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Ask MG

Not everyone's got a cool brother, candid nana, older sister or Jedi friend on speed-dial. When you need sage counsel on life's pressing questions of manners, savvy and vice, the MG braintrust is but a click away.

Dear MG: That spot on the underside of my collar where the little thingies go has worn out. The rest of the shirt is still fine ... do I need to replace the whole thing?
— Bare-spot-under-the-collar in Colorado

Dear Collar-ado,
It happens to the best-dressed of us. Those "little thingies" are collar stays and they're a shirt's rebar. They reinforce the fabric so that the collar leaf and collar points remain stiff and crisp as a club soda. A slot on the underside of your collar is one sign of a better-made dress shirt. Many shirts come with plastic tabs, but these are placeholders. Invest in a set of brass stays and they'll last you a lifetime – or until you inevitably lose them or loan them out to the needy. As for your worn-out slot, try the MG Stay Flip: instead of slipping it in pointy-side first, flip it around and go fat-end first. Yes, the fabric will ultimately fray further, but this will buy you many many months of additional wear. The MG Stay Flip works so well, in fact, that I've taken to feeding all of my collar stays rounded end first just to prevent the dreaded poke-through.

– Tesauro

Dear MG: I’ve heard of lots of ‘wrong’ ways, but is there a ‘right’ way to make a mint julep?
— Bewildered in bourbon country

Dear Bewildered,
I like the way you put it. Yes, there are definitely "wrong" ways – it's not a bourbon mojito, so lay off the limes and Rose's – but "right" is just a word for that rendezvous point where technique, taste buds and tradition meet. Before you go reinventing a classic, master the original. Only then should you mess around with alternative brown spirits (Rye? Sure...rye not!) and seasonal fruits, but trust us on the jazzy splash of soda.

Check out the video to see how I make mine.

– Tesauro

Dear MG: I just got a dinner party invitation and the dress code says, ‘cocktail attire.’ WTF does that mean I should wear?
— Naked in Nantucket

Dear Naked,
When it comes to fitness, I think Look Good = Run Good. And when it comes to drinking, I think Sharp Begets Sharp, meaning that a proper martini is more satisfying when my threads are as sharp and crisp as the gin. Start with this: if you'd wear that suit to your 9-5, consider trading the white shirt for some color. Or, substitute a bolder cravat (ascots and cocktails go together like linen and lemonade) and add a pocket square. Ladies, think dressy with a dash of sass. Fabulous accessories and strappy shoes make a world of difference. And consider my Realtor wife's square footage tenet: as your skirt goes higher, so do your boots. End result: that bare square between skirt hem and pull strap may migrate north, but it's the same amount of real estate left uncovered.

– Tesauro

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