Snow News Day

As 2020 winds to a close, taking everything with it, let’s catch up on the latest news on a snowy day here in the Northeast.

I) As we opined recently, comedy is officially dead. Or at least it’s not cool. Which at least means cool isn’t dead. Recently Rowing Blazers “dropped” a Babar The Elephant “collab,” and this may be cool or funny or both or neither. Which reminds me… back in 2006 I wrote a piece for the LA Times Magazine on high-priced cashmere sweaters featuring Curious George. Wouldn’t you know it, the headline read “Cashmere cashes in on cool.”

If you can’t afford this $325 cashmere sweater because you’re mildly concerned about the current economic situation, by the way, RB has a link where you can buy it in four interest-free payments.

II) The French magazine L’Officiel reports on the Dark Academia trend, citing as its chief virtues the important point that anyone can wear tweed, regardless of gender identification, which is something that may not have crossed your mind. Also laudable about the trend is that it subverts the very thing to which it pays tribute, kind of like a Rian Johnson “Star Wars” movie:

The academia aesthetic views knowledge as king, and its subscribers have formed a welcoming community around the desire to learn. Just as anyone and everyone can be a scholar, academia is open to all who value intelligence and sophistication, meaning it’s a particularly welcoming community for androgynous, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ individuals. The academia aesthetic revolves around the classics—in dressing, novels, movies, architecture—but it’s progressive when it comes to breaking stereotypes related to gender and fluidity in aesthetics.

Looking to the heritage of Ivy League universities for inspiration, academia seeks to emulate the sophistication and status of established educational institutions. The elitism of these groups gives academia a sense of legacy, while also being subverted by a more diverse community.

A key element to embracing the classics is nostalgia. Many followers of academia find inspiration from imagining private school life in the early 19th and 20th centuries, particularly from films like Dead Poets Society (1989) and School Ties (1992).

III) Next up, Die Workwear! has a lengthy feature on Brooks Brothers and the closing of its factories, for those fascinated by the workings of the apparel trade. And MR reports on the fate of the Lanier Apparel Business, which owns Southern Tide, Lilly Pulitzer, and other brands.

IV) Here’s Inside Hook with a story on the cool sensibility of director Wong Kar-Wai, in which the term “Ivy style” snags a mention. His film “In The Mood For Love,” set in Hong Kong in the early ’60s, is a masterpiece of atmospheric cool as exemplified by lead actor Tony Leung. And Maggie Cheung is right there at the top of my list of captivating cinematic beauties.

The detached cool vibe of the film may provide orientation for living through the present moment. Just don’t became completely cut off from your feelings and incapable of acting upon them, like the characters in the movie. This is a moment in which you need a cool exterior to navigate the outer world, and the vibrant tech-unsullied soul of a Romantic poet. Basically the fire-and-ice temperament attributed to Eugene Delacroix.

V) Moving on to the fate of masculine elegance, Wallpaper reports that the suit is already a thing of the past, according to designer Oliver Spencer.

‘I’m afraid that the suit people go to work is a thing of the past,’ Spencer says of the smart office tailoring that once dominated many men’s work wardrobes. As we’ve been confined to our homes, 2020 has seen a significant spike in the sales of the designer’s loungewear pieces, be it Milan jersey slim tracksuit trousers or dressing gowns in windowpane check organic cotton cloth, half zip sweatshirts in cotton fleece or multicoloured melange socks. ‘I think we actually sold out of tracksuit bottoms at one point,’ he laughs.

Here’s what “comfortable” manly dress and “safe” indoor activity could look like for the foreseeable close-your-eyes-it-can’t-be-real future:

(Unseen is the robot ball-feeder on the other side.)

