46 Comments on "Black Mischief"

  1. Nice.

    Details on the socks?

  2. Good looking. I assume the reference to the do-daddy bracelet was a joke – ? (or, perhaps, nothing more than blatant sponsor pandering?)

    I don’t own a single pair of black shoes (aside from black tie appropriate oxfords)….and, always felt the Aldens were poor copies of Gucci bits….lower, dated vamp, tiny bit details, etc…..and, you know my opinion on olive anything – but, could be far worse. Nice, solid fall ensemble.

    Does Lotuff send free bags to every person who has a blog?

  3. Geez, you people are cold. I think it looks fantastic. I also take exception to the “Ivy look” having no place for black.

  4. Jeff Jarmuth,

    Take exception all you want, that’s how it was. You might as well take exception to the sack suit.

    The only significant exception to “no black” was a black knit tie, a topic that has been explored elsewhere on this blog. The Ivy League look is not the only place where black is generally not found; in classic English men’s wear as well, black is for accessories: shoes, ties, hats, watchbands, umbrellas.

  5. We get it. You like black. Could you please post more pictures of outfits where you aren’t actively thumbing your nose at people?

  6. Personal style as an insult to others. Fascinating. I know people like to see their own style validated on the Internet, but there’s some real essay fodder in that.

    Thanks, I won’t forget that comment.

  7. Isn’t that what all the fuss about slim fits and preppy GTH-type things is about? I think that for at least some people, and I’ll certainly lump myself in this mouth-breathing camp, hating an element of style simply because it is non-traditional is more of an afterthought. Why the person is wearing it seems more important to those of us who read too much into things.

    I’ve probably been reading Joseph’s posts at AAW too long (“You think I look ridiculous in a double-breasted blazer? How ’bout a DB with an ascot!”). I can see how your “un-traditional” posts about the color black, wearing white bucks in winter, etc., is probably more about providing a voice to elements of style that would otherwise go unheard. But to me, it seems more like you’re going out of your way to knock the curmudgeons.

  8. Looks good to me. In “real life” (not on the internet), that outfit is boring enough to be perfectly presentable even among an “Ivy” crowd. You’d have to at least lose the socks and oxford shirt in order to be considered “cool” and “chic” by the non-Ivy crowd, though. As is, you won’t call attention to yourself and no-one would accuse you of peacocking… you look perfectly normal for a city.

  9. @CC:

    You going FEC? Remember, you gotta glance away from the camera to nail that Unabashedly Prep look.

  10. Henry,

    A lot of guys wore black at Princeton. Last time I looked, black and orange were sort of important there. . .how does this get overlooked? The book store sold nubby black wool crew neck sweaters like there was no tomorrow. Athletes were awarded a black crew neck sweaters with an orange “P” on the chest after their second letter. “Take Ivy” has several pictures of students wearing this sweater from the mid-1960s, including a few students who own the sweater without the orange letter. A popular jacket for weekends and Friday night dinner was a nearly black herringbone model which, although before my time, was often worn with a white button down and a black and orange rep tie you could purchase at the bookstore.

    So I kind of side with Christian on this one. I think this “no black” rule may have applied at some other schools. . .

    Sorry, Henry.

  11. Some of you guys wear pink, but not black? In the summer, give me a pair of Khakis, some tan loafers, and a black Tommy Bahama silk camp shirt. Perfect outfit for upscale casual dinner out in the suburbs. In the winter, a black polo style sweater, over gray or khaki pants, and a gray harris tweed jacket. (OR a thin black mock turtleneck) Cordovan shoes. Outside of suits at the office, thats my uniform when in public. Don’t own a black suit at present, but sure do have a couple of VERY dark blue, one plain, one with very fine subtle stripes. And yes, I own black cole haans, and a pair of much dressier Allen Edmond cap toes I wear usually to almost formal events. I need a pair of black bit Aldens myself.

  12. JJ,

    Would the fact that Princeton’s school colors are black and orange have anything to do with that?

    Was black found as often at other Ivy League schools, at prep schools, and in post-university employment? No? Quod erat demonstrandum, baby (“ooh, you speak French!”).

  13. CC, this is the “ivy-rebel-cool” look, like you’re sneaking out of campus to hang at a jazz club in the village. Enjoy your outfit, you look fine.

