Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

Dusting Off: The Black-Tie Masquerade Ball

102714_black-tie-masquerade-hed

News flash: Halloween is this Friday.

And you’re probably on the hook for at least one party this weekend—meaning you’re going to have to wear a costume that could very well sacrifice your dignity, or worse: your stylish reputation.

But this wasn’t always so—in fact, there was a day and age when dressing up only required a tuxedo and a mask, demonstrated by one Mr. Frank Sinatra, above.

Now this is the sort of costume party we would attend gladly...»

Dusting Off: The Home Ice Block

061814_Summer-Cocktails-Ice-Block

Sure, you’ve probably walked into your local revivalist cocktail den to find a mustachioed gent chipping away at a large block of ice for someone’s julep or Old Fashioned recently—but there was a time when every home in America had a block of ice in its cold box this time of year.

And that’s something worthy of dusting off.

While there are plenty of times when just a few cloudy cubes from a tray will suffice, we say this: you can do better. Especially because the virtue of many a summer cocktail depends on its ice. Luckily, ice blocks aren’t that tough to make at home, or break down to cubes, spheres, cones and more as long as you know what you’re doing.

Allow us to show you the way...»

Dusting Off: Men Wearing Fur

010814_Fur_HED

At some point in the past, before there were terms like “polar vortex,” a man would rise on an exceedingly frigid day, survey the cold and forbidding landscape before him and then reach for the thickest wool pelt in his coat closet as he headed outdoors.

Wearing a fur coat was not only the best way to stay warm, it was the most elegant.

But somewhere along the line, possibly circa 1980, a man wearing a fur coat became an egregious affectation—no longer a simple matter of staying warm. And even more recently, it would seem that the tradition has fallen off almost entirely, even with older ladies and the less savory crowd it’s usually associated with. Perhaps that’s a good thing, because we’re making the case for a revival of gentlemen in fur coats. Especially with all of the puffy synthetic outerwear thick on the ground this time of year, we wouldn’t mind seeing a return to a more graceful way of staying warm.

And if the Princeton man above isn’t inspiration enough, we’ve got a few style icons wearing fur who’ll show you how it’s done...»

Dusting Off: The Creative Answering Machine Message

kate moss telephone

“You have reached the voice mailbox of five... one... four... six... Leave a message at the... To leave a callback number, press five.”

Lately, we’ve realized we spend about as much time on the line with female voice font number 154 as we did with Sir Moviefone in the late ’90s. And you know what? It sucks.

Gone are the days where an eighth unanswered ring was followed by a bite-size sound treat tuned to the melody of “We Will Rock You” or “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen was huge among influential answering machine circles).

It’s high time we made those 15 to 30 seconds before the beep personal again.

Herewith: the dos and don’ts for achieving message box glory.»

Dusting Off: Keeping a Spare Shirt in Your Desk at the Office

White Shirt

The following is taken from the current interior monologue of a Kempt contributor:

“Jesus Christ, it’s humid out there. I’ve sweat through my shirt. I look like one of those basketball coaches on the sidelines when he takes off his jacket. Jesus Christ. Why don’t I keep a spare shirt at the office? Smart guys did that back in the day. Don Draper. William Hurt in Broadcast News. Why don’t I do that? Jesus H. Fucking Christ.”

After the jump, an artist’s rendering of our contributor’s current state:»

Dusting Off: The Pneumatic Tube

Pneumatic Tube

Countless devices have become obsolete since the advent of the digital age, but one of the most overlooked casualties has to be the pneumatic tube.

It went the way of the telegram decades ago (you’ll still find a few intact tube systems here or there—in a Midwestern packing plant or an old airport terminal—but even those are rarely used nowadays). This was the instant messenger that predated AOL by a century, thanks to some Industrial Age ingenuity and a giant air compressor. And we think it needs to make a comeback.

A case for dusting off the pneumatic tube.»

Dusting Off: The Summer Fling

Flings

Travolta and Newton-John in Grease. Swayze and Grey in Dirty Dancing. Peck and Hepburn in Roman Holiday. Hell, basically any pair of characters in Wet Hot American Summer.

With the sheer volume of steamy summer romance we find in pop culture, you’d think we’d all be bumping uglies the second the temperature peaks above 70.

It would seem that falling madly in love with a stranger was totally acceptable—as long as it began and ended within the confines of June and August, on break from school, of course. Then we’re to believe that once your mandated summer breaks are a thing of the past, so are your chances for a casually balmy two months of abbreviated love.

But we don’t think that has to be, and here’s why...»

Dusting Off: Chimp Movies

Chimp Movies

Humans have always been fascinated with our astonishingly close evolutionary link to monkeys—the smartest of which have been known to fashion rudimentary tools and learn sign language.

And, most impressive of all: act in major Hollywood films.

So, in our effort to dust off the chimp movie, we ponder the demise of the great movie genre and present some of the more impressive simian performances on film.»