Kempt

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Style Icons Wearing Undershirts

Undershirts

Here’s a little history lesson for you: plain white T-shirts first appeared in the late 19th century, when some manufacturer decided to split the union suit into separates. And originally, they were meant to protect one’s finer outer layers from the perils of, well, sweat.

Like boxers for your chest.

But the rules have changed in the past century. The undershirt has, on occasion, been called to take sartorial center stage. Like before bed. Or between takes on set. Or during takes, for that matter. And throughout it all, some brave, overtly stylish men have succeeded in proving that these baser layers can be worth way more than their thread count.

So we’ve assembled the finest moments in Style Icons Wearing Undershirts for you, after the jump.»

The Stat Sheet: Cardigan’s Dean Sweatshirt

  • Najib Benouar

Cardigan’s Dean Sweatshirt

It’s just finally starting to warm up, but we’re not quite into gray cotton sweatshirt territory just yet...

Unless you’ve got one that’s been toughened up with a bit of merino wool, like this Dean Sweatshirt from Cardigan. At first glance, this heather-gray crewneck looks just like all the other upcycled cotton gym sweatshirts that have been flooding the market, but this one is secretly packing some extra warmth with a 50% merino wool/cotton blend. Here’s what else you need to know.

The Story: Cardigan is an NYC-based knitwear label focused solely on the concept of the sweater in all of its forms (most notably, the cardigan), so you can expect a thoughtfully made sweatshirt here—even down to the telltale triangle stitch at the collar.

Who to Channel: A young JFK sailing one of his first rigs; a particularly dapper boxer; Paul Newman on a dirt bike.

When to Wear It: When all signs point to a perfect spring day, but it’s actually still about 20 degrees colder than it looks.

Think of This As: Your secret weapon in your early spring arsenal.

Your moments of inspiration, after the jump.»

Dusting Off: The Stylish Fallout Shelter

On October 6, 1961, President Kennedy directed American families to begin building bomb shelters to protect them from atomic fallout in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union. We now know that digging a 10-foot hole in your backyard and stocking it with two weeks’ worth of Spam will not, in fact, save a family of four in the event of a nuclear holocaust.

But that’s no reason to ditch the concept altogether...»

Kempt Man of the Hour: Aziz Ansari

MOTHaziz_crop.jpgvia GoaG

MOTHs are usually a pretty formal affair, but we’re can’t resist a well-executed crew neck, particularly if the occasion calls for it.

In this case, the occasion is a Target gala at the Ace Hotel—practically a Bermuda Triangle of above-it-all dishevelment. And while Aziz Ansari certainly knows his way around a suit, this time he went with a retro crewneck sweater better suited to lazy Sundays than industry galas. The telling detail here is the collar, a shrunken spread collar fanned out as wide as it’ll go. Poke around menswear blogs for long enough and you’ll peep the same trick in JFK's yacht pictures, which makes for a pretty good precedent.

It’s not quite enough to mark Aziz as a well-dressed comedian, but at this point he’s got cred to spare.

Reasons to Steal a Car

Man of the Hour: Chris Cooper has seen a lot in his life, and he doesn’t have time for your crap. [NYMag]

Fellas Who Are Good: The FBI pulled down the biggest mob bust in New York history today, with over 100 arrests from all five crime families, so the Voice helpfully rounds up the best nicknames involved. Highlights include “Tony Bagels,” “Lumpy” and “Baby Fat Larry.” [Village Voice]

Inauguration Day: The JFK Library follows up its lucrative data dump with a Twitter-friendly run through of Kennedy’s inauguration speech. Check it out here. [Creative Review]

Jil Sander Returns: Early pics of the new Uniqlo +J arrive on the webs. [Antenna]