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The Essence of Made in Maine, a Great Deal of Gatsby Covers and the Everyman’s Italian Suit

  • Kempt Staff


Maine Objective: We can never resist more handsome shoes from Maine, and Well Spent has the scoop on the state’s latest homegrown shoemakers: New England Outwear Co.

OCD Button Down: Put This On has set out to extol the every virtue of oxford cloth button-down shirts—beginning with some history and some unapologetic gushing. (We trust they’ll do it justice.)

Cover Band: One man spent his entire life collecting 83 years’ worth of The Great Gatsby book covers and it’s one fantastic collection.

Badowers Meaning Good: Valet tracks down a lust-worthy Italian-made suit for under a grand in, of all places, Iowa.

Your Maine Line to Rugged Nautical-ness

  • Najib Benouar

The more nautical-leaning Americana-philes have been mining the aesthetic of Maine’s craggy coastline for years, so it’s nice to see a shop actually located in Portland, ME, get in on the action. And now they’ve made their way online.

Our friends over at UrbanDaddy tipped us off to the online launch of Seawall—they opened up shop on Wharf Street this past spring and have gotten to work designing a line of made-in-Maine shirting and teaming up with some local brands like Black Point Mercantile, who handmake tough-as-nails totes in Scarborough, ME. They’ve also got some uniquely Maine products like hand-carved trinkets and blueberry medicinal syrup—which may or may not cause hallucinations of being out to sea on a lobster trawler.

Use as directed.

Hard Rain


We’ve always been advocates of functional style, but we never thought it would go as far as bringing rain pants into a major collection. But Rogues Gallery has always had a few surprises up their sleeve.

This slicker pant popped up in the Maine-based marque’s latest spread of Fall images underneath a significantly less rugged check overcoat. The pants are indisputably fishermen’s gear—like the wellies, which we were glad to see—but somehow this was one item we didn’t think would cross over. Then again, by the time the fall rains pick up we may have come around on the pants.

Lighting Up


The art of packaging is making a serious comeback, thanks to Apple and a few other retail aesthetes. But what’s surprising is how much of it comes from homegrown shops in Etsy.

This comes from the Portland General Store, an Etsy outlet that caught our eye with their whiskey-scented shaving products, but the sampler pack is an accomplishment all its own. Instead of cardboard, they bundle their goods in a Dominican Hemingway cigar box, with a Mary Jane, candy cigarettes and (of course) a cigar tossed in for good measure, with a glossy pic of an anonymous older gentleman presiding over it all. It’s even more impressive since they’re putting it all together in a house in rural Maine—although they probably never want for cigars.

After the jump, the unboxing pics»

In the Factory


We have a sentimental weakness for factory tours here at Kempt. And when combined with our sentimental weakness for trail moccasins, it’s just about irresistible.

All Plaidout (via Hypebeast) just posted an indepth tour of Quoddy’s Lewiston, ME headquarters, giving us a secondhand peek at exactly what hand-stitching entails.

The biggest surprise is the tiny device they use to measure the gauge of each stitch. Of course, you’ve got to keep that kind of detail in check…but who knew they used a mini-ruler?

Naturally, if you happen to be in Portland (Oregon, that is), we know where you could pick up a pair.

Take a look around»

Geller’s Win, Sasha’s Stockings, and Natalia’s Skivvies


Behind the Camera: Natalia Vodianova sets out to make her name as a lingerie designer. But who will they hire to do the ads? [Luxist]

And the Winner Is…: Robert Geller takes home the GQ/CFDA award, beating out Rogues Gallery and Benjamin Bixby. Oh well, Maine will rise again. [Material Interest]

Dressed like a Porn Star: Sasha Grey shares her fashion wisdom…which seems to involve a lot of fishnets. [BlackBook]

Wrestling with Success: Mickey Rourke continues to be a magnificent trainwreck. [Vulture]

Jerry Hall, Halston, and the Romance of Poor Folk


Return of the Hall: Jerry Hall emerges from her cocoon for a few slinky Chanel spots. [The Cut]

It’s a Crazy Place: Halston’s online music video/commercial manages to reference Andy Warhol and salvia at the same time. [Racked]

Semi-Biters: The Conde Nast home team’s take on last night’s festivities. Maine goes sadly unheralded. [Material Interest]

Can’t Buy Me Love: Falling stocks and rising passions? Sounds like a trend piece waiting to happen. [NYTimes]

Getting Rich


We were so enamored of Mr. Hart’s vintage Woolrich hunting cap that we almost forgot about the brands more recent exploits. This outfit was pulled from their recent Autumn/Winter 2009 line and it’s as good as anything you’ll run across from their history.

They’ve found their way into Earnest Sewn and Odin in New York and Confederacy and Ron Herman in L.A., so they’re hardly the underdog these days, but it’s nice to know workwear has a few heavy-hitters on its side. They’re even a presence at the Rogues Gallery outlet in Maine…which we guess means they haven’t forgotten their roots.

Land of Beards and Honey


Count this as another volley in the Battle of the Portlands: Portland, OR has been declared the most bearded in America by the presumptuously named Portland Monthly Magazine. As for whether they gain or lose points for it…you’ll have to decide for yourself.

The most shocking part is the range of beards the small city manages to accommodate. There’s the Anthrax-inspired chin bar, the bushy mountain man, and even a waxed moustache. Naturally, Maine has a few whiskers of its own, but we doubt they have this kind of range.

See some of Oregon’s finest whiskers»

I’ve Seen the Future


If you’ve picked up this month’s GQ, you may have noticed a rare bit of prognosticating in the Editor’s Note. In case you haven’t, here’s the gist: With the help of a few well-chosen futurist, EiC Jim Nelson envisions a future of heavily-bearded, housebound, and impotent American men.

Leaving aside how he gets there, we aren’t sure how the beard ended up with such a bad rap. For Nelson, beards are a cipher for masculinity, not the genuine article, but he’s too heavily invested in his clean-shaven mug to see the truth. The mountain men are only gaining in strength, and the time will come when unkempt masculinity will rise up to displace the clean-shaven ideal that’s reigned for so long. (This may also coincide with all of us losing our jobs.) A few whiskers won’t make men any less virile, even if we need to trade razors for clippers and recalibrate our dopp kits.

Until then, if Nelson wants to see the future, he should visit Maine.

American Gothic


We draw from a lot of sartorial wells, but it’s easy to lose touch and, if we’re really honest, it’s been a while since most urbanites saw buffalo check in its natural habitat.

If you were wondering, this is what it looks like. (And yes, that’s a Kalashnikov she’s carrying.)

Rogues Gallery pointed us to these local Maine characters. The woman is Carolyn Chute, an occasional militia leader who has just written a novel about “living off the grid in rural polygamist Maine.” Her well-bearded husband is an illiterate gravedigger.

Welcome to New England.