Kempt

world of men's style / fashion / grooming

An UrbanDaddy Publication

Head-to-Toe Blanket Wool

  • Najib Benouar

021214_Blanket_6

Just when you thought this winter couldn’t get any colder, it gets so cold that you’d seriously consider going outdoors swaddled in a giant wool blanket.

Sadly, that won’t be in style until next winter. But luckily, some of our favorite wool mills—famous for making blankets—also cut that thick wool into shirts and pants and... bucket hats.

So, in the event that you’d like every single item on your person to be made of blanket-grade wool, here’s how you’ll do it, from head to toe...»

Getting First Shot at FSC’s New Custom Suit

  • Kempt Staff

Freemans

We spend a good deal of time gushing over brightly colored pants and double-breasted blazers, but there’s something to be said for having a good knock-around suit at your disposal.

It’s the workhorse in any modern man’s closet and worth investing a little extra in.

A prime example: the latest custom offering from the neo-rustic Americana-philes at Freemans Sporting Club—exclusively on presale through our friends at UrbanDaddy Perks.

The gents at Freemans spent nearly a year perfecting this 7 oz tropical wool American-made suit in the requisite shade of charcoal gray—and it’s got all the bells and whistles you’d expect, including a fully canvassed jacket. Since it’s a custom deal, you’ll have to be in NYC to meet with FSC’s on-premises master tailor in their bespoke studio... hidden behind an upstairs bookshelf in their eponymous restaurant.

Which will play out a lot like this slick video they’ve put together of the process.»

The Stat Sheet: Cardigan’s Dean Sweatshirt

  • Najib Benouar

Cardigan’s Dean Sweatshirt

It’s just finally starting to warm up, but we’re not quite into gray cotton sweatshirt territory just yet...

Unless you’ve got one that’s been toughened up with a bit of merino wool, like this Dean Sweatshirt from Cardigan. At first glance, this heather-gray crewneck looks just like all the other upcycled cotton gym sweatshirts that have been flooding the market, but this one is secretly packing some extra warmth with a 50% merino wool/cotton blend. Here’s what else you need to know.

The Story: Cardigan is an NYC-based knitwear label focused solely on the concept of the sweater in all of its forms (most notably, the cardigan), so you can expect a thoughtfully made sweatshirt here—even down to the telltale triangle stitch at the collar.

Who to Channel: A young JFK sailing one of his first rigs; a particularly dapper boxer; Paul Newman on a dirt bike.

When to Wear It: When all signs point to a perfect spring day, but it’s actually still about 20 degrees colder than it looks.

Think of This As: Your secret weapon in your early spring arsenal.

Your moments of inspiration, after the jump.»

The Weekend Sales Report Card

  • Kempt Staff

Sales

We’ve filtered through all of the online sale noise and graded your best options out there, should you feel inclined to do any menswear browsing this weekend...

For the Europhile: With plenty of items at up to 80% off at the Corner, you’ll have to do some digging (and get lucky with sizes), but there are some good finds for the Maison Martin Margiela, Andrea Pompilio and Dries Van Noten fans out there. Discount: A Sizes Available: C+ Selection: B

For the Bits and Bobs: Sir Jack’s has a wide range of menswear, accessories and grooming products for up to 60% off. Discount: B+ Sizes Available: B Selection: A

For the Blanket Statement: A good wool blanket is a good thing to have—and hard to find a deal on—so the 30% off Context is running on their stock is worth a look. Discount: A Sizes Available: N/A Selection: B+

For Falling Forward: Things are going fast and the sale ends at midnight tonight, but if you want to snag some Todd Snyder fall gear for up to 68% off, act quick. Discount: B+ Sizes Available: A Selection: A+

The Five Warmest Socks on Earth

  • Najib Benouar

Let’s not mince words here: it’s cold out. And it’s coldest on the ground—which means you should be paying careful attention to keeping your feet as warm as bipedally possible.

So we went ahead and rounded up the warmest socks on the market—many of which won’t look out of place on your regular rotation of pastels and patterns.

Without further ado: some really incredibly warm socks for your winter strolling pleasure.»

Capsule New York, by the Numbers

Every year around this time, the pantheon of fine menswear purveyors sets up shop in a warehouse deep in the hinterlands of Manhattan. And every year around this time, we trek downtown to check it out. Since most brands show clothes that won’t be available for about six months—and because the show is enormous—we decided the best thing to do was break it down, using our patented scientific formula.

Ergo, Capsule New York 2013, by the numbers:»

The December Issues

  • Najib Benouar

As your calendar should've notified you, we’re a week into December—which means the new crop of magazines hit the newsstands a little bit ago. But in case they got lost in the holiday jumble, we’ve flipped through them all to give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about this month in menswear journalism.

The December issues were full of reflection on a year that seemed more dismal to some (Esquire) than others (GQ) and mostly about watching TV to Details. And, for the first two, possibly about ushering in a new era of the casually printed nipple. (Here’s to looking forward to 2013 on that one.)

Without further ado, we bring you the month in menswear journalism.»

The Stat Sheet: S. N. S. Herning Apex Mittens

  • Najib Benouar

Behold: grown-man mittens.

They’re a rare breed this day and age, but the Danes at S. N. S. Herning are still making a pair—and their Apex Mittens have just landed at SF’s Unionmade with the rest of S. N. S. Herning’s woolly goodness for the season. Here’s what else you need to know.

