Slim-Fit Shirts Ain’t Trad?

To those who complain that slim-fit shirts are evidence of Brooks Brothers having lost its way, the brethren have offered them for at least 25 years, as this late ’80s catalog shows.

In general, WASPy preppy types have preferred a generous cut to their clothing, and the sack suit got its name for a reason. But “Take Ivy” shows that the Ivy League Look had plenty of streamlined cuts in keeping with the general fashion of the early ’60s.

So shirts that actually fit — especially slender guys — may be a tad less tradly but certainly aren’t heresy. — CC

Note: This post was composed by a slender guy with a diplomatic temperament wearing a full-cut oxford under a fitted pink sweater.

140 Comments on "Slim-Fit Shirts Ain’t Trad?"

  1. Cool post. I’ve always thought the ‘only baggy is trad’ mantra was a little suspect….and I remember Brooks selling slim shirts in the 80s and early 90s. For me, as a runner/skinny guy, going without extra billowing fabric it’s more about a neat appearance than anything else….and, beyond that, few things are less comfortable than bunches of fabric pooling around a waistband or in blazer sleeves.

  2. Sorry, but it still looks goofy. I understand really skinny guys who can’t wear full fit shirts, but seriously? slim fit just looks wrong on most people.

  3. I’m a 33 waist, the regular cut is way too much shirt for me and makes me look heavier. I’m all for being trad, but I don’t want to look stodgy. No disrespect to anyone else thats just what works for me.

  4. Manys the time on thrifting endeavors that I run across vintage 50s-60s era button-down shirts with private labels proclaiming a “University Taper” or, as on Arrow’s Cum Laude line, a “Tapered Fit”. Like Gant’s classic “Hugger” fit (on the vintage shirts not the modern kind) these shirts seem to fit a bit more close, but are not the chest hugging variety we see in the slim fit of a modern brand. The shirt label’s references to academia seem to suggest that they were being marketed as a shirt college kids were wearing, and as certain images from the era prove, this seems to be the case. As a 6′ 2″ 185 pounder, I much prefer this style. Glad this was brought up.

  5. chet stovepiper | January 27, 2012 at 12:38 pm |

    With a 30 inch waist and a 40 inch chest, I prefer to not have a flag flying behind me in the back. Extra slim is my savior.

  6. Urban Haute Bourgeois | January 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm |

    This is an interesting discussion. I noticed the model in the picture is wearing these double-pleated trousers with his slim fit shirt. I would agree that slim fit shirts are just swell and not anti-tradly, but wearing them with ballooning pants makes me think that B2 might have made a mistake–even if it was a mistake that has benefited from being an old mistake.

  7. The ’80s were a pleated decade, just as the ’70s was plain-front.

  8. Amen! The circus tent/flying squirrel look is like leaving new pants unhemmed. Amen, CC!

  9. Although not referenced in the post, Christian got the Catalogue page from here…

    There is much more from the BB catalogue to see if you visit Jim’s new tumblr and I’m sure much more excellent content to come from a man who has made the Ivy look his life.

  10. It’s not good to make “Ivy” your life.

  11. I do prefer a some what blousy shirt, but I understand some men don’t need all that material around them. So to each his own!

    Also, I have both pairs of those braces in my closet currently. The must be about 22-23 years old and I love them!

  12. Is that why you’re looking for an exit route Christian?

  13. I am all for the Trad look, but seriously, some gentleman look like they are simply swimming in their oxford cotton. The claims of something to hide make no sense to me, since those baggy shirts emphasize that extra something some want to cover. I feel the best fit for shirts comes from our English friends, always clean, never too tight, and plenty of slack in the arm so when it goes, the sleeve goes with it.

  14. Am I right in thinking the ‘sack’ name comes from ‘sacque’/’sac’ because the back of the jacket is cut from two pieces of cloth? Rather than it being “like a potato sack”? I thought that name was just a coincidence? Some of the Japanese guys into the ivy style have sack jackets tailored really quite slim.

  15. Kevin Williams | January 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm |

    Wouldn’t it be nice if all the BB’s shirts were still made in the US. In my town, they have to go to the back room to find the few all cotton, untreated shirts still made in the US. And then, they only have 2 or 3 colors. Oh, and the shirts they sell at their outlet stores? Now those are a joke.

  16. @Christian opined:

    “It’s not good to make “Ivy” your life.”

    Well put. That means you’ll invariably get a bit psycho-defensive of “your life”. If that’s “your life” then anyone with a differing opinion will no doubt be viewed as personally attacking you.

    @Young Ivy snarked:

    “Is that why you’re looking for an exit route Christian?”

    I guess I missed the part in the interweb rulebook wherein a blog has to last for all eternity. Every blog, forum, website etc. has a lifespan. I don’t know if CC is growing tired of blogging or not, but what number of days/months/years would meet your (irrelevant) approval? My guess is….one more day than whenever he decides to stop doing it.

  17. Gents, if your Brooks shirts fit like the illustration of the model above, you would do far better with the women than dressing Trad baggy to impress your buddies. No?

