Lime Twist: What Go-To-Hell Can Do For You


Whenever we put up a post on the bright colors and crazy patterns of what is known colloquially, or rather Internetically, as go-to-hell, the chorus of curmudgeons always chimes in with cantakerous remarks about how it’s all mere kids’ stuff.

There’s no changing the minds of intractable fellows such as this, but for those of you whose mind is open at least one degree, and who don’t normally wear candy colors, this post is for you.

There’s a guy I regularly play tennis with: late 40s, thin as a rail, very tan, and rather soft spoken. He’s just returned from overseas, where he lived the past 10 years, and before he left, he liquidated all his belongings, including most of his clothes. A former teacher, he’s now trying to launch an acting career.

The guy (lets call him Eric) usually dressed for the courts in black or grey fleece shorts baggy enough to accomodate a quadruped, and an equally oversized faded burgundy t-shirt hanging on his thin frame as if on a wire coat hanger.

Talk turned to clothes one day, and Eric admitted that his extremely limited wardrobe consisted of whatever he could find at the local dollar discount store.

This was clearly a fashion emergency, and as I’ve always been an inveterate closet-purger, I thought I’d throw some old shorts and polos his way. I’d be helping out a new friend, and it was fun upending the notion that queer eyes advise straight guys, but not the other way around.

A couple weeks later I showed up at the courts and saw a threesome with a couple of guys I recognized. Figuring they might need a fourth for doubles, I headed over to find out. After a minute of shooting the breeze, I noticed one of the guys was wearing a shirt that looked eerily faimilar. It was a lime-colored polo, somewhat similar to the Castaway shirt above (it, and plenty more like it, are available from our loyal sponsor Country Club Prep), and reminded me of one I used to have. I took a closer look and sure enough it was Eric standing there checking his strings. He also had on well fitting khakis, and a white tennis cap, which might explain why I didn’t recognize him.

But I’d like to think it was due to the power of good fit and a confident dash of color — especially for a summertime sporting activity. Eric looked younger, more confident, and just all around better thanks to well fitting clothes and a bold color gesture. Enough so, in fact, to make him all but look like a different person.

Never underestimate what preppy can do for you. — CC

45 Comments on "Lime Twist: What Go-To-Hell Can Do For You"

  1. Christian –

    The issue, with this shirt anyway, isn’t the color – it’s the excessive and cheesy logo and striping/piping. This problem of over-tack-ifying is rampant among brands….especially among newer ones that are striving to ‘re-imagine’ classics that simply don’t need reinventing (they “reimagine”, in large part, to justify absurd pricing). Ribbon detail here, patch/logo there, faux wear/holes/fraying/paint here, funny stitching there, and so on.

    Case in point: the classic, short sleeved, pique, polo style shirt….which is just fine (overtly preferably, in my mind) without garish logos or contrasting grosgrain (or contrived paint splatter, manufactured wear, or ultra skinny and short cuts…).

    You shouldn’t confuse ‘go to hell’ with corny, neo-prep junk.

  2. Pale Male | July 22, 2013 at 2:34 pm |

    Wonder what “the chorus of curmudgeons” would have said about Chipp in its heyday?

  3. I would not consider pastel polo shirts to be GTH.

  4. Good point about Chipp! Did they ever print up a catalog?

    Also in an unrelated note – any word about York Street, is it the end?

