Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

Wax On, Wax Off: How to Fix Up After a Candle Spill

  • Caitlin Ganswindt

Wax spills

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail, but every so often we get a nude photo. Also every so often we get an inquiry from a wayward soul who we feel compelled to answer...

Thanks in part to your advice over the years, I was able to find and get a very handsome suit that was at the top level of my budget. And then, in its debut outing (at a wedding), some knucklehead knocked over a candle near me, which (of course!) managed to spill hot wax all over my trousers and shoes (not new, but still). Now what? Is the cost sunk? Can I at least write it off on my taxes?

Great to hear our words have guided you to the perfect suit; quite tragic that such a sartorial victory was followed by a real-life verse on irony. But this doesn’t necessarily mean a total loss. There are a few things you can try.

Starting with...»

On the Question of Brightly Colored Soles...

  • Najib Benouar

Shoes

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail, but every so often we get a nude photo. Also, every so often we get an inquiry from a wayward soul who we feel compelled to answer...

“I’ve been looking to buy a new pair of shoes and I keep seeing these classic styles with absurdly colorful soles. I like them, but I wonder in what situations they are acceptable? For instance, could I wear neon-orange-soled brogues with a suit to work and still look professional? Or are they strictly casual? I’m not looking to buy something that I can only wear in the most specific of situations.”

While we’ve noticed more and more neon soles pop up over the past few seasons, there’s no guarantee this look will still be in favor five years from now, or even next summer, so if you’re planning on spending the few hundred bucks on a pair of shoes that are classic in every sense other than the sole, you’re taking a serious risk.

So we’ll start with this, dear reader: if you’re looking for your first pair of dress shoes, these are not them—if that’s the case, you should be taking the standard navy blazer approach: find a pair of shoes that will go with everything else in your wardrobe, from gray flannel to twill, like these cap toes from Allen Edmonds.

But the renewed excitement in menswear across the board does bode well for a louder and brighter future of dressing. In other words, if you’re interested in dipping your toes into the neon, we’ve got some guidance for you.»

Your Six-Step Path to Pocket-Square Enlightenment

  • Najib Benouar

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail, but every so often we get a nude photo. Also every so often, we get an inquiry from a wayward soul that we feel compelled to answer...

“Pocket squares. I have them. I also have blazers. I want to wear pocket squares in my blazers. But not all squares are sized alike, and neither are all pockets. What should I be looking for? I have a pile of unused squares in a drawer, yearning to be free.”

While it sounds like a simple sizing issue, this conundrum goes a lot deeper, centering on how one approaches the philosophy of the pocket square. So, dear reader, we’ve come up with a six-step plan to put you on the path to pocket-square enlightenment.»

Don’t Sweat It

  • Najib Benouar

Here’s a timely reader question that landed in our mailbox this past week, paraphrased below:

Every Labor Day we’re told to pack up the summer gear and start acting like it’s fall. But it’s still hot as hell out and I want to keep wearing stuff that’s not going to make me overheat. Will I be committing sartorial sin by wearing seersucker in mid-September?

Playing by rules can be tough—especially when you’re faced with the sweltering prospect of heading into summer-like conditions wrapped in hopsack wool. In our estimation, your need to stay comfortable in the tail end of summer should supersede any obligations to uphold the vestiges of sartorial tradition—but we don’t want you walking around town giving the wrong impression. So we came up with a simple guideline to follow.

Disentangling the items inextricably linked to summer from the ones with ties loose enough to get away with wearing till the temps actually drop.»

Keeping Your Edge

One trick to gift giving is finding something you can be absolutely sure your giftee doesn’t have—which is why a Japanese pocketknife is a surprisingly good pick.

This one is notable for not having any locking action (you just keep your thumb on that lever), but mostly it’s the world’s coolest letter opener. We can easily imagine one on Gekko’s desk, which is saying something. Think of it as a power trinket.

A Man of Letters

letter_crop.jpg

The “manly skills” department usually focuses on things like chopping lumber and applying sunscreen, but one of our most-prized abilities just got its due thanks to Tom Chiarella’s ode to the well-written love letter. If we were going to take a shot at rebuilding masculinity, this is where we’d start.

Here’s the key: no bullshit. There’s a workmanlike emotional honesty to a well-penned love letter; that means nothing fluffy and nothing you’re not sure is true. Sincerity and unguarded emotion are hard to ignore. And if that leads to a little more sincerity in the rest of your life, all the better. At the very least, it’ll give you more to write about.

And for god’s sake, don’t use a printer.