him look like he's head of security for a boy band from Novosibirsk. Sometimes in the World Cup, it's all about the luck of the draw.
MB Prediction: Spain, 2-0.



Croatia vs. Denmark

Zlatko Dalić — Croatia
Åge Hareide — Denmark

Obviously, Knockout Phase matches cannot end in a draw, but Dalić and Hareide are pretty evenly matched here, in the timeless and understated uniform of charcoal pants, white woven, black sweater. As far as accessorization goes, Hareide's black-out sunglasses are slightly outplaying Dalic's tie — but whatever advantage that gives him is completely erased by an ID badge that appears even bigger than Cherchesov's. And maybe even bigger than a Denny's menu. We're still debating that here at MB headquarters, but giving the win to Dalic in the interim.
MB Prediction: Croatia, 2-1.

Ask the MB: Watch Size Waiver

Ask the MB: Watch Size Waiver

Q: I'm a big dude. 6'5, 350lbs. I wear a grizzly beard and teach high school English in Canada. I'm also a fiend for wristwatches. My daily work watch is an Omega Seamaster Chronograph (41.5mm). My weekend watch is normally a Sea Dweller (43mm). Both violate the 40mm rule you live by. The issue is, if I put on either of my Submariners (39mm), my Datejusts (36mm) or my DayDate (36mm), it looks like I'm wearing my mother's watch.

I get a ton of compliments on both the Seamaster and the Sea-Dweller, and really think they look normal on my wrist (read: they don't look like a Breitling Avenger II).

What should I do? Should I wear a smaller watch, or should I keep rocking the bigger ones?
—John

A: Four Rolexes? How much do they pay English teachers in Canada?!

Anyhow, in the interest of keeping things simple, the 40mm rule was meant for most guys, not men with the dimensions of an NFL offensive tackle. Nor, apparently, for chubby leaders of hermit nations.

We hereby grant you — and also Kim Jong-Un — a waiver on the 40mm rule. So keep rocking the bigger ones. Unfortunately Mr. Kim is stuck; he's wearing North Korea's only watch.

Everyone else out there wondering if they qualify for a waiver, here's a simple test: wrap one hand around the other wrist. If your thumb and middle finger overlap or touch, you're good to go. If they don't, go ahead and enlarge your watch diameter 1mm for every 1cm of gap (46mm max).

Get Dressed: Memorial Day Weekend Pool Opening

Get Dressed: Memorial Day Weekend Pool Opening

If you live north of roughly the 40th parallel, tomorrow is opening day at your private club's pool. Here's what we're wearing, alongside a handful of XL G&Ts.

1. Sunglasses Conceived as eyeglasses by designer Allyn Scura, our favorite sunglasses are the Angelo with bottle green lenses. They're simultaneously retro and modern, and comfortable enough to wear from sunrise to sundown. We've invested heavily in sunglass diversification but it has not been money well spent; we almost always end up simply grabbing the Angelos with bottle green lenses. Made in Japan.

2. Swim Trunks. In 11 years we've never made a strong swimwear recommendation despite trying everything from Penguin to Vilebrequin, but we can now: Robinson Les Bains (Oxford Long cut). While these are not nearly as unforgiving as, say, Speedo, there's not much material available for chub concealment. But if you've mixed in some salads in the off-season you're rewarded with a terrific fit and delightful touches like elasticised snap side tabs, a zipped valuables pocket, and depending on the model, a waterproof pouch. Made in France.

As you'd expect, the widest selection is at the Robinson Les Bains store. If you're not into spending 195€ (~$230), keep an eye on YOOX as these pop up often at a fraction of retail.

Bonus: Robinson Les Bains designer Christophe Vérot's 10 Rules of Style. #1: Stay fit, stand tall, and keep your head up.

Fit tip: Being French, these run petit. Order one size up.

