News Roundup: Andover Shop, Varsity Sweaters, GTH Pants, And Dressing In The Age Of No Rules

There’s much news to catch up on, beginning with The Andover Shop. Almost right after the passing of founder Charlie Davidson, the shop’s legacy was given a huge burst of life with major revamp of its website. Head over here for goods and inspiration from a singular American institution.

Speaking of revamped websites, Country Club Prep’s is so fancy now there’s snow falling on it. In addition to shopping the men’s gear, you might want to just ogle the ladies:

And one final shout-out to the sponsors that keep the Ivy Style ship afloat, check out Castaway Clothing for go-to-hell pants for your New Year’s celebration, or to keep you cheerful through the long winter.

On the media front, Robb Report says varsity sweaters are making a comeback, so expect to start seeing a lot more of this:

Readers have kept me up-to-date on the latest news about the downward spiral of dressing standards. The Wall Street Journal says Midtown Manhattan is full of clones in uniforms, and not the gray flannel kind. Adds my correspondent:

Instagram handle @midtownuniform spoofs the open-necked, fleece vested set sardonically.
Next, The Economist’s magazine 1843 weighs in how how the athleisure trend shows that “clothing’s rules no longer exist.” It’s certainly the logical end result of a general social trend of the dismantling of all norms, standards and institutions.
The decline of the manual economy and rise of knowledge-work threw these rules up in the air. The first sign of confusion was the fashion for jeans among people who had never hammered or welded anything. Today everything is confused – and everyone is a riveter. Middle-aged men with greying whiskers and bulging paunches dress like teenagers in black T-shirts and oversized trainers. Women with dishevelled hair wear pyjamas or boiler suits to the office. In creative companies, the only people who don suits are those who do despicably uncreative jobs, like accountants.

This has created a new social division, between the fat-fighters of the world, and the rest of us. The fat-fighting classes have the time and determination to get on their exercise bikes and say no to junk food. The rest of us know that this struggle is too much trouble. The great thing about manual work is that it burns excess fat. In pre-industrial and industrial societies workers were unfashionably thin and the rich were fashionably plump. Today machines do the heavy lifting and fatty food is ubiquitous. So the world bifurcates along a different line: those who do manual labour in their leisure time – working out and lifting weights at the gym – and those who simply dress as though they do.

And finally, for you Anglophiles, yesterday Kirby Allison released a video tour of the John Lobb workshop:

And with that, this is CC signing off from Newport. — CC

8 Comments on "News Roundup: Andover Shop, Varsity Sweaters, GTH Pants, And Dressing In The Age Of No Rules"

  1. I wish this blog had less negative content on how “the standards of dress have fallen and we’re approaching sartorial apocalypse”. We’re all aware of this. It’s no news. The standards have been falling for decades. Growing up in New York in the 90’s, I remember people dressed in horrible styles! Many young people would wear their pants below the hips, exposing their underwear. Honestly, I don’t see this trend anymore, which is a relief.
    Suits and ties won’t disappear in the foreseeable future, but will become less common. At the same time, there’s now more opportunity to commission an “affordable” made-to-measure suit than ever before. Isn’t it something to be cheerful about? The internet has certainly brought its positive influence on classic menswear. Perhaps, it has a chance to survive, thanks to the internet.

    The ladies on the Country club prep website are, indeed, very pretty. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Matthew Freestone | December 21, 2019 at 9:14 am |

    Re: “I wish this blog had less negative content on how “the standards of dress have fallen and we’re approaching sartorial apocalypse”.”

    I wish there were more such comments. That’s one of the reasons I follow this blog.

  3. Re: The Andover Shop. In my opinion the new website can hardly be described as
    “a new burst of life” This sounds like a PR placement. Instead, a few days ago I characterized
    it as more like the opening measures of a dirge:

    New Andover Shop? Not a good sign. I have not visited it in years,
    I am in CA. Checked out the new website and then called today.
    On the Website they now offer three sport coats with narrower lapels and side vents.
    Reminds me of the Samuelson stuff at Nordstoms.
    Not their original cut. They do have leftover inventory of the old merchandise-
    not shown on the website. It was not clear to me whether the great variety
    of fabrics, etc is available through MTM in the old cut, for example. Earlier this
    year the website featured a wide variety of tweeds, etc in their sport coats. In
    recent years garments had to be “made up”, MTM in effect, although if one
    visited the shops there were some RTW jackets in stock. I also indicted that the
    copy in the website called a balmacaan raincoat a trench coat. I am afraid that
    their “business model” is to trade on the name while selling generic semi trad.
    I hope that I am wrong.

  4. @Roger Sack

    As I mentioned on that thread, their online store represents a tiny share of their stock.

  5. Vern Trotter | December 22, 2019 at 1:44 pm |

    Andover Shop has nice looking corduroys but $235 is way too much. Ben Silver prices. Wait for the sale.

  6. Vern Trotter:
    The fact that the price is identical can’t be a coincidence. Charlie Davidson would never have checked the Ben Silver website/catalog when deciding how much to charge for corduroy trousers.

  7. “As I mentioned on that thread, their online store represents a tiny share of their stock.”
    Then it would seem that the new crew is clueless about online marketing

  8. @Roger Sack

    Can you imagine that a small business with a small staff might have limited hours to devote to the very time consuming process of uploading inventory to a new website, particularly amid the busiest time of the year for retail, or is that beyond your scope?

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