  14. The late 1970’s Calvin Klein look, black and kakhki. 😉

  15. Damn, some of you guys are tough. Give Ches a break.

  16. Nice combo. A touch of drama, intellect, and old school all in one. Bravo!

  17. Echo Dave: the long knives come out awfully quickly on the blog. But it’s good for a chuckle. Overall, I like this look a lot, with a couple of minor objections: the only thing more feminine-looking than snaffle bit loafers (with tan socks no less) would be the Liberace-style bedroom slippers that FEC is hawking for $300+. Also, not sure any man over 30 should wear ‘tapered’ anything, particularly pants.

  18. Jeff Jarmuth | October 1, 2013 at 10:23 am |

    If folks want to exclude black from their wardrobe (other than accessories) because of this so-called tradition, then it’s fine. Still, it makes no sense to me in 2013. . .Tigers or no Tigers. . . black RL cashmere sweaters (be they the crewneck cable or a V-neck) are go-to garments in my closest, so much so that I have to replace them every three or four years.

  19. The bit loafers remind me of the Puritans. A little early for Thanksgiving, but a good autumnal look.

  20. Looking really great! Black can look pretty good, especially paired with olive trousers as in the picture.

  21. J.I. Rodale | October 1, 2013 at 1:42 pm |

    I’ve been dressing in an Ivy manner for fifty years and would never think of wearing any color shoes (lace-up or loafers) with grey flannels, other than black.

  22. Here’s how the black versus brown shoe thing works:

    Everyday dullards wear black shoes. The clotheshorse/connoisseur/gentleman sees this as a cliché, and so swears by brown.

    The sophisticate, though, finds the clotheshorse gentleman’s brown-only stance equally cliché, and so wears black.

    So it depends on who you’re among and from whom who seek distinction. If you’re the only stylish gent in an office full of schmucks, you show off your gentlemanly brown shoes.

    If you’re constantly around clothes-fetishing, brown-shoed gents, however, you counter-riposte with black shoes.

  23. @CC – at least you’re not overthinking it. you wear black shoes because of their ironic, ‘counter cliche’ effect. got it.

    i, for one, never said anything about ‘brown only’. i frequently wear burgundy shell cordovan colored shoes – that color goes great with grey. and, even brown comes in many hues and textures, from dark chestnut to snuff suede. no shortage of options. and, i do own a pair of black shoes for when i’m in my tuxedo. black just looks cheap to me and with most formal/business attire, it makes me feel like i’m dressing up like a postal carrier…..and, clashes with most of the other leather in my wardrobe, from my brown briefcase and brown belts to my brown watch strap and wallet.

  24. Glad you’re not overthinking it either.

  25. Nothing could be simpler than just not wearing black shoes. No psychological-oneupsmanship, no dressing like kids I see in old ‘Ivy’ photos – just passing on them because of how they look. Period.

    It would be fun though if I could claim that I didn’t wear black loafers because of a complicated, unspoken game of sartorial chicken with “sophisticates” and “clotheshorses”, chipping away at their counter, counter-cliche defences by introducing burgundy into the equation.

  26. ….the notion of ‘counter dressing’ in a manner that has been aped by every retailer from American Eagle to Zara is certainly a novel one…..

  27. The only ironic item missing would be black double monk straps, sockless of course, with one strap left unbuckled. What’s forbidden about an uncreative and lazy color?

  28. The total look is fine, but as my mother remarked about a pair of tennis whites I was wearing, (30 years ago), “Those pants are entirely too tight, positively indecent.”

  29. Not a fan of Alden’s bit loafers. They, like Cole Haan’s, have too low a vamp and too prissy a bit. If you’re going to do the look, you really have to go with the chunky, clunky, substantial Guccis.

  30. I guess I have been “counter dressing” for several years…One of the reasons I embraced the Ivy look (with a strong Anglo-phile influence) was that partly I saw it as a near total rejection of the values held so dear by my peers…A rejection of low waisted jeans, hollister T-shirts ect…An embrace of a style that was elegant and yet quiet, a style that wasn’t “strait pimp yo” But rather clothing that said “No!” quietly but emphatically, rejecting all that one finds in a wealthy, suburban/rural high school. Since I left high school, it continues that same defiant, yet dignified “no” to the buccaneers of the modern world…..that had little to do with the original point of the post but…eh…

  31. A.E.W. Mason | October 1, 2013 at 6:29 pm |


    Great look! Reminds me of circa 1963-64, just a few years before the grubby jeans and long hair boys really made inroads.