Ask the MB: Wardrobe Variety Where It's Hot All the Time

Ask the MB: Wardrobe Variety Where It's Hot All the Time

Q: I teach at a college in the extremely Deep South — think swamps and alligators. I'm pretty happy with my general look, jeans or slacks with a woven button-up and a tie. Dress here is pretty casual; I think I'm the only faculty member who wears a tie. So, any suggestions on adding some variety to my look? Blazers or sweaters would be the solution, but it's too hot for any kind of jacket at least 8 months out of the year here.
—Charles

A: While actually wearing a blazer in the blazing heat might not be an option, have you considered simply carrying one?

In our all-time favorite noir Body Heat, William Hurt rocks the look often during an especially severe Florida heat wave. (Although that was 1981, when the Keeling Curve was at a mere 335 ppm.)

If your arms are already full, consider a vest. While we're not on record endorsing vests — except for down-filled puffy ones — there is strong visual evidence that it works well for an educator like yourself.

Even if you don't look like Bradley Cooper, a vest would offer the variety you are looking for, mixing textures and patterns with your ties and wovens. As usual, try YOOX for a bunch of options. Let us know how it works out ... and keep that watch 40mm or smaller like Cooper does here!

Earlier: Ask the MB: Teacher Look

MB Endorses: Adidas adiCross Classic Golf Shoes

MB Endorses: Adidas adiCross Classic Golf Shoes

The golf shoe marketplace has been MB-hostile at least since the Clinton administration. His running shoes may be to blame, but the athletic aesthetic is now almost completely dominant, with elastic eyelets, neon spikes, and split soles, which one reviewer says, "makes the feet feel activated, the shoes certainly put a spring in one's step."

It begs the question: Do you want to be the medalist of your foursome or dunk on them?

Thanks, Clinton.

Even the names, we're not sure if they're golf shoes or forthcoming Space X rocket boosters:

Ignite PWRADPT <-- not a typo

360 Tour Boost

Lunar Control Vapor 2

Cutting straight through the toolbaggery like a stinger 3-wood is the simple streetwear style of the Adidas adiCross Classic. Adidas even relegated the three stripes to the heel notch, which may be obscured if you wear pants. We haven't been this excited about a new golf shoe since the Adidas "Invader" launched in 2002. Highly recommended.

Fit tip: As is always the case with Adidas, these, too, run one size small.

The Winner of the 8th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

The Winner of the 8th-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge Is…

Jason Andes.

Jason successfully identified the bespectacled or sunglassified MBs in the 8th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Contest:

1. Stokely Carmichael
2. Bob Marley
3. Bruce Willis
4. Cary Grant
5. Joseph Pulitzer
6. I.M. Pei
7. John Lennon
8. Willem de Kooning
9. Claude Rains (as The Invisible Man)

Jason also nailed the tiebreaker question. "What do they all have in common?" Answer: they all are immigrants.

Stokely Carmichael: Trinidad and Tobago
Bob Marley: Jamaica
Bruce Willis: Germany
Cary Grant: United Kingdom
Joseph Pulitzer: Hungary
I.M. Pei: China
John Lennon: United Kingdom
Willem de Kooning: Netherlands
Claude Rains: United Kingdom

Jason won the contest because he had the good fortune to have his entry randomly selected, as were the two runner ups, who will receive a Magnificent Bastard tie of his choice (2nd place) and a Secret Agent Belt (3rd place).

ASE Angelo in bottle green lenses

Jason, enjoy your new pair of Allyn Scura frames. We always recommend the legendary Legend, or the ASE Angelo, our all-time favorite sunglasses (and we own several dozen). Alternatively, you can put your $125 credit towards a pair of Allyn Scura's vintage or reproduction frames, like these ridiculously oversized and equally fun Kala Chateaus, modeled by Elliott Gould in Ocean's 11. It's your choice.

Thanks to everyone who played and we'll see you again next year for the 9th Annual ASEC.

Ask the MB: MB Watch

Ask the MB: MB Watch

Help! Previous "ask the MB" here (from all the way back in 2010 about the office booze cruise). I'm in need of fantastically MB watch for general use and upcoming wedding I will be attending. Sadly, both previously suggested O&W's are out of stock. I'm not a watch fanatic and go cross-eyed looking on watch forums for suggestions. Are there any other military inspired sub 40mm watches you recommend? What about this Hamilton?

