Cinderella, Your Double Monks Are Ready


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

47 Comments on "Cinderella, Your Double Monks Are Ready"

  1. That’s a little obnoxious. I anticipate that kind of fashion pandering from GQ, but I expect a little more from Esquire. When I began to read Esquire, I felt they maintained a more classic platonic ideal than GQ, which is about selling the products of their fashionable advertisers. Based on this and recent issues, I may have been a bit mistaken.

    Which is a shame, as I think Esquire’s content is superior to GQ’s. But, their clothing selections are looking mighty similar.

  2. This was bad, but not as bad as “How I Rock It,” especially the episode featuring Mark McNairy. Can be found under the “Videos” section on the Esquire website, if you’re feeling particularly masochistic.

  3. Sorry, did that host say “I got my funk all over them”?

    I feel embarrassed for that host, props to Prenner for not laughing in his face.

  4. A really wonderful, smirk-drenched flippancy pervades Prenner’s comments and facial expressions. The entire thing must have been comic for him. Understood a certain way, he’s laughing his way through the entirety of the encounter.

  5. Bob Prenner challenges the Barbarian at the Gate.

  6. Okay, I just took another glance at the website. The guy is a roaming journalist who’s covering all sorts of topics, right? Not, as I first guessed, a tailor or haberdasher or “stylist.” Overall, as an opus, it’s good stuff. He seems genuinely affable. I especially liked the piece on the distillery. Taking another look at the Ben Silver piece, I note his admission that he just recently found/discovered his preferred style. A work in progress. At least he’s honest.

  7. G. Bruce Boyer | January 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm |

    This is the sort of thing that makes you realize once again how completely tasteless, old fashioned, and irrelevant many “fashion” magazines are. Mr. Prenner is a gentleman of taste and style, the reporter a compendium of unschooled cliches, and utterly charmless. Esquire seems to have sunken to yet another new low.

  8. From the looks of the website, I think the show’s angle is more along the lines of, “hey, check out all these neat things guys can spend their money on” than “I’m a clothing expert, see what I like.” Given that the host’s style is definitely not what Ben Silver sells, this clip was a bit of a mismatch. I hope that people who watch the show see through the mismatch and realize that Ben Silver sells very classical, well-made pieces of clothing.

  9. “Mismatch.” Yeah, that’s it. Exactly.

  10. Clearly the host is in over his head when it comes to style. Mr. Prenner is gracious and humorous and understands clothing and style more than the host (or most people for that matter) ever will.

    And I love the Ben Silver look. If I could pick only one store to shop in, Ben Silver would be it. That said, I beg to differ with Mr. Prenner on bare ankles. I, and many of my friends and colleagues here in Atlanta, go sockless most of the time and have for a while. And by a while, I mean back to high school in the 60s. We even used to wear saddle oxfords made by Spalding sans socks. We called these a saddle shoes, rah-rah’s locally. Back then, rah-rah’s clearly identified one as being from Atlanta.

  11. A.E.W. Mason | January 2, 2014 at 4:42 pm |

    I agree with pretty much all the comments Ben Silver should get more attention here. Mr. Prenner has really put together a wonderful collection. And now that I’ve heard him speak, I like him even more. Maybe I’m going deaf, but Mr. Prenner’s accent would fit right in if he were in the rag trade on 7th Avenue.

  12. I agree, it’s painful to watch. I suspect proprietors have to deal with more of these characters than we know. And in the process maintain their dignity and good humor. Prenner was impressive.

  13. @A.E.W Mason. I believe Bob Started out in NYC

  14. It appears that Mr. Prenner steers the reporter away from spending more money – those Ben Silver blazer buttons are expensive – because they would just look so odd, so bad on that gray sportcoat. It’s heartening to see a store counsel against extra spending and instead focus on whether the result would be good or not.

    Ivy Style, please add more Ben Silver, and Eljo’s, and Eddie Jacobs (Baltimore)! A Southern tour, por favor.

  15. A.E.W. Mason | January 2, 2014 at 8:15 pm |


    Thanks for the confirmation. He sounded like it to me.


