Poll Question

What’s an innovation (leather loafers without socks) or a product (turquoise inlay belt buckle) that is not part of the canon that you would vote yay on if presented for consideration?

16 Comments on "Poll Question"

  1. Best innovation: 2% spandex for stretch

    Best item: The “fun shirt”: introduced by Brooks Brothers in the early 70s (after the end of the Ivy heyday) the fun shirt is, to my knowledge, the last of Brooks’ innovations. Other innovations include madras, seersucker, and OCBDs, which they call “the original polo collar shirt”.

  2. As I am halfway through my seventh decade, multi-pocket trousers (e.g. cargo pants) have become a very practical addition to my wardrobe.

    • dowager prep | August 15, 2023 at 12:46 am |

      Zounds, cargo pants!

      Elder dear, we are of the same vintage. I too have passed the dreaded mile marker on the slippery slope: practicality, comfort, ease of use, you didn’t say it but I will, elastic waistbands, what belt?

      To our host’s question. I would vote nay/deal breaker every time I see:

      A man’s sweater draped on his back, both arms pulled around front, knotted on top of his chest.

      Popped collars: never.

      Horsebit or beefroll loafers: don’t even approach my door.

      Does Beans even make a chamois shirt anymore? I hope so. Launder for a year, then please come visit.

      Did you save, polish and resole your original Bass Weejuns? I hope so, how do you like your coffee?

      An off topic question for your readers: I see pincord suits all over the deep South down here where I live. But I never see them mentioned alongside seersucker in the acceptable canon of trad/ivywear. Curious, why is that?


  3. Bryant Longford | August 12, 2023 at 11:45 pm |

    We have already strayed too far from the Canon. It was fine as it was.

  4. Vintage made in USA wingtips. Oversized Ray-Ban Outdoorsman/Shooter/Driving glasses.

    • Charlottesville | August 14, 2023 at 10:46 am |

      Good call, Bopper. I would say that classic made-in-USA, double-soled longwings are already canonical. I think that, along with plain-toed bluchers, they were standard dress shoes for collegians and recent grads in the heyday. My older brothers were wearing them in the 60’s and 70s. Floresheim Imperial longwings were the first pair of non-kid shoes I acquired (for high school graduation along with a new suit) and I am wearing a pair from Allen Edmonds today.

      As for Ray-Ban’s, my preference is for the Clubmaster, and the ever-popular Wayfarer, but Ray-Bans definitely belong on the list.

  5. Michael Powell | August 13, 2023 at 3:15 am |

    Number one – I don’t leave the house without socks (but I am usually bare foot IN the house).
    Number two – I stopped wearing belts more than 20 years ago; it’s braces every time. Keeps my trousers at the proper length.
    Number three – How about hats? What hat/cap could be considered Ivy? I vote yay for the Greek fisherman’s cap. Snazzier than a baseball cap. Not as stuffy as a fedora.

  6. whiskeydent | August 13, 2023 at 9:38 am |

    On the casual side, there are plenty of sports-related Ivy items but I can’t think of any that are about the field. I’m thinking flannel shirts, wool field jackets and boots. Stuff that goes with your LL Bean duck boots, which I consider Ivy. Filson and Orvis sell the kind of stuff I’m talking about. Could this be where Ivy ends and Trad begins?

    (I must be thinking of wintry clothes because it’s going to be 106 here today, just like it has been every day all summer and will probably be every day through September.)

  7. Oxford cloth pajamas. Used to be available from LLBean, O’Connells. Now only available from
    Brooks. However, the BB all cotton PJs now have that awful “no-iron” finish that feels stiff against
    the skin. Washing in bicarb supposedly softens the fabric, but only after multiple washes. Another
    sign of the decline of civilization and what has happend to BB since 1980.

  8. David Sullivan | August 13, 2023 at 6:21 pm |

    The adopting of technology into the traditional, for example I wear a watch (traditional mechanical) on my left, non-dominant wrist and an Apple Watch on my right, it allows me to access information on my phone without having to remove said device all the time

  9. James H. Grant | August 14, 2023 at 10:42 am |

    I have no idea what a “fun shirt” is (or was). I have never worn cargo pants. Over-sized Ray-Ban glasses – only if they have vintage-style tortoise shell frames. I cannot imagine wearing wool-flannel or tropical-worsted dress trousers, khakis, seersuckers, white ducks, corduroys, or poplins without a belt. I do not know what a Greek fisherman’s cap is. I have never owned a two-button suit or sports coat or a pair of trousers without 1¾” cuffs. If “the canon” equals “Ivy League,” then I agree whole heartedly with Bryant Longford. We have already crossed the Rubicon. And another thing: Brooks Brothers is frequently mentioned on this site in reverent terms as if it were a hallowed, shining bastion on a hill. Apparently, many habitues of Ivy Style are not old enough to remember when the store was, well . . . Brooks Brothers. What this store has become is a mere bagatelle compared to the Brooks Brothers of fifty years ago.

    • Charlottesville | August 14, 2023 at 1:20 pm |

      Mr. Grant – I tend to agree, and imagine that our wardrobes may have much in common (today: OCBD, bow tie, 3/2 sack suit and longwings). As for “fun shirts,” I do not care for them either, but I think Brooks started making them in the Garfinkle’s era, sometime in the 1970s, at least according to this: https://m.facebook.com/BrooksBrothers/photos/a.127922713896959/4647452751943910/?type=3 . Not quite the heyday, but they were certainly available alongside the sack suits, the good OCDSs and the much missed oxford cloth pajamas that Roger Sack mentions when I began shopping at Brooks in the mid 80s. I think the worst of the rot started when Marks and Spencer took over at the end of the decade, but I have heard from some that the decline had begun even earlier.

      And here is a Greek fisherman’s hat as worn by WFB, Jr., albeit only when sailing as far as I know: http://www.ipernity.com/doc/depscribe/15595607 . Again not for me, but then I don’t have a yacht or sail across the ocean. Like bit loafers, they may perhaps be thought of as Ivy-adjacent.

      • James H. Grant | August 14, 2023 at 3:56 pm |

        Charlottesville – Thanks for the link to the “fun” shirt. I do not think I have ever seen one of these (other than in an advertisement), but I do not get out much anymore, and I have not been to the circus or a carnival for 65 years. As for the Greek fisherman’s cap, my first thought was “Skipper” from Gilligan’s Island. Good to hear from you. Yeah, Garfinkel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhodes was bad enough, but Marx & Spencer’s was worse. Since then, the venerable retailer has obviously fallen into the hands of the bean-counters, who will ultimately preside over the hammering of the last nail.

  10. How about spectator shoes with a seersucker suit?

  11. This is an enjoyable question. Great idea for a post. In the spirit of David S. I vote for goretex jacket. Bear with me on this one. I live in the PNW and since it’s introduction in the late 1970s it is now a ubiquitous clothing item. It picks up where 60/40 parkas left off. Those jackets we can consider to be 1970s/early 80s rugged trad (if you dig around in an image search – heavytweedjacket 1980s – you can see these examples from HTJ archives). I think that part of the style is keeping your wardrobe within the context of your environment and regional history. I have considered many times buying a Barbour but resist for two reasons: it seems out of place to this region, and I bought my jacket in 1985. The 1985 part speaks to my frugality – a practice which we often laud. When I wear this jacket I feel true to myself whereas if I chose a Barbour or similar jacket I would feel a little “costumey.”

  12. Amen James H. Grant! RIP Brooks Brothers. The current interration shows a complete lack of understanding and appreciation for the
    role BB played in providing quality clothing and accessories for the professional American male.
    How about the Bucket hat for inclusion in the canon?

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