A Trad Among The Radicals


I spent a summer at Cal doing a French intensive. It’s the kind of crash-course where you walk in on the first day and don’t hear a word of English eight hours a day for the next 10 weeks (that’s right, they teach you French in French). By the end of the summer you can read a newspaper, or at least a children’s book, and for the rest of your life sound like a pretentious twit whenever you order a croissant.

I don’t remember exactly what I wore that summer some 20 years ago. It certainly wasn’t tie-dye and bellbottoms, but nor was it a bow tie and blazer.

Pictured above is Berkeley student Will Coleman, who, if he isn’t the president of the campus Republicans, must certainly be taken for it. But that didn’t stop the student paper from acknowledging him as one of the school’s best — and certainly unique — dressers. — CC

42 Comments on "A Trad Among The Radicals"

  1. Horrible lo-rise chinos, male equivalent of camel toe.

  2. That depends on your point of view, I suppose. More than one woman that I dated in my 20s tried to get me to stop wearing baggy khakis because they wanted a better view of certain areas that were of interest to them. I seem to recall that I just had something like five pairs of L. L. Bean khakis at the time and hadn’t really worn anything else for about 10 years (this was right after college) so I didn’t see any reason to comply with this particular request. Needless to say, these weren’t the sort of women that I knew growing up.

  3. Waldo Walters | September 21, 2014 at 8:37 pm |

    Dressing like that at Cal on an everyday basis is tantamount to wearing a clown costume. The other three guys in that article are better dressed.

    Daily Cal’s website is looking good. Go Bears.

  4. @lm
    Having a proper rise doesn’t necessarily mean baggy trousers.
    And if you want to show your tackle off try wearing tights. Worked for Baryshnikov.

  5. @Waldo Wait, really? Is this because you don’t like bow ties? Also the other guys look relatively better than the average collegiate sweatpants crowd, but…c’mon now, a clown?

    Yeah the guys pants could fit better, but I think the guy looks great.

  6. Women put dollar bills in my waistband when I wear low rise khakis, sometimes a $5, $10 or $20.

  7. This is the closest one can come to a well-dressed student on the Cal campus.

  8. Waldo Walters | September 22, 2014 at 1:48 am |

    Bowties are often a good look, DCG, but I don’t think wearing those clothes to class at Cal is a good move unless you’re a tenured prof or in the Nation of Islam.

  9. To me elegance is the art of subtelty. This guy stands out like a sore thumb.

  10. Averill Archer | September 22, 2014 at 7:11 am |


    One doesn’t want to have too much ‘moose knuckle’ on display for sure. But then again a boy shouldn’t have such a high rise and such a mass of fabric below you know where unless he wants to wear a red nose, big boots and be kicked up the *ss for a living.

    For example, I can guarantee that the reason why this lot spend such an inordinate amount of time posting piccies of themselves is because it’s the only attention those dudes are going to get!


    Now, just think..those are the ones brave enough to post pics! What about the ones who don’t! Talk about the ugly bug ball!!!!!!!!

  11. I think the guy looks better than the other students highlighted in the article, but they probably fit in better than he does wearing northeastern style at a western school. It’s curious to me why someone with such an apparent interest in NE culture would go to some mediocre school in California.

    Oh wait.

  12. Berkeley may be our premier university, but what have they ever known about clothes? The pink bow tie proves it. The goatee is a close second.

  13. From an actual eBay listing:

    “Quintessentially American in all its charm and style. Wear with corduroys, Shetland sweaters, and oxford cloth button downs when you’re reading Christian Chensvold’s Ivy Style blog and arguing in the comments section.”


  14. On a campus filled with bleating conformist sheep, Coleman is an individual and incredibly courageous.

  15. Waldo Walters | September 22, 2014 at 10:47 am |

    Wearing a morning suit to a business meeting doesn’t make one the best dressed man in the room.

    Ivy style has never been about broadcasting nonconformity.

    Cal has more Nobel laureates than all but two of the Ivy schools.

  16. @Christian

    Fame at last!

    Btw, not a bad pair of tassels, but with that creasing somebody must have driven in them against the edict of Talk Ivy’s latest theologian who’s just discovered shoes and wants them to last forever.

  17. I’m already (in)famous. It’s you guys who are increasingly being recognized.

    BTW, what’s with all the Talk Ivy trolling lately? No one seems to be biting.

  18. ^ Talk Ivy not biting? I think teeth are a requirement for that. In addition to being largely clueless, those chumps are in the main toothless.

  19. FNB Talk Ivy – let’s let the Cosplayers be. To each their own. If they want to endlessly debate pant rise and how slim chinos should be let them do it. keeps them from mucking up other parts of the interwebs.

  20. Yikes! I actually looked at the Cal web site and noticed that one of their best dressed is a girl who’s wearing a t-shirt and shorts. If that’s their best dressed, you have to wonder what the typical Cal student looks like these days.

    This reminds me of a time when my sons (now in college) were visiting a particular campus to check it out. The conversation went roughly like this,

    ME (looking at one of the scantily-clad girls nearby): We had women that dressed like that when I was your age, too.
    YOUNGER SON: Really?
    ME: Yes. We called them “prostitutes.”

  21. I’ll debate pant rise. I tried on a beautiful pair of pants today and was prepared to drop a pretty penny, but the low rise killed it. And it wasn’t like I’m talking about York Street.

    Oh, and I meant no one’s biting here.

