Every Wednesday, we’re giving you a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick. We call it: The Kempt Five.
Some things are best left to the professionals.
Like wearing jorts. Or casual-ing up your daily suit-and-tie routine with some sneakers. Today, we discuss the latter.
A staple of haphazardly dapper rebellion long before modern menswear editors brought it to the mainstream, the suit-sneaker combo is not, in fact, a recent development. (Check out the guy on the right in this iconic image if you don’t believe us.) And when perfected, it’s a look that oozes nonchalant cool. But attempting it (and succeeding) can prove a weighty endeavor for even the most seasoned sartorial veteran…
By this time of year, white canvas sneakers are thick on the ground.
And while we’re fans of the simple, utilitarian pleasures of the common plimsoll, they’re nearing their saturation point—meaning, it’s about time you started venturing into the even summerier depths of footwear. Madras. Linen. Seersucker. Swimsuit material. All proven summer fabrics that have found their way onto shoes, so we rounded up your best options.
The Fourth of July is so close, we can nearly taste it.
And we’ve always been of the mind that when it comes to dressing for the most patriotic day of the year, you’ve got permission to get loud. Therefore, to fully commit to the spirit of the day, we’ve rounded up your finest options for donning an all red, white and blue kit—made entirely in the good old US of A, naturally.
We’ve been tracking the meteoric rise of menswear’s all-around stand-up guy, Todd Snyder, and his eponymous label for the past couple years now.
And here’s proof, once again, that the guy can do no wrong: his new line of sneakers (in collaboration with Kempt summer-footwear favorite, SeaVees) has just launched.
They’re the sort of rubber-bottomed, city-to-beach weekenders that are right on time for the warmer months to come—and they’re a little more #menswear than your average cotton sneaker. Case in point: the navy pair have a herringbone weave that looks a lot like your favorite tweed blazer. Our favorites have to be high-tops, with a Chuck-like silhouette and Japanese twill upper.
In the way of warm-weather footwear, you won’t do much better than the classic canvas sneaker—known as the plimsoll to the real heads.
But sometimes you want to be even lighter on your feet. And for that, you’re going to have to go mesh.
Luckily, Clae has just unveiled the Bruce—their latest citified sneaker, which keeps the time-honored look of the plimsoll but replaces the cotton upper with an even more breathable mesh, resulting in a shoe that’s beach-ready and a definite step up from wearing sandals around town (oh, the horror). We’re declaring them our favorite shoe for summer… well, as of today.
We’re of the mind that if you’re going to wear sneakers, they should be working for you, not against you—and most sneaker hybrids these days seem to be veering more toward high-fashion abstraction than utilitarianism.
Hence, we liked what we saw when we got a sneak peek at the New Balances coming out of their most recent shoe-plus-luggage collaboration with the Herschel Supply Co. They’re decidedly boot-ish and have a good amount of grip to assist in any climbing of subway stairs. Our favorite of the bags has a shoe compartment that makes an interoffice shoe change a cinch (because sometimes, your happy hour plans involve a hike). The whole collection is getting a limited release, launching tomorrow, so keep an eye out here for the drop.
Now here’s a flash sale we can get behind.
Blogger favorite Unis is throwing a one-day-only sale (online and in-store) that began as the clock struck midnight this morning and will end once the clock strikes midnight tonight. Everything from the raved-about Gio pants to the downtown-kid-approved navy varsity jacket is 30% off. They even threw some non-Unis goods like Common Projects sneakers and grooming stuff in the mix. You know the drill—the clock is already ticking.
Consider yourself the Jack Bauer of getting handsome.
Here’s a great way to relive some of the weirdest nights in your life, when a pair of Chuck Taylors, the duct-tape of apparel, functioned as a pillow (H.O.R.D.E. Festival ’95, the unscheduled 36-hour layover at a Kiev train station, the first and last time you gave Burning Man a go, etc.). Perpetual Kid, the curators of all sorts of relics from your misspent youth, have you covered.
Just don’t anticipate any blockbuster, REM-type sleep—calling this thing a pillow is sort of like calling Chuck Taylors basketball shoes.
In a late-breaking addition to our Olympic gear roundup, we just stumbled upon this new pair of Nike Flyknits, made exclusively for the four nationless competitors known as the Independent Olympic Athletes, and we had to share.
