September is a big month in the print world of menswear. It sets the tone for the following season (and, effectively, the remainder of the year).

It also means the page counts are at their bulkiest—so many woolen things, so little time. And in our continued dedication to sussing it all out, we’ve thumbed through the 1,000-plus pages (we’ve thrown in the bonus round of Vanity Fair since they’ve weighed in on the year’s best-dressed men) just for you.

Let’s dig into the September issues, shall we…

 
 
Esquire (194 pages):

Tim Riggins and Stringer Bell on the cover strikes such a chord with us that we’ll gladly overlook the weird photoshopping that’s happening (especially in regard to that spilt drink).

It’s thinnest of the September issues—the only one weighing in under 200 pages—and it looks like they’re planning on focusing more time on up-and-coming actors than fall style. Bold move.

From the looks of Willem Dafoe et al, Prada is trying to make the male brooch happen for fall. (Or they’re trying to make up for not remembering to put buttonholes on their lapels.)

Cucinelli Boyz. Whatup.

Kaley Cuoco spent two years fighting to get IMDB to update her photo. Perhaps they confused Big Bang Theory for a counterculture Russian punk band.

Big surprise: Frank Langella is a steely old codger who has got his shit together.

The Nora Arnezeder joke is much more bearable when she tells it (instead of having to read it).

Your workout tip of the month, chosen at random: wearing a specially fitted mouthpiece while working out can increase your performance. Or you could just jut your bottom jaw forward for a similar effect.

Corduroy is the essential suit for this fall. Nice to see corduroy get some love, but we might just stick to a blazer. (It’s always a good idea to limit the potential of hearing that indescribable sound of corduroy on corduroy.)

This month’s “watch the throne” moment: Esky’s list of best-dressed NFL players includes Tim Tebow and Victor Cruz (at number one). GQ has one on the cover and the other in a six-page editorial.

Todd Snyder. If you aren’t already, keep an eye out for his name.

Kristen Bell manages three costume changes in three pages. All bikinis. And she’s the voice of Gossip Girl? Can’t knock the hustle.

The “New Simplicity” spread of must-haves seems all good and well, except for a few stretches, especially a gold-buttoned green velvet blazer—unless you’re Liberace and have just won the Masters.

We’d like to have a beer with Tommy Lee Jones.

Easily the best-looking pictorial of the magazine: the cross-country ode to drunken munchies.

 
 
GQ (300 pages):

Before we start, we’d like to point out that we picked the Tim Tebow cover. Mostly for the sake of irony—what with Tebow-mania descending upon New York and his doughy, wide-eyed vulnerability staring back at us—it just was too good to pass up. Cam Newton’s tweed and chiseled-ness just seemed like the easy choice—he looks like he belongs on the cover of a GQ. #WarEagle

Wherein we begin flipping through ads, feverishly…

Hey, Ewan McGregor in Belstaff… still flipping.

Okay, and we’ve finally arrived at the contents. On page 77.

Jim Nelson’s letter from the editor starts with about two sentences about football (this month’s theme!) and spends the rest on politics/the election. (And reveals an obsession with the surprising number of male cheerleaders who’ve gone on to become Republican presidents. Full circle.)

Stop the presses: pant cuffs are back!

The guy who’s designed every Nike Air Jordan is named Tinker. He’s also responsible for the visible air bubble. We suspect there’s a “just tinker with it” joke somewhere in this.

Last month in the manual we read about razor-knicked nether regions, this month it’s a lot of butt-crack metaphors. If there’s not enough room in the seat of your pants, you need to find a pair that fits right. Simple as that. Same goes for your underwear—opt for full coverage and you shouldn’t have to wear an under-tank (as the article ultimately suggests).

GQ is calling the new suit-with-sneakers trend “Geezer Style.” Oddly, it seems to require a lot of jumping around.

Mos Def. Yasiin Bey. Whatever he’s going by now. One cool cat any way you slice it.

This Cat Power conversation gets pretty good halfway through (we’ll assume that’s about when the next round of drinks showed up). “I am just going where the wine takes me” is either the most poetic typo we’ve ever read, a great Merle Haggard reference, or Chan Marshall is on some next-level-ness.

The back-to-back stories on an art contest in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a gun shop in Yuma, Arizona, confirm all assumptions about Middle America: a mosaic Jesus beats out world-class art for a $250,000 prize and the gun shop had a line out the door the day after the Giffords shooting. (To buy guns, not protest them.)

Wow, this is a handsome, football-inspired editorial shoot with a—oh, wait, this is the Cam Newton profile. Could’ve fooled us with the red knit hat, oxford cloth button-down and desert boots.

Hold on just a second. Victor Cruz is holding a chihuahua that’s wearing two chains and sunglasses with its nails painted pink. (Footnote: he’s also wearing six different pinstripe suits.)

Let’s end on that note.

 
 
Details (234 pages):

The one correction states that Michael Phelps has won 14 gold medals. We wonder if there will be a correction to the correction next month (he’s won 18).

A lot of well-respected car companies are going the collab route. It’s only a matter of time before car hoods have two badges with an “x” between them.

The new sought-after hyphenate for A-listers is “artist.” Example A: this Lindsay Lohan video.

Ray Liotta felt the need to step in and take a cinematic beating during his last film because his stunt guy was older than him, and he “wasn’t going to let him do stuff I could do.” After all these years, still a good fellow.

The “103 Rules of Wearing a Suit” is less rules and more of a roundup of everything but suits—from shoes to grooming products.

Cover boy Jake Gyllenhaal is ready for his close-up. There’s a lot of black-and-white brooding happening—especially from his beard. There is no mention of Taylor Swift’s breakup song.

Curiously, Details is running a story on the party scene in Vegas (focusing on the profitable world of club DJing) and so did GQ (focusing on the most profitable club in the world, Marquee). Condé Nast carpool?

Suffice it to say, six printed pages does not allow for enough bandwidth to fully explain the rabbit hole that is Internet memes.

 
 
Vanity Fair (358 pages):

In this bonus round, we’re cutting to the chase: the 2012 Style Awards. (And cutting even more into the chase of the chase, we’re just talking men’s style. Apologies to our Lady Gaga fan readers.)

Eddie Redmayne is the headliner. A smart choice.

Great to see Matt Lauer get some shine.

Victor Cruz is having one helluva September. He’ll never have to salsa on command ever again.

Prince Harry looks so regal when he can keep his clothes on.

And the award for most unoriginal answers goes to Tom Brady, which include “My football uniform,” “Any GQ magazine” and “Amazon.com.”

A well-deserved HOF nod to Ozwald Boateng. Dude is always on point.

And finally, it’s interesting to see a few contemporaries included in the canon of Icons alongside the Brandos and Belmondos: Clooney, DiCaprio and Depp.

Oh, and for reasons unbeknownst to us, Carson Daly gets some Vanity Fair ink. (We’re assuming it’s totally unrelated to the above.)

—N.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar