Ivy Notes S1 E15 – Cha Cha Cha Cha Changes

Editor’s Note – The Jay Butler Penny Loafer review was supposed to post today, but it has rained here in Bedford for the last maybe 213 days straight, and I couldn’t get the pictures I wanted to show you of them.  Today is supposed to be nice, so fingers crossed.  It is written, I just want to show you what I mean.

So, Banana Republic wants to go Ivy.  Mr.  Paolo Sandoval writes about it on Inside Hook, here.  I like Mr. Sandoval’s writing, but it does highlight the fact that we have more work in front of us.  Just a little.  I mean, Banana Republic ain’t a garage brand being run on fancy and whim, they have done their research, and if they say Ivy is a profitable avenue, I would have to say, well, so much for the dated, anachronistic argument.  Here’s a picture from their website, it gives you a feel.  I have a few notes on it.  First, congratulations to Banana Republic on the inclusivity.  The more we can do to clean up this idea that Ivy is elite and exclusionary, the better.  There isn’t much cleaning up to do either, most of the crud is in the corner of the room, but still.  Second, to Mr. Sandoval, drop me a line, even here.  The difference between Ivy and Prep is confusing but we have a pretty good grip on it here in the comments, come take a look.


This gets a ton right.

As an aside, the three most often asked questions I get in email, in frigging order,  are:

  1. What product do you use and how do you get your hair to do that?
  2. What’s the difference between Ivy and Prep?
  3. Where can I buy X?

Speaking of reader’s mail, the site is doing really well.  We have tripled daily unique readership in less than a year, in January our average daily unique readership was up over 2,800 just from October.  Which is really great, and I am really grateful. We’ve been talking about a redesign for a while now, and we should be launching it June 1.  Before we push send, though, if you have any thoughts, I would be grateful to hear them in the comments or email.  A little context:  the historical content of the site is mission critical, that will not be going anywhere.  And of course, the look and feel must reflect the values and aesthetic.   The need for change comes from our mission of posting more than one post a day here (we are SO backed up), wanting to give advertisers the best possible platform, and expansion into lifestyle (think GOOP, but KINDA, because the soul of the site is one Ivy-focused piece a day written by one of a handful of writers with complete reader and community involvement).    We have some working concepts, but before I hit Send, or Enter, or whatever, I want to make sure what we are offering is in alignment.

Because the site is growing, the reader email is growing, which is also cool.   We get inquiries, for example…

Mr. Burton, I really enjoy your stewardship of Ivy Style. Things seem much more civil in my opinion.

Question for you: do you know the maker of Mr. Boyer’s frames in the picture from the most recent post on the website?


Not looking for answers to this one, Mr. Boyer was kind enough to answer the question himself.  He has been wearing the same eyeglasses for about 50 years, they are traditional Anglo-American, he gets them at specific shops in Manhattan.   Focusers has it turns out, has a whole ivy style (not capitalized, yet) line, which you can see here.  The one I think comes the closest to Mr. Boyer’s is pictured below, but go to the site, they have some very close alternatives too.

From Focusers, a pretty close interpretation of Mr. Boyer’s eyewear.


Here, I could use some help with this.


I am interested in purchasing the belted back trousers in khaki and dress gabardine and wool materials in sizes 33 waist and 31 to 32 length. Please help me to find and purchase.

This is a new note from a very old post, that’s another thing we want to address in the redesign.  There is so much new comment content in the old posts, but who has all day to go through searching for it?  I mean, I do, because that’s my job.  But you don’t.  Anyway, if you know where this reader can find such a thing, drop it in the comments please?

And this, if you want to weigh in:

Dear John,

I’ve recently discovered your blog and have had so much fun reading through your posts. I am continually fascinated by how much there is to know about clothing and how little of it I’ve ever been exposed to, so pardon me if this is a rather basic question. I was under the impression that polyester was not an acceptable material for high quality clothing, that it was cheap and fell apart quickly and easily. I’ve brought this up to a few people who all had the same impression. I grew up in New Orleans shopping at Perlis and was disappointed to notice that their “poplin” suits are 45% polyester. As much as I love it, it is a small regional brand, and so I assumed they were just trying to sell some suits with higher profit margins. However, I noticed today that J Press, which I perceive as the holy grail of ivy style, sells cool cloth suits that are 44% polyester. J Press is a clothier that I hold in such high esteem that I can’t help wondering if there’s a memo I missed on polyester. Is it more than a cheap substitute for other materials? Do I have too starry-eyed a perception of J Press? I’d love to get your thoughts.
One of the things that we are going to focus on in the redesign is more Ivy experiences and where to have them.  Again, not competing with the clothing, nothing will compete with the clothing, but to supplement it.   We posted about an Ivy barber in Texas, and got feedback like this.  So we are looking for more Ivy experiences, if you want to let us know about them.

