If there's one hard and fast rule that defines the menswear industry, it's this: What starts on the streets of Pulaski eventually trickles up to the runways of Manhattan. And so it was at New York Fashion Week this year — where we spotted a Michael Bastian tie (and blazer) that is not-quite the identical twin of our beloved Buscemi, but certainly a brother from the same mother. Same pattern, same nubbiness, from the same mill in Biella, Italy. The colorway we chose has a bit more blue, which gives it that playfulness that makes it work on boardwalks as well as boardrooms.
Also, our model is better looking.
In any case, if it was ever in any doubt, it is now confirmed: Michael Bastian has great taste in ties. And he seems to have fallen in love with this particular fabric — using it for a bow tie as well as the aforementioned tie and blazer.
But if you don't want to wait until Fall 2014 to get his tie, you can get the Fall 2013 Buscemi now.
And because we know Mr. Bastian has had trouble affording his own clothes in the past, we've decided to make it easy for him — and anyone else — to pick one up. Starting now, the Buscemi, the Leotardo (whose fabric comes from the same Italian mill as the Buscemi), the Kakutani, and the Buckley, are all on sale, for just $45 each. Yes, with free shipping included, this almost qualifies as a humanitarian gesture. But what can we say? We're artists, not businessmen.
One hundred years ago this month, Henry Ford shocked the business world with his decision to pay his workers $5 an hour and limit their work day to eight hours. At the time, nine-hour days were standard and the average wage was just $2.40 per hour.
But Ford was radically automating his operation, which (a) made the work far more tedious and (b) greatly increased the number of cars he could produce, which in turn meant he also needed to figure out some way to manufacture more buyers. His solution was the $5 per hour wage. It made a boring assembly line job tolerable and also turned Ford employees into potential Ford customers. (The Model T cost $440 at the time.)
What does this have to do with Michael Bastian? In a 2009 NYT piece, Bastian exclaimed, "I can't even afford my own clothes." Two years later, Esquirereported that "Bastian found that he often couldn't afford to buy his own clothes."
In this month's Details, however, we see evidence that maybe the economic outlook really is improving, and not just for Chinese robots. Here's Bastian on what he looks for in gym shorts: "I have a hard time finding gym shorts that aren't too long or baggy or over logo-ed, so I really like the fleece ones we make in our own line."
How this news failed to make it into President Obama's State of the Union address we can't explain. But once again, America is a place where designers can afford to buy their own clothes! In our own bid to make 2014 a "year of action," we are following Bastian's lead, giving ourselves raises, and buying ourselves cashmerebelts.
About this time last year Esquire ran a terrific little piece on top designer Michael Bastian, and how he couldn't afford his own clothes due to an expensive relationship with launch partner Brunello Cucinelli.
That cashmere sweater (pictured) has us interested in the emerging field of Designer Algebra. In the Michael Bastian equation, a grey cashmere v-neck sweater is $300. Suede elbow patches are a buck seventy-five. The felt appliqué is 50¢. Put them together and it adds up to $1,800.
Magnificent Bastard is collaborating with this year's Michael Bastian x Randolph Engineering collaboration and giving away a pair of the MBxRE sunglasses. What do you have to do to win? Simply identify the six celebrities wearing Randolph Engineering frames below and identify the Randolph Engineering frame they're all wearing (hint: note the singular use of the word "frame") and email your answer to email@example.com.
The winner will get to pick their favorite MBxRE frame whether it be the Sportsman, the Aviator, the Aviator II, the Intruder, or the P3 in any combination of frame and lens color. It's between a $165 and $225 value. The deadline to enter is Friday, October 7. We'll put all the correct entries into our Super Bowl XLV hat and pick a winner to be announced on Monday, October 10. Good luck!
The correct answers are:
A. Jon Hamm B. Ewan McGregor C. Johnny Depp D. Liev Schreiber E. Elijah Wood F. Tom Hanks
Q: Just read your skinny tie entry and reasons for disliking. The list of people of legendary style status who favored skinny ties is endless. Fat ties are the choice of Vegas club doormen, the kind you can smell from 10 feet away and wear Affliction in their off time. The reasoning (more for your money) is beyond me, and goes against your own tastes in the few entries I've read - a pleat gives you more more material for your money, so does a tassel on a shoe, and nearly every bad thing about clothing is about addition. The guys on sportscenter and The Sopranos vs. Paul Weller, JFK, Miles Davis. You should really rethink this one. —Chuck
A: Loosen up your tie and relax, Chuck! At MB, we believe that giving our readers a good deal on a great tie calls for levity, not complete seriousness, and thus our joke about preferencing wider ties over skinny ones because you get "more for your money" was just that, a joke.
Rest assured that our often-expressed preference for wider ties has a sound aesthetic foundation. In short, we believe that one's tie width should echo the width of one's lapels, within 1/4". If you're like us and subscribe to Tom Ford's way of thinking that wider lapels "make men look more masculine, less boyish, and in general more powerful," it follows that one's ties should be equivalently wide.
