Daniel C. Greenwood (“DCG” in the comments section, and the singer in our Christmas recital video) herein debuts the first in a series of musings on the current retail landscape for trad clothing. He brings a fresh and young voice to Ivy Style, being under 30 yet with a great interest in this style’s long history. Having had the face of a 35-year-old since before he started shaving, Greenwood’s column will go by the name The Millennial Fogey.
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Sitting on the train recently something stole my attention from my better half. As I furiously hammered away at my smart phone, she asked me if everything was OK, and was suprised I said of course. Apparently she thought I was dealing with some terrible emergency.
In fact I was commenting on a Brooks Brothers social media post describing dressing up sweatpants with a navy blazer.
In my increasingly excited state, I rattled off a whole list of changes I wanted to see: taking the lining out of the oxford collars, fixing the fit of Own Make and bringing the price down, improving the design of its paisley ties, the rise and finish of its khakis — I could have gone on all day. My ever-patient girlfriend rolled her eyes and watched me chew out a billion-dollar apparel company on the Internet.
Strange how I don’t have the kind of arguments with my girlfriend that I do with Brooks Brothers.
What is it about Brooks Brothers that inspires such passion in us? More to the point, why has the relationship between traditional menswear consumers and Brooks Brothers gotten so dysfunctional? Naturally there are men who were Brooks Brothers customers in the good ol’ days of the Ivy heyday through the late ’80s, and can quickly list everything they miss about the Brooks of yore. There are also younger menswear enthusiasts who comb through Internet archives, photographs, illustrated catalogues, and other evidence of this once beyond-reproach institution of American style and can’t help but agonize that we were born too late. (Continue)
It’s time for a check-in with Brooks as there are several pieces of news:
• Above is CEO Claudio del Vecchio speaking to Bloomberg News.
• Shirt fits now use the same names as in other categories.
• The company’s foray into the Australian market has had some bumps.
• Last Friday Brooks tweeted an in-house interview with its director of men’s design.
• Finally, according to the Chicago Tribune at least, a politician in a buttondown is news.
Tomorrow we’ll bring a new voice to Ivy Style with an essay on this greatest of American clothing institutions. — CC
Last week I tweeted a one-liner about wearing a polo shirt under my oxford on a day when I wanted an extra layer. I thought it would make for an interesting post, particularly with a vote. I mean, how many of you actually do that? Then sure enough yesterday a member of our Facebook group posted the photo above, and the matter is officially up for debate.
Your other traditional preppy option, as this 1982 photo shows, is a jersey turtleneck under an oxford:
The exposed white tee is another matter entirely.
So cast your ballot and let’s see how the numbers fall. — CC
Today Lehigh University put up a lengthy profile on G. Bruce Boyer from a piece that ran in the school’s alumni magazine. I supplied some quotes about my avuncular colleague who’s certainly inspired me in my own writings on clothes. Check it out here. — CC
After nearly six months of silence, the blog known as The Ivy League Look — where commentary by the anonymous curator is “kept to a minimum” — came back with a post yesterday with the 1965 ad above for campus clothes from Benoits.
Head over there to check out the well organized collection of advertisements, photos and articles related to the Ivy heyday.
Yesterday afternoon Ivy-Style.com held an editorial meeting at The Polo Bar, Ralph Lauren’s new restaurant. In attendance were Golden Years columnist Richard Press, Ivy Style founder Christian Chensvold, and Daniel Greenwood, who was filled with bourbon and coerced into becoming a more regular contributor to the site, based on his passionate interest in the wares offered by current trad clothing manufacturers.
As for the setting, everything about it was perfect. The lighting was perfect (though hardly ideal, as you can see, for non-flash photography). The music (Billie Holiday from the ’50s, for example) hummed along at the ideal number of beats per minute to encourage blasé badinage and easy digestion. The walls were the perfect shade of green, the wood paneling the perfect shade of brown. Alcohol was poured generously, tea was hot. Prices were perfectly fair. The nuts were warm (makes a difference), and accompanied by fried olives and seasoned potato chips brought to the table a mere moment after seating. Service was prompt and completely non-snooty, by a diverse staff reflecting the citizens of this cosmopolitan metropolis.
There was one surprise when it came to the decor. In case you thought the word “polo” in the name referred to the brand, it more accurately refers to the sport. All the artwork is devoted to horses and the sport of polo, though there is great variation in the artistic renderings.
As for what the Ivy Style staff was wearing, King Richard The Forty-Fourth displayed the superb sprezzatura of a frayed pocket square that belonged to his father. When removing it for show-and-tell, he managed to get it tangled in his eyeglasses, surely one of the rarest forms of wardrobe malfunction.
DCG was also in fatherly hand-me-downs (or closet robberies, as he more accurately called them), in the form of tweed jacket and vintage Brooks tie. He noted the jacket’s single button on each cuff, and did not take kindly to the suggestion that perhaps the jacket originally had two buttons on each sleeve, that one had fallen off, and that a corresponding one was removed in the interest of symmetry. Below the waist were khakis and penny loafers.
Yours truly was in Viking Prep and Frazier-wannabe mode with lengthening hair and fabric boutonniere, glen-plaid jacket with olive knit tie and cashmere v-neck, grey flannels and penny loafers (my rain shoes).
It was a productive meeting and is quite possible the bar staff will soon know us by name. — CC
Update: More photos can be seen at Masculine Interiors.