Tuesday, April 22, 2014

GOP Socks

HW and I are on a first name basis, or so my email would tell me.

Anyway, I got an emessage from him a few days ago -- he's pretty hip these days -- concerning a new venture of his:

I don’t know what your guilty pleasures are in life, but one of mine is socks.
I’m a self-proclaimed sock man. The louder, the brighter, the crazier the pattern -- the better! It’s usually the first thing people notice I’m wearing whenever I’m out in public and that’s the way I like it.
So when Chairman Reince Priebus asked me to write to you on behalf of the Republican National Committee (RNC), I told him I’d be happy to do it. But on one condition: my letter to you had to involve socks.
I’m proud to say the RNC has commissioned a limited-edition pair of socks in my honor. Embroidered with the Republican elephant and my signature on them, they’re sure to get you noticed.
You can get your own pair today or as a gift for your favorite Republican by sending a special campaign contribution of $35 or more to the RNC now. And if you donate $35 or more to the RNC now, your gift will be matched by a group of donors. 
(the rest is edited out for brevities sake)
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So, following other sock brand kickstarters selling subpar socks, the GOP has gotten on that band wagon.  
You can wear these as a way to ensure that you'll never be ganked by a CIA spook and as a way to support the right-wing oligarchy.  
The left-wing oligarchy hasn't caught on yet but I'd expect them to be selling Jimmy Carter peanut crafts on kickstarter within the week. 
I understand that HW is a big sock guy but you'd think that they'd at least be over-the-calf.

Regardless, this GOP funding campaign looks no different than a "BRAND NEW SOCK BRAND COMPANY ABOUT COOL DESIGNS". Perhaps this campaign doesn't speak to how crap a political party is but to how crap crowd-sourced clothing brands are. If political party can do it, can't we all?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Spring is here and, once again, life is exciting for reasons other than bad weather.

Don't have any excitement in your life? Don't worry. Every mens clothing company ever has you covered.

They're going to sell you some exciting jackets.

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They're bright. They have print.

They're crrraaaazzzzzyyyyyyy.

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It's something that would be featured in a GQ spring issue.

Don't take the bait.

Exciting clothes are for unexciting people. Or rather, people who see an exciting coat and say, "Well, I'm pretty exciting so I should probably have that."

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This coat has been on sale for a year, I'm pretty sure.

Coincidence? I think not.

Do you know why Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery?

His bright-ass coat.

Don't get sold into slavery.

Wear boring coats.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Are your pants too tight?

I hadn’t heard from Sam Franklin for sometime so I had a pleasant surprise last Friday when I got an email from him. 

It wasn’t the typical, questioning drivel I’ve become used to; it was a well-thought out explanation of a rule of thumb(law). Tiring of the deafening subjectivity of #menswear philosophists, SF drafted a test for a transgression that he and I have seen far too much of. He then sent it to me in an encrypted file (the paranoia of any great creator is that someone may take your work) which I have just now unlocked to share with all of you.

His post isn’t long and it offers helpful insight into your day-to-day functioning as an adult male who purchases trousers perhaps a tad-too-small. We’ve all done it, but recognizing that you’ve done it - that is, purchase trousers a tad-too-small - is the first step to correcting your errors. 


how u now u trosers are too small? 

if pepple can c your pen is

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no one wants to c your penis in pubic

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sartorial doctrine more like penile doctrine amaright?

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matt peen wers pants too small

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some ppl grow pubes on their face

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how do u no your pants r too tight?

pen is

dats how.

learn the basics

folow the rule

no man is a island

every man is a pen island

- Sam Franklin

photos from:

Monday, January 27, 2014

Esquire TV

There’s been little buzz about Esquire’s new endevor, television. Ivy-Style ran a post about it, but it was merely a +1 for Ben Silver. It’s a men’s lifestyle/living magazine. How could it not be relevant?

Anyway, I decided to take some time to watch some uninspired television and let you what I think.

