Reformation’s Best-Selling $98 Dress Is Back

It’s no secret that we comb Reformation’s new-arrivals section on the regular. The eco-friendly brand launches a new collection every Monday and Thursday, and you can bet we check the site like clockwork. To ensure that you too are in on it, we share our favorite picks from the latest drop every week. From ultra-flattering printed dresses (like the number that gained a 2K-person waiting list) and pretty printed tops perfect for updating your next denim look to the coolest striped pants and affordable basics like simple T-shirts and tanks, Reformation is at the top of every fashion fan’s shopping list when it comes to outfit-making pieces. Shop this week’s best items from Reformation’s latest collection below (including the brand’s best-selling $98 dress and all the new denim pieces that are sure to sell out).

Our co-founder Hillary Kerr owns this comfortable (and best-selling) dress in black. 
The perfect vintage hue in a light denim wash. 
The perfect spring dress for the office. 
This might be my top favorite skirt for spring (so far). 
The western trend is still going strong. 
Wear this with your go-to leather jacket. 
Buy this now and layer a thin turtleneck under while it’s still cold. 
If you haven’t hopped on the cardi party, now is your chance. 
We’re following Reformation’s styling idea here and wearing this polka-dot dress with a pair of Dr. Martens. 
You can’t go wrong with a high-rise fit. 
The ruffles and dainty floral print are the perfect match. 
Another great office dress for spring. 
Replicating this entire outfit ASAP. 
Your next Sunday Funday look. 
Polo-style pieces with a sporty collar are becoming more popular for the new season. 
For the denim shopper with retro style. 
Will never get over this flattering neckline. 
This simple sweater also comes in four other colors. 
You’ll get so much wear out of the black top. 
Pair this printed dress with all your favorite gold jewelry.  Speaking of jewelry, these are the three smartest jewelry brands to invest in this year. 

Liz Hurley Circa 1990 Is So on Trend for Now

When it comes to fashion, 2018 was a bit of a nostalgia fest, with style-conscious millennials forgoing the new and instead setting their sights on the extroverted trends of the ‘80s and ‘90s. If the feeds of our favorite fashion influencers are anything to go by, this passion for all things retro shows no sign of abating.

While Kate Moss, Jennifer Aniston, and Julia Roberts might be the first names that spring to mind when you think of iconic ’90s style, for 2019, we’ve fallen in love with a particularly Brit icon: Liz Hurley. Star of throwback flicks Austin Powers and Bedazzled, Hurley was Britain’s own power-girl pinup with an enviable wardrobe to match.

From strappy sandals and leather blazers to chain belts and fleeces, ’90s Hurley ticks off all the trends we’re currently obsessing over. Her outfits certainly wouldn’t look out of place at London Fashion Week in the front row. We felt it would be sacrilege not to share this newfound style inspiration with you, so here are 18 Liz Hurley looks from the ’90s that are so on trend right now. Prepare to swoon.

Style Notes: The puffer jacket is the unexpectedly practical trend spiking this season. Liz was so ahead of her time with her straight-leg jeans, turtleneck, and black puffer coat.
Style Notes: This ethereal fluffy cuff and collar coat is reminiscent of the Saks Potts pieces the fashion crowd is loving right now. 
Style Notes: Before leather bikers hit the big time in the mid-noughties, it was all about tailored styles. This year, the leather blazer is back, and we have ’90s Liz Hurley to thank.
Style Notes: Many things have changed since the ’90s, but one thing that hasn’t is the eternal appeal of the perfect jeans-and–white tee pairing.
Style Notes: Before Angelina Jolie, Liz Hurley rocked the high-leg slit in a very spring/summer 2019 lilac-colored gown.
Style Notes: There’s more than a hint of up-and-coming outwear brand La Llama in this cozy ankle-length coat. We’d totally wear this piece now with tonal separates.
Style Notes: Our eyes are on the accessories in this summery outfit. Leopard-print heels? Check. Cute woven bag? Yes, please.
Style Notes: Neon green is the controversial color headed for big things this season. Let’s just say we know who our muse is going to be.
Style Notes: Another accessory focus. Liz Hurley loved this zebra-print handbag, which we wore on multiple occasions. Its structured style and bold animal print wouldn’t look out of place on Instagram today.
Style Notes: This look is very Working Girl with a ’90s spin. Note the on-trend strappy sandals and baguette bag.
Style Notes: We want to buy everything in pink this season. Liz’s square-neck mini reminds us of the Staud dresses we’re desperate to get our hands on.
Style Notes: The zip-up fleece trend is the “so bad it’s good” jumper trend Liz Hurley is a fan of. We love how she’s balanced out any frumpiness with her fave pair of leopard-print shoes.
Style Notes: Halternecks and baguette bags are both staples of ’90s style. This dress may be a tad more clingy than we’d wear now, but we’d totally take our cues from the white colorway and simple silhouette.
Style Notes: We’re on our way to winning ’90s trend bingo. In this outfit, Liz wears knee-high boots and a purple leather jacket. We’d update this for 2019 with a midi dress and pearl accessories.
Style Notes: Oh, chain belts, we never thought we’d see you again, but how happy we are to be wrong. Suddenly this retro outfit is looking seriously stylish thanks to its multi-chain belt and black tights.
Style Notes: Liz Hurley was working the tonal trend back in the day in the most ’90s way possible: with white high-waisted jeans, a crop top and a fitted cardigan.
Style Notes: We want to copy everything from this outfit—from the super-cozy statement coat right down to the box bag and patent knee-high boots.
Style Notes: We’ve saved the best for last. This was when Liz Hurley shocked the press—way before Kim Kardashian West—with her iconic Gianni Versace safety-pin dress.

What the Average Person Considers a Big Engagement Ring

With all the fashion-girl engagements lately, we’ve been noticing a wide range of ring shapes and sizes. Of course, most of the gems in question have been spotted on celebs and trendsetters—in other words, they’re massive by our standards.

But what constitutes a “big” ring in the real world? To get a sense of what you and I would consider a large rock, Who What Wear tapped five diamond experts to spill on the size they think average people would consider big. Then we pooled their answers to find the average carat number.

Keep scrolling to see the final result and learn more from our panel of experts, including why people think this specific size is so jaw-dropping, and which other factors go into how large a ring actually appears. Plus, go a bit further to check out recent “big” celeb diamonds and to shop engagement rings of any size.

“Although we often find that a woman may know what a certain diamond size ‘sounds’ like, she doesn’t always know what it looks like. There is usually a moment of serendipity when they realize how much bigger a diamond is in person, especially a Hearts on Fire diamond, which tends to face up significantly larger due to the perfect symmetry, perfect proportions, perfect polish, and perfect alignment. Of course, depending on where you are in the U.S., the answer will differ. The West and East Coasts tend to buy a bigger average center, so their perception of ‘big’ is going to be different than someone in the middle of the country. However, on average, a two-carat is definitely a head turner, and overall women perceive this to be a big look!” — Krista Beermann, Hearts on Fire
“Most women think of two carats as a decent-size diamond, with a typical color clarity ranging from VS1-VS2, F-G color. [D is colorless.] A noticeably big diamond will be three carats and above. These are the ones that turn heads.” — Scott Friedman, Gleem & Co.
“In 2015, the average carat weight purchased was 0.9 carats. Given that, the average carat size that someone would consider ‘big’ is anywhere from two and a half to three carats. However, there are many factors that influence the size of diamond that’s chosen and what the average person would consider a ‘big’ diamond. Some of those factors include the location, the size of your hand/fingers, and the composition of the ring.” — Oded Edelman, James Allen
“The average engagement ring has a carat weight of just over one carat, so we’d say anything upward of two carats would be considered large for a ring. While this obviously is a long way from Mariah Carey’s 30-plus-carat or the current heart-shaped ring trend led by Nicki Minaj’s and Lady Gaga’s giant diamonds, most women probably wouldn’t want to wear something that extravagant on their finger every day.” — Brian Watkins, Ritani
“The average engagement ring in the U.S. has a center diamond of about one carat and a total carat weight of approximately one and a half carats. An engagement ring around two carats or above would be considered ‘big’ for the average girl’s standards, and anything three carats or above would likely elicit some serious jaw-dropping. Besides carat weight, several other factors, like the shape and cut of a diamond, can affect how large it appears. The cut of a diamond determines its sparkle and brilliance, and it can also affect its visual size. Two diamonds with the same carat weight can appear to be different sizes depending on the depth or shape of their cut. If a diamond is cut very shallow, it has more surface area and so may appear larger, but it would lack depth and sparkle, and it would receive a poor cut grade. Only round diamonds with a cut grade of ‘very good’ or ‘excellent,’ and fancy diamonds that meet our criteria for beauty are eligible to become a Forevermark diamond, the authority on diamonds for over 125 years.” — Kristen Trustey, Forevermark

Next, explore some recent “big” celeb diamonds and then shop engagement rings of any size.

