A Hackneyed Idea Of Authentically Iconic Dressing

As one grows older and presumable wiser, one should come to the realization that everything in the world that evokes a strong reaction — whether positive or negative — is a reflection of something within oneself. One can only be sure that an object or person is not symbolic of something that arouses unconscious feelings unless one’s reaction to it is complete indifference.

So having a deep well of hate for a particular item of clothing is certainly peculiar, and Rosa Lyster at New York Magazine has explored her sartorial animosity with a lengthy diatribe on the shawl cardigan, which she finds repulsive.

I’ll leave you to speculate on what it symbolizes to her, but a key is likely to be found in this passage:

Expanding on the terrible fact that this cardigan is for some reason still sold in stores, effectively enabling anyone who wants to look like a querulous little teddy bear who is proud of the friendship he has cultivated with Prince Andrew, British GQ contributing editor Alfred Tong told me, “It came back around during the mid-to-late ’00s, a.k.a. late-period J. Crew, when McQueen, Americana, and the whole idea of dressing iconically became a thing again. It was a very conservative, backward period of men’s fashion. So I guess that’s what [people who wear it] are trying to channel: a hackneyed idea of authentically iconic dressing.”

Check out the “awful cardigan” piece here and practice your amateur psychology. One day you’ll need it — for yourself. — CC

28 Comments on "A Hackneyed Idea Of Authentically Iconic Dressing"

  1. Reasons to fear for one’s personal safety:
    1. Criminals
    2. Reckless drivers
    3. I might see someone wearing a shawl cardigan, perhaps sitting on a chesterfield sofa.

    Might be best for everyone if she stayed at home.

  2. “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain—and most fools do”

  3. According to The New York Times, the cardigan is making a comeback. Personally, I never realized it was out of fashion. The article in the Times also featured Mr. Rogers’ cardigan. This came months after the estimable Mr. Chensvold wrote about it in this very blog.

  4. It appears that the author is making a judgement based solely on a fictional TV character. How bizarre.
    The buttons on a traditional British made shawl collared cardigan are typically textured “rugby” or ‘football” style whereas those on a Chesterfield sofa are flat- for the obvious reason to avoid snagging clothes.
    I think this style is not only practical- giving additional warmth when the weather turns cooler – but is visually more interesting than a conventional cardigan.

  5. I think her problem with “iconic” dressing, whatever that is, is a false argument camouflaging her hatred of men in general. The key passage in the quoted article is the Prince Andrew reference. One pedophile does not a generalization of men make.

  6. Roy R. Platt | November 27, 2019 at 5:46 pm |

    Oddly enough, there may be some people who have similar feelings, strange as it seems, about saddle shoes.

    When I read the article had no idea who Logan Roy is. Looked online. Turns out, as others have mentioned, he is a character on a television show.

    If the girl who wrote the article gets that worked up over a character on a television show maybe she might consider watching a different show. Nowadays there are hundreds of channels.

    Maybe she would be better off just watching samurai shows on Japanese language television. She could be sure of never seeing anyone wearing a shawl cardigan on samurai show.

  7. I disagree. Cardigans are synonymous with autumn wear. I own several Ralph Lauren and Double RL shawl cardigans and love my collection.

  8. Ezra Cornell | November 27, 2019 at 7:53 pm |

    The good thing about this whole idea of holding the mirror up to Rosa Lyster is that by rights she gets to hand it back and say, “so what does your reaction to this essay say about YOU?” The answer may not be so pretty, but that’s in fact probably the more useful and important exercise here. So while everyone gets to beat their favorite dead horse here — we’re oppressed , this time by people who don’t like shawl collars! — after the dust settles we’re still left with that mirror.

  9. Ezra

    I feel kind sorry for her. I think somebody must really have hurt her at some point in her life. Regarding her strong feelings against shawl cardigans, most fellows on this site probably feel as I, some amusement but we don’t care.

    Happy Thanksgiving gents,


  10. The clothing we wear is like a coded language. Unfortunately Ivy style is a dying language – the details of which fewer and fewer people can articulate or comprehend. Thankfully Ivy-Style is helping to preserve the language.

  11. Ezra Cornell | November 27, 2019 at 9:32 pm |

    She’d likely return your concern that somebody hurt you at some point in your life to spend time caring (better yet, being loftily “amused”) about her opinions of shawled collar sweaters. This is what I mean: whenever we cast the first stone, it comes right back at us.

