Graduation Day: Ivy Style Completes Year Four

If you’ve been paying attention the past few years, on the first of October I always do a post announcing Ivy Style’s anniversary. If you’ve been paying really close attention, I’ve been using the scholastic metaphor of freshman, sophmore and junior years.

Well today is graduation day: It’s been four years.

I always use this post to point out the highlights over the past year. This year proved to be the most exciting of all, both in Tradsville as well as my personal life.

• First up undeniably is the MFIT exhibit, the first of its kind and certainly the most important thing to come along as far as bringing attention to this genre of clothing and the importance of the college campus in Ivy clothing’s history.

• In addition to the book accompanying the exhibit, several others were published over the past year, including “Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style” by Jeffrey Banks and Doria De La Chappelle, “The Ivy League” by Daniel Cappello, and “Hollywood And The Ivy Look” by Tony Nourmand and Graham Marsh.

• I profiled Charlie Davidson of The Andover Shop for The Rake, who recently told me he practically feels like a celebrity with all the calls he’s getting. It wasn’t easy talking him into it, but I’m very pleased with how it came out, and most important so is he.

• Ivy Style breaks the news of Norman Hilton’s death, and we also pay tribute to the passings of Paul Fussell, Andy Rooney and Dick Clark.

• We become, as far as we know, the first WASPy menswear website to honor Hanukkah.

• JC Penney halts its American Living collection of budget prep gear, proving that taste triumphs price in the marketplace, and that most people don’t want to get prepped out no matter how cheap the clothes are.

J. Press slims down with its 110th anniversary collection, and announcing plans to continue to court the young and slim with its upcoming York Street collection.

• We hit our 500th post in March, our 10,000th comment in July, and our Lands’ End vs. Kiel James Patrick post becomes the most trafficked post ever, with over 8,000 pageviews in one day.

• Friends and colleagues Richard Press and Bruce Boyer sit for our first reader Q&As.

• A slew of Ivy and prep-themed tumblrs emerge.

• WASP 101 changes its name but not its feathers.

• The difference, if there is one, between preppy and Ivy, is finally explored.

• And on the personal front, I take a gig at an Upper East Side society magazine and quit out of boredom six months later; Free & Easy and The Rake profile my worldly possessions; I move into a new apartment whose decor is nobody’s idea of what an Ivy apartment should look like; I hit the golf course for the first time last October and, thanks to a mild winter, have been playing obsessively ever since; and finally good old fashioned diet and exercise get me down to fighting weight, forcing me have to get my first made-to-measure jacket altered.

And lastly, it’s also been an especially lively year for spirited debate, not only among Ivy Style’s readers, but the site’s fans and critics as well. Why just in the past two weeks I had one reader kowtow to me in person as if I were royalty, perhaps even a deity, while another sought fit to call me a “pretentious fuck.” Par for the course, so to speak.

Last night I was reading Washington Irving’s “The Sketch Book” and came across these passages I think perfectly fitting for the impossibility of pleasing everyone. In the conclusion, the author, writing in the third person, reasons:

Even the critics, whatever may be said of them by others, he [the author] has found to be a singularly gentle and good-natured race; it is true that each has in turn objected to some one or two articles, and that these individual exceptions, taken in the aggregate, would amount almost to a total condemnation of his work; but then he has been consoled by observing that what one has particularly censured, another has particularly praised.

It can be very helpful when advice is given so freely as it is on the Internet; however such advice is often contradictory. Writes Irving:

One kindly advised [the author] to avoid the ludicrous; another to shun the pathetic; a third assured him that he was tolerable at description, but cautioned him to leave narrative alone, while a fourth declared that he had a very pretty knack at turning a story, and was really entertaining when in a pensive mood, but was grievously mistaken if he imagined himself to possess a spirit of humor.

Irving ultimately finds, as do all creators of what is now called “content,” to simply go about just as he has been, accepting that you can’t please all the people all the time. And so he asks of the reader:

If he [the reader] should find here and there something to please him, to rest assured that it was written expressly for intelligent readers like himself; but entreating him, should he find any thing to dislike, to tolerate it, as one of those articles which the author has been obliged to write for readers of a less refined taste.

