Today’s must-reads from around the Internet.
Today we bring you a treasure trove of leather, shirting and sundries (gracious wink and finger-gun-trigger-pull to our friends over at UrbanDaddy National).
Yes, the gents from Boston’s Ball and Buck have launched a new website and online shop, stocked with exclusive collaborations from the likes of Rancourt & Co., Tellason and Allen Edmonds, along with their own house label.
It’s basically what would happen if a fox hunter teamed up with a tannery run by a barber with an affinity for well-tailored menswear. It’s all glorious, and it’s all made in the USA.
We know you’ve felt it—but probably couldn’t quite put your finger on why the state of social media has been feeling increasingly handsome recently.
We’d hazard a guess that it happened right about when Kempt joined Twitter.
And then again when the factory of expertly filtered dapperness and lifestyle-y-ness popped up in the form of UrbanDaddy’s Instagram. (Our friend Jack here does a pretty good job of encapsulating both.) If you haven’t already hit “follow” on both feeds, we’d advise you to do it immediately. It’s all right, we’ll wait. Go on. Okay, good. You’ll thank us later.
Preferably in under 140 characters.
We’ve spent the entire week speculating on the heirloom futures market, but sometimes it’s good to have a little head start.
Nothing too crazy, just 50 to 60 years or so.
Luckily, our esteemed colleagues at the Washington, DC, bureau of UrbanDaddy have just tipped us off to Hugh & Crye’s recently launched vintage stock. It’s mostly ties, pocket squares and lapel pins—which is a good start in the trinkets department—from the Eisenhower era, but that shouldn’t mean you’ll relegate these to the gray flannel suit days. In fact, a good amount of the ties sport a surprisingly modern slimness. (Plus, there isn’t a more timeless icon than the oriole bird.)
You’ve probably noticed: the sun is shining. As such, our ever-timely comrades over at UrbanDaddy have tipped us off to the newest kid on the sunglass block, Dom Vetro. They’ve told us what we need to know, and we’re paying it forward.
The short story is that sometime last year, Ashley Bezamat set out on a pilgrimage to find master craftsmen of Italian eyewear, hoping to bring their excellence stateside. He found Mecca in Cadore at the foothills of the Italian Alps, where he’s partnered with a family who’ve been making frames and lenses by hand since the 17th century.
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 our editors and writers tick—beyond the Internet handsomeness we’re serving up daily. Whether it’s a mind-bending gallery show, a novel we’ve been reading, an album drop or even just a damn fine pair of pants we’ve been wearing the hell out of, we think you ought to know about it. Welcome to our newest, and most personal, weekly feature: The Kempt Five.
Our friends at UrbanDaddy have tipped us off to the westward expansion of Chicago’s notoriously dapper heritage pop-up market, Northern Grade.
They’re setting up shop in the Bay Area this weekend, and it’s fixing to be the stuff from which sartorial dreams are born. Think raw selvage denim from Cone Mills by way of Tellason, Horween leather riveted into exceptionalism by the gents of Rancourt & Co. and just about all the chambray button-ups and oxford suiting a man’s closet should require.
So if you’re in the San Francisco area, stop by. Have a drink. Eat a pizza. And procure some new duds from the top purveyors of Made-in-the-USA handsomeness.
Slightly inebriated menswear browsing is the best kind of menswear browsing.
Admit it, you can already hear the beach calling… The sand between your toes. The salty sea air. The bikinis… One day soon enough, though, it’ll all be reality. And you’ll need to be prepared.
Luckily, our friends at UrbanDaddy have tipped us off to just the solution: the ever-handsome swimwear selection at Venroy, now finally available in America.
Designed by two Australian surfers-cum-master-boardshort-craftsmen, Venroy has been churning out beautiful swim trunks in Sydney since 2010. And up until now, that’s where they’ve stayed. But as of May 1, the pair has begun shipping to their friends across the Pacific (read: us). The hand-tailored shorts hit that elusive upper-knee sweet spot and come in colors like “guava” and “honeysuckle,” which should have you ready for the approaching seminudity.
A couple crunches might not hurt either.
A little show called Mad Men returns this Sunday.
And heralding this great news has been one of the most stylish ad campaigns we’ve seen in a while. (Not that we’d expect anything less.)
We’re especially digging the chalky illustrations that look like they could’ve been borrowed from the boardroom easel of Draper’s latest pitch. Which isn’t far off, considering the artwork was done by a real-deal advertising illustrator from the 1960s: Brian Sanders, who actually lived the life and lives to tell the tale. AMC recently sat down with Sanders to hear some of it and got a look at the illustrations in their various stages of production—which reveals some interesting details, like the inspiration photo collage depicting Don Draper walking past himself (in the lighter gray suit).
