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The New Terms We Learned in 2014

  • Kempt Staff


As the year comes to a close, now is the time to reflect on the lessons we learned.

And the weird words we heard uttered—or saw typed—that we never knew existed, or hadn’t until now. You can hear them echoing through the annals of scholarly blog posts of yore... Puppytooth... Normcore... Alphet... Luckily, we’ve written them all down in one place and defined them for you once and for all.

Consider this the yearly update to your #menswear glossary.»

When and Where It’s Okay to Use a Lint Roller

  • Kempt Staff


This curious GIF of Drake sitting courtside at the last Toronto Raptors game has been making the Internet rounds lately...

It would seem that the high-profile Raptors fan was openly using a lint roller during a break in play. (And of course the watchful eye of the Internet caught it.)

While we must applaud Aubrey Graham’s commitment to garment maintenance, it seemed a bit out of place. And it got us thinking deeply about the situations wherein it’s appropriate, mildly appropriate and not at all appropriate to use a lint roller.

Allow us to lay it all out for you (and Mr. Graham) in this handy green/yellow/red guide to when and where it’s okay to use a lint roller:»

The Five Most #Normcore Norms of All Time

  • Kempt Staff


Just when you thought the passing Internet-fashion sensation #normcore had been left for dead six weeks ago, the New York Times goes and kicks some life back into it.

And after reading yesterday’s trend piece/preemptive eulogy, we couldn’t help but think about how the good name of normal, hardworking Normans everywhere was being dragged through the mud all over again. So we’d like to take a moment to salute the most #normcore of them all:

The five most #normcore Normans of all time...»

This Is Only the Beginning of Menswear Baby Talk

  • Kempt Staff


Something curious we noticed while covering fashion week was the sudden widespread use of the term “puppytooth” to describe micro-houndstooth checks.

It was a little off-putting at first. But then it got us thinking about what would happen if we started giving diminutives to other fabrics and patterns that could be shrunk. And it opened a Pandora’s box of menswear baby talk, but a few ideas actually stuck...

In fact, don’t be surprised next season, when you hear designers breaking into the following menswear baby talk...»

10 More Iconic On-Screen Accessories

  • Kempt Staff


Monday, Slate named Cary Grant’s sunglasses in To Catch a Thief the coolest thing ever worn on screen.

And while we’ll agree that those are some damn cool shades, we must take exception to such a patently absurd blanket statement. Even if you were to limit it to accessories, it misses the mark when taking stock of history’s most stylish on-screen accoutrements—the watches, the sunglasses, the Stetsons—that over time have become just as iconic as the character who wore them.

So we’ve gone ahead and rounded up 10 of our favorites.»

Eight Reminders of How Cool Johnny Depp Really Is

  • Najib Benouar


Okay, hear us out.

Johnny Depp has been catching a lot of flack lately—not all of it unwarranted—but before we start ringing the death knells, let’s not forget that the guy has been a bona fide icon going on three decades now. Sure, Depp's been on a downhill trend since around the release of The Tourist (and Rango wasn’t doing him any favors), but everyone has slumps. Let us remind you that this is the same guy who held court at his infamous clubhouse, the Viper Room, befriended the likes of Hunter S. Thompson, courted Kate Moss in her rambunctious heyday, trashed hotel rooms and was just about everything you wished your rock-star-actor hyphenate would be. Hell, if he survived Chocolat, he’ll survive this.

So instead of rambling on about the Johnny Depp we all know is still in there, we’ve put together a quick montage of his badassery to remind you.»

Technical Terms: Cordwainer

  • Najib Benouar

via ACL

Even the most well-versed man of style can still learn something new. Case in point: a cordwainer is not a cobbler. A cobbler is not a cordwainer. It’s an important distinction. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to be using the word in polite company...

As you surely remember, last week we interviewed Maine’s new hotshot shoemaker, Kyle Rancourt. In the title, we proclaimed him a rising star in the cobbling world. As a reader kindly pointed out, Kyle is a cordwainer (the traditional term for a shoemaker), not a cobbler (the traditional term for a shoe repairman). It’s a subtle distinction and one that’s been eroding over time—now that big labels often outsource their lines entirely, and most off-the-shelf shoes aren’t worth repairing—people forgot who was doing what when it came to their footwear.

We’ll probably stick to “shoemaker” in casual conversation (and writing), but the next time we’re looking for a quirky turn of phrase from the past, rest assured “cordwainer” is high on the list.

Is It Ever Okay to Wear a Shorts Suit?

  • Najib Benouar

That’s a tough one. Mostly because it’s hard to fathom a situation where you’d want to both wear shorts and don a jacket—not to mention that, well, a man wearing shorts cannot be taken seriously. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few (very specific) instances when a modern man might find it appropriate to go business from the knee up, party from the calf down.

So, herewith, the eight questions you must ask yourself before walking out the door, suited from merely nape to knee.»

The Fashion Ranks

  • Najib Benouar

Numbers don’t lie. Even when it comes to the highly abstract world of Fashion (yes, capital “F”). And the latest study proving this is the ominously titled “The Most and Least Fashionable Cities in America.”

Internet, take note: Orange County, CA—the mythical land whose economy is almost entirely propped up by Botox and reality television, where “cougar” is still used unironically, the sole reason Christian Audigier is still in business—is home to the most fashionable people in America. All right, it’s not as apocalyptic as we’re making it sound. The findings are interesting if not predictable, so let’s take a closer look at the infographic to understand why your city (or NYC, for that matter) hasn’t been crowned “Most Fashionable” this go-round.

Apologies in advance to Cincinnati...»

The Cult of Style

Some brands are more mystifying than others...

Justin Bridges has been pondering the meaning of Supreme all week, on the heels of a profile of the cult brand in this month’s GQ. He covers a lot of ground, but it boils down to a simple question, one that’s struck nearly everyone at some point: what makes a man camp out for a pair of cargo pants?

Naturally, we’ve got a few ideas.

Our thoughts on Supreme, cult brands and the brotherhood of men’s style»

Menswear and the Time 100

Time unveiled their Top 100 fashion icons today, and it’s ugly stuff. Of the full 100, there are about 10 gentlemen whose wardrobe we’d actually like to dig into. Unfortunately, it’s not all James Dean...

It’s not that the list is bad, exactly. It’s just the latest in a long line of stodgy fashion pieces that completely ignore menswear. It’s enough to make you think the last 10 years never happened...

Naturally, we’ve got a few rejoinders»

How to Wear a Pinkie Ring (Cautiously)

Male jewelry is always a maze of conventions, but we recently ran across a particularly complex case via A Suitable Wardrobe: the pinkie ring.

A surprising number of well-dressed men have popped up wearing them, from Prince Charles to Jay-Z, so we understand a guy getting curious—but this is dangerous territory.

Like most affectations—a monocle, for instance—if you’ve got any doubt in your mind, don’t do it. It’s not a necessity. The success rate isn’t even all that high. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll take a walk right now, forget all this pinkie ring nonsense and go back to your easy, comfortable life of wingtips and oxford shirts.

But if you’re feeling stubborn, here’s how to make it work...»