Reader Poll: How Ivy Are You?


How Ivy are you? Or rather, how Ivy is your wardrobe? Do you take the heyday as your guide and reject any items not part of the genre during the ’50s and ’60s?

Or do you simply enjoy reading about the heyday and looking at vintage photos, but dress with a contemporary sensibility?

Recently I left a comment suggesting that only those who live outside America and for whom Ivy is foreign and exotic would attempt to dress according to the dictates of Ivy genre parameters from 50 years ago.

Sure enough, soon thereafter I received an email from a young man in Poland who’s fascinated with the Ivy League Look yet has pangs of conscience over the urge to replicate it:

It’s also interesting that you reminded me of foreigners being the only ones that bother about Ivy style rules. I’ve noticed that, yet still cannot free myself from trying to act by the book.

Then yesterday reader “DCG” left this comment on the site:

I think there’s an interesting poll somewhere here measuring how many readers wear strictly vintage or exact replica ’50s-’60s Ivy League clothes versus how many incorporate such items into an otherwise modern wardrobe.

Actually no such poll existed, but it does now.

Since the beginning, it’s been clear that’s readership runs the gamut from teenagers to septuagenarians, fuddy-duddies who identify with George Will to retro-hepcats whose wet dream is to time-travel to Greenwich Village coffeehouses in the ’50s.

Somewhere in this sprawling range of men united in their appreciation for buttons on collars is you.

So it’s about time we find out where you all fall on the sartorial spectrum of hip to square, fashionable to traditional, undarted purist to darted apologist. At the bottom of this post you’ll find a voting button. If you’re reading this, be sure to vote as we wouldn’t want one type to be more eager to cast his ballot while another type isn’t. Vote whether you want to or not!

And only once, please, so the poll is as accurate as possible. We’re all curious to see where the chips fall. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

Here are the choices:


A) Your primary style inspiration is the Ivy heyday of the ’50s and ’60s.

Typical outfit: Vintage jacket, knit tie

Signature shoe: Deadstock Weejuns

Fashion porn: Photos of Steve McQueen

You ultimately want to look: Cool

It’s possible you are: English


B) You’re a timeless trad who wears current J. Press, Brooks Brothers, Southwick, O’Connell’s, Andover Shop, etc.

Typical outfit: Navy blazer or tweed jacket, khakis, rep tie

Signature shoe: Longwings

Fashion porn: ’80s Brooks Brothers catalogs

You ultimately want to look: Traditional

It’s possible you are: Southern


 C) You’re a WASPy/Anglophile sophisticate.

Typical outfit: Tweed jacket, grey flannels, ancient madder tie, something in cashmere

Signature shoe: Tassel loafer

Fashion porn: Ralph Lauren ad campaigns

You ultimately want to look: Elegant

It’s possible you are: WASP 101

j. press york street 2

D) You’re a fashion-prep guy who likes giving the classics a twist. You like color and slim fits.

Typical outfit: Jeans and a short jacket

Signature shoe: Anything worn sockless

Fashion porn: York Street

You ultimately want to look: Current

It’s possible you are: Gay

There are two other choices. If you feel like you’re a little bit of all (well, most) of these:

E) I’m a combination of A, B and C, but definitely not D.

And if you enjoy visiting this site for the content, but don’t necessarily dress this way (perhaps because you’re a woman):

F) I don’t really dress this way, but I find’s content interesting.

Here’s the voting machine:

[yop_poll id=”5″]

94 Comments on "Reader Poll: How Ivy Are You?"

  1. Mr. Wyllys | March 2, 2013 at 5:50 pm |

    There is something inspiring, En passant, about about so many people with different ideas about a particular kind of clothing coming to the same place…its pretty “groovy” and what not…

  2. Cool poll Christian. It will be interested to see the results. I fall into the E category myself, but I really think that this snippet describes how I feel.

    I”You ultimately want to look: Traditional but not retro”, and maybe cool, too, but rarely elegant.