First up: White-Collar Brawlers. The premise of the show is to get two office mates who don’t like each other particularly much, train them for two months and then have ‘em beat the snot out of each other. 

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You get a good primer of current #Americanofficewear. The guy on the left is going to be fighting the guy on the right. You can already tell where this is headed. Where is the suspense?

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#americanofficewear continues. It’s like “The Office” but they’re not wearing it as a mirror of reality. 

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Gym-trainer-guy is skeptical of the chubby asian man and is regretting to get involved in this TV show. When gym-trainer-guy asks the chubby asian man why he is getting in the fight, the man, on the spot, replies that he is trying to get fit and prove to his wife that he can take care of himself... and her... when they’re at the bar. The TV producers run with that theme and make it the subject of the episode.

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 Chubby asian man’s wife.

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Jeff Gordon’s old Dupont car weighs in. He has little insight. He could be fed lines from the producer. I can’t tell because the lines are wish-washy and flaccid. 

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Allegedly fit man has run a marathon. They don’t tell us his time. Darn. I was hoping for an ego inflation. Cool sunglasses, right?

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Chubby asian man pep talk. Do it for your wife, chubby asian man! You can do it!

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The fight is about to start! They have a tuxedoed announcer and rustic chairs filling an old manufacturing room. Friends and family are there. Chubby asian man’s wife looks anxious. 

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Chubby asian man has lost weight and is ready to take on Donkey Teeth. 

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This isn’t going well for our hero.

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Donkey Teeth wins. 

It’s ok though, chubby asian man has gotten more fit and has self-respect. Self-worth comes from inside, the show implies, as everyone cheers for the chubby asian man as well as Donkey Teeth, validating their existence. The irony punches you in the face much harder than either of these guys ever could.  

Either way, this show is kind of boring. Two men who don’t know how to box are pitted against one another, story lines are created, and then they box ungracefully and on unequal levels. If I wanted to watch bad boxing, I’d go get drunk with my volatile friends.

Next show: special about the best bars in America.

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Two comedians, one possibly of Polack descent, the other likely of Italian, get drunk, posit some fed lines to the camera, and don’t live up to their job description. 

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In one scene, the Italian comedian approaches two women by asking if they frequent there often. The camera pauses as the Polack shakes his head at his friend’s ineptitude, building a climax to see if the Italian will get shut down. He doesn’t. Why doesn’t he? Why can’t there be a crest, fall, and crescendo like any good flick? Why is there not heartbreak here, only to be mended at another bar? Or even just a storyline about how cool brodom can be (a la Superbad or any military flick)?

“Do you guys come here often?”

It just rolls right off the tongue.

I’ll have to try it next time. I bet it works.

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They count their drinks like proper frat dudes. Pro. We wonder why we have a binge drinking problem.

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The dudes spend like anywhere from $200-$500 per night on drinks. I hope Esquire foots the bill. The beers pictured are only like $5, which isn’t bad.

This show is set up like a History Channel or TLC special and performs like one.

Next show: Alternate Route feat. Matt Hranek of The William Brown Project. 

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The episode I watched was the one were Matt goes to Charleston and does stuff.

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They show us his hotel room. It’s either a Hampton or a fancy one downtown. Can you tell?*

*It’s a fancy one downtown.

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Matt goes to a restaurant and eats food like he knows exactly what he’s looking for. He’s an expert.

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He drives a nice car around for the weekend. They tell us, “Matt is cool. He drives this car.” Hranek explains why he likes the car so much because he knows a lot about cars as well, apparently.

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He visits legendary store, Ben Silver and is shown around by ‘also-legend’, Bob Prenner.

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Hranek proclaims to the audience that he has found his style sweet spot. He knows. 

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Prenner discusses his shop with Hranek and shows him their product, which is all dope. Hranek tells Prenner that he has been thinking about brass buttons on his grey jacket. Prenner tells Hranek to stop being daft while avoiding telling the camera that Hranek’s idea is bad and will result in a poor looking jacket.

