Top 5 Interior-Design Trends for 2019

PRAISING CANE The pros behind this Sag Harbor living room, Babcock-Peffer Design, are loving wicker for its earthy chicness.
PRAISING CANE The pros behind this Sag Harbor living room, Babcock-Peffer Design, are loving wicker for its earthy chicness. Photo: Tria Giovan
What’s Hot, What’s Shot in 2019
Photo: Getty Images (cool light fixture)
OUT: Naked Light

If you’ve ever felt aged by harsh illumination, you’ll be happy to hear harsh illumination isn’t aging well itself. Of unfiltered, direct brightness, New York designer Thomas Jayne said, “I see us moving away from game-show lighting.” Fellow New Yorker Libby Langdon agrees. “The past few years, we’ve been bombarded with glass-globe fixtures with bulbs exposed inside,” she said. “That trend has officially peaked.” Miami architect Jacqueline Gonzalez Touzet includes cold, unnatural LEDs in the category of fading lights.

IN: Soft Shine

“Subtle, indirect fixtures, like table lamps, sconces and under-cabinet lighting, create ambience without taking over,“ said San Francisco designer Justin Colombik. Ms. Langdon forecasts a shift to softer, diffused light—through a lampshade or opaque glass—that provides a mellow, comforting glow, as does the Lutyens Lozenge Lantern at right. Ms. Gonzalez Touzet has installed perforated ceiling panels that create a naturalistic dappled light. Said Mr. Jayne, “We use uplights occasionally to add pockets of light and highlight architectural interest.”

What’s Hot, What’s Shot in 2019
Photo: F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal (paint); David Chow for the Wall Street Journal Styling by Anne Cardenas (wallpaper)
OUT: Lacquer Lust

“It seems just about everyone has done a lacquered study or dressing room,” San Francisco designer Heather Hilliard observed. She recommended restricting paint with a high-gloss finish to features such as statement walls and built-ins, juxtaposed unexpectedly with textured walls. Brigitte Coleman, design director of New York interior decorating firm Pembrooke and Ives, also suggested mixing high-polish paint with earthy materials such as wood, or stone that has been leathered (that is, given an irregular finish).

IN: Vertical Texture

Designers are turning to more tactile walls clad in suede, linen and silk for a “rich environment with layers of character,” said Susan Clark, founder of online design retailer Radnor. Nashville’s Jonathan Savage suggested plaster on canvas or woven grass-cloth to add depth and dimension to a room. “Residentially, gallery-white is going away as people crave livable luxury,” explained New York designer Michael Tavano. He uses drapery or beaded wallpaper, like the Perles Wallpaper from Élitis at right, even behind framed art.

What’s Hot, What’s Shot in 2019
Photo: F. Martin Ramin/ The Wall Street Journal (encaustic tile); David Chow for the Wall Street Journal Styling by Anne Cardenas (three tiles)
OUT: Hectic Ceramics

“Patterned tiles can come off as trendy and really dominate a space,” cautioned Nest Studio founder Jessica Davis. Long Island interior designer Allison Babcock specified that busy Moroccan tiles in particular “can’t stand the test of time in your kitchen the way a classic stone or ceramic subway tile can.” Los Angeles designer Nell Alano suggested using décor details (a stool, a lamp) with a Moroccan feel that are easy to change out in lieu of tile, “which is a big expense and production to replace.”

IN: Variegated Glazes

Ms. Davis uses solid-colored tiles with variation in glaze, which she said have a beautiful but subtler effect than patterns. “People are moving toward tiles that are special but not so loud,” said San Francisco designer Kristen Peña, who’s liking neutrals, ochers and greens, such as the Sea Foam tiles from Fireclay at right. And though inlaid Moroccan versions have fallen from favor, unpatterned zellige tiles still hold appeal. Raleigh, N.C., designers Zandy Gammons and Liles Dunnigan, meanwhile, favor tiles with a sophisticated antique patina.

What’s Hot, What’s Shot in 2019
Photo: Getty Images (metal mesh chair)
OUT: Not-So-Heavy Metal

“Wire chairs are very specific to one particular style and feel too trendy—they box themselves in,” said Jessica McCarthy, creative director of Decorist. Also saying goodbye to that seat: Los Angeles interior designer Matthew Rosenberg. “The mass-produced wire-framed chair surged in popularity because of its modern, clean aesthetic,” he said, “but people are looking for more inviting, natural materials now.” Past their prime, too, are any vintage classics, like Saarinen and Eames pieces, said Mr. Colombik, unless you have originals. “Skip the reproductions.”

IN: Refreshing Rattan

New York designer Laurence Carr predicts a return of wicker used unexpectedly—“not just on your grandmother’s front porch in the summertime”—from accents to light fixtures to seating like this Butterfly Rattan Armchair, right, from 1stdibs. Mr. Rosenberg champions cane: “It’s a more organic option, providing the same geometric features that wire-frame chairs do but without the cold stiffness.” Ms. McCarthy likes cane’s versatility: “Natural-colored cane has a traditional feel while a bright blue painted rattan can feel very modern.”

What’s Hot, What’s Shot in 2019
Photo: Getty Images (macrame panel)
OUT: Frayed Knots

“Nostalgic, boho macramé wall accents and oversize tie-dyed tapestries of the ’60s and ’70s saw a quick and tremendous revival,” Los Angeles designer Laura Muller said, “but they hit a saturation point in 2018.” Contorted rope, as it turns out, is once again passé. “I love celebrating artisans and their work, but having a hand-knotted wall hanging in one’s home feels very dated,” agreed Houston designer Brooke McGuyer. “Try hand-painted, framed Chinoiserie panels or an antique European hand-woven tapestry instead.”