Thanks. And by the way, the minimum viable wallet rocks. And these ties are 10/10 quality.
—Wade

A: First, thanks for the comments on our gear. We agree! We're diligently working on a couple other things we can't wait to show off.

As for that Hamilton, while it fulfills the size and movement requirements, the dial is waaaaay TTH. Partial seconds? That's reserved for NBA shot clocks and the Olympics. And by our count there are 37 numbers, which is 1133% more legibility than the minimalist O&W Kartago (three).

We're not sure when the wedding is, but a timepiece isn't as necessary as, say, pants. Don't settle. Westcoastime assures us the O&W M-65 will be back in stock by the end of June (2018). That's a good watch. If you can wait a while longer, we're in contact with Mr. Wajs — the "W" in O&W — and negotiating on a small run of the Kartago to put in the shop.

Ask the MB: Silicon Valley Jacket

Ask the MB: Silicon Valley Jacket

Q: I'm looking for a versatile, high-quality, lightweight jacket that will impress me every time I put it on. Also, I live in Silicon Valley and only need some degree of wind/water protection. Any suggestions or guidance would be appreciated.
—Sean

A: In a place where a disproportionate number of car doors open on the y-axis, we especially like the vaguely Steve McQueen-inspired Geox windbreaker we recommended late last year. It gets a disproportionate number of positive comments, and it's just 69 bucks.

Russ Hanneman explains how Silicon Valley billionaire car doors work.

We've kept our eyes peeled since you asked the question a month ago, and also suggest considering this equally sporty Jil Sander bomber ($252) or this Columbo-lite Belstaff peacoat ($222). Like the Geox, both are deeply discounted and available in a range of sizes, which is an almost irresistible contrarian "buy" signal that we rarely regret acting upon.

(Sale prices good through tomorrow — 3/30 — so hurry.)

Previously: Dan Rather debates whether to keep his trench collar up or down and concludes, "Nobody wears a trenchcoat with the collar down."

MB Contest: 8th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

MB Contest: 8th Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge

Welcome to the 8th Kind-of-Annual Allyn Scura Eyewear Challenge, sponsored by our all-time favorite eyewear and sunglass outfitter, Allyn Scura.

THE CHALLENGE: Identify the nine bespectacled or sunglassified MBs above and you will be entered to win a pair of Allyn Scura frames ($175 value) or a $125 credit you can apply toward any vintage frames Allyn Scura carries. It's up to you. And same as last year, we're adding a couple of MB sweeteners. The runner up gets a Magnificent Bastard tie of his/her choice and 3rd place gets a Secret Agent Belt.

To enter simply fill out the form located here with the names of the men pictured, and, in the event of a tie, what they all have in common. One entry per person. USA only. Good luck. The deadline for this contest is Friday, April 6 at midnight CDT.

MB Deal of the Week: Kit and Ace Polo Shirts

MB Deal of the Week: Kit and Ace Polo Shirts

About this time a year ago, "luxury athlesiure" company Kit and Ace closed all its US stores to focus on online retail.

But let's face it — bricks and mortar, online, it doesn't matter. In Donald Trump's America, where employment is at record highs, and coal-miners and factory workers alike are working overtime so they can buy more Berkshire Hathaway shares, no one has time "luxury athleisure." There are capital gains to be had!

So now K&A stuff is showing up on Century 21 at 85% off.

While most of it doesn't fit our aesthetic, their Crossover Polo is an interesting twist on a classic. Made from 10% cashmere, it reminds us of our own Cashmarello Easy Shirt — except that at $15 a pop, you can get 16 for what you would have had to pay for an Easy Shirt! (Not to mention that even if you have the $250 we charged for an Easy Shirt, you can't get one — as we sold out of them long ago.)

It's perhaps the most comfortable polo we've ever worn. Fits true to size.

Ask the MB: Young Museum Director Wardrobe

Ralph Lauren Basic Charcoal Serge Wool Suit Jacket & Pants via Century 21, $219.99
Ralph Lauren Basic Charcoal Serge Wool Suit Jacket & Pants via Century 21. $219.99.