    All well stated. Good idea for a Southern tour. I thought the Ben Silver winter catalogue was superb–one of their best ever.

  16. Roy R. Platt | January 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm |

    It seems fitting that there is a picture of Groucho Marx over the necktie display.

  17. NaturalShoulder | January 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm |

    Count me among the Ben Silver fans as well. Prices are a bit steep, but I have been impressed with the quality. I really like the cut of their trousers which I believe are made by Hertling.

  18. Silly Hipster, Ben Silver’s for adults.

  19. A.E.W. Mason | January 2, 2014 at 10:27 pm |


    Good point. I was thinking, what would it cost to do a Ben Silver outfit from head to toe. These are not exact but about right: Jacket: $985; Shirt $185; Tie, $143; Trousers, $325; Shoes, C & J, $735; Socks $36. I get $2,409. And, of course, that doesn’t count a belt or suspenders, shipping and any alterations. (We can forego Ben Silver underwear I think.) Of course, the jacket and the shoes are the big price drivers. Still, it is first quality stuff.

  20. Not the most “ivy-style” of hosts for this video, but if it gets a few more people who wouldn’t ordinarily buy something from Ben Silver to do so, all the better – have to keep these great stores in business!

  21. In re: Host– his reference to “wife” may not be identically equal with “woman.”
    He was right to want the blazer buttons, provided he threw out the jacket he was wearing.
    Not overly keen on double monk strap with that kind of toe.

  22. Speaking of a southern tour, anyone been to Rush Wilson in Greenville, SC? First class, highly recommended.

  23. If one turns off the sound and just looks at the shop, the merchandise, and Mr. Prenner’s personal style and body language, while ignoring the host, it’s an enjoyable visual experience.

  24. @DCG – Love the Rush Wilson store in Greenville. Great group of guys in there.

    Let’s take this for what it is…a guy who’s a photographer by trade exploring the in’s and out’s of America. I love the fact that men’s fashion is coming around again. Ben Silver is a fashion icon and if this piece can help bring it to a new generation then all the better for it.

    I also have to agree with the loafers sans socks. I grew up on Cape Cod and you never wore socks with your penny loafers.

    Great stuff guys.

  25. @A.E.W. Mason:

    A little Googling came up with the reason for Mr. Prenner’s accent: Both he and his wife were formerly Manhattan attornies.

  26. @ OldSchool–

    Interesting. So you find Prenner’s style and manner off putting?

    Once upon a time, they kept a healthy stock of basic (“beefy”) oxfords and 3 button sacks. And raglan Shetlands. And English Woolens, I think.

    I’m not a huge fan of spread collars, Italian cloth, cashmere, Harris Tweed, or overpriced repp ties. And Crockett & Jones’ quality is no better than Alden’s. (they carry both). But they excel at presentation and marketing.

  27. To their credit, they offer a jacket made of Magee tweed.

  28. A.E.W. Mason | January 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm |

    I think there’s a real difference between Ben Silver and the other “mainstay” retailers. I think Mr. Prenner (assuming he’s the buyer) has a far more discerning eye than, say, the J. Press or the Brooks buyers. The tie collection–and not just repps–is the best I’ve seen anywhere. Same for trousers (with or without pleats). Decades ago Press used to carry suits of tweed and houndstooth. Not anymore–at least not at J.Pressonline. Over the last 5 or so years the J. Press collection, while trying to update itself has, ironically, become too safe. Ben Silver has actually improved over the last 5 years, at least in my view.

  29. A.E.W. Mason | January 3, 2014 at 8:20 pm |

    But I acknowledge Ben Silver isn’t “pure” Ivy. That’s okay sometimes.

  30. NaturalShoulder | January 3, 2014 at 10:21 pm |

    @A.E.W. Mason-

    I agree with your assessment of the Ben Silver offerings. I find some similarity between Ben Silver and Paul Stuart in that they both offer high quality with high prices with both having connection to Ivy.

