world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

Evaluating the Sweater-Vest


Let us start by saying that we’re fully aware that only one year ago, to the week, we took the extreme precautionary measure of proclaiming that there were but five occasions it was okay to wear a sweater-vest... Well, at the time there was an undoubtedly unstylish presidential hopeful’s sleeveless knittery campaigning for the position of First Sweater, so you can’t blame us for deeming such prudence necessary.

Now that some time has passed, however, we believe a reassessment is in order.

Because, A: the menswear game is in a constant state of flux. And, more importantly, B: we’ve got a hankering to invest in some core-warming knitwear of our own, and would rather not have to fear for potential sartorial backlash.

But is the risk really worth the reward? The full pro/con analysis, after the jump...»

The Five Times It’s Okay to Wear a Mock Turtleneck

  • Caitlin Ganswindt


Jack-o’-lanterns have been put to the curb. You’re stocking up on various sundries to fill your cornucopia. There’s a chill in the air.

With hats, gloves and cable knits at the ready, some—obviously, not you, dear reader—may even be tempted to don the dreaded mock turtleneck.


Because there are only five times you should wear a mock turtleneck (and yes, running a certain fruit-centric computer company is one of them).

Herewith, the definitive occasions.»

The Three Things in Your Closet That Will Save Halloween

  • Najib Benouar


It’s happening whether you like it or not: Halloween is next Thursday.

And while many a stylish man has exercised his due right to opt out of the schmaltzy affair entirely—you’re more than welcome to stay home with a bowl of candy and a glass of scotch—if you’ve been invited to a costume party, you’re honor-bound to come up with something good. Luckily, you probably have one of the following three things in your closet that should work in a pinch—and preserve some dignity...

Herewith, the costumes you can build with the following three items...»

The Appraisal: Suits with Sneakers


Some things are best left to the professionals.

Like wearing jorts. Or casual-ing up your daily suit-and-tie routine with some sneakers. Today, we discuss the latter.

A staple of haphazardly dapper rebellion long before modern menswear editors brought it to the mainstream, the suit-sneaker combo is not, in fact, a recent development. (Check out the guy on the right in this iconic image if you don’t believe us.) And when perfected, it’s a look that oozes nonchalant cool. But attempting it (and succeeding) can prove a weighty endeavor for even the most seasoned sartorial veteran...

So before attempting this not-so-easy-footed roguishness on your own, we demand you ask yourself the five following questions:»

The Appraisal: Jorts


It has come to our attention that the prominence of jean shorts, henceforth referred to as “jorts,” has been increasing in recent months. In fact, in June we even saw our friends over at GQ endorsing them. (Though not their shortened nomenclature.) And suffice it to say, we’re more than a little concerned.

Knee-length denim is not a notion to be taken lightly.

Now, this isn’t the first time such a sartorial dilemma has given us pause. (See: mandals.) It’s certainly not going to be the last, either. But, as in the past, we’d rather not outright condemn such risk taking. No, instead we’d rather just give you some qualifications to consider before you go cutting that pair of pre-distressed Levi’s at the knee and calling it a day.

Herewith, we present you with this visual guide to the five times “jorts” are beyond a shadow of a doubt acceptable, after the jump...»

What Your Dog Says About You

  • Najib Benouar


The bond between stylish man and dog has enjoyed a long and illustrious history.

Picasso had one. Bogart, too. Newman had a small pack of ’em. Gosling’s mohawked mutt is nearly as famous as he is. And the list goes on...

So whether you’ve already got one of your own or you’re thinking about it, you’ll want to make sure you know what your choice in canine companion is projecting to the world during your upcoming summer of city strolls and park outings. Without further ado:

What your dog says about you, according to the icons.»

The State of the Apron

  • Najib Benouar


Memorial Day weekend is only four days away.

Sure, it’s got us looking forward to the prospect of dusting off the white bucks, but we’re mostly excited to roll out the barbecue grill for the season and fill up a cooler with ice and beer.

And anyone who’s manned a grill in this modern era understands that a handsome apron is par for the course. Blame it on a few overeager souls who took the heritage trend a little too seriously—or a captive audience willing to spend countless hours reading up on 1930s butcher shops and perusing handlebar-laden Tumblrs—but the apron scene is perhaps hotter than it’s ever been. So we took a moment to check in on the state of the apron, to see what’s out there these days (luckily, another side effect of the heritage trend is that they’re all going to last you a lot longer than a dozen tanks of propane).

Herewith, your guide to the new world of the menswear apron.»

The Appraisal: Mandals


Many questions can be definitively answered by simply polling the #menswear world. Like, how much camo is too much camo? (See here.) But for other queries, well, it seems that the jury’s still out.

Case in point: men’s sandals.

We’re not talking about your basic 10-buck flip-flops here, though. It was decided long before our time that those are to be relegated to beaches, pools, lakes—basically any venue with some combination of heat, water and increased exposure. No controversy there. Actually, it’s the leathery, designer-y variety that’s at the heart of this mess, pitting dapper blogger against dapper blogger.

A mess that we’re going to try to sort out, once and for all...»

A Gentleman’s Guide to Not Swearing

  • Kempt Staff

George Carlin

If there’s one day of the year you should really feel obligated to clean up your act, it’s Mother’s Day.*

Which means a clean shave, tucking in your shirt and, by all means, absolutely no foul language. (A card wouldn’t be a bad idea either.) Yes, even if you’re just planning on spending a few heartfelt moments over the phone with your salty seafaring sailor of an old lady.

But chances are, you’re going to be seeing dear old mum, face-to-face, over brunch—possibly with an impressionable child or two within earshot of your every syllable. We understand it can sound like a tall order to keep it clean (especially when you’ve been waiting all spring to tell the family your Dennis Rodman story), but we’ve got you covered with this handy list of euphemisms and campy alternatives to your favorite four-letter words.

Presenting: a truly exhaustive list that should steer you clear of any run-ins with furrowed brows or mouthfuls of soap.»

Head to Toe: Seersucker

  • Najib Benouar


Around Derby weekend, the seersucker suit gets all the attention.

But the fabric itself is so versatile—and cooling, with its uneven weave lifting the cotton off your skin and leaving hundreds of tiny pockets of air to cool you. So, in the event you’d like to outfit another part of your body with seersucker—say, your neck, or your feet—we’ve gone ahead and found enough gear to swathe you from head to toe in the legendarily cooling fabric. Now, we’re not saying you should try wearing every single piece here at once...

But we’re not not saying that either.»

A Gentleman’s Guide to Sexting

Tiger Woods

And now for some wise words of advice from Kempt’s resident phone etiquette expert and certified lady-person, Michelle Ong.

Let’s get one thing straight: nothing ruins romance faster than a bad sext.

Even a perfect date can be spoiled if your best-intentioned goodnight message turns into a slightly vulgar description of your “peepee”—or worse, a deluge of winking emoticons and a picture. Ugh. Sure, the standards of courting a lady online aren’t much different from doing it in real life these days, but sexting comes with its own nuanced set of rules.

Here’s how to go public with your privates... gracefully.»

50% Leather, 50% Silk, 100% Baffling

  • Najib Benouar

Pocket Sqaure

Last week we led one wayward reader to pocket square enlightenment with this definitive guide, and all was well in the land of #menswear.

Until today, when Beams+ unleashed this silk-pouf-leather-card-holder Frankenstein on us all.

Honestly, we’re not sure how to feel about the thing. On the outset it seems like an unforgivable shortcut, the sartorial equivalent of PEDs (there’s something earned about being able to tie one’s own bow tie, for instance). But maybe it’s the answer to the frustration of sagging squares—is it really that different from our suggestion of pre-stuffing your pocket with tissue or another pocket square?

According to Beams—and we’re confident they’ve done the proper research—this was a bona fide thing in the ’80s (which is probably another strike against the idea). Another troubling factor is the practicality: first, you’d need a pocket deep enough to disguise the leather bottom, then if you were to actually use the card holder, it would require pulling out the pocket square every few minutes—like an old person removing their dentures before a meal—adding the risk of frightening a sartorially savvy networking lead. We’ll give Beams+ credit for the novel idea, but there’s one bit of Swansonian wisdom we think applies here:

Don’t half-ass two things, whole-ass one.

Introducing: The Snow Gentleman

  • Najib Benouar

All signs are pointing to an unseasonably mild winter this year—there hasn’t been much snow on the ground anywhere to speak of.

Which means, when some fresh powder finally does make landfall, you’re going to have to make the best of it. Especially when it comes to building a snowman. And in our grand new tradition of winning the holidays, we’re going to ensure the Frosty in your yard is cooler than cool (see what we did there?). We’re talking about throwing caution to the wind and building the most luxurious, stately, money-is-no-object snowman that your holidays deserve.

We’re calling him “the snow gentleman.” Allow us to explain...»

The Five Times It’s Okay to Wear a Sweater-Vest

  • Najib Benouar

Yesterday we learned that the turtleneck can be your friend. Today we’re tackling an even more perplexing item: the sweater-vest.

Lately, a lot of #menswear ink has been spilled over the down vest—especially regarding the relatively novel idea of wearing one under your suit jacket or blazer. Aside from bringing up some fit issues, it reminded us of the original under-blazer vest, usually knit in an argyle or fair isle pattern (like this one). Donning an armless sweater can be treacherous waters—not helped by the fact that its most recent champion was one Rick Santorum. Luckily, we’re here to help with this handy guide:

The five times it’s okay to wear a sweater-vest, a pictorial guide.»

Do Not Fear the Turtleneck

  • Najib Benouar

The turtleneck. It’s a statement, for sure—and not the easiest one to make without verging on creepy Euro-beanik, or for lack of a better word: dweeby.

The trick is to avoid some common pitfalls—wearing something too gauzy, too tight or with a maniacally steadfast gaze. There’s a sweet spot in the middle there. And we’re going to help you find it, by taking some subtle cues from some of the most stylish guys to ever do it.

And now, a master class in the turtleneck, courtesy of five icons of style.»