After more than seven years — and far removed from the peak-Ivy Trendwatch days of the “Take Ivy” book release and the MFIT exhibit — Ivy-Style.com achieved record traffic numbers for the month of January. What caused it? The four consecutive posts within 36 hours about the new/old Brooks Brothers oxford, authored by myself, Bruce Boyer and Dan Greenwood. The stories got shared around the web, and new readers have continued to return after the initial spike.
So for those of you who are newbies to Tradsville, this website was born from a summer 2008 story I did for Ralph Lauren Magazine about when Miles Davis went to The Andover Shop to get outfitted by Charlie Davidson (who’s still there, by the way). I was so fascinated by the social and sartorial stories behind the Ivy League Look that I decided to launch a new web project about it. The site became a hit, and here we are over 1,200 posts later.
As a result of that first story about Miles Davis and the other jazz cats who got hip to Ivy during the heyday (including Roy Haynes, whom I got to interview, and later watched perform at the Newport Jazz Festival with none other than Charlie), it’s always been important to me to include African Americans who have appreciated this quintessential WASPy (really, American) approach to dressing. This year, thanks to our website redesign that makes it easy to browse content from our home page, it’s the perfect time to revisit posts from previous years in addition to sharing new material. Like the photo of Miles pictured above, wearing what has become my favorite jacket pattern. It’s a photo I saw for the first time just recently.
Members of our Facebook group noted today that the group image now depicts African American college students during the Ivy heyday, because certainly more than just musicians embraced buttondowns, loafers, and natural-shouldered jackets. I’ll be updating the group image periodically throughout the month in order to share a variety of images.
This blog post was created with jazz music playing the background, including tunes by Art Pepper and Arthur Blythe. One’s black and the other’s white. If you don’t know which is which, head over to YouTube or Spotify and commence your journey into jazz, America’s truly original art form, brought to us by those who’d been brought here against their will. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD