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Making the Most of Memorial Day

Drinking Games

There is no better season for drinking during the day than the summer.

Fine, spring is pretty great, too. And yeah, spiked cider in fall definitely doesn’t suck. But winter... all right, winter too has its perks. So let’s rephrase: there’s no better season for drinking and getting tan than the summer.

Traditionally, Memorial Day is when it all starts. Sure, maybe it’s not officially summer, but with a cooler of beer, good friends, good music and an entire farm’s worth of barbecue, it sure as hell does feel like it. Though like all good things, winning this glorious three-day jaunt requires some solid forethought. Luckily for you, we’ve done it already.

So settle in, crack open a cold one and listen up as we lay out the finer points of this weekend’s impending festivities...»

Things We Learned at the Sleep-In with Sleepy Jones

  • Caitlin Ganswindt

Sleepy Jones

The other day we received a curious invitation to a 24-hour sleepover with promises of reading, writing, painting and pondering...

Naturally, we obliged, and ended up happening upon one of the most unusually spectacular scenes we’ve ever encountered: pajama-clad ballerinas draping doorways in calisthenics, jazz-fueled pillow fighting and the soft, familiar scent of whiskey and bedsheets.

So in the name of journalism, we took pictures. And we’re setting down a list of lessons we learned from the night, starting with...»

Your Victorious Holiday Season: A Look Back

  • Kempt Staff

You did it. You won the holidays.

It wasn’t easy—it was a long and arduous journey filled with upgrading your kitsch and making a tough decision about wearing a Santa hat. It was all part of our inaugural Kempt Guide to Winning the Holidays (trademark still pending).

But before you begin resting on your noble fir laurels until next year, we’d like to revel in the jubliant memories of how it all went down.»

The Kempt Holiday Party Playlist

  • Najib Benouar

Music can make or break any party. But the stakes are even higher at a holiday party.

Now, conventional wisdom suggests that a purely holiday-song-filled playlist is doomed from the start—that there’s some unspoken need for generic party jams to keep things moving.

We’re here to disagree. That’s not how you win the holidays.

You win the holidays by playing a wintry mix of soul, rock, synthesized ballads and rap. At some point, just about every musician worth their salt has done a holiday song—if not an entire album. Pick any artist you might regularly throw into a party mix and there's a good chance they’ve sung about their winter escapades. James Brown, for instance, has an entire double album—albeit, it sounds like he ad-libbed and good-God!-ed through the whole thing at 4am on Christmas Eve (rest assured: James Brown loves you), but there are definitely a few gems in there.

In that vein, we picked the brains of our most festive and music-savvy editors to make the ultimate holiday party playlist—all holiday-themed, all merriment-inducing. (Naturally, we held on to a few of the old standbys.) And we’ve put all 25 songs together on Spotify.

In no particular order and for your holiday party consumption: Kempt’s Holiday Party Playlist. Enjoy.»

Julia Nobis Has Been Tilting at Windmills

  • Kempt Staff

Get Your Fil: Mr. Lean heads to Seattle to check out the factory of the venerable outdoorsy outfitters, Filson. [A Continuous Lean]

Xmas Marks the Spot: Hitting the right note of festiveness on the holiday party circuit will require a bit of soul (and suit) searching. [NY Times]

The Dudek: Long lost in the back issues of Sports Illustrated is the story of how Bo Jackson changed the life of a kid named Dudek. [Grantland]

Nouuurishing: Vice manages to catch up with the most enigmatic Grammy nominee of all time, virtual unknown Al Walser. [Vice]

A Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Drunk* with Your Boss

  • Kevin Gray

*Please enjoy this list responsibly.

It’s officially holiday party season, which means your annual office gathering is just around the corner. And with it: an open bar. Last year, you heeded the conventional wisdom, had a couple drinks, some non-memorable conversations with your coworkers’ spouses. Briefly ruminated on the inevitability of death. Ate some goddamn cheese cubes on toothpicks.