  18. An SA explained that the Traditional and Slim Fits were “H” shaped, while the Regular and Extra-Slim Fits were “V” shaped. They complement different body types, and everyone has some leeway in the cut of their shirts.

    However, lanky men can pull off blousy shirts better than anyone because the garment balances their physique, so approach that rack of extra-slim fits with a bit of caution. Slim fit clothing can make a skinny man look awkward.

  19. Dutch Uncle | January 27, 2012 at 9:29 pm |

    All this shows is that Brooks Brothers decided to increase sales in the 1980s by appealing to narcissistic customers.

  20. Boston Bean | January 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |

    @Dutch Uncle

    Yes, indeed, the Gigolo Look is not a recent BB creation, it has its roots in the 1980s.

  21. @Dutch Uncle


    “narcissistic” = not fat.

  22. NaturalShoulder | January 28, 2012 at 8:25 am |

    I think the idea that wearing anything but the traditional fit makes one less “trad” is silly. I prefer a shirt that actually fits. For my OCBDs I like a bit more room than broadcloth or pinpoint shirts I wear with suits.

  23. The fitted shirts need to be taken with a grain of salt. Only the most athletic builds will look good in them. At my athletic pinnacle 30 years ago, I looked emasciated rather than sexy in a fitted shirt. Tall men like myself (6′ 3″) will look like escapees from a TB sanitarium.

    A young man around 5′ 10, 160 pounds will look good in a fitted shirt. The girls will love him. Forget the tie, and leave half unbuttoned. Wear a gold chain around the neck and watch the babes crawl all over. Trouble will soon follow.

    I’ll stick with full cut OCBDs.

  24. I’m yet again shocked at the incompetence of Christian Chensvold. Everything about his post that needed to be corrected has been from the sack suit’s name, to the early athletic cuts in the sixties shirts from Gant. etc. CC really knows sod all about the subject he has the nerve to attempt to talk with knowledge of, but then journalism is learnt in a morning, mastered in a day.

  25. Nothing like sour grapes for breakfast, eh, Mr. Bloggy?

  26. @Mr Bloggy

    “shocked” i tell you, shocked!

    See my comment about what happens to you when you make Ivy “your life”.

  27. I don’t think he’s talking about a life, just some slack journalism. No need to personalise these things.

  28. I don’t recall the chronology, but at some time, maybe in the late 70’s or early 80’s, Brooks Brothers discontinued the University Shop or whatever it was called, maybe something else, I don’t recall the exact term. It was about the same time they began to offer the slim-fit shirts, because in effect those shirts filled the gap that used to be filled by the University Shop, in other words shirts not extremely voluminous for younger men who may be slimmer than older men.

  29. I really enjoy looking at old ads, especially those with illustrations.

  30. … And a life long love of Ivy sounds rather swell to me.

  31. I am shocked, if this guy was passing himself off as a chef I think he’d be hard pressed to make some toast…. basic levels of misunderstanding about his subject. Or do you not what facts and quality in your journalism?

  32. This is just another typical throw away post from someone more bothered by his profile than his subject matter, and you chumps lap it up. Yet again.

  33. His heart’s not in it.I wouldn’t get too hung up, it’ll be all over soon… just as soon as Christian can find someone daft enough to take the blog off his sweaty hands. Don’t hold your breath though.

    Good news! The Great Gatsby will soon be in our Cinemas and with it Dandyism will, no doubt, be back in the public eye. Christian could flounce off back to that little world, make a quick buck and leave the rest of us to it. At least he seemed to care about Dandyism. At least he seemed to know his subject then!

    Here’s hoping you didn’t sell all of your tailcoats and spats old bean. Fnar fnar fnar.

  34. Making the Ivy Look one’s life sounds pretty good to me. The look is an outward reflection of dedication to The Best.

  35. Wow…some really sad petty pathetic commenters here.
    Basing their lives around fantasy “rules” about shirts.

  36. @ Earl Duke
    Does the original post which sparked the above comments not do that itself with its talk of slim fit shirts not being trad or being less tradly? Fantasy rules about shirts indeed.

  37. A good journalist would be using this post to question the validity of the rules of trad. Slimmer fitting shirts have certainly been around for a very long time and are well embedded in the American tradition. So why would they be less trad or tradly – and what do those terms even mean? Also, isn’t this an Ivy League style blog anyway? Why all the trad talk?

  38. @Anonymous et al…

    The only thing you’re achieving is making yourselves look pathetic, petty and small. Again.

  39. Or asking for a higher standard here. A reasonable request surely?

  40. Single Needle | January 29, 2012 at 4:25 am |


    Aye…after a brief hiatus of calm, it seems that Jimmy’s starting another episode. It’s like a sine wave with him….up and down, up and down.

    He’s just getting wound up now. Hold tight.
    The cuckoo is strong with that one.

  41. Rather than that what I think you have is an increasingly large group of informed Ivy enthusiasts who are very happy to question these things. A good thing surely?

  42. … Or is this Ivy style blog not actually for Ivy style enthusiasts? I’d wager that Christian absolutely wants the input of those with knowledge on this subject. An informed critique is a positive thing.