IN: Big, Cheap Art

Fine art might be fetching record prices, but impressively scaled photos, prints and original pieces are more attainable than ever. The Jen Garrido giclée print, at right, from One Kings Lane, runs $399 for a framed 3-feet-by-4-feet version. Portland designer Max Humphrey finds sizable works at Minted, Society6 and Eventide Collective. New York designer Caleb Anderson cites West Elm, CB2, website Saatchi Art, and scores student art on Etsy . He recommends custom frames to elevate the art. “Even inexpensive ones are better than store-bought.”

Corrections & Amplifications

Matthew Rosenberg, founder of Los Angeles firm M-Rad, is an interior designer. An earlier version of this story identified him as an architect. (January 3, 2019)

Design & Decorating

The Simplest Steak Dinner

HOT TIP A quick blanching of the green beans draws out their sweetness and helps release starch to lend body to the sauce.
HOT TIP A quick blanching of the green beans draws out their sweetness and helps release starch to lend body to the sauce. Photo: Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh for The Wall Street Journal, Food Styling by Jamie Kimm, Prop Styling by Carla Gonzalez-Hart

The Chefs: Jeremy Wolfe and Colin Stringer

The Simplest Steak Dinner

Their Restaurant: Nonesuch, in Oklahoma City

What They’re Known For: Tasting menus that draw diners from far and wide. Modernist dishes that spotlight meticulously sourced ingredients.

IT’S HARDER than it used to be to get a reservation at Nonesuch in Oklahoma City. Thanks to a flurry of national attention, including a Best New Restaurant nod from Bon Appetit magazine, the 40-seat space is booked through the end of March, said chefs Colin Stringer and Jeremy Wolfe.

Locals as well as destination diners have embraced the innovative dishes on offer. “We’re the first to serve a tasting menu in Oklahoma, period,” Mr. Stringer said. “But there’s no pretension. There’s no five-minute spiel about the dishes.”

The chefs’ first Slow Food Fast recipe is a pared-down, modernist meal that will appeal to any carnivore. Slices of grilled sirloin fan out over a bright-green sauce of herbs, green beans, butter and lemon. A side of honey-roasted carrots provides sweet contrast.

The recipe’s simplicity makes it remarkably adaptable. At Nonesuch, the chefs use bison rather than beef; turnips or broccoli might swap in for the green beans in the sauce. “You don’t have to commit 100% to these ingredients,” Mr. Wolfe added. “Allow for inspiration.”

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes SERVES: 4

2 boneless rib-eye steaks, about 1½ inches thick

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound medium carrots trimmed, peeled and cut into 1½-inch-long pieces

1½ tablespoons honey

1½ tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

1½ cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1½ cups fresh parsley

1½ cups fresh basil

1 clove garlic

1. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper, and set aside. Light a grill and preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium roasting pan, toss carrots with a pinch of salt, honey, olive oil, half the lemon juice and a small splash of water. Roast carrots until fork-tender, about 25 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce: Fill a medium pot with salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add green beans and blanch until bright green, about 1 minute. Strain and run beans under cold water to halt cooking. Transfer green beans to a food processor and blend along with butter, remaining lemon juice, parsley, basil, garlic and pinch of salt until emulsified and completely smooth. Keep sauce at room temperature until ready to use.

3. Grill steaks over medium-high heat until outside is charred and inside is medium-rare, about 3 minutes per side. Remove meat from heat and let rest at least 5 minutes before serving.

4. Slice steaks and salt cut sides lightly. Spread sauce over center of each plate and fan out sliced steak over sauce. Serve immediately with roasted carrots alongside meat.

More in Food & Drinks

The Rush of Bodysurfing in Rio: A Traveler’s Guide

A bodysurfer's fins at Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
A bodysurfer’s fins at Arpoador Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Marcio Pimenta for The Wall Street Journal

THERE’S AN underground scene in Rio de Janeiro that starts early, like 5:30 a.m. Sometimes it begins the night before, when 50-odd bodysurfers who form a WhatsApp group are sharing pictures from the day—a baldheaded, wetsuit-clad wave-rider flying Superman-like across bottle-green water; a group shot of well over 100 exultant bodysurfers in sungas (like Speedos), swim fins flung skyward. The early-morning messages report surf conditions at various beaches: “Leme is firing.” “Diabo looking good!”

Until about a year ago I had no idea that the bodysurfing scene in Rio was so big. I discovered the rush of the waves there on my own. My late wife was Brazilian, and from 2002 to 2012 we made frequent trips to Zona Sul (Rio’s south zone). A lifelong surfer, I’d bring my board and a pair of fins, in case I wanted to mix it up. At the end of those monthlong visits I’d find that the board stayed in the bag while the fins were eternally dripping wet—I’d bodysurf two, sometimes three times a day.

“Everything starts and ends at the beach in Rio,” said Vava Ribeiro, an avid board and bodysurfer and a Rio native. “Also, by tradition we have the Candomblé goddess of the ocean, Yemanjá.” Anyone plagued by troublesome thoughts or deeds goes to the ocean to purge themselves of them. “That’s the spiritual part,” he said. “The other is that we go to parties at night, we drink, we dance, we wake up with hangovers and go straight to the ocean to wash it off. Bodysurfing is our Advil.”

Bodysurf City

Where to find ride the waves in Rio de Janeiro—sans board

Bodysurfers at Diabo Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Marcio Pimenta for The Wall Street Journal

Mr. Ribeiro and I were treading water side by side at a spot called Pepino. Grey clouds smeared the sky. Islands dotted the horizon. To our left, sloping to the sea, was a granite mound off which swells bounced and broke into waves. And therein lies the magic. Those same Land of the Lost-looking rocks that give Rio its most iconic landmarks—the seaside peaks of Sugarloaf, Corcovado and Two Brothers—also give us the sloshing bounce that creates the wedge-shape waves that bodysurfers favor.

