As a follow-up to our post on Country Club Prep, which was founded by two men who met at the University of Virginia School of Law, we’ll take a look at UVA during the heyday, a subject we haven’t looked at since last Thanksgiving.
Ed Roseberry was a local photographer who chronicled life around Charlottesville, and last year his photos went on display at the school.
Perhaps someone should ferret out the sartorial shots and package them as a kind of “Take Ivy” style chronicle. In the meantime, here’s a sampling. — CS & CC
The PITA tree — that’s preppy-Ivy-trad-Americana (haven’t used that in a while) — is a century old. Its roots are deep, and now matter how hard the fickle winds of fashion blow, the tree stands strong.
Without belaboring the metaphor, the PITA tree’s branches bend and twist with each new generation, and future historians of preppy will surely be obliged to devote part of the story to the intersection of Southern prep brands and e-commerce that rose to prominence in the second decade of the 21st century. For while the elements of prep were codified primarily in the Northeast, today arguably no region in the US flies the trad flag quite as much as the South.
Country Club Prep has combined a savvy business model with an eye for the rise of Southern prep brands. Foudning entrepreneurs Matt Watson and Stephen Glasgow met at the law school at the University of Virginia, whose style heritage, especially compared to Princeton, is underrated, according to Charlie Davidson. CCP just celebrated its third anniversary, and in that short amount of time has already opened two bricks-and-mortar stores, in Charlottesville, VA and Lexington, KY.
Many of the brands the retailer carries are Southern, and many manufacture in the US. They consist of other recently founded and entrepreurial brands inspired by traditional style, including Castaway Clothing, Kiel James Patrick, High Cotton, Collared Greens, Bird Dog Bay, Southern Proper, Smathers & Branson, and Crittenden. This interactive map shows you from where all the brands hail.
Below are pics of both the Charlottesville and Lexington stores. There’ll be more to come, incidentally: with sixfold growth in each of its years in business, CCP plans to open another 10 stores in the next few years. — CC (Continue)
I’ve alluded a couple of times (especially if you follow me on Twitter) to a golf book I wrote, and today is the official release date, so I’m pleased to finally share what it’s all about.
The book is called “The Stylish Life: Golf” and is part of a new sports series from the publisher, teNeues. Like Assouline and Taschen, teNeues produces image-driven coffee-table books, and has the interesting backstory of being founded in Germany in the 1930s. The book will also be available in German and French.
“The Stylish Life” series was conceived in-house and takes a lifestyle approach to traditional (and upper crust) sports such as tennis, skiing, yachting and equestrian. The editor had worked with me previously at Ralph Lauren Magazine, and since then I had launched GolfStyle.guru (which, let’s admit, was a bit too nichey — rhymes with Nietzsche — to attract much of a following). They wanted someone with an informed take on style to do the golf book, “not someone ESPN,” and so I got the gig.
Given that it’s a picture book, I wasn’t asked to write a lot — basically the equivalent of a long magazine article. But it was a lot of fun and you’ll find a passage or two that definitely shows it was written by me:
In sun-drenched Palm Beach, golf and fashion comingled in different ways. Prominent Northeastern families who escaped to Florida during the winter adopted new resort looks which they brought back to their country clubs. The postwar “man in the grey flannel suit,” color-deprived Monday through Friday, brought out all manner of brightly colored shirts and trousers on the weekend, which were sold at traditional establishments such as Brooks Brothers and J. Press, right alongside the acceptable uniform for lawyers and financiers. A generation later this bright country club attire would form the backbone of the look we call preppy.
And then there’s my bio on the dust jacket:
Christian Chensvold is the only known native Californian to discover golf after moving to New York City. On the tenth hole of life he hit his first golf ball on the third-floor simulator at the Brooks Brothers flagship on Madison Avenue, and three years later broke 80 (and outdoors, no less). He’s a luxury and men’s lifestyle writer best-known for his Web projects, including the leading traditional American menswear site Ivy-Style.com, and his latest project, GolfStyle.guru, which celebrates classic attire on the course.
Here’s a link to the book on Amazon, though you can certainly order the book through your local independent bookstore. And lest I be accused of shameless self-promotion, I won’t be buying a set of new clubs with the royalties from your purchase: I was paid a flat fee. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Two weeks ago, the Polo flagship on Fifth Avenue, which opened last fall, created a new section in the store called the Haberdashery. It’s where you’ll find all the ties, dress shirts and cashmere sweaters — and all in the spring colors you’re anxious to wear.
There are also plenty of sportcoats in spring fabrics, such as wool/silk/linen blends, with patch pockets and three-button stances.
Like other clothiers (Brooks Brothers, for example), Polo has adopted names for its various fits. A clerk gave me an employee “product knowledge” handbook (which he probably shouldn’t have), which describes the Morgan as the slimmest fit, though it is also supposed to have the softest shoulder. The Polo 1 Custom is the middle fit, and the most generous cut — which is also supposed to have a bit more shoulder — is called the Bedford.
Within those three fit categories are various jacket models, three of which are named for Ivy schools. The primary difference seems to be the pockets, though they may have different linings as well. The Harvard model is a three button with patch-and-flap pockets, while the Yale has patch pockets but no flaps. The Princeton has patch-and-flap and also a patch chest pocket. The Yale seems to come with partial, butterfly-back lining.
Here are some snapshots. — CC (Continue)
Yesterday, while we were posting about Brooks Brothers’ home collection, another publication posted about the brand in a much more far-reaching way.
Billionaire.com presented an interview with Luca Gastaldi, CEO of Brooks for Europe, The Middle East and Africa. As far as the big picture goes, this is the choice passage:
“It’s a good thing to have the originals in so many menswear items, the many copies of which just make the makers of the originals stronger,” he argues. “But there’s a danger when a [clothing] company culture is too tied to those classics, when you can’t see how dress is changing. One advantage of our international expansion will be that we’ll have people working in different regions challenging that American culture to adopt what is new while also being consistent with Brooks Brothers. It’s good to provoke our design teams. Sometimes there’s resistance within the company itself. Some people are scared by change — we’re all human. But we’re ready to exchange ideas, even if that means the process takes longer than I would like. Even very traditional customers like the idea of bringing something fresh to their wardrobe.”
In others words, while there are still customers for that American style of suit (roomy and broad-shouldered, a long way from Gastaldi’s preference for a figure-hugging, unlined, cardigan-style of jacket) and while that style may still be the preference for Brooks Brothers’ bedrock of US customers, he sees the future in a more ‘European’ mode.
There’s also a lot about Brooks’ upcoming revamped women’s collection. Head over here for the full story. — CC
Last night I put up a post on Masculine Interiors entitled “The Man In The Brooks Brothers Home.” It featured a selection of home items offered at Brooks, including shirting-inspired bed sheets.
The post also included rep-striped pillows, and soon after I received several messages from guys who didn’t even know they existed. They do. Head over to MI for more. — CC