Every Wednesday we’re giving you a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick. We call it: The Kempt Five.
Right about now is when we really begin pining for the return of raw silk ties, airier cottons and, gasp, linen… (Consider it a menswear-induced spring fever.)
But leave it to the inimitable Southern gent Sid Mashburn to take our raw silk excitement to a whole new level—by using his favorite hand-loomed Indian raw silk matka and cutting it into an entire sport jacket.
Twice a year, in six cities, menswear designers, buyers, editorialists and enthusiasts flock to the tailored temple of Capsule Show. Yesterday, the leather-bound steamer trunks and garment bags arrived in droves at New York’s South Street, chock-full of new collections for SS14.
Naturally, Team Kempt hit the pavement (or, you know, carpeted warehouse) of Pier 36 in the name of trend spotting and lesson learning. With over 250 brands in attendance, we thought it best to provide a bit of a highlight reel for our loyal followers.
The international menswear cognoscenti are descending upon Florence as we speak, for the 84th installment of Pitti Immagine Uomo.
And as any well-read menswear enthusiast will tell you, it pays to know what exactly all the fuss is about (especially if you find yourself flipping through Tumblr or in a heated debate with your tailor in the next few days). So with that in mind, we’ve prepared an A-to-Z primer of talking points and trivia that should get you through the semi-annual spectacle of peacockery.
Today, order has been restored in the land of #menswear. Because Carson Street Clothiers has finally launched e-commerce.
When we took you inside the NYC shop founded by two Internet-famous menswear pals, it was a feast for the eyes—full of hard-to-find Italian blazers and so on. But the stuff was still mostly unattainable for anyone who couldn’t make it to SoHo. And for a couple of guys who made their bones in the online world of menswear, it left a large portion of Tumblr wondering when CSC would embrace their hashtaggy roots. Now, thanks to their triumphant return to the Internet, the #menswear masses can finally get their hands on all that L.B.M., Bastian and in-house suiting they’ve been craving from afar.
The trick to spring-summer dressing is pretty much the opposite of fall-winter: the less layers, the better.
And one way to remove a layer while still pulling off a tailored look is to opt for an unlined blazer—preferably in the airiest weave you can find.
The giveaway of a good unlined blazer is the taped seams (our bearded friend here is doing a good job of demonstrating this, by showing the neon-taped interior of his blazer). Most blazers don’t have finished seams because they’ll never see the light of day once the lining has been sewn in. It’s a neat trick—the taped seams—but mostly a good sign of what you should be looking for in a lightweight blazer.
It’s easily the most stylish trophy in sports: the Masters’ green jacket.
Coincidentally, a green blazer also happens to be the perfect spring accomplice—especially if you can find one in an airier weave, with softer shoulders and in a less glaring tone than the mostly ceremonial number slung over the winner’s shoulder each April. Luckily, with a little digging, we’ve found a surprisingly plentiful spectrum of solid options out there right now, from pale to Rockham green, Gucci to Woolrich, that you can wear today, without having to beat out Tiger in a shootout down the back nine. (Though we’re not saying you couldn’t.) So, without further ado:
Cotton blazer season is upon us and—assuming you’ve already got one in the requisite tan or navy—here’s one worth considering.
Yes. It’s bright red. But one of the more pleasant side effects of the Italian renaissance in menswear is that something like this doesn’t look as out of place as it did three seasons ago. And it’s just landed at Context by way of Band of Outsiders. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: Designer Scott Sternberg has been twisting classic Americana into new, brighter, striped iterations for some time now (see: the polo shirt), but this blazer might be his most adventurous move yet.
Who to Channel: Lapo Elkann (but not going double-breasted means you could actually wear this to something other than a yacht christening); Craig Sager on an impossibly good day; an American-Lister in Paris.
When to Wear It: This has got a shelf life of spring to late summer. Wear it loudly and proudly.
Degree of Difficulty: Somewhat high. You might want to review your office dress code before showing up in this. Garden parties, rooftop bars and the like are fair game.
Our friends over at UrbanDaddy bring word that the elusive French menswear label Officine Generale has finally made its way to the states—and more importantly, the Internet. Which is fantastic news for the state of rakishness everywhere.
