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Mike Nelson’s New Look

June 30th, 2009 by Kevin Murphy · 51 Comments

Here we are, smack in the middle of summer, getting ready to be out in the public eye starting with Comic-Con, and we Riffers look like a pack of middle-aged shlubs dressed to watch bowling on TV.  The noted exception is young writing wiz Conor, who wears even a Woot Shirt with a sense of dash.

Mike Nelson 1What are we to do?  Research, dammit! Head to the ad pages of Vanity Fair and T magazines of course, hit the GQ and Details ramparts, peer out at the style vanguard and lay siege on the new looks coming out of Paris!  Quick, to the makeover montage!

We’ll start with Mike.  Mike’s rugged good looks make the ladies swoon, especially when combined with his uniquely meaty breath.  But let’s face it, Mike’s casual California ensemble projects a man who says, boldly, “I’ll just go stand over there.”  Well it’s time for Mr. N (his new name, by the bye) to stand up and be noticed!

1814494493 b422abb035 oFirst I looked to the ladies of Duchess Clothiers of Portland, who I’ll grant make excellent suits to order at astonishing prices.  After perusing their catalog though, I found that while the meticulous tailoring and whisps of early-century haberdashery may enhance the bookish charm of a John Hodgman, the rock-chic cheek of a Nick cave or the outright bizarre requirements of a practitioner of the manly art of Bartitsu, for Mike the look may be a bit too “vintage,” too “period,” too “hit me repeatedly in the face with a whiffle bat,”  which, if you’re interested, is not one of the fundamental skills of the manly art of Bartitsu.

gergiev2Then, leafing through the pages of the New York Times Magazine, I came upon a striking image of the fiery patriotic Russian conductor Valery Gergiev, dramatically photographed by Joachim Ladefoged.  Much more Mike-ish, I told myself, closer to his Danish roots, brusque and daring.  But I also realized that a look like this requires a continual supply of liquor sweat, generally at the proof levels found only in Baltic vodka or undiluted Akavit.  As seductively louche as the look may appear at first, I didn’t want to hear Mike’s own children quoting Theodore Roethke’s poem “My Papa’s Waltz.”

6a00c2251ec2a1604a00c22526509f604a 500piSo it was off to the runways of Paris, and look what I found!  The look is clean,  dressy without being stuffy, and let’s face it, wearing a blazer with underpants is classic southern California.  Tie it all together with shoes made of (I think) porpoise skin, and everything pops.  It has a breezy (way breezy)  understated elegance that Mike can carry off for so many occasions, from “hi”-powered business meetings to casual poolside get-togethers.  If we can convince him to adopt the Prison Break hairstyle, the look will be complete.

This is our Mike 2.0.  This is the Mike you’ll see at Comic-Con. Let us know what you think, folks.  I’m off to D&G with a credit card tomorrow.




BILL adds –

Kevin, I’ve already chosen my new look:


Tags: Fashion · RiffTrax

51 responses so far ↓

  • 1 CrowTeeRobot on Jun 30, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Does Bridget know that you’re dressing her husband?

  • 2 BEMaven on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:00 am

    I pick Bachelor Number Three, whose interests probably include outrunning the police on Malibu Beach.

    Assuming he doesn’t die from that near lethal injection of Botox in his neck.

  • 3 iamhewhoisiam on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:08 am

    I can’t believe you didn’t consider the retro Adam Chance: Agent for H.A.R.M ‘cardigan over turtleneck’ look..

  • 4 wbwolf on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:24 am

    What, no blazer, skinny tie and spikey hair, so he looks like a New Wave rocker fugitive?

    (And when in G-d’s name is $500 for a suit “budget minded”? Even if they are local…)

  • 5 jenifersf on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:29 am

    Check out John Galliano’s new line over at Project Rungay. Perfect for you guys, very Casablanca!

  • 6 Matt Warren on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Great stuff. I fully expect some before and after shots when the work is done.

  • 7 Veronica on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:01 am

    So he’s gonna rock the bike shorts AND no socks look

    Don Johnson for ‘09 I guess, haha

  • 8 Attia on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:22 am

    I do think the 3rd look would work for MNel.

  • 9 blablover5 on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:22 am

    I picture Bill rocking the “I just escaped out of a bottle of Pepto Bismol and all I got were these $700 sneakers” look:

  • 10 Attia on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:24 am

    …..OOOOH, OOOOH! Or, better yet, how about that third look, but, in the right light one can see the advertisment of “” on the outfit, somewhere, back of the jacket, front of the shorts, that way, he could have the alias, “SubliMNel”.

