Ivy Style Salutes Squaresville Appreciation Month


After a run of posts devoted to IBM and its ultra-stern dress policy — in which a faux pas in tassel loafers could ruin your chance of becoming a middle manager — we are bringing back a celebration we did many years ago by officially declaring it Squaresville Appreciation Month.

Throughout the rest of June Ivy Style will cater to philistines and dullards with series of posts devoted to repressed WASPs, conservative politicians, the accounting and insurance industries, Internet trads, the buttoned-down mind of Bob Newhart, and of course Father’s Day, because nobody’s a bigger square than dear ol’ dad.

Music will be provided by Mantovani & His Orchestra. Here he is in 1958 with an arrangement of “Charmaine” you can almost pour on a waffle, sure to send the beatniks bolting for the nearest espresso cafe. — CC

44 Comments on "Ivy Style Salutes Squaresville Appreciation Month"

  1. That Mantovani selection was a much-appreciated antidote to that dose of jazz.

  2. James Redhouse | May 1, 2013 at 7:30 am |

    For those who may have found “Charmaine” a bit too jazzy for their taste:


  3. Christian | May 1, 2013 at 7:36 am |

    That’s what having my wisdom teeth out sounded like.

  4. My mom always bought the bastard step child of Mantovani, The Living Strings on RCA Camden records.

  5. Hartford | May 1, 2013 at 8:25 am |


    Thanks for reminding me of The Living Strings. My mom always bought the Melachrino Strings albums:


  6. Now being square is something that I can relate to! I often describe my style as, “Classic, Simple and Boring.” I like that pic by the way, he has some nice frames.

  7. Reactionary Trad | May 1, 2013 at 9:11 am |

    @oxford cloth buttondown:

    Choosing a “boring” style is quite a virtue when there are so many who are trying to dress in an “interesting” way.

  8. Cranky Yankee | May 1, 2013 at 9:42 am |

    Maybe you could also give a nod to Esquivel and his classic ‘Space Age Bachelor Pad Music’ which had a bit of revival in the ’90s:


  9. Boring style would be only earth tone 1960s suits, jackets, muted rep Wembley ties and clunky black Florsheim wing-tips. No surcingle belts, no braces, no pink shirtings, no etc. etc., etc……………….no kelly G-9 in OCDB’S case.

  10. Oxford Cloth Button Down & Reactionary Trad,

    Amen, brothers!

    Last night, as usual, I changed after work. Itook off my tie, kept my blue Oxford cloth button down shirt on, and changed into light chinos. When I went out, I slipped on a blazer.

    I felt–and looked–great.

    The classics are classics for a reason.

  11. I think if I were to listen to that Mantovani clip to the end, I would become diabetic.

    I much prefer the crooner of choice in “Blast from the Past”: Perry Como.

  12. Old Knock | May 1, 2013 at 1:02 pm |

    More! More! More! Squaresville is so comfortable!

  13. Wriggles | May 1, 2013 at 1:26 pm |

    Back when I was a young pup, I had a date with the proverbial school librarian. Prim and proper, she was wearing a black suit when I picked her up at her parents home. I wore a three piece navy chalk stripe suit for the occasion. When she met me at the door, I was ushered into the living room to meet and chat with “Mom and Dad”. They were watching Lawrence Welk, and to appeal witty, I commented that Lawrence Welk was too far out for me. “Dad” didn’t think I was funny.

    Anyhow, after taking her to an expensive dinner and a night club to chat, she ordered a Tom Collins in November. She didn’t know any better. A few days later, I heard from a mutual friend that she considered me “Dull, boring, and stupid.” She said my car was an old “gas guzzler.” (In reality, it was only 3 years old.)

    Months later, I attended a wedding. She refused to say hello or even look at me when we passed. In retrospect, I think that was the nicest thing she could have done for me.

  14. Alex Reed | May 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm |

    Well that was a let down, Wriggles. If only the internet had a place where a guy could find…

  15. Wriggles, you’re among friends, tell us the whole story. 😉

  16. CC,

    I must disagree with your characterization (character assassination?) of squares as “philistines, dullards and middlebrows.” Many of us have active imaginations from years of playing Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs. We are well-read in the classics, like Asimov, Bradbury, Heinlein, and Burroughs (Edgar Rice, not that degenerate William S.). We tend to be good at math (as you noted), and oftentimes can laugh without spewing ejecta. We excel in conversations dealing with the minutia of our interests, be they literary, sociological, or sartorial. In additions to careers in actuarial sciences, we can often be found in the high-tech realm.

    Now pass the Cheetos and roll the dice, please–it’s your turn.

  17. Christian | May 1, 2013 at 3:24 pm |

    I like a lot of things, and a lot of them are things squares like.

    I do find it amusing and slightly troubling, though, that this dandy-hepcat counts so many self-admitted squares among his loyal readers.