Say “I do” to this pretty style.
Pavé diamonds on the band match the halo.
It doesn’t get more classic than this style.
A dynamic band for some added interest.
Finished on a hammered band.
Sparkle on with this pretty ring on your finger.
This stunning sparkler will light up any look.
Strangers just might stop and stare at this one.
A great ring doesn’t have to be complicated.
These stones add just the right amount of sparkle. This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

8 Ways Fashion CEOs Are Solving the Industry’s Pressing Problem

One company is known for its cult sneakers. Another owns the industry’s most coveted luxury labels. Two other brands can respond to trends at dizzyingly quick speeds. Nike, Kering, H&M, and ASOS all occupy different corners of the industry, but their CEOs have come together to agree on one important thing: the pressing need to address sustainability and fashion’s enormous effect on climate change.

They join the top brass from other companies, including Target and PVH Corp., in participating in the CEO Agenda 2019, which outlines eight specific priorities for fashion leaders. Organized by the nonprofit Global Fashion Agenda, the agenda asserts that addressing sustainability is a “business imperative” and not just a passing trend. “Currently total greenhouse gas emissions from textile production amount to 1.2 billion tonnes annually, according to new research from UNFCCC,” Global Fashion Agenda explained in a press release. “This is more than the emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.”

The agreement details four priorities for companies to focus on: promote supply-chain traceability; combat climate change; use water, energy, and chemicals efficiently; and establish respectful and secure work environments. The four other priorities are a bit more long-term: utilize sustainable materials, achieve a circular fashion system, promote better wage systems, and embrace a new kind of industrial revolution brought on by technology. Intrigued? Head over to the Global Fashion Agenda’s website for an in-depth look at the issues.

Next, Stella McCartney spent three years designing biodegradable sneakers

The Fashion Girl–Approved Jacket Trend to Wear All Winter

If you’re anything like us, there’s a good chance you’ve already started counting down the days until spring officially arrives. We know, we know—it’s only a couple weeks into January, but it’ll still be a few more months before the temperatures make a notable rise on the thermometer. Until then, a chic leather puffer jacket will make the cold winter days at least a little more bearable (and more stylish).

You may have first seen the modern take on the sportswear staple throughout your Instagram feed styled by fashion girls around the world, but its expanded way beyond just the social-media realm. With the perfect blend of that streetwear edge with something as luxurious as leather (or faux leather, in some cases), this jacket is bound to keep you warm and in style for the rest of the season.

Ready to start shopping? Below we’ve rounded up the coolest leather puffers for you to achieve It-girl status. You’ll want to snap a photo the as soon as you put them on.

Definitely worth the investment.
This burgundy take is perfect for the season.
No cold breeze will pass through a down jacket.
Stay warm all winter in Sosken.
So good.
Nanushka always gives us the It-girl favorites.
This color combination, though.
How chic is this?
Iro makes such luxurious coats.
You’ll get so many compliments on this.
A hood makes a jacket so much more useful.
Survive the harshest of winters with this.
Cognac brown is so expensive-looking.
We’re loving this easy moto version of the trend.

See? These jackets are undeniably cool.

4 Affordable French Brands Every Parisian Loves

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we (and the rest of the fashion-loving population, for that matter) can’t get enough of French-girl style. Blame it on the Parisian It girls and designers we’ve been fawning over since the beginning of their conception, but French girls simply have this je ne sais quoi about them that we can’t get enough of. Of course, while the idea of fully achieving the effortless aesthetic may slightly out of reach, these affordable French brands are making it so much easier.

Not to say that the classic French houses don’t have their time and place, but when you want to know what French girls are actually wearing in their day-to-day lives, these brands have you covered. Plus, they won’t cost you an entire month’s paycheck. The affordable French brands ahead are cool while maintaining that Parisian charm of being both trend-forward and classic. Basically, you’ll look like a true Parisian without trying too hard or spending too much. Keep reading to see the chic (and affordable) French brands your favorite Parisian girls swear by.

We love the texture of this.
Too cute.
There are so many ways you can wear this top.
There’s a reason these keep selling out.
This looks so comfy.
These look so easy to wear.
It girl–approved.
You’ll never get tired of this print.
A slip skirt is always a good idea.
Perfect for a winter night out.
Any fan of Jane Birkin woud love this dress.
Wear these with a pair of boots or heels.

Need more French-girl style in your life? Copy these outfits now.

This Just Became the Coolest It Dress to Bring on Vacation

Is it just us, or is Instagram’s crew of fashion girls jetting off to one exotic destination after the next? Whether it’s the immaculate beaches of the Maldives, the bustling streets of Vietnam, or the buzzy nightclubs in Barcelona, it seems fashion girls all had the same idea when they were packing for vacation. Inside each of their suitcases was the floral-print Lucy dress from London-based brand Rixo. I first noticed the dress when stylist Emili Sindlev wore it on her vacation, and since then, it’s popped up many more times in my feed.

The dress features an open back, ruching at the waist, and a ruffled hem, and it’s doused in a highly saturated, ’80s-inspired floral print. Considering Rixo has earned a well-loved reputation for its graphic prints and easy dresses, we’re not completely surprised the Lucy dress is a hit among the influencer crowd. To be honest, every dress it designs hits the nail on the head, and this one, in particular, seems to be leading that charge. Keep reading to see how fashion girls are wearing the dress on all their international travels, and then shop the style.

Speaking of Instagram It pieces, see our definitive list of the items everyone’s wearing at the moment.

The Best Black Jeans for Men 2019

Your hunt is over: Best Stuff is GQ’s destination for finding the perfect version of whatever you need. Everything we endorse has been heavily researched and thoroughly tested. You can thank us later.

James McAvoy, the 2019 Travel Awards, and More: Inside Our February Issue

What’s the best place to live like Indiana Jones? How about the best modernist hotel on a beach, or the best undiscovered island chain? You’ll find them in our new February issue, on stands this week.

For the first Men’s Journal Travel Awards, we picked the 35 Best Trips in the World, along with must-download apps, expert hacks, and travel tips, including where to go if you want an epic view of the stars (it’s in Chile!).

This month’s cover star, James McAvoy, is already having a big 2019, starring in M. Night Shyamalan’s latest thriller, Glass. In our story, “The Hero With a Thousand Faces,” writer Ed Caesar caught up with McAvoy to talk about what it took to transform into his character, Kevin Wendell Crumb. “I happen to like a bit of old-fashioned super-hero codswallop,” McAvoy told us.

 

 

“I was astonished when he started playing the part of what he was capable of,” Shyamalan told Men’s Journal. “The physicality, the drama, the emotion, the humor, the pathos.”

 

While he showed off his versatility in the role, McAvoy took his training to the next level, dedicating around five days each week with a trainer, along with upping the amount of meals he’d eat every day.

“In the third act of our movie, he has his shirt off the whole time,” Shyamalan says. “There was no way around it…. He whipped himself into shape.”

 

James McAvoy, Men's Journal February 2019
James McAvoy, Men’s Journal February 2019 Photograph by Simon Emmett

Kicking off February with a Super Bowl party? We already know what we’re cooking: the best chicken wings recipes—sweet, dry, or spicy—you’ll want to make well after one of the teams gets another ring. They’re so good you’ll want to rip out the pages and stick them to your fridge—just don’t go crazy on the sauce this year.

