Ivy Notes S1 E31 (I think)

I have never seen an episode of Mad Men. A whole episode. I watched maybe the first half hour of the first one, and it was not my jam. When I took over the FB Group, there was this huge thread about how Mad Men was Ivy and about how we should all be dressing like that…

We’ve moved on, but I got an email the other day with an article about how Mad Men has aged well and referencing how influential in style it was that Banana Republic actually collaborated with AMC and did a Mad Men collection.

This is the Mad Men collection (part of it at least) from Banana Republic. From 2012ish. To my eye, it wasn’t Ivy then, it isn’t Ivy now.


It just occurred to me that we typically capitalize Ivy but we don’t typically capitalize hipster.

My friend Jim sent me a link from Allen Edmonds “just to piss you off.”  It worked.


This is $300. And the color is… Chili.


Apparently the Wall Street Journal has finally caught on about that picture we showed you a few months ago.    I am not sure what the lag was in covering this.  Or am I?


The title of the article is “How To Wear A Suit Without A Tie…” You and I know the answer, which is “You Cannot.” But if you have those sensibilities, perhaps it does take you that long to cover this photo.


Finally, this is news to me so if it isn’t to you I apologize, but Todd Snyder has a collection of other-things-than-shirts made from Oxford, which we also capitalize, but we don’t capitalize polyester.


Click on the image to see Oxford pants, etc.


The Brad Pitt in a skirt thing?    I always thought that Brad Pitt dressed well.  Not Ivy, but it is possible to be dressed well and not dress Ivy.  And I think kilts are Way Cool.  And I could not give an S about gender and clothing.  So why does that bother me so much?

PS Thank you The Amazing Tom



26 Comments on "Ivy Notes S1 E31 (I think)"

  1. Hardbopper | August 1, 2022 at 9:25 am |

    C. 2012, BB did a MM thing, so I had one built MTM. As MTM, it turned out to be a little bit better than the MM suit. The salesman told me that they did not do a 3/2 sack, and they were sold out of my choice of cloth. I hadn’t yet discovered I-S.com., or the masters of the style. Still, not bad comparatively speaking. My my, how rapid the descent into true madness which immediately followed.

    • So my BB MTM turned out to be more trad than mad. The gorge and button point is right, i.e., not so high, good lapel width, soft shoulder, nice drape, just right width at the hem of the trousers, etc.

  2. A really, really well done show. The creator/writer is a gifted storyteller, and, using all sorts of symbols, subtly wove all messages galore into the plot (script) that render it worthy of frequent revisiting. It holds up extremely well.

    It was easy to imagine plenty of the characters shopping at Heyday Brooks, Chipp, and J. Press. I imagined Roger shopping (custom) at Chipp, Duck Phillips shopping at J. Press, and young Ken Cosgrove taking advantage of the sales at Brooks. Henry Francis was probably the most Ivy of all the Mad Men characters, and I figured him splitting time between Squeeze and the 60s incarnation of Abercrombie & Fitch. One of the best scenes–Pete’s father clad in summertime Gold Coast kit: yellow(ish) linen jacket, madras shorts, ocbd, and Topsiders. Holding a drink and scolding Pete for his straying, lost sheep that he was, from the WASP fold.

    The lead character, Don, became more-and-more Ivy as years passed (some messaging there, methinks), eventually opting for long-point button down collars and Brooks tassel mocs.

  3. Cosgrove was my favorite character. Weiner introduced him as a plainspoken, earnest New Englander (Vermont?) who, recently graduated from Columbia, penned fiction in his spare time. Toward the end of the show’s run, he’s shaggy-haired, corduroy jacketed, and, as usual, button downed. And that eye patch. One easily imagines him listening to Velvet Underground (vinyl), devouring Philip Roth and Updike, and loading up on Donegal Mist and Shaggy Dogs twice a year (Squeeze sales).

    “Greenwich Village Ivy.”

  4. The Amazing Tom | August 1, 2022 at 12:17 pm |

    Hipsters have made Alden boots standard issue Hipster footwear. Alden longwings are a favorite of the Thom Browne fans. Anything that drives sales is good.

    • Alden is expensive and not as handsome as vintage Florsheim, Hanover, et al. Is it Ivy to overpay? Hipster boots, hipster anything? No, thank you. Alden needs to reissue some discontinued models, and build LWBs on a more attractive last. Get ready to be bombarded, again, with ads for shell cordovan, as Interior is killing horses again. I’m guessing $1000/pair, maybe more, this time around.