But last year, you were missing an important bit of knowledge—see, the holidays are a competition. And by pairing your natural ability with a little insider knowhow, we think you’ve got a good shot at winning. Everything. But to start, we’ll tackle the nuanced art of drinking at your office party.

Because let’s face it: you work hard, you like parties. This time of year is your time to get one-drink-less-than-dead drunk while singing a few lusty ballads with a choice group of like-minded coworkers.

So do it. And keep your job. Here’s how.»

The Kempt Guide to Ensuring a Well-Attended Holiday Party

  • Najib Benouar

In the event that you’re romancing the idea of throwing a holiday party, you should plan on sending out invites by week’s end.

And since we’re here to help you win the holidays—this time, by filling your party with top-tier friends—we’d like to suggest putting pen to pad and sending real-life invites on honest-to-God flammable paper. (Stick with us here.)

The digital age has made it easy to ramble off a few nondescript lines and mass-message your nearest and dearest 437 online friends. But sitting down with a pen and pad should help give a more personal touch to each invitation, guaranteed to win over the people you really want to attend—and make you rethink the size of your guest list. (For party guests, like for most things, it’s best to favor quality over quantity.) And since there are a lot of competing festivities this time of year, you want anything that will give your party the edge. Like the tactile joy of engraved cardstock coupled with your finest handwritten bons mots. (Bonus points for cursive.)

And don’t think your cards have to be stamped with a Douglas fir just because it’s the holidays. A few Kempt-approved stationers to get you started, after the jump.»

This Year, Bring Something Better Than a Bottle of Wine

  • Najib Benouar

It’s one of the most important rules of party etiquette: don’t arrive empty-handed. (Good to note, since between now and 2013, you’ve got a lot of parties.)

In the past, that’s meant showing up with a bottle of wine, purchased last-minute, or an ill-begotten dessert item. But not this year. Because this year, you’re winning the holidays.

As you might recall, we kicked off Kempt’s Guide to Winning the Holidays last week with a little refresher course on your holiday kitsch. Now we’re upgrading your host gift. The real nugget of wisdom here is that you should be bringing something that enhances the evening—which is why a bottle of wine usually works in a pinch, but we’re thinking: more personal, more fun, more ambiance. (Since really, the best gift you can give any host is to help make the party more fun.) So, we bring to you:

The five host/hostess gifts guaranteed to make any holiday party better.»

Michael Fassbender Had a Fun Night

Michael Fassbender had a fun Tuesday night.

So much fun, in fact, that he was escorted out of an after-party for A Dangerous Method for smoking indoors, waltzing with Viggo Mortensen and generally having too much of a good time. As you can see, he was escorted out on piggyback.

At the risk of libel, we shall assume that at some point he consumed an alcoholic beverage.

Naturally, a true man of honor never takes leave of his sense of decorum—but we have to admit, he sounds like a fun drunk. We’d even argue that, like Tobey Maguire’s poker bust, this is the kind of scandal that makes his reputation better.

We’ve got a few reasons why»

It’s a Gas


We’ve all had dreams about hanging out in a plastic greenhouse filled with sublimated Campari gas, but last night it became a reality, thanks to the confectioners at Bombas & Parr (seen here inside the magic chamber) and their Milan-based, Campari-sponsored opening party. Also, if they ever decide to start a shoegaze band, they’ll have a pretty good album cover lined up.

All Yesterday’s Parties


Now that Flickr is overtaking the gallery as the primary residence of photography, party photographers may be ready for their moment in the spotlight. Of course, if you’re going to be shooting parties, they might as well be the best parties, so New York’s scene photographers are first in line.

New York Magazine just introduced us to four up-and-comers currently on the nightlife circuit. Our favorite is Hanuk, who arranged this outright hilarious snap, but between the four of them, there’s something for everyone.

You might even see someone you know.

See what New York's scenes look like»