See, thanks to Tumblr, Instagram and Pitti Uomo, it can sometimes seem like there’s an endless supply of achingly handsome menswear readily available for the taking. But most of the good stuff is actually sitting folded neatly just out of the Internet’s reach in some incredibly well-guarded menswear Eden between Milan and Naples that you’ll never find.
Which is why we were pleasantly surprised to hear tell of Officine Generale making landfall on American soil, by way of SF’s Unionmade. It’s a good chunk of those blazers and poplin shirts that you’ve seen reblogged hundreds of times on Tumblr since the label’s January 2012 inception but have been otherwise untraceable. Meaning it’s not exactly menswear for the faint of wardrobe, but it is a good place to look if you’re feeling like a hickory-stripe blazer with four patch pockets is the sort of direction you’d like to go in this summer.
A lot of bloggerly ink has been spilled in the excitement over J. Press’s neo-trad capsule collection York Street, helmed by the #menswear golden boys at Ovadia & Sons.
It’s the sort of brilliance that could only happen in the Tumblr age—or by being willed into existence by a small cadre of menswear influencers performing ritualistic dances in some clandestine Ivy League clubhouse. (It could’ve been either, really; we’d rather not comment any further.)
And while it seemed that the stuff would only exist on the Internet, today it all became a reality in a real-life brick-and-mortar shop in NYC—and our friends at UrbanDaddy got us a sneak peek at all the cable-knitted wool and tufted-leather handsomeness. If a trip to the city isn’t in the cards anytime soon, not to worry—all the stuff is available online.
Ralph Lauren Fall 2013 Preview
Today marks the first day of New York Fashion Week, and the international fashion cognoscenti are descending upon Lincoln Center as we speak.
And as any well-read menswear enthusiast will tell you, it pays to know what exactly all the fuss is about (especially if you find yourself suddenly sharing a barstool with your new Estonian friend or in a heated debate with your tailor). So with that in mind, we’ve prepared an A-to-Z primer of talking points and trivia that should get your through the spectacle that is NYFW.
We’ve just got word that Alabama menswear shop Lyonstate is taking all of the handsomeness they’ve already got on their web shop, putting it on sale, and then slashing off an additional 25% (with the secret code “TAKE25”). Which puts some of these prices at the lowest we’ve seen for stuff from brands like Our Legacy (like this double-breasted blazer), Rachel Comey (like these oxford shoes) or Oliver Spencer (this fisher jacket, for instance) go for. There’s plenty more where that came from, so get after it, gentlemen.
Just when you thought there wasn’t any more room in your closet for another tweed blazer…
We went and dug up this spectacular Nep Tweed Blazer from Beams+.
Oh, and before we forget to mention it: Unionmade’s got it for 40% off as part of the epic Fall-40 sale they launched this morning. Here’s what else you need to know about your newest blazer.
The Story: The near-mythical Japanese label Beams+ was once impossible to find on American shores, until the fine folks at Unionmade began smuggling it (legally) over here for the past few years. Now you’ve got a chance to get ahold of this stuff without a proxy or the full price tag.
Who to Channel: The Scottish countryside; a bookish professor at Cambridge with a penchant for the New York Mets—the “nep weave” intersperses flecks of oranges and blues in the houndstooth; Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry.
When to Wear It: From the moment your shipment arrives till the temps start getting above 50 degrees. And then when fall comes around and the temps start dipping toward 50 degrees and lower again.
Degree of Difficulty: About as hard as it is to slip into a fine tweed blazer.
Our comrades-in-style over at UrbanDaddy Perks are turning your $100 into $150 worth of buying power at our favorite new menswear webshop, Wittmore—and thanks to a fortuitous year-end sale still in effect, your dollars are going to stretch even further. To mark the occasion, we thought we’d help you figure out the best way to spend that windfall of cash. So we took that magic number of $150 and filled up a cart with shirts, blazers and/or more, supermarket-sweep-style. Three times, each to dapper effect.
Your cure for this epic case of the Mondays you’ve got right now: stocking up on some new threads at Cyber Monday prices.