A widow’s peak of a wave moved almost parallel to shore. Mr. Ribeiro turned around and swam over to it, his orange fins nearly kicking me in the face. I dunked under the pitching lip. Behind was a bigger, steeper one. I put my head down, stretched my left arm forward and flutter kicked. I less caught the wave than insinuated myself into it. It flung me along, the pulses and tremors going straight to my nervous system. The ride was short, as most bodysurfing rides are. The lip grabbed my right shoulder and ragdolled me under. My knee grazed the hard sand bottom. Then my hip. I popped up next to a smiling Mr. Ribeiro.

The next morning I met Francisca Libertad, aka Chica, at Padaria Rio Lisboa, a casual bakery/café in Leblon. Ms. Libertad told me that she is the sole woman in another bodysurf WhatsApp group called “Pontão.” “It’s like an anthropological study—about men, about humility. The group is a mixture of upper-middle-class people from Leblon and poor kids from the favela, and bodysurfing is where we meet.”

Body surfers at Diabo Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
Body surfers at Diabo Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Marcio Pimenta for The Wall Street Journal

We ate pão na chapa (pan-fried toast soaked in butter) at a sidewalk table. Buff folks in workout clothes pranced past. Homeless, barefoot kids begged for change. Ms. Libertad showed me her WhatsApp feed. There were 152 messages from fellow fanatical bodysurfers. “It goes on like this all day,” she explained. “Once a month we have ‘encontro,’ where we all meet, and you get about 70 bodysurfers in the water at the same time, sometimes 10 getting the same wave. Surfers don’t like seeing each other, but we bodysurfers are exactly the opposite. We love seeing each other. We’re happy to share.”

Bodysurfing is first and foremost play. Anyone who’s ever waded into the sea and ridden the momentum of the waves is technically a bodysurfer. But the fun part is angling sideways, getting that blue-face thrill. The best place to find this in Rio is in the corners of the beaches at Leme, Diabo, Arpoador, Leblon, Pepino and Sao Conrado. Diabo is more advanced, with more rocks and currents to negotiate. Pepino is famous for filthy water.

Like freestyle dance, there are no real rights and wrongs. The biggest thing is catching the right wave. You want one that’s shaped like a wedge or a teepee—as opposed to a closeout, which looms shoreward as a long, straight wall—and you want to cut across it, parallel rather than perpendicular to shore. And you want to kick hard. Fins are not mandatory but definitely help (and they can be purchased at any surf shop). Bodysurfing champion Mark Cunningham’s tips go as follows: “Know how to swim, have a suit that’s going to stay on and kick like hell.”

FIN MEET Francisca Libertad with fellow bodysurfers at Diabo Beach.
FIN MEET Francisca Libertad with fellow bodysurfers at Diabo Beach. Photo: Marcio Pimenta for The Wall Street Journal

A couple of days later I met Rodrigo Bruno at Leme Beach. I’d heard a lot about Mr. Bruno—“legend,” “mayor of the Rio bodysurfing scene,” “human fish.” I found him in the water, one of two bodysurfers and about a half-dozen surfers. He caught a crystalline turquoise wave and did a corkscrew move that was the stuff of giddy dolphins.

Founder of the Facebook group “Surfe de Peito & Handsurf” (9,689 members), 53-year-old Mr. Bruno told me that bodysurfing was popular in Rio during World War II. “It was a cultural import from America. We called it jacaré. That means alligator. The bodysurfers looked like alligators.” When board surfing came to Brazil, in 1964, bodysurfers took it up, Mr. Bruno said. In the 1980s, bodysurfing resurged, only to be gutted again by boogieboarding. “Now it’s back again,” he said, “more popular than ever.”

Why? “Bodysurfing is the pure basics, just you and the wave,” said Mr. Bruno. “And it works well in Rio because it is very cheap. For a poor country, poor city, poor guys, the marriage fits together very well.”

I left Mr. Bruno to the surf and went for what had become my Rio morning ritual: a bowl of açaí blended with banana and granola and a cup of steaming coffee with hot milk. The açaí in Brazil is 500 times better than its U.S. counterpart. It’s stronger in flavor and vitality. You feel its jolt.

Post breakfast, bouncing along the swirling beachfront footpath in Copacabana, my phone pinged. “Put your fins on,” wrote Mr. Ribeiro. “Diabo is going to be pumping this afternoon!” I wrote back: “I’m in.”

More in Off Duty Travel

Is Red Wine Really the Cause of That Headache?

Is Red Wine Really the Cause of That Headache?

I KNOW PLENTY of people who suffer from headaches that they believe are triggered by drinking red wine—including, occasionally, me. Red Wine Headache is such a common complaint that it has both an acronym (RWH) and its very own Wikipedia page, albeit with a disclaimer noting a lack of medical evidence regarding the condition and its causes. As Dr. Alexander Mauskop, director and founder of the New York Headache Center in Manhattan, said, “We don’t know anything for sure.”

Wine-related headaches are one of the center’s most common complaints, especially among migraine sufferers, said Dr. Mauskop. He has heard many theories as to the cause. One posits that the type of oak used in the fermentation and aging of wine triggers headaches, though Dr. Mauskop couldn’t recall if French oak or American oak was said to be worse. He’s also heard theories about the sulfites in red wine as contributing factors, but he sees very few headache patients who are truly sulfite-allergic. That condition is actually quite rare, and besides, red wines have a lower concentration of sulfites overall than white wines do.

Dehydration can cause headaches, and alcohol acts as a diuretic—which means, of course, that dehydration can result from drinking both red and white wines, as well as other alcoholic beverages. A red wine headache might also signal an insufficiency of magnesium. “Alcohol is a major depleter of magnesium,” said Dr. Mauskop. He recommends that headache sufferers take 400 milligrams of magnesium per day.

Dr. Mauskop himself gets headaches from red wine occasionally. When he feels a headache coming on, he’ll sometimes take Imitrex (generic name: Sumatriptan), a drug that affects serotonin receptors, thereby relieving pain.