Dear Mr. Burton,

I am a frequent and loyal reader of Ivy Style and I think it is a wonderful website.I reside near Philadelphia, PA. A few months ago, you published an article about a barbershop in Austin, Texas called the Brazos Barbershop. My wife and I  already had a trip planned to Austin and, as I found the article quite interesting, I scheduled a haircut and straight razor shave for our visit scheduled for April 14-18. Bottom line-I visited the shop this past Friday and it was a magnificent experience. The barber, Russell Firestone, was an artist as a barber and provided a great shave and haircut. He was a wonderful conversationalist and was extremely knowledgeable about all things ivy. It was a great time all around.Thank you so much for the article-it was one of those side trips that are a little unusual but that make a visit to a city very special. As our son has moved to Austin, I now have a barber in Philadelphia, London and Austin. Great experience-hope to visit again soon.

Keep up the great work,

And finally, thanks for sending me that article about the tie coming back for women.   The application is definitively not Ivy, but a rising tide lifts all boats.

Zendaya in a tie.

Thank you again for all of the support, kind notes and your support of our advertisers.  I look forward to your comments.


22 Comments on "Ivy Notes S1 E15 – Cha Cha Cha Cha Changes"

  1. JB, keep up the good work.

    As for Banana Republic’s latest collection, it appears to be an overpriced knockoff of RL’s erstwhile Rugby brand.

  2. Yep, I too enjoy the site. Keep at it. My only critique is that the gentleman at the top of today’s post ought to wear his hat at a jaunty angle with the front of the brim snapped down over his brow for some attitude. But that’s just me. Otherwise, a handsome look. Interested to see the forthcoming stuff from Banana Republic.

    Kind Regards,


    I referred my sister in D.C. to the site yesterday. Her later reply was in the affirmative.

  3. IvyEnthusiast | April 20, 2022 at 9:35 am |

    Polyester doesn’t necessarily indicate poor quality, but many poor-quality garments are made with it. It really depends on what you’re looking for out of the garment. If you want a good travel suit that won’t wrinkle, a polyester blend is a great choice–not the most environmentally friendly, but neither is cotton when you look into the production of it.

  4. As for “belted back trousers…in sizes 33 waist and 31 to 32 length”, I don’t know where to find them, but should you find some, I would suggest not limiting oneself to a finished length. First, make sure the rise is comfortable, and then have them custom hemmed, WITH or without cuffs. Any alterations tailor can do this.

    As for polyester blend, while the purist first choice is all natural-fiber textiles, a cotton/poly shirt can work. For example, a “conservative yet fancy” stripe, worn with a necktie and a blazer can be an ocasional variation from the “9-5” OCBD. Poly blend suits? I share your trepidation.

  5. dang it! Occasional. O-c-c-a-s-i-o-n-a-l. Occasional.

  6. Edit: A straight collar, cotton/poly, conservative yet “fancy” stripe for example, worn with a necktie and a blazer can be a nice variation from the 9-5 OCBD, and bridges the gap between Ivy and Trad.

  7. Lainey Howard | April 20, 2022 at 10:51 am |

    Thanks for all the great articles! A note on polyester or gaberdine. I personally am glad to see it in men’s clothing. It is nearly indestructible. Garments with polyester last longer.

    I was elated to find men’s flat front premium woven polyester trousers at Blair.com. They are called John Blair Signature Relaxed-Fit Plain-Front Dress Pants. A game changer! They look great, are affordable ($44.99), have a comfortable fit, smooth silhouette, great color choices of khaki, grey, brown and navy (no spare tire or low rise slim fit-gag!) AND they wash in the washer and dry in the dryer. They are work horse trousers and can be worn year round. I’ve had several pairs, worn and washed weekly and they still look as crisp as they did on day one. Highly recommend if you are looking for trousers to go with sport coats.

  8. I thought Banana was going back to their safari stuff? Abandoned that pretty quick if they are leaning into Ivy already.

    Also, missed opportunity: but the rising tied lifts all boats. Something to think about.

  9. As far as the necktie for women, Absolutely! I plan to wear them as I did in the 80’s. Huge Facts of Life fan! Loved all those girls in uniform and neckties. And I’ll add a pocket square this go round 40 years later.

  10. I’m with Lainey and IvyEnthusiast. I have a Palm Beach sport coat that dates to the early-1960s and looks practically new, thanks to its lightweight wool/poly blend. I’m no fan of all-poly garments like fleece or workout clothes, as they constantly shed microplastics, but a blend in a suit or sport coat prevents the garment from wrinkling badly during travel, adds strength to a light weight open weave fabric, and keeps it in decent shape for potentially a long time.