VI) By now people not cut from the same cloth as us, who don’t understand the critical relationship between standards of dress and morale, are already tired of dressing for Zoom meetings. Eight months ago they began in their usual khakis and jeans, but soon realized that their lower half didn’t matter, and so they began ordering sweatpants, since there’s nothing to do these days but shop online anyway. Pajamas were the next stage in the descent to sartorial hell, and now a new company called DickPrint is encouraging workers under house arrest to labor in their underwear as a means of salvaging some sense of virility amid the dark eunuch-like cloud of 2020 that hovers over us.

With many of us still working from home indefinitely, we’ve all adapted our WFH attire to fit a more relaxed work environment – many of us have been guilty of rocking pyjamas bottoms while presenting a professional top half for Zoom meetings. But now, as Christmas is fast approaching, a new trend can be seen among lifestyle and fashion enthusiasts – underwear loungewear. DickPrint is an underwear brand giving men a chance to boldly show off their manhood and build confidence within themselves.

VII) And finally there’s this discussion of Ivy-Style.com from Style And Direction, a new YouTube channel that is certainly headed in the right direction to epitomizing the era. — CC

37 Comments on "Snow News Day"

  1. “Here’s what “comfortable” manly dress and “safe” indoor activity could look like for the foreseeable close-your-eyes-it-can’t-be-real future …”

    Not sure you put scare quotes on “comfortable” and “safe”. I would have put them on “manly” myself.

  2. The “Die, Workwear!” piece is perplexing to me. They say Brooks Brothers is less authentic and less stodgy than their smaller competitors, and call their style “watered-down Italian”.

    How can you say that BB is less authentic when they practically invented, improved, and innovated preppy/ivy style over their 200+ year history?

    There is nothing authentic about a stodgy style that never evolves or improves, as in the case of Alden tassel loafers.

  3. @Berkeley:

    I too live in Boston (Charlestown)
    and I was unaware of the J. Press pop-up practically in my backyard.

    A lot of IS readers live in (or went to college in) Boston and have a healthy respect for tradition and history, but I disagree with you that this site is mired in the past.

    A lot of journalists, editors, and fashion executives read Ivy Style, but they won’t admit they do because there is always pressure to be original.

    As an example, Christian wrote about matchy-matchy Christmas pajamas from Lands’ End and now the idea is featured in today’s WSJ A-head. Coincidence?

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/matching-christmas-pajamas-are-either-the-best-or-worst-part-of-the-holidays-11608213401?mod=mhp

  4. Christian, what the hell did you ever do to this Berkley Breathes fellow?

    Will

  5. Ivy Style is a private Internet company, no different from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

    Any comment can be deleted at any time for any reason, without explanation.

  6. So what if I WFH in my pajama bottoms? Piss off!

  7. “Any comment can be deleted at any time for any reason, without explanation.”

    Insert “crying baby” here. Waaaaaaa!

  8. You can do better, bluchermoc. You know what those pajama bottoms are saying about you? I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.

    I’m working from home today in a dressed down fashion. I’m not wearing a tie.

    Cheers,

    Will

  9. This is the game we find ourselves in.

    I didn’t make the rules, I just enforce them.

  10. Christian’s profile pic is very Eugene Delacroix, complete with popped collar and what appears to be a goatee.

  11. Charlottesville | December 17, 2020 at 3:55 pm |

    I can only say that the robot ball-feeder in the ping-pong pic is probably better dressed for work that the guy.

    Will – I am also dressed sans tie today, opting for an olive turtleneck, cords and a tweed sack form BB, circa 1985. I think the Love Story post yesterday along with the snow must have triggered something.

  12. @Mitchell

    Zigi snapped that with Twardzik in tow. Full pic coming end of year as a rousing finale to 2020.

    There’s more than one way to wear an OCBD.

  13. Will and Charlottesville- I’m with ya! At the office today in cords, BB OCBD, V-neck sweater vest, argyles and Alden tassel’s.