Oddly enough, though there is much discussion of red wine headaches, just as the Wikipedia page warned, I found very little medical research on the topic. After consulting with experts, the only study I unearthed was published three decades ago in the Lancet, the influential British medical journal.

In the 1988 study, “Red Wine as a Cause of Migraine,” six researchers served 19 members of a patient group at the Princess Margaret Migraine Clinic in London either vodka or red wine to assess whether their headaches were red wine-specific or caused strictly by alcohol. The drinks were served in dark vessels and other efforts were made to disguise their flavor as well as their color.

Some of the participants were migraine sufferers who identified themselves as red wine-sensitive, others were migraine patients who were not, as far as they knew, red wine-sensitive, and another eight participants were a control group of non-migraine sufferers. The red wine was described in the study as “Spanish” and the vodka was blended with lemon juice to dilute it to a similar alcohol level. Study participants were given 300 milliliters, equal to about 10 ounces or two typical glasses of wine.

The results were inconclusive: Some participants who claimed to be red wine-sensitive developed headaches from red wine, some did not. Some who claimed no such sensitivity did develop headaches after drinking vodka. The researchers suggested various possible explanations. Was it simply a matter of drinking too much? The study acknowledged that tyramine, another naturally occurring compound in food and wine, has been found to trigger migraines. But in this case, the tyramine level in the wine administered to participants was noted as quite low: just 2 milligrams per liter, which means each patient consumed less than 1 milligram. The conclusion: More research was needed.

‘The doctor has heard theories about sulfites in red wine, but he sees very few headache patients who are truly sulfite-allergic.’

I was curious about the potential of tyramine to trigger headaches but had little luck finding any further information on the topic. Chris Gerling, an extension associate at Cornell University’s Viticulture and Enology program in Ithaca, N.Y., noted that tyramine levels in grapes are highly variable. “It’s really hard to make a blanket statement about colors or grape varieties. Regions of the world report different findings,” he said. Mr. Gerling did note that since red wines tend to undergo malolactic fermentation more often than white wines do and often spend time in barrels where bacteria can thrive, reds have the potential to develop higher levels of tyramine.

Red wines also have higher levels of histamines, a byproduct of fermentation, than white wines. Some have cited histamines as a possible cause for headaches, though Mr. Gerling cautioned, in what was becoming a familiar refrain, “Nothing can be stated with certainty.” Phenols, compounds that give red wines some of their color, flavor and body, have also been put forward as possible headache-causing culprits—as yet another unproven theory.

So I found myself pretty much right back where I began, with lots of theories and no real answer. It wasn’t possible to identify potentially problematic wines by the high tyramine or phenol levels of the grapes or the amount of time they spent in particular barrels or even their respective histamine levels. I could stock up on magnesium and take a tablet a day, and I could drink water along with wine. I could also follow the lead of some friends who identify as red wine-sensitive and take an antihistamine tablet when I indulge.

These strategies might or might not work, Dr. Mauskop said. If I already had enough magnesium in my system, taking more wouldn’t prevent a headache. I could take a blood test to determine my magnesium level and, depending on the results, visit his office for a magnesium shot. Some of his patients do so monthly and find it helpful. But Dr. Mauskop didn’t think the antihistamine would be of much help. “Histamine release by red wine is not the main reason for headaches, otherwise antihistamines would help most people—and they don’t,” he said.

I’m not going to stop drinking red wine, even if it gives me a headache from time to time. And there is a chance that sometime in the future I might be better able to predict which wines will be more likely to make my head hurt. Dr. Morris Levin, chief of the headache medicine division and the director of the University of California San Francisco Headache Center, is working on a research project that he thinks might identify potentially problematic reds. “Wouldn’t it be great to be able to tell people which wines would be safe to drink?” he asked, rhetorically.

Dr. Levin is about to begin the process of recruiting patients, and he hopes to include 50 participants or more in the research study. Shamelessly, I petitioned him to include me. “I’m putting you on the list,” he said. While I wait to hear more, it’s given me something to feel hopeful about in the new year.

Email Lettie at

More in Food & Drink

The Fun New Corolla Hatchback Puts the Toy in Toyota

HERE’S A LITTLE JEWEL box of antiquarianism: A hatchback, a real hatchback economy car, with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine bolted to a six-speed manual transmission (a CVT automatic is an $1,100 option). All you car guys who would bag on our little 168-hp friend here, understand that the young person who buys the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback knows how to drive a stick shift, which puts him or her among the elite of their cohort. Maybe 20% of the U.S. population knows how and most of them are boomers who’d rather not. Among those under 25, a reasonable guess might be 10%? Anyway, it will be a small number…

Who Is He Wearing? Male Stars Take Red-Carpet Fashion Risks

A number of this year's Golden Globes nominees have reputations for breaking style conventions. From left, Billy Porter, Timothée Chalamet, Donald Glover and Darren Criss.
A number of this year’s Golden Globes nominees have reputations for breaking style conventions. From left, Billy Porter, Timothée Chalamet, Donald Glover and Darren Criss. Photo: From left: Getty Images; Associated Press (3)

Billy Porter, star of the TV show “Pose” on FX, recently wore a red velvet suit topped off with a black gaucho hat at a star-studded fundraiser in Los Angeles, a look he described on Instagram as a “Zorro moment.” On other red carpets, he’s worn unexpected ensembles such as a dress or wrap pants.

So on Sunday, when Mr. Porter shows up on the red carpet for the Golden Globes, where he is nominated for an award, “I will be bringing the full-on drama,” he says.

One reason for his unconventional approach: “When you look at most of the men, they’re boring,” said Mr. Porter. “It’s a suit, it’s a tie. Everybody does that. I want to use clothes as another expression of myself.”

More male stars are taking fashion risks on the red carpet after years of routinely being an afterthought as all the attention and “who are you wearing?” questions went to leading ladies.

