News Roundup: Brooks At 202, The Ascot Face Mask, Weejuns, And The Captain

Brooks Brothers is 202 this month. The UK-based website Fashion United has “Ivy League” in its headline about the anniversary, but strangely no article. We’ll file it under Ivy Trendwatch anyway.

In other Ivy brand news, J. Press is helping fight the virus. Kudos to them.

And speaking of the virus, a member of Ivy’s Facebook group has come up with a stylish form of face mask:

In other news, Esquire has given a shout-out to the Bass Weejun, writing:

A big part of the reason Weejuns wound their way so entirely into the wardrobes of so many different style tribes? They’re supremely versatile. Throw ’em on with a blue blazer and chinos, and it works. Same goes for wearing ’em with black jeans and a ripped tee, or a perfectly fitted (and decidedly unwrinkled) custom suit. They’re the skeleton key of shoes, almost magically contorting their vibe and history and cultural connotations to go with any outfit.

Odd, have never seen this logo before:

And speaking of Weejuns, yesterday I received a lovely call from the daughter of Charlie Davidson of The Andover Shop. She had read and enjoyed my new work of menswear fiction and was curious about the part of the plot in which the narrator reveals he is in possession of a pair of Weejuns from the first production run in 1935, with original box and receipt from Rogers Peet, given to him by “Charlie, the old man in Harvard Square.” The daughter asked if this was true, as there’s an interesting family anecdote. Charlie’s father was a tough guy, and when Charlie got his first pair of Weejuns and wore them proudly home, his father disapproved and incinerated them!

Finally, as mentioned in the “Riding It Out” post from last week, Captain Crozier — the Naval captain who was relieved of duty following his response to the coronavirus outbreak aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt — was my childhood best friend. I have written an op-ed about my early memories of Crozier for our Santa Rosa daily paper The Press Democrat.

Now it’s time to unbox my guitar. By the time the lockdown is over, I might be able to play this. Carpe diem, my friends. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

21 Comments on "News Roundup: Brooks At 202, The Ascot Face Mask, Weejuns, And The Captain"

  1. MacMcConnell | April 9, 2020 at 1:53 pm |

    I’ve seen the logo before, but not on the shoe. I’ve been a Weejun wearer since before 1960. I even bought a pair not made in the USA two years ago. But, the image above seems to show molded synthetic heels and soles! WTF! Only only women’s Weejuns ever had a thin neoprene sole.

  2. The Larson “Easy” Weejuns have that tag:

  3. Looking at the apparent ‘quality’ of this shoe I would recommend sticking with the lockdown in order to maintain a safe distance.

  4. Clothes Nut | April 9, 2020 at 2:46 pm |

    Has Esquire lost its mind? So, cheap-looking, plastic-soled Bass Weejuns are the “perfect” shoe to wear with a custom suit? WTF!

  5. Charlottesville | April 9, 2020 at 3:15 pm |

    I’m wearing cordovan penny loafers today with tan gabardine pants, navy blazer, button-down shirt and a paisley tie, all fairly old and all from Brooks. Nevertheless I tip my hat to Bass for introducing the penny loafer to the US 85 years ago. They made them in cordovan, brown, tan, black and even a white buck version with red rubber soles. Age cannot wither, nor custom stale the infinite variety this classic shoe, at least not unless it is made out of plastic.

  6. MacMcConnell | April 9, 2020 at 3:59 pm |


    You forgot scotch grain Weejuns. ;-0

  7. Charlottesville | April 9, 2020 at 4:36 pm |

    MacMcConnell – Good point. I have a friend from school days who only wore penny loafers, except for athletics. Even with black tie, he always wore black Weejuns. He always looked good, too.

  8. MacMcConnell | April 9, 2020 at 4:42 pm |

    I panicked too fast, the original Logan flat strap Weejun hasn’t changed, still leather soles.
    Also, Bass at one time a “spectator” Weejun.

