Musicians whose style I don’t hate

Nah, just kidding. I actually quite like the way these musical groups look. In fact, they way they dress is a big part of their appeal. I’m a pretty lyrically-minded person, but anyone (myself included) who says style doesn’t matter in music is lying. Sometimes its the only thing. (Cough, cough, boy bands of the ’90s) So here are my Top 5 stylish musical stylists, in no particular order. And I’ve thrown in some favorite videos as well.

Feel free to mock my taste in music. I know it’s bad, but I’m OK with it. And yes, I know many of these are from the early 2000s. I’m OK with that, too. I still listen to ’em. That being said, I’m open if anyone has any recommendations. I really should update my playlists…

 

Patrick Wolf

Nutty at times, but with a delicious center. An unbelievably talented musical genius and one unique individual.

 

The Killers

Yes, Brandon Flowers is the primary reason they’re on this list. Glad to hear they’ll be back with a new album this year.

And I totally would have murdered him for this suit.

 

Panic at the Disco! (because apparently the ‘!’ is back)

OK, hear me out. Yes, I recognize that initially PATD was targeted directly at 14-year-old girls and their gay BFFs. But the group’s music has certainly evolved over the years, and their style with it. The debut album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” was released at the height of tween emo-dom, and the band reflected it (as mincing fops in too much eyeliner). “Pretty, Odd” (my personal favorite and the group’s categorical commercial failure) saw them mature into pseudo-Edwardian dandies—all velvet, tweed and newsboy caps. Now that they’ve split and Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith are the only two left standing, their aesthetic has morphed into some darker, Victorian Steampunk territory. I’m not complaining, and I’ll definitely stick around for the ride.

These are in chronological order, fyi.

 

 

 

OK Go

I think people were so distracted by the videos that they neglected to notice these guys sport some nice duds.

 

Franz Ferdinand

One of my earliest and most enduring loves.

And the best for last

 

Honorable Mentions go to…

Rufus Wainwright, Mika, The Klaxons, and Beck

 

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Hedi’s Back! Hope you enjoyed eating while you could

Hedi Slimane, the man who at the turn of the 21st century became creative director of Dior Homme and forever changed the way I view my stomach, chest and thighs, is replacing Stefano Pilati at YSL. And I am happy. Now, don’t get me wrong—Stefano as great. But Hedi… There will always be a soft, self-loathing spot in my heart for Hedi.

To celebrate the emaciated prince’s return, let’s take a fond walk down memory lane.

(I recommend three fingers or a spatula, and drink plenty of water first)

 

The Cheeky Bastard skewers Match.com

Now, I know this will be shocking, but The Bastard has a difficult time connecting with others. I just plain don’t care for most people I meet and I’m indifferent toward the rest. Even if I do like someone, I rarely let them know it. Personally, I blame my Myers-Briggs INTJ  personality type. It’s right there in black and white:

“INTJs spend a lot of time inside their own minds and may have little interest in other people’s thoughts or feelings. Unless their Feeling side is developed, they may have problems giving other people the level of intimacy that is needed.

“Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ’s Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations. This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation that most types consider half the fun of a relationship.”

I’d say that pretty much sums me up. So  when I do find myself in want of a relationship, instead of going out, introducing myself and flirting with whomever is at the bar, I chose to shop online. Which, of course, brought me to Match.com. After all, Manhunt is strictly for sex, OKCupid is for people with no money and Match is for the serious types. Or at least that’s how I’ve always imagined things. Plus they have a better return policy.

I’ve been active on Match off and on for probably the last four years, and in that time I’ve encountered many, many characters. I’d like to share a sampling of people who have expressed interest in me, contacted me, and a small few I was desperate/drunk/insecure enough to date (once or twice; mostly once). Those who know me well will instantly see the hilarity. Those who don’t know me, well, you can just imagine.

All of the images below are taken from the user’s public profile. Keep in mind this is way they wanted to present themselves to me and the world. They chose this photo as the one that best describes who they are.

And now for my favorites

______________________________________

Clearly my soulmate.

______________________________________

Yes, who wouldn’t want a piece of that?

______________________________________

OMG! How could I not have returned his wink?

______________________________________

Yes, you’re clearly a very deep and complex individual.

______________________________________

I’m going to guess you’re a Montrachet kind of guy?

______________________________________

Again with the gays and the Ed Hardy. I don’t understand!

______________________________________

I’m sorry, but which one is the man in this picture?

______________________________________

Thankfully I’ve recognized that solo is the way to go and, when necessary, I should restrict myself to casual midterm relationships.

TCB

I can’t wrap my head around Calvin Klein Collection

This brand’s menswear, more than any other, leaves me stumped. Observe the following.

Not bad, right? Certainly not the most earth-shattering designs on the planet, but very masculine, commercial, and clearly embrace the ethos of the brand—clean, modern American sportswear. In a fashion world filled with waifish boys at Dior, preening dandies at Lanvin, flaming homosexuals at DSquared2 and anachronistic meatheads at Dolce, surely there is a firm, profitable place for these clothes in the US. But therein lies the dilemma.

You cannot buy them.

Seriously. Try. I dare you. You cannot find Calvin Klein Collection for men in the State unless you live in Manhattan. This most American of American brands has only one freestanding store in the States (and, to my knowledge, only three in the world) and a tiny, tiny number of retailers. Saks, yes. Neiman Marcus, Barneys, Bloomingdales, Bergdorfs and Nordstrom, no. Wide-reaching online retailers like MrPorter.com? No. It is simply not possible. For God’s sake, Dries and Margiela are more readily available.

And why? Why to all of it. Why not have a presence in more stores? Brand recognition like Calvin Klein is priceless. The mass-market white label is sold coast to coast in practically every Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Lord & Taylor. Everyone knows the name. Millions of men have it imprinted on their waistbands. Who says some of these men who forked over $25 for a pair of briefs won’t pay $1,200 for a suit or $400 for a sweater from a brand they know and trust? There are countless men who want to wear designer goods that do not scream “fashion!” Yes, there is Zegna and a small handful of other brands, but none with the unique image of Calvin. In my opinion, the company is selling itself short. And it’s a shame, because Italo Zucchelli is a talented designer who has pushed the brand forward while honoring its heritage. I believe there is a huge market for these clothes, and am dumbfounded as to why so many of them never see the light of day apart from a catwalk. I refuse to believe it’s all an exercise in marketing to sell overhyped underwear.

Plus I wouldn’t mind buying a sweater or two. That is, of course, if I was able to.

TCB

 

Things that piss me off

No pictures with blurred faces, no videos, nothing. Here is a quick and dirty list of the fashion missteps I see every day that hock me off.

 

1. Buying the cheapest designer bag imaginable

Congratulations. We’re so impressed that you went to Gucci/Louis/Dior/Burberry and bought the least-expensive bag you could. Oh, was a canvas tote all they had available? Did it just scream to you, “Buy me! I will fulfill all your needs. You’ll never need to buy another designer bag again!” Or did it say, “I’m the cheapest pseudo-status symbol in the store. Everyone and their mother carries me. Buy me and everyone around you will think you have good taste.”

I know it’s not your fault. These tricky designers are profiting on your insecurity and aspirational tendencies by offering second-class goods. They show $3000+ goods on the runway but sell $600 fabric bags with “iconic” logos/webbing/horse bits/colors in the store. I don’t blame you. It’s wonderful to say, “Oh, I have a Gucci bag.” But when the bag you have is the one everyone in the store laughs at, it’s not really an accomplishment.

2. Irony is dead. Move on.

3. Fake anything

Who do you think you’re fooling? Those of us who know (i.e., those you’re trying to impress) can spot you a mile away. We know what Chanel, Balenciaga and Louis cost, and we can accurately sum up the total value of your Old Navy sweatshirt and jeans. We know it’s fake. So what are you trying to prove? You do realize that by sporting a fake you are diluting the very thing you ascribe to. If you can’t afford it, you have no business toting it. Sorry ’bout it.