Christian Bale’s black shirt and tie at the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011 was seen as a daring break with tradition.
Christian Bale’s black shirt and tie at the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011 was seen as a daring break with tradition. Photo: Frank Trapper/Corbis/Getty Images

In 2011, it was seen as radical when Christian Bale wore a black shirt and a black straight tie to the Golden Globes and Oscars, where he won awards for his supporting role in “The Fighter.” This year’s Golden Globes promise a bounty of men who will be departing from traditional black tie, as so many of the nominees— including Christian Bale of “Vice,” Timothée Chalamet of “Beautiful Boy,” Darren Criss of “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” Donald Glover of the TV show “Atlanta,” Spike Lee of “BlacKkKlansman” and Mr. Porter—have become known for convention-breaking red-carpet style.

Male stars and their stylists are stepping up their games as more realize the buzz can boost an actor’s profile, something many female stars aced long ago. Online fashion sites—and not just the male-focused ones like GQ—increasingly recap men’s red-carpet style, with some doing annual and even weekly roundups of best-dressed men on or off the red carpet.

Instagram has helped fuel interest in what male stars are wearing, turning once-schlubby celebrities like Jonah Hill into unlikely style icons. Jeff Goldblum has in recent years become almost as famous to a generation of young men for his fashion sense as his acting career. The embrace of fashion by athletes such as LeBron James has also helped give many men permission to try bolder looks, top stylists say.

Stylist Sam Spector, who put actor Neil Patrick Harris in a trim double-breasted tuxedo instead of the usual single-breasted for the Emmys in September, says he has been experimenting with fabrics, textures and shirt colors to make his male clients stand out.

Also for the Emmys, Mr. Spector and Michael Zegen, who plays Joel Maisel in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, ” collaborated with designer David Hart on a navy velvet tuxedo. “Over time I really get to know the actor and what boundaries they are willing to cross but never try to take too many risks,” Mr. Spector says. He’s wary of the “Fashion Police” moment—a reference to the show Joan Rivers once hosted on E!, where fashion missteps were skewered.

Spike Lee, left, is known for unorthodox red-carpet looks. Michael Zegen, right, at the Emmys wore a tuxedo in a non-traditional blue velvet.
Spike Lee, left, is known for unorthodox red-carpet looks. Michael Zegen, right, at the Emmys wore a tuxedo in a non-traditional blue velvet. Photo: From left: Getty Images; Associated Press

It’s about time men rethink the red carpet, says stylist Ashley Weston, whose clients include actor Chadwick Boseman and Mr. Criss. “For years, women on the red carpet have been pushing, or throwing out, what formal or red carpet means, and this past year I started wondering why it couldn’t be the same for menswear stylists,” she says.

Mr. Criss at the Emmys wore a black custom Emporio Armani shawl-collar suit with a gray woven diamond pattern and gold brocade accents, a look that Ms. Weston saw as cool and fun but still in line with the event’s formality.

Designer brands—notably Calvin Klein, Gucci and Paul Smith—have been expanding what black tie can look like, in the hopes of distinguishing themselves from the competition and gaining new celebrity fans.

Designer labels have been offering more alternatives to traditional black-tie styles in recent years. Clockwise from top, Ethan Hawke, Chadwick Boseman, Neil Patrick Harris, Riz Ahmed.
Designer labels have been offering more alternatives to traditional black-tie styles in recent years. Clockwise from top, Ethan Hawke, Chadwick Boseman, Neil Patrick Harris, Riz Ahmed. Photo: Getty Images (2); Associated Press (2)

This gives male stars more options. “Now every season you have to think about almost like 10 different opportunities for everyone who’s nominated,” says stylist Michael Fisher, whose clients include James Corden, Bryan Cranston and Hugh Jackman.

Mr. Fisher outfitted Ethan Hawke in a red-velvet tuxedo jacket by Lanvin for the Governors Awards in Los Angeles in November to evoke “blood red” and religion, as the actor played a reverend in “First Reformed.”

But the stars and stylists now often have to balance how far is too far to go.

“It’s a matter of not too many bells and whistles,” says Ilaria Urbinati, a stylist who has asked designer brands to make tuxedos for several nominees this year including Bradley Cooper, Rami Malek, Donald Glover and Sacha Baron Cohen. “If we’re doing a new cut, maybe keep the color or fabric more classic.”

Ms. Urbinati likes non-black velvet as an alternative to wool, but warns it can easily look overdone. At the 2017 Golden Globes, for instance, Mr. Glover wore a brown velvet suit by Gucci rather than a velvet tux that would have shiny contrast lapels.

Actor Riz Ahmed, who is of Pakistani descent, and stylist Julie Ragolia try to express his personality and his culture in his red-carpet looks, but still fit the “classical leading-man mold,” she says. At the Toronto International Film Festival in September to promote “The Sisters Brothers,” the actor wore a designer-label suit by AMI but with a kurta shirt, a traditional garment by the Indian label Ode to Odd.

Any deviation from the standard should still acknowledge tradition, says stylist Jenny Ricker, whose clients include Zac Efron, Kit Harington and Winston Duke. When her client Topher Grace walked the red carpet in Cannes in May, he wore a navy Ferragamo tuxedo with a subtle print that he saw as memorable but still respectful. For events that are more formal, like the Oscars, she recommends sticking more closely to traditional black tie.

For Christian Bale, his 2011 look has become his red-carpet signature. “He typically likes a darker shirt,” says his stylist Jeanne Yang, whose other clients include Jason Momoa and Robert Downey Jr. “It’s an opportunity to be himself.”

