We continue our coverage of Road Trip Week here on Kempt with an ode to the beauty of a road trip… with a beautiful woman.
With Memorial Day and the summer months inching ever closer, it’s time to start thinking about short sleeves again.
But before you resort to the same old drab linen tones, we’d like to invite you to take a risk with us. Grow a pair. Be bold. And wear a short-sleeve printed shirt.
If you think these lightweight wonders are reserved only for Caribbean tourists and your father-in-law, let us present you with two handsome options, from Gitman Vintage and Matt Singer, respectively. We promise you’ll be turning a few heads for all the right reasons.
While you’ve probably got a trusty pair of shades tucked away from last summer, it’s always nice to have another pair to reach for in the event of the inevitable… Forgetting them in a cab. A tragic kayaking mishap. Accidents happen.
Luckily, a handsome new crop of sunglasses has landed on the market just in time to have you fully equipped to keep your eyes stylishly protected from the harmful effects of the sun—and the occasional morning after—when you’ll need them most. Even luckier: we’ve rounded up your best options, from new-age club masters to good old aviators. So, without further ado:
Labor Day is still a week off, but for all intents and purposes, this will serve as the last weekend of summer. After all, it’s the kid in us who cares about summer to begin with, and nothing says “autumnal equinox” to a kid quite like dozens of back-to-school commercials during the Little League World Series.
Which got us thinking—it’s been quite a grown-up summer so far, with our alfresco parties and our well-behaved houseguests and our member-guest golf tournaments. We almost forgot the most important part of summer: doing things you suck at. Being a beginner. Failing in front of the group. Flying blind. Skinning your knees.
So on that note, we suggest you jump in the nearest pool, close your eyes tight and start shouting “Marco!”
Here’s to being the fish out of water.
We’re not out of the summerwoods just yet.
And the most recent attempt to endorse men’s shorts by the NY Times’ Sunday Style section reminded us of a pair that should do the trick: the Angus Young short from Left Field. They’re slim, hit above the knee and come in just about every color your favorite chinos do (h/t Well Spent). Plus, they’re on a tail-end-of-season sale (though, for those of you in the South and West, there’s still plenty of time to get some good mileage out of them).
Just remember the rules on shorts suits.
Last week, our colleagues at UrbanDaddy SF turned us on to a curious summer sport from 1940s Brazil called “Frescobol” and a group of gents trying to introduce it to America by way of handsome reclaimed wood paddles and selvage denim park blankets—under the label Merriment Hardware.
And, naturally, when news of any relatively unknown summer pastime comes along, we’re intrigued—especially when the sun-flecked beaches of the Southern Hemisphere are involved. So we had the guys give us a few pointers on how the game is played—all you need is a sunny patch of land (park, beach, vineyard, et cetera), a willing partner (who may or may not be wearing a bikini) and these paddles.
We’re big fans of Field Notes—and their fierce allegiance to the analog age—so we were more than pleased to hear from 10engines that they’ve entered the publishing business. Their first book, A Drive into the Gap, is centered around baseball, a father, a son and their unlikely connection to legendary ballplayer Roberto Clemente. And, in typical fashion, it’s designed to slip easily into a pocket or beach bag. For a few extra clams, you can pick up the bundle: the book and a couple baseball-themed memo books. There’s also an ebook version, but that would defeat the purpose.
The sun’s showing no signs of letting up in the next month or two, so we were pleased to see this new line of sunglasses finally hit the webshop of cutting-edge Italian label Stone Island—their Tron-esque “liquid reflective” treated jackets are a sight to behold. (Actually, these Zeiss-lensed shades would come in handy when laying eyes on one.) Our favorite of the bunch is this equally futuristic pair with a wire-rim frame attached to the front, splitting the difference between the next Pitti Uomo staple and A Different World’s Dwayne Wayne.