4. Boys will be girls

Do they know how that eyebrow waxing ruins their face? How the Chanel sunglasses are a turnoff? That their capris say, “I have no need for an Y chromosome”? That their mincing, affected ways make them unappealing to the very creatures they hope to seduce? To reference the great Quentin Crisp, there is no “Great Dark Man” who wants a dyed, powdered, lipsticked wisp.

5. Leggings are a privilege, not a right. Remember, cellulite is only magnified.

6. Ugliness

I fear this has become an epidemic. “Vintage,” “individualism” and “self-expression” have mutated to become synonymous with “hideous.” I walk down the street and can’t help but shake my head and wonder what these people were thinking when they got up that morning. Yes, you’re an art student. Yes, you’re young. But that’s no reason to look like a monster.

So many people I encounter say, “Oh, I can’t afford stylish clothes. I don’t have that kind of money.” Well, 1) You’re going to a private art school and majoring in dance. Something tells me you and your family aren’t eating Spam every night. 2) Want to be stylish, timeless and fit in anywhere? Well then, you need four things.

1) Go to Target and buy a 5-pack of Fruit of the Loom or Hanes undershirts         (crew neck or v-neck—your choice). $9.99

2) Go to Macys and buy a pair of 510 or 511 jeans in a solid, dark wash. You’re out $39.99 tops.

3) Go to Aldo/Macys/H&M/Zara and buy a pair of simple, black shoes or sneakers. I’ll even say they can be fabric or leather. But keep it simple. $40

4) Is it winter? Go to Macys/H&M/Zara/American Apparel and buy a cotton cardigan or a wool crew neck/and or v-neck. $40 tops

You’re done. Wear this every day, anywhere. To class, to a party, to a restaurant. No one can say you look bad. Simple as that.

(And you’re not the beautiful, unique, artistic snowflake you think you are. You’re just as common with your ear stretchers and facial piercings and pink hair as without. These things do not make you special. You’re hiding behind them and you know it.)

7. Uggs anything.

There’s no excuse for that. None.

8. Whenever in doubt, keep it black, keep it trim, and add a layer or two.

9. Just because your cologne/perfume is cheap doesn’t give you permission to wear more of it. Spare us.

10. Don’t be afraid to spend money on the basics. Some of my favorite pieces are simple $500 black sweaters, $300 white shirts and $800 black pants. They’re perfectly made, perfectly cut and will last me a lifetime. Yes, I had to eat ramen for a while, but I never have to worry about owning black pants again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Cheeky Bastard Emphatically Endorses…

James Long, one of the greatest (in my humble opinion) menswear designers working today, and certainly one of the best of the UK. Watch your back, Bailey.

Unbelievable knitwear, colors, and styling. Covetous would accurately describe my feelings.

So here is an exhaustive (and believe me, it was exhausting) visual history of every menswear collection Mr. Long has shown. Enjoy.

Autumn/Winter 2012

Spring/Summer 2012

Autumn/Winter 2011

Spring/Summer 2011

Autumn/Winter 2010

Spring/Summer 2010

Autumn/Winter 2009

Spring/Summer 2009

Autumn/Winter 2008

You have no idea how long it took to compile all of these images. Thank god carpal tunnel is sexy.

TCB






Belstaff Redux

I first became truly acquainted with Belstaff during my semester abroad in London. I passed the shop every day on my way to school and popped in occasionally to nose around. While the waxed cotton coats and sturdy leather jackets weren’t my taste, I could appreciate their quality and heritage—the UK-based company has been in existence since 1924 and claims to be the first to produce breathable waterproof garments. Those Brits and their outerwear…

While checking out the coverage of London Fashion Week, I came across the latest collection, which blew me away. It was luxe, sophisticated, modern, and, for lack of a better term, pretty Burberry-esque. Turns out there’s a good reason. Belstaff is retooling under the creative direction of American Martin Cooper, who spent 16 years at Burberry, eventually becoming design director for outerwear. Cooper is clearly taking what he learned under Christopher Bailey’s direction and has embraced a luxurious, masculine aesthetic. No complaints here; just admiration.

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