Editor’s Note: Very grateful this Thanksgiving for all of you, and for Mitchell, the author of this post.
Very recently, the internet was buzzing over a photo of supermodel “it girl” Gigi Hadid wearing what fashion editors dubbed “Grandpacore”.
The overall aesthetic (I know John hates that term) is retro, yet thoroughly cutting-edge contemporary, and effortlessly chic. Any habitué to the ivy style blogosphere is intimately indoctrinated with the ensemble’s elements: lug sole penny loafers, relaxed-fit pleated trousers, and the pièce de résistance, the cardigan sweater.
On a personal note, I am a hardcore Grandpacore aficionado. Geezer style is near and dear to my heart and runs deep in my veins as I was raised by grandparents and neighbors who lived through the Great Depression. They constantly extolled the virtues of thrift, modesty, and decorum. (My parents are a couple of irresponsible, hedonistic, reprobate, degenerate Baby Boomers, but that is between my psychotherapist and myself.)
Herewith, a primer for newcomers to Grandpacore, the five essential must-have items:
1. The cardigan sweater: Versatile, elegant, and timeless. Available in the regular version as well as sleeveless. The latter is a kissing-cousin to the suit vest and is customarily worn with the last button unfastened.
2. The bow tie: Cardigans have a high button stance and appear better-proportioned with a bow tie rather than a standard necktie.
Despite the negative associations bow ties have, nothing says “distinguished gentleman” more than a well-tied bow tie.
3. The badger hair shaving brush: Badger hair bristles gently exfoliate the skin, making for a smother shave.
4. Polyester belts: While synthetic fibers are anathema to Grandpacore, one exception is polyester belts; i.e. polyester surcingle belts with leather tabs, and D-ring ribbon belts. They are lightweight, washable, and economical. Both types are available at that staunch stalwart of classic menswear, J. Press:
5. The trilby hat: Known as “the rich man’s hat”, it is commonly misconstrued with the fedora. The trilby is delineated by its short brim, teardrop crown, and upward-curving back. Notable wearers include Frank Sinatra, Leonard Cohen, and James Rebhorn as sauve industrialist Herbert Greenleaf in “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.
Contrary to popular assumption, Grandpacore is easy, comfortable, and economical. Like a waxed cotton hunting jacket (with a game pocket in the back), Grandpacore ages gracefully, and becomes more broken-in, familiar, luxurious and valuable over time. Or as my late grandfather would have said, “Sonny, class, manners, and good taste never go out of fashion”.
About the author: Mitchell was born and raised in Boston’s Back Bay and is a graduate of Boston Latin School and Vanderbilt University.
So cardigans are to be worn with the bottom button fastened.
What are these “negative associations” with bow ties”
Pardon me. I neglected question marks.
Happy (U.S.) Thanksgiving everyone!
I never knew what to call my style before.
I love those belts from J. Press but had no idea they were polyester.
Two Grandpas. Two takes.
Take one…..camp collar Pendleton, khakis, tan belt British tan cap toes, Stetson Open Road, rimless glasses with bevel cut lens bottoms, old school taper cut slicked back.
Take two….baggy jeans, camp collar Pendleton, well worn black belt, clunky thick soled oxblood short wings (untied) (quite likely shell) Stetson Strato-liner, Shuron Ronsir glasses, old school taper cut curls.
Neither of these gents were blood relatives and both passed while in my early teens. As a kid who always seemed to fascinated with the 50s-60s American blue collar “look book”, their mark on me became indelible. From there, it was very easy to add the tweed sports jacket, Oxford cloth and knit ties.
Makes being 73 quite fun. As it did when I was 63. And 53!
I live on an island of grandpa style surrounded by a sea of Dicks Sporting Goods.
Doesn’t appear that I’m playing it forward. Sigh.
John, very grateful to you for developing the post-Chensvold Ivy Style into the toast of the internet!
My grandpa, a WWII vet, is these days usually seen wearing (yes, present tense!) classic gray sweatshirts and stone chinos. They’re often adorned with smudges of dried clay and glaze from his pottery studio, and they’d look good on anybody — at any age. I don’t think he has a trilby hat, nor have I ever seen him wear anything like that. Not his thing.
To Hardbopper, Bowties have a negative association because they’re only worn by people who cry out for attention these days. Back in dinosaur days regular people worn them, but now when wearing regular neckties raises eyebrows, people who wear bowties are seen as ostentatious jerks. My interaction with them have only reinforced the stereotype. I apologize to that bowtie wearing person who is not a jerk.