  43. And is that your standard here? To try to confuse my ‘Anon.’ comments with yours? This is why I think this blog should be better. As one who works in menswear I think a great opportunity is being lost here.

  44. /\ And this is why this blog should be better.

  45. Why are Africans dying of AIDS? Because they listen to an idiot, and don’t know any better themselves. Listen to Pope Benedict Chensvold and your wardrobe in destined to contract HIV.

  46. Don’t worry, most of this inanity will disappear shortly.
    As it should.

  47. I think largely because you have dragged the debate down and so precipitated comments being deleted. I see through you. You do this potentially good blog a great disservice.

  48. Qutoe: “A good journalist would be using this post to question the validity of the rules of trad.”


  49. THANK YOU, CHRISTIAN. I am by no means pugnatious, but I would like to see you fulfilling your evident potential on this subject. Engaging with trads and, even worse, “Russell Streets” ‘ taunts are a real waste of the opportunity you have here.
    I speak as a frequent employer of James Frost Mellor on a consultancy basis. The stories I could tell.


    Christopher Lloyd.

  50. I really don’t want to read a blog read by people who think that slim-cut shirts anything is Ivy, Trad, whatever.

    Gentlemen wear full-cut shirts, jackets, etc.
    That’s what Trad is all about.

  51. Sorry to lose you as a reader. I think you’ll be missing out on a wide range of information and entertainment.

  52. @ Curmudgeon
    But trad is not Ivy League, with the greatest of respect. It is a much later retrospective cliche of the style. Still with a certain online validity but without a genuine tradition in menswear. It’s an attempt to reconnect with classic Ivy League, in my opinion, but still needs to find its way. I hope it will.
    Gentlemen wear clothes that fit. I hope.

  53. Always cracks me up when the English start attacking “trad” as if it were something real. Talk about tilting at windmills.

    Some of them even use the term PITA seriously. I certainly never did!

  54. Chris Lloyd | January 29, 2012 at 7:45 am |

    I think that just comes with engaging with the internet, it has its own skewed lingua franca.
    Keep on keeping on, Christian.

  55. Christian,

    Apparently you don’t realize how seriously some of us take this matter.

    The slim cut may be Italian, French, or British, but it is not Traditional American.

  56. I didn’t read all 56 previous comments, but I’m:

    115lbs (50.4kg)
    26″ waist

    Slim/trim fits? YES PLEASE. As it is, I usually have to wear boys versions of shirts in 18-20. Sorry, but given my hour glass figure, and yes, some males have it, if I don’t get a slim/trim fit in many types of shirts, I have ridiculous amounts of fabric pooling around my waist. Clearly a proper fit trumps any mania for “natural cuts” and what have you.

  57. Sammy Ambrose | January 29, 2012 at 9:47 am |

    I think this thread could do with a a soundtrack.

    The Steinways – My heart’s not in it any more

  58. ^ Yeah! Perfect! ^

    Christian won’t like it though. He likes “soft shoulders and Hard Bop”.

    What did you listen to when you were a Dandy, Chris?

  59. I am continually amazed by the never-ending vitriolic attacks on this blog by a small group of UK obsessives. OK, we get it. You don’t like CC or this blog. Nobody here thinks you’re clever. They think you’re jealous, obsessive, bitchy, and mentally unstable.

    Get a life, move on, and grow up already. Find a new hobby. Train-spotting, gardening, bingo, watching paint dry, military miniatures, masturbation…anything.

    Or, maybe start your own blog wherein you can be master of your own small alternate universe.

  60. Somebody started their own blog, and Christian promptly took from it without credit. Hence vitriolic resurgence.

  61. Yeah, I’m just not buying that excuse as the prime motivation.

  62. Ray, was that a charge of plagiarism? If so, you’d better back it up with evidence. A link, citation, screencap, etc. You can’t leave us hanging like that. If CC took from another blog without credit, that’s a pretty major journalistic misstep, and one would hope there’d be proof.

  63. @Anonymous hinted….

    “I speak as a frequent employer of James Frost Mellor on a consultancy basis. The stories I could tell.


    Christopher Lloyd.”

    Oh you little tease…
    So tell us some stories. Jimmy has certainly told some tall tales. Maybe yours will be true. Certainly they’ll entertain.

  64. There’s always at least a bubbling under of resentment between these two camps. I find it ridiculous that there are two camps. I don’t know the ins and outs of all this – we all have better things to do – but I find Christian often appears unduly vilified and more dignified in his dealing with the predicament. Often the more sinned against, in short. He’s even appeared the more genuinely conciliatory. There again, as I say, I don’t know the ins and outs. The amount of vitriol from Talk Ivy has increased with this post, however, that much is clear and it can’t only be coincidence that this post takes an uncredited found image from the Smoking Cat blog.

    Kionin: yes it’s a found image but, as I’m sure you know if you have even a passing acquaintance with journalism, etiquette dictates a credit.

    Here’s the exact full page:

    It’s from this blog:

  65. @Kionin. Please see my original comment on this page. That gives a link to the tumblr page that Christian got his picture above from.