  32. There’s definitely a ’60s influence with the preponderance of olive and charcoal, which I wrote about back in the spring.

    As for prissy versus chunky, I had to go with Alden as Gucci doesn’t make a bit loafer in E width.

    I actually had the bits loosened by a cobbler as I thought they were too straight and uptight-looking. Now they sort of point forward at a jaunty angle, the equivalent of splayed tassels.

    As always, I’m writing about clothes and style in this comment with a smile on my face. As the song says, AEV should take that frown and turn it upside-down.

  33. Great look! Very clean. By the way, who makes the bag?

  34. The now-divorced Lotuff & Clegg.

  35. That guy in the background stole your look.

  36. For me it was black lace ups with dark suits (navy, charcoal, solids or pins). Dark brown lace ups for lighter suits. Cordovan tassel loafers for all sport coat/blazer, grey flannels with or without ties. Cordovan penny loafers with chinos, jeans and shorts. Can you mix those all around? Sure, You can do whatever you wish, but I rarely deviated from the aforementioned. Just felt right to me. So, yes, black shoes had a major place in my wardrobe.

  37. Mr. Wyllys – Very interesting. I did the exact opposite. When I began my career it quickly became evident to me that all senior level employees dressed in this manner and it did not take long for me to follow suit. In my limited experience it is seldom benefits ones career to standout sartorially. However, currently working fan an interactive agency I do just that and it does not come without its challenges.

  38. I agree, dressing differently does come with its challenges…I just let my clothing speak for itself, and my actions to speak for myself…Most people who know I dress in this way just accept it after awhile …Thankfully I have to wear a uniform for work, so I don’t have to worry about my clothing holding me back…Though the tweed jackets do suprise people at the Christmas parties…

  39. Is it “really” Ivy? Who cares. Looks great, Christian, from head to toe.

    I’ve come to like combinations of black and tan (or khaki, camel, whatever). And my 20-year old #8 Alden Cordovan LHS – following a factory renovation about six years ago – are ambiguously toward the black end of the scale to my (unsophisticated) eye. Seeing how great the Clubmasters look on you means I may get a pair when (if) my ancient Wayfarers need replacing.

  40. Thanks, Mazama. Of course there was no claim that this represents the Ivy League Look in 1963 or 2013. Just an example of an outfit by a guy who looks to this wonderful genre for his inspiration (or at least ingredients).

  41. It’s a great look. I’d wear all of that, just like that, except the bit loafers. (Instead, I’d wear my beloved black — yes, black — BB shell pennys.)

  42. Love this!!

  43. EVAN EVERHART | August 16, 2018 at 11:53 am |

    Hi Christian,

    I just came upon this posting for the first time, and greatly enjoyed both your photograph, and the typically caustically amusing, upbraiding, and supportive commentary with fascinating perspectives and historical/social tidbits delivered by all. Thanks for this!

    I like what you’re wearing! It reminds me of my college days when black was the “rule of thumb” (Art & Design school – the first time around), and though I have since, mostly left black behind, and while I understand the reticence towards it within this sartorial oeuvre, I also don’t have the same abhorrence for it that so many seem to.

    Great outfit by the by, even though I would not personally wear bit loafers, as I feel much the same about them, as I do about Belgian slippers (and as you avowedly do about saddle shoes), despite that, they work for you! So keep up the spry, trim look and perhaps lose the beard, it is masterful, as far as beards go, but it does age you. The trim trousers are fine, but of course you don’t need any of us to tell you that, and likely don’t care if anyone thinks that they don’t (why should you? They’re not wearing them).

    I might have gone for more golden or even deep olive or rust socks, but I appreciated the understated nature of the ensemble and its laconic simplicity of pallet.

    Entertaining, as always, Sir, I salute you!

  44. There was a time when nearly all of my shoes were black. Then I systematically eliminated all my expensive black shoes in favor of various shades of brown leaving one pair of black shoes for weddings and funerals. Today, for the first time in a decade, I purchased a pair of black shoes like the ones above. I’ve decided this is a cool look and a bit of black a good thing.

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