Gentle readers (ha!), I have some news to share.
I’ve been writing op-eds and essays for my entire career — in fact my first professional publication was a piece of social commentary in my local daily. I’ve always felt like a columnist by temperament, and in the present volatile climate we live in, I figured it was finally time to stake out a little part of the web where I can opine on current events and cultural matters, and also begin to collect my essays over the years (which have a lot more to do with style, for the record, than foreign policy).
I recently sought input from Ivy Style’s Facebook group about whether I should create a “from the editor” column within Ivy-Style.com, where it would be understood that I’d be going off topic and readers would be free to click on it or not. Ultimately I decided that what made the most sense going forward (as well as backward to collect the previous writings) was to have a completely seperate place on the web.
And so I’m proud to unveil Idle Talk: The Essays, Op-Eds, Rants And Ruminations Of Christian Chensvold, which you’ll find located at Idle-Talk.net. I like the phrase “idle talk” for a number of reasons: first the suggestion that it’s all fanciful nonsense. Then there’s the notion of idleness, Byron being one of my favorite poets and one of his early books was called “Hours Of Idleness.” Idleness is also strong in dandy history, since the severest mortification a dandy could endure was having to hold a normal job. It’s that whole artistocratic art of doing nothing concept I’ve always tried to emulate, probably to my own detriment. We also used the term “idle talk” at Dandyism.net as a repository for all the snark said about us.
Those who enjoy Ivy Style to the point where they’re also interested in what its editor has to say on other matters can easily access the “Idle Talk From The Editor” button that now sits atop the right-hand column. (My graphic designer is working on a proper one that will include a little bio headshot of me, and there should probably be a pipe in there somewhere). Those who want to stick to clothes needn’t click, though after seven years it should be clear that we discuss a lot more here than just clothes.
You’ll also notice that I’ve sadly had to draw the curtain on the Latest Comments preview in the right column. I apologize for this, as many of you surely like seeing the latest zingers from our community, especially when there are multiple discussion threads occuring at once. But most professional sites on the web do not have the luxury of space for such a section. Ad revenue pays for my time to work on Ivy Style, but our sponsors are mostly small companies. As a result there are a lot of them, and removing the Latest Comments has freed up valuable space. Please don’t feel that community interaction is being discouraged for commercial interests and my own op-ed ego — I’d hate for such a cynical interpretation. Going forward, readers should assume that posts are being discussed and click on them periodically to see the latest comments, just like on other sites on the web. Also, some of you will no doubt be relieved to be able to log on to Ivy Style and not see bickering excerpts at the top of the page all the time.
Those who actually kind of like bickering will be able to do so at Idle Talk to their heart’s content — whether that heart is the bleeding kind from the left or stone-cold kind from the right — without having other Ivy Style members irked that discussion is getting off-topic.
I’m not sure yet how often I’ll feel inspired to write a new Idle Talk column, but I’ll start trickling the old stuff out regularly. The first, in the spirit of celebration, is a tribute to the tuxedo I wrote in 2002 for the back page of the Robb Report.
This being Thanksgiving weekend, once again allow me to express my gratitude for having an engaged readership to inform and entertain. It’s been my pleasure and will continue to be. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Good luck with Idle Talk! I think it’s a great idea to separate the style and culture stuff from the more political stuff. I’ll be reading both, for sure. Keep up the good work, Christian.
My deepest orison to the empyrean uttermost is that your newest endeavor is as conflagratory as some of your latest posts have been. It’s been such fun combatting the more leftist (and mendacious) brethren of the ivy cloth in the comments section. Let’s hope their apoplectic polemics transfer well to this new venue. It sounds like a much better mise en scene for the rational pugilist in all of us. As Byron said, “Those who will not reason are bigots, those who cannot are fools, and those who dare not are slaves.”
Thank you, Junior, though as referee I must call foul on “mandacious.” We all employ facts to support our arguments, but in the end our differences come down to point of view, temperament, and so forth. It’s not fair play to call those who disagree with you liars, even if that’s a foul that, like in every sport, is committed all the time.
Whew! For a moments there I thought you were pulling a “Muffy” and completely getting rid of the comments!
Oops, I’ll add the word “preview” to the headline.
Here’s a thought. I would be most interested to read an extended essay on Ralph Lauren–more particularly, his (ongoing) influence on what’s here referred to as “Ivy” style. As brighter flames have confirmed, both Brooks and Press eschewed the phrase (they had no real need of it, after all). Whatever the phrase, this much is, I think, obvious: he saved what was once Brooks/Press/Chipp/Ivy/Trad/TNSIL/Collegiate/Campus/Natural Shoulder style from a sure yet painfully slow death. How’d he do it? Brilliant advertising, the best cloth, superb craftsmanship, an eye for detail, and vision. And smart investors. Oh, yes, and, uh–talented accountants, CFO’s, and managers. I wish he had been more of a stickler about certain old-school details (including darted jackets), but, all in all, isn’t he the reason the look–whatever we wish to call it–is still around? We can only guess how many businesses his POLO label spawned. Surely his fingerprints are all over every “preppy” brand sustained by lifestyle advertising. As 70s era Brooks embraced cheap poly-blend fabrics, a younger Ralph insisted upon the best of tweed, worsteds, and silk repp. His vision, along with Southwick’s nine plus lives–the meta story that gives life to all the other stories we see nowadays–whether Vineyard Vines or Duckhead or any of those stores represented in the ads to the right of this webpage. His reach is seemingly without end.
Had he bought Southwick, it would have been…well, something. Really something. Too bad it didn’t turn out that way. One can only imagine the life he would have infused in that great old brand.
Mea culpa, I just finished watching “Best of Enemies” again and it’s stirred my fervid passions for the “right.”
@WFBjr Great documentary. I wish the right had someone like Buckley these days. Vidal is an absolute hero of mine so it was enjoyable all around. I think we all long for intelligent debate like that, no matter what stripes we wear politically and ideologically. Fun fact: I live about 500 feet from Vidal’s gravesite.
Is there a centralized place where links to and descriptions of all the Chensvold projects (Ivy Style, Masculine Interiors, etc) can be found? If not, maybe that’s a good idea. You have developed a diverse portfolio.
Whoa, like an enthusiastic good luck to ya, bro dude! (someone had to do it as an antidote to Jr.)
The logical move.