    There was no snark in me linking that tumblr. I just thought those reading this article may want to dig a little deeper and the option was not given to them by Christian. I suspect because he wants to maintain the idea that he goes rooting around for this information himself, rather than just poaching it from the same few online sources time and again.

    Christian then had a go at Jim, who’s catalogue the picture came from, for making the Ivy look his life. Christian fired the first shot here. Very petty I thought.

  66. Sammy Ambrose | January 29, 2012 at 2:12 pm |

    Anyone fancy a shag?

    The Tams – You lied

  67. @Young Ivy

    “Christian then had a go at Jim, who’s catalogue the picture came from, for making the Ivy look his life. Christian fired the first shot here. Very petty I thought.”

    Oh that’s rich. Delusional, but rich.

    So, theoretically, CC used an image that Jimmy had previously stolen from somewhere else. From a mass-market BB catalog. And THAT started your bitch-fest?

    You pretty much defined “petty” there.

  68. If it’s all so easily obtainable then why doesn’t Christian take his own scan, or a scan from elsewhere? Because he can’t, because he doesn’t have one, because they aren’t easily obtainable.

  69. Chris Lloyd | January 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm |

    @ Mr. Bean
    I am currently in contact with Christian about various things including James. I think you are just fanning flames and feeding trolls here. Again, this detracts from this blog’s potential. Only an opinion and with respect.

  70. @Chris Lloyd

    So hinting at “stories you could tell” isn’t fanning flames?
    Anyhow, point taken.

  71. No intention to tease. This is Christian’s blog and so I would rather talk to him first. My intention is to get the best from everybody on this subject, James included.
    With my best wishes,

  72. Jim owns the actual Catalogue. To my knowledge he didn’t steal it. It was scanned and uploaded to the smoking cat tumblr @ by the man who writes that blog-not Jim incidentally from an actual hard copy catalogue…and when he did that he referenced his source, the BB catalogue itself. He did his part.

    Christian should have referenced the Smoking Cat tumblr. That’s the only issue here. Why didn’t he reference it? Why does he time and time again, use material from forums and blogs without saying where he got the material from? Why does he skirt round the issue when it’s raised here?

    It would seem to me that he does it all in an attempt to convince his readers, his supporters, his financiers that he is doing something other than skimming the surface of the look. Does it convince most? Probably. It doesn’t mean that Christian isn’t a con man and a hack though. He’s the perennial suckfish.

  73. I’d love Christian to answer each of those questions I’ve asked and reference the Smoking Cat but I don’t think he will. He’ll pass it off, wheel out his tried and tested excuses and go on scamming.

    You can’t get a snake in a headlock.

  74. @ Mr. Bean
    However I will conceed that James is a very difficult man to work with when he chooses to be difficult. I have long since delegated talking to him and it works. His knowledge and his archive is the problem. To have those without his sense of humour would be the best of both worlds.

  75. My policy is to credit people who have posted copyright-protected material on the Internet, such as original articles or photographs.

    When an anonymous member of a discussion forum, or an anonyous person who started a tumblr, scans a 25-year old catalogue from a clothing company and posts it on the web, I consider this to now belong to the public and feel no obligation to credit this person. If this person has repeatedly lied about me publicly, then naturally I would be even less inclined.

    Regarding the images and articles that have been posted at, everyone has my blessing to disseminate any images and articles that were not originally composed for, as I do not own the copyright to them.

  76. Smoking Cat isn’t Jims work Christian. If you read back the catalogue’s from his archive but the tumblr isn’t his work.

    How about linking it so that your members can see more of the catalogue? Go on Christian, you know it’s the right thing to do. For your readers?

  77. Christopher C. Lloyd | January 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

    Only because this highlights the problem with James. We have all this and potentially so much more but he will not comply with netiquette, etiquette or any reasonable standards of business practice.
    I write this from London where it is past midnight in a family home and he has just telephoned yet again. Par for the course, as one golfer to another.

  78. I’ve honestly come from an unbiased perspective and know very little of the larger dispute. Perhaps I’m beginning to get a sense of things, however. It looks as though you took this image without credit in full knowledge of the upset it would cause. There are plenty of examples of found objects for which I hope you’d respect credit. I won’t even talk about the general importance of the principle of objet trouve to the world of vintage-style clothing. The closest related example to this circumstance that I can think of is The Ivy League Look blog. The people behind it curate the most incredible collection of vintage, found advertisements, articles and images. It’s a labour of love and the least anybody could do is reference the blog if they were to use anything from it, implicitly or explicitly. They, in turn, credit sources whether primary or secondary. Here’s an example where they credit the original source, Life, and from where they took it, which happens to be your blog:

    The source from which you took your current post’s centrepiece appears to be Jim from the Talk Ivy forum, which might irritate you, but then you chose to use the image. All you should do, here more than anywhere perhaps in light of ongoing disputes, is credit the Smoking Cat website from which you took the scan.

  79. Ray, I think the trespasses against me from the parties involved far outweigh any ethical or professional obligation I may have to credit the source of a scanned page from a Brooks Brothers catalog.