They’re made with Nike’s latest “flyknit” technology that has captured the attention of both the running and #menswear worlds—for different, yet obvious, reasons—so you can imagine how nearly impossible it already is to get ahold of a pair. This edition will actually be impossible to get your hands on, since only four pairs have been made.
See the rest of the IOA “team” gear over at Four Pins.
It’s hard to get behind an article of clothing that you can only wear once or twice a year, but you’ve probably already got a few resting in the far corner of your closet that you’ve realized you can’t live without. (Namely, a tuxedo).
So, for the upcoming Independence Day festivities, you might consider picking up these star-spangled sneakers from the makers of some of our favorite summer shoes, Superga (hat tip). First, a word of caution: we’re never in support of using a holiday as an excuse to throw sartorial caution to the wind. But sometimes things come together and just work. Case in point: this Fourth of July, you’re going to be outdoors (probably in a casual setting, standing on grass or near a barbecue) and feeling extremely patriotic. What’s more, you can only get a pair of these limited-edition kicks by actually visiting their NYC flagship—meaning, it’s going to require a bit more effort (and reflection) than a mouse click.
It’s not often you can match your shoes to your can of beer.
We usually stay off the sneaker beat entirely, but that doesn’t mean we can’t admire from afar every so often. So when the official release photos for the Nike Air Yeezy II landed in our inbox moments ago, we felt compelled to share. It’s everything you’d expect from the flamboyant Mr. West: hieroglyphs, neon, “anaconda leather” and a reptilian-inspired heel. And somehow it all works together to look pretty darn cool (you a fool for this one, Kanye). To get your hands on a pair, you’ll probably have to camp in line on June 9, and we are not suggesting you do that at all. It’s just not every day that something as pedestrian as a pair of cross-trainers edges into the avant-garde.
We’re strong proponents of the cotton sneaker as your go-to warm-weather shoe.
And by now, vague iterations of the plimsoll are thick on the ground. (We’re up to our ankles in low-tops.) Which brings us to Saturdays’ inaugural crop of shoes—including this polka-dot-lined pair of high-tops that we’re especially fond of. They’ve got the high-top style of your classic Chucks, but they’re slick enough to wear to the office on casual Fridays. Or any day, if the words “casual Fridays” just made you wonder if people still have casual Fridays.
The Olympics are just four months off, and we’re already starting to see a trickle of special-edition gear themed for London’s 2012 Games. Britain’s official uniforms leaked out this morning, but our favorite so far is this 5 Plug sneaker from Adidas, available on Oki-ni now. It’s modeled after the 1984 British handball team’s sneakers, complete with a Union Jack on the back and the latest in Thatcher-era sneaker innovation—five plugs that can be pushed in and out to alter the stiffness of the sole. Sadly, the handball in question is the weird European kind, but it should work just as well for the New York version.
The early spring sneakers are already trickling into shops, and we’re quickly remembering just how much we love a good plimsoll. Case in point, this Borstal model from Generic Surplus, which lifts its hickory-stripe pattern from classic railroad overalls, just busy enough to keep things interesting. Now all we need is some sun.
Your work style: impeccable. Your weekend wardrobe: masterful in the extreme. But once you’re away from your closet—say, on a late-winter escape to warmer climes—it’s easy to lapse into a few days of flip-flops and ratty tees…
It happens to the best of us (even a Style Guy or two), but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Herewith, a few easily packed items that will keep you in fine sartorial form while you’re away in the tropics…
Ovadia & Sons came onto the scene with quite a splash last year, so they could be forgiven for playing it safe for a season or two. But judging from what we saw at the Capsule show yesterday, they’re still swinging for the fences. The fall/winter lookbook will be arriving later this week to prove it, but first, we’ve got three pitch-perfect details that should convince you to get excited in advance. First, a certain 70-year-old Italian sneaker…
Consider this the most summery shoe that’s ever gone on sale in December.
The shoe started life as a Tretorn Nylite (we’ve gushed about them before), then got a fluorescent dye job from Atlanta trad guru Sid Mashburn to become the glorious creature you see before you. The technical name is Optical Bright Fluorescent Yellow GN—but that’s a fancy way of saying they’re going to be the brightest shoes you own, ideal for the next time you need to out-blare some madras pants.
Or the next time you’re jogging at night.
Yoox kicked off their semi-annual sale this week, and it’s definitely worth a look. But in case you aren’t in the mood to sift through a thousand-plus specimens of avant-Italian menswear, we’ve put together a little guide on the names to look for. You may want to bookmark this one…
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