Today’s must-reads from around the Internet.
Stylish men have always had a special relationship with beautiful cars.
Probably because, if you think about it, they’re kind of the perfect accessory. Big, shiny, powerful—a little automotive affirmation can go a long way to securing your position in the Court of Cool. (We’re sure the King would agree.) But it’s not only those men defined by their cars who drive cool ones. And we’ve got the photo evidence to prove it.
Here’s a little history lesson for you: plain white T-shirts first appeared in the late 19th century, when some manufacturer decided to split the union suit into separates. And originally, they were meant to protect one’s finer outer layers from the perils of, well, sweat.
Like boxers for your chest.
But the rules have changed in the past century. The undershirt has, on occasion, been called to take sartorial center stage. Like before bed. Or between takes on set. Or during takes, for that matter. And throughout it all, some brave, overtly stylish men have succeeded in proving that these baser layers can be worth way more than their thread count.
Every Wednesday from here on out, we’re giving you a piece of our minds. Actually, more like five pieces. It’s a chance to get a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick—you know, beyond the usual Internet handsomeness we’re serving up daily. So, welcome to our newest and most personal weekly feature: The Kempt Five.
The prospect of celebrating summer’s inaugural weekend might have you toying with the idea of spending the entire three days in a pair of shorts (especially if you plan on being poolside the whole time).
But going pantsless is a deceptively tricky move—wrought with pitfalls and misconceptions.
More often than not, they’re considered a necessary evil. Tom Ford famously said that a man should never wear them. Inevitably, someone will rib you with that moldy chestnut about never taking a man in shorts seriously. But in the right hands—er, on the right gams—they can be serviceable, arguably even stylish. It’s been done before, to varying degrees of success.
So, as menswear anthropologists, in our quest to find out how we got into this pantsless existential crisis, we present to you:
Breaking news: today is, apparently, Tweed Day.
Now, we’ve taken a pretty hard-line stance against bullshit holidays in the past. We even spent the requisite paperwork and fees to name a “No Bullshit Holidays Day” (get excited for May 10, gentlemen).
But we’ve also been known to bend the rules every so often, because… tequila. And today, we’re revising our stance once more to include the glorious celebration of a fabric that we rely on so dearly during the fall and winter months but won’t see much of for the next six or so. Like most of these holidays, the founding is dubious at best—but ultimately, it feels like a good enough reason to give the rugged wools a proper farewell until we meet again.
It’s just finally starting to warm up, but we’re not quite into gray cotton sweatshirt territory just yet…
Unless you’ve got one that’s been toughened up with a bit of merino wool, like this Dean Sweatshirt from Cardigan. At first glance, this heather-gray crewneck looks just like all the other upcycled cotton gym sweatshirts that have been flooding the market, but this one is secretly packing some extra warmth with a 50% merino wool/cotton blend. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: Cardigan is an NYC-based knitwear label focused solely on the concept of the sweater in all of its forms (most notably, the cardigan), so you can expect a thoughtfully made sweatshirt here—even down to the telltale triangle stitch at the collar.
Who to Channel: A young JFK sailing one of his first rigs; a particularly dapper boxer; Paul Newman on a dirt bike.
When to Wear It: When all signs point to a perfect spring day, but it’s actually still about 20 degrees colder than it looks.
Think of This As: Your secret weapon in your early spring arsenal.
The civil rights movement was born out of an ugly time in US history, but we’ll be damned if it didn’t make for some good-looking protesters.
With the always-impeccable Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. leading the way, a sea of crisp suits, skinny ties and Wayfarers led our country into equality. In honor of the great man and movement, we dug through the archives and were surprised to find a handsome lot of style icons also heading up the charge for civil rights—a veritable who’s who of impossibly cool gentlemen—everyone from Brando and Newman to Belafonte, Dylan and Davis Jr. Hell, even Charlton Heston got in on the action. It’s as if somehow impassioned, selfless endeavoring has a way of adding an extra layer of dapperness—not to mention being on the right side of history.
Warren Beatty on the phone as he campaigns for Senator George McGovern’s Democratic presidential nomination.
Leading up to his 1972 presidential bid, Senator George McGovern, who died over the weekend at the age of 90, met with a group of Hollywood celebrities at the home of Shirley MacLaine. Since he was not well-known and had little support within the Democratic Party, it was decided that the entertainment industry could lend the McGovern campaign some much-needed credibility, charisma and cash.
And so a new generation of Hollywood liberal activists emerged, the first to do so since McCarthyite blacklists of the early ’50s had driven showbiz liberalism deep into the walk-in closets of Malibu and Mulholland Drive.
Warren Beatty, MacLaine’s brother, scheduled a series of high-profile concerts, fundraisers and East Hampton pickup baseball games, attended by the likes of Jack Nicholson, Burt Lancaster, Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight and so on. “We got involved because we were people who cared,” Norman Lear told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday.