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Hranek then goes to a flea market and tells us how to shop for deals, using the phrase “I” a lot when describing how to do things. 

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He also goes digging for clams. He lets the pros take care of this one.

This show appears to be a “No Reservations” knock-off but lacks severely. Where Bourdain sold his show through a balance of knowledge and self-deprecation, this show is stuck in a weird sort of self-aggrandizement. In “No Reservations”, the host frames the show and not the other way around. If were grabbing a formula show (that being “No Reservations”), you should at least complete all the variables appropriately. G. Bruce Boyer, whose’s Ivy-Style response is a bit more vicious than my review, nails it on the head.

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Next show: Risky Listings, a show about restaurant real estate in NYC.

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This show is petty, silly, a little forced, but so goddamn brilliant. It’s the quintessential reality show, only the reality occurs at work and not in a hot tub. Each character is looking out for numero uno, as Mr. Bossman herds them like cats.

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Because I am generally interesting in clothing and how people wear it, it was interesting to see how these guys picked up one certain things. They’ll pick up on some stuff that has been circulating what we would call #menswear and then they’ll completely miss certain stuff, have a void, an fill it with old frat wear or european club wear. 

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This show has absurd premises, ridiculous buyers (see above), and lots of character infighting. There are a couple of decisions where you can see the writing on the wall. Reality is coming like a freight train and it looks so good. This is the best show on Esquire TV that I had the opportunity to watch.


Next show: How I rock It. 

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This show does anything but. Baron Davis, the host, awkwardly introduces each awkward guest, who have screen time devoted without the presence of Davis or any competent host to mitigate the unseemliness. 

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Even if Davis were there, the cursory overview of each person or people hardly breaks down any sort of glass that exists between the viewer and the guest.

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Most telling is the segment of Shimon and  Ariel Ovadia. While brilliant menswear designers, the Ovadia brothers don’t seem to be fit for the camera. The segment painfully bumbles along as the brothers provide awkward answers to sterile questions, using a tone not unlike a tone some one would use when their doctor asks them about sex, cigarettes, or alcohol. The segment is bizarrely rescued by actor Vincent Piazza, who, accustomed to the camera, warms the scene with just a few slick lines. I don’t know how he does it, it’s not like it even has any authenticity to it, it just flows. 

The producer foists the responsibility of carrying the segment to the subjects, which not all are capable of doing. The Ovadia brothers were probably put on earth to design men's clothing, not cater to a TV audience.

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This is probably where the show fails: Baron Davis is the “host” but the real hosts are the subject of each segment. Some are accustomed to being followed around by a camera and are brilliant in their own narcissism (see above), which this show lauds. Others, not so much, and the show flounders despite having a Sesame Street style clip rotation. 

Esquire TV has growing pains, that’s for sure. It has some bright spots and some new TV shows that I didn’t have time to get to (disclosure: I was doing the watching over Christmas Break). Like any fledgling, it’s a work in progress. Viewers are an easy telling guide of whether to drop a show or not. However, when I watch some of these shows, I notice a lot of these problems could be nipped at the bud with a bit more oversight by “head honcho” Esquire TV. 

Esquire TV appears to be largely letting producers do what they want. However, for a network to be brilliant, I’m pretty sure Esquire TV has to (a) only get good producers or (b) explicitly structure a network frame so that each show furthers the network’s vision, tell the producers what you want, and then ensure that the man behind the camera does what you want. Don’t dabble in TV, grab it by the balls.

Of course, not being experienced in TV, I could be way off base. But that seems unlikely.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Ringing Bells


In a series of cold days, this was probably a warm spell. I didn’t have to wear a hat. 

My father had volunteered himself and a random family member to ring the bell for the Salvation Army outside the local Wal-Mart, a small kindness -- if you could even call it that; perhaps more along the lines of “not too much of an inconvenience”. I was the random family member.

