Tag Archives: Original Penguin

Chop Style: Men’s Swimwear

The Chop’s not a great one for swimming. We might be tempted to sit poolside if there’s a bar cart involved, but dangling our ankles is about as wet as we’ll get. We’re also not too keen on staring at mostly naked men and comparing them side by side. That’s a job better suited to a beautiful woman, and so we’ve enlisted one to write today’s post. Local designer and fashionista Katy Hunchar has style to spare, and here she gives you her swimsuit picks for Summer 2011.

The Short Swim Trunk

The super short swim trunk is my favorite style, hands down. I just love legs! I also love Boris Becker. Though I gather from Google image search that current day B.B. dresses like a playboy, his court style in the late ‘80s was champion. I know he had international tennis star legs, but honestly, it was his crisp short shorts and trim polos that gave him the active man look I love. Here are three solid options, starting with the shortest:

Orlebar Brown's 'Pup': $130

I like Orlebar Brown’s Pup in olive and Paul Smith’s short slim style in navy. Wear them and move effortlessly through summer with free legs and awesomely tan thighs. If these are a little pricey, you can probably find a cheaper version at American Apparel. Pair them with white and gray heather t-shirts.

Patagonia Baggies: $45.

Patagonia’s Baggies are a super simple and versatile sport/swim short. They are perfect for a multitude of activity pairings. Run around the Harbor then stop at the Tiki Barge for a swim! Mow the lawn then go to Safeway. Whatever you want to do, these shorts will take you there. I also recommend these as a replacement for one pair of mesh basketball shorts. (As a side note, Patagonia carries a lot of good simple men’s styles.)

Original Penguin Board Short: $65.

Prints

Skip plaid this season. Stick to classic stripes and bright graphic prints. Nautical stripes are always in style and Penguin has some solid offerings for the seafaring fellow. I like this color-block in bright red and blue. Alternatively, Orlebar Brown’s Eley Kishimoto Dane is the raddest print I’ve seen so far. It looks best in red.

Orlebar Brown 'Dane': £150.

The Floral

This navy and orange floral, again by Paul Smith, is really great. A lot of florals are too busy and look like tropical rainbow explosions. This toned-down navy and orange print is nice and simple. It looks so melty and luxurious.

Paul smith's floral print: $175.

Denim Cut-offs

In middle school my entire gym class had to jump into a swimming pool wearing jeans. While treading water, we had to shimmy them off underwater, pull them to the surface, tie the end of each leg into a big fat knot, and finally, with our last gusts of life-breath, blow them up into makeshift denim life preservers. It is difficult to swim in denim, but absolutely possible.

Denim cut-offs can be worn successfully in a handful of locations: by the swimming hole, at the lake, and on tour while lounging around some random swimming pool. The best cut-offs are super faded and worn to threads. Most likely, you already have an old pair of jeans in your closet that are ready to cut. If you don’t have a suitable pair, reread Chop’s Guide to Thrift Store Shopping Part I and Part II and head over to Value Village. While you’re there, keep an eye out for Boris Becker shorts! Also look for OP tees with faded neon surf graphics to pair with your olive Pups. YES!

Cutoffs are high style at Prettyboy or Beaver Dam, not so much at the gym or hotel pool.

The Board Short

If you insist on wearing the board, look for the shortest pair you can bear and wear them low. Look through collections by skate and surf brands like Hurley, Volcom and RVCA or choose a simple solid red lifeguard style. Avoid contrasting diagonal plaids and prints that simulate laser beams. You know what I am talking about.

Y’all just roll through the water.

Truth is, if you really want to look awesome at the pool or beach this summer, learn how to move well in the water. Ride your bike down to the Patterson Park pool as soon as it opens and LAP IT UP.

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Katy Hunchar is an artist and designer living in Charles Village. Check out her work at lpconcept.com and follow her on Twitter at @chipsnkaty. She is also a lifelong competitive swimmer and has coached swimmers of every age, including NCAA Division I swimming while in grad school.

