If you think that traditional aesthetics cannot be applied to a non-traditional life, what about a guy who makes his living wearing Ivy clothes when he isn’t a singer/songwriter with an earring who tells stories about mental health maintenance and how his 6 year old daughter saved his life? Still, things can always get more Ivy, and I have decided to make resolutions this year designed to bring more Ivy in.
I write three handwritten pages every morning first thing, but the search for the right pen has been a distraction. Last year’s find was this:
No more. I refer you to (and I am going to get them to advertise here if it kills me, write them and tell them to) The Goulet Pen Company. This is their website. The founder, Brian Goulet, is a pen guy’s pen guy, but he eats and breathes fountain pens. I have watched his videos for years because they drip authenticity. He is a trad guy, he may not know it yet, but he is. His company is service and quality-oriented, and if you respect companies like Duck Head or J Press or St John, you are gonna LOVE Goulet. I am going to try to interview him for the site.
I have spent a ton of money on pens over the years but like umbrellas and hats (hey J Press, I need a Columbia baseball cap and am coming into town tomorrow, if I call with my card can I get one?) the money is lost at sea when I lose the pens, at sea. Here’s a $2,860 dollar pen (for sale right now at Sotheby’s) that I lost, the Agatha Christie Montblanc.
Forget that. I am working on building the Ivy Style brand and also staring down the barrel of a kid’s college, there is no longer $3,000 to throw around. AND, there is no longer then need to. I picked up these pens, at Goulet, the most I spent was $20 and I am telling you, sure as I am sitting here, they write well. More importantly, they look like I care about what these pages are that I haul myself out of bed to do every morning. Here:
Ivy Resolution Number One: Only write with a fountain pen for the whole year.
I wear a tie to work every day, even when I am working from home. Still, I pair them with khakis most of the time. And a sports coat sure, a vest always from Thanksgiving to March 1, but because I loosen the collar (#Degage) while it looks dressed up to everyone else, it really isn’t. This year, I am going to wear a suit at least once a week in an effort to lift things up even further. It is going to cost me (I only own four suits right now, and one of them has a pre-Covid waistline and not much room for negotiation). If wearing a tie when you don’t have to adds gravitas and focus to the pursuit of excellence and makes a statement about self regard, then wearing a suit when you don’t have to is going to further change my countenance. Who doesn’t want the countenance their change? (see what I did there?)
Ivy Resolution Number Two – Wear A Suit At Least Once A Week And Church Doesn’t Count
The third resolution is a continuation of last year’s but with more focus. Last year I resolved to listen to an album a day. Not put it on in the background, but really pay attention to it, mostly while I was walking the dog. It made a huge difference, even just the discipline of selecting music, but then some erosion occurred. I started liking some of what I was listening to and started making playlists. Which are great. Wait, here is a link to the Ivy Style Playlist on Spotify as created by all of us:
This year I am going to force myself to listen to an album a day and not allow playlists so that I experience the entirety of what the musician intended and wanted to represent. My album is coming out this year and I can tell you there is effort and deliberation in assembling and curating the content, the order, and the entire package. I am unknown musically so that is even more important, but it has given me a real appreciation for the body of work that is an album as opposed to just a song or a playlist.
Ivy Resolution Number Three – Listen To An Album A Day
I am going to do three more tomorrow, would love your suggestions in the comments if you have any. Finally, I would like to leave you with this gift. The greatest living guitar player is not who you think it is, unless you think it is John Butler. An Australian musician, Butler is the world’s greatest living guitar player not because of speed although he is amongst the fastest (speed is nearly irrelevant as a guitar player criteria but man, he is amazing to watch) and not because of his diversity (he plays every kind of guitar), but because of his articulation and composition. There are no missed notes, no mud or buzz, when Butler plays. Yes, he is a rock star, but that is by accident. He is the world’s greatest living guitar player. Here, Exhibit A: