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Gemma Ward Agrees There’s a Nip in the Air

  • Kempt Staff

Shopping Itinerary 2.0: A Continuous Lean presents what very well may be the most practical men’s shopping tool since the L.L.Bean catalog first arrived in the mail. [A Continuous Lean]

A Time Piece Eight Times Stronger Than Steel: Our friends over at Driven found the perfect watch for Superman. We think it will suit you just fine, too... [Driven]

Redefining Exceptionalism: Vanity Fair dims the light on that shining city on a hill and asks America: “Can we handle the truth?” [Vanity Fair]

Andy Williams Floats Down the Moon River in the Sky: Williams, one of the most popular vocalists of the 1960s, died at the age of 84 Tuesday night. Farewell to our old “huckleberry friend.” [CNN]

Celebrating Another Great Memorial Day Tradition

  • Najib Benouar

In addition to feeling extra patriotic, a lot of our favorite menswear labels are feeling extra generous this weekend—loving America can do that to you—and they’re running some solid Memorial Day weekend sales.

So we’ve gone ahead and picked out the most enticing of the bunch—from the likes of Billy Reid and Ovadia & Sons—and zeroed in on which items we think you should focus your attention on. (Stuff that’ll come in handy within the next few months.)

You’ll find them here, after the jump. Sale away.»

Consider the Neighbors

By the windowvia YHBTI

The Bean Boot Returns: Justin Bridges shows off some extremely handsome L.L.Bean Signature gear. Cable Shetland, gentlemen. [tucked]

The Wisdom of the Blouson: Derek Guy sings the praises of the short Italian jacket. [Die, Workwear]

Getting Technical: Isaora makes a pretty sharp raincoat. [Selectism]

Callin’ Oates: In a bleak world, the Hall & Oates Hotline is there whenever you’ve got a phone and need to hear “Rich Girl.” [The Atlantic Wire]

Helena Christensen Has Saved You a Seat

The Warm Season: A guide to the world’s crewneck sweatshirts. It’s not just for training boxers anymore. [Valet]

The Starched Front: A few thick shirts to see you through winter. We’re especially fond of the L.L.Bean chamois. [Wax Wane]

The Shoes of Summer: Vans founder James Van Doren gets a fitting send-off from Esquire’s Mark Mikin. [Esquire]

“I Did Not Enlist”: In honor of the History Channel’s latest Vietnam doc, the Trad talks shop with a former squad leader. Fascinating stuff. [The Trad]

A Light Touch


Now that we’ve staked our claim as short-sleeved button-down experts, we thought it was only right to let you know: a pretty good one hit the market as of this morning.

It comes from the latest batch of L. L. Bean Signature gear, a feather-light linen version designed to get you through the most sun-baked days in July. The Bean makes their fits pretty roomy, so you may want to size down, but otherwise it’s one of the better-cut items we’ve seen.

And as you can see, it plays pretty well with a military watch.

This Year's Bean Boot


L.L. Bean’s new Signature collection arrives online today, and our pick of the litter is this unusually sharp update to the Bean boot. That upper is navy waxed canvas, colored to match your jeans and treated to keep out water almost as well as the classic leather version. Wear them hard, gentlemen.

The Robe to End All Robes

  • Najib Benouar


Suddenly, unexpectedly, you need a little extra shelter for your morning pilgrimage from your bed to the shower. Some calf-length shelter. And just like that, it’s robe season again.

After examining the options, we’ve managed to find the gold standard of sleeved drapery: this silk-lined satin-piped cashmere model from Brooks Brothers. It’ll set you back more than a suit, but after you’ve spent the morning nibbling toast, sipping orange juice and perusing financial newspapers the rest of the world hasn’t even heard of, you’ll know where the money went.

In the unlikely event you’re not ready to dig quite that deep, you’ll always find adequate shelter from the brisk morning cold in a trusty cotton flannel robe like L.L. Bean’s. There’s also this new offering from Pendleton, but we’re still skeptical on how comforting wool can really be in the morning—let alone any time bare skin is involved.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Winter Socks


Gentlemen, it’s time to start thinking about your socks. (Please, contain yourselves.)