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Chop Style: Guide to Polo Shirts

If there’s one thing the Chop can not endorse, it’s preppy style. We give thanks every day that we were lucky enough to be born in Baltimore and not in New England or Long Island or some equally pretentious, WASP-y place. We wouldn’t be caught dead in madras, ribbon belts, boat shoes or anything with a J. on the label.

That said, the older we get, the more we appreciate the role that a few good polo shirts play in balancing out a wardrobe. With Spring already arrived and Summer right around the corner, We’re going to be seeing a lot more polos on the streets of Baltimore, and most of them are going to be boring and far too ivy-style to suit our tastes. Like this:

If you held a mirror up to your asshole, this is what it would look like. Ralph Lauren charges $98 to make you look like a total shart.

The polo shirt was originally pioneered by French tennis star Rene Lacoste in the 1930’s for use on the tennis court. Since then his design has been adapted to a wide range of sports and become a cornerstone of preppy culture.

But it’s not just the adoption by preppies which leads to our natural distaste for polos. Golf shirts, which are really just polos by a different name, have become the standard weekend wear for old white upper-middle class suburban Dad types. Nothing says “I’m spending my 2 weeks’ vacation in Myrtle Beach” quite like a shirt with Arnold Palmer’s name on it.

The real killer of the polo shirt though has been the rise of the service and high-tech industries. A knit polo and pair of khakis no longer makes you look as much like an up-and-comer as like an $8.00 an hour drone in a big box store.

Still and all, it is possible to pull on a polo in high style if you choose carefully. Here are five choices which are high on style and low(ish) on prep factor. They’re more Baltimore than Boston, and more downtown than country club. They look about a thousand percent better than Lauren, Izod, Hilfiger, Lacoste, Nautica, etc. Plus you won’t be looking like your dad.

Perry Ellis luxury cotton open polo. $19.99 (from $49.)

We can definitely recommend this shirt by Perry Ellis because we’re wearing one right now. With 100% pima cotton it might just be the most comfortable shirt we own. If we could get away with sleeping in it and never washing it we certainly would. We also give it high marks for a perfectly cut placket with no buttons. Going buttonless is still a bit fashion-forward and eliminates any confusion about whether or not to button or unbutton.

Fred Perry penny collar oxford pique shirt. 55 GBP.

There’s a lot to like about this one from Fred Perry. The Fred Perry heritage might be the most likable of all, but coming in close behind it is the informal collar which is a definite deviation from the norm, as well as the oxford weave as opposed to a more common knit. We prefer woven to knit any day of the week. The only thing not to like might be the 55 pound price tag (about $80.) These bastards almost never go on sale either.

Original Penguin: The Earl. $59.

We’d be much obliged if any of you Choppers wants to go down to South Moon Under and buy us one of these to wear down to Camden Yards this summer. This definitely beats freebie T-shirts and jerseys for style in the bleachers. The Original Penguin Earl is that rarest of rarities, a classic that hasn’t been worn into the ground. A 100% cotton knit, a slim fit and a broad piping around the placket all add up to an orange polo that will take you beyond the ballpark.

Alternative Apparel's Noonan Polo. $38.

We stumbled on to this one by accident, but it looks like a winner. Alternative Apparel makes the Noonan out of 100% pima cotton in three subdued colors and adds a pocket to the left side. The rest of their offerings look almost as good.

American Apparel's Organic Fine Jersey Short Sleeve Leisure Shirt. $32.

You should probably head down to Light Street and pick one of these up like today. American Apparel is one of those stores where you can get one great piece here or there, but don’t want to outfit yourself there from head to toe. This is one of those great pieces. Its got a casual cool look, and close fitting organic cotton is bound to make you want to lay around your apartment striking sexy poses for no apparent reason. Plus $32 is a really unbelievable price for a shirt that’s made in the USA from organic cotton.

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