As for pleats and tassels, you are absolutely correct, and if you ever catching us recommending them, even in jest, please reprimand us accordingly. There are some things that should never be joked about.
Via this illuminating Esquire profile of one our favorite designers, Michael Bastian, we learned an astonishing fact: "But five years and ten collections into his design career ... and even Bastian found that he often couldn't afford to buy his own clothes."
Please, someone tell the man about eBay.com -- we see his stuff on there all the time at deep discount. Maybe Gilt.com will show him some mercy too -- a designer who can't afford to wear his own clothes is even sadder than a four-star chef who can only afford to eat at Olive Garden.
At approximately $10 a year for a subscription, GQ and Details are now nearly as free as the Internet. But as with the Internet, don't believe everything you read in them.
"They're about as Waspy as a shoe can get, but in the hands of Tom Ford, the favored footwear of country-clubbers everywhere has acquired some genuine sex appeal." Details, 11/10
Sorry, Tom, the only place we like tassels is on the nipples of an aging stripper named Frenchie.
"As Michael Bastian explains, 'Changing the proportion a little changes everything.' Get yours with a single pinch and tapered legs." Details, 11/10
Even with a single pinch, pleated pants make us think of ironing, PowerPoint presentations, and bad cologne. We never want to think about any of these things.
DOUBLE BREASTED SUITS & BLAZERS
"Oh, and one insider tip: The cool kids are calling them 'D.B.'s.'" GQ, 1/11
"Slimming and stylish, the modern six-button blazer has left the midtown office behind for the downtown scene." Details, 11/10
Unless your height-to-weight ratio is 2 lbs. per inch or lower -- like Kid Cudi, pictured -- double-breasted suits or jackets will simply make you look fatter than you are, even if you call them D.B.'s.
"It's a shirt with a little bit of nostalgia that packs a whole lot of cool." GQ, 2/11
All the sensitive nerve endings are in the tip of your collar -- do not circumcise it.
"Say goodbye to the classic blue and white. These versatile two-tones will take you much further." Details, 2/11
Even in such understated incarnations, saddle shoes are possibly the only footwear a pimp, a schoolgirl, and John Daly might get in a fight over. Stay out of the fray.
Q: MB. Emergency. I've been watching the price on an Michael Bastian Winter 2008 NWT Orange w/corduroy detail ski jacket/vest. Cool or uncool? $400 including shipping? Pull the trigger? Product is modeled on the Bastian website, FYI. --Paul
A: We love just about every stitch of clothing Michael Bastian has created since launching his line two years ago. The only problem is his ridiculous pricing. Dude, you're not Tom Ford!
The ski jacket's original price was $1685 -- for that, we think a pair of Rossignols and a season pass at Vail should be included. But at $400, we bless this purchase decision. You get a cool jacket and a cool vest, so it's like getting 2 for 1 (OK, maybe 1.4 for 1, 1.5 tops).
Last week Esquire inexplicably named dress-by-the-numbers Prince Charles the world's best dressed man, and also bagged pretty hard on London mayor Boris Johnson for having "jacket pockets like second-hand bookshops, and hair the result of an encounter with a ghost in a wind tunnel." This had us Googling "Boris Johnson" which immediately lead to an idea for demonstrating artful dishevelment vs. full dishevelment.
Hot designer Michael Bastian put on a how-to clinic in a recent issue of Details:
1. Long, thin face indication of superior breeding and maintenance routine. 2. Tie knot artfully disheveled to precise degree. 3. Peak lapels add subtle dramatic flair. 4.MB-approved pocket square execution. 5. Jacket with real buttons. 6. Two said buttons unbuttoned. 7. Antiqued belt buckle turns "casual" knob a notch or two. 8. Un-creased pants turns "casual" knob one notch more.
All Hail Moleskin Pants! With Jack Frost finally nipping at our collective noses, it's time to get into a pair of moleskin pants, like this ridiculously overpriced version from Michael Bastian. They're soft, comfortable, and warm enough to prevent your nuts from turning into a couple of croutons.
Q: I was curious if it was appropriate to tuck just the front part of one's shirt in his pants, thus exposing his fashionable belt buckle. It is so clearly depicted on the front page of the site. In fact, it is almost luring me towards such mentioned behavior. So I ask: Appropriate, or Toolbag-ish? That is the question. —The Buckler
A: The banner photo doesn't show it, but the white shirt is fully tucked in save for that wisp to your left. It took the Magnificent Subject and Magnificent Photographer's Handlers about 20 minutes to achieve the precice amount of artful dishevelment for that photograph.
Also pictured is Michael Bastian from the August GQ. He, too, with a fully considered amount of artful dishelvelment; and he's about the best designer going right now.
Hope that answers your question, asshole.
Rusty Gets Nailed
An MB-updated version of the Rusty Nail (3 oz scotch / 1 oz Drambuie).
a healthy dose of a single malt scotch (The Macallan)
splash of Drambuie
Serve on the rocks with a lemon twist. An hour later roll yourself into bed (not necessarily alone).