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.
Here’s your last reminder that Sunday is Mother’s Day, gentlemen.
And to kick off the weekend of maternal appreciation right, we turn to some of our favorite style icons for some dapper inspiration on how to get into the spirit of filial gratitude…
Utter the term “murse” anywhere and it’s instantly recognizable: the portmanteau of “man” and “purse” describing a compact bag or satchel meant for hauling things around town. It’s become patient zero of emasculating menswear—now we have “meggings” and “mewelry” to name a few of the more egregious.
But how did we, as a society, get here?
It’s a good question. One worth exploring. And as menswear anthropologists, in our quest to understand the inextricable link between manhood and baggage choice, we present to you:
Just when it seemed like this was the year that would see the Return of the Gosling, he went and threw it all away.
If you haven’t heard the news: our reigning red-carpet champion has announced he’s taking a break from acting—and, consequently, the movie premiere circuit.
We understand it’s sad news—step-and-repeats everywhere have been pouring out liquor for their fallen hero—but it’s also great news for a handful of well-groomed contenders. They’ve been waiting in the wings, slowly building their résumés with promising showings of tuxedomanship, casually dapper park strolls and landing roles with the requisite indie cred. Granted, their “suit and tie shit” might not be infallible just yet, but with a few more of the right moves, they could find themselves on the cusp of greatness. But the question still remains: who will rise to the occasion? Who will be there when fights in the East Village need breaking up, or adorable dogs need companionship? Who will be the new face that launches a thousand “Hey, girl…” Tumblrs?
What you wear to bed can often feel like an afterthought…
But not today.
Because today we’re giving sleepwear, in all of its glorious forms (including Marilyn Monroe’s lack thereof), its proper due. And after a painstakingly thorough search—no movie set, red carpet or private boudoir went unturned—we managed to assemble a definitive list of the 64 greatest moments in pajama-dom. That’s right, we found every last one of them.
This weekend, the marked uptick in on-screen handsomeness continues with Gangster Squad finally hitting theaters.
We caught a screening earlier this week, and throughout all of the expected Eisenhower-era dapperness, there was one scene that really struck us. Naturally, it involved one Ryan Gosling, but the real scene-stealer was his dusty-blue fedora. With all the charcoals and browns atop everyone else’s heads, when Gosling donned the blue hat mid-film, we knew things were about to get a little more badass. (And they did.) We did a little research—each gent had his hats done separately, but Gosling’s hat was a custom job from a milliner in Chicago.
And thanks to menswear’s recently rekindled love affair with hats, we’re sensing this could be the silk scorpion jacket of 2013.
We’re only three days into 2013 and things are already looking up in the Ryan Gosling department with this recently released trailer for The Place Beyond the Pines, (which sounds like a mashup of his roles in Blue Valentine and Drive… with stunt motorcycling swapped in).
Aside from one fleeting flash of brilliance on the red carpet, Ryan Gosling was largely absent from 2012’s menswear conversation—mostly because his two big projects got pushed. Gangster Squad will be out next week and Pines, though it premiered last year, doesn’t get released until March.
Throw in an as-of-yet untitled Terrence Malick film that’s currently in postproduction, and this could mean a big return to red-carpet form for The Notebooked One. (Let’s not forget the epic Gucci-fueled red carpet heater he was on for all of 2011. We almost had to have his Cannes pajama-shirt retired to the rafters of Kempt Man of the Hour Arena.)
It’s Christmas Eve. That means at some point in the next 24 hours you might be faced with the opportunity to don a fur-lined topper, Santa-style…
Now, we included the Santa hat in our holiday must-haves, but with a stern disclaimer: there’s a time and a place for taking such a sartorial risk. If that time’s ever going to come, it’s tonight.
So in the event that you’re feeling up to the challenge, we’ve found some of history’s most stylish gents pulling off the look—from Bing Crosby to Ryan Gosling—and put them here for you, sort of as a sartorial confidence booster. (And as something to keep you occupied for the next couple days, until Kempt returns to our regularly scheduled dapperness.)
The leather bomber jacket lost its way over the past decade or so—mostly relegated to the backs of street toughs and old fellows who didn’t mind a lot of billowing in the arms and midsection.
But this suede bomber from Brioni is righting the course: the trim silhouette, the slim arms, the partial lining to remove the threat of bulkiness. Here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: Brioni. You’ve heard of them. They were ruling #menswear for decades before all you hashtags were even born. Ancient rulers of the prehistoric #menswear kingdom. And they’re still on top of their game.
Who to Channel: An incredibly dapper fighter pilot or, if you’re of the mind that this suede is somewhat satin-like: Ryan Gosling in Drive.
When to Wear It: This is another versatile layering piece that you can wear over a light shirt or chunky sweater, so it’s got a decent amount of shelf life. Just make sure there’s no chance of rain.
Or Spend Your $3,500 On: A vintage pinball machine, five (tan) suede bombers from Brooks Brothers, two first-class tickets to Italy.
We’ve been seriously worried for a while now. For most of 2012, Ryan Gosling has been missing from red carpets, style blogs and, most troubling, our hearts.
Luckily, we can call off the APB we sent out, since it looks like Esquire has found him hiding out in Canada (our mistake for not alerting the Mounties). And thankfully, even after the hiatus, he hasn’t missed a beat. Here he is at the Toronto Film Festival, sporting a Gucci suit in an unexpected pattern and attempting the legendary invisi-tie. It’s a move that was perfected by Phil Collins (perhaps willed by an Invisible Touch) with success that may never be replicated. Esquire pans Ryan for the try, but let’s look at the bigger picture here: His Goslingness has returned.
