Cyrus in Cyprus, Junior the DA

In 2009 The New York Times ran a profile on Manhattan District Attorney elect Cyrus Vance, Jr. that makes a passing reference to Brooks Brothers and Chipp. In Ivy-Style’s interview with Chipp’s Paul Winston, Vance Senior, who served as Secretary of State in the Carter administration, was mentioned as a frequent customer. Though Winston recalls making clothes for Vance Junior as well, he hasn’t seen the new Gotham DA in nearly 30 years, Winston told Ivy-Style today. As for Vance the elder, “He was really one of the finest gentlemen who ever walked into our place.”

Indeed Vance was so accommodating that after the 1978 Camp David Accords, Winston had Vance write a letter on government letterhead to Winston’s three children, saying that now that he’d gotten the Israelis and Egyptians to negotiate peace, “could I please get you to stop fighting?” Winston remembers Vance as “a very conservative dresser who liked heavy flannels, chalk stripes and plaids.”

Vance is pictured below in 1967 meeting with the President of Cyprus, part of that last cadre of government officials to go overseas looking distinctly American in sack suits. Above are father and son at junior’s graduation from Yale in 1977, via the NY Times. — CC

14 Comments on "Cyrus in Cyprus, Junior the DA"

  1. Qustion; If I wanted to have a suite made up in the style that JFK wore who do you think would be the best clothier to go to?



  2. Old School Tie | July 19, 2019 at 11:50 am |

    Brooks Brothers, about 60 years ago…

  3. Vern Trotter | July 19, 2019 at 1:42 pm |

    Yes, Cy Senior was a good Ivy dresser. Except in the first picture shown he is wearing a stripe with a stripe.

  4. Charlottesville | July 19, 2019 at 3:11 pm |

    Vern — Say it ain’t so! While one has to use care, an absolute prohibition on stripes with stripes? I’m wearing a repp stripe tie with a seersucker sport coat today. Please don’t make me go home and change.

  5. There is nothing more elegant than a chalk stripe suit, a striped shirt, and a polkadot tie. Very Cary Grant.

    Why, then, does the Wall Street Journal say that admiring Cary Grant’s style of dress age you? According to the Journal, Cary Grant, James Dean, and Steve McQueen are no longer relevant to men’s fashion:

    Recently, I came across a German word, “Weltsmerch,” which describes the feeling that you are out of sync with the zeitgeist, the current moods and trends. Knowing that such a word exists gives me relief to know that I’m not the only one who suffers in the modern world and gives me some sort of validation.

    Thank you, Wall Street Journal, for telling me today that I am no longer relevant and that my style role models are aging me. I will promptly have to dispose of all my Alan Flusser books and have to learn how to dress like a homeless drug dealer.

  6. Old School Tie | July 19, 2019 at 5:58 pm |

    I am seeing very very little in current fashion trends that has not already been done to death over the decades. Everything has been done. The new stuff is not new. No one is irrelevant. If this has lost all its relevance I would not be charged a small fortune every time I have to replace something. But I am. Enjoy the “flex”, revel in it. We are old men who are dressed like veritable fashion gods. And you can put that in your pipe and smoke it….

  7. Vern,
    I understand your comments about stripes on stripes but it’s a question of proportion and colour. As long as there is a discernible difference between the widths two striped elements it works. A Bengal stripe shirt with a wider chalk stripe coat always looks elegant.Alternatively a butcher stripe shirt with it’s bold stripes, in say a purple or blue, works with a finer striped coat.

  8. Phil O'Logue | July 19, 2019 at 11:24 pm |

    If you can’t find “Weltsmerch” in the dictionary, try looking it up with the correct spelling: “Weltschmerz”; that’s “sch”, not “s”, and “z”, not ch.

  9. Bailey Hartford | July 19, 2019 at 11:55 pm |

    Thanks for the link to the WSJ article. I remember a time when men dressed like that to advertise the fact that they were pimps.

  10. People on this blog should be less sensitive to “opinions”. Don’t cry just because some journalist said something “bad” about Cary Grant’s style! There are tons of books and articles that praise Grant and Newman and Astaire and Dean etc. A lot of what Grant wore looked odd in his time and looks outdated today, while some of his ensembles could, indeed, be called “timeless”. Also, keep in mind, that many of these “icons” were actually non conservative at all in their sartorial choices. Cary Grant (and JFK) stopped wearing hats in the 1950’s and the world followed; that was quite a cultural revolution in menswear! Astaire said in an interview that his least favorite clothes are formal clothes (white tie), and that he enjoys to be casually dressed as it gives way more opportunity for creativity (he also really disliked Ivy style btw, although, ironically, many of his wordrobe staples were, in fact, Ivy).

  11. Hardbopper | July 20, 2019 at 10:53 am |

    That is a mighty wide BB no.2 tie Jr. is wearing.

  12. Cary Grant, especially the latter-day late 60s version (“Walk, Don’t Run”) provided a platonic form for Ivy-tending elegance. He favored stripes, checks (especially glen), tasseled moccasins, and, not infrequently, button-downed collars.

    In a pre- Pitti Uomo (ugh.) era, Grant and Astaire more than sufficed as exemplars of splendid traditional style. One could make a good case that the Pitti Uomoization of traditional style has been more harmful that “Neo Prep.” Both spiral downward swiftly into the garish.

    Cy Vance Sr.’s exceptional sense of style was on par the aforementioned (Grant and Astaire), even if tempered for obvious reasons. It’s appropriate for a Secretary of State to communicate a certain kind of understated-yet-more-than-obvious charm. He (she) is our most visible (and most important) emissary, after all.

    Looking back (all the way to Jefferson), our Secretaries of State have been consistently stylish, cordial, handsome, droll, and even regal. There are exceptions, of course–including the chubby, rumpled Eagleburger and…

    … well, best to stop there.

  13. Vern Trotter | July 20, 2019 at 1:46 pm |

    I’ll wear the bar stripe with seersucker but that is as far as the transgression should be carried. In fairness to Vance Sr, who of course was on the road a lot, sometimes you get stuck with having to wear something that you would not normally.

  14. Henry Contestwinner | July 24, 2019 at 2:47 pm |

    I wear striped ties with striped shirts all the time, but am careful to ensure that the stripes are of different widths. Since the stripes on the tie are always going in a different direction from those on the shirt, I think it works well. YMMV.

    Pitti Uomo. Looking at pictures of those who participate is like gawking at an accident: you know you’re going to see something repulsive, but you find it hard to look away.

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