  80. It’s not Jims tumblr. You’re failing to credit someones work because they are using materials sourced from JIm.

    Your readers, I’m sure, would like to read more of that BB catalogue. Link it in the article for your subscribers?

  81. I dislike these harsh exchanges, but I agree that the source of the photo should have been cited. All it takes is a simple “via _________” link under the image. It’s standard practice among bloggers, builds credibility, and fosters goodwill. Tisk tisk!

  82. Single Needle | January 29, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    “Credit”? For the ability to save your old junk mail?

    Christ, it’s just a damn 80s Brooks catalog – printed in the thousands. It’s not the Dead Sea Scrolls or something, although some in the UK seem to view it that way.
    Jim didn’t create it, write it, or draw it. Did he give credit to those who actually DID create it? Doubt it.

    This is exactly what’s wrong with many of the UK lot. They’re more concerned with an imaginary internet “status” that only exists in their heads. So tiresome.

  83. What a laugh! When was blogging supposed to be about originality?
    I thought blogging was all about saving readers the time and trouble of surfing the entire Web looking for interesting stuff. If a blog features an illustration that interests me, I don’t care where it came from. Thanks, Christian, for sharing this BB illustration with us.

    By the way, I may have modern ideas about supposed “plagiarism” (as if there were such a thing as originality), but I am old-fashioned enough to fully agree that slim-fit shirts should be worn by the baseball cap and flip-flop crowd.

  84. Originality is nothing but judicious imitation.


    The difference between a bad artist and a good one is: the bad artist seems to copy a great deal; the good one really does.


  85. @Philologue

    Unfortunately, my crystal ball tells me that at some time in the future, some supposedly-Ivy enthusiasts will be claiming that flip flops, baseball caps, Crocs, and muscle shirts are part of the Ivy canon, along with extra slim fit OCBD shirts.

  86. BlazersKhakisNattys | January 29, 2012 at 11:42 pm |

    Slim Fit works for me; I found that the Extra Slims just bunched up into the armpits and around the chest but were still a tad baggy in the waist. Too bad Brooks is only offering the “fun” shirts in X-slim.

    Oh, I mean, something about this site being impure and such.

  87. Chris Lloyd | January 30, 2012 at 3:32 am |

    @ Single Needle

    Agreed that the isue of credit seems like a red herring. I suspect that other things are being talked about here under the guise of discussing an old catalogue.
    Why should saving your old junk mail be a virtue? It shouldn’t, until you reach some kind of critical mass and an archive creates itself. I think what we are looking at here is an accumulation rather than a conscious collection which has only gained a certain cultural value by the passage of time. That this accumulation lies in the hands of the biggest prick in Ivydom is unfortunate. Although, having said that, I’ve just signed the monster up again for another month’s work.
    Christian – Did you get my email OK? I’ve been having a few technical difficulties at my end of late.

  88. Chris Lloyd | January 30, 2012 at 3:38 am |

    Issue, not isue. Lack of sleep is killing me.

  89. *Sigh.* When I saw 89 comments I should have known better. I assumed that slim-fit shirts must be the subject of hot debate, in itself an absurdity, but then I click into the comments section and find literally nothing of value. Nothing. Even those that actually deal with the subject at hand (slim-fit shirts) are no better than “I like ’em”; “well, I don’t.” Not a lot of insight there.

    I think people should damn well wear what they want, and in any case it seems self evident that at different points of time the pendulum on some items has swung from wide to narrow, fitted to baggy, etc. and back again. However, I would say that citing a Brooks Brothers catalog from the late ’80s is not sufficient evidence for me — too recent in time.

    Since Ivy style is largely apprehended with a reference to the past, it would be helpful to have more commenters here who actually lived through its heyday(s).

  90. I have a 1980s slim fit BB oxford in a size 16.5 that measures pit-to-pit 24.5. A traditional fit from the same era in a 16.5 measures 26.5 pit to pit. That’s four inches of differential in ease, which is considerable, but it should also be pointed out that a 49″ chest measurement on a size 16.5 shirt is not “slim” by most conventions of shirtmaking, and is really only so when compared to the traditional fit.

    Sorry to derail the debate about whether or not re-posting a blogged photo of originally copywritten material constitutes an egregious breach of journalistic ethics or a failure to throw out ones junk mail.

  91. For the uninitiated:

    Brooks Brothers’ dress shirts come in four cuts:

    Extra Slim.

    “Traditional” says it all. The other cuts have absolutely nothing to do with tradition.

    First-time customers frequently mistakenly buy the “regular”, thinking they will get a classic BB shirt, only to discover that they have bought a tapered parody of the real BB cut.

  92. Camford, I’m conducting a poll. Could you provide your height and weight?

  93. Zach: your last line is nonsensical. How does reposting a blogged photo constitute either of those things, espeically the latter: failure to throw out one’s junk mail? The person who reblogged it didn’t have it. That’s the point. If the point is petty, if the collecting and posting of the catalog is without value, then why repost it? There is a larger argument, which is that failure to credit a secondary source might well be symptomatic of general shoddy procedure and, moreover, deliberate obfuscation. Those who oppose this whole line of argument ultimatley make that opposition right, however. The most meaning one can draw from this affair is it’s pointless to pursue it. Neither faction will enjoy it, yet both will continue to attack each other with a gleeful guise.

