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.
• 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