In a scant few weeks, your toes are going to be facing some decidedly brisk conditions, and it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better. To that end, we suggest picking up the sock equivalent of a work boot, something that can protect your toes through just about whatever Mother Nature throws your way. And as luck would have it, we’ve got three candidates in mind…

Behold, the three socks that will get you through the winter»

The Docks, Part Two


If last week’s appreciation of On the Waterfront left you jonesing for a jacket like the one Brando sports in the film, you’re in luck.

L. L. Bean’s signature line just worked their way around to Fall/Winter 2010, and they’re offering a pretty good replica, based on a coat that first emerged in their 1965 fall catalog, a little more than a decade after the film. It’s not the most on-trend thing you could buy, but it makes a pretty good case for being timeless.

Trend of the Day: The Corduroy Short


We spent the last few days surveying a mind-boggling number of Summer ’11 collections at the Capsule and ENK shows, and the biggest trend to emerge out of the muddle may have been corduroy shorts. We ran across pairs from Rogues Gallery (pictured), Lightning Bolt, and even the cotton tie-makers at Camo. If you’re wondering what it they look like in person, you can pick one up from L. L. Bean’s Signature Collection. In other words…they’re everywhere.

We’ll confess to being a bit puzzled by all this, and not just because L. L. Bean managed to be the first out of the gate. In heat like this, the last thing we want is some stifling cords—but we’d probably feel differently if we did more sailing.

The Return of the Corduroy Suit


As part of our ongoing love affair with 70s style, we couldn’t help but notice a certain Ford-era staple working its way back into the public consciousness. America, prepare yourself for the return of the corduroy suit. It’s been too long…

This one comes from L. L. Bean Signature’s Fall/Winter line, arriving online exactly three weeks from today, and the burnt khaki color is right out of a Woody Allen movie. All things considered, it couldn’t have come at a better time. To be honest, the thrift store versions were getting a bit musty…

Hemless Summer

  • Najib Benouar


You’ve already seen a lot of short sleeved button-ups, on Kempt and elsewhere. Just a hunch, but we’re guessing that you’re finally warming up to the notion. If it’s all the same to you, we’d rather skip all of the do’s & don’ts and point you to a shirt that should do the trick: LL Bean Signature’s madras s/s/b/u.

It’s plenty lightweight, cut from cotton madras—which should give you all of the benefits of a fabric historically known for being ideal attire in less-than-ideal heat, without having to deal with its more polarizing iteration, GTH patchwork. And there’s no need to quibble over sleeve-length because the sleeve has been cuffed at the hem and sewn in place—the imposed cuff. It’s another example of the no-fuss staples that LL Bean's known for.

Well, that and whittling.

Life after Americana


An insider’s tip: when Christian Audigier starts copying your style, things may have gotten out of hand. Add in a winking style guide or two, and the recent renaissance of heritage brands and workwear starts to look dangerously close to played out--at least from a trendwatcher's perspective.

The only problem is that workwear was always more of a movement than a trend. Which raises the question of what’s left after the trend pieces dry up.

Naturally, we’ve got a few ideas»

Comme On


As American as it is, workwear has always been a good deal more popular in Japan—see Engineered Garments, the endless stream of Red Wing collabs—which means in addition to the domestic stalwarts who keep producing the way they did 80 years ago, there’s a generation of designers in Tokyo trying to put a futurist spin on things.

Comme Des Garcons is hardly the most rugged label on the map, but Junya Watanabe may have brought out the outdoorsman in them. You’ll have trouble getting hold of his latest collection unless you’re passing through Hong Kong this month—hey, you never know—but it’s interesting to watch the way it blends L. L. Bean-esque fishing gear with more urban nylon vests.

At the very least, they’ll be ready for the rain.

See more of the line»