  5. I think many “curmudgeons” are fans of Chipp. Chipp was doing something new, high quality, smart, and based on years of menswear and tailoring experience. Neo prep companies – who strive to be different by doo-dadding up their wares with all sorts of silly affectations (including logos, which Chipp never flaunted) – aren’t doing anything new or smart, the quality is rarely high, and their experience/knowledge is frequently next to nothing. It’s mostly cheap, pretend, dress up/costume stuff for high school and young college kids. Chipp wasn’t, which is why we’re still referencing them today……

  6. A.E.W. Mason | July 22, 2013 at 9:16 pm |

    Oh, I think all the grumpy old men were fine with Chipp. After all, no one was compelled to buy the GTH articles. And, they’d make you really stuffy stuff it that’s what you wanted. I recall two Chipp items my father had which I particularly liked. One was a British tan gabardine suite and the other was a very pale yellow pincord jacket. I’ve never been able to find a RTW pincord jacket in anything like that subtle color. It looked great with a white oxford shirt and charcoal summer worsted trousers, “bottomed off” by brown tasseled loafers by Lloyd & Haig. I don’t know if anyone recalls Lloyd & Haig (Squeeze must remember) but I felt their tasseled loafer was superior to Alden’s and when Lloyd & Haig disappeared, I remember I felt it was a step down to have to go to Brooks and buy the Alden. Ah, yes, those were the days when you could buy your shoes at Lloyd & Haig on Madison and then walk down a few doors and pick up your personal blend at the Wilkie Pipe Shop. Those were the days when men-were-men and war-was-war; no room for weaklings. Oh, ah, sorry, I’m sounding like a grumpy old man.

  7. A.E.W. Mason | July 22, 2013 at 9:20 pm |

    Wait, I am a grumpy old man!

  8. cpd
    Chipp had print catalogues.

  9. Orgastic Future | July 22, 2013 at 11:40 pm |

    My G-T-H style reads like a radioactive Roy G Biv chart….and I don’t care. The entire point was to tell the “old stuffy headmasters” exactly where they can go in their boring white ocbd and tan slacks. Deal with it.

  10. Boston Bean | July 23, 2013 at 12:36 am |

    Never underestimate what a solid navy or solid white polo shirt can do for you.

  11. Dutch Uncle | July 23, 2013 at 9:21 am |

    @Boston Bean

    I can assure you that going into Brooks or Press wearing a navy or white polo works wonders.

  12. Ironchefsakai | July 23, 2013 at 1:46 pm |

    Though I have no firsthand wisdom to offer regarding go-to-hell stylings, I’d agree with the above comments that the polo’s color doesn’t seem particularly loud (though it’s not for me), yet the embroidery is over-the-top.

    As for contrast taping on polos, there’s this awesome photo of my dad, circa 1985 with a navy polo with a white contrasting fabric (impossible to tell what material) on the interior of the placket. In my opinion, it looks understated and classy…though perhaps too European for this particular forum!

  13. Reactionary Curmudgeon | July 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm |

    In the emporia that I occasionally visit, preppies who dress down and plumbers who dress up are both wearing the same Crayola colors.
    As Boston Bean and Dutch Uncle implied, gentlemen in navy or white polos look like aristocrats of the first water.

  14. Orgastic Future | July 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm |

    Geez “Reactionary Curmudgeon”…..that….that was just too much lol. Take it down a notch lol.

  15. A.E.W. Mason | July 24, 2013 at 1:50 am |

    I’m thinking. The battle lines have been drawn. How about an Ivy Style soft ball game in Central Park: Curmudgeons v. Preppies. Obviously, the Curmudgeons’ uniforms will be old fashion, something like the old Yankee uniforms. The Preppies’ uniforms will, of course, employ several colors of the Crayola kind. I’m up for it, and I’d have to travel 3,000 miles. Anyone else? CC, think of the photo ops!

  16. What does “good fit” mean with regard to khakis? Isn’t that against the spirit of khakis?

  17. A.E.W. Mason:
    Agree, Lloyd & Haig, a fine shoe.

  18. A.E.W. Mason | July 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm |

    M Arthur

    This is an interesting site which has some remarkable vintage shoes.

  19. Reactionary Curmudgeon | July 25, 2013 at 2:11 am |

    @Orgastic Future

    No exaggeration whatsoever, sir, I assure you.
    White is the GTH polo color for purists.

  20. Grey Flannels | July 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm |

    @Reactionary Curmudgeon

    Hear, hear!