  3. Dutch Uncle | March 3, 2013 at 12:59 am |

    The low results for “D” renew my faith in the good sense and good taste of Ivy Style readers.

  4. Boston Bean | March 3, 2013 at 1:09 am |

    I wish there had been a choice for a combination of A and B.

  5. I’m an A with straight teeth and good personal hygiene.

  6. Christian | March 3, 2013 at 6:47 am |

    I think this could give birth to a lot of future content. We could launch a series of reader profiles grouped by type.

    Also, now that we’ve done a software upgrade and have an easily polling program installed, I think we can start adding these to lots of posts.

    Whenever I go to a major golf site, it’s always asking who I think will win on Sunday, or if Tiger should fire his coach.

    Of course, perhaps we should have a poll on whether or not you’d like more polls….

    I can tell you that if our jacket project moves forth, and we’re supposed to get swatches soon, I’d already been thinking of putting it to you guys to vote on the fabric.

  7. I don’t wear jackets, but I do wear button down shirts. Nothing fancy, whatever I can get for a good price. I’ve done well at Jos. A. Banks, but recently bought a shirt at Costco and got a compliment on it from my father. Dad worked in a factory in Bridgeport all his life, but his cousin was a tailor, and my mom told me dad always dressed well when they went out on dates. I trust his judgement.

  8. Being a Midwesterner I fall into D. We are a sensible lot.

  9. I feel a need t clarify: i dress B for work and go engineered garments/jcrew style on the street.

  10. Fantastic! Very interesting results, hopefully the powers that be will take heed and pump the brakes on the crazy train towards Thom Browne land.

  11. Thanks for inspiring this, DCG. By the way, I’m guessing you went with B or E.

  12. E it was, glad it was an option because depending on the weather and my mood it really does fluctuate!

  13. I picked E, but really, I’m more of B & C. I’d disagree with B “You might be Southern.” I grew up in the deep south and lived for half a decade in Boston. I think the South take on this look is more Anglo inspired than what you’ll find in New England. In the South, you’re more likely to find pleats, darts, two button jackets and side vents. Ralph Lauren is more widely available, and so more prevalent. Blazers are more common than tweed because the climate isn’t suitable in much of the region–that said. the Upper South still has snowy winters. And Virginia horse country is fertile ground for the English country squire look, The Trad set in New England tend to be a lot more purist.

  14. NaturalShoulder | March 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm |

    Good idea with poll. Like JK, I went with E but am more B&C.

  15. I’m with Boston Bean, I’m more of a A/B combo (ironically, I, too, live in Boston)

  16. Mr. Wyllys | March 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm |

    I Picked C…but In hindsight I should have gone with E…I don’t want to be associated with Wasp 101…no matter how much of an anglophile I am…

  17. I would have preferred the survey without the E option, but loved the exercise being a part of the sites capability? Good job.

  18. Mr. Wyllys | March 3, 2013 at 5:42 pm |

    I’m actually sorta suprised that anyone voted D. This doesn’t seem like a place I would want to be if I were a fashion prep guy…

  19. Ditto Dave & Boston bean , I’d combine A & B.

  20. Orgastic future | March 3, 2013 at 11:18 pm |

    Well according to my tastes as per what the poll says “I probably am”……my girlfriend is in for some pretty disappointing news lol

  21. I been dressing “B” all my life. Nothing is more comfortable than a navy blazer, khakis, and repp tie. My favorite button down shirts are either the blue or burgundy candy stripes. The rumpled bucket cap mimics the battered Hanna I’ve been wearing all winter.

    Yes, I’m a “B”, an old rumpled “B”, but a “B” nevertheless.

  22. I know it’s meant to be tongue and cheek, but I find it pretty insensitive to suggest that one is gay because they fall into the “D” category. For one, people’s sexuality should never be the butt of a joke. Secondly, who would actually want to vote/identify with “D” given that you’re suggesting their sexuality should be called into question?

  23. What the hell is wrong with wanting to look elegant.

    Astaire was elegant and not Ivy. Grant was elegant and not Ivy. Fairbankls Jr. was elegant and not Ivy.

