A swell at sea has been building and has finally crashed upon the shores of Ivy Style. Yes, there’s a surfing micro-trend going on in Tradsville.
Beyond the coinciding of their heydays, the connections between surfing and the Ivy League Look are quite incidental. The founder of Ivy-Style.com used to surf, but that’s really stretching the connection. However, as we’ve remarked several times before, the 1964 movie “Ride The Wild Surf” includes a very interesting usage of the term “Mr. Ivy League” to refer to a clean-cut, handsome young man with an air of quiet superiority.
But while there’s little direct connection historically, there are a number of things going on right now in the clothing business. In mid-May we reported on the “surfing Weejun” shorts put out by Japanese brand Beams Plus and sold by Mr. Porter.
A few weeks later the Vancouver Sun ran a trend story saying how vintage surf was influencing men’s collections:
You can be sure photos of vacationing West Coast icons Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and most importantly (but perhaps lesser-known today) record producer Terry Melcher were pinned to more than a few design studio “inspiration” boards when designers were at work on this season’s clothing.
Besides the obvious things like career and family, the two things for me that make life worth living are art and sport. During the winter I’m more focused on the art side (typically concerts), while in the summer I like to play outdoors.
So when Birchbox, a company that introduces you to new stuff via a nicely presented box packed with grooming products and little accessories, asked me to envision the perfect summer Friday as part of a new series, I couldn’t come up with anything more exciting than spending the day playing golf and tennis.
Well, it’s the truth: That’s pretty much all I want to be doing.
For the play-by-play, head over to the Birchbox site and read about an ideal summer day in the life. — c C m
In 1960 Biff wore J. Press and played tennis. That same year he sired Biff Jr., who in 1986 wore Lacoste and Brooks and played squash. That same year Biff Jr. brought into this world Biff III, who would go on to wear Abercrombie & Fitch and Vineyard Vines and play lacrosse. Biff the elder was considered “shoe.” Biff Jr. was considered preppy. Mais Biff Le Troisieme est un douchebag.
There’s no denying that the defender of a certain strain of WASP values — namely, conservative casual clothing — is a species of fratty jock known as the “bro.”
According to this NPR blog post from yesterday, preppyness is one of the ingredients in brodom:
We’re thinking less ascot-and-yacht preppy and more Abercrombie and Fitch preppy. The bro uniform isn’t Brooks Brothers, but the sons of guys who wear Brooks Brothers. A bro’s sartorial inclinations are conservatively casual. But in the event that a bro does suit up, it’s all Barney from How I Met Your Mother: a nice suit that doesn’t look like he’s trying too hard.) A lot of people suggested that bros gleefully wield their social privilege.
Competition is fierce today during the final round of the Masters. And while we’ve no idea who’ll be wearing the green jacket tonight, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano wins the green polo.
While his American opponents have played the past four days clad in logo-laden, mercerized and moisture-wicking technologically enhanced golf shirts, Spain’s Fernandez-Castano has played each day wearing the kind of plain old classic untreated and unadorned polo shirts available wherever Ralph Lauren goods are sold. He even pops the collar.
Once again the foreigners outdo us in the sartorial Americana department. — CC
I gave my girlfriend a new set of golf clubs for Christmas, and like a kid with a new toy she couldn’t wait to try them out. So we finished our pancakes and coffee, bundled up, and headed out to the course.
Last year I did a post on cold-weather golf gear, and here I am a year later with a better swing and a different outfit.
There’s something about the absurdity of golf that lends itself to flamboyance, and I like to indulge in it even on the lowly municipal courses of New York City.
Although they’re fun to look at, I steer clear of Ralph Lauren‘s fantasy clothes. You know, fake-crest ties and so forth. One of his specialties is shawl-collared cardigans that look straight from a Leyendecker painting:
I gave in to one recently and it’s become one of my favorite items of clothing because of the fun factor. And fun is an important part of wearing clothes. As Bruce Boyer once said of the Internet’s curmudgeonly pontiffs, “They know everything about clothes but how to enjoy them.”
I wouldn’t wear the cardigan in a serious context (you know, like at a shark-infested menswear event), but I love throwing it on over a t-shirt around the house, and on the golf course it keeps my body warm and spirits light. It’s paired in the top photo with flannel-lined khakis from LL Bean, flannel ball cap from Stockbridge Sewing Works, 60-degree lob wedge from Titleist and two Christmas gifts: a tartan scarf from RL and golf balls from Callaway. Monogrammed, of course.
Despite the chill, we played well. Santa set gimme-putts to six feet. — CC
Today, you may have heard, is the start of the Games of the Thirtieth Olympiad. Likewise, “It’s the Olympics, you know?” is a running line from the comedy “Walk, Don’t Run,” which is set amid the chaos of the 1964 Tokyo games. The city is so overburdened that stars Cary Grant and Jim Hutton are forced to take lodgings with a pretty young English girl who lives and works in the Japanese metropolis.
It’s a moderately amusing comedy you might want to check out. Cary Grant doesn’t have much to do except be Cary Grant, and indeed this was his last film. Hutton plays a slightly sarcastic collegiate type, though far less goofy than his similar role in 1960′s “Where The Boys Are” (which we wrote about here).
Hutton plays an architecture student who lives in Greenwich Village and is competing in the racewalking competition, which is to athletic competition what humming is to a singing competition.
Hutton’s main outfit for his sightseeing time in Tokyo consists of tapered trousers, desert boots, blue oxford, knit tie, and a natural-shouldered sack jacket, updated with short side vents in concession to the Continental influence.
Warning: Orthodox trads and neatniks may be offended by his shirt, which shows the puckering and character of non-chemically treated cotton, and, as he’s a slim guy, has a slim cut.
I don’t want to go on a nostalgic rant here, and I hope my regular readers have noticed my tolerance — or at least helpless resignation — at the march of time, but one contrast between then and now is worth pointing out. This being 1964, not only does Hutton’s character spend most of his sightseeing time in a jacket and tie, when he goes out to dinner with fellow athletes from the Olympic Village, he wears his Olympic blazer.
In contrast, I’ve seen a number of athletes this week on the morning shows who went on national television, live from London, where they’re representing their country overseas, wearing sweatpants, shorts, t-shirts and even flip-flops.
I can only conclude that it simply never occurred to them, in our take-me-as-I-am/come-as-you-are era, that an athlete would be expected — or want — to wear anything but athletic clothing at all times.
So let the games begin. I’ll be cheering for Denmark’s Boe & Mogensen men’s doubles team in the badminton event, and our own Miles Chamley-Watson, the best foil fencer America has ever had, whom I wrote about last year for Ralph Lauren Magazine. — CC