This new menswear shop that’s landed in an impossibly small corner of NYC caught our eye because of its ingenious use of space: it’s basically the two-story equivalent of an imperialism-era traveling wardrobe trunk.
It goes by the name of FOG and they’ve managed to pack as much handsomeness as humanly possible into its well-appointed sliver of NoHo by putting everything on casters that can be pulled and pushed around to reveal a rack of Italian sport coats, or perhaps a few shelves of D.S. Dundee sweaters, or even a drawer full of boat shoes (needless to say, they’ll have you ready for summer). What’s more, our friends over at UrbanDaddy NYC—who got the scoop—created an equally ingenious animated GIF of the shape-shifting shop in action, to really give you a sense of the experience…
Our comrades-in-style over at UrbanDaddy tipped us off to today’s launch of Jardine, the brand-new menswear label helmed by Nathan Bogle—he cofounded a little brand you may have heard of, by the name of Rag & Bone (yes, the CFDA-lauded label started with a couple of guys endeavoring to make a great pair of jeans). Jardine Spring 2013 will be Bogle’s first collection since leaving the label, and luckily, we got to catch up with him to hear the story, get the lowdown on his new line and let him sound off on the post-metrosexual state of menswear.
The brick-and-mortar—not to mention, a lot of handsome hardwood—shop is a veritable menswear bazaar of grail pieces you thought only existed on achingly beautiful Tumblr pages or in some secret back alley in Naples. (Not to fear, there’s an e-commerce arm in the works.) It’s the brainchild of Brian Trunzo (of Nice Try, Bro menswear Internet fame) and fellow former attorney Matt Breen, who’ve been cultivating their shared passion for menswear since their days as law school roommates. And the Internet buzz did not disappoint: there’s custom Southwick and Alfonso Felipe suiting, all the Bastian/Ovadia/Italian silk one closet could handle, vintage watches, luggage, the list goes on. It all makes for one well-heeled feast for the eyes, so without further ado:
A lot of bloggerly ink has been spilled in the excitement over J. Press’s neo-trad capsule collection York Street, helmed by the #menswear golden boys at Ovadia & Sons.
It’s the sort of brilliance that could only happen in the Tumblr age—or by being willed into existence by a small cadre of menswear influencers performing ritualistic dances in some clandestine Ivy League clubhouse. (It could’ve been either, really; we’d rather not comment any further.)
And while it seemed that the stuff would only exist on the Internet, today it all became a reality in a real-life brick-and-mortar shop in NYC—and our friends at UrbanDaddy got us a sneak peek at all the cable-knitted wool and tufted-leather handsomeness. If a trip to the city isn’t in the cards anytime soon, not to worry—all the stuff is available online.
For those of you lucky enough to be in New York City this weekend, we have some really, really ridiculously good-looking news.
Our comrades-in-style over at UrbanDaddy are hosting a two-day, whiskey-infused extravaganza of dapperness called the Vault on Saturday and Sunday in SoHo (70 Wooster St, to be exact).
In said Vault will be untold wonders of menswear from the likes of Michael Bastian, Slowear, Oliver Spencer, Richard James, Barker Black and more, at unheard-of prices—camelhair chesterfields from MB, gray hopsack suits from Richard James Savile Row, the coveted Incotex pants line from Slowear…
As with any good celebration of handsomeness, the scotch will be flowing freely. And if you happen to be in the giving mood, they’ve also set up complimentary on-site gift wrapping. (Just remember to act surprised when you open them later.)
All this talk of layering, bundling, flannel and wool has got us feeling for… swim trunks. Hey, it’s summer-o’-clock somewhere (in the entire southern hemisphere, Miami, LA, the tropics… a lot of places, actually).
And we just so happened to stumble upon this new swimwear label, Solid & Striped (courtesy of our friends at UrbanDaddy LA) that will sell you a pair of trunks in one of the two patterns of its namesake. So in the event that you’ve got any southward migration planned for the winter, here’s what else you need to know.
The Story: It’s the typical Hollywood story: guy moves to LA with dreams of making it big… in the swimsuit industry. (No, this has nothing to do with movies, just a smart choice in headquarters.) He makes the swimsuits with a Euro-leaning cut and disposition. They look great. We start making preparations for a week in Saint Martin.
Who to Channel: James Bond in any beach scene; a Sardinian shipping magnate sipping a Negroni on a breezy afternoon on the Côte d’Azure; 1970s basketball players.