Just in case, authorities are still on the lookout for his tie.
We’ll admit, we’re suckers for 1940s gangster-chic. The fedoras, the wingtips, the tommy guns. So today’s release of the trailer for Gangster Squad (Ruben Fleischer’s Brolin-Penn-Gosling vehicle set for mid-October) piqued our interests to say the least. The homage to LA film noir is strong—and so is the gangster swagger. Naturally, the good guys are playing by bad guy rules, so the well-dressed-yet-sinister aesthetic is working for everyone. (Even for Emma Stone, playing the underworld siren caught behind enemy lines.)
The Artist is headed for quite a night this Sunday, so we thought we’d take a shot at nailing down exactly why it’s struck a nerve with the Oscar-voting public. It’s not the silent part. It’s certainly not the French part. It’s not even the sultry, half-Argentine actress, although she doesn’t hurt.
No, we’re thinking of the pure, unsullied bond between a man and his dog—in this case, between Jean Dujardin and Uggie, the expertly trained Jack Russell terrier who (we’ll just come out and say it) carries the movie. If Dujardin walks away with a statuette, he’ll know who to thank.
But it’s hardly the first time this has happened—so to correct some of the canine oversight, we thought we’d shine a light on the dogs behind five great and/or debonair men of the past hundred years, from Picasso to Gosling. They were good dogs…
Part Two: The Moments of 2011
What’s in a 2011 moment? Certainly a few things we never thought we’d see: Charlie Sheen’s crack-induced webcam vlog, a Facebook-inspired revolution in Egypt, a Seal Team Six smackdown on Osama Bin Laden, the discovery of another earthly planet…
Christopher Hitchens with Ian McEwan (left) and Martin Amis in Uruguay via The Guardian
We spend a good deal of time here at Kempt headquarters discussing the gentleman’s style: his clothes, his facial hair, his accoutrements, etc. In addition, though, over the past year, we’ve attempted to broaden the definition of style to include his behavior as well: his adherence to a certain chivalric code, his etiquette, the words he uses, his manner of pursuing artistic and athletic endeavors, his morality, his aspirations and, inevitably, the periodic missteps that can and squander those aspirations.
While we hesitate to dip our toe into the murky, stale bathwater of year-end reviews (and while we have even greater hesitation to hurl ourselves, willy-nilly, into the business of doling out meaningless, award-less “awards”), we’re doing so anyway.
Maybe we’re slightly more nostalgic for 2011 than we’ve been in the past.
Or, more likely, maybe we’re finding the exercise of attaching superlatives to people and things and moments to be kind of fun.
Whatever the reason, we present for your perusal—in three parts over as many days—the 2011 Kempt Awards.
There were a lot of stylish men in 2011, and we did our best to wade through them all, week by week, and pick out the best ones.
Some were just good. Others were frighteningly great. And then, there were the five best—the five gentlemen who stood atop humanity in an impeccably cut tuxedo, basking in their own handsomeness and the potential for human achievement. Those are the five we bring to your attention today…
The first pics from Ryan Gosling’s The Place Beyond the Pines just arrived online. In a radical departure from Drive, he plays a taciturn, bank-robbing motorcycle expert—but if the platinum hair is any indication, he’s a little more punk this time around.
We don’t normally go for souvenir jackets, but this one’s too good to pass up. Spurred on by the whims of just about everyone we’ve talked to in the last week, someone’s finally put together a replica of the satin scorpion jacket from Drive.
Naturally, it’s hard for us to be impartial about this—so we’ll just say it’s good news.
We’ll be the first to admit, the jacket’s not perfect. It’s sold through an unusually sketchy site and we can’t vouch for the quality—even compared to your average, non-film-related satin souvenir jacket. Still, Halloween’s closer than you think.
Now, to find a plastic hammer.
As you may have noticed from the stack of glossy pages threatening to break your coffee table, it’s time for the September issues—the print-world primer for everything that happens in style for the next six months.
So we took it upon ourselves to methodically flip through GQ, Esquire and Details (which add up to roughly the page count of Crime and Punishment) and provide scientific analysis.
The path from “respected actor” to “movie star” is an elusive, magical thing. But dressing to kill at Cannes is a pretty good first step.
We know, he’s been getting a lot of love around these parts, but this trifecta of handsomeness was too good to pass up. The two colorful tuxes are brilliant—each one catching eyes without seeming too prom-worthy—but our favorite is the Schnabel-esque getup on the right. The tropical white pants and blue spectators are both pitch-perfect formal daywear, and the untucked pajama-shirt is the stuff lookbooks are made of.
If he keeps this up, he may be headed for icon territory.
This snap from Ryan Gosling’s upcoming car picture Drive reminds us of two things: 1) It feels pretty good to say “car picture” again, and 2) a pair of bare-knuckle driving gloves is still guaranteed to make you look like a racecar driver.
Just remember, it’s not how good you are behind the wheel; it’s how intense you look while you’re doing it.
*Photographed by our fearless lensman, Patrick McMullan.*
Gosling, a Chet Baker fan and accomplished jazz guitarist in his own right, sported one of those signature Tom Ford single-breasted, peak-lapel three-piece suits we’ve been musing on lately, in a new incarnation. His was a steel-hued silk and linen herringbone number with oversized patch pockets, worn with a white-collared tan and gray checked shirt and black leather shoes also from Ford’s closet. Adorning his lapel was a special tribute to unfortunate pal Heath Ledger in the form of a black ribbon designed by his sister Mandi, Gosling’s date for the evening.
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