  94. My final, final point is that I feel the idea of slim-fit, although elastic in meaning, is thought of too much as a modern phenomenon!

  95. I honestly had no idea when creating this post that I would be hitting Tradsville’s nerve center with the double-whammy of slim vs. boxy and the United Kingdom vs. me.

    I’m tempted to amend it with something about darts vs. no darts and whether trad clothing is Democrat or Republican, just to get you guys really excited.

  96. @Camford: I would agree about the fit, except for when I take into consideration argument that the current Brooks collar is lined and some would say “has nothing to with tradition”. Is a traditional fit shirt with an untraditional collar still traditional? Moreover, which of these ostensibly non-traditional shirts is MORE traditional: A slim fit with an unlined proper Brooks collar (as the 1980s slim model had), or a traditional fit with the contemporary lined collar? Or do you find the current Brooks collar acceptable, and thus the shirt a reasonable continuation of tradition? I myself don’t mind the current collar at all.

    @Ray: I wasn’t trying to make sense of this. I fear I would be unable to. I was just saying that one side considers this post an ethical transgression while the other considers a catalog photo to be in the public domain.

  97. @Christian: Don’t forget that a “Trad Girlfriend” should measure 33-24-34. At least they like their shirts full-cut.

  98. One of the interesting things to come up here is a sort of stylist versus proscriptivist debate. There are some who say if you’re a fan of this clothing genre, then you should dress to a platonic ideal of what is correct. You can see this point of view in many in the menswear community, regardless of their genre of dressing.

    The stylists, on the other hand, are more interested in taking the components of the genre and then using them in the way that works best for them individually.

    And of course there are different levels on each side. The undeniably prep types break all sorts of rules in order to make fashion statements, while others are simply inclined to eschew platonic ideals in favor of shirts that best fit their bodies.

  99. Single Needle | January 30, 2012 at 4:59 pm |

    @Zach said

    “I was just saying that one side considers this post an ethical transgression while the other considers a catalog photo to be in the public domain.”

    I wonder if that one “side” also considers vicious anonymous lies and blatant slander to be any “ethical transgression”. My guess is that, in true sociopathic style, they justify/rationalize/explain away their own nasty anti-social behavior towards others while simultaneously obsessing over the tiniest slight (real or imagined) towards themselves.

  100. Step up everyone to custom made shirts! When Gatsby showed Daisy his shirts, he wasn’t describing them as full cut or slim! It was a given that men of taste have their shirts made exclusively for their body size and personal preferences. No over the counter stuff!!

    P.S. If you must buy ready made, Thomas Pink, in my humble opinion, does it best.

  101. A quick look at this comment thread serves as a nice reminder that if the majority of you had not discovered tweed you’d most likely still be that chubby goth kid you all actually were in high school; rather thank arguing over slim vs. full-cut, it’d be about the merits of 1″ vs. 2″ spikes on your dog collar. (Seriously, how many of you actually went to an Ivy League school? No one I know who has would be arguing over this shit).

    Just purchase what-the-fuck fits you best. Then ask the salesperson if their spring line-up includes a life, as the majority of you could really use one.

    I’ve always enjoyed this site for some of the historical insight it provides as well as its entertainment value, but it should certainly not be looked to as some sort of style hadith for guys who wish they attended better universities and could be transported back to the 1950’s. Seriously, do all you numb-nuts sit around berating the guy in the next cubicle at work because he wears spread collars? Or snickering at a guy on the subway who wears a darted jacket? I’m guessing that it’s more likely you who is the object of your co-workers’ derision.

  102. Dickey Greenleaf | January 30, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

    Slim fit, takes away the fuss, making boring a little more decked out.

  103. Herringbone | January 30, 2012 at 9:49 pm |


    Those guys in the next cubicles not only like spread collars and darted jackets, but slim fit shirts as well.

  104. Marlborough | January 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm |

    Why doesn’t anyone come out and say that we don’t like the slim fit because we don’t want to look gay?

  105. What does it say on the J.Press website? “All dress shirts are full cut”.

    That’s the essence of the matter: If a shirt isn’t full cut, it’s not a dress shirt,

  106. Bro’s, Bro’s! What is going on here? Bickering about clothes. Is it really that serious?

  107. Yes, Simulacrum, it’s that serious. It’s a reflection of declining standards, of the loss of continuity, of betraying tradition.

  108. Indignant Fat Guy | January 31, 2012 at 2:12 am |

    Yes, it’s virtually the end of civilized society as we know it.

    We are mere steps away from a Mad Max anarchy situation with thin people in slim shirts ruling over the rest of us fatties like demonic feudal lords.

