Having gone through what I just went through, and having had a truly scary number of people from the site reach out to me and tell me they are going or went through the same thing, as I get back behind the wheel here, I have some reflections on Ivy Style.
The first myth, which we have been working like Penn & Teller to bust, is the idea that Ivy can be used as a means of organizing people in any way – trust me when I tell you it cannot. I received the most gracious notes from people I have never met and by the same token I have received a few notes from – – what’s the opposite of gracious? I got a note from a boy whose father made him write it, and I got a note from a grandfather. I got notes from all over the gender and orientation spectrum. Wearing Ivy doesn’t make you anything except a person who wears Ivy.
Some people wear Ivy to convey a personal statement. I have seen some truly dumb (okay – there you go Dean – okay, not dumb but damaged, is that better?) people wearing Ivy to look smart. Or to look smarter than their Gen-Whatever peers. I guess that works to some degree until you either type or open your mouth. Some people wear Ivy to look professional, except that other than law and academia (there is NO reason why EVERY law professor should not be dressed in Ivy) there are very few Ivy-centric professions. Some people wear Ivy to convey a personal value system – that application actually works to some degree until you either type or open your mouth.
I wore Ivy every day to the hospital, and as I have said here prior, it had a variety of receptions. There were actually people put off by it to a degree, asking why I would dress up to bring someone to chemo. My internal answer was, “Why WOULDN’T I?” – but that’s a little aggressive towards people who are healing your family. The more I encounter that the more I sense that it isn’t that people are put off by the style as much as it is that people are put off by people who have a style. And, one must remember, people without a lot of self esteem tend to bray at people who have enough of it.
I also feel the riptide pulling away from the rejection of formality in some places though. Do you? And I know, you walk down the street in Boston/Austin everybody’s in a hoodie. But there are starting to be pockets where people actually appreciate “dressing up” (if that is what Ivy has become). Church. Drinks. Drinks at church. And so forth.
So where are we at the two year mark here? Well, with the help of literally everyone, I think we have gotten away from Ivy as a pedigree, and moved it to something more egalitarian. I think in terms of societal acceptance Ivy’s popularity has grown, so that’s good, right? I think we lost the Ivy in the workplace war (we came out on top in a few battles but the historical flavor of Ivy throws too much imagined shade on the idea of innovation).
What to watch for next? This. As casual continues to breed in the workplace classical will breed in the social … place. This wave will of course wash ashore a few wearing it as a costume, but overall, don’t be surprised if you see someone in an oxford in a beer commercial soon. Okay. A Vodka commercial.
And can we talk about Jason Bateman in Arrested Development for a minute? How did I miss that?