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Style Icons Throwing Out the First Pitch

  • Najib Benouar

First Pitch

Baseball is finally back.

As you might recall, we spent last week counting down to MLB’s opening day with a how-to on catching a foul ball, an homage to Satchel Paige, considering the meaning of baseball caps and reminiscing over The Sandlot...

And now we’d like to celebrate our favorite baseball tradition of them all: throwing out the first pitch. Naturally, over the years, more than a few style icons—from JFK to Eddie Vedder—have taken the mound for the inaugural heave, and we’ve rounded up some of the most stylish non-belly-itchers of all time. So, without further ado:

Style icons throwing out the first pitch.»

Style Icons Playing Basketball

  • Najib Benouar


It’s a big day for basketball, with March Madness finally kicking off this morning.

And it’s been a big week for basketball here on Kempt, with our own bracket pitting icons of the sidelines against one another in our quest to name the most stylish NCAA basketball coach ever. You can catch up on the first-round action here, the second-round action here and yesterday’s Final Four here. But you’ll have to tune in tomorrow for the grand finale...

Because today we’re taking a brief break in our tourney to present a roundup of style icons playing basketball.»

The Five Most Stylish (Fictional) Politicians

  • Najib Benouar


Tonight, President Obama’s State of the Union address is supposed to inspire progress and federal stimulation. But often, our focus tends to drift to the hapless sea of baggy, demure suiting filling the audience. It’s a sad sight, really—save for our one beacon of sartorial hope, Vice President Joe Biden. (We’re also giving Obama a pass here, since he’s never given us reason to fret in the past.)

If we were less civic-minded, we’d skip the whole thing and fire up a few episodes of House of Cards—if only to be reminded how a well-put-together politician actually looks (a lot like Kevin Spacey, incidentally). In fact, Hollywood seems to be the only place turning out politicians we’d actually want representing us. So, in hopes of moving a few congressmen to up their style game, we present:

The five most stylish fictional politicians of all time.»

On the Question of the President’s Shoes...

  • Najib Benouar

We’ve been keeping a close eye on the president’s shoes ever since we heard he’d decided against going full-Americana during his last inauguration. He’s long been a Hart Schaffner Marx man in the suits department, and his overcoat and scarf were Brooks Brothers, but for some reason he stopped short at the shoes—electing for a pair of probaby-not-made-in-the-USA Cole Haans and creating a small scandal among sartorially inclined patriots.

In so doing, he broke with tradition: ever since the Reagan era, every president has taken the oath of office in a pair of Wisconsin-made Allen Edmonds—until Obama snubbed them in 2009. And early reports from this morning’s festivities indicate he’s forgone them again. There’s still a chance he slips into a pair for the inaugural ball—you know what they say about Wisconsinites and their dancing shoes—but it’s still an interesting choice to note.

Luckily, he’s still got four more years to get it right.

A few more shots from the inauguration, after the jump.»

Barack Obama, So Hot Right Now

  • Najib Benouar

Barack Obama’s status as a pop icon has already been solidified, but here’s some more icing on the cake.

Terry Richardson—the closest thing fashion photography has to an Andy Warhol—has just unveiled a vintage photo shoot that starred the president himself. Judging from Obama’s more youthful visage—notably the lack of gray—we guessed that Richardson has been sitting on these photos for a few years (and they most definitely were taken before the “Uncle Terry” scandal), so we did some light research and found that they were taken during a Vibe magazine photo shoot in 2007. Start making room in your reelection scrapbook...

Because we’ve got the rest of the shoot, via Terry’s Diary, after the jump.»

Bekah Jenkins Is Moonwalking

  • Kempt Staff

Up in the Club: A conversation with Club Monaco’s menswear messiah, Aaron Levine, in Hong Kong. [Huffington Post]

Un-Closeted: It’s finally happening. R. Kelly is making 20 more installments of his beloved hip-hopera Trapped in the Closet series to air on IFC. [Vulture]

The Gourd Goes Viral: Documenting the troubling rise in pumpkin-flavored things—from booze to lotions. [Businessweek]

Nacho President: Bon Appétit all but declares Barack Obama our first foodie president—even considering Taft. [Bon Appétit]

Dusting Off: The Bearded President

  • Najib Benouar

We’ll assume you either ended last night enjoying the sweet taste of victory, or in kind of a weird place... You also might’ve caught the presidential election.

We came away from the whole thing longing for the days of yore, when this great nation was ruled by men as grizzled as their jawlines.

Not since the likes of Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, a fellow by the name of Honest Abe and just about every US president in the second half of the 19th century have we had a president with some sort of facial follicle to pensively stroke while guiding this fair land. Back then it was more unusual to run for president and not have a crazy-ass beard.

And it’s high time we dusted off the presidential beard. Some more meditation and illustrations this way...»

The Presidential Gray

  • Najib Benouar

No, we’re not talking about Obama’s hair color.

We’re talking about suits. So far we’ve seen a lot of navy on the campaign trail this election season, but the equally “safe” suit color of gray has been totally avoided on stage. It was once a White House favorite (see President Truman and his gray-swathed Cabinet above). But politicians have been afraid of the gray debate suit ever since an ill-fated Nixon showed up to the first televised debates in a light charcoal suit that looked so much like the stage backdrop on black-and-white television, the producers quickly repainted it minutes before airtime (the paint was still wet, and Nixon still faded away).

But we think today, with the debate stage backdrop usually some form of dark blue (and you know, color TV), showing up in a gray suit would have the opposite effect—leaving the candidate in the navy suit to fade into the background. (Perhaps a Reagan-esque brown suit could be even more impactful.)

Though you’ll still have to choose your tie color wisely.

Sessilee Lopez Thinks You Missed a Spot

  • Kempt Staff

Hang Tight: Valet discovers a new carry-on bag that transforms into a hanging dresser in your hotel room. [Valet]

Hoop Dreams: GQ posits that we are in a golden age of NBA style, and takes us back to when things weren’t as handsome. [GQ]

Prez Credentials: A roundup of all the truly presidential suites Barack Obama has stayed in over the past four years—from Vegas to Moscow. [Details]

Home of the Good Burglar: Another high-profile art heist rocks a Dutch museum. Perhaps somebody’s been reading Kempt. [WSJ]