  22. As one of the few people who will admit to liking York Street, I could pretend to be offended by that remark and start a bitter flame war, but I’ll just admit that some of their stuff is indeed over the top. But, at least to me, the best argument against low-rise pants is that they’re just not very comfortable. Comfort is good. I find the fact that they really don’t look good is secondary to that. And note in my above post (the second from the top), that I’ve even passed on horny LMC women to keep wearing comfortable pants, a decision that I’d almost certainly make again today. (The fact that my wife would also not be amused if I didn’t would probably also be a big factor these days, of course.)

  23. I think the guy looks fine. My only personal preference would be reg rise pants with cuffs. The pink bow is fine, but it’s probably a Vineyard Vines tie and I think their prints are cartoonish, there are better choices. But, that’s just me, not him

  24. The fact that he was called one of the best dressed can only be a good thing, even if it’s not a groundbreaking outfit. Decently dressed, appreciated by other students, maybe there’s a glimmer of hope on America’s college campuses!

  25. I’d guess I’d say that I wished my son dressed like this young man. So I applaud what he’s doing.

  26. Waldo Walters | September 23, 2014 at 12:50 am |

    He’s got his shit together. Nerdy in a good way. I’ll cut him slack, as he may well have the charisma to make the thoroughly offbeat attire work.

    I figured he was a misfit who was using the outfit to say “I don’t want to hang out with you plebeian jerks anyway so I don’t care if you mock me.” Which isn’t a great way to spend one’s college years.

  27. I can assure you that he’s better dressed than most of the professors at Berkeley.
    By the way, I’m a Berkeley graduate and not the only one who doesn’t (and didn’t) call it “Cal”.

  28. Got nothing against the dude, just his chinos are cut too low. That’s all. It happens to be a very common problem.

  29. Christian,

    Who was the maker? Howard Yount? I only ask because I have been looking at their trousers.

    BTW, what is cosplay? I feel left out.

  30. One last thing. I find it interesting that so many people visit forums/read blogs by, for and about people/things that they are not interested in and more or less find off-putting. I wish I had that kind of free time, but I hope that I would make better use of it!

  31. Fritz Kalkbrenner | September 23, 2014 at 8:19 am |

    @Oxford Cloth Button Down

    Cosplayers dress up in costume for a hobby.for example one guy from Talk Ivy dressed up in vintage Keds and went running..he is now a crippled Cosplayer.

  32. It takes all but two minutes to get the gist of what FNB was and still is. Immature style. If you want to dress like a kid in college in the Ivy League during a certain historical time period down to vintage details and NOS items, you are cosplaying. Ivy League Style is like Latin. It’s good to understand the roots of America’s sartorial language, but at the same time, it’s a dead language best used academically. Develop your own sense of style based on who you are and how you life your life. Most blogs and forums are truly off putting. Goup think and chump speak. HTJ was one of the few great sites because he grew up and into his personal style. He didn’t learn about it on the interwebs. This site is unusual in that there are quite a few here who shopped in BB during the eighties and remember getting the catalogs in the mail. I remember and shopped at most of the old haberdashers in Chi Town. I remember Sulka and walk by their old shop and see the faded shadow of the old sign that hung there. Now there is really just Paul Stuart. The best thing about Ivy style is not really the content, although I enjoy posts by Boyer and Press, its the comments section.

  33. But FNB is (or at least was) largely European, and they have no interest in dressing like a college boy, and said so (or at least crazy Jim did) on many occasions. 99 percent of them have no interest in the campus origins of the style to the point of ignoring or even denying the campus’ role in codifying the style.

    Sorry you find the comments more interesting than the content. Give me another thousand posts to change your mind.

  34. Talk Ivy posters do not seem on the whole to be grounded in anything any more.

    Crazy Jim may have been wayward, but he did have a vision and a sense of history even if they were arguably misguided.

    The current (very small) handful of posters are effectively beginners who don’t know their wingtips from their long wings.

    They’d perhaps progress and learn something if they paid attention to what’s posted here.

    And if they came with humility (and wiped noses of course), they might be tolerated and even welcomed in the comments section here as the urbane exceptions from Talk Ivy already are.

  35. Oddly enough I got a message from one of them yesterday saying hello and wishing that YOU GUYS would post OVER THERE.

  36. One doesn’t want to be a snob, but one does have standards and to join in with the tomfoolery, pitiful ignorance and general low tone of Talk Ivy is something that I’d seek no more than I would enjoy stepping in a mess of doggie doo.

    However, the tone on the main forum is a little more salubrious; at least it was when I last looked, which I must admit was some time ago.

  37. Gents,

    Instead of criticizing the little details with this young man, why don’t you applaud his effort to look respectable, well dressed. None of you including myself had all the details down while we were in college. The nuances come with age, maturity, and a deeper knowledge, personal taste and finances.


  38. Not perfect, but better than 95% of his age group.

  39. I agree. I quite like his bow, though I’d like to see it tied a little narrower. This is almost my ‘uniform’ that I wear everyday around campus (except swap a long tie for the bow, in my case).

  40. i don’t remember seeing any pink bow ties in take ivy, especially on the gents just walking to and from class. not that its the be all end all, but I consistently see a big difference between the images in that book and what people on this site purport to be the proper way to dress.

  41. Sounds like the thesis of a very interesting essay, Dan. I’d be very intrigued to read your argument. Let me know if you’re willing to write it, sign your name to it, and put it out for the readership to agree or disagree.

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