Avuncular Love

Thu 19 Mar 2015 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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“Brotherly love” wouldn’t exactly be accurate. — CC

Fashion Police: Ivy Style Reader Is A Top Cop

Wed 18 Mar 2015 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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topcopThis week a member of Ivy Style’s Facebook group shared a pic of himself doing his best version of Ivy-inspired-on-a-budget, while noting that he is a police officer. I thought it very interesting and asked how he came to the style, why it appeals to him, and how others view him. Here’s what he had to say. — CC

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Like many people who work in Washington DC, I am a transplant. However, I don’t work for a congressman or a law firm. I walk a foot beat in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods as a member of the Metropolitan Police Department.

I grew up on the South Shore of Massachusetts and credit my personal style largely to my late grandfather, who himself worked a blue-collar job for 25 years with the Bay State Gas Company. But in his personal life he dressed like a Kennedy. In high school, when many people my age were wearing American Eagle graphic tees and basketball sneakers to school, I was wearing LL Bean OCBDs and Sperry Top-Siders. Even my own mother seemed a little perplexed by it when she took me shopping for my Confirmation outfit when I was a sophomore in high school. I picked out a blue blazer and gray flannel trousers instead of a garish four-button ventless suit that was in fashion at the time.

I graduated from the police academy in April, 2012 and am presently assigned to a very busy district with a high rate of violent crime. As a result, I end up in DC Superior Court for trials and other matters at least once a week. In the beginning I wore my police uniform for most of my court appearances. However, after being flagged down one too many times for various nonsense, I decided quickly to wear professional attire to court to blend in a little more easily.

It didn’t take long for word of my buttondown collar shirts and Weejuns to spread among my fellow officers and the attorneys. I am now affectionately known as “Penny Loafer” or “The Professor.” Jokes aside, my style does elicit many compliments from people, and I actually think it may help me when appearing before a jury, as they can see me as a person like they are and not just a cop.

Of course, as a civil servant I have to buy on a budget. But I keep an eye on thrift shops, eBay, outlet stores, and online stores such as Lands’ End and LL Bean. But I’m hoping to make detective later this year ,and I’m told investigators get a healthy clothing allowance.

While my style is referred to by many as Ivy or preppy, I personally think of it more as simply New England or Yankee. When people ask me  why I dress the way I do, I often quip, “Where I come from, this is how people dress.” People from all over the world come to Washington, bringing their cultures and traditions, and my manner of dress is just my little thing that tells people where I’m from. I think I also do it to honor my late grandfather. Sadly, he didn’t live to see me become a police officer, but I think he’d be very proud that I dedicated myself to this honorable profession.

It’s a tough time to work in law enforcement right now, but I do my best to use my position to remind people that police work is all about helping people. That’s what I set out to do every day when slip off my boat shoes and lace up my boots to start another shift. — DC COP


Green Day: 1950s Campus Ads For The Fighting Irish

Tue 17 Mar 2015 - Filed under: 1950s,Historic Images — Christian
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In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we pay tribute to the Irish — specifically the Fighting Irish of the University Of Notre Dame.

After a long and fruitless search for vintage images, I finally found a few in the campus magazine called The Scholastic, where there were some ads for Arrow buttondowns, “natural” tuxedo rentals (with natural in quotation marks), cigarettes and No-Doz. Some of the clothing was very Main Street, with one ad imploring students at the Indiana school to take Pat Boone as their style icon. (Continue)


Tennis Anyone? Ralph Lauren, 1972

Sun 15 Mar 2015 - Filed under: 1970s,Historic Images,Sport — Christian
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Last week my local courts were two feet deep in snow untrodden throughout the winter. Now it’s all gone and I suspect the courts will open this week.

According to the tumblr page where I found this image, it’s a Ralph Lauren ad that dates to 1972. It may be the earliest RL print ad I’ve seen, and I think is notable for how early he had developed his signature narrative, tradition-inspired and aspiration marketing imagery. — CC


The Young Man’s Guide To Tennis Sweaters

Fri 13 Mar 2015 - Filed under: Clothes,Sport — Christian
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In the market for a tennis sweater, even though you don’t play tennis, or even cricket? Here’s some of what’s out there. (Continue)


Love All, Play: The Tennis Sweater Mounts A Comeback

Wed 11 Mar 2015 - Filed under: Clothes,Sport — Christian
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art-13_blassAccording to a Style.com post on Monday, the tennis sweater is making a comeback. The post is about women’s fashion, however, and what’s more the evidence supplied is rather scant. That didn’t stop us from revisiting the topic, which we last looked at in July of 2013. Christopher Sharp to serve.

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Late fall and winter evenings in 1989-1990 would find me lingering over a cup of coffee in the gothic dining hall that was a couple of paces from my dormitory. A large window overlooked a snow-covered hockey field that was barren and cold. The dining hall itself was intimate, with glowing ancient walnut paneling that had been harvested from the campus property earlier that century. You could hear the clink of dirty china as it was placed in the vertical metal tray keepers by departing students. The manager would come out and stand in the middle of the floor surveying his surroundings like a sea captain. He would light his pipe, check his pocket watch and on cue the doors would lock barring access from the outside and the vacuum cleaners would be dispatched. Those inside were allowed to remain.

To this day I can still see myself there. I am wearing LL Bean hunting shoes, Donegal tweed trousers that appeared fawn at a distance, but in reality were an artful mélange of flecked colors that only Ralph Lauren could render successfully. A Brooks Brothers buttondown was topped off with a wool tennis sweater trimmed in burgundy and navy. One might imagine for one moment that I had stepped off a Jazz Age ice pond. But I became enamored with the tennis sweater after it was appeared in the July 1987 issue of GQ, where it was featured in the “Elements Of Style” column.

A classmate of mine actually wore a sleeveless tennis sweater to play in, but it was the original cream-colored, cable-knit, long-sleeve jumper that I desired. The GQ article by Debra Wise stated that the sweater had been part of cricket dress since 1840, when Foster & Co. of London began selling them. The sweater pictured in the article was by Alan Paine. William Paine opened a tailoring shop in 1907 in Godalming. The Paine shop morphed into a sweater making enterprise when, Wise writes, “They found some old hand-frame knitting machines in the shops back room.” Nigel Paine credited the Duke of Windsor with popularizing the sweater, saying “The Duke would commission cricket sweaters in all his regimental colors.” On the American front, Bill Tilden contributed to its popularity. From the 1920s through the 1950s the sweater carried country club cachet.

This cachet may have led to cliché. Which is why I am thankful for not coming of age in the Internet world. We were sheltered from British voices telling us that the most beloved parts of their native kit were “twee,” or that “our jumpers should not trespass on another man’s colors.”  We were also safe from fellow American voices insisting that you had to have a superlative backhand and only wear it around the club. It was enough at the time that a handful of campus souls wore them. Some were born to wear them, others secretly picked it up from “The Official Preppy Handbook.” Mature men are allowed some self-indulgence when viewing their younger selves, so maybe I wore the sweater as a subconscious homage to an age of faded glory, and thereby reflecting back a romanticized vision of self. (Continue)

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