This month’s GearLab will put you to sleep—hopefully: Our testers selected the best mattresses you can get shipped directly to your door, including recommendations if you sleep on your side, get hot at night, or you’re on a budget. Once you’ve taken your sleep to a deeper level, check out some of our favorite new rock climbing essentials, along with the best new high-tech tools for any weekend project. Plus, we even took a group of noise-canceling headphones up in the air to hear which performed best (just in time for all your upcoming travel plans).

Finally, now that you’ve set your fitness goals for the year, it’s time to try something new with the Workout of the Month, a.k.a., the “Sneaky Core Circuit.” It’s a six-move full-body routine created by strength coach Matt Pudvah. The best part: We’ll never ask you to do a single crunch.

Get all these stories and more from our February issue—out this Friday, January 25.

And check back here for more behind-the-scenes videos and exclusive interviews from McAvoy’s Men’s Journal cover shoot.

James McAvoy Is the Hero With a Thousand Faces

AN EARLY WINTER AFTERNOON in London: gray clouds, flat light, a bite in the air, the last leaves clinging to nearly naked trees. James McAvoy is entertaining mortal thoughts. “As somebody who’s always thought I’d be happy making it to 70 years of age and then die, I think: I’ve got 31 years left,” he says, apropos of seemingly nothing, while driving his red Audi home through the tight streets of North London. “It’s important to do what I want to do, instead of what I should do.”

McAvoy will be 40 years old in April. It’s not unusual for men of his age to start reconsidering their priorities. But something about McAvoy’s frank appraisal of his own impermanence is jolting. It’s partly that he still looks so young, even with his somewhat unconvincing beard, and partly the fact that I remember him best from the roles he played as a 20-something. This confessional moment comes near the start of a long, barely interrupted, and often hilarious monologue of thoughts, reflections, impressions, and bonsmots, all delivered in a quicksilver Glaswegian burr, and it’s hard to process the words as he says them. All I can think as I sit in the passenger seat is: Why is James McAvoy telling me about his sudden urge to outrun time? It seems a strange intimacy to share with a stranger. As the monologue roller-coasters through the X-Men franchise, worker’s rights, clean carbs, Scottish independence, the strange performance art of celebrity, class struggle, Brexit, fatherhood, and Swedish personal trainers, a thought nags at me. What is behind that remark?

Eventually, after a drive, and a cup of tea, a story tumbles out that might begin to explain it. Last April, McAvoy says, he went to a hospital, and very nearly died.

James McAvoy
Simon Emmet

 

MCAVOY HAS SPENT the morning being James McAvoy, Movie Star. He has had his photograph taken many hundreds of times, on location in an artfully bedraggled Camden pub and on the picturesque cobbled streets of Hampstead: film-set London. He has bantered with the dozen or so creative professionals and assistants who follow him from one place to the next. (One joke, taken wildly out of context: “No! Armie Hammer is my bitch.”) Periodically, people have asked him strange things, like whether he wants to change his trousers for the next shot, or whether he needs a touch-up of the makeup on his chest. At considerable cost, a Winnebago has idled near a possible shoot location on Hampstead Heath, just in case James McAvoy, Movie Star, requires somewhere pleasant to change. As it happens, the driver spends the morning drinking coffee from the Winnebago’s coffee machine and watching talk shows on its flat-screen television, waiting for a celebrity who never arrives.

Now, with the shoot over, McAvoy has ditched the outfits and the makeup and the RV and has reverted to being James McAvoy, Suburban Dad. We’re driving around the north side of Hampstead Heath, the ancient park in the heart of North London, in his Audi. The remnants of his 8-year-old son’s recently discarded snack litters the footwell, the fuel gauge is nearing empty, and the rear left tire needs some air. We drive past the Billionaire’s Row of Bishop’s Avenue, with its vast, empty, oligarch-owned houses, up to the old village of Highgate, one of London’s most affluent boroughs. Away to our right is the pub where the 18th-century bandit Dick Turpin used to hide out, and opposite is the street where the Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge once lived in a house owned several generations later by the writer J.B. Priestley, and now by the model Kate Moss—an urban landscape, I have always felt, so loaded with history it appears designed to make you consider the passing of time.

 

 

As he drives, McAvoy unfurls. He is a Hollywood leading man now. Since those first major roles in Atonement and The Last King of Scotland garnered excellent reviews more than 10 years ago, McAvoy had developed into a versatile, unusual actor: as happy playing the Professor in the billion-dollar X-Men prequels as he is playing a dissolute, foul-mouthed Edinburgh cop in the Irvine Welsh adaptation, Filth. During the time I spend with him, and from the reports of friends I know from his neighborhood—who sometimes spot him at the local gym or on his way to play soccer—McAvoy appears to be remarkably unaffected by the trappings of fame.

I wonder what he made of the morning’s photo-shoot circus. Is he inured to the attention? “I mean, everything gets normalized after a while,” he says. “But what you’ve got to do as it’s getting normalized is to remember that everybody just has their role to play. And even though I was the focal point this morning, that’s just my role. It’s not like I deserve it. And by the way, nobody else who was there is fucking thinking to themselves: ‘Wow, what a guy!’”

Actually, I think that is what people think when they’re dealing with a movie star.

“Nah, it’s just because they’ve got you for such a small length of time,” he says. “I think they think of you as sort of a flighty horse, almost. If you don’t treat it with fucking kid gloves, it’s going to buck and run away and you’ll never tame it. Because they’ve got a very finite amount of time to get a lot of content out of you. There’s a lot of internet to be filled up. Do you know what I mean?”

McAvoy breaks into laughter at the thought of him having what he calls a “starry fucking ego.” He tells me the best cure for any sense of ego is to actually work as a film actor. “Sometimes, when I’m acting on set,” he says, “I feel like I bare my soul and fucking reveal the deepest darkest truths of my upbringing, and I do what I think should be a nominated performance, and then they shout ‘cut,’ and I’m like, ‘Uh?’ You look at the crew, and everybody’s picking their nose or scratching their balls at that moment.”

In other words, says McAvoy, being a movie star is just a job. A well-paid job—very well paid, in his case—but a job nonetheless. You should take all of it seriously, and none of it personally. Having me in his car is simply another part of the gig.

We’re talking because McAvoy has a new movie out: Glass, a spin-off that combines the storylines and characters from two other successful M. Night Shyamalan films: Unbreakable, which starred Bruce Willis as a train-wreck survivor who discovers he has superhuman powers; and Split, in which McAvoy played a psychopath with 23 personalities. “I happen to like a bit of old-fashioned superhero codswallop,” McAvoy says.

He’s not kidding. To play the role of Kevin Wendell Crumb in Glass, McAvoy got huge. He worked with a personal trainer named Magnus Lygdback—a “Swede who looks like a Viking…who looks like he’s about to pillage your village”—who watched him power-lift weights five or six days a week, and encouraged him to eat five or six meals a day. Before he knew it, McAvoy was ready to pillage some villages of his own. To those of us who remember him as the skinny, boyish leading man of Atonement, the Viking version is barely recognizable.

“I was astonished when he started playing the part of what he was capable of,” says Shyamalan. “The physicality, the drama, the emotion, the humor, the pathos.” Plus, Shyamalan says, McAvoy worked his ass off in the gym, sometimes fitting in a full weightlifting session before filming started early in the morning. “In the third act of our movie, he has his shirt off the whole time,” Shyamalan tells me. “There was no way around it…. He whipped himself into shape.”

DESPITE HIS EARLY PORTRAYALS of sensitive young men in the flush of youth, McAvoy is perhaps best known for his work in the X-Men prequels. But even as he works in the franchise “big crash-bang-wallops,” as McAvoy calls them, he has continued to act in smaller films and do work onstage that suggests it might be his natural home. In particular, McAvoy’s furious Macbeth, in 2013, in the West End of London, was extraordinary.

“I’m so, so proud of it,” he tells me. It’s the only time in our interview where his unwillingness to show any sign of “starry” behavior gives way to straightforward professional satisfaction. (He soon cures the mood by telling a story, complete with a dead-on Ian McKellen impression, about how McKellen—himself a very famous Macbeth—told McAvoy that his performance “was not for me” before faintly praising McAvoy’s “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow” speech.)

I wonder if McAvoy wishes he could do more in the theater. “Absolutely, I do want to. I want to see where that takes me,” he says, before adding that at some point in the future he’s agreed to play Cyrano de Bergerac, with Jamie Lloyd, who directed McAvoy onstage not only in Macbeth but in Three Days of Rain and The Ruling Class, both of which garnered similarly enthusiastic reviews.

