Shirt Happens

Today oodles of Americans will turn on the news and see a man with a messed-up shirt collar.

There was a time when such recalcitrance around the neck (often accompanied by an asymmetrical tie knot) was a sign of trustworthiness.

Alas our nation has lost faith in its institutions. May it never lose faith in the buttondown collar. 

61 Comments on "Shirt Happens"

  1. Jim Borkowski | May 29, 2019 at 6:18 pm |

    Classic, honest, American. The man, and his look.

    BTW, what brand tie is that? I want one.

  2. Officer Trad | May 29, 2019 at 9:00 pm |

    Say what you will about his collar roll, this is a man of unimpeachable character; a civil servant charged with a duty and executed it without partisanship. As someone now working for a non-FBI federal law enforcement agency, I’m supposed to hate on him, but I look at Mueller as a role model. This a guy who is so grounded in what it means to not just BE trustworthy, but also look trustworthy, that he wears a white shirt and cheap Casio watch every day (a signal that he can’t be bought). Love it.

  3. Perfidity in an OCBD. Soviet style jurisprudence on parade. God help us.


  4. Hmm… Isn’t the term perfidy? Isn’t it the leadership that is Soviet style?

  5. Richard Meyer | May 30, 2019 at 6:36 am |

    Mueller is a model citizen and public servant

  6. Clark Lampton | May 30, 2019 at 7:05 am |

    @Jim Borkowski:
    Brooks Brothers currently have a number of neckties available online that feature small white geometric figures on a navy background.

  7. Law enforcement officers and public servants would do well to emulate Mueller – in dress and in action. Mueller’s character is without question.

  8. From American Spectator: “As he departed the Justice Department, Special Counsel Robert Mueller delivered a valedictory address in which he reiterated the main points of his office’s written investigative report. In doing so, he explicitly confirmed what many of us have recognized from the beginning, i.e.,that the efforts of his handpicked team of Hillary Clinton acolytes comprised first, last, and always a taxpayer funded exercise in political opposition research masquerading as a criminal investigation of Donald Trump.”

    But, yea, he delivered his parting shot dressed in an OCBD shirt…

  9. Boozy,

    Thank you for the correction. I could blame my misspelling on typing on my phone but fact of the matter is that I thought the word correct. Thankfully it is not a word I use frequently. It is my hope that Mr. Mueller will be center stage during the investigation of this coup attempt. I’m sure he will be wearing an OCBD.

    I still think perfidity sounds better than perfidy.



  10. Much like the “preppy” look has come to be used in movies to identify the foppish entitled brat, the traditional Ivy Style has been co-opted in recent years by actual elitist, Ivy League-educated wannabes who seek to demonstrate their entitlement to ruling class status and the levers of power. Robert Mueller is only the most recent high profile example of this. Let’s not forget that, as prosecutor in Boston, Mueller imprisoned four innocent people to protect his office’s collusion with gangster Whitey Bulger. He is notorious for the over-zealous use of government power to crush citizens under its boot. He views himself as unaccountable and entitled to wield power. He is the last person I would want to represent classic “trad” attire unless I wanted it to die quickly by association with the worst stereotypes of class in America.

  11. Used as a sartorial image, Robert Mueller is not just a controversial yet interesting figure like, say, William F. Buckley, Jr. or Hugh Heffner. He is the embodiment of the callous, elitist and power-hungry impulses in American society. A college kid may want to be smart and witty like Buckley or cool and successful like Heffner, but any young person who idolizes Mueller could only be romanced by elitism and entitlement. That’s the image I think we are all trying to avoid in the Ivy Style canon.

  12. @jerry, elitism and entitlement? Review Bob Mueller’s service record. No “bone spurs”. Sad to see the Ivy Style alt-right out today.

  13. Jerry,

    I googled the Bulger connection you referenced above.

    This book came up:

    Interesting times… and, not always easy to sort out or make sense of. Washington is a quagmire… some of the swamp-dwellers dress well though.

  14. MacMcConnell | May 30, 2019 at 9:52 am |

    Have always liked the way Mueller dresses. But, Mueller shit the bed yesterday, he went full Comey, never go full Comey.

