I was unable to attend last week’s Brooks Brothers preview as I was battling a virus — a computer virus. So I’m falling back onto Women’s Wear Daily for the coverage.
Writes the paper:
At Brooks Brothers, Harris tweeds, soft tailoring that enables layering, an “into-the-woods” color palette and unorthodox pairings are some predominant messages for fall.
As the first U.S. retailer to sell Harris tweeds, starting in 1909, Brooks Brothers advanced the tradition by offering men’s accessories and footwear, including wing-tip sneakers and field boots, in Harris tweeds that matched up with the jackets.
The woodsy appeal is rooted in earth tones including an array of moss, loden and bright greens, and Harris tweeds in colors seen in camouflaging.
Head over here for the full report. — CC
I’m rather proud of the fact that Ivy Style, to the best of my knowledge, is the only preppy site on the web to regularly honor Black History Month. After all, as I often point out, it was my piece on Miles Davis and the Andover Shop for RL Magazine that inspired me to launch this website.
This year we pay tribute not to men of the past, but of today. I’d noticed over the past couple of months that there were several guys on our Facebook page that had become the most avid with sharing their outfits were African American. So when February came along I floated the idea by them of having them on the front page, and they said they’d be honored.
In general you’ll notice that when it comes to dressing these guys aren’t hidebound by narrow genre parameters. They embrace colors and juxtapositions. Above all they seem to be having fun with their clothes rather than anxiously sweating abstract or antiquated notions of correctness.
They also look like pretty nice guys. And so for 2015 we salute our very own brethren. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD (Continue)
Recently I was investigating manly candles (mandles?) because that’s the sort of important thing you do when you start working the home accessories beat.
I discovered an apparently now-discontinued line of scented candles that were sold at Neiman Marcus. Although the brand had the silly name of Many Indulgence, the different scents had fun names like Bachelor Pad, Humidor, Black Tuxedo, Suit & Tie, and White Collar.
There’s also one called Ivy League, which cracked me up. I ordered two from eBay — one for myself and one for the Ivy Style reader who can come up with the most incisive quip to the following question:
What does the Ivy League smell like?
Sharpen your wit and use the leave-comment feature to enter the contest. One entry per person (you’re on the honor system). The Ivy-Style.com staff will sift through the entries and select the most zinging zinger.
A couple suggestions. You could go heyday or contemporary in your wisecrack, though I think that for a heyday-focused one to sparkle it would need to be from a present point of view, as in:
It smells like the ashes of tweed and the gentleman’s C.
A straight-up contemporary bon mot might be something along the lines of:
It smells like overachievers in hooded sweatshirts.
No need to have a sartorial reference, though, as the possibilities are almost endless. We’ll keep the contest burning until midnight Eastern time on Monday.
Oh, and one more thing. Just so you know, the prize is kind of a dud. The candle doesn’t fill the room with any fragrance at all, certainly nothing manly or indulgent. So this contest is more for bragging rights. I’d suggest using the candle for:
1) A trophy on your mantle for having outwitted all the other readers of Ivy-Style.com
2) A source of illumination in the event of a power outage
Good luck. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
I think I’m not the only one here who has a fondness for the art of fashion illustration, from the legendary work of Laurence Fellows for Esquire and Apparel Arts to the Japanese artists who fill each issue of Free & Easy.
This afternoon Town & Country magazine tweeted a post about artist Patricia van Essche, whose done a series of depictions of preppy life for J. McLaughlin.
Head over here for the full slideshow. — CC (Continue)
Daniel C. Greenwood’s debut Millenial Fogey column on Brooks Brothers certainly stirred up discussion. It especially stirred up Chris Sharp, Ivy Style’s normally circumspect and disinterested assistant editor, known for his well researched historical pieces. He found himself inspired to lay his heart bare to the brand so dear to him that he recalls shopping excursions more vividly than otherwise more important days in his life.
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Daniel C. Greenwood’s recent piece, “Why do we get so worked up Over Brooks Brothers?” is well timed coming after New Year’s, as I am still in throws of a lingering Auld Lang Syne-style emotional hangover. His piece is certainly a reminder that I hold Brooks Brothers partially responsible for my condition.
Like a Dickensian ghost, an image of a lost Brooks Brothers executive haunts my subconscious. He asks me, “How can Brooks Brothers be relevant in 2015?”
“I’m afraid I don’t know how to be relevant myself,” I reply. Then I offer the phantasm this: “But I can tell you how to be Brooks Brothers, in case you’ve forgotten.”
It seems that Mr. Greenwood pounding on his keypad is answering the same ghost. He is among the millions of fingers on keyboards expressing frustration on websites and Internet forums. A legion of middle-aged men and young fogeys who are telling Brooks Brothers how to be Brooks Brothers. The problem for us is that Brooks Brothers does not seem to be answering that question.
In that case, a more to-the-point query might be, “Why does it sometimes feel like we care more about Brooks Brothers than Brooks Brothers itself?” But answering that might take a team of mental health professionals. It is certainly about us, how we feel about the past, and how we view the future. I am reminded of the Annie Tempest cartoon in which an airchaired old curmudgeon says to his pal over a glass of scotch, “The future’s is not what it used to be, Dickie.” (Continue)
Daniel C. Greenwood (“DCG” in the comments section, and the singer in our Christmas recital video) herein debuts the first in a series of musings on the current retail landscape for trad clothing. He brings a fresh and young voice to Ivy Style, being under 30 yet with a great interest in this style’s long history. Having had the face of a 35-year-old since before he started shaving, Greenwood’s column will go by the name The Millennial Fogey.
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Sitting on the train recently something stole my attention from my better half. As I furiously hammered away at my smart phone, she asked me if everything was OK, and was suprised I said of course. Apparently she thought I was dealing with some terrible emergency.
In fact I was commenting on a Brooks Brothers social media post describing dressing up sweatpants with a navy blazer.
In my increasingly excited state, I rattled off a whole list of changes I wanted to see: taking the lining out of the oxford collars, fixing the fit of Own Make and bringing the price down, improving the design of its paisley ties, the rise and finish of its khakis — I could have gone on all day. My ever-patient girlfriend rolled her eyes and watched me chew out a billion-dollar apparel company on the Internet.
Strange how I don’t have the kind of arguments with my girlfriend that I do with Brooks Brothers.
What is it about Brooks Brothers that inspires such passion in us? More to the point, why has the relationship between traditional menswear consumers and Brooks Brothers gotten so dysfunctional? Naturally there are men who were Brooks Brothers customers in the good ol’ days of the Ivy heyday through the late ’80s, and can quickly list everything they miss about the Brooks of yore. There are also younger menswear enthusiasts who comb through Internet archives, photographs, illustrated catalogues, and other evidence of this once beyond-reproach institution of American style and can’t help but agonize that we were born too late. (Continue)