McAvoy is so lit up at the prospect, he misses his turn. Or maybe he’s just a day-dreamy driver. We pass the rusted memorial to the 17th-century metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell. (“But always at my back I hear/Time’s wingèd chariot coming near.”)

James McAvoy
Photograph by Simon Emmet

 

We’re heading, in a roundabout way, toward Crouch End, or “Crouchy” as McAvoy calls it—the boho-middle-class suburb where he lives. It’s far, in every sense, from where McAvoy grew up, in a scrappy housing project on the outskirts of Glasgow called Drumchapel. After his parents split when he was 7, McAvoy lived in “the Drum” with his grandparents. He has always told reporters he had a happy childhood. Still, the area was working-class, with high levels of unemployment, and a life expectancy four to five years shorter than the rest of Glasgow. In short, not many movie stars come out of the Drum.

McAvoy tells me that a lot of what’s prompted his recent reappraisal of how he picks projects is straightforward: He’s rich now, and he doesn’t need the money. The X-Men movies paid him well. He also got a back-end share of the profits on Split, which took in nearly $300 million worldwide and cost very little to make. “I’m lucky. I really don’t have to worry about money now,” he says. “It would be all right if I didn’t work for a long time.”

Despite his material comfort, McAvoy has not lost his class consciousness. He is aware that his opportunity to become an actor came from a meeting at his school with the Scottish actor and director David Hayman, who was impressed with McAvoy and offered him a tiny role in the 1995 British TV drama The Near Room, which catalyzed his career. Had Hayman not dropped in on St. Thomas Aquinas High School that day, it’s probable nobody would ever have heard of James McAvoy. “You just know when somebody walks through the door if they’ve got something or not,” Hayman once said.

After that initial break, it took another working-class writer and producer, Paul Abbott, to give McAvoy his first noticeable roles on television. Abbott cast the young Scot in the political thriller State of Play and then in his landmark British TV show about life in the Manchester projects, Shameless, in the space of two years. “I know people can say things when someone’s been successful, but this isn’t a retrofit: He just shone,” Abbott told me. “Most people as handsome as him don’t play beyond their nose. James was good-looking but didn’t give a shit about it. There was an honesty there.” McAvoy was already moving beyond television while he was working on Shameless, winning small roles in big films, like The Chronicles of Narnia, and subsequently winning the part of the young Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan, in The Last King of Scotland, co-starring Forest Whitaker.

“Most people as handsome as him don’t play beyond their nose,” one director says. “James was good-looking but didn’t give a shit about it. There was an honesty there.”

All movie stars rely on luck. But McAvoy believes that other kids, from different backgrounds, seem to get more chances to be lucky. He has been outspoken on the high percentage of “posh” English film actors, from exclusive schools and the best universities, who make it in the industry. This kind of privileged background is shared by three of the most successful British film actors of McAvoy’s generation—Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddie Redmayne, and Tom Hiddleston—although McAvoy doesn’t call them out by name. “I don’t really mind that we have a lot of posh actors, because most of those actors are really fucking good,” he says. “But it is a symptom of a bigger problem.”

James McAvoy
Simon Emmet

 

McAvoy talks about the gap in opportunities between rich and poor kids in Britain that is widening because of cuts to arts funding. He has funded a scholarship for high-school-age kids in Glasgow to give them access to drama. But as McAvoy sees it, the problem goes way beyond drama.

“While you’re developing as a human being, and while your eyes are being opened or kept closed to the rest of the world, there’s a certain group of people that are getting mind-expanding arts education and a bunch of people that aren’t,” he says. “Whether you become an actor or not, or a painter or whatever—it doesn’t necessarily matter. Because what it can give you is to make you a more rounded and more confident person.”

In this exchange, you get a sense of McAvoy not as someone who feels like he was predestined for success—if you’re raised Catholic in Glasgow, you tend not to go big on predestination—but as someone with talent who was given an opportunity. There are other people from Drumchapel whose lives do not turn out as well. (For instance: McAvoy’s half-brother, Donald, whom he has never met, was jailed last year for beating up a man over a drug debt.) It’s only now, at 39, with financial security, that McAvoy can afford to think about choosing roles with total freedom.

WHICH BRINGS US to that near-death experience.

Last April, McAvoy went in for a physical, for no other reason than he was nearly 40, and a parent, and it seemed like a good idea. The doctors found a shadow on the X-ray of his lung and did a biopsy. It turned out to be nothing, but the wound from the surgery became infected, and the infection became serious. A one-day procedure became a nearly three-week ordeal in a hospital bed.

“It nearly killed me,” he says, momentarily earnest. “It was very scary. A terrifying fucking thing to go through.”

McAvoy, I notice, seemingly has a sincerity alarm that goes off in his head any time he thinks he’s revealing too much of himself. The sirens are ringing hard now. He quickly plays this story of his near-death experience for laughs. He tells me that the doctors wouldn’t give him straight answers, even after he recovered. When McAvoy told them that one of his abdominal muscles appeared to have gone missing after the surgery, he couldn’t wrestle a response out of them.

McAvoy mimics the evasive, polished responses of the English doctor: “Hmm, are you sure it was there before the surgery?”

It would be too neat to say that McAvoy has reengineered his outlook because of one close call. Human beings aren’t such simple creatures. His recent past has been punctuated by other momentous life events—a divorce from the actor Anne-Marie Duff in 2016, whom he met on the set of Shameless; the death of his mother in 2018—and any number of other factors about which I can and should know nothing. I met the guy on one chilly November day, and we spoke for a while: I don’t pretend to have a window into his soul. But McAvoy admits readily that his illness shook him up. And it came at a time when he might already have been wondering how many more five-month film shoots he wanted to do, while his 8-year-old son missed his father at home.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not slagging off my industry,” he says. “I love my job. Love it…. But there’s got to be more balance.”

What does “balance” mean? McAvoy has a clear idea. It means more British movies. It means directing. It means only working with directors who possess a field marshal’s sense of what they want to achieve. It means never abusing his own, or anybody’s else’s, time. And it means, whenever possible, picking his kid up from school, which he is about to do as we conclude our conversation, promptly, politely, and right on schedule, like a man with not a second to waste.

Perfect Winter Coats and Parkas On Sale Now at Backcountry

The Backcountry Winter Clearance is in full swing right now, and hundreds of items are marked way, way down. While perusing the massive selection of drastically reduced skis, snowboards, and winter gear, we stumbled across a treasure trove of winter parkas from the white-hot Italian company Parajumpers, whose stylish and rugged outerwear is at home on the runways of Milan as in the Alps of Tyrol. And it’s all discounted a full 25 percent.

When a brand is this hyped the pickings can be slim, especially among the most popular styles, colors, and sizes. But keep in mind that even though retailers are blowing out winter gear, many of us have months of cold, blustery weather still ahead of us. So these coats and parkas are not only going to get plenty of wear this winter, but you’ll be able to rock them for years to come.

So if you want to stay warm while looking tres chic this winter, hurry to Backcountry right now and check out some of these great deals on Parajumpers winter parkas and coats.

Caldera Hikes, Tea Plantations, and Geyser Stew: The 4-day Weekend on São Miguel, the Azores

As a volcanic, verdant wonderland for the adventure traveler, the Azores could be described as a hybrid of Iceland and Hawaii. But these nine Portuguese islands also have an intriguing culture, delectable cuisine, and an irresistible, smack-dab-in-the-middle-of-the-Atlantic spirit all their own.

 

 

A 4-day weekend in São Miguel, the archipelago’s largest and most populated island, is an ideal introduction to the Azores. Uncrowded and with exceptional infrastructure, the island is ripe for exploring by car, especially given the short distances between attractions. Expect jaw-dropping landscapes, friendly locals, and lots of memorable meals, just a short five-hour flight from the East Coast.

Pro tip: Always pack a swimsuit—there’s bound to be a hot spring, beach, or waterfall around every corner.

Azor Hotel Sao Miguel
Azor Hotel Sao Miguel Courtesy of Azor Hotel

 

Where to Stay

If you rent a car (which we highly recommend), your choice of accommodation won’t be a limiting factor during a weekend’s exploration; it all depends on your interests.

