It’s Academic: Professor Style Trend Alert


There’s nothing trads hate more than accidentally becoming trendy for six months to three years. It’s a pretty silly notion, though. People who know you are well aware that you’re about as un-trendy as they come. On the other hand, I suppose it’s reasonable to feel a small anxiety that random strangers might look at you and think “poser.”

So if you like tweed jackets with elbow patches, corduroy trousers and old leather satchels, and are a bibliophile pipe-smoker, be warned that according to the Wall Street Journal “professor style” is a trend for fall/winter 2015.

Writes the paper:

The classic professorial look—think heavy tweed jackets, baggy corduroy trousers, wrinkled oxford shirts and elbow patches galore—has its bookish allure, but you wouldn’t call it fashionable. Even Harrison Ford at his handsomest couldn’t entirely transcend the nebbishness of Professor Indiana Jones’s three-piece tweed suit and bow tie.

This fall, however, that did not deter some of menswear’s most talented designers—including John Ray of Dunhill, Massimo Piombo, Brunello Cucinelli and Bottega Veneta’s Tomas Maier—from turning their collective gaze toward midcentury, Ivy-League-instructor style.

That’s right, the Ivy professor style trend is being pushed by European fashion houses. You’d think if there was going to be a profsploitation trend, we’d at least be doing it to ourselves.

You can head over here to read the full article and see the looks that accompany it. For the image above, I’ve chosen not to depict the simulacrum but rather the real thing: the photo spread is from the 1980 Sewanee yearbook. — CC

23 Comments on "It’s Academic: Professor Style Trend Alert"

  1. It’s a happy coincidence that you used the 1980 Sewanee Religion and Philosophy faculty as models for professorial style. My style icons are pretty much all early-to-mid Twentieth Century philosophers and theologians, for some reason. Just look up pictures of Theodore Adorno, Walter Benjamin, or even a young Thomas Merton and you’ll see what I mean. They were people working on things much loftier than clothes but they still knew how to follow some rules and always look good, even cool. I just hope my classmates think of people like these if they see tweed jackets and leather satchels rather than some throwaway trend concocted by Big Fashion.

  2. Sounds like trad, just repackaged. I guess you have to have something new to sell or new way to sell something old.

  3. Elbow patches on blazers or sport coats were hardly “trendy.” They were bandaids for Dad’s hand-me-down or near poverty necessity for scant professorial income.

  4. Not trendy THEN, Mr. Squeeze, just trendy NOW.

    Also, we’ve all been wearing buttons on our collars and it has nothing to do with preventing the collars from flapping in our faces while playing polo. ; )

  5. This is funny. Pierre Mahéo says he’s making natural shoulder jackets to combat the “square, heavy J. Press shoulder.” What in the world is he talking about? The recent S. Cohen shoulder debacle? I doubt he’s that in tune with Ivy Style to notice what, to most outside of the club, is relatively subtle difference.

  6. Tomas Maier lives down the road from me. Him and his partner are great people…. he’s very low key. He has a 1970’s Land Rover he drives around.

  7. Joseph Crangle | September 23, 2015 at 1:23 pm |

    I guess it’s a question of the fashionable trying to look substantial versus the substantial not caring if they look fashionable.

  8. Ahh SE’s comment from the previous sewanee article to a few other nice pages from the yearbook :

  9. “Profsploitation.”

  10. William Richardson | September 23, 2015 at 4:00 pm |

    Leather bomber jackets with tweed elbow patches. Get on that FE.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.


  11. CC writes: “Also, we’ve all been wearing buttons on our collars and it has nothing to do with preventing the collars from flapping in our faces while playing polo. ; )”

    FWIW I can ASSURE you, Christian, that the collars of my button down shirts have NEVER flapped in my face while playing polo. 🙂

    BTW, Christian, have you noticed the horrible development that some men’s retail clothing sites/catalogs now refer to any shirt that is not a T-shirt or pullovers as “button downs”? Here’s an example at Vermont’s old school (since 1842) Johnson Woolen Mills which should know better at Can’t name another off the top of my head but Johnson is NOT the only such offender. 🙁

  12. Actually I think the term you’re thinking of is “button-ups.” I first heard that about 10 years ago when in LA covering the apparel industry. It seemed to be a hip-hop culture term for what the rest of the world calls a “shirt.”

  13. CC writes: “Actually I think the term you’re thinking of is “button-ups.” I first heard that about 10 years ago when in LA covering the apparel industry. It seemed to be a hip-hop culture term for what the rest of the world calls a “shirt.”

    Not what I’m speaking about. E.g., Johnson identifies spread collar wool shirts at the link I posted as “Long Tail Button Down Shirts”. Ditto their “Flannel Lined Wool Button Down Shirts” (which I lobe BTW). And they’re not the only ones using the term that way. The Tailor Caid shirt label you posted a photo of Monday may read, “We’re not fashion snobs but we know a few simple rules” but Johnson Woolen Mills and some other vendors don’t know those rules. 🙂

  14. If only Mr. Boyer had authored a book entitled “Moynihan Style.” As in Senator Daniel Patrick. As in one of the few academics to serve as a U.S. Senator– ever. For Brooks Brothers sack-repp tie-OCBD-loafers afficianados, an inspiration. The Moynihan v. Buckley race pitted trad against trad.

  15. From WSJ, “At up-and-coming French label Officine Générale, Pierre Mahéo showed trousers that start roomy at the top and taper to a cuffed ankle with soft, natural-shoulder jackets.”

    Great news. If Frenchy can brink back high rise pants that taper from the knee, then he will fill a big whole in the market.

  16. CC, Mazama,

    I, too, have seen button-up shirts called “button down” shirts. I’m sure I saw that on Target’s website, and perhaps some others. (I was looking for shirts for my elementary school-aged son, and don’t want to spend a lot on shirts he’s just going to outgrow or destroy in a few months.)

  17. William Richardson | September 24, 2015 at 7:33 am |


    I’ve a daughter in kindergarten. Amen brother. Land’s End school uniforms are a little more expensive but look great.


  18. Charlottesville | September 24, 2015 at 10:57 am |

    Great link to the Moynihan photos from your site, OCBD. He and I lived in the same neighborhood in Washington for a few years, and my wife and I used to spot him from time to time, often in restaurants, and sometimes dining alone with a book or papers, a rarity for Senators who are usually (a) at the center of a group and (b) talking. He always looked great; seersucker or tweed depending on the season, frequently wearing a bow tie. Unfailingly courteous, fast walking and strikingly tall. I can’t think of anyone now who is as respected and admired by Republicans, Democrats and aficionados of traditional dress. Bush Senior probably comes the closest.

  19. A Tufts grad a few times over, I think. A while at LSE, but no Ivy.

    Born In Oklahoma, he was a Hells Kitchen Catholic kid more than a little acquainted with poverty. He wasn’t even a tiny bit Protestant, and he spent summers not on Nantucket, but a farm in Indiana. A longshoreman who didn’t have the $ for college, he started out at CCNY.

    Almost as funny as the news that WFB Jr.’s roots are Southern (Louisiana) and Texan. One grandfather was a small town Texas sheriff.

  20. what about the woman in there?

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