Heavy Duty Ivy and.. well…

Here’s the article.  

It is from the Robb Report, by a Mr. Eric Twardzik, who can write.  It is worth the read.  My objections to the article have nothing at all to do with Mr. Twardzic’s take, rather they have to do with Mr. Snyder’s take.   In the first paragraph, Mr. Twardzik inadvertently points out the issue.

“Though diverse enough to conjure images of Kennedys and Black jazz musicians, this interpretation of Ivy differs from another you may have witnessed or even worn—one that starts with an OCBD, but features jeans instead of chinos, a puffer vest in place of a sport coat and definitely not a tie.”

Here, a few pictures for context before I get going:



Now, this is AN OPINION.  It is A PERSPECTIVE.  All perspective is opinion.  All opinion is perspective.  There are not many facts on which to discuss any of this.  If you crave facts, math, science, those are your jam.  Some people attribute this quote to the genius G. Bruce Boyer (whom I worship), some to Richard Eberhart.   I am not sure to whom (oh look, a pronoun… twice!) credit belongs but the quote is spot on.

“Style is the perfection of a point of view.”

And what’s a point of view everybody???  An o-p-i-n-i-o-n.

Ok, enough of that.  The beef is in marketing this as Heavy Duty Ivy.  To label something Ivy, it at minimum has to be derivative.  (This is an opinion folks, there is no definitive statistical variant we can apply to the subject to see whether it meets the empirical criteria of being derivative…  ok now I really am done with that.)   Can something be derivative of Ivy and emphatically exclude the tie?

That is like calling Tron Heavy Duty Baseball.

You can call Tron Heavy Duty Frisbee. You cannot call it Heavy Duty Baseball.


Ivy certainly exists without the tie.  It just cannot emphatically do so.

The secondary disqualifier is the logo you see staring back at you.  I don’t object to the placement of a logo.  Well, wait.  You science guys are gonna love this.  So in keeping with Mr. Twardzik’s reference to the Kennedys:

One of the Kennedys. And hey look, you don’t even have to scroll back through the archives. Here’s an old picture!


And here are, in Mr. Twardzik’s words, Black jazz musicians:

The Modern Jazz Quartet. I pulled this image from the archives too. Look! Old images and pronouns! I am checking every box!


You will note the absence of a giant logo.  In fact, you will note the absence of a logo.  How then, do these products conjure images?  Well, they don’t.  I like what Mr. Twardzik does, by making the conjuring of images a qualifier of a derivative, it is just that this line doesn’t do that.

Of course, logos are Ivy.   Get ready, old image lovers.  I am gonna blow your mind.  An old image WITH a big logo.


So wait.  One can successfully argue that Mr. Snyder’s take on Heavy Duty Ivy shouldn’t even be called Ivy because it isn’t derivative.   I have old pictures as Exhibits A and B.  OR… one can argue that big logos on the front of a sweater are pure Ivy, in which case Mr. Snyder has a very good point.  I have old pictures as Exhibit C.

I guess one would have to conclude then, that despite the old pictures and historical references, it’s a matter of opinion.



25 Comments on "Heavy Duty Ivy and.. well…"

  1. whiskeydent | January 20, 2022 at 9:29 am |

    I’m No One’s Billboard

    Me either. Unless it is alum gear. Agreed. – JB

  2. Bless you for using the word “whom”.

    Thank you. And bless you for noticing. – JB

  3. I am a little puzzled why the Robb Report (the bible of the nouveau riche) is profiling ivy style in the first place.

    I imagine its readers, who probably have a yacht anchored in St. Tropez, are sporting Zegna, Brunello Cucinelli and Loro Piana.

    You make an outrageously good point sir. – JB

  4. “It is from the Robb Report, by a Mr. Eric Twardzic, who can write.”

    Curious lack of awareness here. The author of the Robb Report article, Eric Twardzik (NB: spelled with a “k” not a “c”) wrote numerous articles for Ivy Style over the years.

