The fall isssue of Lapham’s Quarterly features an excerpt from W. David Marx’s upcoming book “Ametora” on American style in Japan. Marx first wrote for Ivy Style in 2009 with the hugely popular article “The Miyuki-zoku: Japan’s First Ivy Rebels.” Pictured above is VAN JACKET founder Kensuke Ishizu, the man who brought Ivy to Japan.
The excerpt is a lengthy one, so check it out when you’re ready for a fascinating read. Here’s a timely teaser:
To make things easier on their pupils, Ishizu, Kurosu, and the others at VAN decided they needed to break Ivy down into a set of dos and don’ts. They summarized their mission thus:
When you buy medicine, the instructions are always included. There is a proper way of taking the medicine, and if you do not take the medicine correctly, there may be adverse effects. Same goes for dressing up—there are rules you cannot ignore. Rules teach you style orthodoxy and help you follow the correct conventions for dress. Starting with Ivy is the fastest way to get you there.
In the pages of Men’s Club, Kurosu became the unofficial headmaster of the Ivy school. He ran an Ivy Q&A column in the back of the magazine. He told readers, for example, not to wear ties with their sports shirts and to avoid tie tacks and cufflinks with blazers, while also advocating for the mentality of Ivy: an easy East Coast nonchalance. Kurosu warned a reader threatening to wear a button-down collar with the buttons undone, “It has to feel natural. It’s the absolute worst if other people think you’ve left them intentionally unbuttoned.” Kurosu, a twenty-something who had never lived in the United States, was playing referee with confidence that came from years of research—but also a good measure of bluffing.