When we started ringing the bells -- terrible, annoying things, really -- it was sunny and fairly warm for late November. Two years prior, my father and I were ringing in the dark, stamping our feet and breathing condensation into wool scarves. The Penn State game against Wisconsin had been on the radio and we listened as Bill Bradley limped the team to the end. Some people like to act like work is some sort of immortal creation, both to yourself and the communities you work in. That season for the local area had been a testament to that fallacy. 

Anyway, the community had moved on and the sun was shining and a girls softball team from the neighboring town was attempting to raise funds a few meters away from our red bucket. They weren’t very successful as town rivalries run deep, something fathers and mothers with ‘just the most special children’ tend to forget. They were selling Krispy Kremes, which are fuckin’ gross. A father of a team member was heckling the locals, trying to get them to buy some donuts. There’s something about overweight men in sweats, heckling shoppers, that makes people not want to buy donuts. I’m not sure if I can put my finger on it.


Sometime in between where I could no longer hear myself think and when the fat, donut selling, man became demoralized, a black Chevy Astro van, circa ’95 so you’re probably familiar with the model, pulled up in the yellow warning paint of the Wal-Mart and was put into park. The paint on the hood was corroded as well as around the tires, so it sort of looked like the sort of vehicle that would appear in The Expendables other than the handicapped tag above the dash. A slight, orange camo-wearing guy, graying and sprite with a pornstar mustache(?), popped out of the drivers side of the car and busily hurried inside. A minute later and half-a-dozen, “Have a Merry Christmas” calls to donors from my father and I, he came back out riding a motorized scooter designated for handicaps. He did so nonchalantly; he had done it a thousand times. He parked it just outside of the passenger door of the Astro van. The passenger door opened and a feminine blob slid off the passenger seat, took two dainty steps, and slid its way onto the motorized scooter. The scooter, not aware of it’s passenger, zipped off into the store. The man got back into the vehicle and pulled into a handicapped spot where he sat and silently waited.


Sometime later and after a few breaks to read the instructions on the back of the sign such as:




The van moved.

It turned on, backed up, and returned to it’s spot in the yellow paint. The sprite, camouflaged man hopped out and opened his phone. I was bit busy at this point, ringing the bell and telling, “Merry Christmas,” to donors, to discern what he was doing or saying. But in less than a minute, the blob glided out of the automatic doors on her scooter, with the basket on the scooter filled above the brim, and towing, with one arm,  a cart full of frozen pizza, tomatoes, salad, milk, cereal, bread, bananas, Diet Coke, jelly, yogurt, cheese, peanut butter, and who knows what else -- maybe there were some Christmas presents hidden in there. A caravan, in a modern sense. The cart zipped around to the back of the van and the couple(?) began to load the groceries into the vehicle. The feminine blob hacked and coughed as the cold had begun to set in as the sun retreated behind a cloud and the air was dry. The scooter drove around to the passenger side after the loaded had ended, and the woman loaded herself into the passenger side, with a hephephuuuuuuurrrrrruuuuuuuupppppp and she was in. The man got into the drivers side and drove off. 

The scooter sat abandoned. 

The lousy donut salesman, with nothing better to do, walked over to the scooter, hopped on and drove it inside. 

We finished up our shift by taking off the aprons and handing the bells to the new ringers. My father bought a dozen donuts from the girls softball team because he felt bad. 

Hard work doesn’t always create great things. Often it creates very normal things, like having a bit of food for the coming week.

Sometimes people like to act like their hard work sets them apart but, since a lot of people work very hard, it’s much more likely that ideas and ideals do that.

And ideas and ideals are bullshit. 

You are perhaps set apart by bullshit.

You should be proud.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In which a Buzzfeed/Gawker/Jezebel writer writes an unintentional fiction about #menswear because they need things to conform to their world-view

Men have been dressing way better recently, right? I don’t know, maybe. People still wear Jets hoodies at the bars I go to but sometimes I see a guy wearing a blazer and jeans or maybe even a tie and shit, and I, like, totally swoon, right?