    One can never have too many navy blazers, or too many navy polos.

  21. The attempt to be cute about white and blue polos standing as the “purist’s GTH polos” fails as the definition of GTH assumes that there are non-GTH equivalent clothing articles.

    If white and blue are the purist’s GTH polo colors, then what are the purist’s non-GTH polo colors?

  22. Biff – I believe Reactionary Curmudgeon is saying that white is their GTH color and that navy in non-GTH. More importantly, I think that the point that was originally brought up in this comment section is why are Trads reluctant to embrace current GTH, but have no qualm with embracing GTH items from the hey day? And would they feel this same way about GTH items produced in the hey day if they were alive and trad back then?

  23. OCBD,

    If that was what was meant, it would quite silly. There is no past where white is a GTH color. With no such past, no purity is to be had.

  24. Biff,

    I apologize, my comment was confusing. The first sentence was about Reactionary and the rest was about the point that Pale Male raised. Which was, why are people okay with some of the wild stuff that Chipp was doing while hating the wild stuff that current companies do? Would these people have hated Chipp in its prime if it were not considered classic now, but edgy then?

    AEV, you seem like a really smart guy with a great sense of style, but I wish you were happier. It is very seldom that I hear anything positive out of you and i have started to think of you as the Mad Rapper sort if you are familiar with that reference. Cheer up young fella. The poorly dressed only make us look better.

  25. Reactionary Curmudgeon | July 26, 2013 at 1:17 am |


    Ivy style is not about making flashy fashion statements with fluorescent colors.

    A navy polo has always been the gentleman’s standard choice.
    When he feels daring or sporty, he opts for white.

  26. OCBD,

    Good point as far as the question of rejecting current attempts at GTH and then what to do with Chipp’s GTH pieces. You’re right about that paradox. IMO, the problem with GTH today is that we are in a very different period, long past ’80s prep and it’s reinterpretation of Ivy League, where the “youth” lines of Brooks and J. Press seem dominated by GTH. Thus, GTH seems more the norm rather than the shocking. (Punk probably killed GTH anyway but that’s a different story.)

    For example, I find madras pants to be more GTH today than patchwork madras pants. Who would have thought?


    I don’t buy it that white is an daring shirt color in the Ivy League canon. Pink earned the honor long ago. Your attempt to establish blue as THE shirt color is idiosyncratic, at best.

  27. Southern Loafer | July 26, 2013 at 8:56 am |

    As a felony defense lawyer in a relatively large southern city, GTH is standard issue in my profession during the summer months, rarely generating comment or, for that matter, notice.

  28. Straight Arrow | July 26, 2013 at 12:52 pm |

    @Southern Loafer

    I suppose that lawyers who defend felons can get away with anything.

  29. @Biff

    In the 1960s, I rarely, if ever, saw anybody wearing an OCBD shirt in any color other than blue. If I did, it was white.

    If we are no longer ın the 1960s, that is only to be regretted.

  30. Old Trad,

    You’re helping my point–a white shirt is not GTH, nor sporting or daring. And it never was. It was (and is) a basic, conservative shirt. No less conservative than blue.

    Now blue works better with most complexions. But that’s a separate matter.

    All that said, I wear a blue shirt much more often than any other color shirt. But not because a blue shirt is a more pure expression of the Ivy League style.

  31. Dutch Uncle | August 5, 2013 at 1:45 am |


    Allow me elucidate:

    In the heyday, a navy polo was de rigueur. When one wanted to look daring, youthful, GTH, one opted for a white, polo.

  32. Boston Bean | August 5, 2013 at 1:55 am |

    @Dutch Uncle

    Yes, there are still some of us left who remember when Ivy style was a conservative, refined, well-bred, gentlemanly, patrician look.

  33. “Patrician” is not the same as “Aristocrat.” And GTH is “Aristo.”
    While patricians may not have worn BB pink OCBDs, aristos certainly did — that’s how they became popular.