Q: I just found your site and I am pretty thrilled someone is finally calling out the rules. I am a big guy so I tend to pay attention as much as I can to look good. I have just accepted a new position as a director at a cool museum. One of the largest and most prominent. My co-workers dress well and I need a primer for what to buy as far as basics. I want to dash the old frumpy look of a security director and add the young flavor and style to compliment my new administration.
—Phill

A: Congratulations on your new gig! Follow our advice, and you'll be on the path to a wardrobe that may even have your colleagues in Acquisitions & Accessioning looking to preserve for the edification and delight for future generations.

Since you said nothing about a budget for this endeavor, we suspect that's not a major concern or constraint for you. But since you're starting from scratch, and don't have a firmly established idea of what you'll like best or what works for you, we're going to steer you toward options that represent good values.

Our point: When you're starting out, you want the freedom to experiment, without worrying about potential sunk costs and buyer's remorse. Or to put it another way, when you start golfing, you shouldn't buy Pro V1s until you've reached the point where you are no longer sending multiple drives into the woods and water every round. Develop your swing, then step up to $6 golf balls.

Okay, that's enough context. Without further ado, here's the MB Sartorial System — Young Museum Director Version (Fall/Winter). See below for assembly instructions.

SUIT [1]
charcoal grey
When you and the mayor cut the ribbon for that new Impressionist wing, you're going to want to wear a suit. As you may have read, we're big fans of two-button charcoal grey ones. And you're in luck because Century 21 (our new favorite site, right up there with YOOX) has this Ralph Lauren version, likely in your size and with functional buttonholes, for just $220. (15 bucks off with code JOINUS31 for purchases over $150.)

BLAZERS [3]
1 velvet, 1 corduroy, 1 plaid
We've found this to be a winning combination of F/W textures to accompany the shirts and pants you'll see in a minute. Our go-to YOOX brand for value, 8, wants just $109 for their camel velvet version. (Choose one size up.) For the others, just make sure they meet our blazer requirements.









SWEATERS [2]
1 v-neck, 1 cardigan (both merino)
For under one of those blazers or alone on Casual Friday, you're going to need a couple of sweaters. A brand we recently discovered — and love — that provides perhaps even stronger value that 8 is +U Plusultra. Yes, its name sounds like a condom brand created by a marketing AI optimized for redundancy. But their cardigans (again, likely in your size) are now just $46.









SHIRTS [4]
1 white, 1 blue, 1 gingham, 1 plaid (all point collar)
Getting this right is key for a fully functional system. The white and blue shirts cannot have button-down collars, because you may use them with a tie (the gingham and plaid are fine with buttons). These days point collars are an endangered species, but hang in there and don't settle for a spread or cutaway that both fattens your face and will be at resale shops shortly. Century 21 has this Steven Alan plaid for a ridiculous $25 as a starting point.





PANTS [3]
2 brushed/moleskin, 1 corduroy (all 5-pocket)
It doesn't take a very stable genius to recognize that regular trousers on a big guy can send you into Trump territory fast. But that's not the only reason to go the 5-pocket route. 5-pocket pants are also more comfortable and modern, and can easily be dressed up for your new role. While Bonobos' version is more expensive than most of what we're recommending here, its straightforward style and overall utility make it a very safe investment.




BELTS [1]
We're normally not ones to toot our own horn, but we have created a belt that is not only a work of art, but will work with every system combination herein, including the suit. It's the 300-Year Belt (either in Classic or High Plains Noir), with a sterling silver buckle handmade by Arizona-based artist Mary Daugherty. (Free Secret Agent Belt with purchase.)



TIES [2]
OK, so maybe we are ones to toot our own horn. Both The Cosina Veloce and The Kakutani bring unique textures and a rakishness to the system on dress-up days. (Wear with both the white and blue shirts.)

SHOES [2]
1 shiny, 1 matte (both sneakerized)
Perhaps the easiest way to dump frumpy security director is via footwear. We've rhapsodized often about shoe sneakerization, and for both pair recommend splurging on something in the Common Projects vein, like these Common Projects dark brown will work with everything but the suit.