An ungodly amount of ink has been spilled over Olympic style on and off the podium already—especially at the expense of US swimmer Ryan Lochte. (We’re inclined to give the guy a break—we should be rooting for our countrymen, not tearing them down.) But we couldn’t resist mentioning the gloriously tie-dyed 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, dubbed “The Other Dream Team.” Yes, that really is officially sponsored tie-dyed gear. Yes ,those are fanny packs. And yes, those are bronze medals they’re collecting in Barcelona—sharing the same podium as our fabled champs. The story is the stuff of legend (and a Sundance-darling film). A rag-tag bunch of athletes from a country only two years removed from the iron grip of the Soviet Union who were in danger of not even going to the Olympics until The Grateful Dead swooped in with a last-minute sponsorship (which should explain the tie-dye and dunking skeleton on their warm-ups) and who, against all odds, won a seemingly unattainable medal—uplifting a small, wayward nation in the process. This is exactly why we watch the Olympics every four years.
This time of year, Wayfarers and aviators are thick on the ground… So here’s a pair that just landed at Need Supply in a demi-blonde Japanese acetate and polarized lenses that split the difference between Dickie Greenleaf and Gregory Peck—which should have you traveling in the right company. Plus, for some additional street cred, they’re made by Garrett Leight—the son of the optics guru who founded Oliver Peoples. Now all you need is a train ticket to Positano.
In this new weekly series, we peer into your summer weekend agenda and offer a few essential sundries to help you make the most of your upcoming escapade. This weekend, you’re throwing an alfresco soiree.
Let’s face it: that repurposed keg tub has served as the centerpiece of every outdoor party you’ve thrown since graduation. It’s time for it to leak weird liquid somewhere else. And since you’re already headed to the dump, you might as well toss out the wobbly coffee table, the not-supposed-to-be-blinking Christmas lights and, well, just about everything else that’s been outside for over a year. We know, you kind of like that stuff.
The summer is no excuse to go barefoot. (But it is an excuse to get as close to it as possible with your footwear.)
This new line of linen, cotton and silk slippers from SVZ is exactly what you need to keep it light on your toes. They’re handmade to order in Italy and have a soft grippy bottom—we would recommend these for puttering around on a Sunday afternoon, not hitting the town. They’ll especially come in handy tucked into your weekender—ready to sub in for those flimsy hotel slippers or flip-flops if you find yourself outside of a few hundred feet radius of water.
We haven’t had a smell test in a while, but when samples came in of the “Hamptons” scent by Bond No. 9, we knew we had to investigate. The floral notes are meant to invoke summers on the beach. But would it smell like Diddy’s White Party or Billy Joel after too much white wine?
We asked a panel of olfactory-gifted ladies to give us their opinions.
If Vineyard Vines, Bonobos and the 1984 Celtics had a love child, he would likely be a better-than-average squash player, a devoted Jackopierce fan, and come July in Edgartown, he’d wear a whole lot of Chubbies shorts. So you can imagine our hesitation when our very own Chubbies arrived—a greenish gingham selection from the Pony Collection. Also included in the order was a complimentary koozie—Mount Gay and tonic sold separately.
A couple undeniable facts about Chubbies: they’re on the cusp of being too short (perfect for Bird, iffy for Magic), they’re on the cusp of being too bold (particularly the hot pink “Hoffs”), their name is synonymous with a partial erection, and they’re among the most comfortable beer-pong shorts we’ve ever worn: perfect pockets, sure-fly zippers and an elastic, draw-stringed waistline that screams, “You earned that lobster roll.”
That said, time and place is everything when it comes to Chubbies. Which is why we’re rolling out an entirely new format today on Kempt—a third base coach for bright, short shorts, of sorts.
There’s nothing more indispensable during summer than a pair of swim trunks you can wear no matter what the weekend throws at you—swimming, drinking, eating, waiting 30 minutes, more swimming and so on.
And while there have been a few astonishingly chino-like contenders on the scene recently, we’re still partial to an old standby: the seersucker swimsuit. It’s got a lived-in summeriness that plays well with the carefree weekend vibe. (Think: Bill Murray, on his best behavior.) So we’ve scoured the shops for a handful of our favorites, from the European-leaning to the go-to-hell variety.
In this new weekly series, we peer into your summer weekend agenda and offer a few essential sundries to help you make the most of your upcoming escapade. This weekend, you’re taking in a game at the ballpark.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with wearing tent-sized cargo shorts and an XXL Nick Swisher jersey to the game.
It’s just that… actually, there is something wrong with it.
See, there’s another way. A better way. A handsomer way.