For a lively stay in Ponta Delgada, the centrally located capital, check into Azor Hotel, a member of Design Hotels. All rooms in the marina-front property have ocean views, include a spectacular breakfast buffet, and access to the heated rooftop pool.

Those who prefer a more exclusive retreat should book at Santa Barbara Eco-Beach Resort on the island’s north shore. Style-forward studios and villas look out to the black sands of Santa Barbara Beach—just a few steps away if you can pry yourself from the incredibly plush beds.

Spa seekers: Your best bet is the Furnas Boutique Hotel in the geothermal town of Furnas. With nature-inspired design, indoor/outdoor thermal pools, and an extensive wellness program, self-pampering is top of mind upon check-in.

A former Franciscan convent built in the 17th century, Convento do São Francisco was converted into the ultimate Azorean hotel for history buffs. A combination of storied antiques and modern art mingle within the cloisters’ walls, located in São Miguel’s former capital Vila Franca do Campo.

Portas da Cidade
Gi Cristóvão / Getty Images

Thursday

Afternoon: Your flight will most likely be a red-eye, so spend the morning recharging your energy. For the rest of your day, discover the capital city, Ponta Delgada, by foot. Supremely walkable and surprisingly lively, Ponta Delgada charms with its cobblestone avenues and unique colonial architecture. Splashes of pastel exteriors point to traditional design of mainland Portugal, while the occasional black and white facade are distinctly Azorean. The black accents are made from local volcanic basalt, and indicate a structure of importance, like the iconic Portas da Cidade (Gates of the City) at the entrance to Gonçalo Velho Cabral Square. After wandering the square, visit the Museu Carlos Machado (another black and white building) for a comprehensive history on The Azores, from geology to religion. Enjoy a late afternoon caffeine pep at Cafe Central, a landmark establishment in front of the Matriz de São Sebastião Church. Another great option is Louvre Michaelense, a café-cum-gift shop with delicious tarts and artisanal handicrafts.

Cafe Central
Cafe Central Courtesy of Cafe Central

 

Evening: Even prior to your arrival in São Miguel, be sure to make reservations at A Tasca, arguably Ponta Delgada’s most popular restaurant. It’s an ideal introduction to local specialties like grilled lapas (a mussel-like shellfish), bifhana (pork sandwiches), and bolo de ananás (Azorean pineapple cake), all in a family-style environment. Roll your overstuffed self out of the restaurant and get a good night’s rest.

Ocean waves and stairs in public pool of Termas da Ferraria
Public pool of Termas da Ferraria aragami12345 / Getty Images

Friday

Morning: Have an early breakfast at your hotel, then hit the road toward the north-westerly tip of São Miguel. Destination: Termas de Ferraria. As you reach the final stretch, don’t get distracted by the dramatic landscape—the road is incredibly steep. Park at the spa and walk along the black volcanic rocks toward the ocean, where you can experience a boiling geothermal current gush into the chilly Atlantic waters. As the ocean waves roll into the natural cove, hold on tight to the ropes hung crosswise, and enjoy the sensation of hot and cold water swirling around you.

Afternoon: Make your way to Lagoa das Sete Cidades, a set of lakes at the bottom of a massive volcanic caldera (don’t worry, it’s extinct). Of the multiple hikes around the elevated rim, Boca do Inferno (Hell’s Mouth) offers the most jaw-dropping miradouro, or viewpoint, down into the crater below. For an even greater thrill, drive about 10 minutes west to the abandoned Monte Palace Hotel for a self-guided exploration into the eerie, graffiti-covered interior, and more incredible views of the caldera.

Termas de Ferraria
Termas de Ferraria Courtesy Image

 

Evening: After a brief post-hike siesta, you’ll want the serene dining experience found at Quinta dos Sabores in Rabo de Peixe. With a homegrown, six-course menu of locally sourced ingredients, owners Paulo Decq and Inês Sá da Bandeira serve their interpretation of seasonal farm-to-table cuisine, Azorean-style, within their converted farmhouse. The produce comes from the garden right outside the window, while the fish and meats are sourced from local vendors.

Islet of Vila Franca do Campo
Islet of Vila Franca do Campo ARoxo / Getty Images

Saturday

Morning: Head straight to Vila Franca do Campo, which served as capital of the archipelago until a devastating earthquake leveled the entire area in 1522. About a 20-minute drive from Ponta Delgada, this seaside town evokes a Mediterranean landscape with its white-washed buildings and red-tiled roofs. Induce a morning sugar rush at Queijadas da Vila do Morgado, the original bakers of palm-sized queijadas, São Miguel’s signature cake. Next stop: the Vila Franca Islet, an offshore paradise known for its circular natural pool formed by an underwater volcanic explosion. The photogenic islet can be reached by an hourly ferry connection from the Vila Franca do Campo marina, and tickets can be purchased in advance to avoid lines.

Afternoon: For lunch, drive east to Caloura, a beach town popular among locals for its stone pier and reputably sunnier climate. Jot down your name on the chalk board at Bar Caloura, the best seafood restaurant in town, and request a table closest to the water on its swoon-worthy outdoor patio. After ordering a glass of local Frei Gigante white wine, you’ll be led to the bounty of fresh-caught fish. Choose what you want grilled to perfection, but don’t pass on the prawns with tomato garlic sauce. For dessert, fan a towel over the stone pier steps away from the restaurant and drink in some vitamin D like it’s sweet wine.

Evening: Return to Ponta Delgada for a Saturday night on the town, starting with dinner at Tasquinha Vieira. Chic, yet unpretentious, this small restaurant excels at elevating Azorean delicacies with an ever-changing menu that highlights the freshest ingredients of the moment. On a warm night, the back courtyard is a prime spot for enjoying stewed rice with sausage and shrimp or a zesty tuna ceviche. Migrate to the Portas do Mar marina for an al fresco cocktail at Bar do Pi, where a playlist from Portuguese ballads to house music stretches the seaside party until 4 a.m.

Gorreana Tea Plantation
Gorreana Tea Plantation Patricia Hamilton / Getty Images

 

Sunday

Morning: Skip your morning coffee and opt for a cup of tea at Europe’s oldest—and only—tea plantation. The family-owned Gorreana Tea Plantation has been producing some of the finest green and black tea since 1883, a decade after tea cultivation was introduced to the island by Chinese traders. Tour the 1840s-era Marshalls machinery that’s still used to process the tea plants, which thrive in the volcanic soil.

Afternoon: Drive farther into São Miguel’s lush interior to reach Furnas, a town unlike any other in the world. Established on top of an active volcanic crater, Furnas’ center is scattered with bubbling geysers, fumaroles, and hot springs. Expect wafts of musty sulfur gas seeping from the Earth’s core to greet your nostrils. Once you’ve developed a healthy appetite, lead your growling stomach to the Terra Nostra Garden Hotel for a plate of cozido, Furnas’ traditional stew of meat and vegetables boiled inside the steaming geysers. Since you’ll already be inside the elegantly manicured Terra Nostra Botanical Garden, it’s time to boil yourself like a potato in the therapeutic hot spring—just don’t wear your favorite bathing suit. The sulphuric orange residue tends to stain.

Evening: Kick off your last evening on São Miguel with an enchanting sunset on Fogo Beach, a 15-minute cruise from Furnas. After an active weekend, comfort those weary feet in the black sand, still warm from the afternoon sun’s rays. And for your last meal? You’re on an island in the middle of the Atlantic; it’s gotta be seafood. And Ponta do Garajau in Ribeira Quente has the best, accompanied by friendly, attentive service. Without hesitation, order a sizzling griddle of garlic lapas, spicy peel-your-own shrimp, and crispy fried mackerel, then have your server recommend the freshest fish of the day. Just like your first trip to São Miguel, it’s guaranteed to impress.

Inside the Lab: Crown & Caliber, the Online Luxury Watch Shop

“I can remember the exact moment I decided to start the company.” Hamilton Powell is talking about the brand he founded, Crown & Caliber, a site built for luxury watch enthusiasts looking for a timepiece that gets inspected, maintained, and resold by a team of experts based in Atlanta.