  • 11 jfe on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:41 am

    It could work, but he has to have the legs for this, does he?

  • 12 jfe on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:46 am

    All of you gentlemen could look stunning in look one, and if umbrellas are your choice of weapon, then so be it.

  • 13 jfe on Jun 30, 2009 at 9:48 am

    In fact, you may need a weapon like this to fight off all the fans at your public appearances. Which will obviously happen if Mr. Nelson goes with look 3.

  • 14 pjwaldron on Jun 30, 2009 at 10:08 am

    The only problem with rocking look #3 at ComicCon is that people will think Mike is introducing a new superhero–”The Absent-Minded Dresser,” perhaps, or possibly “Captain Douchebag.”

  • 15 pjwaldron on Jun 30, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Well-played, Mr. Corbett, well-played. Nothing says, “I’m enjoying July in San Diego” like a long woolen scarf and a sweat-soaked toboggan.

  • 16 Mr. Alexander on Jun 30, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Isn’t “Sweat-Soaked Toboggan” the title of the porn version of “Citizen Kane”?

  • 17 Earl Fando on Jun 30, 2009 at 10:46 am

    In the case of look #3, “undressing” is more like it. These guys are from Minnesota. There’s more to the average pair of winter underwear up there than that.

  • 18 Wook on Jun 30, 2009 at 10:47 am

    I think that all of you should sport matching outfits. Not like the Beatles though. Maybe like Devo. Trash bags and flower pot hats. Aw yeah.

  • 19 Dan Noutko-Kennedy on Jun 30, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I too own footwear fashioned from porpoise skin. They’re called Flipper Floppers.

  • 20 Jack The Autumn on Jun 30, 2009 at 11:09 am

    That’s the sucky thing about mens fashion:

    We have either these Duchess guy’s who I share Kevin’s desire to hit repeatedly
    (tho I’d choose a heavy bludgeoning Maple- Grade myself. Especially if they live in Silverlake)
    Men’s Warehouse.. In which I would beat myself to death with a bat.

    No middle ground.

  • 21 blackmyron on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:22 pm

    They did… it was called “Film Crew”…

  • 22 Attia on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Public Reaction: BOOOOOOOOO!!!

    Secretly: :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D kudosandplaudits!

  • 23 Wook on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Naww, that’s a Japanese logic puzzle. Are you thinking of “Kill Poo,” Ms. Crabtree’s second grade death metal band?

  • 24 Wook on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I dunno Kevin, I sorta like Mike’s brown t-shirt, just-fell-out-of-bed-and-thinks-it’s-kinda-funny look. It’s friendly and approachable, aside from the meat breath of course. Maybe you could just give his mouth a makeover?

  • 25 CrowTeeRobot on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    And somehow you’ve ruined “Citizen Kane” for me.

  • 26 CrowTeeRobot on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    I’m just hoping Kevin doesn’t go with fashion #3.

  • 27 chrismartindeed on Jun 30, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Maybe that will be the next contest: Who gets to dress Kevin for Comic Con.

  • 28 BEMaven on Jun 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Looking past the issue of comfort, Mr. Corbett’s chosen ensemble will dredge up those ugly old rumors about him being a closet Romulan.

  • 29 Gina on Jun 30, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    ‘Fess up, Kevin: You’re jockeying for a gig on “What Not to Wear,” aren’t you?

  • 30 Wesley Stamper on Jun 30, 2009 at 3:17 pm


    You come up with so many great lines I’m running out of original ways of saying “that’s hilarious”!

  • 31 Barry on Jun 30, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Okay, listen UP, people! It looks like gay is IN this summer. Again!


  • 32 Spooky Janelle on Jun 30, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    And now I’m running out of ways to say “Ditto what Wes said!” :D

  • 33 jennifer on Jun 30, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I’m sure I speak for many women (and plenty of men) when I say I would not object to seeing Mike in his underwear. Maybe I can recommend the suit he wore for the manly beach dance in Horror of Party Beach? :P

  • 34 Erica on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Me too and ditto!

  • 35 Erica on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    It’s the shoes that really pull the outfit together.

  • 36 Erica on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    Bill, the outfit was simply made for you, but there is a drawback. Mike’s look says “It’s Summer and I’m working this!” while your proposed outfit says, “It’s Winter and I can’t find my pockets!”

    So seasonally, you would clash, and as Mike seems to have dibs on Summer, you are the one that will have to do what any decent man in this situation would do: find something to best coordinate with Mike’s sassiness.

    Also, I think you’re more of an Autumm than a Winter. so you’ll want to use neutrals to accentuate the black knit, not have it be overpowering.

    You’re welcome!

