Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

Wax On, Wax Off: How to Fix Up After a Candle Spill

  • Caitlin Ganswindt

Wax spills

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail, but every so often we get a nude photo. Also every so often we get an inquiry from a wayward soul who we feel compelled to answer...

Thanks in part to your advice over the years, I was able to find and get a very handsome suit that was at the top level of my budget. And then, in its debut outing (at a wedding), some knucklehead knocked over a candle near me, which (of course!) managed to spill hot wax all over my trousers and shoes (not new, but still). Now what? Is the cost sunk? Can I at least write it off on my taxes?

Great to hear our words have guided you to the perfect suit; quite tragic that such a sartorial victory was followed by a real-life verse on irony. But this doesn’t necessarily mean a total loss. There are a few things you can try.

Starting with...»

A Question on Menswear Sizing: Going Big

  • Caitlin Ganswindt

Arnold-Schwarzenegger-Polo

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail, but every so often we get a nude photo. Also every so often, we get an inquiry from a wayward soul that we feel compelled to answer...

As a 6′ tall and 305lb bodybuilder, I am far from a meathead and can actually appreciate clothiers you feature, like Harry Stedman. However, when Large is a 43-46... I could buy a sweater to use as a leg warmer, but that's about it. I know it's a tall order, but there is a large (no pun intended) group of guys out there looking for something more than their corner Big and Tall mall box. —Brian, AZ

We understand your dilemma—in fact, it happens on both ends of the spectrum: a lot of this heritage stuff we cover can have a cut that’s not exactly tailored to a smaller frame. Finding the right size can become even trickier when we’re covering brands as they’re launching, which can mean the line and their sizing may be limited—because they’re starting out slow and have yet to gauge their market demands. So unfortunately, for now, the Harry Stedmans of the world just haven’t caught up to you yet.

That’s not to say there isn’t a slew of handsome brands out there that will work for you.

In fact, we’ve done some research and turned up a few great options that should steer you clear of the mall circuit.»

An Answer on Suiting: Three Easy Pieces

  • Najib Benouar

mcqueen

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail, but every so often we get an inquiry from a wayward soul that we feel compelled to answer...

“Loyal reader here. I’m getting married in October. Church Wedding, but mainly an evening cocktail party reception. I want a classy 3-piece suit, but am struggling to find something that looks formal enough for a groom but doesn’t make me look like a used car salesman...” —Adam, Chicago

Choosing a suit for any occasion can be tricky, but throwing in an extra piece—and adding the scrutiny of the nuptial spotlight—only makes things trickier. Luckily, dear reader, you’ve turned to the right place. Because we’ve got some guidelines on how to make the right choice, as well as a few good leads.

Allow us to guide you to the promised land of three-piece bliss.»

On the Question of Brightly Colored Soles...

  • Najib Benouar

Shoes

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail, but every so often we get a nude photo. Also, every so often we get an inquiry from a wayward soul who we feel compelled to answer...

“I’ve been looking to buy a new pair of shoes and I keep seeing these classic styles with absurdly colorful soles. I like them, but I wonder in what situations they are acceptable? For instance, could I wear neon-orange-soled brogues with a suit to work and still look professional? Or are they strictly casual? I’m not looking to buy something that I can only wear in the most specific of situations.”

While we’ve noticed more and more neon soles pop up over the past few seasons, there’s no guarantee this look will still be in favor five years from now, or even next summer, so if you’re planning on spending the few hundred bucks on a pair of shoes that are classic in every sense other than the sole, you’re taking a serious risk.

So we’ll start with this, dear reader: if you’re looking for your first pair of dress shoes, these are not them—if that’s the case, you should be taking the standard navy blazer approach: find a pair of shoes that will go with everything else in your wardrobe, from gray flannel to twill, like these cap toes from Allen Edmonds.

But the renewed excitement in menswear across the board does bode well for a louder and brighter future of dressing. In other words, if you’re interested in dipping your toes into the neon, we’ve got some guidance for you.»

Your Six-Step Path to Pocket-Square Enlightenment

  • Najib Benouar

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail, but every so often we get a nude photo. Also every so often, we get an inquiry from a wayward soul that we feel compelled to answer...

“Pocket squares. I have them. I also have blazers. I want to wear pocket squares in my blazers. But not all squares are sized alike, and neither are all pockets. What should I be looking for? I have a pile of unused squares in a drawer, yearning to be free.”

While it sounds like a simple sizing issue, this conundrum goes a lot deeper, centering on how one approaches the philosophy of the pocket square. So, dear reader, we’ve come up with a six-step plan to put you on the path to pocket-square enlightenment.»

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Superman

Dear Mr. Kent,

On behalf of bloggers everywhere, we’d like to welcome you to New Media.

Like you, we once believed in print journalism. We had subscriptions to things. We creased newspapers and dug into below-the-fold stories about stray dogs and corruption within the gas company. We snickered at comics, replied to classified ads and (acted like we) did the Sunday crossword.

We saw Newsies twice.

But as you so Jerry McGuire-ly (and Sorken-esque-ly) announced to the staff of the Daily Planet, the thrill is gone—journalism has given way to entertainment.

Consider us the best of both...»

An Inquiry on the Art of Dressing Up Denim

  • Najib Benouar

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail—but every so often we get a naked picture. Also every so often, we get a question from an inquiring soul. Which we sometimes answer...

This week, we received a letter in our inbox from a reader who was looking forward to heading to the Mondrian LA for an evening of cocktails and tapas but was at a sticking point: to wear jeans or not to wear jeans. That is the question.

On to our reader’s denim-based quandary, followed by our menswear blogger-savvied guidance.

Don’t Sweat It

  • Najib Benouar

Here’s a timely reader question that landed in our mailbox this past week, paraphrased below:

Every Labor Day we’re told to pack up the summer gear and start acting like it’s fall. But it’s still hot as hell out and I want to keep wearing stuff that’s not going to make me overheat. Will I be committing sartorial sin by wearing seersucker in mid-September?

Playing by rules can be tough—especially when you’re faced with the sweltering prospect of heading into summer-like conditions wrapped in hopsack wool. In our estimation, your need to stay comfortable in the tail end of summer should supersede any obligations to uphold the vestiges of sartorial tradition—but we don’t want you walking around town giving the wrong impression. So we came up with a simple guideline to follow.

Disentangling the items inextricably linked to summer from the ones with ties loose enough to get away with wearing till the temps actually drop.»

The Basics of Buying a Panama Hat

  • Najib Benouar

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail—but every so often we get a question from an inquiring soul who we feel the need to help. This week, we received a letter from a reader who was looking to buy his first Panama hat but wasn’t sure where to start.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the Panama hat is the perfect summer accomplice. But before you take the plunge, you should know a few basics: these aren’t just any straw hats—they’re hand-woven toquilla straw (from Ecuador, not Panama). It’s not all fedoras; there are a handful of classic styles to choose from. And you’ve got a major decision to make—whether you’re going to roll it or keep it crisp.

Allow us to expound on these three tenets of buying a Panama hat.»

The Skinny on How Slim Your Jeans Should Be

  • Najib Benouar

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from readers. (Most of it fan mail.) But every so often we get a question from an inquiring mind that we feel the need to address—and put our Ann Landers hat on to come up with the best advice we can give. (It’s a bucket hat if you were wondering).

This week, we received an email from a reader whose wife seemed to be encouraging him to wear “skinny jeans.” Which begs the question: can an adult man ever get away with wearing hip-huggers?

Wherein we extol some wisdom on fit, growing older and never using the word “skinny” again...»