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The Kempt Five

  • Kempt Staff

Kempt Five

Every Wednesday from here on out, we’re giving you a piece of our minds. Actually, more like five pieces. It’s a chance to get a deeper look into what makes our editors and writers tick—beyond the Internet handsomeness we’re serving up daily. Whether it’s a mind-bending gallery show, a novel we’ve been reading, an album drop or even just a damn fine pair of pants we’ve been wearing the hell out of, we think you ought to know about it. Welcome to our newest, and most personal, weekly feature: The Kempt Five.

Without further ado: here’s what’s on our minds this week.»

The Five Handsomest Surfboards Around

  • Najib Benouar

Surf Board

Surf culture has been enjoying a moment in some of the more laid-back corners of menswear (look no further than Manhattan’s beach bum outpost, Saturdays Surf NYC).

And one of the more recent developments has been the beautification of the actual surfboards themselves.

It’s the sort of cross-cultural gambit that marries form and function—boards that’ve got the chops to keep up with any die-hard surfer, yet they’re handsome enough to be displayed as art. So we’ve gone ahead and found some of the most handsome examples of surfboards this side of Borneo for your riding/viewing pleasure. (And even if it never crashes a wave, it will certainly lend you more cred than a Point Break poster.)

Herewith, the most handsome surfboards out there.»

Measuring Up Your Swimwear Options


The beach prep’s almost complete.

You’ve already determined your stance on tank tops, bought a beach blanket and assessed what it takes to don a Hawaiian shirt. And that’s all a great start. But the true be-all and end-all of summer readiness is deciding exactly how much pre-knee skin you’re willing to show. It’s a choice that’s left many a man blushing and befuddled, and that’s where we come in.

Now, you’ve probably seen the articles on swimwear selection that lump suits into classes like “the European,” “the confident man” and “the grandfather.” But we don’t believe in that sort of unnecessary categorization. Instead, we’d like to put on display the whole host of diverse beachwear selection. And show you that with a little strut in your step, any length will do just fine.

Accompany us after the jump, where we’ve organized all of your finest choices in swimsuiting by length of inseam—from boardshort to banana-hammock...»

Considering the Beach Blanket

Beach Blanket

With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, it’s hopefully just a matter of time before we’re all feeling a little sand between our toes. And when that day comes, the difference between you and the next schlub will be that you took the time to prepare for the occasion.

Right now, though, we’re not talking about packing sunscreen or deciding on your level of thigh exposure. (Though we’ll most certainly get there.) No, today we’d instead like to examine that essential component of any sunbather’s seaside HQ: the beach blanket. Whether it’s adorned with a bikinied lady friend or simply keeping sand out of the potato salad, no day at the shore is complete without one. And there are some handsome options in the menswear market that are more than worthy of your consideration, available as we speak.

So we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up a few of the most beach-worthy blankets we could find, just for you...»

Tayane Melo is a Cactus Farmer

  • Kempt Staff

Be on the Pale: The Midwestyle makes the case for white jeans (and why you shouldn’t fuss over keeping them that way). [The Midwestyle]

Bonsai Tea: Dispelling seven misconceptions about the enigmatic Japanese booze, sake. (It’s more like beer than wine.) [SharpMen]

Friendly Skies: CNN takes us back to a simpler time, when flying on airplanes was glamorous—especially the stewardesses. [CNN]

Surfin’ NYC: The Moment takes us into the newest beach bum outpost in... Brooklyn. [T Magazine]

Seize the Day

  • Najib Benouar

We’ve extolled the virtues of the seersucker swimsuit... but when it comes to swimwear, once you cross the Atlantic, all bets are off. So if you’ve ever romanced the thought of spending a rum-soaked week on some far-flung beach amidst the impossibly bronzed, skip the seersucker and head straight for these new swim trunks from Seize sur Vingt. The cut was inspired by Mediterranean beachgoers in the 1950s, the fabric is from Como, Italy (naturally), they’re constructed in a French swimsuit factory, and the designs are limited-edition art by Paul Weil (only 60 yards of each fabric were produced). Which means you’ll be in good company, no matter which body of water you end up near.

Don’t Call It a Comeback

  • Najib Benouar

Gentlemen, today we come bearing good news: Lindsay Lohan has returned to form. Interview caught up with filmmaker Richard Phillips to get an exclusive peek at his Art Basel 2012 entry: a short film harking back to the surf aesthetic of yore (Endless Summer et al) and starring one Ms. Lohan, looking as vibrant and even-keeled as ever. It’s artsy stuff, sure, but we’ll make an exception for this—especially if it means we’ll be getting more Lohan on this end of the press spectrum. It’s no Parent Trap, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Watch a snippet of surf, sand and those piercing emerald eyes after the jump.»

Picasso’s Beach Pants

We’ve only got a few requirements for our beach gear. It needs to be rugged, it needs to be light, and it needs to keep us from getting sunburned. Any summery affectations on top of that are just icing on the pineapple-flavored cake.

By that standard, Scout Originals just rolled out what might be the perfect beach pants. There’s a lot here that won’t play on land—starting with the Hawaiian icons painted on the legs—but they should look right at home next to a large body of water, especially if you’re going for a Picasso-on-the-Riviera vibe.

The three-quarter length also happens to be the exact amount we usually roll up our pant legs when we’re dealing with sand—but in this case, they’ve saved us the trouble.

Sadly, we don’t have $750 to devote to beach outfits...but a guy can dream.

The Essential Vacation Kit

Libero Ferrero

Your work style: impeccable. Your weekend wardrobe: masterful in the extreme. But once you’re away from your closet—say, on a late-winter escape to warmer climes—it’s easy to lapse into a few days of flip-flops and ratty tees...

It happens to the best of us (even a Style Guy or two), but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Herewith, a few easily packed items that will keep you in fine sartorial form while you’re away in the tropics...

Three essentials for a well-dressed island getaway»

The New Beach Shoe

ONIA’s already a go-to brand for high-end swim trunks, but they just put all that quick-dry fabric to a new use: shoes.

The result is a low-key beach lace-up they’re calling the Montrose, which lands somewhere between a flip-flop and an espadrille. Of course, we might have preferred a rope sole to the foam version they’ve got, but in the “shoes to wear into the ocean” category, these are near the top. They’re both light enough to swim in and thick enough to ward off any sharp shells.

Now all you need is a ticket to a tropical island. And possibly a swimsuit.

Kempt Man of the Hour: Omar Leslie

This time of year, it’s always nice to see someone who looks like he came from the beach.

In this case, the gentleman is blogger and freelance photographer Omar Leslie, who passed through the menswear frenzy known as the Capsule show in a getup equally well-suited for Aruba. A few points of interest: the dangling braided belt, the weathered ribbon on his wrist and, of course, the invisitie. And the shorts aren’t bad either.

It’s inspired our new summer style maxim: Don’t dress for where you’re going; dress for where you wish you were going.

A Gentleman’s Guide to the White Suit

Now that we’re well into the peak of summer, we’ve started pondering one of our favorite summer power moves: the white suit.

It’s a humble, gentlemanly way of saying “I get invited to a lot of semi-formal barbecues,” and nothing looks quite as sharp at a lawn party. The only problem is, it can be a little tricky to pull off.

Naturally, the usual rules of the suit still apply—snug shoulders, an appropriately hip jacket length, slight break in the trousers—but there are a couple new ones too. Luckily, we’re around to walk you through them…

Kempt’s rules for pulling off the white suite…»