  14. Trevor Jones | December 17, 2020 at 4:23 pm |

    As someone fairly knowledgeable about both ivy-style.com and the many ventures of Ethan Wong, I feel I might be able to add a different perspective to the comments section by addressing bullet number VII.
    First off, let me preface by saying I have written for ivy-style.com since 2017, and have followed (albeit at a distance) some of Ethan’s work for as many years. If you’re reading this comment, you probably know the value of this site, but I think it’s important to note that Ethan is very well known in the world of menswear and is quite respected for his blog, his podcast, his instagram, and apparently this new youtube project (of which I am just learning about). All told, he has tens of thousands of followers/readers/listeners who take real stock in his perspective and knowledge; and it should also be noted that he works at Ascot Chang, a respected custom clothier. Now, for the good stuff.
    First off, I think it is unfair for them to categorize Christian as alt-right. This is not unique to the video, but it is quite popular for people of my generation to lump culturally conservative values into the alt-right umbrella without actually considering what they are really saying. That’s not to say I agree with all of what Christian says, but to call his outlook alt-right is pretty — in their words — half-baked. Speaking of half-baked, many more of their individual talking points are also, well, half-baked, including not knowing where Newport is (something I consider a great personal insult, as a former Newporter myself!). On the other hand, they also have a lot of really strong points, including how insane the comments section has been on more than one occasion. There have been, and continue to be, not-so-subtle references to the “good old days” that specifically attack people like Jack Carlson who are attempting to diversify preppy and Ivy. Thus, in terms of individual points, I think it’s fair to call the video a mixed bag.
    However, what I think really clearly shines through in the video is an intrinsically different viewpoint of how many of the ivy-style.com readers/commenters/FB group members view Ivy, and how many of the instagram menswear fans view Ivy. The first group views Ivy as a strict set of rules and items to be followed to the T, and things that are outside of that realm cannot be considered Ivy; this I will call the “orthodox approach”. The latter group takes a more postmodern view of Ivy, where certain rules and items can be followed/worn in order to make reference to Ivy, but the whole outfit does not have to follow all of the guidelines in order to be considered Ivy; this I will call the “postmodern approach”. Part of this chasm can certainly be chalked up to age, as there tends to be a divide not just in medium between the people who subscribe to the orthodox approach and the people who subscribe to the postmodern approach, but a divide in generation as well (given that many of the ivy-style.com community members skew older, while many of the instagram users skew younger). What is interesting to me is that the orthodox folks seem to consider Ivy not just as a way of dressing, but as a way of life. In other words, they lump together the clothes with a set of values. Meanwhile, the postmodern approach does not look at Ivy in such a light, and sees that liberal references to the style — while not remaining so religiously rigid — actually helps grow and expand the style. Of course, that outcome itself (the growth of Ivy, that is) would be up for debate between the two groups as to whether that is a good result or a bad one.
    However, one thing I think both groups can agree on is that there are certain things that are unquestionably Ivy. Loafers? OCBDs? Tweed jackets? Yes, they’re Ivy, there’s no denying that. The split comes when the orthodox group says OCBDs need very specific features, then need to be styled a very specific way in order for them to be considered Ivy; while the postmodern group says that a 3/2 undarted tweed jacket, worn with a long sleeve T-shirt and sneakers is Ivy because it is referencing the look by using a core item, but switching it up by incorporating other items as well. I’m not sure this fissure of viewpoints can be bridged, as they are inherently different. What I think we can take away is a glaring positive: whether you agree with their approach to Ivy or not, a lot of guys — and specifically a lot of younger guys — are really making an effort to care about how they present themself and compose their outfits. There is a huge resurgence in classic tailoring and whether you like the way they wear it or what they pair it with, I think this menswear renaissance can only be seen as a positive.
    Oh, and @sacksuit, while I disagree with your comment, I appreciate your Seinfeld quote, re: Jerry’s comment about George’s sweatpants!!

  15. NaturalShoulder | December 17, 2020 at 5:37 pm |

    I am with team Will, Charlottesville, and John Carlos. Gray flannel trousers with a touch of cashmere which make them extra comfortable, pink broadcloth button down, and lightweight tweed jacket.

