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:
In the 2016 campaign for the White House, conventional wisdom says the electorate is angry with the establishment, and this explains why a short-fingered vulgarian is on the brink of winning the GOP's nomination for president.
True enough, but the analysis lacks depth. Specifically, what is it about the establishment that has everyone so frosted?
We've been developing a theory over the last several months and now believe we've compiled enough evidence to go public with it.
There's one cultural force that blue-collar Republicans, the Mobile Home Majority, disaffected Democrats, and various other constituencies find even more threatening than Mexican immigrants, Syrian refugees, or even ISIS: the zip mock neck sweater.
Have a look:
While we understand the animus underlying this trend, we fear its consequences. A Trump presidency could potentially turn America into the world's first toolbagocracy. Just look at the notables from whom Trump has already collected official endorsements: John Daly. Jerry Falwell, Jr. Hulk Hogan. Ted Nugent. Dennis Rodman. Willie Robertson. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and the list goes on.
Oh, and just in case you're not already checking real estate prices in New Zealand? Yes, Guy Fieri "could be interested" in a Trump presidency.
America's only hope, as far we see it? Between now and November, somebody's gotta convince Trump to put on zip mock neck sweater.
As for the monogrammists' arguments, they speak for themselves, like Howard at Ask Any About Clothes who posts, "I like monograms sometimes. It represents the feeling of being important and professional."
Early last year we wondered if Bubba Watson was a toolbag with MB tendencies or vice versa.
Now we're pretty sure it's the latter.
This season Watson combined a pink head with his pink-shafted Ping G20 driver to support Breast Cancer Awareness (Ping donates $300 for every 300 yard drive Watson hits), and at the Masters he just won he wore the same white-on-white outfit for four days to raise money for Fresh Start, a California charity that provides cosmetic reconstructive surgery for children with physical defects.
Now Watson clothing sponsor Travis Mathew is selling a $200 white polo and belt package with 100% of the proceeds going to Fresh Start. If they sell out, an additional $50,000 will be donated to the California-based cancer research center City of Hope.
While both the polo and belt badly violate the MB principle of legible clothing, we're in, and the Pulaski Goodwill soon be receiving a NWT Travis Mathew polo shirt and belt.
Q: Seeking to embrace the inner bastard, I have increased the number of blazers in my wardrobe and the only writing on my t-shirts is if I am exercising or sleeping in them. One wardrobe staple of mine from the past many years does not appear to be mentioned as truly bastard-worthy and I am concerned.
What says the MB on my basic black, made in England (Anglophile approved, I should hope) Doc Martens? --Christopher
A: Christopher, you're on the right track -- the number of blazers in your closet should always exceed the total word count on your entire wardrobe. If you ever find yourself with more words than blazers, you either have to throw out some of your t-shirts or buy more blazers. (BTW, we're counting our WikiLeaks sweatshirts as one word).
Now we just need to work on your footwear; there's a reason why you haven't seen a DM recommendation here.
The Anglophilic pedigree of Dr. Martens is not nearly as strong as most people think. They were invented in 1945 by German army doctor Klaus Märtens, who hurt his foot while skiing in the Alps. While recovering from his injury, he designed a recuperative boot with soft leather and air-padded soles. So essentially Doc Martens are orthopedic Nazi shoes, and they certainly look the part!
(The Anglophiliac connection? In 1959, a British company, R. Griggs Group Ltd., acquired the rights to make and sell the shoes in the U.K.)
Browse our shoes channel and you'll find lots of far less clunky, more appropriate footwear options for your new and improved look.
As much as we are against legible clothing, we are for legible state secrets. That's why we're trying to figure out what shirt/sweatshirt to buy at The WikiLeaks shop, where the proceeds go to support the web's premiere whistleblowing operation. Keeping WikiLocks -- aka Julian Assange -- in highlights, gel, and other styling products alone has got to run into six figures. Whichever garment we end up choosing, we know it's going to hurt a little, but such is the price of freedom.
Q: I've been struggling with finding a good umbrella -- all of mine are hugely logoed. Where does an MB get his umbrellas? --Albert
A: Albert, legible clothing is one thing. Legible umbrellas are quite another. Even when paired with golf spikes, this is a look to avoid unless you've got a paying sponsor.
When it comes to umbrellas it's important to buy one made in England, and not merely to satisfy the MB principle of Anglophilia. Besides soccer, James Bond, and the flush toilet, the British also invented rain.
If you're flush (with cash) then there's really only one option: A Swaine Adeney Brigg umbrella, preferably covered in coated silk and handled with horn from a deer or buffalo. Just don't leave this behind in a taxi. A tiny notch down from Brigg is James Smith & Sons, who've been making umbrellas for 180 years. Their solid stick umbrellas are essentially bespoke, handmade and measured and cut according to your height. Finally there's this Paul Smith stripe umbrella which, while not made or horn or silk, folds into something you can slip into your bag and doesn't cost more than the per-capita income of Burundi.
