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.
While the Masters and Coachella are drawing two very different crowds, those crowds have got one thing in common: they’ll be spending most of the weekend outdoors, under the unrelenting sun.
And your most reliable form of portable shade is a good straw hat.
The straw hat comes in many forms—from the venerable panama hat to the stubby-brimmed situations you see crowning a lot of heads in LA—but there happens to be some darn good-looking options out there these days, and not just in the typical wheat-chaff color. So we took the liberty of finding you the five best woven hats on the market today. (We presumed you wouldn’t mind.)
But we’ve also been known to bend the rules every so often, because... tequila. And today, we’re revising our stance once more to include the glorious celebration of a fabric that we rely on so dearly during the fall and winter months but won’t see much of for the next six or so. Like most of these holidays, the founding is dubious at best—but ultimately, it feels like a good enough reason to give the rugged wools a proper farewell until we meet again.
All this talk of layering, bundling, flannel and wool has got us feeling for... swim trunks. Hey, it’s summer-o’-clock somewhere (in the entire southern hemisphere, Miami, LA, the tropics... a lot of places, actually).
And we just so happened to stumble upon this new swimwear label, Solid & Striped (courtesy of our friends at UrbanDaddy LA) that will sell you a pair of trunks in one of the two patterns of its namesake. So in the event that you’ve got any southward migration planned for the winter, here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: It’s the typical Hollywood story: guy moves to LA with dreams of making it big... in the swimsuit industry. (No, this has nothing to do with movies, just a smart choice in headquarters.) He makes the swimsuits with a Euro-leaning cut and disposition. They look great. We start making preparations for a week in Saint Martin.
Who to Channel: James Bond in any beach scene; a Sardinian shipping magnate sipping a Negroni on a breezy afternoon on the Côte d’Azure; 1970s basketball players.
When to Wear It: On the beach, at the pool, in your nearest hot tub... nowhere more than 100 yards from a body of water.
Degree of Difficulty: The length might give you trouble if your upper knee hasn’t seen the light of day for some time, but there’s nothing to do but get out there and begin rectifying the situation.
Dean Martin, Bing Crosby and Groucho Marx, Palm Springs, CA, 1954
It may prove a bit tricky to duck out of the office this week for a twilight round of golf, given that we’re coming off a 10-day Fourth of July sabbatical. To tide you over, we now present, in no particular order, 18 photos of style icons spoiling a perfectly good walk.
Sean Connery with stunt double Big John McLaughlin, Never Say Never Again, 1983
When the city of Fort Lauderdale recognized Big John McLaughlin, Shogun of the Sea, with a star on the Walk of Fame earlier this year, he responded, “Does one have to be alive to collect it?” It likely was not the first time Mr. McLaughlin asked some form of this question, having pioneered diving, stunt rigging and motion picture safety techniques in the late 1950s that are still in use to this day. Jaws simply wouldn’t have been a scary movie if it weren’t for Big John.
“I guess the craziest thing they ever asked me to do was bite a live tiger shark,” he reminisces. But his favorite was doubling 007 in eight Bond films, including Thunderball, in which he doubled 34 different people.
Allow us to join the city of Fort Lauderdale in raising a glass to Big John, the Shogun, and all the brave men who have kept our precious style icons safe over the years. To that end, we close the week with...
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: unlined grenadine makes for the perfect tie.
And this, gentlemen, is how you pull it off—courtesy of Mr. Connery (exactly five decades ago) on the set of Dr. No. (The fact that it looks like he might be holding an iPhone 5 prototype makes this photo seem all the more timely.)
Though you might want to re-button your collar and tighten up the knot on your way back into the office from that three-martini lunch.
It recently came to our attention that Lloyd’s of London, provider of specialized insurance policies (Fred Astaire’s legs, Keith Richards’s hands, etc.) also underwrote a celebrity’s chest hair. They wouldn’t reveal exactly who took out the policy, but it makes sense: there are plenty of gentlemen who’d be nothing without their chest fuzz.
So in these seemingly endless Jersey Shore-esque days of waxed, hairless torsos, we wanted to take a moment to celebrate the glorious pec-mane. Similar to our “Name That Eyebrow” contest, which awarded winners nothing at all, we’ve provided you with photos of 12 famous hairs of chest.
The internet is atwitter lately over one aspect of the Bond movies you might have overlooked: the architecture.
The UK *Guardian*’s in-house pontificator Steve Rose takes some time out from the usual culture warring to point out all the lovely hideouts the Bond villains have set up—usually with the help of an unnamed post-modern architect or two. It’s quite an education, even if most of those lovely concrete angles are in ruins by the end of the film.
Bad Fox: Transformers 2 femme fatal and GQ covergirl Megan Fox has a loose-lipped Mom. Mrs. Fox chatted with her hometown newspaper and confirms your biggest dreams—Megan as a very, very naughty teenager. [Palm Beach Post]
Tight Helmut: We must concur, Marc Jacobs, you’re not the only one in the Fashion District hitting the gym. [Men.Style]
Louis Canvassing Connery?: Great Scot Sean Connery could be the next face in the ongoing Annie Leibowitz-shot Louis Vuitton campaign, joining Francis Ford Coppola and Catherine Deneuve. [Fashionista]
Mocc’ing Luxury: Valet offers a peek at Arrow Moccasin Company’s winter offerings, featuring sheepskin upgrades and even a pair of made-to-measure if you send them an exact trace of your feet. [Valet]
As the hype crescendos around *Quantum of Solace*'s impending release—new Bond Girls!—it's a good time to consider the flick in its historical context. Especially as a smashing collection of classic 007 placards are hitting the block at Christie's in London tomorrow. The prized Bond lot in the auction house's *Vintage Film Posters* sale is a mint condition 1964 *Goldfinger* sheet in the rare British quad style B format, estimated at $7,00 - $10,000.
We're partial however to this quirky and equally scarce Aston Martin promo piece produced for *Thunderball* in 1965, which is a much better deal at est. $3,000 - $3,500. Also included are classics from *Dr. No* (1962, est. $2,700 - $4,500), *From Russia With Love* (1963, est. $2,700 - $4,500) and the rest of the pantheon, with several variations of each. Mr. Craig would do well to study these masterpieces if he hopes to err on the side of Connery.
You can pick up a vintage Bentley that once belonged to Sean Connery, the greatest Bond of all, at Bonhams' auto auction as part of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiast's Club's annual rally this weekend for a relative pittance. The beautiful 1961 S2 saloon, finished in two-tone Tudor Grey / Shell Grey with a contrasting red leather interior, is estimated at only £12,000 - £15,000, or about $24,000 - $30,000, a fraction of what a new, less distinguished model *sans* pedigree will cost you.
Michael Caine is one of the most stylish men in cinema, so it figures that he has good taste in music. The English actor, who's won two Oscars and was knighted by the Queen in 2000, recently issued a saccharine compilation CD in the UK of his favorite mellow tunes, called *Cained*; the disc, which contains everything from Nina Simone to Doctor Rockit, is now available on Amazon as an import.