Recently Pedro Mendes of The Hogtown Rake cohosted an event for G. Bruce Boyer held at LeatherFoot Emporium in Toronto, Canada. If Mendes sounds familiar, that’s because we featured him here on Ivy Style for the high-rise/tapered leg custom trousers he had made, which were inspired by our ill-fated project with Bills Khakis.
Mendes has also produced a professionally done video based on highlights of Bruce’s talk. As he says, “Good shoes look good even when they’re old.”
If you don’t have Bruce’s latest book, snatch it up here. — CC
Love the Heinrich Heine anecdote. Used to read an English translation of his poetry, but translated poetry just isn’t the same, is it?
His conversation addressing the past is a tribute to the thinking of Edmund Burke.
So 3 things, Mr. Boyer:
(1) That’s a lovely tie. Is it a 7-fold? I wonder what this blog’s opinion is on ties (7-fold vs. regular).
(2) That’s a mighty lapel… Wow.
(3) Most importantly: I agree with 99% of what you’re saying. Craftsmen vs. Mass-producers – all that – you hit the nail on the head. I think houses like RL are trying to do both and it puts them in an awkward position. In one sense they get in trouble for Bangladeshi child labor, whereas in the other sense they have craftsmen doing it “the old fashion way… sew[ing] on [their] lap” (to borrow your expression).
But you have to admit that if you consider the price of the raw materials, and you factor in a 40/hr work week for labor, you’re still paying a 3000% mark-up for some of these items. Granted… they will last you a lifetime; that, I agree.
I have to agree with Mr. Boyer. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, these whippersnappers today have *no* respect for classic menswear. If you look on the streets of any major city or check the bestsellers at Saks.com, there are virtually no dress shoes, ties, or dress shirts. I am old enough (44) to remember when owning a suit and tie meant you were an adult. A lot of 20-something men today dress like drug dealers from the ghetto (no offense to ghetto people) who won the lottery.
Whippersnappers through the ages have had little time for anything mature, with classic menswear probably way down in their their priorities. Although i have noticed a change in Europe lately, with some whippersnappers sporting not only suits, but also polished shoes. Ties are still omitted, of course, but one hopes they’ll eventually be taken on board. Should they care to look, I offer not a little neckwear inspiration when strolling hither and thither in my customary flaneur guise. One tries to do one’s bit for the cause.
If craftsmen have convictions, Mr. Boyer’s voice and tone express conviction all the way down. He’s just so right and it is very clear that it means everything to him. But it was a wonderful touch not to identify himself with the craftsmen. Did you notice that he spoke of the difference between craftsmen “and us”?
I’m in sympathy with Mr. Boyer’s position, and I have no use for child labor, but who can afford hand-crafted everything? I’m not sure that hand-crafted menswear will benefit from economies of scale, thereby making it cheaper as demand increases. I want to buy US-made OCBDs, but my budget will simply not allow for it as a regular expense.
Thanks for the recommendation of Johnson’s Rasselas. It was an excellent read.
Does anyone know from where Mr. Boyer’s glasses come? They look suspiciously similar to the Ben Silver signature Pantheon frames in what they call their “demi-blond” tortoise, but I’m not convinced that they’re exactly the same.
Bruce says they’re from EB Meyrowitz in New York.
@Christian, Thanks for that. I think I’ll pay them a visit the next time I’m in NYC.
Nothing IMO about Boyer look Ivy (the site name right?!) except his eyeglass frames. No OCBD? Cuff links? Suede loafs in many pic of him-did not view this entire photo. I bought his book and wasted $
He has no idea of what Alden tass loafs are, grey flannels or khakis. Blue OCBD and a true repp. How about even Alden LHS?? I wear em with a navy suit, white ox and repp. No Ivy or Trad in this guy as I see him. The topper is the spread collar & cuff links. Come on………….I wear Mercer blue 6 days/wk and white on Sunday’s. Nothing else is necessary except my white (only white) Lacoste when above 95 degrees with khaks of course. Dungarees and shorts are for children.
I’m afraid you’ve missed the point completely. Mr. Boyer is a clothing historian, analyst, interpreter, collector and sharer of sartorial lore.
He grew up wearing the Ivy League Look (where were you?), and he has written about it extensively.
What he wears is irrelevant to his expertise in the subject matter.
Where was I? I was wearing our school uniform until college, and continued wearing the same thing. I have continued to do so until….well….this morning! Happy day to you. I like his beard too. (ha ha) Let’s see some photos of him in some Ivy attire. I have never seen him wear any of it. I like to think once you “wear it,” you really find it hard to change to wearing a beard, cufflinks and spread collars. Just my opinion, along with 50 years of experience.
PS-I had not even noticed that is a navy suitcoat he is wearing with grey odd trousers and is wearing it as a blazer with cufflinks. If you dress like that, to each his own. That is what makes the world go round. Have fun and be your own “fashion policeman.” I wear navy blazers with brass buttons, and grey wool gabs. (not a suitcoat) I also think cufflinks are much too formal for that “getup.” Links IMO should be worn (never by me) with a spread collar or tab and definitely a true navy solid suit and black cap toes. I just know clothing, and was the top salesman at Brooks in my city while only working college summers in the 1970’s. Yes, pure commish and outsold all the “old-timers” who worked there year round. I see no need for anything other than a solid navy suit for true dress wear. Weekends=khaks and a blue Mercer OCBD. Very simple. (w/Alden 986 of course, and nothing else.)
Hasn’t he said that he gets his glasses from Anglo-American Optical?