News Roundup: Warehouse Sale, New Books, And Missing The WASPs

Our last post was on an old-school Atlanta retailer, but there are new kids on the block in that city, too. Country Club Prep has been a loyal sponsor of Ivy Style since it first opened, and now, after steady growth for some six years, it’s moving its warehouse and having a huge sale to decrease the load. It may not apply to the Dubarry jacket pictured above, however.

There are two new books out, and assignments are up for grabs if you’d like a copy to review and/or interview the author (use the Contact button above if interested). First up is Byron Tully, author of “The Old Money Book” and a past contributor to Ivy Style. He has a new book coming out specifically on Old Money style. Quite different, but still of interest to us here, is “BlueBloody: Memoirs Of An Ivy League High School Dropout,” by Scott James Meyer.

Finally, a reader tipped me off to a new piece in The American Conservative, in which Casey Chalk argues that our fascination with British royals is because we miss our American version of a hereditary ruling class, the WASPs. Well, at least a few people do.

Chalk writes:

My ancestors recognized that even if many WASPs looked condescendingly upon their Catholicism, their culture, and their language, WASP-dominated America offered something worth assimilating into. It’s WASP culture, by the way, that’s been unparalleled in its promotion of representative government, civic life, and personal socio-economic advancement. The disadvantages of certain historic aspects of WASP American culture—including anti-Catholic prejudice and anti-immigrant bullying—were far outweighed by the advantages.

I recently took a tour of Ford’s Theatre. In one sense, Lincoln’s assassination has practically no intersection with my family’s story in America. Moreover, just about everyone mentioned during the tour—Lincoln himself, his assassin John Wilkes Booth, Lincoln’s guest Major Henry Rathbone, Lincoln’s doctor Charles Leale—was a WASP. Yet reflecting on the Civil War, and that fateful Good Friday in 1865, I knew this was my history as much as any other Americans, whether they arrived on the Mayflower, some crowded steamship in the 1890s, or a U.S. Navy vessel fleeing South Vietnam in 1975. I’ve been invited to make it my own, through my public education, through exposure to American culture, and through my citizenship.

WASPs can keep their Protestantism, their ethnic and familial elitism, and, as far as I’m concerned, their affection for the British royal family. As for their many commendable values—well, I cannot imagine myself, or my family, without them.

Check it out here. — CC

20 Comments on "News Roundup: Warehouse Sale, New Books, And Missing The WASPs"

  1. Charlottesville | January 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm |

    Thanks, Christian. If Amazon reader reviews can be relied on, this bit of sound advice comes from The Old Money Book:

    “Wear quality clothing which has understated timeless style and will last many years, rather than the latest fashion. Avoid jewelry other than a wedding band and decent watch.”

    I think many Ivy Style readers would agree, as do I, although I occasionally wear a collar pin or cuff links, which I know some people find unduly dandyish.

  2. Here’s news, Southwick is closing as a brand. Factory might be only Brooks? Who knows…

  3. Charlottesville | January 22, 2020 at 5:16 pm |

    TSM – That is truly terrible news. Southwick does a great deal of the OTR and made-to-measure work for a number of traditional retailers, including Eljo’s here in my town. I hope that portion of the business will not change.

  4. Vern Trotter | January 22, 2020 at 6:10 pm |

    I have not been able to confirm that closing, short of calling the company. Maybe in the AM.

    A. Lincoln first invited U. S. Grant and wife to Ford’s that night but their wives could not stand each other so the Grants declined. That close to a future president being also shot.

  5. @TSM

    Where did you hear/read that?

  6. Tully’s eloquent observation:
    “It’s the Old Money that has integrity; that lives far below its means; that raises it children to be productive, well-adjusted adults; that uses its position and resources not just to preserve and expand its wealth, but to quietly make the world a better place for everyone.
    While much of what comprises the culture of Old Money is antithetical to modern society, it has nothing to do with being a snob. Old Money dresses and behaves so that it is not obvious how much money it has or what position it holds in society. Old Money treats others without regard for how much money they have or what position they hold in society.”

    There are still enclaves of genuinely WASPy values/behavior. One way old WASP culture runs counter to “modern society” is the approach toward sex–or, more accurately, lack of approach. It seems that nowadays there’s an exaltation of sex/sexuality as a wellspring of liberation and self expression, but WASPs remain embarrassed by the more serious, even worshipful, attitudes toward it. I vaguely recall C.S. Lewis on the topic: how, he wondered, can one not be utterly amused by the act itself? The frantic, self-involved thrusting and gyrating: it looks ridiculous.