  31. You know this video wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. Brenner’s Cinderella remark seemed more like a doting tease than a jab at the host, and the host is playing up Ben Silver, even if he is not an expert on classic men’s clothes. This simply appears to me to be the classic PR move of exposing a pleasing product to a new audience, in the internet age form.

  32. @S.E.

    Quite the contrary.
    I didn’t find Mr. Prenner’s style off-putting at all.
    I suggested turning off the sound so that one so could focus on the shop and Mr. Prenner and shield oneself from the puerile questions and comments of the host whose notion of style meant coming to an interview tie-less, unshaven, and sans socks.

  33. You guys are overly judgmental. Take the piece for what it is….an introduction to a fine retailer. The host does a fine job….he’s there to be educated after all.

  34. Had the opportunity to shop at Ben Silver in Charleston circa 1994. Bob Prenner waited on me and despite the fact I was only buying a couple of ties he was charming, gracious, gave me lots of his time and engaged in wonderful conversation about his business and Charleston. Try getting that experience from a clerk at Brooks Brothers or (heaven forbid) J Crew…

  35. Straight Arrow | January 4, 2014 at 11:58 am |


    Being judgmental is another name for adhering to standards of good taste and expecting others to do the same.

  36. @ A.E.W. Mason

    About the ties. I have four ties from Ben Silver and am happy with all of them. And they do have an impressive selection. That said, I would like to see more offerings from Drakes.

    @ Mazama

    Sad but true. I like to be able to learn things from salespeople. It’s a bad sign if I know more than they do, which is too often the case.

  37. Scotch & Soda | January 5, 2014 at 3:16 am |

    Take it from a true Charlestonian, Ben Silver is nothing less than a paragon of sartorial virtue, and the Esquire host would have done well to learn something from the gracious Mr. Prenner rather than exercising his pushy, obnoxious screen act. This iconic Charleston men’s shop has one of the finest assembled collections of menswear and accessories to be found anywhere, many pieces represent the very best of their type. Esquire’s man comes off as a daft and self-satisfied simpleton on his first outing into town. Comedy and tragedy, all in one.

  38. I’ve always loved Bob. A very good man indeed.

  39. The Esquire guy is so painful on so many levels….I had to stop watching it. Looks and sounds like a hungover, employed Fred Egan…..

  40. As long as we’re making character judgments based on a very short video clip, I’m going to side with the host rather than Mr. Prenner on this one. Prenner’s affect is a bit smug and superior throughout, while the hapless host is enthusiastic and genuine.

    I obviously won’t bother trying to defend the host’s style.

  41. @JR – this is a clip about style….so, I think it’s perfectly fine to comment on the host’s style and verbal musings about style. he comes across – based on what comes out of his mouth – as an ignorant fool. does anyone really try on shoes in a fine men’s shop with bare feet? just disgusting….

    Prenner, in this context, earns his smugness and is indeed ‘superior’…..the host sets a very low bar.

  42. Mr. Prenner, like all old school rag salesmen have many one liners. It makes shopping in their establishments fun. Does anyone believe that’s the first time Mr. Prenner used “Cinderella” during a shoe sale? Bet he says it four or five times a week, love it. 😉

  43. Two divergent views keep recurring: the host is a fool; the host is a decent guy just doing his job and those who attack him are snobs.

    I hold both of them at the same time, without contradiction. Here’s a context from Miles Davis’ autobiography. A guy walks into Minton’s, hears a bad horn player holding forth, drags him off the stage into the alley and pounds on him. Harsh? Yes, but. There is something about art that is unforgiving to pretenders. I can have compassion for the host, but he would have gotten off easier if he owned his ignorance and asked Prenner, “why do you think horn buttons would go better with this coat?” instead of getting defensive and insisting.

  44. Your commentary is way more offensive than anything in the video. Making fun of his style and saying the video has a comedic twist? Guys who care about their clothing already carry a gay stereotype. We don’t need you reinforcing that stereotype.

  45. The jeans are selvedge jeans, so they are cool jeans at least.

  46. Esquire and GC have literally nothing of value for traditional men. They’re all about men who never want to grow up.

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