Although I recently posted a pink Brooks Brothers fun shirt I acquired, I should clarify that it’s for the dog days of summer. This spring, while others were quick on the draw with their pastels, I’ve been clad in the sober Ivy colors of olive and gray, snazzed up with a patterned belt.
For example, the assortment above includes Levis 501s in olive, plus chinos in olive and gray. Polo shirts are olive and charcoal, with brown and heathered navy thrown in. Shoes are penny loafers, plus canvas sneakers in beatnik-chic black and weathered blue.
But my favorite in this lot is a charcoal cotton Lands’ End saddle-shouldered “Drifter” sweater, for which I searched high and low and finally found on eBay for 99 cents. — c C m
One of the pleasures of spending time among archival material is the chance discovery. We recently came across an Izod Lacoste advertisement that was used in 1958 and 1959, placed by The Andover Shop.
On the surface it does not appear different from other Izod-Lacoste advertising material from the period. It carries the sobriety one might expect from the faux Anglo-Franco alliance. While the French side was real — Lacoste was founded by the tennis champ Rene Lacoste, nicknamed “Le Crocodile” — the other pard is English in name only. Izod was a London tailor, but an American bought the rights to use his name to play up the English pedigree.
The ad’s illustrated model is a mature golfer, his trousers pleated and his shirt buttons all buttoned up — quite incorrectly, as The Andover Shop’s Charlie Davidson says this was never done. It is likely a stock image.
The curious part is where the advertisement was placed, who placed it, and the Ivy-relevant copywriting that is going to invite a comparison to our previous piece on the difference — or not — between Ivy and preppy.
The ad appeared in the Phillipian, the student newspaper of Phillips Academy (long known as a feeder school to Yale) and the advertiser is none other than The Andover Shop. The ad copy certainly isn’t stock and is a veritable ode to Ivy:
Through the hallowed halls of learning
And the fields of sport and play
Strides the modern Ivy League man
In the costume of the day.
In his clothing there’s distinction
And he knows the signs of style
On his slacks a silver buckle
On his shirt a crocodile.
For the croc’s a sign of quality
Of shoulders never sagging
Of collars that will always fit
And garments never bagging
Its built a reputation
Its fame just grows and grows
Chemise Lacoste is worn by
Every Ivy man who knows.
Yet further evidence, we think, that the preppy style that flourished in the ’70s had the bulk of its origins in the Ivy League Look of a generation before.
We called Charlie Davidson and asked if he had any recollection of the ad, but he did not. By that time he was running just the Cambridge store, with family members running the branch in Andover.
He did recall that Lacoste shirts from that period were of exceptional quality, and that while he never liked to stock name brands, Lacoste sold better than any brand he’s ever carried.
Charlie also recalled how the shirts were worn with the collar popped, and how “guys in Southampton would wear two at a time,” but he couldn’t tell us precisely what decade these trends first emerged. — CHRISTOPHER SHARP & CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Following hard upon the debut of Red Fleece is today’s Brooks mailer, which plugs a new, possibly temporary, product category called “Retro Style.”
The category consists of standard Brooks items, but it’s interesting to see which items Brooks chose to group together, as well as its invocation of the word “retro,” which will sound cool to guys with a certain sensibility while frightening off others.
The choice of celebrity endorser should please both the hip and the square, however, as musician Nick Waterhouse’s vibe is a harmonious blending of the two. Brooks headlined its feature “The Right Note,” but perhaps they should have used “The Right Chord.” — c C m
After many years and countless thousands of comments, the most compulsive poster in the history of Ivy on the web, the infamous English troll known as “Russell Street” (among many other online identities), has apparently reached a dead end.
Claiming to more or less control the entire Internet as part of a grand scheme, the troll in question has lost dictatorship over the web forum known as Talk Ivy, finally inspiring an insurrection. As is the case in the absence of a dictator, warring factions have emerged.
If you catch the computer monitor you’re presently seated in front of in the right light, you’ll notice a reflection of yourself. The web is merely a mirror of its users, who can use it for good or ill, depending on their impulses. — c C m
A few months ago shoemaker Sebago finally got in on the made in America trend with a new penny loafer produced in Maine — exactly where a PR spokesperson was unable to tell me.
The loafer is part of a new collection called Handsewn In Maine that is available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, and at Sebago.com. The shoes are priced at $425.
A press release from the company touts the brand’s heritage, which goes back to the state of Maine in 1946, then goes on to play up the collection’s “premium packaging,” which includes “a certificate of authenticity signed by the craftsman.”
Somehow I don’t think this was necessary back in the day. — c C m
There are plenty of embroidered shorts out there, but little tennis rackets or crossed golf clubs are a bit mundane.
But yesterday I finally found the perfect pair that seems like it was made just for me. After all, how many other surfing Weejun-wearers could there be? (Continue)