Whenever we put up a post on the bright colors and crazy patterns of what is known colloquially, or rather Internetically, as go-to-hell, the chorus of curmudgeons always chimes in with cantakerous remarks about how it’s all mere kids’ stuff.
There’s no changing the minds of intractable fellows such as this, but for those of you whose mind is open at least one degree, and who don’t normally wear candy colors, this post is for you.
There’s a guy I regularly play tennis with: late 40s, thin as a rail, very tan, and rather soft spoken. He’s just returned from overseas, where he lived the past 10 years, and before he left, he liquidated all his belongings, including most of his clothes. A former teacher, he’s now trying to launch an acting career.
The guy (lets call him Eric) usually dressed for the courts in black or grey fleece shorts baggy enough to accomodate a quadruped, and an equally oversized faded burgundy t-shirt hanging on his thin frame as if on a wire coat hanger.
Talk turned to clothes one day, and Eric admitted that his extremely limited wardrobe consisted of whatever he could find at the local dollar discount store.
This was clearly a fashion emergency, and as I’ve always been an inveterate closet-purger, I thought I’d throw some old shorts and polos his way. I’d be helping out a new friend, and it was fun upending the notion that queer eyes advise straight guys, but not the other way around.
A couple weeks later I showed up at the courts and saw a threesome with a couple of guys I recognized. Figuring they might need a fourth for doubles, I headed over to find out. After a minute of shooting the breeze, I noticed one of the guys was wearing a shirt that looked eerily faimilar. It was a lime-colored polo, somewhat similar to the Castaway shirt above (it, and plenty more like it, are available from our loyal sponsor Country Club Prep), and reminded me of one I used to have. I took a closer look and sure enough it was Eric standing there checking his strings. He also had on well fitting khakis, and a white tennis cap, which might explain why I didn’t recognize him.
But I’d like to think it was due to the power of good fit and a confident dash of color — especially for a summertime sporting activity. Eric looked younger, more confident, and just all around better thanks to well fitting clothes and a bold color gesture. Enough so, in fact, to make him all but look like a different person.
Never underestimate what preppy can do for you. — c C m
Today is the birthday of Rene Lacoste, the man who gave the world the original preppy polo shirt. And since Wimbledon is also currently underway, I thought it the perfect excuse for a tennis-themed image gallery.
Above is a vintage tennis sweater and necktie from Newton Street Vintage; below, another vintage specimen:
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.