In the late 1970s, Japanese companies went on a mad spree to secure licenses for American traditional brands. Everyone knows that Onward Kashiyama acquired J. Press, and maybe even that VAN Jacket made Japanese versions of Gant shirts.
But what is lesser known is that Macbeth — a trad clothier founded in 1967 by former department store buyer and fashion critic Shirō Itoh — sold Chipp in Japan for a short time starting in 1978. (Continue)
There was a time when you could only get critter-embroidered clothing from a small number of clothiers, such as Chipp. The bespoke blazer above, with embroidered golf clubs, was made in 1971 and is currently for sale on Etsy for $500.
But today, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, critter litter is a rising fashion trend infesting every item in a man’s wardrobe. Current fashion designers “… have traveled sartorially to Greenwich, Long Island or Nantucket, where tiny embroidered anchors, whales, lobsters and the like have decorated men’s shirts and shorts for generations.”
The article continues:
Trousers featuring a more outlandish, all-over embroidery appeared as part of post-WWII East Coast country club culture—which took the symbols of leisure-class exclusivity and multiplied them for a distinctly American notion of casual wear. The martini glasses and whales embroidered on Nantucket reds and seersucker shorts followed.
Check out the movie “Barry Lyndon,” in which Ryan O’Neal wears a pair of emblazoned breeches — with what, I can’t tell — that might have been the 18th-century precursor to the critter pant. — CC
At the recent “Ivy Style” symposium at the MFIT I had the chance to meet “Reggie Darling,” the man behind one of the more charming blogs written by a fiftysomething nostalgic for his vanished youth.
I’d told Reggie that I’d admired his reflections on the exhibit and thought many of his memories worth presenting to Ivy-Style.com readers. He said he’d be honored, so here are his reminiscences on being a social and sartorial traditionalist adrift in the post-heyday ’70s. — CC
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While I certainly enjoyed attending the “Ivy Style” exhibit, I had the eerie feeling while doing so that I was spending my time there staring at my own navel. It was all very familiar to me, and much of the clothing on display could have come from the closets and cupboards of the men in my own family. My roots in the Ivy League go back a number of generations, mostly at Yale, where my grandfather, father, brother and I were all fortunate to attend as undergraduates.
It was at Yale that I came to fully understand the true allure and iconographic significance of the Ivy style of dressing. While my prep school experience at St. Grottlesex prepared me for Yale in many ways, it was only upon my arrival in New Haven that I came to truly appreciate the splendor of traditional Ivy League dressing. I came to Yale as a boy, and I left it as a man.
When my father was an undergraduate at Yale in the early 1940s, he was clothing obsessed. Letters written at the time to his parents in Grosse Pointe (which my grandparents saved and which I read many years later) were full of entreaties from him for yet more funds to purchase the clothing and sartorial accessories he felt were imperative in order to fit in with the smart crowd with which he ran at Yale. (Continue)
When madras season officially opened on Memorial Day, we ran a post showing George HW Bush clad in a madras sportcoat in company that wasn’t exactly wearing the same (can you imagine Obama or Romney doing that in 2012?) Now that July 4th marks our deeper descent into madras, this time we show the fabric in an equally unexpected context: on the backs of British pop stars. (Continue)
Update, 3 July, 10:04 AM:
Last night Ivy Style crossed the 10,000-comment threshold with these infamous words that will echo across America this summer as families pile up the station wagon and head out on the road:
Are we there yet?
The comment was left by none other than regular reader Henry, who will finally be rewarded for years of faithful interaction.
Leave one more comment with your real email address, Henry, so I can make sure the IP addresses match. Wouldn’t want the loot to go to one of your sparring partners pretending to be you. — CC
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Ivy-Style.com is rapidly approaching its 10,000th comment. As a way of saying thank you for the interaction and entertainment that our comments section provides, I’m arranging for one lucky reader to get a pile of loot donated by our sponsors.
Here’s how it will work. Sometime over the next couple of weeks — depending on how worked up you guys get — we’ll cross the ten thousand threshold. The person to leave comment number 10,000 — after all spam and petty nastiness has been expunged, of course — wins.
So you might want to leave a valid email address when you comment, at least for the time being.
And while it’s true that the winner may be one of the usual suspects in our perennial Left vs. Right and US vs. UK kerfuffles, at least everyone has an equal chance of winning, regardless of ideology.
After all, anyone can wear buttondowns and penny loafers. — CC
Update: Here is a confirmed alphabetical list of the prizes so far, which have a combined value of $1,425: (Continue)
Yesterday a link to a slideshow of the young Mitt Romney somehow made its way into my inbox. I took a look and wasn’t surprised to learn that the son of Michigan’s governor and former prep school student was raised on natural shoulders, oxford buttondowns and rep ties.
At least while it was current and fashionable.
In the ’70s he went hairy like most everybody else, and today the Harvard alum looks just like any other politician: sanitized for television and downplaying his elite background with populist pablum. (Continue)