  109. Pride of Boston | January 31, 2012 at 3:09 am |

    @Back Bay

    Oh, does this happen to be the same J Press that collaborated with Urban Outfitters to create clothing with 50 percent polyester, radically slim cuts, and sourced from third world countries

  110. @Pride of Boston

    J. Press does that so they won’t go bankrupt and can continue to supply gentlemen with proper clothing

  111. Chris Lloyd | January 31, 2012 at 4:22 am |

    @ Single Needle

    The danger is that by reacting to these things you only encourage them and reinforce the unfortunate perception that these tactics work. When I first encountered Russell Street, as he was then, he was touting himself as a “guerrila viralist”, a typically Russell Street job title. To my eternal shame he was employed as a consultant in that role until it was apparent that 99% of what he had to offer was completely illegal let alone unethical.
    He knows clothes, his current engagement with us, but beyond that he is an absolute stranger to the ten commandments. Don’t feed the trolls is the only advice I can offer.

  112. The real beef is you(cc), sighted an 80’s catalogue to defend the wearing of slim-fit, where as anyone with any knowledge of the subject knows that they started doing them about 20 years prior to that.

    You really know jack-shit , that is why people get pissed.

  113. I reread this 150-word post that tore a small hole in the Ivy universe and nowhere does it claim to chart the history of shirt cuts offered by Ivy clothiers. If I were interested in such minutiae I have a broad network of associates at 346 Madison Avenue and other places that I could ask.

    My father tells me there are guys in the model-train community similar to the nut cases here.

    Blogs are cheap to run and lots of fun. The UK really needs one.

    Though I should mention that I just registered the URL, so I’m afraid if want that address you’ll have to buy it from me.

  114. Chris Lloyd | January 31, 2012 at 5:57 am |

    @ Mr. Bloggy

    I am sorely tempted to buy the catalogue from James and give it to Christian. What then?
    My advice is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. This blog has great potential, whatever Christan’s plans for its future may be. It is well established, well read and does indeed benefit from a little touch of infamy. Never a bad thing.
    As for James, he also has much of worth to be extracted.
    Does Christian actually need to be an Ivy obsessive as well as a journalist and businessman? It would seem to be a waste of his time when there are so many other Ivy obsessives out there who could be joining in with him, or whoever might run this website in the future, to present their knowledge in a positive way to promote this subject. Only the beginnings of a thought.
    Rather than pick a fight in the comments section why not submit an article on slimline Ivy to get your point across?
    The problem with snipers is that sooner or later they too all get shot in the head by their own kind.

  115. Chris Lloyd | January 31, 2012 at 6:33 am |

    Not to labour a point, but the trad phenomenon is also woefully under realised as an opportunity.
    The promotion of internicine wars between the, let’s be honest, entirely manufatured factions in Ivy style menswear is just yet more ‘guerilla viralism’ (hate that term).
    You’d all be far better off uniting for a common goal than wasting your energies like this.
    The only thing, and I do mean thing, that we are really seeing being promoted just now is a certain James Frost Mellor and his inexplicable (until you meet him) talent for contriving situations for him to exploit.
    Unless he decides he likes you.

  116. And what do you know? Here’s a new English blog from one of the ringleaders of Talk Ivy:

    Doesn’t aim very high, alas…

  117. I predict an advertising free zone.

  118. Difference is, I’m doing something I actually like.

  119. Indignant Fat Guy | January 31, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    @Mr. Bloggy

    “You really know jack-shit , that is why people get pissed.”

    Those people seriously need to get the aforementioned “life” outside of Ivy. It seems to me that your attacks only increase traffic to this site , which in turn attracts more advertisers/buzz, which in turn infuriates you more.

    The internet is your oyster. Start your own blog. Try talking about what you LIKE instead of who/what you don’t like. You may sleep better and live longer as a result.

  120. “Though I should mention that I just registered the URL, so I’m afraid if want that address you’ll have to buy it from me.”

    Nah. I was thinking about starting a snark and nonsense filled vanity blog just like yours but I’d want a less shite URL than that. Buy up some more and I’ll take my pick from them or alternatively you could trade me for ”” which I’ve just had registered with you in mind. is a good URL I thought. It’s taken though. It’s a very well put together little blog actually. Lots of great content similar in many ways to yours. Except of course that blogger has a clue what he’s talking about, he gives credit where it’s due and when he gets something wrong he updates his post with an aside rather than going back and editing the article itself. It’s also more readily comparable to this blog than the one on Talk Ivy that you linked to obviously hoping to have your readers comment and back up your garbage. Instead all you got was Chris Lloyd’s half-witted comment that may as well have read “I’ll let you and all your buddies fuck me up the arse if the money’s right Christian”.

    Have you ever taken content from The Weejuns blog? I’m sure you have but it would be difficult for me to prove it as you don’t reference anything properly and I only glance at this blog when I have no paint to watch drying.

    “This post was composed by a slender guy with a diplomatic temperament wearing a full-cut oxford under a fitted pink sweater.”

    I don’t understand this bit in the OP. Can you explain it to me? I mean whenever I see photos of you I think you look about 20 pounds overweight. So, who wrote that article for you?

  121. Strangely, I’ve lost 15 pounds since I started playing golf.

  122. @Indignant Fat Guy

    “You may sleep better and live longer as a result.”