Cary Grant, here in 1953, wears the black-tie look that was the standard for decades: a black single-breasted tuxedo with a white shirt and bow tie.
Cary Grant, here in 1953, wears the black-tie look that was the standard for decades: a black single-breasted tuxedo with a white shirt and bow tie. Photo: HULTON ARCHIVE/GETTY IMAGES

The Elegant Origins of Black Tie

The idea of what today is considered evening black tie for men dates to the Edwardians in the mid-to-late 19th century, according to “True Style,” a 2015 book written by menswear expert G. Bruce Boyer. Back then, there was the black to-the-knee tailcoat, worn for public occasions, and the less formal short black “dinner jacket” for evenings at home. Edward, the Prince of Wales, widely admired for his style, liked the short jacket so much, he had his tailor, Henry Poole, make one for him. Other men of means followed suit.

The jacket, with matching pants, came to be known as a tuxedo in the U.S. after a prominent member of society in Tuxedo Park, New York, saw the prince in a short jacket rather than a tailcoat at a party in England in 1886. When he asked about it, the prince recommended his tailor and the American gentleman got one made and wore it to the Tuxedo Park Club. Just as in England, other men took up the style.

This outfit—short black jacket with contrast-fabric lapels, matching pants with tuxedo stripe at each side, black bow tie, white shirt with pleats and black patent-leather shoes—has been the black-tie standard since, worn to galas, high-society cocktail parties and award shows like the Golden Globes and the Oscars. “The outfit has been historically seen as a completely dignified foil to the more colorful dress worn by women,” according to the book.

Write to Ray A. Smith at

Appeared in the January 3, 2019, print edition as ‘The Men Who Take Red-Carpet Fashion Risks The Elegant Origins of Black Tie.’

Airports Try Stall Tactic: Better Bathrooms

Bathrooms have been central to the plans for the new concourse at LaGuardia Airport, which opened in December. It also has a wall of windows 55 feet high that makes the terminal feel airy and open with lots of natural light—the opposite of the old, small structures it replaces.
Bathrooms have been central to the plans for the new concourse at LaGuardia Airport, which opened in December. It also has a wall of windows 55 feet high that makes the terminal feel airy and open with lots of natural light—the opposite of the old, small structures it replaces. Photo: © Jeff Goldberg/Esto/LaGuardia Gateway Partners

New York

Meet the trendiest social media stars of the Big Apple: the bathrooms at a new concourse at LaGuardia Airport.

Gleaming, spacious and well-designed restrooms at the airport synonymous with grime, leaks and lines have travelers snapping sink selfies and tweeting delight instead of derision. After all, what’s more important at an airport than the bathrooms?

“Looking good #LGA new terminal B…thrilled about the bathrooms with 20 stalls!!!” Mary Wolfe of Pittsburg, Kan., tweeted on her first trip through the new concourse, which opened Dec. 1.

Newsletter Sign-up

Ms. Wolfe says she was shocked when she entered one of the new bathrooms in Concourse B. “It made a huge positive impression on me,” she says. That concourse houses flights for Southwest, Air Canada and American and will add United flights this summer. Fliers on other airlines will also benefit as more gates open.

Bathrooms are often the first stop at an airport for passengers. Airports say clean, uncrowded facilities that are easy to find are actually a huge factor in how well-liked an airport is, and even in whether travelers will purchase food or shop at airport stores. Bathrooms—clean or dirty—often end up in social media, too.

Bathrooms that resemble ones in four-star hotels have made a big impression on travelers at LaGuardia. A lot of design effort and money went into the restrooms.
Bathrooms that resemble ones in four-star hotels have made a big impression on travelers at LaGuardia. A lot of design effort and money went into the restrooms. Photo: © Jeff Goldberg/Esto/LaGuardia Gateway Partners

“Who talked about airport restrooms a decade, especially two decades ago? They were kind of a utility, typically behind a wall, always undersized. They almost looked used the first week they were opened,” says George Casey, chief executive of Vantage Airport Group, a Vancouver, British Columbia, company that has helped manage or operate terminals in more than 30 airports world-wide.

Now bathroom feedback is instant, widespread and effective, and restrooms have become key satisfaction drivers. “People say, If you can’t get the restroom right, what do I need to think about for the rest of my experience?” Mr. Casey says.

Money is pouring into sinks and toilets, beyond those happy-face/sad-face satisfaction voting machines so many airports have installed.

Sinks slope toward the drain without counters that get wet and messy. The new restrooms at LaGuardia are designed to be easy to clean and efficient for travelers.
Sinks slope toward the drain without counters that get wet and messy. The new restrooms at LaGuardia are designed to be easy to clean and efficient for travelers. Photo: Scott McCartney/The Wall Street Journal

In Atlanta, sensors installed in paper-towel, toilet-tissue, sanitizer dispensers and plumbing fixtures alert custodians through an app to outages, leaks and overflows. Los Angeles International and Atlanta have both installed some Tooshlights—red and green lights, similar to parking-garage technology, that show whether a stall is available or occupied without having to push on or peer under the door.

Detroit invested in a restroom-analytics system that tracks passenger use as well as time and duration of attendant services. It uses real-time arrival and departure data to predict bathroom traffic, especially useful when storms delay flights.

“One of the biggest issues for airports is cleanliness of bathrooms. If you’re operating over capacity, it’s a real challenge,” says Phillip Brown, executive director of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

Lines are typical at the tiny restrooms in other LaGuardia terminals. The airport, which handles 30 million passengers a year, is being almost entirely rebuilt.
Lines are typical at the tiny restrooms in other LaGuardia terminals. The airport, which handles 30 million passengers a year, is being almost entirely rebuilt. Photo: Scott McCartney/The Wall Street Journal

Much-detested LaGuardia is working on a near-complete rebuild. The central terminal, called Terminal B, is being torn down piece-by-piece to make room for new construction, a process that will stretch out to 2022. Delta’s terminal is also getting rebuilt as it continues to operate.

Construction has left travelers with numerous headaches and deep disruption, but people keep coming. Final numbers haven’t been tallied, but LaGuardia likely topped a record 30 million passengers in 2018, according to Lysa Scully, the airport’s general manager.