    On glasses, I’m grateful to be blessed with good eyesight, though I’ll probably need glasses at some point in the coming decade as I approach a …certain age. I’ll definitely be seeking out the P3 shape, which dates to WWII (I think?) and which is featured in the Focusers ad and often atop the nose of Mr. Boyer.

    Banana is still on the safari kick, which I hope sticks. The Ivy-inspired line is just a side project of theirs for now. While it looks mostly excellent to me, a few of the items have some very visible country club-looking “BR” branding in an almost “big pony” way, which is, for me, a no-no.

  11. Charlottesville | April 20, 2022 at 11:53 am |

    I’m not a big fan of polyester, but note that Dacron/wool blends were offered by Brooks Brothers and other Ivy sellers in the heyday (if I am permitted to use the term), and I have two such suits from the 80s that are still going strong. They were good for travel and less expensive, which suited my student and early career budget. Poly/cotton shirts were available too, but I never found them to be as comfortable as all cotton. I also have a couple of microfiber outerwear coats, but that is a different thing altogether.

  12. The Amazing Tom | April 20, 2022 at 1:13 pm |

    Press is going big with fabric blends in suits, sport coats, and poplin casual pants.

  13. AndrewK247 | April 20, 2022 at 2:00 pm |

    Took a look at the Banana Republic site.

    What do they have against shaving?

  14. https://www.permanentstyle.com/2015/02/how-to-dress-like-bruce-boyer-2-qa.html
    How to dress like Bruce Boyer 2: Q&A
    Friday, February 6th 2015

    What brand of glasses do you wear?

    “The frames I’ve worn for the past thirty years and more are the Anglo-American Optical Company’s “Model 406”. I think they make me look somewhat urbane and literary.”

  15. “Speaking of reader’s mail, the site is doing really well. We have tripled daily unique readership in less than a year, in January our average daily unique readership was up over 2,800 just from October. Which is really great, and I am really grateful.”

    “doing really well”–

    I don’t doubt it, but can you say more about what this means. I ask as someone who (a.) has no idea how much $ one would pay to buy a site such as this, (b.) how one goes about making $ via a site such as this, and (c.) is genuinely curious. “Doing really well,” in addition to the metrics you reference, leads readers to believe this is profitable for you. I have zero idea how advertising (products, businesses) fits into all of this. Please note that these are questions/inquiries–inspired by your mention of laurels (that are presumably worthy of mention).

    Have I liked all the changes? Nope. I’m trying to adjust. But I’m all about the man-in-the-arena stuff (T.R.) and telling naysayers who refuse to contribute (positively) where to go.

    That said: GAP ?!?!?

    • John Burton | April 21, 2022 at 9:21 am |

      Hi! I am trying to figure out a way to answer you without showing you my ’21 return. But yes, the idea is this a business. 🙂

  16. Oh wait– it’s Banana Republic. Aren’t they owned by GAP? Or is it the other way around?

  17. Boston Bream | April 20, 2022 at 11:43 pm |

    Re: Mr. Boyer’s frames:
    Ben Silver used to sell the Anglo American 406 frames as their “Liberty” frames. Other firms sell the same AA 406 frames as the “Barrister” model.
    Here’s the best source:
    They ship to the U.S., and even with postage they’re less expensive than in the States. They offer a wide variety of what we call “tortoise shell”.

  18. Alessandro | April 21, 2022 at 3:15 am |

    For the belted back trousers try dna manifatture. He does mtm mto and you can ask him to do special features. Italian man based in Spain. Internets best kept secrets.

  19. whiskeydent | April 21, 2022 at 5:37 am |

    Re: Redesign
    Resist the urge to give it a completely new look. Too often, complete overhauls bring a whole new set of unanticipated problems that are not easily fixed without yet another redesign. So I’d suggest an evolution or update that retains some of the current look and feel.

  20. Fabrics are tricky. Take different types of wool — the longer the fibers used, the less cloth made from those fibers will pill. But people can sell high and low quality wool from the same type of sheep branded all the same. (If you buy a new 100-percent cashmere sweater and its MSRP is in the range of $100, you’re surely buying a lot of short fibers).

    Many quality wool socks are now blended with a bit of nylon for added strength and durability. Like others have said, it just depends on what you want a given fabric to do.

    Blending in synthetic fabrics with natural can make garments stronger, more durable, lighter, moisture wicking, wrinkle resistant, water resistant (many Burberry trench coats have shells made from a cotton-poly blend), etc.

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