Unbuttoned: An Interview With David Mercer

Fri 21 Jun 2013 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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david mercer

The Finnish menswear site Keikari recently profiled David Mercer of Mercer & Sons, maker of traditional buttondown oxfords. David talks about life, the shirt business, and clothing that’s built to last:

I believe strongly that clothes you buy should last forever. I wear old Peal & Co. shoes I bought in the ’60s and ’70s, a Norman Hilton sport coat from the ’70s, the blue blazer from my wedding day almost 30 years ago, khakis, a belt from the ’60s, and a grey wool and nailhead suit from Brooks in the early ’80s. Good, well made classic clothing should last forever. Always easy to dandy up things up a bit with a new shirt, a colorful tie and some interesting socks.

Head over here for the full story. — c C m

By George He’s Got It: Bush 41 Is Preppiest Prez

Fri 14 Jun 2013 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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On Wednesday George HW Bush celebrated his 89th birthday, and well-wishers were encouraged to honor the occasion by donning whimsical socks. Go-to-hell hosiery has become Bush’s trademark now that he’s at that age when dressing becomes something of a challenge.

Although JFK often gets credit for being America’s preppiest president, the honor really goes to Bush 41. A couple of months ago, BuzzFeed.com created a gallery tribute to the preppy gear the president wore throughout his life  (thanks to Muffy Aldrich for the head’s up via Twitter). Here are some highlights: (Continue)

 

Bob Newhart And His Button-Down Mind

Tue 28 May 2013 - Filed under: 1960s,Personae — Christian
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0000012546_500Ivy Style continues its tribute to Squaresville Appreciation Month with a tribute to hipster Lenny Bruce’s nemesis, Bob Newhart, who, despite having a button-down mind, wore mostly tab-collared shirts.

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Sometime in the early ’80s I was visiting my great grandfather’s third wife, who was living in the Dell Webb retirement golf community of Sun City, Arizona. When my father announced we were going to see Bob Newhart, I did not give it much thought, since he was a regular guest in our home Saturday nights via his sitcom “The Bob Newhart Show.”

Newhart was on a standup tour. “The Bob Newhart Show” had concluded in 1978 and he had not yet pick up “Newhart,” which debuted in 1982. We went to the theatre on the appointed day. I looked at the crowd of sportswear-clad seniors, their skin the color and texture of vintage saddle bags, their ages ranging from Jurassic to the living dead, and realized I was the youngest person in the audience by decades.

Newhart went through his personal canon with acts like the “Driving Instructor” and “Introducing Tobacco to Civilization.” It can safely be said the material was new to me and yet I had the awareness that the audience knew the material by heart. There were elements of the act that were 20 years old, longer then my life time and yet merely yesterday to the nostalgia-hungry audience.

I couldn’t fathom at the time how large Bob Newhart figured in the popular culture of the early 1960s.  Newhart’s first album, “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart,” was recorded at the Tidelands Club in Houston, Texas and released in 1960. The album climbed to number one on the Billboard chart, beating out Elvis. The album would hold number one with its follow-up, “The Button -Down Mind Strikes Back!” anchoring the number two position. They would then switch positions, with both Newhart albums holding the top two slots for 35 weeks, a feat not replicated again for 30 years, while “The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart” remains the to- selling comedy album of the 20th century. (Continue)

 

The Dead End Street

Sun 19 May 2013 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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Dead-End

After many years and countless thousands of comments, the most compulsive poster in the history of Ivy on the web, the infamous English troll known as “Russell Street” (among many other online identities), has apparently reached a dead end.

Claiming to more or less control the entire Internet as part of a grand scheme, the troll in question has lost dictatorship over the web forum known as Talk Ivy, finally inspiring an insurrection. As is the case in the absence of a dictator, warring factions have emerged.

If you catch the computer monitor you’re presently seated in front of in the right light, you’ll notice a reflection of yourself. The web is merely a mirror of its users, who can use it for good or ill, depending on their impulses. — c C m

 

The Real Tom Buchanan: CC On Tommy Hitchcock For RL Magazine

Thu 9 May 2013 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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We kick off a series of Gatsby posts with a piece I did for Ralph Lauren Magazine on Tommy Hitchcock, who served Fitzgerald as the model for Tom Buchanan.

My primary text for the article was the lone Hitchcock biography by Nelson Aldrich, Jr., who, in addition to writing the book “Old Money,” penned the 1979 Atlantic Monthly cover story on preppies we presented here a few years ago.

Hitchcock was rich, handsome, heroic and the world’s greatest polo player:

Back at home and lauded a war hero, Hitchcock enrolled at Harvard and spent time at Oxford before devoting himself to polo. With his home fields at the Meadow Brook Club in Westbury, he was the right man at the right time, dominating his era as Bill Tilden did in tennis and Bobby Jones did in golf. “Dressed for polo in shining boots and white breeches,” [writes Sarah Ballard in Sports Illustrated], “with a camel hair coat thrown over his muscular shoulders, Hitchcock appeared clothed where other men looked costumed.”

Head over here for the full story on the real American hero who, transformed in the imagination of F. Scott Fitzgerald, became a bigoted, selfish jerk. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

 
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