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The May Issues

Robert Downey Jr. GQ May 2013

May can be a tricky style month to predict.

It puts us in the late-spring-but-it-might-already-feel-like-summer zone of weather, so it’s hard to know whether we’re going to want to see umbrellas or linen—so all three mags hedged by putting leading men on their cover. (There was also some baseball-inspired fashion.)

Thus, in the name of menswear journalism, we trod through the mid-weight blazers, the white, er, off-white shoes (well in advance of Memorial Day) and a cacophony of fragrances to bring you:

The May Issues...»

GQ (154 pages):

On the cover we’ve got Robert Downey Jr., looking smug as always. Also: the promise of “Everything else a man needs these days including weed, women & whiskey” (which sounds like an old Willie Nelson lyric).

We’re able to flip to the Table of Contents in record time, thanks to only 22 pages of ads.

We’re already overtaken by the potent fragrance of these pages—this magazine smells like a Long Island iced tea of colognes.

In the Letter from the Editor, Jim Nelson speaks of all the lessons he’s learned from eavesdropping while eating in small, overcrowded restaurants. And for the rest of the day we’ll be wondering what random facts we’ve unknowingly disclosed to complete strangers.

Lightning Round: The GQ Manual —Bungee belts seem like they might be practical, but more for strapping surfboards to the top of a car. Feel free to disagree. —The small guide to packing an overhead bag is thorough, and on most fronts we couldn’t agree more. Takeaway: gray suits are versatile as hell. —Zipper wallets. Not for everyone. —Uniqlo x Michael Bastian polos are something we can get into (literally). —Bryan Ferry: “One of the great pities of today is people don’t wear hats anymore.” Couldn’t agree more. —Women are forsaking bras not as a statement, but as some sort of trendy apathy. We’ve already stopped trying to understand why and just begun nodding in agreement. —Some new TVs are apparently so high-tech that they make movies look less gritty by creating frames. What is this sorcery?

The Punch List suggests we fall under Rosario Dawson’s spell, and, well, with this gratuitous behind shot, we don’t think it should be very hard.

Daft Punk continues to be the coolest pair of robots we have ever seen.

Cover Story: Robert Downey Jr. proves to be just about as manic as we expected he might be, though we can’t help but notice how well the crazy-eyes pair with a leather jacket.

“Natural Born Killers” is an article about women in the military and how the myths about them being “incapable” and “a distraction” are just that: myths. No jokes here, that one’s just true.

This editorial of baseball jackets on baseball players, shot on actual baseball fields, is good inspiration for looking like you fashionably play sports.

Six glorious pages on whiskey, the brown liquor that’s really having a moment. Included is a recipe for a whiskey julep. Yes please.

A$AP Rocky shows us that sailors are sometimes the best inspiration for designers. Oh, and that it doesn’t suck to have yourself surrounded by scantily clad women. On boats.

Weed! It’s (sometimes) legal, so GQ decided to go check out the businesses that are selling it. Unsurprisingly, they all turn out pretty sketchy, besides the one in Venice Beach, CA.

Now, a few simple rules on pocket squares, which we think will pair perfectly with our roundup from last week.

New York restaurateurs are well dressed in this next editorial on handsome, inexpensive suiting. Cue jokes about “good taste”... now.

Of course, the most handsome option in “The Best New Dress Shoes Under $200” are the Cole Haans selling at $2 under the ceiling.

We end with an article about a small Spanish village that won the lottery. Some people have all the luck.

Pretty Lady Count: ~8 (Rosario Dawson, page 72; various, pages 116 through 121)

Esquire (164 pages):

Cover: Leo DiCaprio kicks off a three-part series they’re calling “The Most Famous Men in the World.” They decline to mention who the other two men are. Odds are good Clooney will be involved.

The “Note from David Granger” mentions Clooney in the first sentence. We may have been on to something.

Sex columnist Stacey Grenrock-Woods’s insight into the new season of Arrested Development : “Bruce Willis has been dead the whole time. Sergeant Brody is actually Cat Stevens.”

Lightning Round: Man at His Best —Questlove wants to collaborate with “Lean on Me” singer Bill Withers. Withers apparently keeps declining because... we don’t know. Maybe he’s insane. —Louis C.K. has unleashed a deluge of “put-upon men” series since his own, Louie. Okay. [shrugs] —Laura Haddock’s printed “Funny Joke from a Beautiful Woman” is funny. The one in this video is funnier, though. —Good advice: “No matter how tempting, e-mails from unknown people with the subject line ‘Hi babe!’ are not to be opened.” —Now a few words on aperitifs, which have always confused us, so it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and read this bit... —... and this one on “Summer Feet,” too. Flip-flop season is approaching. —And we close out the section with some meh sex questions. Examples include “If BDSM is so popular, why have I never encountered it?” Probably because it doesn’t find you, you find it.