  5. One of my many favorite things about Mad Men is that when it debuted, clever viewers speculated on where it was going. “Oh, the wife’s name is Betty. Her arc will recall Betty Friedan. She will grow sick of being a put-upon housewife.” Nope! Most shows set in the sixties explore how society changed that decade. While that exists in Mad Men, it tread upon the rarer ground of looking at the establishment; those who the fifties were good to and were in no hurry to see go. That these same people were in advertising; that they were paid to keep their finger on the pulse of culture and to persuade the public? ::chef’s kiss::

    Anyway, to tie it back to clothes, the outfits were frequently gorgeous Ivy (capitalized because Ivy League, whereas hipster doesn’t have such an association?). While there are some sixties styles I would change if it were up to me, there was plenty of the good stuff Ivy Stylers go for.

  6. I understand that you may not be trying to write-off Mad Men as a whole, but I sure wouldn’t use so glib a tone when referring to a show that I daresay is THE reason why much of your under 40 readership are even here to begin with.

    Frankly, it feels a little disingenuous to tout Big Tent Ivy, something I *wholly* endorse, and yet somewhat dismissive of this series. Mad Men certainly is not above criticism (so long as it’s not reactionary) but I think it’s earned the right to some respect. What it did for the pocket square alone (which was dead for a lot longer than Lazarus) should make it worthy around here.

    Yes, the point collars and flashy two-button darted suits are more Rat Pack than Madison Ave, but if Ken Cosgrove, Duck Phillips, Pete Campbell, and Pete’s father don’t make the cut, then I’m going to question he who wields the knife rather than the knife itself. Pete’s madras jacket from the S5 premiere (sack! 3/2 roll!) is still Chennai’s Platonic ideal; this site even dedicated a post directly to it.

    The show ain’t perfect, and it ain’t perfectly Ivy, but respectfully, it’s far closer to both than Wedding Crashers.

    • John Burton | August 1, 2022 at 6:06 pm |

      This is a real shame because there is a legit argument to be made for more inclusiveness for the under 40 crowd in Ivy. In fact, there is a HUGE argument for it. In fact, I kinda have one of the louder voices in that argument. But you, “Spin” – go backwards. You want to be included, but then you eek out the you-have-to-like-what-I-like paragraph. Isn’t that the problem to begin with? … Yes. It is. Think it through, try again.

      • And you’re doing a great job at that, something I want you to know I have praised you for in the past, and will continue to do so. You’ve done a tremendous job of opening gates and making sure that people feel respected and welcomed. But that’s why this post was so surprising for me; you’re usually pretty thoughtful of both people and properties, and that was not present here.

        I apologize for the tone of my previous post, it did nothing but muddy the waters and maybe reinforce the belief that fans of this show are rabid. To be clear: I do not fault you for not liking Mad Men. Frankly, I’ve been hesitant to rewatch it for fear that it won’t hold up. I do remember that the first and second episodes came off as intentionally abrasive to me, which is just a cheap gimmick to generate buzz. Anyone who chooses to not waste their time waiting for the story and characters to develop is well within their rights to turn it off, full-stop.

        However, I do think that Mad Men’s (arguably overblown, but inarguably outsized) cultural footprint is worthy of some respect, especially around these parts. It was not the sole contributor to the classic menswear resurgence, minimalist design (hellish though this late stage is), and elevated television as a whole, but it was among the primary contributors. It does hold a special place in the hearts of a lot of people, including me, because this show planted the seeds that brought us here.

        Declaring what is Ivy or what is not is a dangerous business, but I don’t really think that a site called Ivy (hyphen) Style dot com can avoid it, can it? I actually quite liked your hand grenade of an argument that Wedding Crashers is Ivy, because it forces people to reevaluate their own, often arbitrary, definitions of Ivy. For what it’s worth, I myself wouldn’t call Mad Men is Ivy (midcentury is more appropriate), but I also can’t think of many things I would apply that moniker to. One movie about Mad(ison Avenue) Men that I think *is* Ivy is the contemporaneous Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter, starring Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield (Joan Blondell too). It has some absolutely killer lines: “If talent had anything to do with success, Brooks Brothers would go out of business.”