  15. Charles Dana | May 30, 2019 at 9:57 am |

    Jerry, sometimes an OCBD is just an OCBD. A fella’s gotta have some kind of shirt between his jacket and tie. Going shirtless–at least in Washington DC–could raise an eyebrow. Even both eyebrows if one is particularly sensitive. For the workaday world, an OCBD fits the bill well enough. Especially when Brooks Brothers has one of those 3-fer deals.

  16. I’m enjoying watching my conservative friends twist themselves into knots to portray a combat-decorated Marine and Republican law enforcement officer as a leftist shill. If Bob Mueller is an ‘elitist’, may we have more elitists.

  17. A combat decorated Marine AND an Army Ranger, you have to EARN those distinctions, who could have just taken the prep school, ivy league WASP privilege and been on his merry. Instead we see a dedicated public servant and staunch ideological Republican that harkens back to the days when it actually meant something. Very sad if we, as a collective, are denigrating a guy like this because he is not complicit in this embarrassing, shit show of a presidency and all the sycophancy.

  18. Chas Humphries | May 30, 2019 at 10:55 am |

    Living proof of the argument that white OCBDs are to be preferred over blue as a staple.

  19. While I tend to prefer to take my culture and fashion insights (the reason I come to this site) with politics on the side (waaaay to the side), I have to wade in and agree with @Paul and @Ulysses. Some commenters seem to be so angry about the situation with Mueller that they’ve cast aside logic along with their sense of civility. “Ivy Style being co-opted by actual Ivy League educated wannabes?” Really?!

  20. Mueller, like John McCain, served their country with valor in the military. Both have proven themselves to be small, conniving, petty men.

    Jim F. I can only speak for myself but I think we conservatives are properly angry about the attempted coup of the president. I also think that we conservatives will be celebrating the re-election of Donald Trump.



  21. Vic Delta | May 30, 2019 at 11:40 am |

    Roll model? Not exactly. Shame on Comey. A better bud would have checked his little pals collar before they snuck out of the motel room.

  22. @Sacksuit has it right: support for Donald Trump is about anger, not actual conservatism.

  23. MacMcConnell | May 30, 2019 at 12:27 pm |

    I don’t care if Trump is nothing more than a failed casino manager and reality show moron with absolutely no ideology. But as a conservative I love his policies and judicial appointments.
    Yes a coup based on fictitious “intel” to oust a duly elected president angers me in general. Accusing any American of obstruction of justice for defending themselves against made up charges seems Stalinist to me. It’s Meuller’s MO now.

  24. @MacMcConnell: per your comment, perhaps we should all be glad for this new era of utterly transparent, transactional ‘realpolitik’. The ends justify the means, regardless. Which maybe is how it’s always been; Trump’s election simply removed the veneer.

  25. You don’t have to be conservative or “alt-right”, whatever that means, to be aware that Mueller is a dirty cop whose loyalties are with protecting a self-appointed aristocracy. Any Bostonian who was paying attention in the 1990’s knows about Mueller’s career enabling a criminal class and defending the public graft of nouveau Brahmin political operatives. However, my earlier point was that it seems recently whenever I see a talking head on TV wearing a Mercer & Sons button-down, that person is a poser trying to use the look to cover up his corruption. The Ivy look is becoming the same as a silk suit in the 1930’s. It’s as if we are now being conditioned to wince at classic all-American attire the same as we would a shiny gold front tooth. I fear the classic IBM uniform has become the marker of some new American Stasi. I’ve recently discussed this point with my attorney colleagues who tell me they avoid the Ivy League button-down look for that very reason.

  26. It is quite clear that this Trump business has 0 to do with being rational or anything else. It is all about,Sing along…,Feelings, nothing but feelings.
    This embarrassment has 29 ongoing investigations of which 0 have anything to do with “made up charges” or Russia, unless you count the money laundering.11 Federal, 8 State/local, and 10 congressional. No word from these “MAGA” people. Again, I have to keep telling myself it is about feelings and nothing rational. Trump has roared in and made mediocre people feel good about being mediocre. The oldest move in the playbook, blame someone else for their failures and why they are not winning. We are an international embarrassment!!
    You are the LEADER of the branch of government responsible for enforcing the laws and the constitution. You are supposed to be above reproach! It is quite clear to any rational person, given the history and the monumental efforts to hide taxes and white house turnover, that Trump was laundering money through Russia and Duestche Bank.
    Blatant disregard for the Emoluments clause of the constitution, utter disregard for the rule of law and our political system of which there are 3 co-equal branches of government, not an emperor, responsible with checks and balances. Thank god the courts are doing their job even if the sycophants in Congress are unwilling. Which is the silver lining, there will be actual case law re: the 25th amendment, there will be actual laws and such on the books to mandate taxes disclosure, executive privilege, legislative privileges/power etc, a revitalized citizen interest in politics etc.. SO, from that standpoint, THANK GOD FOR TRUMP
    I don’t even understand why he garners white working class support given his history of stiffing unions, contract breaches, and utter contempt for poor people (think you are welcome in a Trump establishment?) etc.? Well I am determined to get to the bottom of it which is why I picked up Dr. Johnathan Metzel’s new book. I expected more out of the folks that use this website.

  27. @Jerry: all I can say in response to your comments here today, respectfully, is that I think you have a different viewpoint regarding ‘trad’ clothing than the majority of Ivy Style readers. You must run in very different circles than I if, regardless of political persuasion, you associate OCBDs with zoot suits and gold-capped teeth. I’m sure that David Mercer would be surprised to hear that too.

  28. Ulysses,

    Take it easy. Pour yourself a wine cooler and put on some Kenny G. It’s going to be alright.


  29. Let’s be very clear, Mac. When you say “I love his policies and judicial appointments” you are stating:
    1) You support the destruction of humanity on earth, to make a few oil and coal barons even richer.
    2) You don’t care about women.
    3) You are a white supremacist.

    Please admit this plainly and don’t hide behind “policies and appointments”.

  30. BostonEd,

    Please, enough already with the “white supremacist” labeling. And, current economic conditions are only benefiting coal barons, really?

    I figured this post would bring on the vitriol, and it is. What happened to rhetoric…

  31. whiskeydent | May 30, 2019 at 1:43 pm |

    It’s humorous to watch Trumpian conservatives use arguments generated by Russians to defend the Trump campaign’s 101 contacts with Russians. Y’all have lost the tail to your kite.

  32. Sometimes I wonder what will happen first. Will Christian run out of articles to reblog, or will the lack of new readership and the aging demographic (70 year old Ivy League wannabes) die off, thus ending the site?

  33. Boston and Associates

    You all read like AOC.



  34. hate it when guy’s like jerry rant!

  35. Bluchermoc | May 30, 2019 at 3:50 pm |

    I agree with MPB!

  36. whiskeydent | May 30, 2019 at 3:56 pm |

    To help Trump, the Russians — our oldest and most lethal enemy — put up web sites that published false narratives that y’all repeated like it was the Bible. Trump’s people discussed the campaign with Russians 101 times. Trump tried but maybe failed to obstruct justice. Y’all can’t kill those facts, so you’re aiming at the messenger. It’s really your only recourse.

  37. whiskydent,

    Perhaps if your sensibilities get stressed by some of the differing opinions (albeit some maybe a bit terse) above, you might head on over to and ponder less partisan topics such as “Are Nantucket Reds the standard, and what are alternatives? What is the difference between Nantucket Reds and Breton Reds?” BTW, aren’t the Russians Red too? 😉

  38. whiskeydent | May 30, 2019 at 4:27 pm |


    It appears to me that you are the one who can’t handle a challenge to your argument. I’ll go wherever and say whatever I damn well please. You should too.

  39. whiskydent,

    The smiley face emoji I thought symbolizes that I was busting your chops. Though, perhaps, I might have touched a raw nerve. Sure, do, and go wherever you please. My mistake, sorry, discussing differing political views over the internet is like trying to fold up a newspaper in a windstorm – impossible. But, like him or not, you’ve another year and a half to endure with President Trump.

  40. Randolph E. | May 30, 2019 at 5:18 pm |

    I dislike politics on this site.

    I also dislike Mueller and other assorted deep state creeps but who cares.

  41. MacMcConnell | May 30, 2019 at 6:21 pm |

    Assuming you live in Mass., a state that 27+% of homes still burn heating oil for heat. Why is the North East so backward? How large is that solar cell or wind turbine running your computer? Is your key board plastic? You don’t have a clue what affordable energy means to an economy.

    Like Trump I love women, they love me. But then I dress well and was lucky enough to have had strikingly good looking parents. My five educated professional sisters voted for Trump.

    Racist like Trump? The Trump the NCCAP gave awards to? When every white person is racist no one it racist. You wouldn’t know a real white supremacist if they sat on your face.

    Russia, Russia, Russia ! I’m confused, is this the “restart Russia or the “I’ll be more fixable after the election” Russia or the US tech companies should invest in Skolkovo Innovation Center Russia or “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back” Russia. Maybe it’s Trump’s annihilation of Russians in Syria Russia.

  42. Mac

    What you said.


  43. EpiscopalianConservative | May 30, 2019 at 8:21 pm |

    I’m a conservative, Christian millenial who cannot support Trump due to his socialist policies concerning tariffs and economic centralization and as a man who has expressed complete contempt for the Christian faith in interviews (with 60 minutes, he said that he has never asked God for forgiveness and never will, because he hasn’t done anything that warrants confession. As someone in the RE Dev business orders of magnitude smaller than Trump, I find this appalling from a man who has heard the Gospel his entire life and can only deduce that this is a deliberately oppositional statement.) It pains me to see that even Tucker Carlson has embraced populism in exchanger for a better pay grade these days. I will admit, I am enjoying not being at war thus far and respect the advancement towards decriminalization of marijuana and the reduction in minority unemployment, but these are paltry prizes in light of Trump’s Populist doctrine. I also agree that in 90 percent of cases the Ivy League look reads ‘graft’ to me, but I wear a fair bit of it because I like to think that I am bohemian enough to pull it off as a novelty and have a very strong cultural link being from middling patricians in New England.

  44. Vern Trotter | May 30, 2019 at 9:37 pm |

    I was as usher with Bob Mueller at Trinity Episcopal Church, Copley Square, Boston, for a couple of years in the late 80s-90 I guess it was. As far as I am concerned no finer man exists. As far as his dealings with the Jimmy (Whitey) Bulger gang, we should forget it because as Howie Carr claims, those records are missing. None of us know what is needed to deal with the likes of that outfit. Those that spent time in prison, well we just do not know as well. Bob has already spent a large portion of his life in the service of his country at very intense levels. He now deserves to rest and retire.

  45. NaturalShoulder | May 30, 2019 at 10:00 pm |

    I think Mueller would look better if he swapped the foulard for a rep tie.

  46. Ned Bloughton | May 31, 2019 at 4:04 am |

    Do I follow this blog to read the comments of political reactionaries?

  47. Richard Meyer | May 31, 2019 at 6:18 am |

    Rake, Paul and Ulysses have it just right. BTW, I’m an Episcopalian free thinker. Back to Mueller-the epitome of a public servant, and white buttondowns are perfect for him. ‘Nuff said.

  48. Rockefeller Republican | May 31, 2019 at 6:52 am |

    Richard Meyer,
    Hear! Hear! Hear!

  49. Jonathan Sanders | May 31, 2019 at 9:01 am |

    What’s great about Mueller’s style is it’s sobriety and complete lack of affectation. He could wear pointed collars but he prefers button downs, period. His style aligns with traditional values like understatement and respect. My only issue are the large medallion ties. Maybe throw in a bar stripe, some woven neats or discreet foulards.

  50. Henry Stimson | May 31, 2019 at 11:04 am |

    As Christian points out, the Ivy look used to signal competence and trustworthiness.

    After a very distinguished career, I think sadly, Mr. Mueller has stooped to either personal slights or playing politics here. After two years, hundreds of subpoenas, and pre-dawn raids, he says he cannot implicate or exonerate Trump on obstruction?

    It is not a prosecutors (ok, he is special counsel, but much of his staff were Clinton appointed and supporting prosecutors) job to EXONERATE. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. If he found acts that might constitute a crime, he should expose them.

    I think he wanted to stick it to Trump after suffering 2 years of Trump’s twitter abuse. I think his staff, as prosecutors, wants to indict anyone for anything, so Mueller just said, I make no judgment.

