Every Wednesday, we’re giving you a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick. We call it: The Kempt Five.
Fall is so close, we can taste it (very spiced-cider-y this year). So, in anticipation of the monumental shift in your wardrobe, leisure activities and general state-of-mind, we’re dedicating this week to preparing you for all of your upcoming autumnal endeavors…
Peter O’Toole deserves that drink.
He’s ridden camels. Tilted at windmills. Been king. Tutored an unruly child-emperor. Played an elderly Casanova. The list goes on and on.
All while maintaining a haphazardly dapper visage.
The star of Lawrence of Arabia (and about 70 other movies in the exactly 50 years since), O’Toole’s has had a career that most actors would kill for. And he’s won some awards along the way. But infuriatingly, despite his best efforts, never an Oscar.
Breaking news: today is, apparently, Tweed Day.
Now, we’ve taken a pretty hard-line stance against bullshit holidays in the past. We even spent the requisite paperwork and fees to name a “No Bullshit Holidays Day” (get excited for May 10, gentlemen).
But we’ve also been known to bend the rules every so often, because… tequila. And today, we’re revising our stance once more to include the glorious celebration of a fabric that we rely on so dearly during the fall and winter months but won’t see much of for the next six or so. Like most of these holidays, the founding is dubious at best—but ultimately, it feels like a good enough reason to give the rugged wools a proper farewell until we meet again.
Just when you thought there wasn’t any more room in your closet for another tweed blazer…
We went and dug up this spectacular Nep Tweed Blazer from Beams+.
Oh, and before we forget to mention it: Unionmade’s got it for 40% off as part of the epic Fall-40 sale they launched this morning. Here’s what else you need to know about your newest blazer.
The Story: The near-mythical Japanese label Beams+ was once impossible to find on American shores, until the fine folks at Unionmade began smuggling it (legally) over here for the past few years. Now you’ve got a chance to get ahold of this stuff without a proxy or the full price tag.
Who to Channel: The Scottish countryside; a bookish professor at Cambridge with a penchant for the New York Mets—the “nep weave” intersperses flecks of oranges and blues in the houndstooth; Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry.
When to Wear It: From the moment your shipment arrives till the temps start getting above 50 degrees. And then when fall comes around and the temps start dipping toward 50 degrees and lower again.
Degree of Difficulty: About as hard as it is to slip into a fine tweed blazer.
The folks at Unionmade (not to be confused with union-hyphen-made) know a thing or two about a good collaboration.
So they recently called up the legendary Harris Tweed factory in Scotland and ordered a few hundred yards of their finest Donegals, windowpanes and flecked herringbones, and sent the lot to their favorite labels to see what they’d come up with. The result: a handsome kaleidoscope of tweediness: totes from Filson, a spectacular blazer from Todd Snyder, a gaggle of cozy down-stuffed tweed from Crescent Down Works and more. You can find Unionmade Harris Tweed in its entirety here, if you’re considering the notion of more tweed in your life—a natural instinct around this time of year.
Chances are, if you’ve already got a tweed blazer, it’s getting some regular use. But for those of you not quite ready to commit to the tweed jacket, we’d suggest easing into it with a pair of tweed trousers. Like these US-made Japanese-tweed tailored pants from Left Field. Here’s what else you need to know about them.
The Story: The NYC-based label Left Field has been doing Americana since the ’90s—back when the majority of their sales were shipping straight to Japan—and lately they’ve been gaining major traction in the US. Especially in regards to their flannels and new tailored update to their pant cuts.
Who to Channel: A tenured professor; a British aristocrat at his country estate; Donald Sutherland casually walking along the Cliffs of Moher.
When to Wear Them: The brisker it gets, the more your legs are going to want to be wrapped in tweed every day. Wear them with any overcoat you own—get country gentleman with a waxed jacket, or city gentleman with an oxford cloth button-down and wool tie.
