The New Sobriety?

Mon 18 May 2015 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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In the Put This On article about the rise and fall of early 21st-century neo-prep, I was quoted saying that perhaps the next stage will be a rediscovering of the sober side of the trad-Ivy-preppy genre. After all, “all fashion ends in excess,” as the old adage goes, and once this stage has been reached it’s usually time to hit the reset button.

During the interview, the quote was given in the context of a particular brand, one largely off the Tradsville radar, but which we’ve mentioned here a couple of times. (Continue)

Rising Sun: Kamakura’s New Summer Collection

Wed 13 May 2015 - Filed under: Clothes — Christian
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Today Kamakura unveiled its summer collection. The model is pretty scruffy and many of the shirts are spread collar, but those of you who appreciate variety might enjoy some of the alpha-sized buttondowns available in fabrics such as linen and breathable 36-gauge knit, which is pictured above.

The company has also announced it will open a second New York store in October, to be located downtown in Brookfield Place.— CC


Badge Of Honor: The Blue Blazer At Hampden-Sydney

Tue 12 May 2015 - Filed under: Clothes — Christian
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As a counter to the recent discussion about loutish behavior among fraternity men, here’s a delightfully dignified video from Hampden-Sydney College about the importance of proper dress, anchored by the blue blazer, “our badge of honor.” — CC & CS


File Under H For Hosiery

Fri 8 May 2015 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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Last night I attended an event held at “the lodge,” a funky townhouse in the distinguished Upper East Side environs of Fifth Avene and 77th Street. It’s the showroom for the brand VK Nagrani, which caters to “alpha males,” or jet-setters with money to burn.

But it also caters to another jet-setter whose aircraft was none other than Air Force One. VK Nagrani began as a sock brand, and George Bush, who’s taken to wild socks in his old age, is one of the brand’s most distinguished fans, as Town & Country reports. Nagrani has even made a special sock just for him with the presidential seal.

Those of you who crave more options in over-the-calf hosiery should check these out.

And H doesn’t just stand for hosiery. The showroom’s sock display case is an old card catalog salvaged from Harvard. — CC


Millennial Fogey: Gilding The Lilly

Wed 22 Apr 2015 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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Launched Sunday, Lilly Pulitzer for Target has already come and gone —quite quickly, as a matter of fact. It was a masterful act of marketing for Lilly’s parent company, Oxford Industries, whose stock leapt 7 percent. Target itself comes away with slightly less to brag about, with thousands of irate customers walking away with empty hands and thwarted aspirational dreams. Whether the disappointed budget-preps shell out for Lilly directly from the source is yet to be seen, but no matter how you slice it this is a huge win for the brand.

Some of you are probably shaking your heads in dismay. Lilly Pulitzer is no doubt a divisive brand among the buttondown set. Some have never been fans, some were fans of the old stuff, some love the old and new alike. I was interested in the overlap of clientele during and after the heyday, and recently asked Richard Press to expand a bit on the connection between J. Press and Lilly Pulitzer, which he’s alluded to in the past. “In 1970 Don Leas visited me,” he said. “He was the Lilly men’s rep as well as a Palm Beach and Philadelphia socialite. We agreed to carry a Lilly line of Ivy League caricatures (Princeton tigers, Yale bulldogs), and a group of Lilly pants, sport jackets, and half-sleeved men’s sport shirts, as long as he confined the items to J. Press in areas contiguous to our stores. Donald was a handsome bon vivant, and after receiving our orders we would head over to the Yale Club, where we closed the bar. We enjoyed great success with the line which lasted perhaps four or five years before it died a natural death.”

It may give some a coronary, but to me a J. Press sack jacket in a Lilly print sounds fantastic. It turns out that I actually quite like Lilly Pulitzer, despite what others have called my otherwise conservative sensibility. I have several vintage Lilly Pulitzer ties that were gifts to my father from James Bradbeer, one of the Philadelphia investors who revived the brand (with Ms. Pulitzer’s guidance and design expertise) in the 1990s.

While in Florida this winter, I wore one for dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab (with a Press blazer) and was seated immediately, while the slovenly tourists in front of us were told there was an hour wait.

During that same trip to the Sunshine State I spent some time in Palm Beach looking for Lilly “men’s stuff,” as it was once called, but to my great disappointment there was precious little to be found in vintage stores, and none whatsoever in the retail location at the Breakers. Worse still, many of the ladies on Worth Avenue were wearing pricy yoga pants instead of printed shifts, and seemed not to be heading to Ta-Boo for lunch, but rather Starbucks between training sessions. I saw one or two gents in traditional Palm Beach wear — bright pants, blazer, straw hat — but, outside of a few drinking establishments, the people I met in Palm Beach dressed basically the same as any other prosperous leisure community.

That Lilly for Target was a highly profitable maneuver can’t be argued. As for Lilly’s cachet, that remains to be seen. I’m not convinced it will hurt the prestige of the brand among dedicated followers. After all, if Ralph Lauren can appeal to both aspirational and luxury customers, Lilly Pulitzer should be able to as well. It’s my hope that perhaps in the near future Lilly Pulitzer will expand the higher end of its offerings, manufacture more in America, and maybe even partner again with a company such as J. Press or Brooks Brothers to recreate some of the more stylish offerings from the late ’60s and early ’70s.

In the meantime, I’ll wear the ties I have. I may even put one on for brunch with my lady next weekend to cheer her up. She slept until 9 AM last Sunday, when most Target stores had already been sold out of the Lilly Pulitzer collection for an hour. Then again, perhaps wearing one of the ties would just be rubbing it in. — DANIEL C. GREENWOOD


Southern Exposure: A Visit To Eljo’s

Tue 14 Apr 2015 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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photo tie

In Charlottesville, VA, resides the legendary menswear shop Eljo’s, whose wares are succintly described on the store’s front sign: “traditional clothes.” (Continue)

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