  9. john carlos | April 9, 2020 at 4:47 pm |

    Charlottesville and MacMcConnell- Scotch grain penny’s are my favorite. Got my first pair in high school in the 1960’s. I’m still wearing a pair although not Bass.

  10. I recommend all those dispirited by the modern quality of Bass Weejuns to take a good look at Rancourt, which still manufactures in Maine and makes a beautiful beef roll penny loafer.

  11. john carlos | April 9, 2020 at 9:18 pm |

    Eric- I whole heartedly agree. Rancourt’s penny loafers are high quality.

  12. Anyone out there remember and/or know what Bass Bar Weejuns were.
    They were Weejuns that had a thin rectangular gold metal bar placed where the penny strap is on their penny loafers.
    I had a pair in the early 70’s, but nobody I know remembers and/or knows what they were.
    Curious if anyone in this club can recall them.

  13. Regarding the quality of Weejuns, I started buying them for my sons when they were teenagers. For kids from that age up to and including college, there’s absolutely no reason to get anything with higher quality. Kids are tough on shoes. I remember shaking my head in stunned disbelief when I saw how their shoes were getting worn. To get the patterns of wear and tear that they were getting, I’d have to take a piece of sandpaper to mine.

    So perfect for students, like those that started what we now think of as “Ivy.” Once you’re on your own, still OK when you’re young. But once you’re established, married, couple of kids, mid-career, etc., upgrading makes sense.

    I still have a pair or two of Weejuns, probably for only nostalgic reasons. My go-to loafers are now shell cordovan while the Weejuns collect dust.

    So don’t forget the roots of Ivy. It’s not just college students. It’s what college students’ parents were willing to buy for them.

  14. Sir Mark Easterbrook MBA | April 10, 2020 at 2:05 pm |

    Brilliant article sir. The face-mask is impeccable. I wore a similar one at my alma mater, Yale, during the great flu outbreak of 74. I must say my mask was the most dapper of all on campus, made of Egyptian silk. Many a fellow ivy leaguer tipped their hat to me – from a distance of course. Boola Boola!

  15. MacMcConnell | April 10, 2020 at 2:08 pm |

    I have never seen a pair of Bass Bar Weejuns, never heard of them till now. Is this the shoe?

  16. Yes it is MacMcConnell, thank you. I am impressed that you found this. Was thinking that maybe I was crazy, as nobody remembers them, even though it seemed that many had worn them.
    My pair was a brown color and I really loved them. I believe it was around 1972-ish when I was a junior in high school when I got them. Wish they would make them again, so I could relive some history.
    Thanks for your efforts!

  17. elder prep | April 10, 2020 at 9:22 pm |

    My dismay in the logo tag on the Weejun. Does everything we wear have to be so conspicuously advertised? Recognition of the style and item is sufficient for those who know it when they see it. All the rest would be oblivious anyway.

  18. MacMcConnell | April 11, 2020 at 1:23 pm |

    elder prep

    We are lucky the last preppy fashion surge happened in the early 1980s. If it happened now, we would have the young walking around with Polo and Izod logos tattooed on their biceps and necks. 😉

  19. MacMcConnell | April 11, 2020 at 1:25 pm |

    You’re more than welcome and I learned something, thanks.

  20. Henry Contestwinner | April 11, 2020 at 9:21 pm |

    A few years back, Bass teamed with Rancourt, I believe, to produce a made-in-America Weejun. I still have my pair, which I recently had to get resoled, but the uppers are still in great shape. Flat strap, not beef roll.

    I have long bemoaned the hyperabundance of labels on everything, and have resigned myself to their inescapability on sunglasses and athletic shoes. However, I will not suffer them on my nice clothes (so that means a lot of Ralph Lauren clothing never sees my closet). On the other hand, I suppose that the label on the Weejuns pictured here is in keeping with their plasticine uppers and rubber soles.

  21. Arthur McLean | April 27, 2020 at 5:28 pm |

    Did love Weejuns until I overdid it once and got a footful of blisters. I wore them all the way from jeans to white tie and tails, more than once with the latter and to this day I still think they work OK with it.

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