  24. Christian | March 4, 2013 at 7:53 am |

    Your hardcore type B is not into cool or elegant.

    I think of myself as a bit of everything, hence category E, which was created so I’d have a box to click.

    Oddly enough, it’s been in the lead since the beginning.

  25. Voted A but am now leaning more towards E. Some days I’m more Dobie Gillis (Gant plaids and Weejuns) and some days I’m more frat guy at the Duke game circa 1983 (pink ocbd’s, Bean khakis and boat shoes) often with much intermingling between the two.

  26. I can’t vote. I am an “A” but I am not English. Big problem… really big problem. O

  27. I voted C but I tend to be more Italian than WASP 101. Think
    Luciano Barbera, Brunello Cucinelli and Luca di montezemolo.


  28. @Max Sand, the implication being that the English all stink and have wonky teeth eh? Always nice to base your humor on a wellspring of spite I suppose. Enjoy your straight teeth.

  29. Christian | March 4, 2013 at 9:49 am |

    Note use of word “possible.”

  30. I’m a B with a dash of D. As a Texan, I can’t completely exclude denim from my wardrobe, even though it doesn’t really have an acceptable place in the Ivy canon. However, my adoption of Ivy pieces is neither cosplay or fashion-forward, hence B rather than the other options.

  31. I just love the classic Ivy League style. There seems to be no box to tick for me.
    To me the style just represents a wonderful way of dressing.
    With great respect from a Geman in London.

  32. With great respect, please stop being so obsequious in your comments. Nothing casts more doubt on one’s sincerity on the Internet than excessive politeness.

  33. Goal is B when finances allow.

  34. But I’m German!

  35. I suggest you go with “it’s possible you are a fashion whore” in section E, that should fix it on the next go round.

  36. Forgive me, section D

  37. Ted, I’ve spent a lot of time in the Lone Star State in recent years. Great people, great culture.

    The old khakis–Red Wing 1155–plaid button down combo is a winner.

  38. William Henry | March 4, 2013 at 11:18 am |

    Great question. I’m “B” all the way. I’m from the south, and I like things that look classy in any decade.

  39. A solid E here.

    I live in a house built in 1840. I like old houses and would jump off a bridge if I had to live in the “new construction” trash of today, but I have plumbing and central air and heat.

    We as humans evolve. That doesn’t mean we abandon the past but we can adapt tradition to our present day circumstances.

  40. Marcus Smith | March 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm |

    Wow. I think I was wearing the outfit described in “B” a couple of days before this poll came out, and I’m Southern. Scary.

  41. Aren’t all the ‘B’ items Heyday–striped Oxford BD, raglan trench, sack blazer and plain front trou. Tassel mocs are definitely Heyday, if not as ubiquitous and celebrated as the Weejun.

    Isn’t the only difference the width of ties and lapels?

  42. @”Paul” I’m sorry if you thought I was implying that “the English all stink and have wonky teeth”. I didn’t mean all, but come on it is most if not the vast majority of them. Just the other day I read on that English Ivy site that the moderator splashes cologne on himself in lieu of bathing. Gross. And as far as the teeth, haven’t you seen Austin Powers. Case closed. Thankyou, I do enjoy my straight teeth, it is alot of work, brushing, flossing, whitening, but it’s worth it. My boyfriend always tells me I have a “beautiful smile.” 😀

  43. Christian | March 4, 2013 at 4:03 pm |

    Dammit, no wisecracks about English teeth or trendy gay men!

  44. I’m option E) Your primary style inspiration is the Ivy heyday of the ’10s and ’20s.

  45. S.E.
    Is my memory failing or did most all sweaters and outerwear of my youth have raglan shoulders?

  46. How about I actually attended an Ivy League university and I wear the clothes I was raised to wear. Brooks as a kid, J. Press as a post-doc, Andover Shop in middle age. Is that a legitimate answer to your poll?

  47. the age of each poll taker would be interesting to know

  48. Christian | March 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm |


    Of course. None of that has prevented you from being one of the site’s readers.

