The Modern Polo, a Cosby-Sweater Showdown and the Brothers Obama
- Kempt Staff
July’s a tricky month in the world of printed menswear.
Because even though summer only officially started last Friday, we’ve been talking about it since early May—and the last thing on our minds in the sweltering heat we’re all now starting to feel is fall tweeds.
It’s this “trickiness,” among other things, that led the gents at two of our big three men’s rags to the same decision years ago: July wasn’t worth the hassle of its own issue, so they tacked it onto the end of June’s. Which has given us the rare opportunity to look past those dusty old stalwarts to a few of the other menswear mags out there.
So without further ado, we take the pulse of this month in menswear journalism, after the jump...»
The venerable British summerwear brand Sunspel—you’ll recognize their iconic Riviera polo as the one favored by James Bond—is launching their first-ever pop-up this weekend at slick NYC men’s shop C’H’C’M’.
And they’re bringing the rest of Britain with them...
Well, kind of. See, along with a curated selection of their own highly sought-after polo shirts, swim trunks and breezy cotton basics, they’ve chosen to feature a few more essentials from across the pond: hats, bench-made shoes and cashmere knits, just to name a few.
They’ve also teamed up with the typography gurus at House Industries to make some one-off merch for the monthlong gig, and those of you who can get to the city tomorrow will get first dibs during the opening event from noon to 4pm. As for everyone else, the shirts will be on the webshop come Sunday.
In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at the stuff.»
We’ve filtered through all of the online sale noise and graded your best options out there, should you feel inclined to do any menswear browsing this weekend...
For Every Stripe: The Brits at Sunspel—legendary for their buttery-soft polo shirts and tees—are knocking 20% off everything striped. Discount: B Sizes Available: A Selection: A
For the Tennessean: Nashville shop Imogene + Willie is slashing up to 50% off some flannels and work shirts. Discount: A Sizes Available: A Selection: C
For the Traveler: Makr’s signature slimmed-down wallets, cordovan leather gadget sleeves and other travel gear are all 20% off through Sunday. Discount: B+ Sizes Available: N/A Selection: A+
For the Rugged: The purveyors of hard-to-find craftsmanship-driven menswear at Bench & Loom are knocking 20% off jackets, coats and sweaters with the code SPRING20. Discount: B+ Sizes Available: A Selection: B+
Toshiro Mifune never received nearly enough credit for making martial arts movies cool.
Not even after starring in 170 of them—the first of which was released while Bruce Lee was still in diapers. Or doing things like leisurely strolling down overcast streets in Japan looking like he just stepped out of an editorial shoot from a fall issue of Monocle 50 years later.
So we’re giving credit where credit is due, by bestowing upon him Kempt Icon status. And here's why...»
A few months back, we tipped you off to Kent Wang (he of cutaway-collared-polo-shirt Internet fame) opening a full online haberdashery—which was great news for handsomeness everywhere.
Now we’ve got even better news: our friends at UrbanDaddy Perks have just launched an exclusive with Kent Wang that will turn your $100 into $150 worth of buying power at his shop—nothing to scoff at with his reasonably priced wares. We’re talking a quintessential polo and a grenadine tie. Or deerskin gloves, a silk pocket square and mother-of-pearl cufflinks. Or halfway to his minimalist watch.
The possibilities are endless.
Kent Wang broke on the scene when he reintroduced the menswear crowd to the charm and versatility of the polo shirt with his double-layer cutaway collared version.
And now he’s moved into full-on haberdashery-ing with suits, shoes, watches and even a trench coat—all just recently landed in his webshop. And you can expect the same attention to detail (and affordability) that gained him the adoration of bloggers worldwide. The suits: full-canvas construction, handmade buttonholes and pick-stitching by hand. The shoes: bench-grade. The combs: handmade from genuine horn.
Don’t worry, the polo shirts are still there, too.
The polo shirt doesn’t get the credit it deserves.
Especially during this odd uneven time of seasonal transition—when a cloudy morning could just as easily turn into a balmy afternoon.
If you look past the tennis court and summer power-brunching, the polo can be an essential layering piece. Throw it under a cotton sweatshirt and a blazer before heading out the door (ditch a layer or two depending on how the day unfolds). If you’re going to attempt bridging the polo-and-blazer gambit, we’d suggest a shirt with enough collar to lie flat under your jacket’s lapel without any inadvertent popping out (or up). The polo we’ve been reaching for most often in these situations is the Riviera polo from the Brits at Sunspel. The weight is enough to hold its own (and provide more than a T-shirt would) as the temps fluctuate, yet the warp knit will keep you cool should any unseasonable warmth creep up. But there are plenty of good ones out there (you’ve probably got a few in your closet already).
Though, as of yesterday, you’ll want to stay away from the pastels.
A Wicked Jump Shot: An oral history of White Men Can’t Jump on the 20th anniversary of its release. So many gems. [Grantland]
Game Changer: Paul Ryan has ditched the sloppy, tieless suiting for a better-fitting, inoffensive polo. [Esquire]
Salty Hogs: A dispatch from Bonneville Speed Week, where hundreds of speed demons attempt to break land speed records atop the Utah salt flats. [Nowness]
The Number 14 Is Unfunny: How Catch-18 became Catch-22 and other pivotal moments in great editing. [The Atlantic]
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.»
Golf, it has been said, is 90% mental. The other 10%: choosing your shirt wisely...
Enter adidas Golf and their new FASHION PERFORMANCE gear, a handsome selection of polo shirts, shoes and pants that are so dapper, you’ll already be dressed for the 20th hole (the 19th hole is so 2011).
The good news, beyond sharp looks: these threads are still designed with the game-enhancing technology you’ve come to expect from adidas. For a good idea of what the stuff looks like in action, check out PGA Tour pro Jason Day.
Consider us your sartorial caddie.
Long-sleeve polos have been thick on the ground lately, but so far they’ve mostly been neat, aristocratic affairs. Luckily, we finally got our hands on something a little more rugged...
It comes from a throwback California line called Yellow Rat, swapping out that brushed cotton for a more rough-and-tumble chambray that’s light enough to take to the beach. And if you happen to throw on a khaki blazer over top of it, it’ll also be respectable enough to wear to dinner—provided you didn’t get too much sunscreen on it.
Spring’s looking better and better.
Now that our celebration of baseball has drawn to a close, we thought we’d turn our attention to golf—specifically one bygone golfer by the name of Sam Snead. (“Slammin’ Sammy” to his friends.)
He was a giant in the pre-Arnold Palmer days, but we’re more interested in his remarkable faculty with bright red polos and straw hats. He was already color-blocking 60 years ago, and there’s more than a few things the gentlemen of today could learn from the man. Starting with those polos...
Five great pictures of Sam Snead, and what you can learn from them»
Drake’s is getting into the polo game.
They just unveiled their very first polo shirt, a long-sleeved version made to be worn under a jacket (possibly while holding a Panama hat). It’s not too different from the Kent Wang pique cotton polo we tipped you off to in the fall, but this one’s a little more substantial, and the fabric’s well-combed enough to stand up to your sport coat.
If you’ve got a Derby of some kind in your future, this would be a pretty good place to start.