Where did this come from? How can I explain this phenomenon? It’s probably because women are earning more money so men have to gussy up a bit. I took a feminist studies course one semester so I’m an expert about changing gender identities. Yeah, that’s totally it. Woman power is causing men to up their game and not look like a goat vomited up a sweater. Once one guy discovered that wearing classy, Paul Newman-esque, things, then everyone realized it works. Guys think with their dicks so totally.

Why do #menswear writers make rules lists? I just stumbled upon #menswear blogs so I'm an expert now. Don’t they know that everything is subjective except for the things that I don’t want to be subjective? Here I say, “something really misinformed about the menswear industry.”

Men want to dress well because they’re all fuckin’ conformists. Yep, that’s it. You all wear those ties and jackets and boots and look like a clone and I hate it. I wish everyone dressed grunge because that’s how I dress and I want to be able to say, “I dressed grunge but now I dress like I’m from suburban Calgary and need to wear a parka everywhere because everyone dresses grunge now.”

Something provocative and obviously wrong to drive pageviews from #menswear acolytes leaving comments after a couple people link this article on their twitter and a Valet mention.

A run on sentence about socks.

Men dress well now because they want to be their grandfathers. This is it. I need to make statements like this because it was what I was trained to do. Make conclusions. Consider but discard other formulas. Let us simplify things because this post would be far too long. #menswear identity can be summed up in a shitty internet post. Humanity can be summed up in a shitty internet post. Do I get free coffee and maybe a daily column now?

If I'm wrong it doesn't matter because #menswear is a conversation we need to be having. Communication breaks down barriers. Just to show you that I'm right.


Friday, November 1, 2013


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Big #menswear movement. They’ve been taking over “the game” and you don’t even know how to handle how they interpret style through their lenses. 

Their pictures just get you, man.

So stylish.


Giving men an apex to climb to and all else is trash. 

The movement started in 2005.

This shit is 8.

What is an #influencer?

“BUT-REALLY-DOE-I-JUS’-TAKE-PITCHERS-OF-MAH-FRIENDS” photographers have been presenting the best of the style world for a number of years and have plenty of published works. They make up at least half (nah, more than that) of tumblr. They’ve been featured on GQ, Esquire, and yours truly (nah, not really, might be cool though? prolly not, i hur they got ‘tude). 

The Sartorialist, Tommy Ton, Guerreisms, some other shit, I think maybe some girl’s facebook albums, and a variety of other experienced photographers have been takin’ over influence. 

“BUT-REALLY-DOE-I-JUS’-TAKE-PITCHERS-OF-MAH-FRIENDS” photographers go to awesome events like Pitti Uomo, Paris Fashion Week, and NYFW and take “BUT-REALLY-DOE-I-JUS’-TAKE-PITCHERS-OF-MAH-FRIENDS” photographs. 

iPhone? Nah, “BUT-REALLY-DOE-I-JUS’-TAKE-PITCHERS-OF-MAH-FRIENDS” photographs take photos with the best equipment. They get to paid to take “BUT-REALLY-DOE-I-JUS’-TAKE-PITCHERS-OF-MAH-FRIENDS” photographs so premium production would be expected.

There are even short films about “BUT-REALLY-DOE-I-JUS’-TAKE-PITCHERS-OF-MAH-FRIENDS” photographers. It’s an art-form.

“BUT-REALLY-DOE-I-JUS’-TAKE-PITCHERS-OF-MAH-FRIENDS” photographers have guided us towards what we should be and how we should act and “if you’re thinking about red then you should think about these pictures of my friends that I took.”

Logic is photos which are light and dark and texture and reblogs.


People have written pontification pieces about “BUT-REALLY-DOE-I-JUS’-TAKE-PITCHERS-OF-MAH-FRIENDS” photographers; this piece included.

Goddamn, right?

Can’t wait to see 30 more in my Feedly. It's like I'm creepin' on y'alls facebook profiles. Which, who knows, maybe?