  49. Bravo Boston! The real deal! A man who has stayed true to his Ivy roots. Authentic comes to mind.

  50. Raglan Shetlands, raglan raincoats. Yes indeed.

    It really is just dimensions, isn’t it? Roughly a quarter to half an inch.

    So I guess 3.5″ is more timeless than the (maybe) 2 7/8″ we see on the Stanley Blacker model.

    Rule of the Golden Mean. 3 to 3.25″.

  51. I like the classics yet there are some classics I wouldn’t be caught dead in…..tassel loafers come mind. A navy blazer with metal buttons also sleeves me out. Growing up in the 50’s & 60’s, my parents were in retail (women’s shoes) so I was always around some form of fashion. I was also always around the radio and rock ‘n roll which became my life’s passion. Rock and Ivy, Trad or Prep historically have a hard time mixing…..unless you look at photos of the Beatles and Stones and other British Invasion bands circa ’64 to ’66. There you’ll see a perfect marriage of rock and impeccable dress. Over the years I’ve adapted my style to those looks, pin stripe jackets, club collars, knit ties etc. I rock plenty of tweed in the fall and winter and worship my madras and seersucker in the summer. I’m a 61 year old rock jock on a classic rock station in Chicago, so on most days I’m business on the top, party on the bottom……that means jeans…or chinos. I relate a lot to “D”, minus the short jacket approach. And I thought the gay comment unnecessary and offensive. I only discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago and enjoy it very much. Even turned my wife on to it. Sorry for the long-windedness.

  52. Honest Abe | March 4, 2013 at 9:19 pm |

    The gay comment, far from being offensive, hit the nail on the head.

  53. Ironchefsakai | March 5, 2013 at 9:26 am |

    I agree with a few of the D’s on jeans. I think there’s an ocean of difference between “fashion prep” and Ivy-influenced…but with jeans substituted for chinos. I know it is not part of the traditional Ivy Heyday uniform, but denim is certainly an age-old American tradition, and I’d argue that it was worn by Ivy students as soon as they were able to do so (see Christian’s large article about the Rise and Fall of the Ivy Look, and associated pictures from the ’70s, though those styles of course dismissed with the whole tie/blazer look altogether). I think that most youths in today’s America would be looked at cock-eyed for wearing khakis or chinos rather than jeans, and since Ivy Style is a student/youth-generated fashion concept, I think it’s safe to allow some leeway and evolution.

  54. Honest Abe: Change the word gay to black. Are you still far from being offensive? I think the point a few folks have made is that it was unnecessary.

  55. Christian | March 5, 2013 at 9:33 am |

    What if we change the word gay to black but then also change the style from fashion prep to hip hop?

  56. Also “A,” but not English.

  57. Honest Abe | March 5, 2013 at 10:57 am |

    @M Arthur

    Black Ivy is far more traditional than Gay Ivy.

  58. Another choice should be, “I have to wear a suit to work, so I can’t choose any of these.”

  59. Gracious! Look at the kerfuffle caused by Mr. Chensvold’s intemperate use of a word! My, how things fall apart when no humor is allowed.

    How about we replace “gay” with “of an other-than-majority sexual preference”? It’s not clunky in the least, and manages to avoid that horribly discriminatory and offensive word “gay.”

  60. We Ivy-phile are a minority and should find common ground with the LGBT community, they represent about 3.5 percent of the general population. Looking around the office we represent even less. I have been bullied and oppressed my whole life for trouser cuffs, surcingle belts and a penny loafer fetish, also for being a member of HICWT community.

  61. I was surprised by the Gay description utilized in “D” and likewise found it offensive. Perhaps if your poll was constructed of a series of questions and one of them happened to ask: gay or straight? it would have been less offensive. I would be curious of the acceptability of this post over at Huffington? By the way, am I the only one that sees a correlation in the combined A, B, C & E responses (85%) to the marginal retailers advertising on the site.

