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A Pop-Culture History of Men and Shorts

  • Kempt Staff


The prospect of celebrating summer’s inaugural weekend might have you toying with the idea of spending the entire three days in a pair of shorts (especially if you plan on being poolside the whole time).

But going pantsless is a deceptively tricky move—wrought with pitfalls and misconceptions.

More often than not, they’re considered a necessary evil. Tom Ford famously said that a man should never wear them. Inevitably, someone will rib you with that moldy chestnut about never taking a man in shorts seriously. But in the right hands—er, on the right gams—they can be serviceable, arguably even stylish. It’s been done before, to varying degrees of success.

So, as menswear anthropologists, in our quest to find out how we got into this pantsless existential crisis, we present to you:

A pop-culture history of men and shorts.»

The Stat Sheet: Club Monaco Midnight Blue Tuxedo Jacket

  • Najib Benouar

With the various winter galas, the holiday party circuit and awards season on the horizon, now would be a good time to start thinking about formal wear.

And in particular, thinking about a midnight blue tuxedo jacket like this, from Club Monaco. Here’s what else you need to know about it.

The Story: Ever since Aaron Levine took the design reins of Club Monaco’s men’s department, everything has been coming up handsome. And with each new season, the suiting has improved by leaps and bounds. We’d like to think of this tuxedo jacket as his pièce de résistance in this season’s crop.

Who to Channel: James Bond in Skyfall; the spirit animal of Giovanni Agnelli (a midnight blue penguin); James Bond in Skyfall (seriously, he nails it).

When to Wear It: Whenever you can get away with it. Try it with jeans, or with an open collar shirt, or with... the matching pair of navy pants.

Degree of Difficulty: The only snag you might hit is in a traditional black-tie setting—since midnight blue is a little off-book, you’ll want to keep everything else on the straight and narrow. Otherwise, throwing a tux jacket into any semiformal getup should only serve to enhance your stateliness.

Think of This As: The answer to all of your black-tie quandaries.

Allow Daniel Craig to show you how it’s done, after the jump.»

Reid... Billy Reid.

  • Najib Benouar

The gents over at Valet have uncovered the story on how Billy Reid became the official peacoat supplier of James Bond for the soon-to-be-released Skyfall. (As luck would have it, Daniel Craig had picked one up for himself a few years back and has been a fan ever since.) It’s more confirmation that Mr. Reid is still riding high. The jackets sold out instantly once a few film sleuths figured out where they came from, so another limited run is on the way, available for preorder now and shipping on the same day Skyfall is released... But of course.

Threat Level Midnight

  • Najib Benouar

For anyone who needed a reminder on how to wear a midnight blue tuxedo (or that a new Bond film is due out next month), here it is.

Daniel Craig is on pace to become the most stylish Bond of all time. And now that the latest Skyfall poster has been unveiled, he doesn’t seem to be losing any steam. We’ll assume he’s gone with a slightly undersized bow tie as not to undersell his tuxedo-pocket-sized pistol.

Minding your proportions is rule number one.

A Salute to the Stunt Doubles of Style Icons...

Sean Connery with stunt double Big John McLaughlin, Never Say Never Again, 1983

When the city of Fort Lauderdale recognized Big John McLaughlin, Shogun of the Sea, with a star on the Walk of Fame earlier this year, he responded, “Does one have to be alive to collect it?” It likely was not the first time Mr. McLaughlin asked some form of this question, having pioneered diving, stunt rigging and motion picture safety techniques in the late 1950s that are still in use to this day. Jaws simply wouldn’t have been a scary movie if it weren’t for Big John.

“I guess the craziest thing they ever asked me to do was bite a live tiger shark,” he reminisces. But his favorite was doubling 007 in eight Bond films, including Thunderball, in which he doubled 34 different people.

Allow us to join the city of Fort Lauderdale in raising a glass to Big John, the Shogun, and all the brave men who have kept our precious style icons safe over the years. To that end, we close the week with...

A salute to the stunt doubles of style icons.»

Bond Mots

  • Najib Benouar

Today in breaking Skyfall news: Daniel Craig divulges to the Washington Post, “I’m so camp in this one, I’ve gone quite far.” (Previously, all we had to go on was this photo.) And we’re not sure how we feel about it—lest you forget, he was cast as a grittier Bond in an effort to course-correct the franchise to better fall in line with the darker, less verbose Bournes and Batmans of the new millennium. And it’s been working for him quite well.

