Today’s must-reads from around the Internet.
Rapper. Actor. Fitness guru. Awards show host…
LL Cool J has worn a lot of hats over the years. (Most of them Kangol.)
And since he’s reprising his standing gig as host for the Grammys for the third time in a row this weekend, we thought we’d take a look back at how the man known as Ladies Love Cool James has managed to stay relevant over the past three decades. (Hint: it’s the hats.)
All right, so it turns out that you don’t really lose most of your body’s heat through your head.
But with winter quite literally a week away and everything weather-wise that entails, you’re regardless going to find yourself wanting some hearty scalp protection right quick—if you haven’t already. And in that respect we’ve got you covered, having rounded up the best options out there to keep things balmy, and handsome, all winter long.
A good hat is indispensable this time of year—and even more so into the colder months.
The options are plentiful, and depending on where you’re doing most of your outdoor socializing, you might require anything from a watch cap to a fedora. So we’ve gone ahead and rounded up a handsome array of toppers to bring you:
It will be hat season again before you know it.
And in the way of autumnal toppers, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more ideal specimen than this beaver-pelted fedora from Ovadia & Sons. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: Since the days of Daniel Boone, the beaver pelt has been coveted for its natural resistance against the elements—its waterproof properties made it especially good for headwear during the wetter months.
Who to Channel: Humphrey Bogart, if Casablanca had been set in the 1600s on the Hudson Bay; a GQ editor on the fall menswear show circuit in Europe.
When to Wear It: Now through winter’s end—should you be stepping out on a wet, snowy or unseasonably cold day.
Degree of Difficulty: Medium to high. Over the past half century, the hat has gone from a standard item of menswear to veering upon affectation. A suit, a tailored overcoat and a cocksure tilt should have you in the realm of the former.
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 the minds behind Kempt tick—you know, beyond the usual Internet handsomeness we’re serving up daily. So welcome to our most personal weekly feature: The Kempt Five.
Around Derby weekend, the seersucker suit gets all the attention.
But the fabric itself is so versatile—and cooling, with its uneven weave lifting the cotton off your skin and leaving hundreds of tiny pockets of air to cool you. So, in the event you’d like to outfit another part of your body with seersucker—say, your neck, or your feet—we’ve gone ahead and found enough gear to swathe you from head to toe in the legendarily cooling fabric. Now, we’re not saying you should try wearing every single piece here at once…
Consider this a late-breaking addition to last week’s five best straw hats out there…
It’s the Biarritz from legendary milliners Worth & Worth, woven from a sturdy brisa straw in a bright tobacco shade and banded with a ribbon in a spot-on blogger blue. It also just so happens that our friends at UrbanDaddy Perks are turning your $100 into $150 at Worth & Worth—it’s extra buying power that you can put toward this beauty or any one of their many spectacular straw toppers, ready for the warmer months ahead.
While the Masters and Coachella are drawing two very different crowds, those crowds have got one thing in common: they’ll be spending most of the weekend outdoors, under the unrelenting sun.
And your most reliable form of portable shade is a good straw hat.
The straw hat comes in many forms—from the venerable panama hat to the stubby-brimmed situations you see crowning a lot of heads in LA—but there happens to be some darn good-looking options out there these days, and not just in the typical wheat-chaff color. So we took the liberty of finding you the five best woven hats on the market today. (We presumed you wouldn’t mind.)
Breaking news: today is, apparently, Tweed Day.
Now, we’ve taken a pretty hard-line stance against bullshit holidays in the past. We even spent the requisite paperwork and fees to name a “No Bullshit Holidays Day” (get excited for May 10, gentlemen).
But we’ve also been known to bend the rules every so often, because… tequila. And today, we’re revising our stance once more to include the glorious celebration of a fabric that we rely on so dearly during the fall and winter months but won’t see much of for the next six or so. Like most of these holidays, the founding is dubious at best—but ultimately, it feels like a good enough reason to give the rugged wools a proper farewell until we meet again.
There are plenty of perfectly good reasons to wear a baseball cap.
Driving a convertible. Watching a ball game. Premature balding.
But we’ve been noticing a sharp rise in guys wearing more #menswear-y versions—without a hint of support for a sports team—even more so, with the recent rise in popularity of the five-panel cap and floral prints. And it got us thinking about what it all means. So we’ve gone ahead and taken stock of all the nonstandard baseball caps out there to give you a better idea of what your choice in billed topper is projecting to the world.