The style section includes a bit on the new Perry Ellis by Duckie Brown line, a take on how to wear white shoes today (hint: off-white), a roundup of handsome bags, an interview with a member of Vampire Weekend (again?) and these words to live by: “What you wear can be just as persuasive as what you say.” Amen.

Are we pretty excited to see where the Esquire Network goes when it graces our television sets on April 22? Yes. Do we need four pages on it in the print mag? Probably not. (Note: its launch has been pushed to summer.)

Too many how-to guides on fortune and fulfillment—but this “Best Dressed Guy in the Office” editorial ain’t bad. Especially the double-monks on page 92.

This endorsement of the out-of-doors makes us want to go hike something bigger than that random Central Park rock formation.

Leo DiCaprio is the king of the world. And that’s all we’re going to say about that.

We have never heard anyone describe the number 38 as tantalizingly as Alison Brie, who plays the wife of sleazebag Pete Campbell on Mad Men. Damn. We need a moment. 38 moments.

And now Ms. Nina Agdal will tell us what music we should be listening to. Apparently, she must be wearing lingerie or less to do so. But hey, we’re not complaining.

A couple of Grammy-nom’d artists tell us to diversify our playlists and our closets, and you know what? We might listen.

Ending on a typically too-real note, Esquire tells us the story of Bill Petit, whose family was murdered in July of 2007. A good read, but after the week we’ve all had (re: Boston), it might be a good idea to wait on this one.

Pretty Lady Count: 3 (Laura Haddock, page 28; Alison Brie, page 114; Nina Agdal, page 124)

Details (110 pages):

This issue feels so light, it could have come at a discount.

Bradley Cooper stares from the cover in front of a gray background. He looks mildly serious, as if he lent us money and we have neglected to reimburse him.

Pages of ads before the Table of Contents: one. Incredible. Let’s get down to business then, shall we...

Lightning Round: Know and Tell —Cauliflower is replacing kale as the new it-vegetable. Okay. But attempting to convince me that it will suffice as the meat on a sandwich? Hard to accept. —A bunch of new car museums have popped up around the world, and the buildings themselves seem as sexy as the cars housed inside them. —Here’s another roundup of speaker systems, but this time they’re specifically aimed at enhancing the (flat) sound of your (flat) screen. —Now some cool desk chairs, presumably to make going to work less of a pain in your ass.

Adelaide Clemens opens the Culture pages smoldering. And looking a lot like Michelle Williams. Or maybe a blonde Maggie Gyllenhaal? Regardless, she’s got our attention.

Details seems to be late to the party by just now including Kid President in their “Yes List.” At least they got there.

Will Arnett, paraphrasing Liza Minnelli on being sued by her bodyguard and/or driver for sexual harassment: “Was sex with me really that bad that you had to sue me for $100 million?”

Mark Ronson on backpacks: “Just accept that [you’ll] look like a 12-year-old going to the bus stop. But when you’re walking 17 minutes through Terminal 5, you want something comfortable.” Still a tough sell even when a stylish gent endorses them.

The big takeaway from the style section is that diversity of color and material in your wardrobe is a must. Also, something about “ethnic” clothing? That word choice makes us uncomfortable.

Coincidence that this article on “nootropics,” designed to give a mental edge better than that of Adderall or caffeine, is in the same issue that Bradley Cooper, star of Limitless, is featured in? We think not.

Interesting factoid: in a process called “abdominal etching,” doctors are, using liposuction, sculpting fake six-packs onto out-of-shape men. This process is known colloquially as “cheating.”

For a man who has starred in all three Hangover movies, and somehow made us laugh as a bipolar man in Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper does not smile once in the photographs accompanying the cover story. Lighten up, dude.

This is followed by an article on the Mexican wrestling national title-holder Cassandro and the band of campy, lovable, ass-kicking drag queens called Exóticos. Assume what you will.

There’s a handsome selection of sweaters in the editorial “Loose Knits.” With the temperatures increasing this spring, these are things we can get behind.

To finish it all up, Nick Lachey tries to prove he’s still relevant, talks about touring with 98 Degrees, and really, we just don’t give a crap.

Pretty Lady Count: 1 (Adelaide Clemens, page 35)


  • Kempt Staff