Lapham’s Quarterly Excerpt Of David Marx’s Book On Japanese Ivy


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.

You’ll find the rest of the story here. — CC

10 Comments on "Lapham’s Quarterly Excerpt Of David Marx’s Book On Japanese Ivy"

  1. Does anyone have any experience with VAN’s actual products? Their online store appears to have some great staples for a decent to low price.

  2. Pinned club collar, just like WFB yesterday. As a pinned-club man myself I’m proud to be in such distinguished company.

  3. Very nice article in that link – thanks.

    However a sports shirt and knitted tie can be a tasty combination.

  4. Bags' Groove | November 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm |

    @Senor Yuca
    But only with lots of ketchup!

  5. Taliesin is a cry baby | November 12, 2015 at 1:55 pm |

    Uh oh, Kensuke Ishizu v. Bruce Boyer. Who wins?!

    How do we feel about a pinned club collar with a navy blazer? I was thinking about wearing that to a casual wedding this weekend.

  6. William Richardson | November 12, 2015 at 2:08 pm |

    @Taliesin is a cry baby

    You got invited somewhere?………………………I kid, I kid. I joke with you.


  7. Henry Contestwinner | November 12, 2015 at 3:16 pm |

    TIACB, beat Fred Castleberry to the punch with a new way to sprezz by pinning only one side of your collar.

    If a dangling collar pin becomes the next “thing” with the Pitti Uomo/Street Style/FEC crowd, remember—you read it here first.

  8. @TaliesIn
    Go with the button down.

  9. Very thoughtful article. I particularly enjoyed the broader cultural / historical context of how Japan came to embrace Ivy style. Yes, Kensuke Ishizu was the catalyst, but the social, cultural and historical conditions had to be in place for a youth culture to be willing to embrace dressing the way American Ivy college students did. When you first think about Japanese youth adopting American college kid’s attire – you think, really(?), but the article explains how a long sweep of history and cultural happenstances made it all possible.

  10. Ametora has really attractive historical sense we Japanese feel.
    There are superficially contrary concept that has rugged atmosphere from material or fabric but rigid image like that button down shirt should be with a tie.
    There rules are very interesting for us even nowadays.

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