So, not counting the suit separates or the ties, this system provides 60 different permutations of pants, shirts, and blazers/sweaters. Throw out the handful that don't jibe (like the corduroy pants and corduroy blazer) and you still have enough variety to keep you going until spring, when we can do this all over again. Thanks for the question. It was fun.

Good luck on the new job!

Ask the MB: Best Dressed Republican?

Ask the MB: Best Dressed Republican?

Who is the best dressed Republican now?
—Aaron

A: This will take some time to figure out, but our first reaction to your question reminds us of the proverb, "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."

Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, who looks as uncomfortable as we are seeing this picture.

Meanwhile, it's safe to say anyone attending last weekend's Republican leadership meeting at Camp David is out of the running, especially at the top:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell paired a brass button blue blazer with dad jeans and Hush Puppies.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who's somehow devolved from his losing 2012 look, wore creased wide-legged khakis with fleece, beneath a suit jacket with underweight lapels.

If anyone has suggestions for Best-Dressed GOP please drop us a note and if we use your suggestion on air we'll send you free stuff.

Ask the MB: Millennial Pipe

Churchwarden on the left, Prince on the right
Churchwarden on the left, Prince on the right

I've decided to take up smoking again because, well, I'm a nihilistic millennial, and was wondering if I could get some guidance on pipe smoking. I was set on a Churchwarden's pipe, as it's distinctive but not predictable and overused like a calabash. I feel it meets the principles of archaism, senseless lack of utility and natural materials, but will it look like I'm trying too hard?

Yours Bastardly,
Erik

A: Thank you for smoking! We also appreciate your nihilism; your letter has given us a lot to be hopeful for as the holidays approach and we fret about where the world is heading. But choosing a 12" long pipe is the equivalent of a guy who wears extra-long ties.

As A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie-the-Pooh once observed, "A pipe in the mouth makes it clear that there has been no mistake–you are undoubtedly a man." But a 12" pipe is a signal that you really, really, really want to broadcast that message, and even dull-eyed observers will suspect there is some deficiency informing this effort. Don't short-change yourself in this manner!

Meanwhile, we agree on the Calabash; that is purely Sherlock Holmes costume-wear.

As a much better alternative, we recommend a Prince. While lacking the senseless lack of utility of a Churchwarden, it more than makes up for it with its Anglophilia. According to The Pipe Guys, it was fashioned for Prince Albert who would later ascend to the British throne as King Edward VII, and is also accurately identified by TPG as "simple and understated."

Best of luck on your new vice!

MB Endorses: Free Secret Agent Belts

Left to Right: 300-Year Belt 'Classic' Edition, 300-Year Belt 'High Plains Noir' Edition, Game-Day Belt, Secret Agent Belt
Left to Right: 300-Year Belt 'Classic' Edition, 300-Year Belt 'High Plains Noir' Edition, Game-Day Belt, Secret Agent Belt

Holiday coffee cups just dropped at Starbucks; Pandora suggested Willie Nelson Holiday Radio; Metro Transit attacked Minneapolis railways in the War on Christmas. 'Tis the season, and we're participating by offering a FREE Secret Agent Belt with any purchase of the one of our leather belts:

300-Year Belt — "Classic" Edition (left)
We've been sold out for months while Arizona-based artist Mary Daughtrey carefully crafted dozens more sterling silver buckles. Leather Works Minnesota attached them to thick slabs of water buffalo that exude rugged character, are incredibly durable, and yet surprisingly soft to the touch — sometimes when we start rhapsodizing about these belts, we're not sure if we're talking about them or Clint Eastwood's face. Anyhow, it's fully back in stock. We've worn this belt every day since the first sample in 2014, it's that good. Just 297 years to go.

300-Year Belt — "High Plains Noir" Edition (2nd from left)
The "Classic" was such a hit we made another version in dark brown that we're very excited about and proud of. Get the Eastwood-inspired "High Plains Noir" Edition while they last.