“One day I had lunch with a friend of mine named Jay who decided to sell his watch to a local jewelry store after unsuccessfully trying to sell it online,” he tells Men’s Journal. “And then two weeks later he went there to buy something for his wife and saw it for sale for almost double what he was offered.

inside-crown-caliber-video
Courtesy Crown & Caliber

“And at that exact moment that’s when I realized that there should be a better way for individuals to transact in this secondary watch market.”

Go behind the scenes of Crown & Caliber’s operation, from seeing the watches get disassembled by the expert team of watchmakers to the pros who know exactly how a specific band needs polished—all before it’s completely ready to go online and shipped to your doorstep.

Two Top TV Critics on ‘The Sopranos’ at 20 and What the Ending Really Means

Two decades after it first aired, everyone—from critics to the cast to fans—is still talking about The Sopranos. From the cut-to-black ending to its instantly quotable lines, the show that followed the life of a mafia boss from New Jersey has spawned countless imitators over the years and has influenced almost every award-winning television drama since.

Television critics Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz had front-row seats to the action at The Star-Ledger (aka the actual paper Tony Soprano picked up at the end of his driveway each morning), both writing about the series for the paper while it was still on. By the time the series wrapped up, the paper and show were so intertwined that Sepinwall was the only reporter who got an interview with creator David Chase after the series finale aired.

The two critics—Sepinwall now writes for Rolling Stone and Seitz is the TV critic at New York Magazine and an editor at RogerEbert.com—have published a book, The Sopranos Sessionsin honor of the show’s 20th anniversary. It includes essays on all 86 episodes, past writings from columns and interviews the critics did at The Star-Ledger, musings on the ending, and transcripts from eight (yes, eight!) conversations they had with David Chase.

The Sopranos / HBO
The Sopranos / HBO

We caught up with Sepinwall and Zoller Seitz to talk about the impact The Sopranos made on television, David Chase’s original ideas for the ending, and why the show still makes people argue after all these years.

Men’s Journal: Did anything surprise you when you watched the show again 20 years later?

Alan Sepinwall: For me, I think it was James Gandolfini. It’s an odd thing to say because he was the star of the show and was incredible in it, but I wasn’t prepared for how difficult it was to watch some of the really emotional scenes knowing he’s not here any more. You have this TV Mount Rushmore with Gandolfini, Bryan Cranston, and Jon Hamm, and you kind of think they’re all equal, but no—Gandolfini’s the best dramatic actor TV’s ever seen. It’s just stunning to watch him work. It’s just stunning to watch him work, especially knowing everything that’s coming and you can just focus on his performance and not guess what’s coming next week.

Matt Zoller Seitz: Something that jumped out to me was how consistent the show was from start to finish as a social satire and a commentary on American life. Literally from the very beginning in the “Pilot” episode when Tony says “I’ve been getting the feeling that I came in at the end, that the best is over,” they followed that idea through all the way to the final episodes. Tony describes himself as a “waste-management consultant.” He’s a guy who can’t stop eating, because he’s gluttonous; he’s a man of absolutely no restraints. David Chase was onto something about America overall with the sense we’re almost unable to stop ourselves from destroying what we’ve got. You get to the end of the series, and it’s cathartic in a way. There are so many ways to interpret that ending. It’s like the show itself had a heart attack and keeled over right then.

In the book, David Chase discusses other ideas he had for the end of the series, even mentioning the words “death scene” at one point. Did you gain any clarity on the actual ending in your conversations?

Seitz: The “death scene” he was talking about was not the scene at the diner in the finale. People on the internet have run wild with that quote, but when Chase referred to that scene, he was referring to this big idea of a different ending he came up with before they started shooting Season 5. The idea was that Tony goes into the Lincoln Tunnel in his SUV for a meeting with Johnny Sack—a sort of mirror to the opening credits—and there’s a white light at the end of the tunnel. The implication was that Tony didn’t come back from that meeting. He told us himself he moved away from that before the end of the series, and there are certain people who don’t want to believe him. Just to be sure, we asked him point blank: “Are you saying that Tony died at the end of the diner scene?” But he refused to answer that question and we noted it in brackets in the book.

Sepinwall: What I love about the moment Chase says the words “death scene” is we weren’t expecting to discuss the ending in that interview. We weren’t trying to “gotcha” him at all. We talked for another 45 minutes, but I actually felt like we came out of that with even less clarity about what actually happens in the final scene. We understood what he intended, but I still think there’s no definitive answer as to what happened regarding Tony dying or not. People are still going to debate.

The Sopranos / HBO
The Sopranos / HBO

How did you narrow down episodes for your Top 10 list?

Seitz: I wanted my Top 10 list to represent the breadth of the types of episodes the show did. Sometimes you get an all-things-to-all-people episode, like “Pine Barrens” or “White Knight in Satin Armor”, but other times you get these odd little episodes like “Soprano Home Movies,” which is kind of like a two-character play, or one like “Whitecaps,” which Alan wrote about so beautifully. Only a handful of shows have ever equaled The Sopranos in this regard: That sense of excitement when you hear those opening credits and you don’t know what you’re in for.

MJ: I enjoyed your list for that exact reason. Most people don’t have “The Test Dream” as a favorite episode, because at the time it probably frustrated them so much.  

Seitz: It’s a great episode. It’s a toss-up between that and “Fun House” as the best dream episode. I like that one because I feel like it’s the final culmination of ‘Tony the Dreamer’. I put “Marco Polo” on the list because one of the things the writers were great at were these Robert Altman-style episodes where the entire community of the series comes together around an event—a wedding, a funeral, a backyard barbecue. It’s hard to choose the best episode especially on a show like that where they really did go the extra mile to try to do different kinds of episodes. We have 20 years distance from the premiere now. People tend to forget that even people who watched the show every week often were not happy with the show. They were not happy that they were spending so much time on Tony’s relationship with Carmela, Meadow, and AJ, and on Tony and psychotherapy with Melfi, and in the world of Tony’s subconscious, as well as other characters’ dream sequences. Just the sort of ordinary boring, kind of tedious dithering over money and who gets paid this and that—a lot of people were like “just whack somebody.”

Sepinwall: That was the amazing thing about the show: It was beloved because it could be so many things, but it was also divisive for the same reason. Certain people were watching two different versions of the same show, and many only wanted that “mob-heavy, action” one. In my Top 10 list, I tried, like Matt, to cover the breadth of the series. There was also a sense that there were certain episodes I couldn’t possibly leave off. I remember when the show ended, I did the Top 10 episodes list for The Star-Ledger and I was young and cocky enough to think, “I’m not going to put ‘Pine Barrens’ on the list.” What kind of an idiot was I back then? That episode is just too good, so obviously “Pine Barrens” is low on my list—and rightly so.

Seitz: Now and then I get people complaining on Twitter about how all these lists have “Pine Barrens” and “College” on the list. And it’s like, yeah, but leaving it off would be like doing a list of the best Beatles albums and leaving off “Rubber Soul” and “Abbey Road”. What can you do but list it. I also remember when we got to the final stretch of episodes of The Sopranos, part of the suspense and frustration for viewers: “I can’t believe we only have four or five episodes left and they’re telling this story?” People got angry about why people weren’t being whacked left and right. Why are we spending time on A.J. and his depression? They didn’t understand it—but I love that because the show is just basically not taking any orders from the audience and is doing whatever the hell it wants. The Leftovers did that too. There are a number of beautifully shaped stories that were just concentrated on a single character and they weren’t necessarily explaining the nature of the of the Rapture or anything.

The Sopranos / HBO
The Sopranos / HBO

Looking back 20 years later, how did The Sopranos impact television?

Seitz: It broke down a lot of barriers, including the one separating television from things like movies and French cinema. It encouraged critics like Alan and myself to talk about television in a more sophisticated way—to talk about the aesthetics, ideas, and themes—and not just what happened each week and who it happened to. And even though the show is dated—the clothes, cars, and phones—you’re not thinking about how much has changed. Mostly you’re just thinking about what’s happening to the characters, and that’s how you know it was built to last.

Sepinwall: The perception of television has changed in a major way over this era, and The Sopranos is a huge part of that. It opened the door to shows like The Wire, Deadwood, Game of Thrones, and many more.