“We were afraid we’d scare people away, but that hasn’t happened,” says Rick Cotton, executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs all three major New York airports.

Critics have questioned the lack of additional capacity within the $8 billion LaGuardia rebuild—there’s no plan for a new runway to reduce delays. But when you are delayed, you’ll have more food and retail options, spacious concourses with 55-foot-tall glass walls, seats with power outlets, a play area for children and bathrooms that rival those of four-star hotels.

The Port Authority and its partner in the LaGuardia rebuilding, a private consortium called LaGuardia Gateway Partners that includes Mr. Casey’s Vantage Group, operate both old and new parts of Terminal B. Executives knew bathrooms would be key to changing the airport’s reputation. So they went big, and bold.

For men, the new facility has 15 stalls and 16 urinals in 2,810 square feet, compared with a total of six stalls and six urinals in 536 square feet in the space it replaces. The women’s restroom has 31 stalls, compared with 17 in the old facility, and more than four times the space. The new concourse also will have four new family restrooms for those with small children.

New concourses at LaGuardia will have family restrooms, something lacking at the existing terminals.
New concourses at LaGuardia will have family restrooms, something lacking at the existing terminals. Photo: © Jeff Goldberg/Esto/LaGuardia Gateway Partners

“The Cadillac of airport restrooms,” declared Josh Graven of Louisville, Ky., during a recent sales trip to New York. “I drink a lot to stay hydrated when I travel, so bathrooms are important. This is impressive. Bathrooms across the nation could use this as a good benchmark.”

The design is getting a lot of attention. Instead of a countertop that typically is wet and dirty, trough-style sinks have an outer edge that slopes down toward the drain. There’s a shelf above for bags, but no countertop for puddles.

Chunks of reflective glass are embedded in the floor tile, not only making them sparkle but also making them appear cleaner than they may be. “Drips get masked by the glass, so you don’t see a trail of water someone leaves,” says Derek Thielmann, LaGuardia Gateway Partners project director for design and construction.

Stalls were designed to be easier to use and easier to clean. They’re wider, with an area to store roll-aboard bags and still swing the door open. Hooks for coats, backpacks, purses and carry-on bags are mounted on stall walls, not the back of the door—hanging heavy bags on restroom doors bends them out of alignment over time and makes them harder to close securely.

Toilets are mounted to the wall instead of the floor so cleaners can actually mop underneath them. Stall dividers are hung from the ceiling rather than bolted to the floor—easier to clean the floor that way, and there isn’t hardware to rust on the floor.

And each restroom has two entrances and a partition in the middle. If one part needs to be shut down for maintenance, only half the restroom is blocked off, not the entire facility.

“@LGAairport y’all knocked it out of the park on the new terminal,” one passenger tweeted. “Actually have more than one electrical outlet and one bathroom. It’s a new day at LGA!”


Write to Scott McCartney at

Appeared in the January 3, 2019, print edition as ‘Airports Try a Stall Tactic.’

Comedian Paul Scheer on the Most Interactive Way to Watch Basketball

Comedian Paul Scheer on the Most Interactive Way to Watch Basketball
Photo: Getty Images
Comedian Paul Scheer on the Most Interactive Way to Watch Basketball
Photo: Lego

I always bring a new Lego kit when I’m going somewhere to work. The last thing I built was a big movie theater, but I’ve also built a detective’s office, a pool hall, a Lego X-Wing from “Star Wars.” There are so many things in life that don’t have a beginning, middle and end, so there’s something so refreshing and fun about being able to complete something. When I’m done, I leave them for the next person at the Airbnb or wherever I’m staying.

Comedian Paul Scheer on the Most Interactive Way to Watch Basketball

When I’m home, at the end of the day, I want to be spending time with my wife and kids, or I want to be writing or working. The only time I don’t feel guilty playing videogames is when I’m in my trailer with down time during a shoot, so I always travel with my Xbox One. It’s like: “Well, I’m in Atlanta right now. What else is there to do?” I’m currently playing a lot of “NBA 2K.” I love that you can play through the whole season along with your team.

Comedian Paul Scheer on the Most Interactive Way to Watch Basketball

If I’m ever gaming at home, I’m probably playing VR on an HTC Vive system because it’s a much more social experience. The most nerdy game that I play is “Star Trek: Bridge Crew.” In it, you’re paired with people from around the world, and you’re all manning the bridge of a specific Enterprise. Everyone has different jobs and you all have to communicate with each other while doing these missions. It’s super fun.

Comedian Paul Scheer on the Most Interactive Way to Watch Basketball

I love watching basketball with the LA Clippers CourtVision app. It lets you customize your camera angle and pick the part of the court you want to watch. You can have the percentages and other stats of the players updating on the screen while they’re running around the court. It makes watching a game very interactive and so much more fun.

Comedian Paul Scheer on the Most Interactive Way to Watch Basketball

Backpacks are something that I take as much care in selecting as a lot of women take with purses. I want something that’s functional and has a good form to it but also can hold a lot of stuff. Right now I’m using a Taikan Everything Lancer Backpack. I like it just fine. It’s a good-looking backpack. But I do feel it gets a little too bulky at times. I just bought an MSPC backpack from Japan, so I’m still in the middle of this journey.

More in Gear & Gadgets

The Dry January Effect

The Dry January Effect
Illustration: Taylor Callery

Bottoms down: It’s Dry January.

For Heather Molnar that means holding the gin in her gin and tonic for the rest of the month and substituting that end-of-day glass of wine with kombucha.

“I like to put it in a wine glass or something fancy,” says Ms. Molnar, a 46-year-old content strategist who lives in Morris Plains, N.J.

Ms. Molnar is doing her fourth consecutive Dry January, a popular challenge in which people become teetotalers for a month.

The phenomenon is widely practiced and promoted in the U.K. through a public-health campaign started by the charity Alcohol Change UK in 2013. More than four million people have signed on in recent years, the charity says.

