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]