  • 37 Erica on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I meant Autumn, not Autumm. The lack of neutrals made my brain just say, “I don’t think so.”

  • 38 CrowTeeRobot on Jun 30, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Let’s get him a giant T-Bone Steak costume.

  • 39 Clambake on Jun 30, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    I see the guys sweater-dress from Attack of the Eye Creatures is making a comeback. I applaud your freewheeling style Bill.

  • 40 Anthony on Jun 30, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    I fear Bill would look like a longshoreman who’s poor, dear wife knitted him a new cap, had a lot of fabric leftover, and just went full tilt and made him a whole wardrobe. Which is better than that fellow pictured there, he’s a spaz. Longshore chic, that’d look good on Bill. Add a corncob pipe and the bastard would be on the cover of GQ.

  • 41 Stacia on Jul 1, 2009 at 1:09 am

    I don’t think Mike has the requisite shiny legs needed to pull off Bachelor #3’s look. That’s not a slam! I mean it as perfectly constructive criticism. Not everyone can have shiny legs.

  • 42 chrismartindeed on Jul 1, 2009 at 2:57 am

    All three ensembles would force Mike to undergo cosmetic surgery.

    In fact, the first one would require him to change his sex.

    Why can’t he just wear the same outfit he wore to the prom?

  • 43 Wook on Jul 1, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I hereby propose Mike’s Ungodly Meat Breath Laundering Effort (M.U.M.B.L.E.)

  • 44 Matt on Jul 1, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    That’s like the fourth time I’ve seen that Gergiev picture and it’s like he’s Jack Nicholson’s deranged, russian twin. Also, fashion is a relentlessly evil force cycling between the merely gay to the outright psychotic, no offense intended to gays or psychotics.

  • 45 Matt on Jul 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Seriously though, Gergiev looks like he’s about to freeze to death in a hedge-maze.

  • 46 Jack the Autumn on Jul 1, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I dunno- I’m getting the Clooney vibe of a more slavic variety. But what is up if that right hand.

    “And now a shadow puppet! My dog Lupus….”

  • 47 valdisfox on Jul 2, 2009 at 2:02 am

    Good point, though I don’t see “longshoreman” look from this outfit so much as the “ugly doll with yarn dress that you place over the spare roll of TP in the spare crapper at grandma’s, found at Minnesota arts chautauqua for $3″ look. Like the longshoreman, it’s an extremely specific look, but Bill can pull that off, what with his East Coast charm and big smile. Oh, and occasional need for a yarn hat.

  • 48 Anthony on Jul 2, 2009 at 5:33 am

    Well, of course it’s an ‘ugly doll with a yarn dress over the spare roll of TP in the spare crapper at grandma’s found at Minnesota arts chautaqua for three dollars’ look on THIS guy. Look at him! By the Virgin, he’s made of pipe cleaners.

    On Bill though, I can see a whole different spirit to it. It’s the hat that sells it, the rest is window dressing. Give Bill a cob pipe, some grizzled facial hair, and downturned scowl, and a nickname like ‘Wooden Eye Bill’ or ‘Bill The Big Bastard’ (well, my cousin has that name, but he is a fisherman, so I think it works, though he’s not a fashionable fisherman), and he could sell it as a lonely east coast fisherman trying to do something daring because the last four hundred seasons of longshore fashion are so passe, and he’s just got breath.

    Here’s the picture in my melon;

    The cold winds whip the boat, the masts take flight, the men are cold, but not Bill. They laughed at what appeared to be a giant sock worn over his coat and rubbers, but they can laugh no more. The sea spray strikes, and Bill alone can stand it, because, with tastefully hidden rubber underlining, even when his afghan blanket-come-tube coat is soaked, he’s dry and warm. He puffs his pipe and spits at the hell-hated blackening sky; only three and still the ever choking clouds blot the sun out entirely as the storm comes in. He has no fear of the elements, and the sea could swallow his tiny boat and its crew whole. He swigs from a flask, hidden tastefully in one of his soaking tubecoat’s many discrete pockets. There is no fear at all as the sky blazes with the first cracks of thunder and flashes of lightning. He’s the (very chic, very warm) fisherman.

  • 49 Earl Fando on Jul 2, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Yes, good line, but Flipper’s still going to be pissed.

  • 50 valdisfox on Jul 12, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    *grins* As long as “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald” can play in the background, I’m sold. That, and “Tubecoat” is just itching to be the next big fad in outerwear, becoming as popular as the tube sock,the tube top, the inner tube, and the mercifully short-lived ‘athletic support tube’.

  • 51 蟻力神 on Jul 5, 2011 at 1:31 am