    Todays “Trad” just follows the puritanical patrician style.

  34. cpd:

    York Street Fall ’13 collection is on the website as of this morning.

    Chipp had large, all-color, glossy catalogs with actual pics of the clothes when BB had illustrations and Press had postage-stamp-size fuzzy b&w.

  35. A.E.W. Mason | August 5, 2013 at 4:35 pm |

    J. Press Fall ’13 is also up.

  36. Ruth Tarlow | October 31, 2013 at 3:15 pm |

    I was the third generation fammily owner of Lloyd & Haig Shoes. We closed our last store in 1996. I just googled Lloyd & Haig for the first time and was delighted to see so many posts about our stores and our shoes.

  37. Almost five years ago, I asked these questions:
    “What does “good fit” mean with regard to khakis?
    Isn’t that against the spirit of khakis?”
    Nobody seems to have answered.

  38. Trevor Jones | June 23, 2018 at 4:13 pm |

    As someone who considers themselves a purveyor of GTH, I would say white or navy polos are fine as they work equally well as a clean, simple, elegant top to contrast loud, over the top pants/shorts which should be the focus anyway.

    On a different note, anyone have any suggestions where I can get a two buttoned, natural shoulder navy blazer at a reasonable price (online or in store) ? My Ralph Lauren coat makes me look like a linebacker and when I was in BB recently the only ones they were also padded. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! ???

  39. john carlos | June 23, 2018 at 4:35 pm |

    @Trevor Jones, I just purchased a great one from Ben Silver online. A bit on the pricey side but I wear it frequently.

  40. @Laf

    Seems pretty obvious. Khakis were slimmer in the ’50s and ’60s and baggier in the ’70s and ’80s.

    That was the cut. How they fit any given individual is a seperate issue.

  41. @Trevor Jones has H. Freeman blazers, 2B, in worsted and hopsack. O’Connells has 3B, both natural shoulder.

  42. Richard Meyer | June 24, 2018 at 7:04 am |

    I have been a Chipp customer since 1981. They are a CUSTOM TAILOR AND HABERDASHER until they went full bespoke. That means they give their customers what they ask for. Thomas Watson of the dark suit and white shirt was a steady customer, as were Cy Vance and many other luminaries. They also did pioneer patch madras, multi-color paneled pants, wild linings for otherwise conservative jackets etc. Most of my items from Chipp are rather conservative suits and sport coats, but some more colorful “resort” and leisure clothes as well. Pick your fabric swatch and make your choice. As Paul Winston has said, older gents (I’ll be 74 soon) do rather like to try something different at times. BTW, it should be “Intractable fellows such as these”, right?

  43. Richard Meyer | June 24, 2018 at 7:05 am |

    Addendum: Chipp most certainly had print catalogues, as well as ads in the NY Times and the New Yorker.

  44. Vern Trotter | June 24, 2018 at 8:43 am |

    I have about 50 polos. About half are navy, white or dark green and the only ones I ever wear. I must give the others away because of New York apartment space. Thanks for the reminder.

  45. Evan Everhart | July 1, 2018 at 6:46 pm |

    For the record; the white “polo” shirt, or more accurately, the tennis shirt was the original. It was designed by Rene Lacoste amd it was white as were all traditional tennis clothes (hence “tennis whites”). Nothing could possibly be more conservative than the original form of a thing. That said it is certainly sporting.

    I don’t wear polo shirts all that much, but I do like them for errands and weekend wear when its not too warm here in sunny Southern California. My long-sleeved ones worn with sport coats and light sweaters are PRL and have buttoned cuffs. I have his stereotypical mint green one, a brick red one amd a navy blue one. I also have some plain cotton jersey ones in mint, rust, and navy respectively, and 2 Lacoste polos; one in white, and one in salmon, respectively. Great for boating grocery shopping, driving over a distance, and generally loafing about uselessly – as my Father would say.

Comments are closed.