Game Day Belt (2nd from right)
Never miss a game but still content to leave the body paint and giant foam finger to others? This belt all but shouts "football!" — but not in a sloppy, spit-flecked way that breathalyzers can detect at 20 paces. The strap is made from Horween "Tanned in Tack" leather — the same stuff the NFL uses to make its footballs. The buckle resembles a football, but we have it made out of metal, in Italy, to cut down on the chances of Tom Brady deflating it.

Buy any of these and receive a Secret Agent Belt (far right) for FREE, while supplies last.

Free 2-day shipping. Free returns. Always.

MB Endorses: Geox Midweight Windbreaker

MB Endorses: Geox Midweight Windbreaker

It was love at first sight with this white Geox windbreaker, which to our eye looked like a low-key Steve McQueen Le Mans reference, except with 100% less asbestos.

But the starting price of $266 seemed rich, even if it's Italian and comes with Geox's patented "Respira" tech that claims to combine rain and wind resistance with breathability.

Using our price-tracker app — which we are sure hoping to get to beta by the end of the year — we watched with pleasure as the price dropped to $158, $77, and even $66 before recovering to $77, where we purchased a few. Lots still available in all four sizes. Highly recommended for spring 2018 and beyond.

NB: This item runs about 1.5 sizes small. If you are in between, go up two full sizes.

Ask the MB: What Kind of Cane Do You Recommend?

Howell vintage wooden cane with sterling and horn handle
Howell vintage wooden cane with sterling and horn handle

Q: I recently injured my left knee and need to use a cane. The insurance company supplied an ugly blue aluminum number that looks like it came from a drug store. Since it seems that I will need a cane for some time to come, I am thinking of trying to find a plain aluminum one or getting a nice wood cane. What do you think?
—P.T.

A: P.T., if you've read our recent post about peacoats and the wisdom of following MB Principles of Anglophilia, Archaism, and Organic Materials, isn't the answer obvious? You need a vintage wooden cane from England.

More specifically, you need a Howell cane. According to cane aficionado Canequest, the brand was founded by John Howell in London in 1832, and his canes were the shit with it mid-19th century Londoners suffering from knee injuries like yours.

As you might expect, eBay UK is the place to find them. We're so smitten with this £110.00 sterling and horn-handled version we may just pre-purchase in case of an ACL. Get it before we do.

MB Endorses: Wearing a Nametag Even if You're Hosting a Party

MB Endorses: Wearing a Nametag Even if You're Hosting a Party

His image is plastered on every vertical surface in Beijing, yet at his speech at the twice-a-decade national congress, Chinese president Xi Jinping wore a nametag. This might strike some as false modesty, but it strikes us as just plain modesty. The 2nd most powerful man in the world wore a nametag like everyone else.

The 91 year-old and former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Jiang Zemin remained unimpressed.

Ask the MB: Is the Peacoat a Timeless Classic or Out of Style?

Ask the MB: Is the Peacoat a Timeless Classic or Out of Style?

Q: I recently bought a peacoat - dark navy, well fitted, none of those goofy epaulettes or anything like that. I say it's a timeless classic but my girlfriend says they're out of style. Who's right?
—Peter

A: Peter your GF is so spectacularly wrong we're gravely concerned about any sartorial advice you may have taken from her.

Would Tom Ford be asking $4,950 for his peacoat take if he thought they were out of style?

We're big fans too, because the garment adheres to at least 3 key MB principles:

1. Principle of Anglophilia
It originated in the British Royal Navy.

2. Principle of Archaism
It's been a standard part of the United States Navy uniform since 1881.

3. Principle of Organic Materials
The definitive Naval Clothing Factory peacoat is 100% wool, with corduroy-lined pockets (cotton).

You nailed a few of our peacoat requirements (i.e. navy, flair-less, slim fit), and hopefully our most important one: a Three Days of the Condor Collar. You need to be able to stand it up tall like Redford.

When it comes to peacoat collars, size does matter.

Style blog consensus favors the Billy Reid "Bond" version ($695; pictured upper left), but the anemic collar is in desperate need of growth hormone, and is a disqualifying feature. For others who might be in the peacoat market, first check the local military surplus, and if you're flush consider this gorgeous Maison Margiela option.