        • John Burton | August 2, 2022 at 6:01 pm |

          I totally understand your point now – thank you for your comportment. To the over 40 crowd, THIS GUY IS IVY! Anyway, I have gotten enough feedback, including yours, that I am gonna try it again. Maybe I didn’t hang in long enough. Wouldn’t be the first time. THANK YOU for this.

  7. Expat Yank | August 1, 2022 at 5:50 pm |

    Yup, a great show. And when Don’s personal life becomes a bit too cringy, one can enjoy the wonderful style of the characters, and furniture of the office.

  8. No tie with a suit. I read that article of the G7 with no ties in the Sat WSJ. Charlie Davidson said “you look stupid in a suit with no tie”, “you look like you forgot something” and guess what they all proved his quotes

  9. I suspect this is relatively common knowledge but Ivy is capitalized owing to its origin as a trademarked term for the Athletic conference.

  10. Hardbopper | August 1, 2022 at 8:14 pm |

    What’s worse, a suit without a tie, a bad suit with a nice tie, a great suit with a bad tie, a suit with matching tie and pocket square, a suit with pocket square and no tie, a suit with a tie but no shirt, a suit without tie worn with untied basketball shoes?

    • The one with the untied basketball shoes, only because such an outfit poses a trip-and-fall hazard.

  11. That Allen Edmonds footwear concoction is rather more pitiable than anger-inducing. I don’t know what they’re smoking over there at AE, but I guess if people are buying these things, they’ll go on making them.

    Mad Men was my favorite series when it aired. Spin makes a good point that it was probably the gateway to dressing well for many folks young enough to not have had other Ivy-ish role models already. And the show’s costume department can take full credit for the temporary revitalization of the suit and of clothes that actually fit (perhaps to a fault). I’ve been a clotheshorse since I was a teenager way back when, but Mad Men definitely got me thinking about the details of tailoring in a much deeper way.

    I’ll agree that Mad Men has aged well, but my partner asserts otherwise: She bristles at what she sees as a kind of glee in the show’s emphasis on the unabashed misogyny of the time. To her there was a subtext in all the implied “look how much better women have it now” of “…but weren’t things just great back then?” And the show’s antihero became an icon that many extremely misguided young men wanted to emulate.
    I can definitely see her point. I don’t know what Matthew Weiner’s subconscious was trying to say through the series. I just know the performances were brilliant and the period detail was nice to look at.

  12. I think one can wear a suit without a tie and make it look pretty stylish, as long as the suit’s tailoring and fit is perfect, and the shirt underneath isn’t a white dress shirt.

    As for Mad Men, that show is quite possibly the greatest piece of television of the 2000’s. You should def give it a chance, because while it does start off painfully slow, before you know it, you’re hooked.

  13. Apropos of nothing (my wife often remarks that I am oblique), I’ve been out and about all day in khakis, a navy blazer, button-down collar sports shirt, and oxblood loafers with matching belt (plus a cotton pocket square peeking out from the blazer). Two men, well below 40, paid me nice compliments at different points, while one M.D. in scrubs, nearer my own age, looked over my attire very closely without comment as he consulted with the Grand Duchess.

    Kind Regards,


  14. Hardbopper | August 2, 2022 at 4:02 pm |

    In 1982, Mad Style was a tweed sport coat over a black mock turtleneck. I don’t care for black, too fine arts department, but I prefer the look of the mock turtleneck over the full pillow.

  15. Hardbopper | August 2, 2022 at 5:06 pm |

    Re: Mad Style. That may have been 1985, not 1982.

  16. Hardbopper | August 2, 2022 at 6:15 pm |

    Having read all the comments and giving it more consideration than might really be healthy, I pose these thoughts: mad style resembles mod much more than it does Ivy. Yes, mad is more hipster than it is Ivy. Maybe mad is to mod, what hipster is post-mod? James Bond is mod trad, whilst Matt Helm is mod hipster? Ivy stands alone. Ivy is much easier, less put-on. Ivy is trustworthy. Thank you, gentlemen, I see now, the Rat-pack hat and unlinked cuffs. That’s Vegas, not Ivy League. That’s loud swingin’ big band, as opposed to Chet or Miles or Bill Evans.

  17. Mad Men was Ivy and we should all be dressing like that.

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