    In my opinion, that is not the way a great public servant should act though Trump insights strange behavior. And his claiming he wont testify or comment further??? Who made him king.

  51. MacMcConnell | May 31, 2019 at 11:42 am |

    Cost? I wasn’t speaking to total energy cost. Your estimates include all fuels including vehicle fuels. The charge was that Trump supporters wanted to destroy mankind and the earth, not cost. Of course rural states with low populations have higher energy cost. Lower population states bare the higher per capita distribution and infrastructure cost.

    Trump and his father are racist because of red lining in liberal NYC. FYI everyone was red lining in America. Wasn’t it Richard Press who tells the story of Jackie Robinson’s troubles of buying a home in upper class NJ? Different times, people and societies change.

  52. Hmmmm. Last time I saw this much energy in the comment section, it was about the true identify of Muffy Aldrich and whether she had the bona fides to speak on her subject of choice. And let’s face it, who hasn’t woken up in a sweat in the middle of the night wondering “What is the difference between Nantucket Reds and Breton Reds?” I know I have!

    Btw, Mr. Sack, I don’t disagree that by the look of the tea leaves, that Mr. Trump will likely be returning for a second term. That said, anger, whether justified or not, doesn’t consequently justify throwing logic, sound rhetoric, or civility out the window– or so I have always been raised to believe.

  53. In all seriousness, THIS is an example of a piece of possible news that alarms me. And given Mueller’s well-publicized affinity for BB, it should alarm him too!

  54. Jim

    Sound logic, sound rhetoric and civility are the hallmarks of my creed. Bigly.

    Hmmm…Harvard CAPS/Harris poll has Trump at 48 points.

    All my BB/Alden shoes have at least five more re-soles in them so I’m good there too.

    Have a great weekend,


  55. Dan Roper | May 31, 2019 at 4:06 pm |

    I’d choose Muffy Aldrich over Trump any day of the week.

  56. MacMcConnell | May 31, 2019 at 4:42 pm |

    My backwards comment was tongue in cheek to a guy that basically called me a white supremacist. Evidently some have a very low bar for what constitutes racism. That low bar would mean 46.1 % of the 2016 voter in the 2016 election are white supremacists, including Black and Hispanic Trump voters.

  57. Mueller is The Good Shepard. Read the book or see the movie. The United States of America and its survival is everything.

  58. BrophyBoy | May 31, 2019 at 8:28 pm |

    David Berkowitz was a decorated veteran. People don’t pull that out to try and defend good lack of character.

  59. Remember when this fine blog used to be about ivy style and not co-oped by those wishing to support or oppose a political agenda? Can we not simply admire the man’s shirt? I made my living in politics for 3 decades but read this blog for the reasons Christian intended it. May we please respect his intention and leave the political opinions to twitter?

  60. White Pinpoint | June 1, 2019 at 1:19 am |

    I’m sure that most followers of this blog fully agree with you.

  61. Evan Everhart | June 3, 2019 at 1:34 pm |

    Wow! This has been a MAD house in the comments section!

    I am just going to say this for the record, I am a staunch, traditionalist, Constitutional Conservative. I am also a registered non-partisan following the recommendation of our first Commander in Chief, Mr. Washington, and this has turned very nasty.

    Gentlemen, I don’t expect more from some here, but by and large, I believe that we are all or at least mostly capable of a bit better conduct than accusing any other member of this site’s readership of racism of any stripe, or of turning an observation of a person’s collar into polarized verbal warfare. We are Americans, and we are all bound together under the Constitution and by civility as members of the same society, no matter how un-cohesive it currently is or seems.

    That said, I don’t care for Mr. Mueller’s collars; they always seem a bit too tight, or as if there is a tad too much starch on them. I don’t mind his collar choices and like his haircut, and generally his suits.

    As to my judgements regarding him on a personal/professional level, I don’t respect him as a public servant, not because of political bias, but because as has been repeatedly and overwhelmingly demonstrated; he was complicit in the victimization of innocent American citizens via malfeasance of authority during his time as the FBI chief in Boston. The end never justifies the means when the means are unethical, immoral, and illegal.

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