What performances stood out to you in a different way this time around?

Sepinwall: I really liked Lorraine Bracco more this time around. A lot of the time you watch her, and she can seem kind of stiff. I used to read that as ‘Oh, Lorraine isn’t good at this particular dialogue,’ but no, it’s that Melfi’s uncomfortable dealing with Tony. She interacts with him in different modes—sometimes she’s completely at ease and confident, and other times she’s just barely struggling to hold it in. That was much more apparent this time around. I thought she was wonderful.

Seitz: I was going to mention her as well. For a minor character, Joe Gannascoli as Vito. I liked him way better this time. That whole batch of episodes is about the inability to escape that way of life. Vito is doubly trapped because he’s in the mafia and he’s also a gay man passing for straight. When they send him out to New Hampshire, it’s like Vito’s equivalent of Tony being trapped in coma-land and he’s in this alternate version of reality. And then he has to return to the life he can’t escape from.

There are a bunch of little subplots that people used to complain about because they were taking time away from Tony and Carmela and so on, but I like those little detours and particularly when they gave it to one character, or when they’d bring in a character you never saw before and give them an episode. It bugged people sometimes too, but in retrospect stuff like Bobby Bacala’s father coming in to whack Mustang Sally and he’s coughing the entire time, what a crazy and memorable character. Another great supporting character that I think is great is Caitlin from “University”, played by Ari Graynor. She’s a terrific actress, and that character almost stands in for a section of the audience that could never stand watching The Sopranos. She’s so horrified by the things in The Sopranos that we’re all used to. She really performs it in a way that makes the audience take stock in themselves.

The Sopranos / HBO
The Sopranos / HBO

MJ: Were there any episodes that you appreciated more or saw in a different way many years later?

Sepinwall: For me, there were a bunch in Season 4, which was the first season I covered regularly at the newspaper before Matt handed it over to me. At the time I thought, “Oh great, the show is now boring and I have to make something out of it,” because a lot of people don’t see this season as a favorite. It’s different watching now when you know where the plot was going to go and not trying to predict what the show would be. I definitely had a greater appreciation of things like the Carmela and Furio storyline, and it not going anywhere. Because now you know where things are going and you watch it and see it’s explicitly about the fact that the relationship doesn’t go anywhere. It’s priming her to feel so disappointed and so exasperated with Tony that she will then blow up at him in the way that she does in “Whitecaps” at the end of the season. A lot of material played so much better than me this time than back then.

Seitz: Overall the frame around that relationship for Carmela is her taste in movies and fiction. You look back, even in an episode like “College” even way back in Season 1, she and Father Phil are talking about The Remains of the Day, and and by the time you get to Season 5 and she’s separated from Tony, when she’s having a fling with Mr. Wegler, the David Strathairn character, they’re talking about “Madame Bovary” and “Memoirs of a Geisha.” So in a way, the thing that happens with Furio is the New Jersey mob housewife version of something that would happen in one of these books and movies.

What was it like working for Tony Soprano’s hometown newspaper while the show was on?

Sepinwall: It was a strange time because of how the paper and the show got so linked. Coincidentally, our editor at the time had gone to college with James Gandolfini at Rutgers, and he was the one who actually put the dent in his forehead [laughs]. They were playing with dart guns and our editor knocked a door into Gandolfini’s head, then had to take him to the emergency room to get it stitched up. We had that connection. In a way, it felt like if you were covering the Beatles for the local Liverpool paper or something like that.

Seitz: Because we lived and worked in the area, we responded to show differently than people who weren’t familiar with it. Like if you grew up somewhere across the country, you could just take the show’s word for it that things were right and happening in the places they were happening, but they’re actually pretty accurate about the details of New Jersey.

9 of the Best Noise-canceling Headphones for Travel

You’ve seen That Guy: Strolling casually through the airport without a care in the world, or just relaxing quietly on the plane. What’s he smiling about? Why is he so carefree? How can he just sit there peacefully with his headphones on, that bemused smile on his lips, while the rest of us are scrambling around behaving like lunatics? What does he know that we don’t? Listen, we used to hate That Guy too, until we got ourselves a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

If you’re a frequent traveler, by now you likely know the glory of noise-canceling headphones. Whether you use your travel time to sneak in a catnap, do work on your computer, or just listen to music or binge on a podcast while gazing at the earth 35,000 feet below, noise-canceling headphones have revolutionized travel.

But which ones are right for you? The collection below can help point you in the right headphone direction. Pretty soon you, too, just might be That Guy.

Bailee Madison’s Sexy Feet and Net Worth in 2019

Bailee Madison flaunted her hot legs at the 2019 LA Art Show Opening Night Gala knowing that her net worth is $6 million. Not bad for a young actress who turned 19 last year.

Bailee Madison's hot legs at the 2019 LA Art Show Opening Night Gala held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 23, 2019Bailee Madison’s hot legs at the 2019 LA Art Show Opening Night Gala held at the Los Angeles Convention Center on January 23, 2019

When just 15, Bailee made $30k per episode for the first season of Hallmark Channel’s “Good Witch”. The American/Canadian fantasy comedy-drama television series was renewed for a fifth season on July 26, 2018.

She’s also the author of a popular mystery novel titled Losing Brave (available at Amazon). Bailee has appeared in national commercials for companies including Disney, SeaWorld, and Cadillac.

Bailee Madison's net worth is $6 millionBailee Madison’s net worth is $6 million

Net Worth:$6 million
Full Name:Bailee Madison
Born:October 15, 1999, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
Dating:She reportedly broke up with Alex Lange, a social media star, in December 2018 after two years of dating
Kids:None
Weight:‎57 kg (125 pounds)
Shoe Size:‎8 US
Height:5’5” (167 cm)
Nationality:American
Source of Wealth:Film and television, books, voice over work
Ethnicity:Irish and English
Siblings:She has four brothers and two sisters. Her older sister, Kaitlin Ann Vilasuso (née Riley; born July 17, 1986), is an actress best known for her role in From Justin to Kelly and the 2003 crime-drama film Monster

Bailee Madison revealed toe cleavage in a sexy pair of pointy-toe high heeled pumps.

Bailee Madison's toe cleavage in pointy-toe stiletto heelsBailee Madison’s toe cleavage in pointy-toe stiletto heels

Earlier the same month, Bailee displayed her naked legs in a Ponza silk-chiffon midi dress from Joseph Altuzarra’s Resort 2019 collection ($1,795 at Matches Fashion).

She was joined by her good friend Peyton List at the InStyle And Warner Bros. Golden Globes After Party.

Bailee Madison and Peyton List flaunt their legs at the InStyle And Warner Bros. Golden Globes After Party held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 6, 2019Bailee Madison and Peyton List flaunt their legs at the InStyle And Warner Bros. Golden Globes After Party held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 6, 2019

While Peyton opted for a sexy dress by Valentino, both ladies highlighted their feet in strappy barely-there sandals.

Bailee Madison and Peyton List show off their naked feet in sexy stiletto sandalsBailee Madison and Peyton List show off their naked feet in sexy stiletto sandals

Ponza Silk-Chiffon Midi Dress, $1,795 at Matches Fashion

Bailee’s blue silk-chiffon midi dress from Altuzarra is crafted in Italy for a slim fit with a flattering V-neckline and a slender pencil skirt that is slit open on one side, and printed with an idyllic coastal scene – inspired by the equally charming settings of André Aciman’s novel Call Me By Your Name.

Bailee's blue silk-chiffon midi dress is crafted in Italy for a slim fit with a flattering V-neckline and a slender pencil skirt that is slit open on one side

Bailee Madison also showed off her sexy feet in ‘Snake’ crystal-embellished metallic leather sandals from René Caovilla at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards held in Los Angeles. You can buy them for $1,130 at Net-A-Porter.

Bailee Madison with die parted light wavy tresses at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards held in Los Angeles on June 22, 2018Bailee Madison with die parted light wavy tresses at the 2018 Radio Disney Music Awards held in Los Angeles on June 22, 2018

The 18-year-old American ‘Good Witch’ actress styled her shoes with a gorgeous plaid dress from Prabal Gurung‘s Pre-Fall 2018 Collection ($1,695 at Saks Fifth Avenue).

