The Kempt Guide to the November Issues
If you haven’t checked your mailbox recently, we’ve got some good news. Another round of glossy style advice has arrived on the nation’s collective doorstep, and In fact, this month’s haul was particularly interesting because of Esquire’s latest Big Black Book—a glossy tome filled with all the intricacies of style too involved for the general subscriber base. That means dark rum, exotic leathers and all manner of Italian suiting.
Of course, it’s not all good advice—so we’re stepping in to tell you what to read, what to try and what to avoid at all costs.
Here’s everything you need to know from this month’s glossy magazines...
The Esquire Big Black Book (182 pages) We would like to live in a world in which a double-breasted velvet blazer counts as an essential. Sadly, contra the latest Black Book, we do not. Our new favorite ad (from Isaia Napoli) features a tuxedo’d gentleman getting a face full of martini from a woman just off camera. We’ll assume it was something he said. The “Best Things in Style” questionnaire features Brunello Cucinelli, Nick Sullivan and David Coverdale of Whitesnake. The obligatory stroke of genius is naming Thin White Duke-era Bowie as the man of the moment. We hear Berlin’s hot right now.
The obligatory Boardwalk Empire piece. We’ll co-sign the overcoat, but the rest always struck us as too intricate by half. Kind of like the show, actually. The winners from the 29-deep “Best Stores in America” list: Gant, Brooklyn Circus and the City of New York. The overlooked: Uniqlo, Hamilton Shirts and the City of Boston. Apparently they’re fans of dark rum as well. Good to see it’s going around. Our favorite part: they manage to push the watch scene beyond Rolex porn. No small thing. Somehow salvia made it into their list of “weird things to try in the bedroom.” That’s not going to get you very far, gentlemen.
Here’s a rule for the ages: “The deadlier the animal, the more expensive the leather.”
Esquire (176 pages) You had us at “The Case Against Jogging.” So now guys aren’t allowed to say “hark” anymore either? Stop trying to run our lives! Our own Mr. Underwood takes on Simon Spurr with wit and aplomb. (Lots of aplomb. So much aplomb.) Watch the throne, people. Here’s a magazine take on the Lesser Recession: A feature titled “What’s a Dollar Worth,” just eight pages away from a spread of five-figure watches. Whose job was it to smear dirt onto Rihanna? He did a good job. According to page 124, the general attitude of women in 2011 was “bemusement.” Rough year. We were disappointed to learn that “The Whore of Akron” is about Lebron James and not a promiscuous Ohio woman.
Chris Jones’ Jon Hunstman profile begins, “Jon Hunstman has a cold.” We’re starting to think Jones gave him the cold just so he could make a Gay Talese reference. There’s a triptych of mid-length pieces at the back of the book devoted to rage, anxiety and depression. Here’s a quick summary: Rage is good, depression is bad, and anxiety is the proper response to a world with seven separate Real Housewives shows. Details (128 pages): From the editor’s note, speaking for men everywhere: “We are eating superfoods.… We are getting ready for bathing-suit season.” So that’s why the gym is so crowded lately. Former MOTH Eddie Redmayne pops up for a profile. Does this mean freckles are back? From the David Lynch Q&A: “What is Crazy Clown Time? It sounds stressful.” Asking the hard questions. Noel Gallagher’s interview does nothing to explain this picture—unless maybe he was hungover? L.A.S., The Bengal Stripe and Colonial Goods get a little print love. Can a Beastie Boys tribute band be far behind? Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male is the worst cologne ever advertised in a glossy magazine. Here’s a rule of thumb: if the cologne bottle has a dong, maybe try something else. We love a good stubble how-to, but “ten day beard” is a little misleading. Chuck Norris’s beard is probably a ten-day beard for him. Adam Levine’s philosophy on jet lag is “sleep when you’re tired.” Is everyone sure he knows what jet lag is? The obligatory Insanely Detailsy Article: a thinkpiece on “America’s New Male Body Obsession,” followed by ten pages of shirtless men.
…and on the cover, a shirtless male model wearing sweatpants. Check and mate.
GQ (214 pages): November 2011: The month GQ ran a piece on organic lube. We’re starting to worry they’ve been hanging out too much with the Details guys. Glenn O’Brien, in fine form, just advised a principal to use a chloroform-soaked handkerchief to subdue unruly students.
This month also marks the first time Joan Didion and Kim Kardashian have been within an inch of each other in the pages of a magazine. Truly, we live in a historic time.
As you might have guessed, Dwayne Wade looks incredibly uncomfortable in tweed. Steve Nash is in Poultergeist 2 territory in the latest Indochino ad. (That’s a bad thing.) Only one page of Kat Dennings? Followed by a shirtless presidential candidate? Did we do something wrong? Jesus, GQ has a male nudity trend piece too. We’re starting to feel like weirdos for wearing clothes at all.
Outside of the pages of GQ, we have never seen a man wearing a puffer vest under a suit. It might look great. We’ve just never seen it. This shot of water-speckled dress shoes is giving us an anxiety attack. Wax your shoes, before it’s too late. We’re loving Michael Idov’s piece on the five-year Ukranian film shoot that created its own society. Now for the movie version. The Survivors stuff is great—especially the inclusion of Lee “Scratch” Perry—but it would be better if one of them wasn’t a 25-year-old from the Arctic Monkeys. Debbie Harry’s 66? Miscellany: In WSJ Magazine, artist Tom Sachs’ advice in Ten Bullets is pretty spectacular. We especially like #3:
Keep a List: Your list is your past and your future. Carry at all times. Prioritize: today, this week, and eventually. You will someday die with items still on your list. But for now, while you live, your list helps prioritize what can be done in your limited time.
Real talk. —R.B.