Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

Staying Cool at Coachella

Coachella

Nothing brings out a gentleman’s most pragmatic sense of personal style more than facing the hot, hot heat.

And with Coachella kicking off its two-weekend run of concerts in the sweltering California desert tomorrow, there’s no better place to witness this firsthand—especially onstage, where true wills of sartorial resolve are tested.

Which is why there are some valuable lessons to be learned from those who manage to maintain a rakish poise even when performing high-kicks in the unforgiving desert sun. (Hint: sometimes you’ve got to embrace the sweatiness.) So we present to you...

The rock star’s guide to stylishly dealing with extreme heat.»

The T-Shirt Goes Americana

There was no greater boon to the Americana-enamored blogosphere than when Life magazine digitized their decades’ worth of photo archives for all to scour.

Suddenly, family fishing trips on the Cape, grizzled coal miners in Virginia and fedora’d men flying for business were all there for the taking/uploading/menswear-nostalgia-evoking. And now, you can wear them on your chest—thanks to a T-shirt company by the name of Altru, which has officially licensed some iconic archival photos. The first batch features dogs, motorcycles and JFK. Which is about as Americana as it gets.

For when your Carhartt overalls are in the wash.

Tee It Forward

It’s always heartening when someone puts their name on the line to help others—but even more so when we see it happen in the fashion industry.

Case in point: one of our favorite menswear designers (and all-around stand-up guy) Todd Snyder got together with the charitable shirt company Threadless and used his CFDA-certified cred to convince Gap to produce a limited run of tees designed by emerging artists—giving them some well-deserved shine on a national level. It’s not often you see the big fish swimming with the little guys, but when Mr. Snyder is involved, good things happen. He’s curating the interactive pop-up shop in NYC, but if you can’t make it in, you can also find all of the shirts online here.

You’ve always considered yourself a patron of the arts.

The T-Shirt Toughens Up

American Giant Tee

T-shirts are more complicated than they look.

Most of the nicer tees take after the gauzy American Apparel version—which, thanks to white-labeling, has found its way into a surprising number of shops. It’s not bad, but the fuzzy cotton can get a bit cloying in warmer weather, so we’re glad a challenger has come onto the scene with a new idea of what a T-shirt should feel like.

The latest model comes from American Giant (the same folks behind that half-cardigan we mentioned last week), and it’s got a more rough-and-tumble edge. The hand is more akin to a lightweight sweatshirt, which means you can wear it out unlayered without fearing the breezes. And since they’re selling everything direct, you can pick one up for $24.50. Wear it well.

Bulletproofing, Vagabonds, and the Most Expensive T-Shirt in L.A.

inaugural_crop.jpg

I Wish I Was… If this man is wearing a bulletproof suit, we’re going to have to give up on Washington entirely. Luckily, we strongly doubt it. [Wired]

The Greatest: The most expensive t-shirt in L.A. is a black cashmere tee that’s completely blank. As for how much…we don’t want to think about it. [LAist]

Runaways: The latest dispatches from Milan is heavy on the vagabond look and something called “Rat Pack zest.” [The Moment]

Been a Long Time: The last eight years, in convenient slideshow form. Goatees are involved. [Men.Style]

Celebrating Life

stevejobslives_crop.jpg

It’s not news until someone puts it on a t-shirt, so we’re hardly surprised to see this pass through our RSS feed after the Apple honcho copped to a non-life-threatening hormone imbalance. We’re sure it’ll be a big hit in the business-very-casual circles at Silicon Valley, but as zeitgeist moments go, this one rings a bit hollow.

And like any figurehead, there’s always the possibility that Jobs is using doubles.

The Bad Shepard

obey_crop.jpg

He may not realize it, but Shepard Fairey is one of the most promising artists of his generation. We can’t think of any American street artists who have managed as thorough an urban transformation as he has in New York, and his Obama poster is easily one of the most iconic images produced by any artist in over a decade. He deserves a cash-in or two; we just wish he could have made it a little more tasteful.

Fairey launched the OBEY clothing store today, and it’s genuinely abysmal. It’s a thrown together assortment of sub-Urban Outfitters schlock that treats Fairey’s meticulously collected phrases as if they were a brand on the level of Bugs Bunny, ready to be silkscreened onto sweatshirts en masse without any attention to actual style or design.

In every item, it’s obvious that Fairey has absolutely no interest in becoming a viable clothing designer. Which is fine by us. We just wish he could have stuck to gallery sales.

In the Can

yeswecan2_crop.jpg

He may lose the hockey mom vote, but it’s a safe bet that Barry is still the favorite among the graphic design crowd. So it’s no surprise the man has better t-shirts.

This one is our pick so far, splitting the difference between Andy Warhol and Shepard Fairey. It’s got more irony than most campaign shirts—after all, who wants to vote for a soup can?—and a little wit goes a long way.

So far they're just online, although you can probably find one in person if you take a stroll through central Williamsburg over the next few weeks. As for a soup can-fueled bump in the polls…we’ll keep you posted.

Vertical Horizons, Blonde Bilson and Russian To The Alter

cords_crop.jpg

The Great Pants War: Two competing revolutionaries, Bonobos and Cordarounds, square off against the "Soviet Bloc" of vertical corduroy with the introduction a horizontal variation on the classic fabric. Watch out for the crossfire. [VanityFair.com]

The Long Haul: Back off you vultures. Giorgio Armani ain't going nowhere. [WWD, 2nd item]

Russian Male-Order Bride: Iron-fisted autocrat beloved legally elected Federation President Vladimir Putin tries his best to emulate Nicolas Sarkozy's recent marital success. Fails. [Gawker]

Wigging Out: Unofficial Kempt mascot Rachel Bilson plays blonde for a day. [Egotastic]

Loop de Loop: Harajuku t-shirt maker does it oldschool. [PSFK]

More Celebrity Stink: James Franco, who we actually like, will be the face for Gucci's latest scent. [Luxist]

Boob Tube: Because he hasn't reached complete market saturation, Tommy Hilfiger will soon have his own TV channel. [DNRNews]

Madras Explosion: Ahh! Our eyes! Our eyes! [A Suitable Wardrobe]