The Latest: Monday 22 December 2014

Menswear compliments to avoid | Fail

There's nothing here that Unrefinery readers don't already know, but maybe we can all help spread the word to the rest of humanity: don't use these terms when attempting to complement a well-dressed or attractive man. In practical use they have implications that you probably don't realize. Here's a handy reference guide.
22.dec.2014 culture style
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But can it shoot around corners?

Reasonable people may disagree on the necessity of carrying a handgun, but from a strictly functional standpoint there's been very little progress in the design of these things since their invention. This makes the Taurus 180 Curve unique with its clean-sheet rethinking of the concealed carry segment. The weapon was built for purpose, including a very compact size (just over 5" long), a curved frame that sits comfortably against the body, a belt clip that eliminates the need for a holster, and builds in the flashlight and targeting laser that would otherwise be bulky tactical add-ons.

From an aesthetic standpoint it looks kind of cool in a high-tech sort of way, although it clearly won't win you any sartorial street cred when put up against James Bond's Walther PPK or Antonio Banderas' Ruger P90 in Desperado. Its appearance may actually have a practical downside as well, if what appears to be a heavy-duty stapler is regarded as less of a deterrent than Dirty Harry's 44.

Points awarded to Taurus for an innovative design. The only thing stopping it from getting a BUY rating is that Taurus supports the NRA, and f*ck those jerks in particular.
18.dec.2014 design tech
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Florentino A/W 2014-2015

A lot of neat things happen at that point where traditional mens clothing is just slightly bent towards casual streetwear. (A lot of terrible things happen there too, but let's stay positive.) The new Autumn/Winter book from Spanish label Florentino does a lot of nice things with tonal textures, warm greyscales and layering, with every look featuring at least one unexpected element—trousers in ochre or green, casual ankle boots, a shawl pullover as an inner layer. A nice starting point for winter style inspiration.
15.dec.2014 style
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When not to use a novelty font | Fail

The societal scourge that is the killing of unarmed black men by white cops, and our horrifying inability to bring the perpetrators to justice, may be the most important civil rights issue of our time. And we're going to applaud James, Rose and the others who take up the message.

But for God's sake say it in a typeface other than Comic Sans. The subject matter deserves better.
09.dec.2014 culture
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Beard oils. For men. With beards. | Buy

The Guardian warned us months ago that we may have reached "peak beard", but if that just means it falls out of hipster favour it's all the more acceptable to those of us who bathe and read books. It doesn't take long before whiskers reach the point where they could be a little softer and more pliable to a bit of taming, and a few drops of beard oil does just that without greasiness. While this sort of product is available in a variety of scents, it seems appropriate to go with something quietly masculine. A couple of favourites:

Beardbrand Four Vices [$30] combines tobacco, coffee, hemp and hops, and you can discern all four of the key notes in the earthy end result.

Tom Ford Oud Wood [$50] is woody, spicy, and due to its subtle smokiness maybe hints at sour mash whiskey. Good for the lounge lizard who is a part-time lumberjack.

Unlike body fragrances which are applied by the spritz for the benefit of all in your vicinity, you're the primary audience for beard oil. You're going to smell it off and on all day; choose carefully.
01.dec.2014 culture style
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Mailbag: Wearing a scarf with a hoodie

An anonymous reader asks, "Can I wear a scarf with a hoodie?" Answer: Totally. This combines two previous Unrefinery directives regarding hoodies that don't suck and the wearing of undersized scarves: you need just enough scarf to keep your neck warm but not enough to add bulk when tucked in. The result can be both practical and an aesthetically pleasing shoulder/neck silhouette that frames your face. Hopefully it goes without saying that you shouldn't even think of wearing the scarf outside the hoodie.
24.nov.2014 mail style
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Epaulet Doyle Jackets | Buy

If you've been admiring Vetra's classic French chore coats, Epaulet now offers an American-made update. The Doyle jacket [$175-195] slightly trims the form and rounds the hip patch pockets while retaining the simple, unlined construction and that visible stitched outline of the internal chest pocket. Also available in denim, but the washed duck canvas options offer the most authentic textures and colours.
20.nov.2014 style
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L.L.Bean Signature A/W 2014: Menswear sighting!

The men's division of L.L.Bean's Signature line essentially took the year off in 2013, offering primarily the same tractor chic found across the brand's main line. So it's nice to see a few solid items in this newest collection that harken back to the updated classics that earned them the 2010 Unrefinery Award. A few highlights:
  • Herringbone tweed sport coat [$249] in staple blue and grey; also available in a warm plaid. Looking really good for the price. In the past their entry-level jackets and suiting have been well reviewed here.
  • The Slim straight washed cords [$69] have a modern leg profile without an impractically low rise. The sage green and deep red are particularly nice.
  • Lightweight Fair Isle Sweater [$99]. 20% nylon "for strength". Whatever. Classic autumnal pattern and the flecked solid tweedy trim looks great.
No firsthand experience here with these pieces, but LLBS fits have typically been pretty good and it's noteworthy that just about every product includes the word "slimmest" in its description. So minimal tailoring should be required.
17.nov.2014 style
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Uh... hey, Ventee-Privee, were we supposed to know that? | Fail

"This item is not eligible for return." No kidding.

It was revealed yesterday that V-P is about to cease operations, so we may expect more "editorial comments" from soon-to-be-unemployed crew members.
13.nov.2014 tech
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Wingtip Ankle Boot Buyer's Guide | Buy

Wingtip ankle boots: from a footwear standpoint, about as dressy as you want to be if your day might involve trudging through snow. They work with denim and you can wear nicer specimens with worsted suits, but the sweet spot is clearly a pairing with your coarsely textured wool flannel or tweed trousers. Ideally you want either a heavy rubber tread or a leather sole that your local shoe repair shop can easily winterize. As the four boots we found here clearly demonstrate, you get what you pay for in terms of quality and finish. Shown: Florsheim [$150], Massimo Dutti [$225], Loake [$440 at East Dane], To Boot New York [$450 at Nordstrom].
10.nov.2014 culture style
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