Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

The Horror of the Onesie

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We try not to get too worked up about the slankets of the world, but a newly arrived item in LA’s Kitson Robertson seems dangerous enough to require immediate action.

Ladies and gentlemen, the fair isle onesie. Look upon it, and despair.

It’s basically a full-body hoodie (or if you prefer, a footless footie), the kind of thing you wear to broadcast the fact that you’ve stopped trying to interact with anyone who isn’t a cat. Sure it’s comfortable; that’s why it’s dangerous. That sweatpantsy indulgence is what leads intelligent, capable members of society into a life of indolence, shame, and blogging about microwaved foods.

Also, while it’s not mechanically impossible to have sex while wearing a onesie, it does seem unlikely.

You’ve been warned.

Pants on the Ground

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We usually give high-fashion trends a pretty wide berth, but this snap was too perfect to let slide.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is why you shouldn't wear low-slung pants.

On some level, he's doing everything right—he's got his argyle, his plaid, and a remarkably handsome pair of shoes. But he still looks like two small children decided to stand on each other's shoulders to masquerade as a Japanese hipster.

You've been warned.

Words Fail

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Sometimes, you see something so horrible it makes you want to swear off retail entirely—something so foul, it calls into question the entire endeavor of making, buying and wearing new clothes. And frequently, the name Jimmy Choo is somehow involved.

The brand-that-must-not-be-named is getting its start in mens footwear, and the resulting haul includes high-tops made of cashmere, a faux-crocodile galosh with a pronounced heel and not a single thing we would consider putting on our feet.

We don’t want to make broad generalizations about menswear and womenswear, so we’ll just say that the problem here goes beyond the basic wrong-headedness of making a high-heeled galosh. (To wearers: tread carefully.) Jimmy Choo stands for everything you shouldn’t want in a winter boot: empty branding and aggressively anti-functional design.

If you need us, we’ll be drinking to forget.

Don’t Let This Happen to You

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This is how a pair of undyed leather shoes looks after a year of non-stop wear.

The story is here, courtesy of the good folks at Blackbird, who seem to endorse this kind of shoe abuse, but we see it more as a cautionary tale. A scant twelve months ago, these were bright, clean loafers, full of potential. Now they’re covered with the kind of creases and raw scuffs that cause weaker souls to run out of thrift stores in tears.

There, but for the grace of shoe trees, go all of us.

So in the interest of saving any other wayward oxfords that have yet to fall into weathered perdition, we thought we’d reiterate the one central rule of wearing in shoes: don’t wear them more than two days in a row. There are others—keep them out of the rain, keep a shoe tree or some newspaper inside when you’re not wearing them—but they pale before that one cardinal dictum.

When you ignore it 364 times in a row, you end up with something like the shoes above—great color, but a cloudy patina and too much scuffing for a shoeshine to cure. Consider yourself warned.

Low Rider

  • Najib Benouar

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Today we bring you some shocking news from the frontline of cutting-edge menswear: the garter belt for jeans. It’s part belt, part suspender—but at same time, neither—and looks like the sort of undergarment technology that could have come out of Victorian Era Britain.

On some level, this makes sense. Just like the width of a tie, there’s inevitably a measurable sweet spot for the low-slung waistline (we’ll assume the industry standard was set by Marky Mark circa 1992). But what’s most shocking is that someone saw an overlap between low-slung jean crowd and the fussy spat-wearers who might be willing to strap on a garter. If you can find us even one person in both category, we’ll eat our bucks.

In other words, no, we don’t see it catching on.

The Next Great Leap in Tie Technology

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We’ve seen the future of the necktie, and it is terrifying.

This Business Card Presenter Tie was created in a single-day whirlwind of creativity as part of Dominic Wilcox’s Speed Creating Project, but it’s only a matter of time before it changes the world. From afar it looks like your standard business-issue neckwear, but pull a tab and the tie lifts up Dilbert-style to present a dangling business card.

Of course, in a business setting, you’re probably trying to avoid making the other person burst into hysterical laughter…but maybe it’s different for creatives.