Q: What does an MB wear to an early September (over 100 degrees) afternoon football game at the alma mater? --Claxton
A: Even in cooler Big Ten climes, afternoon September football games against the likes of Austin Peay are best enjoyed at a bar near the stadium, rather than squeezed in with 80,000 sticky, sweaty Badger fans.
If the ticket's already purchased, follow our advice already given to Los Angeles Lakers fans: look like a fan without really trying. This means shorts, shoes/sandals, and a t-shirt/SS you'd feel comfortable wearing to a non-gameday BBQ, with only a subtle hint of your team loyalties. In other words, somewhere in between the plastic flip-flop, team jersey, backward ballcap-wearing undergraduate throngs, and the legible grey-haired alum with the world's worst sunburn.
Joe Wurzelbacher, also known as "Joe the Plumber," has hired a publicist and may run for Congress, but he's already got a full-time job as the anti-MB. Yesterday in Defiance, OH: inarticulateness, shirt-sleeve legibility, and tapered jeans with cowboy boots.
Q: I come to you for t-shirt advice. As I continue my evolution to a certified MB, I'm at a crossroads. I obviously go for the logo-less, slim-fitting tees, but I've wanted to spice up my t-shirt wardrobe lately. Outside of plain tees, what is acceptable? Please impart your wisdom. --Pedro
A: You're on the right track, amigo. Besides logos we can also safely rule out graphics and legibility. Hence, you should avoid Project E, Tailgate, Rogues Gallery, Blue Marlin, Drifter, Monarchy, Morphine Generation, Kidrobot, and almost everything from Urban Outfitters.
Don't MB rules make life easy?
We've already expressed our fondness for the Calvin Klein T-shirt. It works in lots of situations, but certainly not all. Round out your collection with simple shirts from James Perse, NSF, Save Khaki, Barney's Co-Op, and our current favorite designer, John Varvatos. We highly recommend his slub cotton crewneck (top) and v-neck (bottom), a stylish twist on a basic.
Our deep-seated issues with legibility and hoods have officially met their match when Dolce & Gabbana puts an original Magnificent Bastard like Steve McQueen on the front of a sweatshirt. (Note McQueen's rolled sleeves, undone top button, four-in-hand knot, and the absence of jewelery.)
Q: Let's keep the wedding theme rolling here. I'm set for the wedding with a nice RL tux. The honeymoon is in the south of France. I've never been and I have a preconceived notion of how a MB will look on the French Riviera. Sean Connery circa 1962 with a hint of Gianni Agnelli? I don't want to get caught looking like an idiot in Nice or Monaco. I have the means so guide me toward some summer wear that will show that Americans can have style, even when in the heart of the beast. Merci beaucoup vous beau bastard. --Max
A: Here's what you need:
* Fanny pack
* Legible t-shirt, preferably for a collegiate or professional athletic squad
* Baseball cap
Max, you're referencing early Bond and Gianni Agnelli (inset) and you're asking us for style advice? You ought to be on staff. Anyhow, when in Rome, or, say Monaco, do what the Romans do. A.P.C. is a solid, stylish, somewhat affordable choice (even though its head designer needs to take himself a lot less seriously) and pays respect to your new environs. Choose the jacket and jeans, then channel Agnelli and match with something unexpected and purely American, like a pair of Sperry Top-Siders. They will come in handy for any excursions on the Mediterranean. If yachting isn't planned, perhaps go even more American -- if you get our drift -- and get into a pair of moose moccasins.
Glenn O'Brien (aka "The Style Guy") is still the shit (even though in November he goofed badly by recommending wearing legible clothing to the gym), but the GQ team is looking like they may not be the most appropriate gang to be providing style advice to today's younger MBs.
Q: Hats. Can you please weigh in on hats? A winter necessity. I have various wool hats that I wear only when maintaining the driveway, but my now 40 year old skin breaks out (not so magnificently) when I sweat in them. I also have a black Russian lambswool with silk lining, but that's dressy. —Bryan
A: First, please consider hiring a service to "maintain" your driveway. There is nothing quite as MB as sitting by the fire late on a snowy night, sipping your favorite cocktail, and listening to the sound of illegal immigrants shoveling your sidewalk and plowing your driveway.
Second, we hear you loud and clear on wool hats. Unless they're lined or felted, avoid them like you do your mother-in-law over the holidays. Either go with shaved beaver or our favorite winter material: cashmere. A few other hat rules to live by: