On this Valentine’s Day, we’ll honor the occasion with an example of the humor — in this case, mildly bawdy — that has always played a role in the Ivy League Look.
Case in point, the above vintage suspenders with matching sock garters from J. Press. They’re currently for sale on Etsy, where the seller claims they date from the ’30s and is asking $250 for them. (Continue)
In the reliably lively commentary on the last post, commenter “Oxford Cloth Button Down” called attention to a couple of four-button jackets in the latest York Street collection. As divisive as York Street is, the jackets will no doubt fan the flames of distaste.
But what appears as another case of youth-market flippancy actually has its roots in the J. Press archives. When I first saw the York Street jackets, I was reminded of a post I wrote back in 2009 about a 4/3 roll jacket from J. Press featured in a 1952 issue of Gentry:
The Gentry article calls the 4/3 a reference to the 1920s, and I think there is a specter of ’20s influence at work in the York Street jacket. With its half belt, flapped breast pocket, and military-style pointed pocket flaps, it looks like a cropped, nipped version of a half-Norfolk shooting coat.
All this thinking of 4/3 jackets has me wondering how a traditional four-button coat would be received today if it was re-released by J.Press, unaldulterated, as it was in 1952. Is it an obscure classic that deserves a comeback, or an abomination that needs to stay dead? Cast your vote. — ZACHARY DELUCA
Zachary DeLuca is a freelance writer who also operates Newton Street Vintage. He was recently appointed Ivy Style’s assistant editor.
J. Press sent out a mailer today introducing its new spring items. It’s business-as-usual with the main brand — for better or worse. The jacket above looks straight from a vintage catalog. Tough to tell what the shoulders are like, however, without in-person inspection.
But certainly what you’re most interested in, you anonymous hate-reading snarkers, is York Street. I shouldn’t be encouraging you, except that so much of York Street feels not like the younger brother of the main brand, nor even a distant cousin, but a totally random stranger — possibly an extraterrestrial. (Continue)
The new year is shaping up to be a good one for those in search of affordable, well-made, traditional neckwear. Following on the heels of December’s announcement of Paul Winston’s webstore for Chipp2 comes new source for handmade ties in conservative widths and patterns as staid as anything found on the racks of traditional clothiers.
New York City-based Conrad Wu announced the opening of his eponymous brand in October of last year, but since much of the hubbub is happening over at Style Forum, Wu’s ties have likely stayed below the radar of Tradsville. While not an overtly Ivy or preppy brand, Conrad Wu is poised to have appeal across the spectrum of menswear, and for lovers of matte-finished repps and regimental stripes there is obviously much to like. What’s more, the ties are currently on sale in Celebration of Chinese New Year.
Each Conrad Wu necktie is handmade in New York City and features three-fold construction. The blades are untipped with hand-rolled edges. Widths vary from 8-8.5cm, well within the traditional sweet spot.
In addition to regimental rep stripes, hearty woolens, and small-print foulards, Wu offers a selection of stripes in shantung silk (such as the tie pictured above), that rare, nubby textured silk made popular a couple of years ago by luxury makers such as Drake’s of London.
Wu tells Ivy Style his plans for the brand are modest and focused on value. “My goal for my brand isn’t to make it big,” he says. “I draw personal satisfaction knowing that others are happy with my products. Quality and customer service will forever be what I strive for.”
With prices ranging from $87 for a wool tie to $93 for a shantung, Wu seems well-positioned to capitalize on the resurging interest in artisanal neckwear while offering a price below his competitors. — ZACHARY DELUCA
I could hardly believe it, but there it was right in front of me: a grainy newspaper photo of a group of happy haberdashers under a sign in Old English script that read “The Trad Shop.”
How could this be? The general consensus in the natural-shoulder enthusiast community is that the word “trad” refers roughly to the Ivy League Look in Japan, and that it was never used in the US to refer to the natural-shoulder genre. To believe otherwise is to embrace an artificial construct of the Internet age.
But the question now is what to do when you find the exception to the rule. I believe that a dispassionate examination of the evidence will show that this anomaly adds to the richness of the Ivy story for those who love both clothes and the business acumen that brought them to the public. So let’s delve in and meet Stuart Lewis and The Trad Shop, which served the Cornell campus during the Ivy heyday. (Continue)
Ralph Lauren’s fall collection just went up online and is full of the very items we’ve been discussing lately. OK, we haven’t been discussing three-piece suits lately, but we’ve got a piece on vests coming up soon. (Continue)