    Thanks for the catch. I am having dinner with him soon, and expect to become friends. Hope you can rest now. – JB

    PS – not kidding by the way, we did schedule dinner. If for some reason you would like me to put your name forward as his agent, let me know. – JB

    PPS – hey, you would be interested in this. I just met the guy who painted the room that hosted the first server ever for Ivy Style. His name is Jim. I spelled it correctly. – JB

    PPPS – wait, are you saying he CAN’T write? He can. He’s very good. – JB

    PPPPS – Here’s a thought. If you want to comment, try to make it about the piece. Saying that he can write doesn’t mean I’ve never read him before. Neither do typos. – JB

  5. The article from the Robb Report (a publication characterized both humorously and accurately by Mitchell above) notes that the term, “Heavy Duty Ivy,” comes from Japan. Any time I see an interpretation of Ivy out of Japan, it’s remarkably spot-on. I’ve also seen this Ivy niche described as “Rugged Ivy” elsewhere on the Interwebs, which seems apt.
    The only logos on any of my clothes are on the inside tags. …Excepting, I guess, the crocodile on a couple of my polos. Nothing to be done about that.

    I am coming around to it. That logo thing is giving me pause, but I am the acorn that can become the giant oak. – JB

  6. Meanwhile, I am sporting a green and white university stripe ocbd today.

    Kind Regards,


    I so wish we could post pictures in the comments. – JB

  7. While the Robb Report is often unintentional satire, I did find the “Haberdasher Horticultural Society” hilarious. Not a fan of logo clothing save ballcaps, and then it’s club or school-related.

    Agreed 100% on both counts. – JB

  8. 2022 will see more “Young Ivy”. It will be good for menswear as a whole and Ivy Style.

    Agreed. – JB

  9. Saw the MJQ in concert in ’88 which coincided with the release of their “For Ellington” album. They wore tuxedos on stage, of course. After the concert, a jazz bassist friend of mine invited me to come to a reception for the band at their hotel across the street. All four gentlemen were understated in their dress and spoke very quietly and precisely. Reminds me of the saying about not necessarily remembering what someone was wearing, only that they were dressed well. I remember what I was wearing. Blue blazer, red and silver rep tie, khakis flat front and cuffed, white oxford and…damn it, white canvas Sperry Topsiders. I didn’t know I was going to get to me the MJQ.



    Way better story than my wedding platform one. – JB

  10. “Ivy certainly exists without the tie. It just cannot emphatically do so.”

    So true. Spot on.

    Thank you. I got something right today 🙂 – JB

  11. I imagine its readers, who probably have a yacht anchored in St. Tropez, are sporting Zegna, Brunello Cucinelli and Loro Piana.

    If they have a Yacht in St Tropez, they probably wear Rubinacci, Caraceni, Charvet, Henry Poole, Lobb, etc.
    Not the department store brands you mention.

  12. A little thin-skinned are we, JB? Taliesin rightly pointed out that you didn’t seem to know that Twardzik has been a frequent contributor to these pages and also that his name was misspelled in the second reference (“typo”). You thanked him but you should have left it at that–and then hired a copy editor and proof reader. Instead you fired back with five sarcastic remarks that appear to be designed to humiliate him. So much for dignity.

    Sigh. (1) He didn’t point out that I didn’t seem to know, he said I didn’t know. (2) How do you start a comment with “A little thin-skinned are we, JB?” and then go on about dignity? (3) If my comments were designed to humiliate him, they would have. But, we know who I am, we don’t know who he is (well, I do but I won’t disclose), humiliating “anonymous” isn’t possible, and (4) dignity does not exclude self-advocacy. He went first, I answered. Get it? – JB

    PS – A thin-skinned individual would have pulled the comment. So there’s that. – JB