  62. Richard Meyer | March 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm |

    David V is right on. As for me, I wear a mix: Chipp bespoke and Field English Tailors bespoke suits and jackets, mostly J Press ties, Mercer and troy Guild shirts, English shoes and Belgians. Most jackets have minimally padded shoulders, all have deep side vents. no real pattern here-it’s just what I prefer.

  63. Just now realizing the old age of your readership.

  64. Mr. Wyllys | March 5, 2013 at 4:09 pm |

    @Jack…I’m still young and I find this a pretty friendly environment to all ages of ivy wearers for the most part…And I agree with MAC…(I hope he wasn’t being sarcastic)… In highschool, dressing traditionally, or as traditionally as I could afford, I was always called gay, I’m not homosexual but it has given me a certain amount of symapthy with the gay community…all that said I thought that Christian’s letter D jab was all in good fun and nothing to worry about…

  65. Mr. Wyllys
    I was being sarcastic with an element of truth. I’m sixty one years old, I’ve had gay friends my whole life, went to school with them, played college sports with them, had them as frat brothers, involved in politics with them. Almost to man or woman they have had a sense of humor in common, the comments they would make concerning option D, would make most of you, young and old, blush. Jesus ladies and gentlemen have a sense of humor, everything isn’t political.

  66. Orgastic Future | March 5, 2013 at 7:03 pm |

    How about we replace the word “gay” with “young” or “old but still cool.”

  67. I wasn’t particularly offended by the use of the word “gay,” but I can see how others would be. The “current,” “sockless” look has been widely derided here. By extension, it could be assumed that anyone “gay” is worthy of similar derision.

  68. It seems that if a guy dresses too natty or neat, he’s considered a gay. Just a sad reminder of our slob society. I recall a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry was thought to be gay, due to his being unmarried, thin, and obsessed with cleanliness.


  69. Christian | March 6, 2013 at 6:12 am |

    I think gay men have more pressing concerns than being mildly teased for liking colorful, fitted and fashionable clothing by a straight guy who lives in New York and works in fashion media.

    Marriage and adoption, for example.

    Of course, it wasn’t their sexual orientation that was the butt (sorry…) of the joke, but their style, which, based on observation, is disproportiately fashionable. I shouldn’t have to explain this. Lighten up.

  70. Mr. Wyllys | March 6, 2013 at 6:34 am |

    I’m more worried about people wearing dungarees with sport coats…

  71. @Richard Meyer


    There is a significant fourth category: the Anglophiles who, noting the soft suits and jackets sported by gentlemen throughout the early decades of the last century, are drawn to good cloth and good (soft) tailoring.

    Two colleagues say they chose their (respective) profession because it would permit opportunities to dress well. The subconscious mind is a mystery, and I wonder sometimes if I did as well. It’s rare that we do what we do for the reasons–usually oversimplified and shallow–that ascend to self consciousness.

    The Heyday as a singular category is misleading. During the Heyday, there were some who insisted upon excellent cloth and tailoring. “College/campus shops” near Southern campuses like UVA, Washington & Lee, and Ole Miss bought and sold the good stuff. Undergraduate populations at Sewanee and Davidson and Vanderbilt were well represented by students who called suburbs of Nashville, Atlanta, Richmond, Charlotte, and Charleston home. All had access to the shops that sold the good stuff.

    They didn’t wear Orlon blazers (“Don’t light a match”) by Stanley Blacker, as featured in the first photo. They wore Southwick and Norman Hilton.

    Interestingly, I think Langrock’s did not sell Norman Hilton clothing.

  72. Wiggles
    I thought Jerry was believed to be gay because he wore a “pirate shirt”. 😉

  73. Other people’s readiness to take offence is another tiresome feature of modern life. I laugh merrily at Ms. Sand’s gibe about my crooked teeth and inattention to personal hygiene and give thanks that, like most Englishmen of my age and class, at least I am too poor to be obese.

    E by the way.

  74. Richard Meyer | March 6, 2013 at 11:51 am |

    @ S. E. : Thank you, sir. Categorizing ” types” seems less important than individuality.

