Kempt

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The Stat Sheet: Gant Rugger Arctic Camo

  • Caitlin Ganswindt

Penguins

Camouflage print has been a thing since what feels like the dawn of time. In the past several years, it’s managed to navigate off the hunt/aisles of Wal-Mart to enjoy a bit of love in proper menswear circles.

Each designer has their own spin on the stuff, but we’ve never seen such a unique take as from Gant Rugger with their Arctic Camo E-Z Original Button Down. It just hit their online shop yesterday—here’s what else you need to know.

The Story: The earliest iterations of camo can be seen as far back as the fourth century, when Julius Caesar used a Venetian blue to blend his ships in with the sea during wartime. Since then it’s evolved umpteen times at the hands of everyone from the US Army to Dries Van Noten. This pre-fall number from Gant Rugger takes it one step further, swapping penguins in place of nonsensical color swatches.

Who to Channel: Alan Alda, if the M*A*S*H hospital landed in March of the Penguins instead of the Korean War; the personification of Mr. Popper’s affinity for wildlife.

When to Wear It: It’s a lightweight selvage madras, so anytime between now and early autumn is fitting; occasions of arctic safaris are preferred.

Degree of Difficulty: Medium. It’s tough because, ya know, you’re wearing a penguin shirt. But made easier by the fact that you’ll blend into your surroundings.

Your moment of inspiration after the jump.»

Idea Man

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As you may have noticed, we’re big fans of the book-as -art-object—so it’s worth taking notice whenever publishers happen to agree.

Penguin just finished up a run of 99 bound essays dubbed the Great Ideas series, ranging from a Winston Churchill speech to a Machiavelli b-side titled “On Conspiracies.” We don’t vouch for every last idea, but the covers are uniformly perfect, both handsome in their own right and conveying the gist of the text before you even crack the cover. Consider it your bookshelf fodder for the day.

Don’t Forget to Write

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Now that everyone we know is instantaneously available, the postcard is getting pretty anachronistic. Luckily, it was never that useful to start with.

These cards embrace the retro vibe square on, borrowing the covers of classic 60s-era Penguin books. With a little cleverness, the former tourist staple becomes an ode to the tangible pleasures left behind in the digital age, whether it’s the dusty paperback, the hand-written missive, or the postal service. Now you just have to remember where you put those stamps…

Cover Version

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There are a lot of reasons to troll used-book stores, but whether you find the title you’re after or not, there’s always a few interesting covers.

This gallery of old Pelican covers should be a reminder: they don’t design them like they used to. (Although Chip Kidd might have something to say about that.) And judging a book by its cover isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be.

In the worst case, it sits prettily on your end table while you turn to more interesting pursuits. After all, it’s an object too.

See a few more covers»

The Grand Design

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Classic novels have had a rough shake lately, but the problem may be with the shabby covers you’re used to seeing at Barnes & Noble. After all, a hardcover is still a hardcover.

This series from Penguin Classics may help things out a bit. Designer Coralie Bickford-Smith came up with these, and they’re just about perfect, from the aristocratic chandeliers of Great Expectations to the vulgar geometry of Crime & Punishment.

Sadly, it’s only available in the UK through Waterstones…but we’re sure there’s a trick or two that can get it to your door.

Book ‘Em

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Now that gift season is upon us, we’re eyeing our bookshelves unhappily. In our opinion, everyone could use a few more hardcovers. After all, a good book is nice, but good binding is fantastic.

This pale calves’ leather edition comes from Penguin Books and Bill Amberg—and Raymond Chandler, if you want to split hairs. Naturally, we recommend The Big Sleep, but the full range includes five of Amberg’s other favorites, including *Brideshead Revisited* and *A Room with a View*.

You can pull it off the shelf when your Kindle goes on the fritz.

For Your Eyes Only

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It may be early, but we’re always up for a little Bond.

Celebrating the author’s 100th birthday—which is coming up next Wednesday—Penguin is revamping their catalog of Fleming-era Bond novels with new editions and, best of all, new covers. The striking images come courtesy of San Francisco-based artist Michael Gillette, who makes appropriately sensual use of watercolor. The type and colors do a good job of replicated the 60s milieu, while the women remind us of the books’ central appeal»

On Time

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Much as we enjoy the gears-and-glass look of the regular watch, we’ve always had a soft spot for throwbacks.

This one—the Bobby J from Penguin—throws it all the way back to the 30s, with a woodgrain face set against brushed steel and some vertical grooves borrowed from the Chrysler Building. Even the logo—a tasteful autograph in the upper-left—feels like a relic from the early days of branding.

What it’s doing at hipster-lite enclave Urban Outfitters is anyone’s guess. But we’ll take it where we find it.

UrbanOutfitters [via productdose]

Miller Time

  • Jared Paul Stern

Harland Miller

With someone like Harland Miller who's equally talented as an author and painter, it's only fitting that his best work should be inspired by books. The Brit wunderkind, whose atmospheric homages to iconic Penguin paperback covers are also instant classics, presents a visual (and visually appealing) narrative of a man's life through the books he's read. Small wonder that one of his biggest fans is Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, one of the smartest, coolest and most stylish cats on the planet.

More on Miller and his takes on Ernest Hemingway…