Prep Is Dead? Then Long Live Prep!

Fri 15 May 2015 - Filed under: Ivy Trendwatch — Christian
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A year-and-a-half ago, before he was christened The Millennial Fogey, Daniel Greenwood wrote a piece for Ivy Style called “What Now? The Uncertain Future Of Neo-Prep.”

Now those in the towns that border Tradsville are starting to wonder the same thing.

Yesterday Put This On posted a long piece called “Whatever Happened To Prep?” The opening paragraph sets the scene:

In the mid-2000s, prep seemed ascendant. J. Crew sales were booming – critter shorts and tiny-collared OCBDs abounded. Grosgrain enthusiast Thom Browne won a CFDA award and got his own line at Brooks Brothers. Ralph Lauren launched an over-the-top youthful prep brand allegedly named after Ralph’s dog: Rugby. Vampire Weekend crooned about Cape Cod. Old prep labels like Gant were resurrected, and Barneys stocked new, prep-riffing labels like Band of Outsiders and Benjamin Bixby (well, they still have Band). The author of the Official Preppy Handbook was writing a sequel. Your favorite menswear bloggers were fiddling with Blogspot interfaces.

There’s no denying that the winds of fashion have changed, as they always do, and this is perhaps the right time to acknowledge the changes within Tradsville. Most of the hobby blogs have ceased; the Film Noir Buff Talk Ivy forum is quieter, with Ivy’s most infamous Internet troll now largely silent; and the Ivy Trendwatch category that monitored the publication of “Take Ivy” and the MFIT exhibit now rarely gets a new entry.

It’s somewhat ironic, then, that’s own evolution has been to become more news-driven. While nostalgic images may have been a driving force for the first couple of years, today we find more fodder in what’s happening in the world around us — the clothes to wear, the people who wear them, and the endless fascination of social and temporal context. I think there’s a greater sense of immediacy in the site these days, even as the latest fashion moment winds down.

I spoke with Put This On’s reporter for nearly an hour. Fortunately he used my remarks about preppy-Ivy-trad being perennial. From the piece:

Prep has died many deaths. Counterculture killed the Ivy League look. Anti-yuppie sentiment killed prep. Rick Owens killed Rugby? But, as Williams told me, no matter what the style of the day is, “there will still be business for Ralph Lauren.” There will always be a prep flame burning in the window of a vaguely gothic building in Connecticut, and there will always be aspirants eager to learn everything about prep and then defend its borders, unasked. And despite indicators that prep is at an ebb, Vineyard Vines seems to be doing remarkably well.

“What remains, what has always remained, is this perennial style that goes back 100 years… This clothing will never go away,” said Chensvold. “There’s a new Polo flagship on 5th Avenue for all the tourists to see. It’s the same clothing. In fact, the uniform for associates when they opened was brushed shetland sweaters in all kids of bright colors you’d associate with preppy history.”

“Now that the fashion fascination is gone, what may remain is more true. Maybe there will be a rediscovery of the more sober side of things.”

It’s also worth acknowledging now, six-and-a-half years after launching this site, that I’ve had an absolute blast informing and entertaining you all — as well as being informed and entertained in turn. I’ve no immediate plans to retire (or get run over by another car), and regardless it is my wish that this ship always have a captain.

Soft shoulders and hard bop forever. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

Addendum: This t-shirt, seen last week at the Pop-Up Flea trade show, neatly summarizes the fashion industry’s exploitive nature. It was in the booth for Mark McNairy, who created it several years ago, ahead of the curve. (Continue)

Ivy Trendwatch: GQ UK Does Ivy League Fashion Shoot

Fri 20 Mar 2015 - Filed under: Ivy Trendwatch — Christian
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We haven’t had anything to classify as Ivy Trendwatch in some time, but today the UK edition of GQ Style unveiled a video, apparently of a photo shoot entitled “Jocks & Nerds.” It features a campus setting with penny loafers and white socks, bicycles and sweaters with class year, plus the usual tedious model antics presented in a quick-edit format.

According to this page on the magazine’s website, “See the most stylish undergrads of Harvard, Yale and Brown flying the flag for preppy spirit in an Ivy League editorial.”

Apparently the fashion shoot is not available on the website, but I was able to find one shot on British GQ’s Instagram page:


Perhaps the “Take Ivy” trend of several years ago has finally made it to the UK. Wonder what John Simons thinks? — CC


Kazuo Hozumi’s Illustrated Book Of Ivy

Sat 13 Dec 2014 - Filed under: Ivy Trendwatch — Christian
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Today in Japan sees the publication of a new collection of illustrations by artist Kazuo Hozumi, who created the smiling little caucasian characters used by clothing brand Van, and co-opted by myself for my Twitter avatars.

We’ve got the book on order and will share the findings when it arrives. — CC


Ivy Style On Facebook: 3,000 Potential Allies And Adversaries

Wed 15 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Ivy Trendwatch — Christian
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Can’t get enough debating in the Ivy Style comments section? Or at least watching the rumbles from the sidelines?

Then think about joining Ivy Style’s Facebook page, which passed 3,000 members today. That’s thousands of guys to potentially to validate your opinion — or tear it to shreds. Along the way you might even exchange useful information and have a good time. You can start your own topics, and help our staff brainstorm topics (we started a new one just now).

What does the image above have to do with this post? Think of it as a crossword clue. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD


Ain’t It Grand? The Countdown To Post One Thousand

Fri 29 Aug 2014 - Filed under: Ivy Trendwatch — Christian
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Ivy Style is approaching a milestone: We’re not only about to reach the end of our sixth year of publishing, we’re in countdown phase to our 1,000th post.

Excluding this post, in 10 more we’ll reach number 1,000, for which we promise something special, the likes of which has never been seen before in the #menswear blogosphere!

Many thanks to the numerous contributors over the past six years, as I certainly didn’t write all the posts.

Have a happy holiday weekend, and may your madras and seersucker get one final dousing of salt water — either from the sea, or from your own sun-soaked exertions. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD


Brand On The Run: The Launch Of Ivy-Inspired Tracksmith

Wed 23 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Ivy Trendwatch,Sport — Christian
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This morning a small new collection called Tracksmith launched. It’s the first thing in a long time we’ve felt should be categorized under Ivy Trendwatch. The founder, Matt Taylor, you see, is a Yale grad and the Ivy League is referenced as a style wellspring in the running-wear company’s marketing material. For example:

Tracksmith offers premium performance running apparel rooted in the running culture, sartorial style and timeless values of New England. We create versatile and uncompromising products that fuse Ivy League style, classic American design and high-performance fabrics.


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