In 1963 Frank Sinatra had a hit with the song “It Was A Very Good Year,” in which the narrator sings about life at 17, 35, and finally “the autumn of my years.” If you played the game of life correctly this year, you should be closing it out a stronger and wiser man with realigned priorities. We’ve all faced fear and despondency this year, and we should accept the possibility that it will intensify. The trad brothers in my correspondence fall into two camps: those rooted in higher powers within their being, and those who aren’t. The first group is growing stronger, the second one weaker.
Throughout the coming year Ivy Style will continue to present words and images to inspire an indomitable inner resilience that can guide you as you navigate the outer world. The close of 2020 had us re-examine the concept of cool as a form of steady nerves, philosophic detachment and independent spirit; old money and aristocratic style as armor against the forces of conformity and collectivism; dandyish elegance as a statement of the noble soul in a sea of mediocrity, and the Dark Academia trend as a rediscovery of self-knowledge through introspection and great works of literature. The old and less dynamic trads can still serve as keepers of the flame and “hold the center” in matters of gentlemanly dress and deportment, and the budding metaphysicians are invited to join me over at Trad-Man, which I intend to develop further in the new year.
Think of yourself as a new breed of trad knights. In a world that strikes many of us as having gone crazy, it takes a touch of madness to adapt and cope. As contemporary life takes on the feeling of being like a computer simulation or video game, one must play along or it’s game over. There’s more than one way to wear an OCBD.
The Tumultuous Twenties have only just begun. Don’t spend them cowering in fear and lashing out at others, numbing the pain with pills, liquor and soul-killing distractions that make you feel even more empty inside than you already are. Circumstances beyond your control are testing your pluck and mettle and ability to see them as the chance to dig deeper, find strengths you didn’t know you had, and to know yourself at the deepest level of your being.
Let this be your new year’s resolution for 2021.
And so we can finally say that hindsight is 2020. And on the off-chance you’ll be ringing in the new year with others, well, enjoy that kiss at midnight. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Photo by Zigi Burnett