WASPdom

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True Prep: Pink Shirts And Pork Rinds

As a follow-up to our birthday post on George HW Bush, we present this 1988 newspaper column by writer Calvin Trillin, who recently caused an uproar of outrage with his New Yorker poem on Chinese cuisine. Here he takes on the peculiarities of the WASP diet. It was sent to Ivy Style by reader CW,

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Oak Street’s American-Made Boats, Bits, Mocs And Wings

Oak Street Bootmakers recently introduced a new American-made wingtip to the marketplace. Priced at $486, the substantial double-soled shoe is made of hand-burnished French calf leather and fancy details you can brag to your coworkers about, like a “wheeled welt” and “dovetail toplift.” For those of you who pound the pavement of a big city,

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From The Archives



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Style Over Substance: The Decline Of Preppy Values

Last week Susan Cheever, daughter of legendary WASPdom chronicler John Cheever and a celebrated author in her own right, wrote a piece for Newsweek entitled “Gin Without The Tonic.” The URL of the digital version explains the theme a little less cryptically: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/08/05/how-modern-preppies-got-the-style-but-forgot-the-values.html The theme of Cheever’s essay — that the uber-rich of today are


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Poised Or Oblivious? The True Essence Of Prep

This weekend columnist Mark Oppenheimer penned an essay about prepdom for Salon that’s pegged on Whit Stillman’s new movie “Damsels In Distress.” The piece is more thoughtful than the usual stuff that gets said about the cultural phenomenon known as preppy. Oppenheimer’s thesis is that preppy is more than a style of dress. This you


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Uncommon Bonds: New WASP 101 Tumblr

As noted before with the now-defunct tumblr Rich White People, the fast-growing image-driven blog format provides its style-junky curators with the ideal platform for presenting a context-free visual blitzkrieg. Otherwise unrelated photos are thrown together into a collage whose cumulative effect is a personal statement about the site creator’s taste. Depending on how you look


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Happy Hanukkah From Ivy Style

On this, the first day of Hanukkah, Ivy-Style.com sends glad tidings to the unsung heroes of the Ivy League Look: the many Jewish clothiers that catered to the Protestant Establishment and taught generations of young men the virtues of a natural shoulder and how to dress like an American gentleman. Despite the popular admonition “Dress



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A Frayed So: In Praise of Beater Clothes

Previously I’ve written about the Boston Cracked Shoe look, a term applied to certain WASP patricians who would wear items that had far outlived their presentable lifespan. Members of the press discovered the concept during the presidential campaign of Adlai Stevenson when they observed Stevenson had holes in the soles of his shoes while working


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P-Unit Forever: Behind the Scenes of Tea Partay

OK, you just read the headline, saw the embedded video, and you’re snickering. Let me explain. When I founded this site, I vowed never to post the Smirnoff “Tea Partay” video, which had become infamous in the online world of Tradsville. But I recently began covering digital marketing for Yahoo!, and found myself chatting with


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That Stings! The First WASP-Free Supreme Court

President Obama’s nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court set off a flurry of decline-of-the-WASP articles in major media outlets this week. If Kagan is confirmed, the formerly 100 percent WASP Supreme Court will not have a single Protestant, something to mourn or celebrate, depending on your point of view. Writes the Wall Street


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Friends in High Places: “Cheerful Money” Reviewed

Very belatedly I’m finally getting around to a post on Tad Friend’s “Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of WASP Splendor,” which was released last year. Like the tribe of WASPs itself, Friend and his book have an even amount of vices and virtues. Tad Friend is a staff writer at The


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Tribal Factions: The WASP vs. The Trad

Nomenclature in Tradsville is a tricky thing, and depends largely on your point of view. Those who like hair-splitting will tell you that a short-sleeved gingham shirt is Trad but not Preppy. Likewise, bit loafers are WASPy but not Ivy. Fair points to an extent, though it gets tedious pretty fast, and bloggers and forum


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Misquote of the Week

Are clean-cut looking guys really, you know, clean? Tough to tell, according to this post-one-night-stand passage in Lauren Lipton’s chick-lit novel “Mating Rituals of the North American WASP”: “Do you think I’ve caught hepatitis? Or worse?” She was makng herself breathless. “That guy was so conservative, he looked like a 1962 Brooks Brothers ad.” Bex


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Wealth of Insight: Jamie Johnson on the WASP Establishment

Like twilight through faded chintz curtains, the sun is setting on the WASP establishment. And Jamie Johnson is seated in the drawing room taking assiduous notes. “It’s interesting to document a small group of people that are losing their influence,” says the filmmaker and columnist, “and highlight what may be appealing about their world, and


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Nelson W. Aldrich Jr. on Preppies

Almost two years before “The Official Preppy Handbook” made preppy affectation accessible to all, Nelson W. Aldrich Jr. had already caught wind of the zeitgeist. His January 1979 cover story for the Atlantic Monthly, “Preppies: The Last Upper Class?” is a seminal work of exposition on the manners and mores of the WASP establishment. It


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Somewhere in Time: The Politics of Style

In honor of Election Day, Ivy Style presents the second in its series of articles from the vaults of Time magazine. For this one, commentary is provided by a Washington insider writing under the pseudonym Taliesin. Traditional Ivy style is rarely exhibited by the most visible Ivy League graduates: politicians. For instance, George W. Bush