Nevertheless, the news reminded us of the Bond of yore: always at the ready with an innuendo-laced quip while dispatching a henchman or romancing the likes of Pussy Galore, Holly Goodhead or the fated-for-one-post-coital-pun Dr. Christmas Jones. It’s what’s defined Agent 007 for the better part of his film existence—meaning they’ve got a lot of material to lean on. So we dug up a possible sampling of what’s to come and distilled it down to...

These five choice James Bond zingers.»

The January Issues

It’s magazine time again.

January’s usually an off month for glossies, which explains why this month’s crop is featherlight. Details didn’t even weigh in—thanks to December’s double-issue—but there’s still plenty to piece through, like the wisdom of Oates, blogger blue’s close-up and the rise of Parisian style.

Here’s everything you need to know from January’s crop of magazines»

Kempt Man of the Hour: Daniel Craig

This snap comes from last week’s Madrid premiere of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, where Daniel Craig was holding a clinic on neutral tones, Rooney Mara was looking impishly sexy and David Fincher was threatening to clobber some poor photographer with a bike chain. (We assume.) Our favorite part is the tight dimple in Craig’s knit tie—a surprisingly tricky feat—and, of course, everything about Ms. Mara.

Agata Danilova Is Waiting for a Chair Delivery

Water, Fall: Sometimes drinking from a water bottle is too hard. These women have chosen to simply pour it in the direction of their faces. [The Hairpin]

The Musings of Max Fischer: Jason Schwartzman enjoys Tom Waits, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Wallace Berman. Also, he’s broken a lot of watches. [GQ UK]

#23 Has Landed: Some details on Daniel Craig’s third Bond film—including Javier Bardem as the villain and Naomie Harris as at least one of the girls. [Entertainment Weekly]

Friends Forever: Playing the Kevin Bacon game with buddy comedies, Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy. Surprisingly enough, it works. [Vulture]

Kempt Man of the Hour: Daniel Craig

A pocket square is a powerful thing.

And in the case of this weekend’s Cowboys & Aliens premiere, a red-lined linen square may have saved Daniel Craig from looking like an undertaker.

Don’t get us wrong; it’s a sharp suit. But if you imagine Mr. Craig striding purposefully down the red carpet in the same blue-to-black ensemble sans pocket square, and you could be forgiven for thinking he was about to assassinate Harrison Ford.

Instead, he’s all smiles and sun—the first time we’ve seen that from Mr. Bond in quite some time. Unless it has something to do with the watch…

The Argentinean Adam Sandler and Other World Cup Lookalikes

  • Shawn Donnelly


This is the latest installment of The World Cup According to Kempt™, our series on the stuff that really matters at this summer’s tournament in South Africa.

We love when a person from one part of the world looks like a person from a completely different part of the world. It makes our planet seem a bit smaller. It also makes our planet seem a bit funnier.

Nowhere are there more examples of this than at the World Cup. For instance, you may have turned on your TV this weekend and thought for a second that Adam Sandler (albeit a young Adam Sandler) was playing midfield for Argentina. In fact, it was a 29-year-old named Maxi Rodriguez. (We hear he’s almost as funny.) This got us thinking: who are some of the World Cup’s other lookalikes? Here’s what we came up with…

See who looks like James Bond»

The Misfit


The Last of the Bombshells: A few more Marilyn snaps surface. We’re game, as always. [Refinery29]

On Ice: Daniel Craig is now available in popsicle form. No, we don’t know why either. [Vulture]

The Barbarian: WSJ’s brand new culture blog weighs in on O’Brien’s brand new Tonight Show. It’s the dawn of two new eras. [Speakeasy]

Tears of a Clown: Ol’ Blue Eyes apparently fancied himself quite the painter. The rest of the world…not so much. [Luxist]

Cat Power, Craig Power, and Curb Power


American Flag: ACL demonstrates the proper way to wear the American flag…with a little help from Chan Marshall. [A Continuous Lean]

Omega Man: Daniel Craig auctions off his watch for underprivileged youth. To keep his Bond credentials intact, we’re going to assume he was drunk at the time. [Hodinkee]

A Meme is Born: Apparently, the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme makes anything funny. Especially Crash. [CurbThis]

The Hour is Nigh: If you’re sending things in time for Christmas, this is how long you have to order. [Dealhack]