This is my day today, started at 3:15, did the pages (I write three handwritten pages every morning, first thing – you know how you dump out the old grinds before you make new coffee, some of them hug the sides of the filter because it is wet and you have to rinse the filter because who wants to start the day with old grinds? – this is that), meditated, showered, protein shake (because Dylan) started work at 4:30. At 7:20 The Package goes to school (that’s what I call my daughter if you are new here, it is not a demeaning name, she loves it, there is a story behind it that I’ve told a few times here, so calm down). I literally had someone write me “Why on earth would you dehumanize a beautiful teenage girl by calling her The Package? She is a person, with an identity and hopes and dreams and you as her father should want that for her more than anyone. You are misogynistic and I can only hope your attitude gets corrected in our community.” Then another person answered that comment with, “It’s a joke, mind your business.”
Anyway, 7:20 The Great American School Dropoff happens for which I am only along for the ride. I am supervising a new roof being put on the church, today is the last day of that (please God) so that means some crawling around, a meeting standing in a parking lot, and haggling. At 10:00 I train for an hour and a half (more Dylan), then work until 4 in the office. Tonight I have a concert (I do live shows on Facebook) at 5:00 (why stay up if you don’t have to) and then sushi, more writing. The Package is going to the beach for the weekend so there will be a lot of texting, then bed by 8:00.
It’s a Friday. It is technically summer.
What does one wear on a day like that?
One wears shorts, even to work. I said, hear me out. I am only in the office half a day. One wears an OCBD because one never wears short sleeves during the week. And then one builds on that.
The argument for shorts. First and foremost, comfort. One of the things that we have to let go of as Ivy Style moves through the ages is the idea that comfort doesn’t matter. It does, people are going to move towards it (duh) and Ivy, already a style based on loosening up, is going to have to loosen up. Second, the transition. Fridays in the summer have always been a thing I look at. I am reminded of the joke that Manhattan is the only place where people work 60 hours a week just so they can afford to leave on the weekends. Covid brought in its messenger bag many lessons and reboots, one of which is that we clearly do not like the office, or other people, as much as we said we did. But Covid had an opening act. Before virtue signaling came weekend signaling. For years we have been telling each other we can’t wait to get out of here by dressing differently on Fridays. I for one am going to start taking that on the nose. Shorts on Friday. I am only saying what you are thinking anyway. Third, the variety. Ivy as a style is in some ways the girlfriend you aren’t sure will say yes if you ask her to marry you. You take her to parties and watch her looking at other guys. She’s there but you can see the wheels turning – is there something different? We only need permission to open the doors a little wider. Shorts do that, on a Friday, in the summer.
I am going to sprinkle historical precedent all over this article. I am aware the historical precedent is from two sources: Take Ivy and JFK. And I am aware that Take Ivy is college students. And I am aware that JFK was technically on duty. Remember what I said about loosening up? Look down the hall. Don’t you wish that the first person you see was dressed as well as the students in the Take Ivy photos? And as far as JFK, well, style is never off duty nor are Presidents, potential Presidents, and husbands of Jackie O.
What shorts am I wearing? I found the perfect ones for a summer Friday at work. My tastes run a little Southern Prep, because Southern Prep runs pretty Ivy. Here.
The shirt. It has to be an oxford. There are as many ways to screw this look up as there are things that can go wrong when you let your 14 year old daughter go to the beach for the weekend (oh wait, did I write that out loud?). One of the major ways to mess this look up is to not button your collar down. It looks like you left your closet half dressed. Ivy is purposely rebellious but with a finger on the trad scale at all times. An unbuttoned collar in this ensemble is just sloppy. Here. See for yourself.
Instead, well, here. The Master.
I wear mine untucked. There is simply no reason to tuck shirts into shorts anymore unless… Resort. I have been working my a$$ off, down 4 inches on my waist and eating clean for half a year and I still like the line better on my body when the oxford is untucked with shorts. And you should too. Please though. No shirts that are meant to be untucked. That misses the point completely. The goal is to gently rebel, not fly an awkward nautical flag logo near, well, your fly.
The way JFK Jr. dressed was always a sadness to me. This look would have been so frigging perfect for him. I shook hands with him once (don’t you hate it when people say they met someone that they really just shook hands with?) – and I can tell you this. That man was every bit as advertised. And I get it was the times, and I get what living in a shadow is, blah blah. You Google JFK Jr in shorts and it is really, really hard to find him with any shirt. There are no shorts and oxfords.
Finally, and this is important, the shoes. The shoes are an opportunity to close the game with a strike or embarrass yourself. You pick. I choose the slider, right down the middle. You cannot wear sneakers. You are opting there for sloppy, not casual. You cannot wear flip flops because it is work and the daytime, although you can wear them tonight at 5 to your live concert. You cannot wear regular loafers. Well, you can on Greenwich Avenue, I have, but that was before I read my own article on these:
Why the Jay Butler loafer? Because it is the perfect combo. It has moccasin sensibilities and construction, so you don’t look like you are 10 minutes away from slicking your hair back. On Greenwich Avenue. There may be a photo or two of me doing that, as an FYI, but I have learned from my mistakes. It’s not a strict penny loafer, which was always just a little too formal for this combo. But it is a well made loafer, priced $100 less than its competitive cousins, it is just structured enough that people know you are wearing real shoes, but not overly built so people know you are not compensating with your feet the way you did with that sports car.
I did that too. I remember bringing The Package home from the hospital. I had a Porsche Boxster in the garage. Mary Joe Fernandez won the Porsche Open sometime in the 90’s, and this Boxster was part of her prize. Somehow I bought it. At least that was the story the tennis pro told me. When I bought it from him. I looked at it in the garage and I had visions of The Package flying out of the top of it, and visions of me needing the money for her college anyway, and it went.
So where did we wind up? A vintage Brooks oxford (because it is worn, a little frayed, but holding on fine thanks), the Duck Head shorts, the Jay Butler loafers, a Citizen watch that I changed the band on and get more compliments on than I did my Omega, and now I gotta look at a roof.
Have a great weekend!