    I suspect this may also be advice you’ve heard from your Doctor many times?

  123. Indignant Fat Guy | January 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm |

    @Young Ivy

    It’s called common sense. Something you seem to be lacking. Pull that stick out of your ass. The amount of anger, bitterness and hatred in your posts is just ridiculous. You seriously need to get some psychotherapy before you hurt yourself or someone else.

    Maybe Yoga would help you?

  124. Christopher Lloyd | January 31, 2012 at 1:51 pm |

    I am a businessman, Christian is a journalist and Ivy obsessives are Ivy obsessives. A waste not to try to make that triumvirate work for all concerned. Where there’s a will there’s a way. If you are willing.

  125. Indignant Fat Guy | January 31, 2012 at 2:14 pm |

    @Young Ivy …who is probably not young at all but agrees that he does indeed have a stick up his ass that is hurting him.

    Either that image is public domain, or James stole it (and all the others) himself. Either way, he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

    But we all know that’s not really what your freakout is about.
    So give it a rest already.

  126. Christopher Lloyd | January 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm |

    @ Young Ivy

    Disputation has never really suited me, but I do admire your fervour. Yours is the energy that I would love to see channelled into something more creative. Can I assume you know “Jimmy”? Or that you are him? No skin off my nose. I can work with anyone. It’s the secret of success.

  127. Zach DeLuca | January 31, 2012 at 4:34 pm |

    I know I am me, and I am fairly certain Christian is Christian. I suspect everyone else is Jim.

  128. @Indignant Fat Guy (who I absolutely believe is as fat as he say he is)

    “@Young Ivy …who is probably not young at all” Whatever Grandad.


    “Strangely, I’ve lost 15 pounds since I started playing golf.”

    The thing about losing weight is it’s all in your head. In your case I suspect this is more literal than metaphorical. Maybe that’s where the other 5 pounds is? Fluid on the brain perhaps? It would also explain why you fail to grasp even the simplest parts of Ivy and also that strange look on your face in photos. Do you hear a sloshing sound when you walk?

    Talk to Indignant Fat Guy. His Doctor appears to have some good advice and also seems to specialise in bloating and fat heads.

  129. Indignant Fat Guy | January 31, 2012 at 8:12 pm |

    @Young Ivy

    You’d have to be pretty dense to think that an “Indignant Fat Guy” would actually call himself that, while simultaneously dissing balloon shirts. I thought Brits were supposed to get sarcasm and irony. But ironically,…no.

    I’d bet big money you’re not “young”, but in fact probably the sociopathic headcase James Frost Mellor himself. Or one of his boot-licking trainspotter toadies.

    I have no doubt you’ll keep getting your panties wound up in a twist over nothing. It seems to give you a (sad) purpose to your “life”.

  130. Ladies, ladies

    Get back to the kitchen, where you belong and leave this blog to gentlemen who know how to carry on civilized conversation.

  131. Christopher Lloyd | February 1, 2012 at 1:43 am |

    @ Zach De Luca

    Rather like a zombie film where one infects ten and those ten then infect another twenty and so forth.
    The unfortunate thing is that all this notoriety is just making my little James even more of a valuable asset. I’m toying with the idea of exhibiting him on tour next as a kind of cyber John Merrick. Behind bars, naturally.

  132. Are we done on this subject? I think I shall slip into a made-to-measure shirt by Brooks Brothers with just enough fullness. Try them.

  133. They don’t get the best reports.

  134. Ironic, but it may be thanks to British ivy-adherents that the authentic full-cut OCBD shirt will survive.

  135. Indignant Fat Guy | February 2, 2012 at 3:06 am |

    I can assure anyone in the UK that billowy, blousy, “full-cut” tent-like, button-down shirts are available in abundance in the USA, and will be for a very long time.

    Not so ironically, Americans don’t know, or care a hoot, about British ivy-adherents.

  136. How can you tell when a plane load of brits has landed. You can still hear whining after the jet engines have shut down.

  137. @martin

    What you call “whining” is a habitually critical attitude to everything.

  138. Christopher Lloyd | February 3, 2012 at 2:32 am |

    It is a symptom of the British education system at both ends of the spectrum: The public school pupil is actively encouraged to question everything just as much as the comprehensive school pupil has a natural inclination to disbelieve others without proof. High and low debate is therefore a national pastime. Everything passes through an ingrained ctitical filter.

  139. I am aware of the “baggy is trad” mantra, but I must admit I’ve never actually seen in it real life. Perhaps they’re not truly “trad”, but the wasps and preps I know all wear properly fitting clothes. To wear a button-up that billows and sags around the midsection is seen as the equivalent of a child raiding daddy’s closet. People who wear dress shirts or a suit that has not been tailored by a professional (not those morons at Men’s Wearhouse) are seen as impostors — lower class fools who want to look classy but don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Maybe I’m just too young to understand how things used to be, but it seems to me like it would be more trad to wear nice clothes that look like they were made for the wearer, as opposed to nice clothes that were picked up for a few quarters at Goodwill.

  140. Great post.. i enjoyed the info you gave and also the insights from the comments….

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