How Others See The Ivy Style Community

Christian Chensvold sometimes appears to be running a community rather than a blog but his “community” is just an extension of Ask Andy forums (they’re weird, so stick to your tumblr). This community is hard to define, but you can generally tell them from others by their disdain of the direction Brooks Brothers is going, their hatred of Rugby Ralph Lauren with all the fake patches (they hate fake patches and false assumption to a role that you did not earn but bought), their acceptance of the rule that you don’t have to be WASPy to like Ivy style, and that membership is bought by a trip to J. Press (oh, the irony), and a unifying hatred for F.E. Castleberry (which I thought was the greatest pen name since Mark Twain, or Silence Dogood, or maybe even Johannes de Silentio, until I realized that it wasn’t a pen name), and his website Unabashedly Prep.

The source is a clever piece on menswear bloggers’ use of clichés from a site called Guide To Bad Taste. He certainly paints you all with the same brush, however. Obviously he missed the political discussions.

And alas I get no credit for campaigning against the overuse of the word “aesthetic,” nor for coining neologisms such as prepsploitation or sprezzachutzpah. What did Oscar Wilde say about only the dull being taken seriously, and living in constant fear of not being misunderstood? — CC

19 Comments on "How Others See The Ivy Style Community"

  1. I’ve visited this blog every day for about two years now…I like Rugby…have never actually visited J.Press…and while I never have met Mr. Castleberry, he seems alright by me.

  2. In addition, a “guide to bad taste” seems extremly apt for the gentleman who wrote the above piece…Are there more things in worst taste than isulting people nearly behind their backs a la a teenage girl.

  3. I’ve visited this blog every day for more than two years, have a hard time understanding how anyone with the where with all to read this blog could believe that Rugby is selling anything worth buying, J. Press is great (assuming you have a good tailor) and I have met Mr. Castleberry – he’s perfectly charming in person, is a talented photographer from what I can tell, but his blog, personal style, baseless bravado, and lack of self awareness sums up nearly everything that’s wrong with this “refuses to die” neo-prep fad.

    His relative ascendance is also proof that the internet has become a place where lies become truth, an advertising platform can be a blog, a lack of experience is a badge of honor in the eyes of the equally inexperienced masses, and personal re-invention and re-creation not only carries weight, it gets you an industry job in NY.

  4. You’ve visited every day for more than two years, and the only topics you feel motivated to comment on are the wearing of oxford buttondowns in a business environment and Fred Castleberry?

    Only slightly kidding.

  5. @Christian….as you know I’ve commented on additional posts as well….many far more mundane than the aforementioned topics (including, recently, the existence of the Andover Shop and Lands’ End/KJP belts….)…

  6. I perused the “Guide To Bad Taste” blog, the guy knows bad taste, he seems know not much more. The article in question was clever though.

  7. @Mr. Wyllys: I never claim to have good taste.

    However, the internet is never behind anyone’s back.

    @MAC: Your style is definitive good taste.

    @Christian: I will include your fight against over-usage of the words “aesthetic” and “sprezzatura” in an “Editor’s Note” (har… har had?) in your website’s description.

  8. You’re too kind. Could you next turn your attention to the misuse of the word “decadent” in television advertising? I have no idea what diet brownies or scented bubble bath has to do with the fall of Rome.

  9. John
    Cowboy boots are comfortable, are the best bar stool foot wear and chicks dig them.

    Also, your blog needs a personal profile, so your readers have a perspective of your life’s place and time.

  10. I think he’s on point in his description of the Ivy Style community. But I don’t see what’s wrong with being right. Brooks isn’t the same as it used to be, fake RL Rugby patches are fake, J. Press is great, and Fred is a douche.

  11. I’m not even registered on Ask Andy, I don’t mind Rugby, Brooks is okay, I like JPRESS, and I think Fred is a pretty nice guy.

    Rugby, Brooks, and JPRESS all have patches in annoying places. Just avoid the faddish merchandise in each, and stick to the classics.

    …oh, and, I’ve long been a reader of that blog. It’s hilarious, and not to be taken seriously.

  12. Sigh. I have read the assessment, and while slightly surface level, I have to admit many of those things describe me. I don’t think the Ask Andy forum is weird, I’ve gotten a good 20% of my wardrobe from well timed Trad thrift forum transactions, including my favorite ties.

  13. @AEV Haha…I am a young man on budget…and a lot of times Rugby does have staples at a good price…I’m trying to switch over to something a little higher quality, but it does take time. I will agree that Rugby does have some awful pieces, and they like to show their models wearing their clothes in just an awful way…but its kind of like thrifting, you got to wade through some awful things to get to something acceptable………….and besides, you should have seen what I wore before I started coming here lol

  14. “Sprezzachutzpah” is a winner.

  15. Orgastic future | August 23, 2012 at 12:13 am |

    I love Rugby to death! Also, I thoroughly enjoy reading Fred’s Unabashedly Prep. I personally think that the majority of this community simply prefer to be caricatures of the “old stuffy headmaster” consistently portrayed on film.

  16. RobertLikesRugby | August 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm |

    Rugby has some gaudy stuff, but they have some awesome stuff as well, no different than the Polo line I might add

  17. Actually, I’d defend Rugby. The “sack jacket” was spot on. I have no idea where most of the jackets and suits are made, but that particular model was great–especially the shoulders.

    For all the crap Ralph takes, a lot or his tailored clothing is really well made. The C&J shoes (I admit I wait for the sales) are pretty good deal. Lots of shoe for the $.

    And the cloth–from the Oxford cloth to the flannel for sport shirts to the English worsteds and Harris Tweed to the English silk repp and challis: he sources the good stuff.

  18. I agree with the RL Rugby fans. Rugby’s collections comprise a doughty new interpretation of Ivy League classics, which ought to be congratulated. While nobody contends that each individual Rugby item is a hit (most notably the unabashed patches), the brand provides a praiseworthy stylish alternative for college students. Being currently enrolled at Columbia myself, I can testify that the Ivy style has left the Ivy League, only to be succeeded by lousy sweatshirt-sweatpants, or hideous shiny polyester shirts on more formal occasions. Rugby offers a respite among these trying circumstances, and deserves our credit for doing so.

    By the way, Christian, thank you for this most enjoyable blog. I was highly surprised when I came across your articles on the weal and woe of the Ivy style, and have enjoyed your properly written insights ever since. Perhaps it interests you that, while my background is European, I am acquainted with Ivy style since attendeding high-school (I went to a “gymnasium”, which is roughly the continental equivalent of prep school). From the start I found myself surrounded by classmates in yellow RL sweaters, khaki Gant chino’s and blue McGregor oxfords, and enjoyed it ever since. The presence of Ivy style in continental Europe might be a worthwhile topic for you to embark on.

  19. Today, schools like Davidson, Washington and Lee, University of the South, and UVa are more Ivy League than the Ivy League. How ironic.

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