The Story: S. N. S. Herning has been swaddling the Danish coast in 100% pure new wool since 1931, using a “bobble” knit that’s thick, durable and warm and looks pretty darn cool when you see it in a pattern on a sweater... or mittens.

Who to Channel: Sir Edmund Hillary ascending Mount Everest; a really dapper snowman; a heavyweight boxer.

When to Wear Them: Within three miles of a log cabin; once it’s gotten too cold to text outdoors; anytime an impromptu snowball fight might break out.

Degree of Difficulty: Somewhat high. These are mittens. There’s a real risk of ending up looking like the little brother from A Christmas Story or that guy on the cover of Fuck Yeah Menswear. Try and stay somewhere in between those two and you should be fine.

Both dangerous ends of the spectrum, after the jump.»

The Stat Sheet: Wool Cable-Knit Fisherman’s Hat

  • Najib Benouar

As the temps drop, you’re going to want something to stop your ears from going numb—and a trusty wool hat should do the trick. This Vermont-made wool cable-knit version from Palmer Trading Company that’s just landed at the newly minted Wittmore webshop is the perfect example. Here’s what you need to know about it.

The Story: A few years back, a couple of guys from Massachusetts moved their barn to NYC’s West Village and set up shop in the general store of every Americana-phile’s dreams—and they’ve since begun sourcing limited-run, American-made goods from places like Vermont (where a small knitting factory makes these hats).

Who to Channel: Salty sea captains, The Boss, Serpico.

When to Wear It: Anytime the weather drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Expiration Date: Late March, if you’re in the Northeast. Otherwise, please refer to “when to wear it” above.

Degree of Difficulty: Extremely low. Pull it onto your head (don’t do that thing where it sags off the back of your cranium) and proceed with your day. Take it off when indoors or on a red carpet.

Iconic shots of how it’s done right, after the jump.»

In the Blazer Game, Tweed Trumps Tech

  • Najib Benouar

This season has already seen a good deal of technical innovation in the blazer department—ripstop nylon ones, down-filled ones, unidentifiably sheen ones—but sometimes it’s better to stick with what’s always worked.

Case in point: the latest limited-edition suiting from J.Crew. It’s made from thorn-proof English wool that’s just landed at their Ludlow Shop and online. If the name alone hasn’t sold you—“Thornproof” sounds like some sort of British spy code name—the fact that this twofold woven tweed has protected hunters from the pointed ends of the woods since 1837 should work. They’ve kept all the old-school details (like patch pockets and hand-finished lapels), but updated it with a modern fit—handy for any autumnal bike rides involving a companion and prickly trailside brush. And like its tech-fabric counterparts, this jacket’s fabric was made to take the rigors of fall and winter exploits—but it should leave you with an even better-looking jacket after a few seasons of roughing up.

There’s nothing handsome about scuffed nylon ripstop.

The Anti-Peacoat

  • Najib Benouar

If you’re expecting to find yourself anywhere as foggy as the UK in the near future, we’d like to direct you to this wool coat from the Brit minimalists at Folk that’s just landed at Hickoree’s Hard Goods.

It’ll have you covered in just about any situation where you would have reached for your peacoat this time last year, but it sticks with a single-breast and ups the ante with a shawl collar—which should have you standing out in the soon-to-be-swelling sea of double-breasted Melton wool.

And high tide is coming sooner than you might think.

Blanket Statement

  • Najib Benouar

The closer we get to October, finding the nearest crackling fire and blanket-mate starts sounding better and better.

And if you don’t already have a few yards of wool handsome enough to hang off the back of your couch while still outdoorsy enough for an impromptu road trip, we may have found what you’re looking for: the Foot Soldier blanket from Old Faithful Shop—who commissioned the Minnesotan blanketeers at Faribault Woolen Mills to weave an exclusive pattern of their military-spec blanket.

Which, coincidentally, calls for just enough room for two.

Your Head Start on Fall

  • Najib Benouar

Suitsupply has found itself in a perfect storm of an Italian menswear revival, a new era of high-tech tailoring and a current generation of young, hungry and pennywise enthusiasts. And the Dutch company is handling it all quite handsomely. (You’d be hard-pressed to do any better at the numbers they’re asking.)

So even if the boiling hot temps aren’t subsiding anytime soon, it would be remiss of us not to alert you that their new fall wares—chock-full of wool and cashmere blends—are available for preorder now. Because if you’re not in one of the three American cities where they’ve set up shop (NYC, DC and Chicago), you’re going to have to work quickly to get a leg up on the rest of America.

You’ll thank yourself later.

A Blaze of Spring Glory

  • Najib Benouar

We are smack-dab in the middle of spring. One day it’s gloomier than a San Franciscan summer, the next: so wonderful you’re half expecting to see cartoon birds flying around. In other words, versatility is the name of the game here.

And this wool fresco blazer that has just come off the wire from Atlanta’s dandy-extraordinaire Sid Mashburn is right on time. The wool’s from England—perhaps the world’s foremost experts on this sort of weather—so it’s substantial enough for a brisk, umbrella-in-your-briefcase day, yet breathable when the sun decides to make an appearance midafternoon. The rest is everything you’d expect from Mr. Mashburn: trim cut, fully canvassed, just structured enough to not lose shape. It’s a lot like the one on this week’s MOTH, Michael K. Williams—which, if you remember, is how you should be dressing right now.

Stately Southern drawl not included.