Madras To The Max

An Ivy Style post last month forecasted a new wave of neo-prep on the horizon. More evidence has arrived in the form of two bold new takes on the boldest item in the Ivy universe, patchwork madras. Ralph Lauren is already offering a classic-fit patchwork madras popover this season, but has upped the ante significantly with a chimera-like patchwork madras duffel coat.

Across the pond, Drake’s has re-jiggered the formula with a “madras check” cotton jacket that looks like a conventional patchwork madras jacket that has been atomized and broken into many smaller pieces (I’ve seen it in the New York store and can confirm that it is less alarming in person). 

The Paddington Bear-on-acid vibes of the RL duffel and the near superhuman loudness of the Drake’s jacket may not be everyone’s cup of tea. However, I think they’re worth celebrating as a signal that the ivy wardrobe is still being raided for new inspiration. Perhaps the clock to athleisure armageddon has been set back an hour. — ERIC TWARDZIK

19 Comments on "Madras To The Max"

  1. Caustic man | May 4, 2018 at 11:24 am |

    The Drake’s sport coat is a printed patchwork pattern rather than real patches. But yeah, very cool to see things like this coming out.

  2. Oh! I was all in for that Drake’s jacket when I thought it was actually patches. I’d have to see it in person, but I don’t think I would care for an ersatz patch jacket.

    I saw more than the usual amount of patch madras at my local LLBean the other day.

    I just hope this “neo prep” trend moves toward more availability of tartan-patterned items.

  3. Madras duffel coat? That’s too far, Uncle Ralph. It’s nonsensical.

  4. Plaids or tartans, in general, are great, and I could not fathom a summer without my various beloved short-sleeve Madras shirts, But patchwork Madras items like those shown above are too over-the-top, bordering on the tacky and garrish. Kind of like gold Moen bathroom fixtures. But that’s just me.

    Best Regards,


  5. It makes my skin crawl to admit, but Garlandio is right. What’s the point of a winter coat made from summer fabric?

  6. Trad Sleuth | May 4, 2018 at 1:03 pm |

    Allow me to agree with both GSA and VEA:

    hideous and nonsensical

  7. Johnny Bravo | May 4, 2018 at 1:11 pm |

    I couldn’t agree more GS.
    Foppish iterations of such a beloved classic doesn’t strengthen the argument for more Trad.
    In addition, phonie heraldic crests on club ties doesn’t help either…just use the emblem from the Green Bay Packers or some other favorite team-at least it has some relevance to the person sporting it?

  8. Charlottesville | May 4, 2018 at 1:18 pm |

    My wife is wearing a patchwork madras skirt today, and I think it looks great. That is not to imply that it is particularly feminine. I have a pair of the trousers myself, but keep them locked up until Memorial Day. Admittedly, patch madras is a bold look, but I think it is perfectly fine, especially if limited to otherwise classic items (sport shirts and shorts, GTH pants and sport coats). However, I too would tend to vote no on the duffel coat.

  9. Mitchell S. | May 4, 2018 at 1:50 pm |

    Uncle Ralph has patch madras mania: in addition to shirts and duffle coats, add patch madras trousers, shorts, shoes, and baseball caps. All can be found at

  10. Mitchell S. | May 4, 2018 at 1:57 pm |

    I forgot to add patch madras socks. I’ve shopped at Polo for many years and have never seen so many patch madras items for sale in a single year. Somewhere in India there must be a shrine (or there should be a shrine) to Ralph Lauren.

  11. A winter coat made of summer fabric isn’t wholly bizarre. The classic trench coat was originally a military greatcoat in a lighter summer-weight fabric.

    I had a duffel-style coat made of denim back in the early 90s. It was just a somewhat unusual raincoat, not a monstrosity. I kind of wish I still had it. It got jettisoned during one of my mid-90s moves.

  12. I own a very similar short sleeve version of the RL button down. My version is from Brooks Brothers , very similar color-way.

  13. Marc Chevalier | May 4, 2018 at 8:59 pm |

    Nobody seems to bother reviving another Ivy classic: short-sleeved, buttondown-collar madras shirts with blue/white or yellow/white awning stripes, rather than plaids. Are you reading this, Uncle Ralph?

  14. Old School Tie | May 5, 2018 at 4:37 am |

    Considered splashing out on the shirt, but my poor eyesight deceived me – it is a popover. Had it been the full placket…..oh well.

  15. Sacksuit | May 5, 2018 at 9:55 am |

    Joel’s comment is proof that even a stopped clock is right twice a day.


  16. Grey Flannels | May 5, 2018 at 2:24 pm |

    No, thank you.

  17. Joel Feldman, that you butchered my first name is precisely why I only use my initials when making comments. If you must, call me ‘Gerry,’ it’s easier to remember and spell. Also, congratulations, you’ve just made your first clothes-related comment on this site and it was rather good.

  18. I don’t think we have to worry about prep/ivy going anywhere, it’s survived this long. It’s culinary equivalent would be trying to signal the end of pizza. It’s just not going to happen.

  19. elder prep | March 15, 2020 at 8:13 pm |

    I thought the patchwork tweed flat cap was alarming, Drake’s patchwork jacket could cause eye damage.

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