  16. NaturalShoulder- Sounds like a great trad combination.

  17. NaturalShoulder and Charlottesville- Y’all have inspired me. Gonna break out the tweed jackets myself, even without a tie. I don’t get to wear them much in Texas. Might as well.

  18. I am back to working from home, and still manage to wear a sport coat and ocbd daily.

  19. I participated in a zoom meeting last evening wearing an L.L. Bean blue OCBD, brown cords, and a lawn green cardigan with college bands on the arms, I call it my Perry Como look. The addition of the brown cords was a remedy to when I have to get up to retrieve a file or use the bathroom. An attendee even commented, “Oh look, he’s wearing pants”. She seemed surprised.

  20. ElderPrep- I’m I with you. 71 years young here. I like the shout out to Perry Como and his cardigan sweater.

  21. Charlottesville | December 17, 2020 at 9:45 pm |

    Natural Shoulder and John Carlos — Enjoy the tweeds, pink OCBDs, and flannels with cashmere. It all sounds great. Not sure what tomorrow holds for me. I had an olive tweed sport coat, OCBD and striped repp tie in mind (all 20th century Polo, and each with a touch of purple or lavender, which makes a lot of Ivy Trads a bit squeamish). However, I may go with something else since I have a Zoom office Christmas party in the afternoon and a bit of red and green may be more appropriate. Perhaps a Royal Stewart wool tartan tie (which I have no hereditary right to wear, but it really is pretty), a white OCBD and a navy blazer, with gray flannels. Argyle socks and cordovan loafers too, but they probably won’t show up on the Zoom call unless I trip and end up flat on my back with feet in the air, which seems unlikely, or at least I hope so.

  22. Thanks to a comment-leaver some time back, ı have liberated myself from Oxford cloth and have replaced my OCBD shirts with BD shirts in end-on-end (fil à fil) cloth. Readily available from Spencer and from Press. Oxford cloth is positively suffocating by comparison.

  23. Tweedy

    Funny, I regard hefty oxford cloth to be the most comfortable, especially in the summer. Though the collars are only three inches, Land’s End Hyde Park shirts are my favorite. I even get a nice roll with a properly synched four in hand since the collars are unlined. No color selection though.

    Hyde Park blue/white university stripe today with Bill’s flat front cuffed khakis, tank watch on black NATO strap, navy BB Santa Clause tie-vintage black label makers with Brooks Brothers in all caps italicized-silk, polyester/silk blend woven in England. The Santa pattern is so subtle that you could almost get away wearing it year round. BB shawl collar cardigan. My most recent acquisition came from one of my favorite places in Norfolk VA., M & G Army Navy Surplus, a cotton mesh web belt with brass clasp in the color and pattern of the watch band in Goldfinger. No Zoom meetings today, just comfortable in my clothes.

    By the way, anybody venture a guess on the age of the tie based on the description of the label? It is 3 1/4″ wide and on the short side. Unlined.

    Will

  24. Charlottesville | December 18, 2020 at 11:55 am |

    Sacksuit – My non-authoritative guess on the tie is 1970s to early 80s. I have a few like that from thrift shops/eBay, but I have one that I bought new at Brooks around 1985 or thereabouts. I think most of the labels were blue by then, so it must have been old stock.

  25. Charlottesville- I’m wearing a Royal Stewart BB sport shirt today with khakis and Rancourt ranger mocs. The tartan shirt kind of puts me in the Christmas spirit. Let me know how your Zoom Christmas office party turns out. I guess you pour your own drinks?

  26. Charlottesville | December 18, 2020 at 4:00 pm |

    John Carlos – I went with Royal Stewart, like you, but in a tie. The Zoom party involves a colleague’s husband, formerly a bartender in Seattle, making drinks, which we are all invited to copy at home. A little early in the day for me, and the drinks he is making are solid but a bit sweet for my taste. However, I will probably make a martini around 6:00. Hope you have a good weekend, and please have a drink on me.