The phenomenon is slowly making its way across the Atlantic.

Ms. Molnar heard about the campaign through social media and joined a U.K.-based Facebook group. Now she volunteers to promote Dry January through a program called Dryuary by the Michigan-based nonprofit Moderation Management.

“When I did my first one, I thought on Feb. 1 I would go out and drink all the drinks, and I didn’t,” she says. “I probably didn’t even have a drink for the first two weeks of February. The awareness lingers.”

Research backs that up.

Richard de Visser, a psychology professor at the University of Sussex in England, has done several studies examining Dry January.

Working with Alcohol Change UK, he surveyed 857 people who signed up to participate before and after the campaign, and again six months later. Two-thirds of the participants reported that they successfully met the challenge. He published his 2016 study in the journal Health Psychology.

A small group of participants experienced a rebound effect, drinking more than they drank before, Dr. de Visser says. But overall, at the six-month follow-up mark, participants who finished Dry January and those who quit early reported drinking fewer days a week and fewer drinks per sitting on average. (Those who finished saw greater decreases.) Both groups also reported getting drunk less.

A group of liver specialists found that abstaining from alcohol for a month improved liver function, blood pressure and markers associated with cancer. Participants also lost an average of 3.3 to 4.4 pounds, says Rajiv Jalan, a professor of hepatology at University College London and co-author on the study. (He practices Dry January himself.)

Diners toasted each other with non-alcoholic beer in London last January.
Diners toasted each other with non-alcoholic beer in London last January. Photo: Getty Images

The study was published by in the journal BMJ Open in April. It compared 94 moderate-to-heavy drinkers opting to go dry for a month and compared them with 47 control participants who drank as normal.

In another study funded by the BBC and expected to be published this year, Dr. Jalan and co-researchers assigned 20 participants to abstain from alcohol for a month and instructed 10 to continue drinking as usual.

Three weeks after the dry month, the heavier drinkers had halved their alcohol consumption, Dr. Jalan says. Those who gave up drinking for a month had better liver function, lost an average of four pounds and reported better concentration, sleep, ability to exercise and less fatigue.

Ms. Molnar says better sleep is among her favorite things about going dry every January.

“You wake up more refreshed,” she says.

Indeed, sleep experts say alcohol, despite its reputation as a sedative, has a negative effect on sleep quality. Numerous studies have demonstrated this.

A study published in 2018 in the journal JMIR Mental Health found that even one drink impaired sleep quality, as measured by the heart rate variability of more than 4,000 people.

The Effects of Dry January in August

Richard de Visser, a psychology professor at the University of Sussex, conducted a survey of 816 participants who signed up for a Dry January campaign in 2018. Six months later, participants reported their drinking days per week dropped to an average to 3.3 from 4.3.

That’s not the only benefit participants reported:

  • 58% said they lost weight.
  • 57% reported better concentration.
  • 54% said they had better skin.
  • 88% said they saved money.
  • 80% felt more in control of their drinking.
  • 71% realized they don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves.
  • 71% reported sleeping better.
  • 67% said they had more energy.

Though alcohol can induce slow-wave sleep, the deepest phase of sleep, in the beginning of the night, it reduces it later on, says Doug Kirsch, medical director of sleep medicine at Atrium Health in Charlotte.

“After a couple of hours, people will start waking up and your sleep is more fragmented,” says Dr. Kirsch, who says alcohol can also make snoring and sleep apnea worse.

Not everyone champions the concept of Dry January.

In a 2016 issue of BMJ, two experts debated its pros and cons. Ian Hamilton, an associate professor of addiction at the University of York, took the con side.

“I think it would be better if people had regular breaks, not binge breaks,” he says.

He also notes that an abrupt withdrawal from alcohol for excessive drinkers can be life-threatening.

“Over 800 people died of alcohol withdrawal in 2016,” says George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health. “If you’re a heavy drinker, you want to get medical help for detoxification, because it really can kill you.” Seizures or hypothermia are usually what kill people in these situations.

Still, moderate drinkers definitely benefit from consuming fewer calories when they drink less, Dr. Koob says. Alcohol itself is a significant source of calories; it also stimulates the appetite. Studies have found it causes people to eat more and to opt for unhealthy foods. “You tend to graze on chips and not necessarily carrots,” Dr. Koob says.

Carol Sabransky, a senior vice president of a management-consulting firm in Chicago, one-ups all the Dry January participants by opting for a dry December.

She’s found it gives her an edge during corporate events where alcohol is flowing.

“There are so many opportunities to socially interact with my clients during this month and they are usually in good spirits, so I want to be clearheaded and on top of my game,” Ms. Sabransky says. “It is only then that I truly realize how advantaged one is when she is not imbibed.”

Sometimes, instead of having to explain herself, she will order an alcoholic drink and pretend to sip it. “I will order something just out of peer pressure,” she says. “Once everyone starts drinking, they don’t really notice.”

Ms. Sabransky says she notices that she feels better when she’s not drinking: fewer headaches, better sleep. And she definitely enjoys the reduction in calories. “If I can eat a cookie or have a glass of wine, I am definitely going to eat the cookie,” she says.

Tonight, Ms. Sabransky plans to end her dry month and celebrate with her drink of choice: vintage Champagne.

Write to Sumathi Reddy at

More on Your Health

The Vintage Ferraris That Run in the Family

David Donner, 54, an entrepreneur and owner of the Donner Motorsport racing team from Denver, on his family’s classic Ferraris, as told to A.J. Baime.

When I was growing up, my father, Bob Donner, was in the radio business, and he was way ahead of the curve as a passionate Ferrari driver. In 1967, before most Americans had heard of Ferrari, he bought a 330 GTC to use as his daily driver. Only about 600 of these cars were ever built. In the early 1970s he bought a Ferrari Dino 246 GTS and a 365 GTB/4 Daytona.