See the terrifying device in action»

The Swiss Army Collar Stay

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Generally, we’re fans of function. Pockets, for instance, and tough fabrics that can handle wear and weather. But that doesn’t mean we want we want our suspenders to do anything other than suspend.

And, in general, we’d prefer it if you left our collar stays alone.

Enter Exuvius, a company offering laser-cut collar stays that double as a bottle opener, two types of screwdriver, and a thread-cutter. Leaving aside the question of how that Phillips-head looks in a collar, how exactly is a gentleman supposed to get it out of his collar without looking, well, less than gentlemanly? We’re all in favor of paying a little more attention to collar support, but going the Swiss Army route won’t do anyone any favors.

And last time we checked, Macgyver was more of a work shirt man.

En Garde

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It’s worthwhile to pay attention to what you’ve got in your closet. For instance, is that pinewood cane also a sword? It’s all in the details…

This Wall Street Journal piece brought our attention to the surprising number of sword-canes being confiscated by airport security, simply as a result of absent-mindedness.

We’ve got no problem with the sword-cane in general—if it’s good enough for Zaitoichi, it’s good enough for us—but dressing for the occasion probably dictates not bringing any concealed medieval weaponry to the airport.

The lesson: Whether it’s the exact shade of purple in your argyle sweater or the throwing knives concealed in your work boots, check it out before you put it on.

Please Please No

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It’s hard living in a post-Snuggie world. Every garment in the modern arsenal is in danger of being replaced by a fleece-stitched curio, emerging seemingly at random from the troubled collective consciousness. What rough beast slouches towards QVC to be born?

This time, it’s called the Neckie, and it solves the intractable problem of loose, dangling scarves, prone to getting stuck in car doors, dangling loosely out of jackets, and (presumably) catching on fire near open flames. The solution? A fully adjustable fuzz bib. Also available in leopard print.

We could say something here about how the loose scarf ends are ideal for plugging up topcoat seams, how a little roaming bulk can come in extremely handy when winter sets in…but somehow, we doubt prospective Necky customers will listen to reason. Just say no, kids.

The face of the enemy»

Shepard Fairey Moves to Times Square

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Public art can mean more than just posters on walls…but when it starts to move to denim jacket liners, we get a little queasy.

Shepard Fairey’s Obey label just announced a large-scale collaboration with Levi’s and this jacket is only the beginning. Next Thursday, Fairey will take over the façade of Levi’s Times Square shop, and unveil four new posters to be given away with a Levi’s purchase.

Fairey’s pleading “public art”—it’s populist denim, after all, not Louis Vuitton—but we’d prefer calling it what it is: marketing. It’s not such a dirty word, really, and Fairey has to pay those legal bills somehow. But next time, he should probably start by looking into spray paint endorsements.

On the Hip

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We love Engineered Garments, so it pains us to say this, but this is a bad idea. It’s almost impossible to make a belly-side pouch attractive, even when you're working with the most respectable fabrics in the world. You can cover it in tweed and call it a “waist bag,” but it’s still a fanny pack. Sorry gents, but we're not buying it.

Hitting the Bottle

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We tend to gloss over it, but the traditional dark glass wine bottle is a pretty stunning design object. It’s sleek, geometric, and classy without being ostentatious. In other words, it’s perfect just the way it is.

But you can’t please everyone, so Christian Audigier has taken it upon himself to make French wine “cool again.” Apparently by covering it with day-glo panthers.

Audigier’s trying to draw in the whisky-and-beer crowd, but as usual he’s missing the point. Wine isn’t whisky and covering it with tattoos isn’t going to change that. All it does is ride roughshod over the centuries of French style, and show off his own very short memory.

And produce some extremely ugly beverages in the process.

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

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Pastel can be effective, if used sparingly, and it’s worth having a few lighter items in your closet. But we wouldn’t start with baby blue pants. In fact, we’d stay away from these entirely.

Corduroy is pretty twee to begin with, and coloring it like a baby blanket pushes it past McSweeneys into manchild territory. We’ve got nothing against Mr. Rogers—in fact, we regard him as the unspoken pioneer of the cardigan—but even the most unimpeachably masculine among us would have trouble pulling this off.

Everyone ages out of looks, but the cutoff for this is probably somewhere around puberty.