Now that your spring awakening should be in full swing, you’re going to want the proper attire for all the spring cleaning you’ll be doing this weekend (especially if you’re dusting off the push reel mower).
Sure, an old retired pair of jeans will do in a pinch, but there comes a point in the life of any piece of clothing when it’s been run too ragged to be of service (but hey, now you’ve got something authentically broken-in to wear fashionably).
The answer: something tougher than the workwear-inspired stuff that’s been floating around the Internet for the past few years now. We’re talking about real workwear. Stuff you don’t have to worry about beating up, because it was made for it—and because the price didn’t have the overseas shipping from a small artisan workshop in Japan built into it. We’re not guaranteeing all of this stuff will fit the same way, but you’ll be happy to have that extra give in your pants’ rise when kneeling down to change the spool in your edger.
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.
This weekend, the marked uptick in on-screen handsomeness continues with Gangster Squad finally hitting theaters.
We caught a screening earlier this week, and throughout all of the expected Eisenhower-era dapperness, there was one scene that really struck us. Naturally, it involved one Ryan Gosling, but the real scene-stealer was his dusty-blue fedora. With all the charcoals and browns atop everyone else’s heads, when Gosling donned the blue hat mid-film, we knew things were about to get a little more badass. (And they did.) We did a little research—each gent had his hats done separately, but Gosling’s hat was a custom job from a milliner in Chicago.
And thanks to menswear’s recently rekindled love affair with hats, we’re sensing this could be the silk scorpion jacket of 2013.
Surely your Tumblr dashboard has alerted you to the momentous semiannual gathering of epic Italianate peacockery that is Pitti Uomo, which is wrapping up in Florence right now—and per usual, there was some handsome stuff, some inspiring stuff and a few head-scratchers…
It’s visibly winter over there, so we saw a lot of leather five-fingered pocket squares (everyone seemed to think their hands should suffer the cold for fashion), some blankets worn as scarves, and hats. Hats everywhere. Most troubling was the emergence of a few floppy-brimmed hats that fell somewhere between Blossom and Gandalf, but there were some great examples of sensible soft-brimmed fedoras, knit caps and hats of every stripe, too. So we rounded up the various street style photos, Instagrams and Twitpics from the usual suspects in menswear—including those actually in Florence—and found our favorite toppers of the bunch.
You did it. You won the holidays.
It wasn’t easy—it was a long and arduous journey filled with upgrading your kitsch and making a tough decision about wearing a Santa hat. It was all part of our inaugural Kempt Guide to Winning the Holidays (trademark still pending).
It’s Christmas Eve. That means at some point in the next 24 hours you might be faced with the opportunity to don a fur-lined topper, Santa-style…
Now, we included the Santa hat in our holiday must-haves, but with a stern disclaimer: there’s a time and a place for taking such a sartorial risk. If that time’s ever going to come, it’s tonight.
So in the event that you’re feeling up to the challenge, we’ve found some of history’s most stylish gents pulling off the look—from Bing Crosby to Ryan Gosling—and put them here for you, sort of as a sartorial confidence booster. (And as something to keep you occupied for the next couple days, until Kempt returns to our regularly scheduled dapperness.)
All signs are pointing to an unseasonably mild winter this year—there hasn’t been much snow on the ground anywhere to speak of.
Which means, when some fresh powder finally does make landfall, you’re going to have to make the best of it. Especially when it comes to building a snowman. And in our grand new tradition of winning the holidays, we’re going to ensure the Frosty in your yard is cooler than cool (see what we did there?). We’re talking about throwing caution to the wind and building the most luxurious, stately, money-is-no-object snowman that your holidays deserve.
As deep winter approaches, it’s more than likely you’re starting to pull out the scarves and hats to assess the state of your current warmth-retaining paraphernalia.
At the heart of it all: the knit cap.
And on the occasion that you’re looking for a new one or contemplating reviving an old standby, you ought to know what your choice of topper is saying about you…
We normally don’t recommend wearing a baseball cap during the week unless you’re within a 100-yard radius of a ballpark, doing yard work or a celebrity trying to sneak in a quiet lunch. But there’s one time we’ll make an exception: when your baseball team has won the World Series.
That means that this year, today only, San Francisco Giants ball caps are fair game with everything from chambray to Italian wool. You’ve earned it—by keeping the faith through all the slumps, by your gut and determination during the extra innings of fried appetizer platters, and mostly by no hard work of your own—just don’t think you can get away with the hat for the rest of the week.
Coincidentally, it’s also the only day of the year you can wear an orange bow tie.
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