    An old joke–
    What do WASPs say after sex?
    “Thank you very much. I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.”

    It’s the WASP reserve, dignity, and decorum that’s so off-putting to so many, yet charming to others.

  7. Michael Brady | January 22, 2020 at 10:17 pm |

    I spoke with a friend who is a Southwick account and he has heard nothing of a closing. There have been stories of Brooks looking for a buyer or investor. Perhaps a Southwick restructuring is part of a plan to streamline the package.

  8. My salesman that does made to measure for me in Tennessee said Southwick wasn’t offering custom as of next month and he sounded pretty pessimistic that it was doing well .. hope I’m wrong!

  9. I wonder if this rumor about Southwick is a result of confusion with Hardwick, which was recently sold. Here’s an article about that:

    http://clevelandbanner.com/stories/enough-was-enough-allan-jones-conflicted-about-decision-to-sell-hardwick-clothes,107602

  10. Worthy of another mention —

    “It’s the Old Money that has integrity; that lives far below its means; that raises it children to be productive, well-adjusted adults; that uses its position and resources not just to preserve and expand its wealth, but to quietly make the world a better place for everyone.
    While much of what comprises the culture of Old Money is antithetical to modern society, it has nothing to do with being a snob. Old Money dresses and behaves so that it is not obvious how much money it has or what position it holds in society. Old Money treats others without regard for how much money they have or what position they hold in society.” – Byron Tully

  11. @S.E.: after a long period of being a luddite, I finally dipped my toe into a certain corner of the interwebs and logged into Instagram. Yes, there are interesting ‘trad’ people posting interesting images (Tinseth, J. Press, the Andover Shop), but when you hit the little magnifying glass icon, it apparently brings up the latest and greatest of what is trending at that particular moment. If those images are a snapshot of America at any given time, apparently we are a nation of pouty-faced fitness babes literally shoving their rear ends right into the camera (sometimes in yoga pants, often in less).

    I appreciate the female form as much as anybody, trust me. And I’m no prude. But it was like being hit over the head with some kind of sexual sledgehammer, made worse by the fact that these people are all apparently ‘influencers’, which means the sledgehammer is intended to sell you something.

    It was a grim ‘aha’ moment of understanding who my fellow Americans actually are.

  12. Let me clarify: a walk down any street in America will relieve you of the idea that the majority of Americans are ‘fitness’-anything; what I meant was that, if those particular Instagram images are what is trending, they are apparently what large parts of the population aspire to. That was my sad realization.

  13. Charlottesville | January 23, 2020 at 1:51 pm |

    Paul and S.E. – Indeed. The hyper-sexualization of the culture to the near exclusion of everything else is another exemplar of the sorry state of our times. As with clothing, which we often discuss here, one really has to put an effort into finding contemporary music, books, television, films, magazines, etc. which are not at best shallow and often thoroughly debased. As in the old Hamilton cartoon from the New Yorker, “Darn it, I think up-tight is a fun life style!”

    These days, I find that I read mostly history and biography, leavened with the works of authors from before I was born (P.G. Wodehouse and Dorothy Sayers for example). But it is certainly worth the time and commitment to seek out something aside from the glare and blare of the popular marketplace, and to celebrate the good things we are able to find.

  14. Paul and Charlottesville,

    Grateful for both of you–your posts. Keep it up!

  15. Paul and Charlottesville,

    Grateful for both of you–your posts.

  16. Charlottesville | January 23, 2020 at 5:03 pm |

    Thanks, S.E. Grateful for yours as well.

  17. Michael Brady | January 23, 2020 at 5:13 pm |

    @ Charlottsville
    My contact in the business checked with Southwick and they have some new people in the styling area, but whoever started the rumor of their demise was mistaken.

    Re: Hardwick They have new ownership and like Southwick, will soldier on. Probably best to check before pulling the trigger.

  18. Charlottesville | January 23, 2020 at 5:33 pm |

    Mr, Brady – Glad to hear it. I hope to ask about it at Eljo’s the next time I am over that way, in case they have any inside information. If I get any news, I will pass it on to the Ivy Style crew.

  19. Having heard it from the horse’s mouth I believe that Southwick pissed off a number of their retail MTM accounts. The customer was always wrong and Southwick was always right, even when a measuring tape said differently. No idea, of course, whether that has anything to do with the news reported above.

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