When to Wear It: On the beach, at the pool, in your nearest hot tub… nowhere more than 100 yards from a body of water.
Degree of Difficulty: The length might give you trouble if your upper knee hasn’t seen the light of day for some time, but there’s nothing to do but get out there and begin rectifying the situation.
The more nautical-leaning Americana-philes have been mining the aesthetic of Maine’s craggy coastline for years, so it’s nice to see a shop actually located in Portland, ME, get in on the action. And now they’ve made their way online.
Our friends over at UrbanDaddy tipped us off to the online launch of Seawall—they opened up shop on Wharf Street this past spring and have gotten to work designing a line of made-in-Maine shirting and teaming up with some local brands like Black Point Mercantile, who handmake tough-as-nails totes in Scarborough, ME. They’ve also got some uniquely Maine products like hand-carved trinkets and blueberry medicinal syrup—which may or may not cause hallucinations of being out to sea on a lobster trawler.
Use as directed.
And while there’s plenty of other really, really ridiculously good-looking stuff on the site, we tractor-beamed straight to this robe-styled down parka. In fact, we got a peek at Ian Velardi’s outer-lounge-wear mashup at last winter’s men’s shows and have been thinking of it ever since… wondering if it was all just a dream… or a one-off commissioned by some mystical blogger-king… until now (and Wittmore has got the exclusive). We’ll admit, it’s an advanced move in every sense, but if you can pull it off, you’ll be spending the next few months basking in a regal cocoon of next-level coziness.
You might never take this thing off.
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.
Our brothers in arms over at UrbanDaddy Chicago recently caught up with Illinois’s native son Nick Offerman, best known for his mustachioed brawniness (and playing a guy named Ron Swanson on TV). Below, we’ve got the full interview, including a few additional nuggets of wisdom that didn’t make it into the article.
You’ve heard this one before, but it bears repeating: treat your leather gear right, and it’ll last forever. (The same goes for waxed cotton, while we’re at it.) And since you’ve already got your boots and Barbour, it’s time to learn about keeping them fresh.
As it turns out, it’s not too different from your skin care regimen—a little goop and a little diligence. For the details, we sat down with Chris Chase of Portland’s Otter Wax, maker of some of our favorite leather and waxed cotton revitalizers. (If you were wondering where to pick some up, it’s available from our brothers at UD Perks.) Here’s what he had to say.
One of the perks of the blogging life is that we occasionally get to sit down with brilliant designers. Now is one of those times.
The gentleman in question is Tim Little, the Creative Director at Grenson, a mastermind of broguing who happens to have a few exclusive vibram-soled items available exclusively from our friends at UrbanDaddy Perks. We sat down with Mr. Little to talk boots, heritage, and the intersection of British and American workwear.
What’s your philosophy for designing these boots?
We try to take the essence of what the company is—the heritage, the history, everything we’re good at—and make that relevant for today. Everything comes from a very long line of what we¹ve done over the years. We use all the same styling from the past 100 years of Grenson, but we updated it, changed the materials slightly, to bring it up to date.
Vintage lover and Friend-of-Kempt David Hart has been one of our favorite tie men since we saw his scotch-plaid bow ties back in November, but after his UrbanDaddy write-up, we figured it was time to give his wardrobe a closer look.
Now that we’ve set you up with a moped, you may need a tougher jacket to get you through the occasional wipeout. After all, even the briefest brush with the pavement will leave your peacoat well and truly tattered.
Our friends at UrbanDaddy tipped us off Smith & Butler, a biker-inspired shop in Brooklyn that happens to have some of the best gear in the borough. Old favorites like Barbour and Belstaff should keep you protected while you’re riding, but there’s plenty else to check out while you’re here.
Brands like Filson, Pendleton and Pointer make up one of the best workwear collections you’ll find anywhere, alongside nautical sweaters from Saint James and some choice photography books from Rin Tanaka. Add in a few well-chosen vintage items, and you’ve got one of our favorite new stores.
Hopefully your moped makes it to Brooklyn.
Our friends at UrbanDaddy put us onto this late 60s picture of Miles Davis—currently on sale in limited edition at New York’s Morrison Hotel Gallery—and it made us reconsider the man as an unlikely style icon.
For one, those sunglasses were custom-made, and should look familiar to anyone who’s walked around Los Angeles in the last few summers. (Then again, you probably mostly saw them on women.) Even if the afro-futurist look hasn’t caught on outside of a few Atlanta natives, Davis’ ideas about style deserve a lot more attention than they get.
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