    But I suppose they’re here for the topic, not me. I am, after all, just the editor.

  18. Wriggles | May 1, 2013 at 3:39 pm |

    @ MAC

    There’s not much left to tell in my story. We had a nice dinner in Sewickley, PA. (Noted in the original Preppy Handbook as a “prep town”. Millionaires and robber barons abound, and even a Rolls dealer.) Then, to a night spot near the Pittsburgh Airport, where we talked and got acquainted. I think we may have danced a couple of songs. I drove her in my pristine Dodge hardtop (bought new, never driven to work) back to her parents house about 12:00 midnight, where I bid her “good night”. She thanked me, and got out of my car.

    I didn’t try to kiss her or anything, maybe that’s why she got angry with me. Come to think of it, maybe I am “Dull, Boring, and Stupid.”

  19. Wow! What a volcano of suggestible diversional appreciation!

    How about Madras Appreciation Month? If your accepting suggestions…..

    I love your posts…


  20. I was thinking a new poll, cuffs or no cuffs?

  21. Twenty two posts and no mention of Harry Crane.

    Ivy cannot be–must not allowed to be–Square.

  22. Perry Como,Rosemary Clooney,Doris Day,Dean Martin,Nat King Cole are aceptables…
    …or too much revolutionaries for Squareville?


  23. And..he? (the man on the right) :


  24. Herringbone | May 1, 2013 at 9:50 pm |


    I can’t disagree with you about Wembley ties, but I still prefer my clunky black Florsheim wingtips, and other components of authentic, minimalist, conservative, traditional American style to flashy, pretentious pink shirtings, braces, etc.

  25. Tabor Kid | May 1, 2013 at 10:24 pm |

    Wriggles, what was it like in the 1890’s?

  26. Equilateral Equiangular Quadrilateral | May 1, 2013 at 10:45 pm |

    If dressing like a gentleman means that I’m a square, so be it.

  27. I only regret that I have but one life to give for my squareness.

  28. @MAC

    Being neither a 1960s college student, nor Japanese, I would vote for no cuffs.

  29. The most important aspect of both my style and my personality is a sense of humor, in my case a wicked and often borderline inappropriate one. My theory on style and dressing is it should present your character to the world, it should reflect your personality and, to risk sounding pompous, your soul. I habitually wear Alden tassel loafers, Press/Brooks ocbds, khakis, bright argyle or yellow socks, and ribbon/surcingle belts. I try to include critter items regularly. I’m happy to say that people have described my style in the same words that they have described me, and I’m even happier to say that neither “boring” nor “interesting” has ever been one of them.

  30. Also cuffs, totally. 2 inch ones. Trousers hang better.

  31. PPS: Florsheims are no different than Cole Haans, once-great companies sacrificed at the altar of Mammon.

  32. In the immortal words of the sadly not immortal Vivian Stanshall, ‘we are normals and we dig Bert Weedon’…..

  33. DCG
    Totally agree, except I’ve always done inch and a half cuffs. Also, Cole Haan’s thick soled oxfords of the distant past never had that industrial look of Florsheim’s wing-tips.

  34. Got to be 1 3/4 inches; 1 1/2 is mean and 2 is Wooster.

  35. Christian | May 3, 2013 at 8:58 am |

    Bertie or Nick?

  36. Both. Silly asses, though Bertie has Jeeves to fend off the wilder excesses of bachelor taste.

  37. I actually go for 1 7/8″.

    Bertie has too much time and money on his hands; Nick is… well, I’ll stick with my grandmother’s advice here: “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

  38. The Earl of Iredell | June 11, 2021 at 4:44 pm |

    Oh, please. Do you seriously believe the post about tassel loafers? Not a chance in the world that this (if it even happened) was any kind of code or policy. Ridiculous, absurd, and an inaccurate depiction of the place and the time . . .

  39. Uptight is actually a fun lifestyle.

  40. When I hear that music I think of medication time with nurse Ratchet. I don’t want anybody to slip me saltpeter.

    Have a good weekend ya ding a lings


  41. AndrewK247 | June 11, 2021 at 8:30 pm |

    I go for 1 15/16″ because 2″ is too conformist, man.

    Only the truly refined can tell the difference.

  42. I once asked a sales manager friend of long experience in the Data Processing industry if he found anything common to sales people he hired who looked excellent in the interview, but failed on the job. Between one bite to his sandwich and the next he said, “They once worked for IBM.”

  43. The Earl of Iredell | June 16, 2021 at 2:55 pm |

    @John — so these salesmen worked for IBM, but left, perhaps involuntarily. Evidently, one way or another they couldn’t make it at Big Blue. And yet your sales manager friend hired them for his company. It’s surprising that he made this same mistake more than once. May say something interesting about the stature of his company, hiring the leftovers, or about his own ability.

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