This morning I received some spring shopping email blasts. One suggesting that if I buy shorts spring will come sooner I found a little crass. It’s January 15. That’s just a few weeks since Christmas, when we were bombarded by calls to spend, not to mention all the hoopla over the end-of-year sales.
But that’s evidently the retail landscape these days, as all the usual suspects are unveiling spring clothing even though we’re all financially tapped from Christmas and have a long winter ahead.
Among the new items to show up were some hooded sweatshirts, that great sartorial equalizer that go by the nickname “hoodie.” (I used to have one I really loved; I think I was wearing it the day “Star Wars” opened.)
So let’s have a little battle of the hoodies. (Continue)
Those in search of a happy medium between the colorful exuberance of Neo-Prep and the stoicism of full-cut traditionalism might find encouragement in Club Monaco’s new line of undarted sportcoats, designed and presented with both youthfulness and restraint.
Released within the brand’s domestically-produced capsule collection, Club Monaco’s sack jackets bring the 3/2 roll and the two-button cuff to unexpected territory, the American mall. Described as having a “heritage-inspired look” and a “modern slim fit,” the sportcoats will no doubt catch the ire of those who consider the heritage movement a commoditization of tradition into fashion. Though the coats feature a dartless front, 3/2 roll, flapped patch pockets and hook vent, they are cut with the trim, cropped fit that has, for the last decade, been characteristic of attempts to bring a younger customer to tailored clothing. (Continue)
Happy 2014 from Ivy Style, and let’s get back to business and ring in the new year with a laugh.
You may have heard that Esquire has launched a TV network, and from what a colleague tells me who’s already been in a pitch session, they’re not exactly looking for highbrow content.
In this clip, an exceptionally unlikeable style host pays a visit to Ben Silver. A self-confessed devotee of the “bare-ankle lifestyle,” the host is clad in a contrast-collared shirt open at the neck, jeans, no socks, and a sportcoat he refers to as a blazer and thinks would look swell with some nifty metal buttons. He’s shopping for some double monks, which, of course, he plans to wear sockless like it’s 2011.
The facial expressions from Ben Silver managing director Bob Prenner are quite priceless, and towards the end he refers to the host as “Cinderella,” which might sound like a mild slur save for the reveal still to come, namely that the host has a wife.
Good luck to Esquire TV. At least they have a flair for the comedic twist. — CC
Of the infinite cultural things that could stand as shorthand for the victory of the lowest-common-denominator across middle-class American culture, one of my favorites is the attire worn for the “Jeopardy!” college tournament.
Whether from the most elite and expensive college or a big state school (yes, I’m a living example that sometimes smart guys, through some character flaw, end up at mediocre schools), they all wear the same thing: an oversized, ill-fitting hooded sweatshirt, as if it may start snowing in the television studio at any moment.
As a follow-up to our recent post about The Hardy North, we’d like to introduce Vintage Campus, which is also trying to give students and alumni better school-clothing options than the lowest common denominator. The brand’s first sweater was for the University of Chicago.
“We decided to start Vintage Campus because we noticed that the vast majority of American college bookstores sell terrible collegiate clothing,” says cofounder Chris Stavitsky. “By this I mean that bookstore clothing is garish, of poor quality, and lacking school specificity.”
While similar brands are targeting just the Ivies, Vintage Campus in thinking more broadly. Writes Stavitsky in an email:
Ivy League schools have had a leg up. Yale has collaborated with J. Press, and Harvard has done something similar. And a couple of new companies, like us, have noticed the gap in the market. They have come out of Cornell (The Hardy North) and Dartmouth (Hillflint). But these are still brands coming out of the Ivy League and selling exclusively to Ivy League schools. There’s nothing for the rest of us.
As we grow, Vintage Campus would like to become a style touchpoint for schools of all types, not just elite institutions. Hundreds of colleges in the US have incredible histories that span centuries, and we want to help alumni and students recognize their own place in these unique stories through our sweaters.
If you’d like to get your school or alma mater involved, Stavitsky says please feel free to send him an email. — CC
This week a new start-up called The Hardy North debuted. Founded by three Cornell grads, the brand offers American-made sweaters in school colors and with the year of the institution’s founding on the back. Says a spokesperson:
All the products are made of 100% superfine merino wool that is sourced, sheared, spun, organically dyed, and full-fashion knit in the USA to ensure quality, create domestic jobs, and ensure ethical & responsible production.
Cable-knit crewnecks are priced at $175, and the website hints at more items to come. — CC
Recently a portion of the MFIT’s “Ivy Style” exhibit was brought to Japan for display at Tokyo’s Isetan department store. Last week museum deputy director Patricia Mears posted a write-up on her trip to Japan to oversee the installation. Here are some highlights:
Although the run was only a week long, the buzz surrounding the exhibition and related events was intense. Radio shows devoted to the cult of Ivy were broadcast on Saturday and Sunday from a corner of the store devoted to pop-up shops of American firms such as Martin Greenfield and Individualized Shirts, as well as classic companies such as J. Press and Brooks Brothers.
One of the great highlights was meeting Shosuke and Rui Ishizu, the son and grandson of Van Jacket founder, Kensuke Ishizue, also of Take Ivy fame. Gracious, knowledgeable and possessing a wicked and sharp sense of humor, they conveyed how creative and ground- breaking Ishizu senior has been. Translation and additional information was communicated by the American expatriot, David Marx. David’s own work on Ivy in Japan will be the subject of an upcoming publication that will no doubt be a great addition to this field.
Those who follow the Tailor Caid blog will find this interesting:
I was able instead to meet one of Japan’s leading bespoke tailors, Yuhei Yamamoto, whose firm is called Caid, Modern Tailoring. Not only is Yamamoto a superb craftsman, he is an ardent connoisseur of mid-century American design. He collects objects ranging from Brooks Brothers Own Make suits (replete with hand workmanship) to vintage records and photographs of Henry Fonda, Steve McQueen, and Frank Sinatra. While he can replicate nearly anything, his own suits are a blend of continental panache and Ivy style ease. Belts have tabs identical to those worn by Sinatra and are finished off with shirts and ties of his own design and manufacture.
Finally Mears gives credit to the exhibits throng of attendees, “an audience that not only relished the chance to see historical Brooks Brothers material, but who are ardent advocates of Ivy style, keeping its classical elements alive and relevant.”
For the complete story, head over to the Museum At FIT’s website. — CC