  75. Ghost of Stanley Blacker | March 6, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

    @SE You made this statement “They didn’t wear Orlon blazers (“Don’t light a match”) by Stanley Blacker, as featured in the first photo.” The blazer in the photo is all wool.

  76. @”Redcoat” Why do you refer to me as “Ms”? Because I mentioned my boyfriend? Don’t they have gay men in England or were you just making a snide gay joke? I can assure you I am all man and people call me Mr.
    I agree with your implication about the obesity problem in America. That isn’t a problem for me though. It’s not because I am poor however. I am thin by choice and through hard work and discipline. Again it’s worth it, my boyfriend tells me I have great abs.

  77. Right. Flannel.

    Why do I affiliate Stanley Blacker with with synthetic fibers? Probably unfair. I mean, maybe.

    When did that label disappear?

  78. Main Line Philly | March 6, 2013 at 9:39 pm |

    If a man wants to advertise his gayness and his bad taste in clothing at the same time, it’s easily done.

  79. @Redcoat. Despite my earlier post I actually agree with you. There is too much offence taking around nowadays, and I don’t want to contribute to it. I suppose Mr Sand just caught me in a grouchy mood. Sorry Max. And just for the record, I’ve got teeth straight as dominoes and I smell as fresh as a mountain stream.

  80. CC: Keep the thought provoking, gender bending, swing dancing posts coming. Over 80 comments on this one post! Love it!

  81. Ghost of Stanley Blacker | March 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm |

    @S.E. Just wrong on that one blazer. This might be the one you are thinking off from 63

    The company started in 1955 and “Mr. Sportscoat” Blacker died in 2000.

  82. I think a string case can be made for a new interpretation of the Heyday.

    1966 to 1969. The late 60s.

    Here’s why.

    Ivy was still in full effect on the better men’s liberal arts college campuses. Weejuns, tweed jackets, blazers, OCBDs, sack suits, madras, Shetland crewnecks, and so on.

    But the dimensions were back to normal. Ties just a tad wider than 3″. Ditto for lapels.

    1967-68: the years when Ivy touched pitch.

  83. Gray Ivy (A) versus Gay Ivy (D)

  84. Dutch Uncle | March 8, 2013 at 9:47 pm |

    I was brought up to believe that there was only one proper way for a gentleman to dress.

    A combination of “A” and “B” allows me–at the age of 70–to maintain standards in a world that has gone to the dogs in so many ways.

  85. Sumner (Skip) Barrington III | March 9, 2013 at 12:59 pm |

    Offensive. I shall be lodging my complaint with the Huffington Post AND the FBI forthwith.

  86. I am with Dutch Uncle—-at 68, a combo of A and B leaves always feeling comfortable in vvirtually any setting.

  87. B definitely with a bit of C, perhaps the jacket shouldn’t be so vibrant.

    I must say I agree with the comment about B and one being Southern. Just not so.

    A is way too Hart, Schaffner & Marx and a very Jack Lemmon/Hollywood conceptualization of style, which is not a bad thing but definitely “The Apartment” look, consciously button-down. It is slightly off the way a jacket form Jacob Reeds was slightly off.

    And yes, B is definitely it, Crooks at its best.

  88. The word gay should hardly be offensive. Back in the true “Ivy Style” days they were referred to for what they truly were and no one blinked an eye.

  89. Seriously!?! C’mon people… If you are offended at Christians use of the word “Gay” in the poll, I feel sorry for you. Sorry that you feel soooooo hurt that someone could use a term that “Gay” people ACTUALLY use to describe their own sexuality. The HORROR!

    Thank you PC police. You have killed conversation, thoughtful debate and now… oh God…. I can’t believe I am typing the words… comments on Ivy-Style.

  90. Yeah, Jordan, I’m with you. It’s amazing how butthurt some people can get over this.

    Oh, wait. Was that an inappropriate thing to say?

  91. RE: Offensive or Funny?


  92. I chose E. D is ludicrous yet Brooks Brothers is hawking it.

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