Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

Befriending Frank Sinatra and Making the Case Against Scarves

Pressing Matter: Richard Press of legendary men’s shop J. Press tells the story of his fleeting friendship with Frank Sinatra over on Ivy Style.

Sole Man: Hypebeast goes inside the Red Wing factory with this video on how the boot makers mold their soles.

Scarf Face: Deadspin takes a hard-line stance against scarves, claiming the only reason for their continued existence is entry-level knitting.

Strong Suit: Gilt Manual gets some pointers on con man style from White Collar star Matt Bomer.

Kempt Man of the Hour: Liam

This week’s MOTH comes from an unlikely place: an unknown artist, casually dressed, resting on a stoop in Toronto of all places.

It’s not a complicated look—or even a particularly cutting edge one—but around this time of year it’s hard to top a cable-knit sweater, Red Wings, and a pair of ruggedly autumnal pants. None of the items are particularly unusual, but that deep navy makes the sweater one of the better cable-knits we’ve seen all year, and we could say the same thing about those pants.

It just goes to show: sometimes simple works.

Life after Americana

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An insider’s tip: when Christian Audigier starts copying your style, things may have gotten out of hand. Add in a winking style guide or two, and the recent renaissance of heritage brands and workwear starts to look dangerously close to played out--at least from a trendwatcher's perspective.

The only problem is that workwear was always more of a movement than a trend. Which raises the question of what’s left after the trend pieces dry up.

Naturally, we’ve got a few ideas»

The Cutting Room Floor

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The term “heritage brand” gets thrown around quite a bit these days, but it always helps when someone’s got a photo to prove it. This snap comes from the Red Wing cutting room, circa 1909. It may be time for the apron-and-tie look to make a comeback…

Mileage Check

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There’s something to be said for taking a couple months to break in a pair of work boots and earning a few blisters along the way. But on the off-chance you don’t feel like putting in the hours, you may want to explore the vintage option.

Seattle’s Blackbird just reloaded their stock of vintage Red Wings, and New York’s Stock has been dealing in second-hand stompers for some time. We aren’t usually fans of the vintage shoe market, but when it’s something as durable as work boots, we’ll make an exception. No matter how beat up they look, it’s a safe bet they’ve got at least another decade in them.

You can also try digging through grandpa’s closet…assuming he’s your size.

Booted

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By now, you’ve probably heard about President Bush’s run-in with a shoe hurler, but you might not know that a Manhattan Transit Worker tried a similar stunt against the MTA’s chief exec.

Of course, MTA workers have to wade through some real junk on occasion, so instead of some wornout brogue, he was trying to hurl a size 10.5 Red Wing boot—a pretty good choice, as projectiles go. Unfortunately, the boot was so massive, the cops got to him before he could get it unlaced.

But at least he went out in style.

Mimes, Boots, and Machines

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At Uniqlo, the T-Shirt Chooses You: The Japanese retailer finally goes completely off the rails. Mimes are involved. [The Shophound]

A Wing and a Prayer: A Continuous Lean visits the Red Wing factory and gets to smell the leather up close. [Vimeo]

The Rise of the Machines: Rudimentary computer art peacefully invades a Swedish gallery. [Cool Hunting]

Democracy in Action: Voting is open on the top five designers of all time. Our money’s on the Finns. [MakeFive]

This Land is Your Land

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American manufacturing has been hit pretty hard lately, but boutique brands have a little more flexibility…and at least some of them are staying put.

Of course, it’s hard to know for sure, so A Continuous Lean has put together The American List, a handy guide to which brands are manufactured stateside, and it’s required reading for anyone interested in modern Americana. It's also a surprisingly short list.

Our favorites are Red Wing, Billykirk, and Engineered Garments, but it’s striking how much they all have in common. There’s a lot of denim, a lot of flannel, and a lot of weathered fabrics; it’s what you might call the American style.

At least, the part of it that isn’t made in China.

Winging It

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A Continuous Lean’s Japan jaunt has unearthed a lot of good stuff, but this is our favorite so far.

Classic Americana brand Red Wing has been making this model for the Japanese model exclusively. Of course, it’s still stitched together in good old Red Wing, MN, but it’s a little stocker and smaller to accommodate Japanese feet. And, of course, we imagine it looks quite a bit different in a culture that’s more used to sneakers and oxfords. Stuff like this is rugged enough too be eye-catching in Los Angeles. We can’t imagine what they make of it in Tokyo.

A closer look»