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Six Essential Upgrades to Your Paddling Kit

Gear

This might sound odd, but we know you’ve been getting these urges lately. Really strong, burning desires to sit back, get a little wet and stroke...

We’re talking about rowing, obviously. Wait, was that not clear?

Now, these impulses are perfectly natural. And trust us, getting yourself into a canoe (or kayak, if that’s your style) will definitely help assuage them. But, of course, just because you’re dying to navigate America’s waterways the old-fashioned way doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do so in style. So we’ve taken the liberty of compiling a handful of attractive options, to help you get the most out of your next aqueous adventure.

Check out our next-level paddling selections, after the jump...»

The Kempt Five

  • Najib Benouar

Kempt Five

Every Wednesday from here on out, we’re giving you a piece of our minds. Actually, more like five pieces. It’s a chance to get a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick—you know, beyond the usual Internet handsomeness we’re serving up daily. So welcome to our most personal weekly feature: The Kempt Five.

Without further ado, the Tumblrs, music and tuxedo slippers we’re digging this week.»

The Kempt Five

  • Caitlin Ganswindt
  • Najib Benouar

Kempt Five

Every Wednesday from here on out, we’re giving you a piece of our minds. Actually, more like five pieces. It’s a chance to get a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick—you know, beyond the usual Internet handsomeness we’re serving up daily. So welcome to our most personal weekly feature: The Kempt Five.

Without further ado, here’s what’s on our minds this week.»

Amber Heard Is Expecting Afternoon Showers

  • Kempt Staff

Amber Heardvia GQ UK

There’s an Aperol for That: The Times reports on the latest aperitif to take the cocktail world by storm—and how you’ll harness its powers. [NY Times]

High and Not Dry: Take swimming to a new level in these high-rise (often cantilevered) pools from around the world. [Flavorpill]

Brace Yourself, America: For Ryan Lochte, superstar. And here’s his first IMDb-able out-of-pool performance. [Vanity Fair]

Bourne Again: For those of you who plan on seeing the new Jeremy Renner Bourne movie this weekend, but have a Matt Damon Bourne-like memory affliction, here’s a cheat sheet. [Vulture]

Elle Liberachi Is Not Liberace

  • Kempt Staff

via GQ UK

The Game On Lochte: Dissecting the “hip-hop tropical frat boy” look of American Olympic swimmer, Ryan Lochte. [The Atlantic]

Like A Boss: Cool Hunting hits the track with the recently resurrected Ford Mustang Boss 302. Burnt rubber ensues. [Cool Hunting]

The Full Montenegro: A big part of the Olympics is the playing of the winners’ national anthems—but what if the songs themselves had to compete against one another? Grantland puts all 203 to the test. [Grantland]

No Alibi: For some unfathomable reason, Sperry thought it was a good idea to make croc-skin shoes with gold-plated eyelets. (And hawk them for a grand.) [Put This On]

Icon: Mark Spitz

  • Najib Benouar

There’s nothing like a living legend. And with the Olympics ramping up, we thought we’d pay tribute to nine-time Olympic gold medalist and ’70s poster boy Mark Spitz.

In today’s era of swimming, it’s all about drag-reducing sleekness—rubber caps, shaving from head to toe, shark-skin-inspired swimsuits—so it’s surprising to look back at photos of Spitz’s record-shattering run at the 1972 Games in Munich and see him dominate the field with a mop-top of hair and mustache. There’s something mystical about his confidence and unwillingness to sacrifice his personal style in hopes of shaving off a few tenths of a second on his times. It’s a ’70s swagger that he carried throughout his youth (sadly, he recently ditched the ’stache) and we’d like to applaud it.

So, without further ado, an appreciation of one of the greatest Olympians to ever don the red, white and blue, in six iconic photos.»

’Sucker Punch

  • Najib Benouar

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.

For your consideration: the four finest seersucker swimsuits under the sun.»

Samantha Gradoville Has Braced Herself

  • Najib Benouar

Carven Turkey: Take a look at the clothes behind “the most buzzed-about presentation” we mentioned in Tweetti Uomo. [Style.com]

Hot Hot Heat: Coming from a scorned Cleveland fan, LeBron deserves some credit. (But that doesn’t mean you have to like him.) [Esquire]

Ritzers in Paris: Vanity Fair takes a nostalgic look back at one of the most storied hotels on earth: the Paris Ritz—from Hemingway to Proust to Bergman. [Vanity Fair]

Secret France: The beaches of France are old hat—skip the Riviera to explore the lakes and rivers that have stayed secret to all but the most savvy visitors. [The Telegraph]

The Very Best Nicknames in Sports

Lawrence Berra was nicknamed “Yogi” by Bobby Hofman, who thought Berra resembled a Hindu yogi—solemnly seated with arms and legs crossed—after losing a game.

When Kansas City Athletics owner Charlie Finley saw Jim Hunter pitch for the first time in 1965, he knew he’d signed a legend. The only problem, according to Finley, was the name—“Jim Hunter” didn’t sell tickets. The next morning, Finley called Hunter into his office and informed him that his name was now “Catfish.” Jim was understandably confused, and while the conversation was not recorded, we’re almost positive his response was, “Um... why’s that?”

That’s because baseball players, like all professional athletes, are first and foremost entertainers—and entertainers aren’t named “Jim.” Unfortunately, guys like Charlie Finley are a bit of a dying breed. The perfect nickname used to be steeped in lore, metaphorically connected to athletic prowess, an inside-out joke that made children of all ages—particularly the nickname-ee—grin. Now, it seems, the “-Rod” generation simply resorts to hyphenated pig latin of sorts.

As Hunter left the office, he asked his new owner what he should say if and when people asked about the origin of his new nickname. Finley replied, “You came back from the river on your 10th birthday having caught six catfish and handed them to your old man. Sell it. Goodbye.” On that note, we now present the very best nicknames in sports...

And the nominees are...»