Ask the MB: Cycling Sunglasses

Ask the MB: Cycling Sunglasses

Q: Hi MB, your summer might be over but sunlight never spares me here in Singapore. I am looking for sunglasses for cycling to work. Any suggestions?
—Davin

A: We're big fans of Grant Petersen's Just Ride manifesto, which strongly objects to the ubiquitous spandex-infused cycling costume and instead favors "normal" clothing (even woven shirts!) for riding a bicycle*.

While he doesn't specifically address eyewear, we're adding a Just Ride corollary we're sure Petersen would approve of: no matter how long the ride, never wear cycling-specific toolbag sunglasses.

Now that you're perhaps in the market for a pair of regular sunglasses, our all-time favorites are the Allyn Scura Angelo in Light Havana with bottle green lenses. They're simultaneously retro and modern, and work wonderfully for commuting rides, long rides, daydrinking, sitting around, whatever. Highly recommended.

*Does not include winter riding. Please consult our Biking to Work in Arctic Conditions guide for suggestions on how to do this both stylishly and warmly.

Ask the MB: YOOX 8 Shoes

8 Sneakers via YOOX, $89.00
8 Sneakers via YOOX. $89.00.

Q: You've been a big fan of "8" brand clothing over at Yoox, and I agree it's great bang for ze buck. But what do you know about their shoes? Kind of digging these sneakers. Might be hard to pass on for $100.
—Joe

A: While we don't have as much experience with 8 shoes as 8 clothes, yes they seem equivalent in terms of bang for the buck. Two years ago we recommended these 8 Denim Sneakers as an MB Deal of the Week and we'd recommend them all over again if they were still in stock.

As for those joggers, they're now marked down to $89 and you better grab them before we do.

Side note: We've long suspected that 8 was the YOOX in-house brand, and despite a flat-out denial from Omar from Customer Service, we can confirm that 8 is in fact a trademark of YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP S.P.A., serial number 79186766.

(This fact should not diminish in the slightest enthusiasm for 8 stuff.)

MB Endorses: Tom Ford Sunglasses

MB Endorses: Tom Ford Sunglasses

Tom Ford will sell you a Prince of Wales slim fit shirt for $655, and a pair of selvedge denim for $680, so it's a treat to discover a way to wear the world's greatest designer on your face for something less than the annual per capita income of Burundi.

Our two favorites from a large collection on Bluefly:

Left: Tom Ford Omar Aviator Sunglasses. $99. (76% off; will expunge lens legibility)

Right: Tom Ford FT0443 Aviator Sunglasses. $189. (57% off)

MB Endorses: Forthcoming MB Price-Tracking App

MB Endorses: Forthcoming MB Price-Tracking App

Part of the reason we haven't been posting much this year — besides chronic laziness, combined with chronic drunkenness — is that we've been working on a price-tracking application we think you're going to really like. You simply post something that interests you, whether it be on Amazon, eBay, YOOX, or thousands of other sites, and when it goes on sale we send you an alert with the new price.

We've been in alpha for a while here at the office, and here are a few things we finally pulled the trigger on, with their price history. Yes, we're really digging sportswear that may make some wonder whether we play sports for money.

Moschino Sweater

(Fits small. Go one size up, and two if you are on the fence. Also check it in red.)

Date Price
7/4/2017 $89.00
6/28/2017 $110.00
6/15/2017 $160.00
5/28/2017 $230.00
Luigi Borelli Napoli Polo Shirt

(Fits true to size.)

Date Price
7/1/2017 $105.00
6/14/2017 $114.00
5/28/2017 $229.00
8 Sweatshirt

(All 8 stuff fits small and this is not exception. Add a size.)

Date Price
6/30/2017 $60.00
6/15/2017 $69.00
5/28/2017 $78.00

We're hoping to have this launch later this summer. Please stay tuned for updates.

POURCAST

BETA

Rob Roy

  • 2 oz scotch
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth
  • dash of bitters (your choice, your mood)

Fill rocks glass with ice. Pour in scotch, vermouth, bitters. Stir. Garnish, if you must, with a lemon twist.


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