Allow us to elaborate…
There comes a point in every boy’s life when he realizes that digging a hole to China is impossible. Previous attempts at burrowing a Sino-antipodean tunnel had been foiled not by the inability of the boy’s plastic shovel to withstand earth’s 9,800-degree inner core, but rather by a late-afternoon thunderstorm or his mother’s maddening penchant for whisking him off the beach just as the tip of a chopstick was being exhumed. “If only I didn’t have to take a nap today,” he’d reckon, “I’d be in Hong Kong by supper.” We could all benefit from dusting off that sort of arrogant, boyish ignorance once in a while.
The older we get, the more absurd our childish scheme becomes. As Robert Krulwich explains, China’s antipode, or diametrical opposite, is in fact 150 miles north of Buenos Aires. If you dug a hole from any point in the contiguous 48 states, you’d end up in the South Pacific Ocean somewhere. And that’s not nearly as cool as ending up in China.
It’s a military-issue fighter pilot’s helmet bag, but Alexander Grant has brought to our attention that its rugged nylon construction and simple design make it extremely versatile for daily use—when child rearing, in his case, but we imagine using it for beach-going or even carrying a laptop around town. It’s all about tactical simplicity: two front snap pockets (one for a pair of flip-flops and another for your sunscreen) and a padded main section with more than enough room for your summer reading, a towel and those high-tech goggles. All at a price that ought alleviate any fears of sand- or saltwater-induced damage.
And since they’re army spec, they come in every pattern of camo under the sun. (Great news for the Wooster camp.)
In this new weekly series, we’re peering into your summer weekend agenda and offering a few essential sundries to help you make the most of your upcoming escapade. And it appears that this weekend, you’re heading to the beach.
You enjoy the beach. Of course you do.
It’s just that you’ve been enjoying the beach for dozens of years now, and it’s become a bit predictable: the sand, the sun, the water that’s “freezing!” and then “actually not so bad!” and then “aren’t you gonna get in?!” and so on, and so on.
Let’s be honest—you’re not going to read the Steve Jobs biography. So don’t pack it. In its stead, may we recommend one or more of the following…
Now that we’re unquestionably into sunglasses season, you’ll want to brush up on our Icon’s Guide to Sunglasses. Then you’ll want to turn your attention to this new line of shades, Westward Leaning. They only make one style—a classic keyhole Wayfarer that splits the difference between McQueen and Cruise—but they keep things interesting by slotting different, unexpected materials into the temples.
Our favorite pair has been outfitted with antlers shed by elk in Wyoming and harvested by a local Boy Scouts troop allowed to auction off their findings in return for a donation toward preserving the herd. It’s all very Teddy Roosevelt (the sunglasses’ namesake) and makes for a great backstory. One best told while speaking softly and carrying elk antlers.
On the heels of our interview with John Hemingway, Ernest’s grandson, we’ve got this snap of a mustachioed Papa after a rather successful sportfishing outing (h/t) exemplifying summer seawear at its finest: a chamois cotton polo and white shorts. (We’ll assume he ditched the soggy boat shoes once he hit dry land.) Take note, and make sure a rum-based drink isn’t too far behind.
In our ongoing pursuit of properly equipping you for summer road trip season, here’s an indispensable item from the tie gurus at Pierrepont Hicks and their fellow Minnesotans at Faribault Woolen Mill Co.
It’s a utilitarian-size backseat blanket that’s made from a sturdy wool, but instead of your typical woodsy look, it’s woven in bright beach-bonfire-appropriate stripes. As the name suggests, you’ll want to have this handy whenever four-wheeled wanderlust strikes.
Most importantly, it’s just big enough to share.
The tank top can be a tricky move. But the payoff is high: do it right, and you’re king of the beach. And now that the summer solstice is set firmly in our sights, it’s inevitable to begin daydreaming of weekend afternoons spent tropical-drinking and shoulder-bronzing.
Most importantly, you’ve got to set yourself some ground rules: must be within walking distance of water, preferably on an island—Manhattan has the additional requirement of a rooftop—and play it loose. Once you’ve got that down, it’s on to the tank itself. And we haven’t found anything better than the tanks from SoHo’s beach-bum-savants at Saturdays Surf. They’re a bit more substantial than your average Maui and Sons number, and the patterns and pocket give them a touch more sophistication—you’ll want to get as much of that in as possible.
And remember, the tank is more than just a shirt, it’s a state of mind.
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