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category_outlined / Men's Lifestyle
Esquire's Big Black BookEsquire's Big Black Book

Esquire's Big Black Book

Fall 2018

It's filled with almost 200 pages of useful information on everything from the proper way to mix the perfect martini to having a custom suit made and more. It is truly the one resource no modern man should be without.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Hearst
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IN THIS ISSUE

access_time3 min.
there’s a word for it

(Fielden: Matt Jacobson)No subject brings out the egghead in writers quite like style criticism. Foodies, car heads, sports nuts, not even cineasts feel the same panic to pump their prose with the kinds of references you might not otherwise encounter unless you subscribed to The New York Review of Books. It’s not without reason, if you think about it for a second.Art critics, book critics, theater critics—they’ve never had to apologize for their obsessions by trying to prove the worlds they cover are worthy of your time; it’s simply a given. This isn’t just because painting, writing, and acting are considered bona fide forms of art or because designing clothes traditionally—and wrongly—hasn’t been. Look at all those other aforementioned high priests of appreciation and opprobrium. Insecurity isn’t the vibe, even…

access_time1 min.
hang ’em high

Boots ($2,100) by Brioni; brioni.com. Eames hook ($199) by Herman Miller; dwr.com. Oceania wallpaper ($32 per foot) by Calico; calicowallpaper.com.Boots off the GroundCowboy boots don’t feel like a costume when they skip the decorative stitching. (Spurs not included with purchase.)Jacket ($2,375), shirt ($745), and bow tie ($165) by Dolce & Gabbana; dolcegabbana.it. Fratelli Reguitti Italy valet ($549) by Patina NYC; 1stdibs.com. Woods wallpaper by Cole & Son; leejofa.com.Going GreenWant to prove you’re no stranger to black tie? Show up in literally any other color.Briefcase ($4,750), scarf ($860), and Mosaïque wallpaper ($274 per roll) by Hermès; hermes.com. Coat hanger ($70) by Afteroom Studio; menudesignshop.com.Off the GridIt takes confidence to let superbly simple pieces speak for themselves.Coat ($1,450) by Z Zegna; zegna.com. Hooks ($155 for set of two) by the Citizenry; the-citizenry.com. Vintage colonial wallpaper; similar styles on ebay.com.Get Outta TownThe bold weave of this topcoat makes it a statement…

access_time1 min.
the nib of it

I knew a man once who couldn’t bring himself to buy a fountain pen. He wanted to. He thought they were beautiful. He loved how they moved across a page. But he worried that they were an affectation, a personality placeholder, like always wearing a bow tie, or liking Phish.I feel sorry for that man, because fountain pens are one of the great life-enhancers. They turn simple tasks into pleasurable ones. Hold one in your hand and realize the weight of the thing, the finely tuned balance between cap, shaft, and nib. Press it to the page and notice how smoothly it glides, the ink, at first glistening darkly, drying before your eyes like a watercolor. Use one and you may find that you write better—more legibly and more cogently—because…

access_time2 min.
the shoe whisperer

From top: Brift H’s house polish; the no-glove treatment; Jacobson’s friend Chris Cox with Takehiro Kitami and owner Yuya Hasegawa; Hasegawa and Yuki Kotani work their magic. (Wax: Courtesy Last & Lapel.)For the best shoe shine in Japan, head to Tokyo’s Aoyama shopping district. There, in a windowless atelier tucked above a nightclub and a tailor’s shop, you’ll find Brift H.Some might argue that there is a better shine elsewhere—there’s always a local favorite, and the shine man’s role can include everything from buddy to shrink. But I submit that the two-man staff here delivers what may be the best shine on earth, and certainly the best experience.The space is tiny. Upon entering, you’re faced with a beautiful bar stocked not with artisanal whiskey but rather Brift H’s proprietary shoe…

access_time4 min.
the shirt from khartoum

I own a shirt I’ve been wearing, on and off, for 50 years. In 1968, I was working in Khartoum, the then-drowsy and cordial capital of Sudan, and living in a flat-roofed villa in Bahri, an unfashionable out-of-town neighborhood across the Blue Nile bridge. I had not expected such friendliness from my neighbors, nor—when I packed for the triple-hop flight from London, via Rome and Cairo—had I foreseen the abrasive powers of the desert heat. Walking the streets was, according to one seasoned British colleague, “like wading through warm Guinness.”You can imagine how my factory-made clothes fared in such conditions. The elastic waists of my underpants were the first to stretch and sag, and then—given I cycled everywhere—all my gussets and armpits were left embarrassingly threadbare by the twin attacks…

access_time2 min.
down the middle

Fifty-Fifty Martini1½ oz gin1½ oz dry vermouth3 dashes orange bittersStir ingredients over ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.Are you ready to become an in-the-know iconoclast? Do you want to alarm hoary steakhouse bartenders? Then start drinking Fifty-Fifty martinis.The bulk of the recipe is handily in the name—one part gin to one part vermouth. To those of us who believe vermouth is the Garfunkel to gin’s Simon, the Fifty-Fifty is sacrilege. But for the enlightened, this drink is a revelation: a balanced mix that pays respect to both ingredients in equal measure. It is gentler. Less “paint the town red” and more “let’s be in bed around midnight.”The Fifty-Fifty’s rise as today’s cool-kid martini is due to the perfect storm of two trends in the…

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