On the first of this month, founder Christian Chensvold announced the completion of 12 years of running Ivy Style and his “retirement,” or so he’d like to think, from the natural-shouldered mafia of Tradsville.
His announcement led to new alignments and plans for the next 12 years of Ivy Style, and today we are pleased to introduce the first of several new developments. This post inaugurates a new series based on people, places and things that appeal to the traditional, classic and tasteful. It is curated — to use an Internet menswear term with a wink and a nod — by John Burton, who administers Ivy Style’s Facebook group and who will play a leading role at Ivy Style going forward. If you have a tip on a person, place or thing that would be a good fit for The Trad Life, reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The honor of being the first subject in the new series goes to Kevin Danyi, so without further pause, let’s meet one of your fellow trads.
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Kevin Danyi is an estate attorney in Pennsylvania with his own practice, a beautiful family, and a purist’s sense of Ivy. Known in the Ivy Style Facebook group as both a card-carrying Ivy traditionalist and an even-keeled commenter, Danyi brings an unexpected sense of humor and a true respect of history to his work and style.
This sense of balance came early on. While playing chess with his father at age 12, Danyi recalls, he was losing and began to show his frustration. Seeing his son become increasingly agitated, Danyi’s father took the board, turned it around, and played Danyi’s side back into the game. When he screwed up the courage to ask why his father had done that, the man said, “Kevin, you always have to be ready to advocate for both sides.”
One would think this sense of fairness and avoidance of extremes would have put Danyi into the trad fashion world during childhood, but it did not. A musician to this day, Danyi favored concert t-shirts from his high school experience throughout the ’70s until ’81, when he finally closed the door on his last Doors t-shirt.
Danyi went through law school on the tail of his inherent respect for history and traditionalism. His respect for things that have come before stretches from his tennis whites (he is the last of three members at his club to wear them faithfully), to his understanding of the law he practices. Danyi notes that a good deal of the estate law practiced today has its roots in medieval England, where land titles and their accompaniments all began. Danyi went straight through law school, worked at his father’s firm, then went out on his own in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley during the time when Bethlehem Steel, on which the state’s economy leaned to the point of dependence, collapsed. This small act of rebellion began Danyi’s second act of unexpected developments wrapped in an Ivy wardrobe.
Life unfolded in dramatic fashion. After years of Presbyterian church attendance and choir practice, Danyi found himself at the end of a 20-year marriage and mourning the death of his son by opioid overdose. It was then that this sense of balance served him best. “It was my faith,” Danyi explains, “not in the sense that my faith got me through things on a magic carpet. Faith doesn’t make things like that easier to take, but it does make them easier to accept. It provides me a great relief, knowing that there is a peace of mind that transcends understanding.”
Today Danyi has regained his fulcrum. His social media presence is decorated with his political views, presented in such a fair way as to engage all sides. He explains this knack in the following way: “I don’t care what you think. No, really. As a matter of principle, I don’t care what you think. It comes from my respect for personal sovereignty. That is the tradition I hold dear: that you have the right to what you think, and that you are accountable for what you think. As am I. The discourse gets overly emotional and deteriorates. Just get to the point. Then I will decide for myself, and you can decide for yourself.”
Danyi is consistently clad in Ivy style, from time out of the office bird watching, or with his dog to the hours he is discipline about putting into his work. “There is a good reason to dress this way,” he explains. “Outside of the respect for tradition and that fact that this style simply appeals. Where I work, in the courts, you can tell who the lawyers and who the defendants are.”
His most sacred tradition, however, before his wardrobe and his practice and his rigorous reading schedule, is faith-based. “I pray for two things every day,” he says. “I ask God to help me be a better father and a better husband.” — JOHN BURTON