  13. Just scored some Zegna cashmere sweatpants for $2000 that I saw in Robb. Sweet.


    Can you post the link? – JB 🙂

  14. I live in West Palm Beach. Do an article on light duty Ivy to even things out.

  15. Is it Ivy not to correct typos?

  16. Hmmm….fun article that can be, and apparently has been, interpreted several ways.
    For myself I keep coming back to a style is dead when it becomes fixed, codified, carved in granite, cast in iron.
    It seems this has triggered responses going in all directions here and on Face Book.
    So much of what is now called Ivy (I shall stick with “Collegiate” because I can be just as contrary as everyone else) was based on a handful of retailers and what they chose to offer/promote/carry.
    Much of retail has gone to that great marketplace in the sky and many of the old companies that supplied the goods they stocked are long gone also, or exist only as names tagged onto goods outsourced and only to be produced for a single season with no, or very limited, quality control.
    Enough about the dead and dying.
    So what is left?
    A really great vacuum!
    There is a need for a place/site/…whatever where people can be exposed to items that are available, and are vetted, for lack of a better word.
    The college shops I went to carried a lot stuff that was this years thing and was forgotten by the time next summer came around. But some of it stuck!
    This is what will continue to happen if the market is tapped and new ideas are brought in.
    A site that works both ends will stand a chance of really engaging and keeping its followers.
    The ones that want to only be “new” and “exciting” will quickly become old and dated…and abandoned.
    The ones that want to only support some mostly mythical past will obsess on darts/no darts and imaginary collar rolls.
    In the words of Billy Joel “I’d rather laugh with Sinners than cry with the Saints, the Sinners are much more fun”.

  17. Southern Prep | January 20, 2022 at 9:57 pm |

    Heavy Duty Ivy certainly seems close to the way we dressed at my southern prep school in the 80s.

    Button down shirt, loosened tie, Duck Head khakis and either Weejuns, Timberlands or Sebagos on the ground.

    Tucked-in main hunting boots were a must in inclement weather (and sometimes in the sunshine).

  18. Criag Fulton | January 20, 2022 at 10:49 pm |

    “Simplicity can be the most striking accent”.

  19. Attn: Nevada
    I was able to remove the crocodiles from both my tennis sweaters and a bucket. Just get out a hem ripper, find good lighting, and go to work.

  20. Evan Everhart | January 20, 2022 at 11:24 pm |

    Great read. I support yr statement here. While Ive seen Heavy Duty, or Rugged Ivy done well… The above examples are emphatically not… That said, while most of those garments do absolutely nothing for me, nostalgia gives me a sincere soft spot for those block color patterned puffer vests. I still have some of my own. And pegged or elasticated low rise trousers never have been and never will be Ivy. Wretched.

  21. Allow me to offer my own translation of the Japanese statement that Criag Fulton quoted above”:
    “Simplicity can be the strongest statement”.

  22. Enjoyable article – thank you. I don’t lose sleep over logos. I prefer an item doesn’t have one, though, I like “The Crocodile” and Paul Stuarts’ “Man on the Fence” (we’re all a bag of contradictions), but I don’t get all tangled up if there’s a small one somewhere on an item.

    But the picture used to reference a historical logo is a college sports team’s sweater – usually for the players of the team or, here (I think), the cheerleaders. That seems different to me than a clothing store splashing a big logo of its own on an item that is sold to the general public.

    We know there are some historical examples of clothing brands putting small versions of their logos on their clothes back in the day, but to compare Yale’s big “Y” on a team sweater with LL Bean splashing a big version of its logo on a sweater doesn’t seem like a fair comparison.

  23. Dead Horse,
    In the JFK photo, the notches on his lapels are in the right place. Over the last 10-12 years or so, maybe more, lapel notches (gorge) have risen, forcing salesmen to tell me it will “make me look taller”.

    The same is true with button stance, high armholes (Armscyes), and the hemline. All are designed to “make me look taller”? Please, gentlemen. I know things are tight, right now, and I know that the human conscience is pretty much extinct, but I think we can do better in our small circle.

    Concerning the JFK look here, I prefer a more square look to the collar itself, and a 90 degree notch. His tie looks a bit narrow in proportion to the lapels. Whatever. Wear a different tie next time.

    His shirt collar/points look great to me, as I don’t like a pronounced roll. (It makes me look too tall).

  24. G. Bruce Boyer. | January 21, 2022 at 1:22 pm |

    Dear Mr. Burton,
    I think “worship” is too strong a word. “Revere” would be sufficient.
    Yrs faithfully,
    G. B. Boyer

  25. Whether we choose to worship, revere, or venerate Prof. Boyer, we recognize him as being the paragon of style in his writing and in his sartorial choices.

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