    The only code here is self-pity. It is not becoming as a style or as a lifestyle. We are not the few and the proud, and we bear no sorrows that others do not. For a site that is always trumpeting men to face stony reality in the face, it’s amazing how often it instead wallows in self-pity.

  12. Walter Pidgeon | November 27, 2019 at 10:24 pm |

    Ezra Cornell – hear, hear.

  13. Ezra

    You certainly refer to “we” a great deal. You may speak for far fewer men than you think.


  14. Will
    Point taken.

    So that means you’ll also refrain from phrases like “most fellows in this site probably feel as I.”

  15. My two cents…

    a. Ezra speaks for me

    b. Check out one of the best cardigans of all time:


  16. I thought the anti-cardigan article was pretty entertaining. The author seems to dislike both how it looks and what type of person she imagines wears it. She admits that her real-life experience with the garment is limited, and the rant is mostly about a fictional TV character. Maybe if someone she admires in real life happened to wear a shawl-collar cardigan, she’d change her mind.

    It’s probably useful to know that other people sometimes have over-the-top reactions to certain items of clothing, and I’m sure one could find a person with a similar thought process about navy blazers with brass buttons, cordovan shoes, etc.

  17. Old School Tie | November 28, 2019 at 4:23 am |

    Back when I was a young lad, no, actually now as well, when somebody like Ms Lyster dislikes something, an item of clothing, a word, an attitude, that makes me all the more likely to embrace it. In the words of the sagacious Corporal Jones from the iconic British sit-com Dad’s Army….”They don’t like it up ’em, Captain Mainwaring, sir”……..

  18. Beto O'Leary | November 28, 2019 at 7:18 am |

    My 2 cents- Sacksuit speaks for me

  19. Applying these concepts to an inanimate object because of the actions of a doctrinal character. Reification at its finest, or worst.

  20. That should read “fictional character”. Damnable autocorrect.

  21. Context is everything. It’s a safe guess that people who hold a rich, vulgar man’s cardigan in contempt would, moments later, find this one, worn by one Jeff Lebowski, appealing and probably even charming.


    It’s safe to guess the opposition isn’t so much against cardigans per se, but, rather, the category of cardigan that evokes the scent of expensive cigars and cognac. It may be the derision has less to do with masculinity than the sort of in-your-face “I’m Rich! Please take note of how much goddammed money I have!” vibe that, to be honest, the vast majority of sensible people resent.

    There’s a degree to which I get this. I haven’t seen an episode of the television show in question (and am therefore unfamiliar with the character who wears the despised cardigan), but let’s be honest that when the quite-obviously rich indulge in behaviors (including dress) that appear vulgar or garish, the result is a sort of ugliness–a boorishness.

    Imagine the lead character wearing a decades-old, fuzzy shetland crewneck (maybe even a few holes), shabby corduroys, and weather-ravaged Weejuns. A different vibe.

  22. Just found a few other pictures of the character (“Logan”). Apparently he favors spread collars and double windsor knots. So, yeah, plenty here to scorn. vulgarity prevails.

  23. S.E.

    Yes, the Dude!!

    And to all, Happy Dead Big Bird Day #dbbd!

    Cheers, BC

  24. As we sit in my father in law’s wood paneled den, fire roaring, aroma of coffee wafting in from the kitchen, I cannot help but notice that this huge group looks like an LLBean catalog. I do regret having left my BB shawl cardigan at home though. All the ladies are making preparations for what will be a magnificent dinner. The significance of the bird is incidental to me. I am thankful to be living in such a wonderful country with a happy, healthy family and for all the other blessings that God has provided.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all,


  25. The shawl collar cardigan just leaks toxic masculinity all over the floor and in the minds at New York Magazine. It was once the go to athletic letter sweater of strong sweaty talented men.
    I look forward to next month’s New York Magazine, Rosa Lyster will vent on duffle and trench coats, their blood thirsty origins in the toxic British military. 😉

  26. Grey Flannels | November 28, 2019 at 12:41 pm |

    Since 1967, I’ve been hearing that Ivy style is moribund. Since then numerous styles/fashions have come and gone, but Ivy style is still with us.

  27. Charlottesville | November 28, 2019 at 9:21 pm |

    For what it’s worth, the shawl cardigan always makes me think of Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins, a look I rather like. I also note that the most recent wearer of this item I have seen is an uber-woke millennial with whom I work (very nice guy), so I think no political inferences are really warranted. Hope all have had a lovely Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for.

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