It’s been my pleasure to inform and entertain you over these past four years, and like many new grads who wonder what in the world to do now, rest assured that I’ve decided to pursue graduate studies, and school starts tomorrow. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

23 Comments on "Graduation Day: Ivy Style Completes Year Four"

  1. G. Bruce Boyer | October 1, 2012 at 8:35 am |

    Dear Christian, best congrats on graduating Top of your Class, and for providing so much erudition and entertainment to us these four years. I’m particularly grateful for your interest in The Three Giants of the Genre: Richard Press, Paul Winston, and Charlie Davidson. Sartorially speaking, never have so few done so much for so many, while remaining thoroughly decent, charming, and fascinating men. Five minutes with any one of them is worth more than reading all the menswear books published in the past 30 years, not excluding mine.

  2. Christian,

    I certainly find myself in good company joining Mr. Boyer in congratulating you.
    Wishing you many more years of providing us with a constant flow of much-appreciated erudition and entertainment.

  3. David Giannini | October 1, 2012 at 10:22 am |

    Dear Christian,

    Congratulations on 4 years of providing us all with an informative and entertaining site. Here’s to many more.

  4. Congrats, on to Grad school.

  5. Mazeltov!——Richard

  6. Christian,

    Thanks for all of the posts over the years. This is one of the few blogs that I check regularly and have continued to do so for quite a while now. Keep it up!

  7. Comment by G. Bruce Boyer — October 1, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    “… I’m particularly grateful for your interest in The Three Giants of the Genre: Richard Press, Paul Winston, and Charlie Davidson. … Five minutes with any one of them is worth more than reading all the menswear books published in the past 30 years, not excluding mine.”

    Yes, I think this has to be worth an A+. It’s great someone is keeping the tradition alive in intelligently, civilly and with just enough pizazz.

  8. Chelsea Drug Store | October 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

    Ivy Style reminds us that Ivy is about style and not just copying a few old lp covers!

  9. Actually, I bought some American Living half sleeve shirts[Trooper Model-2 pockets]. They were reasonably priced, although not perfect in quality, half, not short, sleeves, good enough quality, washed up very well and fit better than many RL/Polo similar shirts. I have worn them for 3 hot summers with and without a tie and liked them very much. So I am sorry to see the American Living Line ending. JWK

  10. thanks for the site, thanks for the efforts…

    the biggest endorsement I can give is to visit your advertisers sites and purchase from them, which I’ve done on more than one occasion.

    it is my way of ensuring that this site can continue…

    they say that to be happy, find something you love and figure out a way to get paid for it. it is my impression that this is what youve done, and my patronage of your sponsors is my way of communicating my admiration to you for such. congrats on 4 years, and here’s to another 4.

  11. Best menswear blog out there. Always a pleasure to read.

    Cheers to you, Mr. Chensvold! Keep up the great work!

    -Tim

  12. Christian, Congrats on four years, and thanks for the shout out, but WASP 101 is back in business. We are now running two blogs. I know that makes you happy!!!

  13. Christian:
    Congrats on your fourth anniversary. Keep up the great work, much appreciated.
    I’ll get that old Huntington Clothiers catalog out in the mail to you tomorrow. Hopefully it will provide some others with a few good memories of another great business gone forever.
    Jim

  14. @Jim

    Looking forward to seeing the old Huntington Clothiers catalog. I expect it will bring back many fond memories.

  15. Can we get another WASP 101/Preppy Faux Halloween post? Last year’s was a classic.

  16. Hey OldSchool: I really do miss those guys at HC! Jim

  17. Congrats on graduating summa cum laude. Have been enjoying the site for a few years now. Keep on keeping on.

  18. I’ve been very pleased with the quality of the American Living line. I’m also a fan of RL and when I compare two shirts of identical appearance the label is the only difference I can see. The quality looks the same and I’m sad JC Penney has a fool running the company.
    I’m sure that there will be an increasing demand for American Living on the second hand market when more people realize the maker of the line and due to the rise in popularity of Preppy clothing.
    I do like your blog, so keep on writing.
    J

  19. Was WASP 101 a graduation requirement? I’d hope one could test out of it.

  20. Even WASP 101 hasn’t passed WASP 101.

  21. Congratulations! You’ve built quite the CV during your undergrad career, and I’m sure you’ll go from strength to strength in the years to come.

    Here’s wishing you many more years of success!

  22. Excited for another year and the book release!! This tervis of Woodford goes out to you!!!

    sidenote: Anybody recognize that ‘IV’ logo? It’s from the video game Grand Theft Auto IV.

  23. MCM
    Good work, we all come here to learn more about the origins of “I V” ….er Ivy. 😉

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