Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

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Style Icons + Horses = This

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You’ve got your hat. You’ve got your seersucker. And julep or not, your drink’s been Derby-fied with a sprig o’ mint.

Seems like you’re just about ready for Saturday’s festivities—now all you need is a little encouragement. Which is where we come in, with some of the most handsome equestrian moments in style icon history. Because why should the jockeys get to have all the fun?

So let us present your dapper Kentucky Derby inspiration, after the jump...»

A Milliner’s Guide to Derby Hatting

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With part one of the Triple Crown kicking off next weekend, we endorse man’s greatest accessory: the hat.

But this, this is no ordinary day of hatting. Put away your five-panel cap, the sport of kings deserves more consideration.

We caught up with Alex Mroz, veteran shopkeeper over at Goorin Bros.’ West Village outpost. And he’s laying down the hard-and-fast rules on how to don your best this Kentucky Derby.

Herewith: a milliner’s guide to derby hatting...»

Taking a Closer Look at Jockey Style

Derby

Tomorrow at 6:24pm, 20 horses will line up at the track gates of Churchill Downs. Two minutes later, one of those horses will win the Kentucky Derby.

And when it does, there will be a tiny, nameless man in a brightly patterned jersey strapped to its back with a grin from ear to ear.

The ultimate second banana to the animals they ride, jockeys don’t get much of the glory for the big race. But what they’re often most remembered for are the flashy colors on their backs—uniforms known as “silks” that are steeped in sartorial tradition. So in honor of the weekend’s festivities, we’re taking a closer look at the mystery behind the race-day attire of these compact athletes.

With a brief history lesson and some iconic photos of the silks in action.»

Head to Toe: Seersucker

Seersucker

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...

But we’re not not saying that either.»

A Hulking Success

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel fell to Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk, who brought in $200.3 million over the weekend, obliterating the previous domestic three-day record held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Combined with international openings, The Avengers has amassed $641.8 million in its first 12 days. Without Spider-Man.

More triumphs and failures from the weekend that was...»

Elena Melnik Cannot Wait for Derby Day

Elena Melnikvia Mode

Bang for Your Bucks: The Silentist rounds up just about every option in every price range for white bucks. [The Silentist]

More Spring Sale-ing: If today’s Rugby tip whet your appetite for more in-season steals, check out Seattle’s Blackbird Ballard. (Best of all: the promotion code.) [Blackbird Ballard]

Play the Exacta: And just in case you’re feeling inclined to play the ponies this weekend, let the Art of Manliness be your guide. [AoM]

Decadent and Depraved: To leave you with some final Derby Day inspiration, here’s how Hunter S. Thompson remembers it. [Grantland]

Regarding Your Derby Hat for Saturday

We’ve spent the past few days getting excited about the Kentucky Derby but we’d be remiss not to mention Cinco de Mayo is also on Saturday. So, in the spirit of bipartisanship, an intrepid soul might want to top off his seersucker suit with a stately sombrero. (A time-efficient way to dress for both parties you’ll be attending.) We’re not going to outright endorse the idea, but we’ll leave you with this: when dealing with anything costume-y, you should proceed with caution and aplomb. Remember, your sartorial reputation is at stake, so make sure it’s nothing flimsy or that you received for your birthday at a restaurant. We’d suggest keeping it authentic—like one of these from El Paso, let’s say—and knowing when it’s time to take it off.

Most importantly: it’s not a license to mix bourbon into your margarita.

The Silver Souvenir Cup

Derby fever is strong in the air this week. To add to the list of reasons to hop the next flight to Louisville: the best souvenir in sports we’ve seen yet.

It’s a familiar sight at sporting events everywhere: concession stands hawking flimsy plastic cups emblazoned with a team name and asking you to pony up a few extra bucks for something that sounds like a good idea on your third beer, but probably won’t make it home with you. Mostly because they’re hardly anything you’d regard as bona fide souvenirs—something, say, stately enough for your bookshelf.

Which brings us to this hand-engraved pewter julep cup (any Kentuckian worth their salt knows the drink deserves to be enjoyed from a frosty metal cup). It can be yours at this Saturday’s Kentucky Derby—you’ll just need to be in attendance at Churchill Downs and donate a grand to charity. The best part is that, like any good souvenir cup, it will arrive to you filled with mint, sugar, Woodford Reserve bourbon and crushed ice to the brim.

We’re betting this one makes it home with you.

Gearing Up for the Derby

The Kentucky Derby, better known as “the most exciting two minutes in sports,” is happening this Saturday. And while the ponies are the main attraction, it’s always been just as much about the decorum, the dress and the drinking—making it one of the more anticipated sporting events of the year. Even if you’re not making it out to Churchill Downs, we’re betting you’ll have a mint julep in hand come weekend.

So, in commemoration of this remarkably dapper sporting event (and a founder with roots in Louisville), the SF-based shirt impresarios at Taylor Stitch have come up with a Derby Days limited run of shirts, ties, totes and belts stamped with golden bears, horses, Derby spires and more. Our favorite of the bunch is this handmade leather tab belt. Of all the items in your closet that can pass for “generally Derby-esque,” we’re guessing nothing's got the hallmark spires of Churchill Downs. (Guaranteed to make the julep in hand feel more authentic.) And if you happen to be in Louisville for the big day, the fellas have taken up residence in an elegant old antique shop where you can get decked out head-to-toe for the Derby and grab a tote to carry your party supplies to the infield.

If not, feel free to call your friend’s rooftop “the infield.”