Degree of Difficulty: The more tweed you add to your getup, the higher the degree of difficulty. If you’re going to try a blazer with these pants, it’s best not to closely match the two—go with a navy or brown herringbone, make it obvious you’re wearing two different tweeds. Adding a tweed newsie cap might be going too far… unless you’re Donald Sutherland.
It will be November by week’s end and that means one thing: a new crop of menswear magazines has just hit the shelves. And this month brings healthy doses of tweed, marled sweaters and general autumnal-ness. Not to mention some long-form pontification on the upcoming elections (from which we’ll spare you) and Mila Kunis in some very formfitting leather pants.
If you’ve ever felt the urge to wrap yourself in the feeling of a fall hunting trip in rural Maine, here it is: a custom tweed jacket from Rifle Quality—and it’s 35% off till Monday, courtesy of our friends at UrbanDaddy Perks.
If you’re not familiar, Rifle Quality is a troupe of Savile Row–trained tailors who split their time between NYC and Cleveland, making the sort of jackets that live up to the name—in other words, they’re sturdy enough for a weekend in the bogs. You’ll get your choice of six different swatches of British thornproof tweed, which gets cut and sewn by hand, with all the trappings of fine jacketry you’d expect: floating canvas construction, pocket room for extra shotgun rounds, the works.
Plus it’s equally as effective for hunting down a solid happy hour.
If you’ve ever wondered where the indie folk crowd gets those woodsy on-stage suits, we’ve finally got an answer.
Behold Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver. More importantly, behold his new Dunderdon tweed suit, which he’s wearing to the Grammys. (The shirt is Levi’s Vintage Clothing, for the curious.) It’s a halfway point between black tie and “wandering in the woods,” which makes it a pretty good fit.
Of course, he won’t be performing in it on Sunday… but there’s always the next tour.
Now that our wardrobe is firmly in winter mode, we’re donning some variety of tweed on a near-daily basis. It’s some of the most versatile stuff in our closet. So to celebrate the season of tweed, we’ve put together a quick photoset of the fabric at its best. Take notes, gentlemen.
The buttoned-up look doesn’t have many icons, but we’d like to shine a light on one of the best: Mr. Glenn Gould. His origin’s a perfect storm of tweediness—a hypochondriac boy genius of classical music in 1950s Canada—but out of it came some brilliant twists on the staples of menswear—the blazers, ties and sweater-vests that the more ambitious trads are still tussling with today.
Forget trend reports. As soon as the weather gets bad, the Red Wings come out.
This particular pic comes from Mohawk General Store’s latest lookbook, but don’t be surprised if it looks a little familiar. There’s the Gitman shirt (with checks and a button-down collar, of course), the patch-pocket blazer and square-end ties—all hallmarks of most bloggy men’s wardrobes as early as 2009. We can’t see his shoes, but we’re guessing they’re some variety of triple-stitched boot…
It’s an easy reminder: when the temperature drops, Americana always seems to come back into style.
A lot of people overlook their lower half when bundling up for winter, but unless you’re rocking a knee-length overcoat, your legs are going to face some serious chills.
Our suggestion: some extremely thick pants… like these. They come from the up-and-coming Italian brand Camo, with some of the thickest tweed there is. Like most thick wool pants, they don’t come cheap, but little touches like the red-flecked fabric set them off from a less durable version you might pick up for less.
Design-heads might also notice an unusually high rise. (That’s the distance between the belt line and where the legs split off.) It’s an old-fashioned touch we’re seeing a lot more these days—and good news for anyone who feels pinched in modern cuts.
Tweed raises strange passions in a man.
So in honor of their latest batch of Donegal tweed suits, the Nolita tailors Seize sur Vingt put together this four-minute short film about passion, betrayal and an unusually versatile suit. (Spoiler: burglary is involved.) Check it out after the jump.
Between this month’s GQ and a certain Internet-breaking lookbook, the turtleneck-under-a-blazer is having a moment. You’ll want to approach this one with caution, but if you can pull it off you’ll be able to get a lot more wear out of any blazers in your closet—and you’ll be spending the next few months with a much warmer neck than the rest of us.
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