Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

Dead Flowers

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Blackbird’s new in-house tie line hits just about every must-have item in the neckwear canon—there’s repp-stripe, preppy graphics, chambray, madras, musty wool—but our favorite is this dark floral piece that looks like it was lifted from a Goodwill couch.

Large prints have been mostly left behind in the recent tie renaissance—probably because when they’re bad, they’re very bad—but this one’s subtle enough to slip under the radar. Our only complaint: at two inches, it’s a bit on the trendy side…but nobody’s perfect.

It’s Full of Stars

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On the heels of enlisting the photographer behind the Marlboro Man for his fashion week presentation, Adam Kimmel managed to sneak this tie into shops. The stripes are missing, but the stars on their own do a pretty good job of signaling an Americana vibe that appears to be Mr. Kimmel’s new stock-in-trade.

It’s all the more impressive because this is still a skinny tie—hardly a cowboy staple. Think of it as a well-timed cross-cultural purée.

Pulling the Wool

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Our favorite futurist tie-makers are playing it safer than usual with their new fall/winter wool collection.

We love a good three-inch tie, but we’re closer to the end than the beginning on that look, and the Sovereign Beck folks—once the great hope for tie design—aren’t doing much to keep it alive. A plaid tie is still a plaid tie, and the collection isn’t bad at all—in fact, it's probably the most department-store-ready gear we've seen from them—but we had high hopes. Only the blue-green version on the right shows any signs of the Mathematica aesthetic that made their previous collections stand out.

On the bright side, they’re also holding a Holiday sale where you can get some of their vintage work for up to half off the usual price. So maybe we’ll cut them a little slack.

Keeping Thin

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We aren’t much for sartorial projections, but we guess that’s why there’s a pundit class. And Chris Matthews is always game.

The curmudgeonly MSNBC anchor recently predicted the Obama administration would feature “thin ties…Well-turned-out men. No sloppiness. Just work… It will be zesty.” We’re not sure what “zesty” means, so we’re assuming he’s talking about purple ties.

Of course, you can’t fight city hall. We’re hoping for change, but the three-inch tie is so ingrained in D.C. culture, it’ll be hard to wean them off it. The look is not exactly current these days, but it’s still way too trendy for the capitol.

Give it a decade or so.

Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down

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The tie is having a rough year, and if thing keep up this way, the double-windsor may soon go the way of the cummerbund.

Last week saw the end of the Men’s Dress Furnishings Association, a trade group that took on the Lorax-like task of speaking for the tiemakers of America. Unfortunately for the MDFA, men aren’t wearing ties that much anymore, even to work. The Wall Street Journal points to a gallup poll citing a record low of 6% of men wearing ties to work, compared to 10% six years ago. The highlight of the article is the description of an annual luncheon where many MDFA members went tieless. There isn’t usually a dress code for a tie association gathering, but they probably could have figured that one out»

To Catch a Thief, Eau de J-Lo and Francophilia

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Hail to the Thief: New York has its own brand of criminal sartorialists. [NYMag]

French Lessons: Hermès menswear designer, Varonique Nichanian, gives tips on Gallic style. [Huffington Post]

Cuff Links: The moment waxes philosophic about high-water jeans. [The Moment]

Thin Premise: Honey-blond, blue-eyed men's fashion blogger Amanda Brooks arrives late to last year's obsession with skinny ties. We, meanwhile, have returned to full-sized neckwear in fear of inspiring a return of the bolo. [Men's Vogue]

Jennifer Lopez to Produce Scents for Men: Be afraid. Be very afraid. [1224 Style]

The Man Show: Walter Van Beirendonck is to be the creative direction and guest of honor at the next Pitti Uomo. [Men.Style]