  27. Charlottesville- Same to you and I will. 6:00 sounds about right. I prefer Tito’s vodka (made in Austin), club soda with a slice of lime. I steer clear of anything remotely sweet.

  28. Henry Contestwinner | December 18, 2020 at 7:21 pm |

    I loved Babar—when I was a little boy. I wouldn’t wear a Babar sweater, unless maybe I wore it for one of my not-yet-born grandchildren who also loved Babar.

    But never with that tacky logo.

  29. Charlottesville | December 18, 2020 at 10:39 pm |

    Henry – Amen to your thoughts in re Babar (a perfectly pleasant character in children’s lit, but not on a sweater for those over the age of consent). I hope all is well with you and your family out in California. I have family and friends there as well, some of whom have been having trouble with the wildfires. I hope you have been spared from those.

    John Carlos – Tito’s is also my vodka of choice, although gin is my preference. Tito’s has replaced my old favorite, Ketel One from Holland. My wife likes a few of the vodka-based drinks and swears by the Texas spirit, in which I quite willingly join her on occasion. I make a 2-to-one martini with a dash of orange bitters and olive for me and what, at The Homestead in Virginia, they used to call a “French Gimlet” for her: juice of half a lime, 3/4 oz. of St-Germain, and 2 1/4 oz. of Tito’s, shaken hard with a lot of ice and garnished with a small lime wedge in a pre-chilled coupe. Quite good if one leans toward the classic balance of sweet and tart. We met when she was 16 and I a year older (a mature college man, or about to be), and Sunday will be our 40th wedding anniversary, so I am likely to be shaking up a Tito’s gimlet for her then.

  30. Henry Contestwinner | December 19, 2020 at 1:29 am |

    My dear Charlottesville,

    Thank you for the kind thoughts. The wildfires were close enough to me that I know people who had to evacuate, and we had more than a few days where it was the smoke and not the Covids that kept us inside, or wearing masks when outside. Also, it pains me to report that some of the Scout camps in my area were damaged, but fortunately, others were not (I am a Scout leader in my children’s units, and I love staffing camp—a pleasure denied me this year).

    That is a lovely story about you and your bride. May you enjoy many, many more happy years together.

  31. Charlottesville | December 19, 2020 at 11:41 am |

    Thank you for your kind wishes, Henry. I am glad that you and at least some of the scout camps were spared, even if using them is not possible at present. I hope we can all return to the in-person world in a few months. I know we all miss it, even fairly reclusive homebodies like me.
    The vaccines and warmer weather make that more likely in spring than it seems right now.

    Merry Christmas and very best to you and your family.

  32. Charlottesville-Congrats to you and your bride! I’ll toast y’all this evening with a Tito’s.

  33. Charlottesville- Btw, Tito is a real person. Lives in Austin.

  34. Charlottesville | December 19, 2020 at 4:15 pm |

    Thanks John Carlos, and I will toast you as well. The aptly named Bert “Tito” Beveridge will be grateful for your and my support, I am sure. Merry Christmas to you.

  35. Henry Contestwinner | December 19, 2020 at 4:38 pm |

    A warm and hearty Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to not only my dear virtual friend Charlottesville, but to all the wonderful people who make up the Ivy-Style readership and editorial board. Thank you, Christian, for your many years at the helm and the online oasis you have crafted.

    Skål!

  36. Charlottesville- And to you!

  37. Sophia Perennis | June 7, 2021 at 7:51 pm |

    I came across the Wong fellow’s video not long ago on a YouTube rabbit trail about Ivy style and was instantly turned off. Thankfully, however, this unhappy incident has also led to my reading the articles and many of the comments here with pleasure, profit, and even a sense of relief, for I tire of the “postmodern” affectation exhibited by Mr. Wong that the commenter above mentions (and not only in menswear). I say this not as an older person either, but one for whom the “woke” bilge now rampaging through society didn’t stick when recently in college and grad school.

    The trad man blog is great, too. Keep up the good work, Christian!

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