Royal Style

Evidently there’s a royal wedding today. I’ve been in a blissfully ignorant news blackout for the past month and only learned of it from two old Italian guys when I went out for gelato last night.

So here’s a post pegged on the day’s big event. It shows the Duke Of Windsor — that other royal who married an American — who helped popularize a number of things that entered the Ivy canon, such as Fair Isle sweaters, argyle, and much more. His “soft” approach to dressing was also likely hugely influential on the development of WASP style in the ’20s and ’30s.

I found this pleasant pic of him in double-breasted blazer and blue canvas sneakers. Now the greatest photographic memory in Tradsville I’ve come across is that of our frequent contributor Chris Sharp, from whom we haven’t heard in quite a while. But the above image got me thinking that it must have been an influence on photographer Bruce Weber at the stylists at Polo during the ’80s. It’s a sort of combination of this guy’s shoes:

With this outdoor, legs-crossed shot:

And actually it just made me think of that passage in “The Final Club” about tailored clothing and blue sneakers:

Booth’s houndstooth, cut for his father on Savile Row by Huntsman during the Battle of Britain, was pinched at the waist; the boy rescued his presentation from foppery with a black knit tie and faded blue canvas Top-Sider sneakers, spattered by specks of bronze boat-bottom paint.

Try it yourself. — CC

13 Comments on "Royal Style"

  1. Mitchell S. | May 19, 2018 at 5:14 pm |

    It appears the Duke is wearing blue suede shoes. If you Google “blue suede shoes Duke of Windsor,” the first image that appears is the same one used above.

    Canvas shoes are basically sneakers and I seriously doubt the Duke of Windsor would have worn sneakers with a suit.

  2. Mitchell S. | May 19, 2018 at 5:16 pm |

    I meant to say blazer. Sorry.

  3. Mitchell, canvas sneakers with a blazer sounds like a nice, casual look to me.

    I love that ad with Tom Moore. There’s a similar one that comes to mind of him wearing a white (presumably cotton) turtleneck, ivory trousers, navy blazer and white canvas sneakers on a beach. Let me see if I can find it…

  4. Richard Meyer | May 20, 2018 at 6:24 am |

    The ads with Tom Moore were great! I read The Final Club a few years ago and thought it OK but not great, although the author got the sartorial details right.

  5. The Duke needed five cuff buttons?

    Three or four just weren’t enough?

    I wish the newlyweds the best.

  6. He apparently wrote a book on fashion called A Family Album

  7. Wriggles,

    Re. the Duke’s cuff buttons. Possibly, the buttons were those of the Welsh Guards, a regiment of which he was Colonel 1919 – 1936: The five regiments of Foot Guards each have a distinctive arrangement for their tunic buttons, the Welsh Guards are arranged in fives:


  8. Speaking of soft tailoring, here’s what seems to be a very well researched piece on Brooks, Frank Reilly, and, more specifically, no. 1 sack:

    For the curious among us:

    “When lapels went from six to an unimaginable seven inches wide, Brooks refused to budge. And when they finally decided to widen them, they did it with a restraint that makes the movement of glaciers seem hasty and ill-considered by comparison. In 1962, the Brooks standard lapel was three inches wide. In 1963, it expanded to three and eighth; by 1965 it had grown to three and a quarter, and went as far as three and a half in 1969.”

    One significant point is that, amidst all that 60s narrowness, the Heyday era Brooks lapel was three (or slightly wider) inches. I am convinced as ever there was a Main Street Ivy (think Clipper Craft) narrowness that didn’t originate at 346 Madison.

    And there’s this bit about the Brooks OCBD:

    “It has remained unchanged for twenty years. Even today, it billows out proudly in utter disdain for ‘tapered fit.'”

    And how about this:

    “In the moneyed ranks of American life, there is a subset of men who are intensely involved in their own clothing, whose interest has passed over the narrow line between considerateness and vanity. With zeal just short of narcissism, they spend a large part of each day considering their dress, doting on it, adjusting it.

    They are not Brooks. In fact, by choosing to shop at Brooks Brothers, a man is choosing to avoid the clothing game, not so much to withdraw from the competition as to refuse to enter it. There is a humility to a Brooks customer that goes well beyond the Protestant mind-set that revolts at too much glorification of the flesh. There is a fundamental belief that, while it is necessary – and even a duty – to dress appropriately, in a manner that people can trust, it is simply demeaning to spend too much time on it.”

    “They are not Brooks.” Great.

  9. CC, by way of his magnum opus, asked a good question–one that even Charlie Davidson couldn’t answer. How much of the (Heyday) Ivy look may be attributed to Brooks, and how much to other (campus inspired) influences? The Heyday Brooks suits, jackets, and ties don’t appear to be narrow (lapels), short, or shaped. And the pants look full. Quite a chasm separating Heyday Brooks and the sort of Main Street/Everyman/campus Ivy certain aficionados of the look prefer. The plot thickens.

  10. Tim
    Thanks for the info. Makes sense.

  11. Marc Chevalier | May 22, 2018 at 12:01 pm |

    Forty years ago:

    “…Brooks will obviously never be stylish in the ordinary sense of the word. That would be missing the point. Whatever happens, whatever the next fad is – shoulder fins, pogo-stick shoes, tablecloth ties – Brooks isn’t going to do it. Not ever.

    To Frank Reilly, the Brooks look is a moral trust maintained from one decade to the next, because generation after generation has trusted the company with an unquestioning faith that they give to virtually no other institution in modern life. When Brooks speaks excathedra through Reilly, it does so with a gravity that goes far beyond mere suits on racks or sales revenues. ‘We are unquestionably the Establishment,’ he says simply, ‘and we have enough customers who believe in us that we will never do anything in bad taste.’”


    Never say never.

  12. Henry Contestwinner | May 22, 2018 at 2:20 pm |

    What makes the Duke’s outfit so great are his pale yellow socks.

  13. Really nice sneakers. Does Ralph Lauren still offer them today?

Comments are closed.