Basically, the entire Internet is on sale today, so there’s a lot to wade through. Luckily, we did it for you—to find the best #menswear-friendly deals in cyberspace (then we can retire the word “cyber” until next year, or forever), including a few exclusives you won’t find elsewhere…(For a few more deals, check out our friends at Urban Daddy.)
Breaking news: Steven Alan has just quietly launched his hotly anticipated annual online sample sale with up to 70% off a good chunk of the prepster-bohemianism you’ve come to expect. There are some great blazers still ripe for the picking, and his calling-card single needle shirts are mostly in the $60 range—and there’s even a decent selection of non-Alan offerings going for a steal. Happy hunting.
Earlier this year, we brought news of a Thom Browne suit that you could pick up for around a grand. Now, behold: a Thom Browne blazer for 150 clams. (About a tenth of what his stuff usually goes for.)
It’s a product of yet another Target collaboration—this time with Neiman Marcus and some more design-world heavies (part of a holiday collection, so you’ll find some Band of Outsiders cookie cutters amongst the handful of men’s stuff). It’s got the signature Thom Browne schoolboy thing happening and his tricolor stripe in the placket (so you know it’s Thom Browne for Target), but it isn’t made from some odd blend of material—the promise of 100% wool gives us some hope that Browne kept some standards. Naturally, we’ll hold off final judgment till the December 1 release date.
Which, sadly, is one month too late for your “Gangnam Style” costume.
The gents over at Esquire just tipped us off to the stateside arrival of Massimo Dutti—a Spanish label that’s pushing reasonably priced soft-shouldered blazers, including a promising sub-$300 double-breasted, and some Tuscan-feeling outerwear. If you want to see the stuff in person, you’ll have to make the voyage to Fifth Avenue, but they’ve simultaneously launched online, which should save you the trip. (No matter how much shorter it’s become.)
This season has already seen a good deal of technical innovation in the blazer department—ripstop nylon ones, down-filled ones, unidentifiably sheen ones—but sometimes it’s better to stick with what’s always worked.
Case in point: the latest limited-edition suiting from J.Crew. It’s made from thorn-proof English wool that’s just landed at their Ludlow Shop and online. If the name alone hasn’t sold you—“Thornproof” sounds like some sort of British spy code name—the fact that this twofold woven tweed has protected hunters from the pointed ends of the woods since 1837 should work. They’ve kept all the old-school details (like patch pockets and hand-finished lapels), but updated it with a modern fit—handy for any autumnal bike rides involving a companion and prickly trailside brush. And like its tech-fabric counterparts, this jacket’s fabric was made to take the rigors of fall and winter exploits—but it should leave you with an even better-looking jacket after a few seasons of roughing up.
There’s nothing handsome about scuffed nylon ripstop.
When in doubt, follow tradition—especially when it comes to something as of-the-moment as the double-breasted blazer.
Which brings us to the latest double-breasted blazer from Hart Schaffner Marx and Steven Alan, which should serve as the benchmark (it’s part of a fall collection of American-made suiting at Steven Alan). The lapels are the right amount of conservative, the shoulders are unfussy, the length isn’t too short, and it’s cut with just enough room to let you fasten both buttons if you so choose. Not to knock the perfectly good options coming out of Italy, but this blazer is spot-on—not to mention the use of a floating canvas construction makes this a wise investment.
Consider this one a blogger-blue chip.
Everyone’s favorite Southern gentleman-haberdasher, Sid Mashburn, has just put a sweeping range of blazers, canvas shorts and belts on sale. There’s really nowhere to go wrong, but if you’re in the market for a navy hopsack suit or a gun-check blazer, you’re in luck—Mashburn’s off-the-rack tailoring is highly sought after. Which means the clock is ticking…
In addition to feeling extra patriotic, a lot of our favorite menswear labels are feeling extra generous this weekend—loving America can do that to you—and they’re running some solid Memorial Day weekend sales.
So we’ve gone ahead and picked out the most enticing of the bunch—from the likes of Billy Reid and Ovadia & Sons—and zeroed in on which items we think you should focus your attention on. (Stuff that’ll come in handy within the next few months.)
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