As such, we thought it a fitting tribute to the fallen senator to eulogize him in a pictorial we’re calling:
If you happen to be in Paris this month, drop by the Galerie Art District du Royal Monceau at the Royal Monceau–Raffles hotel, where you’ll find an exceptionally tasteful collection of celebrity photos from the ’60s and ’70s taken by Daniel Angeli, “father of the paparazzi.”
There’s a cerebral tone to Angeli’s shots, particularly when compared to the shit show of “gotcha” pics and videos littering newsstands and gossip sites these days. A code of sorts seems to be at play here—an invitation, rather than an interruption. Simply put, these are beautiful photographs of beautiful people in beautiful settings.
Take a look out your window. Chambray season is here. So we’d like to take this opportunity to give you a little visual inspiration on the subject—from Paul Newman, to what you’ll find in shops right now, to paratroopers in the South Pacific. But mostly for the excuse to make a Fifty Shades of Grey pun (even if we only made it about halfway to 50 pictures).
Sean Connery with stunt double Big John McLaughlin, Never Say Never Again, 1983
When the city of Fort Lauderdale recognized Big John McLaughlin, Shogun of the Sea, with a star on the Walk of Fame earlier this year, he responded, “Does one have to be alive to collect it?” It likely was not the first time Mr. McLaughlin asked some form of this question, having pioneered diving, stunt rigging and motion picture safety techniques in the late 1950s that are still in use to this day. Jaws simply wouldn’t have been a scary movie if it weren’t for Big John.
“I guess the craziest thing they ever asked me to do was bite a live tiger shark,” he reminisces. But his favorite was doubling 007 in eight Bond films, including Thunderball, in which he doubled 34 different people.
Allow us to join the city of Fort Lauderdale in raising a glass to Big John, the Shogun, and all the brave men who have kept our precious style icons safe over the years. To that end, we close the week with…
This Sunday, it finally happens. The glamour. The stars. The roaring engines. Yes, we mean the Daytona 500, which we figured was occasion enough to… run a bunch of photos of his eminence Paul Newman in the act of racing a stock car. Or, you know, standing near one and looking cool.
Culture is now officially over.
At least, that’s the premise of a new think piece by Kurt Andersen in next month’s Vanity Fair, which claims our culture stopped producing new ideas sometime around 1991.
He’s got a point, especially on the men’s style front. Swap photos of low-key men on the street circa 2011 and 1991, and it might be hard to tell which was which. You could hardly say the same for 1971, or 1951. Even the cutting-edge style pics, like the above one from Wale Oyejide, are hardly distinctive. Give or take the banker’s collar and he could be walking out of a law firm on any day in the last 30 years.
It all points to a pretty sobering conclusion: fashion is over. We hope you like those longwings, because they’re going to be with you for a very long time…
For all the talk of self-repair and the wonders worked by tailors, there’s something missing from the style conversation: it’s ok to get rid of old clothes.
In a perfect world—the world we try to inhabit as often as possible—everything you bought would be sturdy enough to last forever, your seams would never decay and you’d never spill red wine on yourself. If your suit had a negative experience with a cab door, you’d whip out your sewing kit (which you’ve been practicing with all year, of course) and no one would be the wiser.
But as you’ve probably guessed, we don’t live in that world—and when the magic between you and your jacket is well and truly over, there’s nothing else to be done. If you love your wingtips, get them rehabbed, by all means. But if not, don’t be afraid to send them on their way.
He was also the last star of his kind, bridging the gap between Old Hollywood’s contract players and today’s twenty-million-dollar free agents. More than James Dean or even Marlon Brando, Newman shaped the movies he was in around his own persona, the loveable, beatific loser. He made Hollywood more concerned with the heels of the world and less comfortable with the folks who run things, whether that meant the prison guards of *Cool Hand Luke* or the corrupt judges of *The Verdict*. There have been other movie stars—even other outsiders—but one way or another, they’ve all been copies of the same genuine article.
In 1972, while filming *Pocket Money* with Paul Newman in Tucson, Arizona, tough guy actor Lee Marvin happened upon an artful adobe-style house designed in the Santa Catalina Foothills by Swiss architect Josias Joesler in 1936 and decided to call it home.
Marvin set about improving the property, designed around a Spanish-style courtyard with a massive fountain, putting in a pool, tennis court and screening room. Best of all, Marvin himself designed some wrought iron hardware and fixtures for the house which he commissioned from local blacksmiths. Now 20 years after the immortal actor has gone to the great MGM commissary in the sky, his widow is looking to sell the place to someone who’s willing to carry on Lee’s legacy. Yours for a mere $6 million.
It turns out that American Gangster costume designer Janty Yates was being semi-truthful when she said that Denzel Washington wore bespoke Savile Row suits in the flick. “Page Six” notes in passing that Denzel’s dapper duds—some 30 suits, worth well over $100,000—were in fact made by English custom tailor Leonard Logsdail of… East 53rd St. in Manhattan…
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