Bailee Madison accessorized with a variety of rings from Monica VinaderBailee Madison accessorized with a variety of rings from Monica Vinader

Cut from a draped fabric in allover plaid, it features a cascading ruffle down the side, highlighting the feminine form. She accessorized with a variety of rings from Monica Vinader.

Bailee Madison's Prabal Gurung dress features a cascading ruffle down the side, highlighting the feminine formBailee Madison’s Prabal Gurung dress features a cascading ruffle down the side, highlighting the feminine form

Bailee Madison's sexy feet in snake crystal-embellished metallic leather sandals from René CaovillaBailee Madison’s sexy feet in snake crystal-embellished metallic leather sandals from René Caovilla

Black ‘Snake’ crystal-embellished leather sandals, $1,130 at Net-A-Porter

Rihanna rocked a custom-made pair of René Caovilla’s ‘Snake’ sandals at her Fenty Beauty launch in London. Defined by a serpent-like strap that coils around the ankle, this black pair has been made in Italy from leather and decorated with shimmering tonal crystals.

Black 'Snake' crystal-embellished leather sandals

Defined by a serpent-like strap that coils around the ankle, this black pair has been made in Italy from leather and decorated with shimmering tonal crystals

Silver ‘Snake’ crystal-embellished leather sandals, $1,130 at Net-A-Porter

René Caovilla has used the same methods of expert craftsmanship since its launch in the ’30s. These silver leather ‘Snake’ sandals have shimmering crystal-embellished straps that coil around your ankle – they’re lightly structured so they won’t slouch down as you walk.

Silver 'Snake' crystal-embellished leather sandals

These silver leather 'Snake' sandals have shimmering crystal-embellished straps that coil around your ankle

Credit: WENN / Apega / FayesVision / Adriana M. Barraza

The post Bailee Madison’s Sexy Feet and Net Worth in 2019 appeared first on Your Next Shoes.

Jessica Szohr’s Mysterious Foot Tattoos and Net Worth in 2019

Jessica Szohr showed off her mysterious foot tattoos while flaunting her hot legs at the 2019 LA Art Show’s Opening Night Gala held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.

The oldest of five children, Jessica started cleaning her teachers’ houses as part of a cleaning company she started with a friend. After a lot of hard work, the American actress now has a net worth of $4 million!

Jessica Szohr's hot legs in a floral dressJessica Szohr’s hot legs in a floral dress at the 2019 LA Art Show’s Opening Night Gala held at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles on January 23, 2019

The 33-year-old American actress showed off her hot inked feet in a strappy pair of sandals. At the last count, Jessica has twenty-two tattoos, including her grandparents’ anniversary on her left arm.

Jessica Szohr's naked feet with mysterious tattoosJessica Szohr’s naked feet with mysterious tattoos

She has a tattoo on her left foot that reads “ndms” and another on her left foot with the word “you”. Jessica has not revealed the meanings behind them. Her most prominent foot tattoo is an angel design on her right foot that sits above another inking showing the numerals – 29:11 and 4:13.

Jessica Szohr's foot tattoo designs and sexy toe cleavageJessica Szohr’s foot tattoo designs and sexy toe cleavage

In August 2018, she showed off her hot feet in a cutout ruffle crop top from Atoir paired with a sexy pencil skirt and strappy Tabitha Simmons pumps.

Jessica Szohr steps out for the premiere of Dog Days at the Westfield Century City Theater in Century City, California, on August 5, 2018Jessica Szohr steps out for the premiere of Dog Days at the Westfield Century City Theater in Century City, California, on August 5, 2018

While Jessica gained recognition with her breakthrough role as Vanessa Abrams on The CW’s teen drama series Gossip Girl (2007–12), her most recent television credits include Complications (2015), Kingdom (2015), Twin Peaks (2017) and Shameless (2017–18).

Her successful modeling and acting career have treated Jessica well. She is now worth an estimated $4 million!

Jessica Szohr's net worth is $4 million dollarsJessica Szohr’s net worth is $4 million dollars

Net Worth:$4 million
Full Name:Jessica Karen Szohr
Born:March 31, 1985, in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, U.S.
Dating:She has been in numerous relationships. The long list includes Scotty McKnight (2014-2018), Daniel Grunwald (2012), Ricky Whittle (2012), Luke Pasqualino (2011-2012), Aaron Rodgers (2011-2014), Ed Westwick (2008-2013) and Marco Minuto.
Kids:None
Weight:123 lb / 56 kg
Shoe Size:8 US (39 EU)
Height:5 ft 5 in / 165 cm
Nationality:American
Source of Wealth:Modeling and acting
Ethnicity:Hungarian and African-American ancestry
Siblings:She is the oldest of five children. Her younger siblings are Danielle Szohr, Megan Szohr, Nick Szohr, and Sadie Szohr

To the 2018 ESPYs, Jessica oozed with sex appeal in a navy beaded Steven Khalil dress styled with a center ponytail and simple black pumps.

Jessica Szohr's navy beaded Steven Khalil dress at the 2018 ESPYs held at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on July 18, 2018Jessica Szohr’s navy beaded Steven Khalil dress at the 2018 ESPYs held at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on July 18, 2018

We also got a closer look at the angel tattoo design on her right foot. If you know the meaning behind the numerals 29:11 and 4:13, please let us know by leaving a comment below!

Jessica Szohr's angel tattoo design on her right footJessica Szohr’s angel tattoo design on her right foot

In July 2016, Jessica Szohr attended the premiere of the sports comedy-drama film, “Undrafted” held at ArcLight Hollywood in Los Angeles.

Jessica Szohr flaunts her naked legsJessica Szohr flaunts her naked legs at the Hollywood premiere of “Undrafted” in Los Angeles on July 11, 2016

The then 31-year-old actress went the grunge-chic route, teaming a pair of knee-grazing ripped denim shorts with a loose-fitting black top. She layered a colorful bomber jacket over her cleavage-baring low-cut top, giving the look a hint of cool edge.

Jessica Szohr's knee-grazing ripped denim shortsJessica Szohr’s knee-grazing ripped denim shorts

The “Gossip Girl” star amped up the quirky look with a pair of turquoise earrings. She also accessorized with a dainty gold necklace and a couple of rings. And, to complete the look, she slipped into a pair of raffia pumps.

Jessica Szohr wore her tresses in natural wavesJessica Szohr wore her tresses in natural waves

Beauty-wise, Jessica wore her locks in natural waves and highlighted her eyes with long lashes and black mascara.

Jessica Szohr in a bomber jacket and distressed denim shortsJessica Szohr in a bomber jacket and distressed denim shorts

Jessica added a couple of inches to her 5’5” height with a pair of Isabel Marant “Gava” pumps. These pumps are made of raffia and feature black leather cap toes and 4.3-inch heels.

They also have leather ankle cuffs with buckled wrap-around straps, which Jessica chose to go without. Unfortunately, her Isabel Marant pumps are no longer available for purchase.

Jessica Szohr reveals toe cleavage in Isabel Marant pumpsJessica Szohr reveals toe cleavage in Isabel Marant pumps

Credit: FayesVision / Apega / WENN

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Sexy Strappy Red High Heels With Opulent Crystals for Evening Parties

Sparkling twisted rhinestone straps in these red sexy strappy satin evening sandals from Nina Shoes prove a perfect finish to a chic column gown or long slit skirt!

Sexy Red Davia High Heel Evening Sandals, $40.05 – $89.00 at Amazon, Macy’s, and Nordstrom

Twisted straps of rhinestone sparkle in these sexy red strappy satin evening Davia sandals

Sexy strappy red high heels for evening parties

Treat yourself with these glamorous red dress heels

Treat yourself with these glamorous dress heels that are also available in black, taupe, and silver. Which color is your favorite?

Davia Crystal Ankle Strap Sandals, $40.05 – $89.00 at Amazon, Macy’s, and Nordstrom

Davia Crystal Ankle Strap Sandals

Outfit your twinkle toes in something equally dazzling, like this sexy ankle-strap sandal that’s luminous on the dance floor in opulent crystals!

Outfit your twinkle toes in something equally dazzling, like this ankle-strap sandal that's luminous on the dance floor in opulent crystals

Davia Crystal Ankle Strap Sandals

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