Trad Eye For The Frat Guy

Tue 26 Nov 2013 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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Recently an email sent by an Emory University student to his fraternity brothers telling them they were badly dressed made national news.

Well it’s about time someone took them to task. (Continue)

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The Bard Of Nantucket: A Preppy Twist On Shakespeare

Sat 23 Nov 2013 - Filed under: 1990-present — Christian
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This weekend a high school in Danvers, Massachusetts will open its production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which it has set on Nantucket. The local newspaper reports:

Where the “Twelfth Night” takes place on an island full of rich people, the Academy wanted to make its version “accessible to the Danvers community.”

“The cast is ridiculous,” a student told the paper, “and is not afraid to embarrass themselves.”

Danvers was originally known as Salem Village and is closely associated with the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.

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What Now? The Uncertain Future Of Neo-Prep

Thu 21 Nov 2013 - Filed under: 1990-present — Christian
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To speak of preppy-with-a-twist among trad purists is to garner reactions ranging from “What does this have to do with Ivy style?” to “Stop wasting my Internet, I want to look at old advertisements.”

But as much as Ivy stylers would like to forget it, the apparel industry does not operate within fixed genre parameters. There are gray areas, economic changes, and the ever-nebulous terminology used to describe things. It is hardly arguable, however, that fashion trends have at least some measurable effect on even the stodgiest of menswear merchants. From approximately 2004 to 2012, the fashion trend we can term “Neo-Prep” achieved remarkable mainstream popularity.

But will it last? (Continue)

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The Shape Of Things To Come

Wed 20 Nov 2013 - Filed under: 1990-present — Christian
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There are multiple meanings in the headline above.

For starters, there’s the coming winter weather, which will require coats like the one pictured above, which is coming to a retailer near you. It’s a toggle coat in rugby stripes and is either brilliant or monstrous, depending on whether or not you take your whisky straight.

As far as “shape” goes, the coat looks to provide the soft, robe-like feeling you get from a polo coat.

And finally, the item above — made by Tommy Hilfiger and snapped last week at the Fifth Avenue store — signals the end of our string of “cool Ivy” posts and the start of neo-prep. Tomorrow, contributing writer Daniel Greenwood will present an extensive survey of the neo-prep landscape, from the opening of York Street to the closing of Rugby. Here’s a preview:

The Punk-Prep cultural moment seems to have reached its high water mark from 2010 to 2011. Perhaps the most glaring example of the existence of this PunkPrep subset was 2010′s collaboration between J. Press and, mind boggling as it may seem, Urban Outfitters.

Books published during these years included the re-released “Take Ivy,” “Hollywood And The Ivy Look,” “Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style,” and Lisa Birnbach’s return to prepdom with “True Prep,” among many other writings both in print and on the Internet. In the spring of 2011, Tommy Hilfiger’s namesake brand emarked on what was billed a “Prep World Tour,” setting up temporary shops in public spaces across the world’s capitals in miniature faux-New England cottages.

After some setbacks in various American locales, Rugby Ralph Lauren opened a store in London in the fall of 2011.  Punk-preppy blogs, foremost among them Unabashedly Prep, reflected an active (if not overwhelming) population of young adults interested in taking preppy staples and wearing them in ways that felt current, items of clothing that were steeped in heritage (not always fully appreciated or understood), worn alongside neon sneakers that would pass muster at any ecstasy-soaked Röyksopp (for the fogeys: a Norwegian electronic “music” duo) concert.

Stay tuned for pink and green skulls and crossbones. — CC

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GQ’s Style Treason: Buttondown “Not A Dress Shirt”

Sun 10 Nov 2013 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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In last month’s issue of GQ, the magazine managed to twice make an assertion that puzzled us here in Tradsville: namely, that a buttondown-collared shirt is not a dress shirt.

The first instance occurs in question-and-answer format in Glenn O’Brien’s “Style Guy” column:

Most of my dress shirts are buttondown- collar oxfords, but I recently started a job overseas and I’m receiving mixed reviews on pairing them with ties. Most Brits say it’s a faux pas. What is your opinion? Is the oxford too Americacentric to take abroad?

Surprise! The oxford cloth button-down is not a dress shirt! Don’t tell Congress or they might pass a law making it one. It’s not a faux pas to pair a button-down with a tie—say, if you’re going to lunch on the weekend or to see Arsenal play—but for the office, you might want to consider European wisdom and get with the dressier options.

European wisdom? Didn’t we take the ingredients we wanted from European culture, cuisine and wardrobes and come up with our own way of doing things? And for much of the 20th century, as the United States rose to its preeminent position in the world, the men who were running the country (such as the gentleman from the State Department in 1959 who’s pictured above) had no qualms about doing it in buttondown collars. Going back farther, to the time when the fictitious Nick Carraway was a struggling bond salesman, the buttondown was even the chosen shirt of Wall Street. (Continue)

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For Weddings And A Funeral

Fri 8 Nov 2013 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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I’ve mentioned here before that I haven’t owned a suit for the past few years, preferring grey trousers and patterned sportcoats.

But I now have a simple charcoal suit to wear to weddings and a funeral — my own funeral, that is. Perhaps someday I’ll be buried in this.

The suit was made by Kamakura Shirts — that’s right, they’ve got even more tricks up their sleeve. We posted recently on their ties and pocket squares, but back in Japan they also have a made-to-measure suit business that goes by the name Tex-Teq. During the summer their fitter visited and took my specs. I chose a simple charcoal worsted fabric from Dormeuil, and asked for as close to an Ivy suit as possible. We hit one barrier immediately when the fitter said he didn’t think the factory could make an undarted chest.

But the result is a superb-fitting and very well made suit perfectly in keeping with how I dress. It features swelled edges on the lapel and lapped seams, hook vent, and two working buttonholes on each sleeve, which they placed kissing for a non-kosher twist. A small amount of sleevehead meets an otherwise unpadded shoulder. Trousers are flat-front and slightly tapered with 1 3/4 inch cuffs.

The suit arrived just in time for Kamakura’s one-year anniversary party last week at its Madison Avenue store, where I was thanked profusely for introducing the brand to America in that first blog post. Even random middle-aged women I was introduced to (hardly our readers or their customers) somehow had heard that a website called Ivy Style was responsible for the brand’s success. Those polite Japanese, always overstating things.

I’m seen above walking in the front door (and, thanks to the diminutive photographer, looking taller than Tyler Thoreson), wearing a short buttondown from Ledbury, a navy satin tie (with the sky blue rear blade sprezzidentally showing) from Tommy Hilfiger, black and white rep-striped tie bar from Rugby, black grosgrain watch band, and black Alden tassels with blue and white houndstooth socks from RL.

No idea if Kamakura will ever bring its suit program here to the States, but if it does, you can bet you’ll find the same quality-to-price ratio as with its shirts. — CC

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