The Bruce Boyer Alumni Profile


Today Lehigh University put up a lengthy profile on G. Bruce Boyer from a piece that ran in the school’s alumni magazine. I supplied some quotes about my avuncular colleague who’s certainly inspired me in my own writings on clothes. Check it out here. — CC

36 Comments on "The Bruce Boyer Alumni Profile"

  1. Richard Press | January 14, 2015 at 8:30 pm |

    Magnificent and most deserving tribute to a gentleman/scholar.

  2. Haven’t read a sound use of “avuncular” since Auchincloss.

  3. A well-deserved tribute to a consummate prose stylist and a consummate gentleman.

  4. Bags' Groove | January 15, 2015 at 7:14 am |

    Hail the Master.

  5. His look, insofar as one can generalize, is the going look among professionals in the city. And Greenwich and Far Hills on the weekend. A pinch of classic American and a dash of English bespoke, but also generous dollops of Italian styling. Paul Stuart easily comes to mind. And Herzfeld. High end “updated traditional,” whatever that’s come to mean. From a distance, the cloth looks soft (mostly Italian mills, one guesses). The collars are pointed, the lapels are relatively wide, and shoes are suede. This is de rigeuer among the frequenters of most of the better men’s shops in the country.

    Yet again, upon reflection, it occurs to one that a more intentionally Ivy League look would be (is) one of the more unique approaches to dressing well. Everybody among the well-heeled is wearing soft, Italian cloth, pointed collars, and wide printed ties (think Drake’s), and shades-of-brown suede shoes (the monk strap captoe seen frequently). From news anchors to investment bankers to Wall Street lawyers, this is the look. Especially the soft Italian cloth.

    This is an opportunity. What’s truly unique? The harder, dry-handed English worsteds and woolens, heavy button-downed oxfords, clunky penny loafers, and heavy-and-scratchy tweeds woven in Scotland and Ireland. Slope shouldered and plain fronted.

  6. S.E.

    Interesting observations on what’s happening in the city (I haven’t lived there in a while), but I’m not sure I can agree on Mr. Boyer’s personal style. In an interview he described it as “rumbled,” and very much in the traditional style of Ivy clothing he grew up on, with a caveat added against all forms of dogmatism in dress, so he is not dressing by number and rule.

    Also, I’m puzzled why you consider Drake’s ties wide — the current ones are 8 centimeters, roughly 3.15 inches. J Press ties are 3.5 inches.

    I say this as someone whose personal choices align very much with the items listed in your last sentence, and who is also very fond of Drake’s ancient madder (and Chipp ancient madder as well).

  7. James Redhouse | January 16, 2015 at 9:55 am |

    Mr. Boyer is what Ivy should be, but no longer is, I fear.

  8. ‘De rigueur’, ‘woollens’ (SE) and, surely, ‘alumnus profile’ (Christian). Standards in everything. ‘Just sayin”

  9. “Alumni” is meant to refer to the magazine, not to Bruce. Clumsy phrasing perhaps, but not a botched declension or whatever those things are called. (I was put in Latin class for the smartypants kids and said “get me the hell out of here” after about a week; what can I say, I was 13).

  10. “sayin'” Where are you from? Try the ‘g.’ It works.

    And, hey, genius, take a gander.

    Considering the reference to English cloth, the extra ‘l’ is merited.

    What kind of reprimand will I receive if I add a ‘u’ to color?

  11. Glad to see that you didn’t muff the opportunity, so to speak, to pay tribute to our leading style writer.

  12. Back to the style in question. I think Mr. Boyer has referenced the Transatlantic (Anglo American) approach while noting the Italian influences. Looks like he borrows from a variety of sartorial schools.

    And seems to prefer wooLens.

  13. Sorry, but it’s time to interrupt the chitchat with a serious question: where did Mr. Boyer get those cool circular horn rims? Ben Silver, Oliver Peoples, Warby Parker? Anybody know?

  14. As someone else commented elsewhere, even though Ben Silver claim that the Anglo-American Liberty is “exclusively available at Ben Silver”, they are, in fact, the Anglo-American 406.

    As Mr. Boyer stated earlier:

    “My glasses are the old Anglo-American “Liberty” frames, which I’ve worn for years now.”

    AA 406:

  15. Old Bostonian | January 17, 2015 at 2:09 am |

    “Comment by Old Bostonian — April 19, 2012 @ 9:12 pm
    Re Mr.Boyer’s eyeglass frames:

    They are sold by Ben Silver as “Liberty”, but the manufacturer, Anglo-American, refers to them as their Model 406:

    For far more details, see the blog known as Ivy Style:

  16. Bags' Groove | January 17, 2015 at 2:36 am |

    A grey coloured woollen fibre can look marvellous. One should endeavour to wear it.

  17. Oh, the humo(U)r.

    So can a gray colored fiber.
    No labor, neighbor.
    Order by the meter. Yards, even better.
    Forget not that many a consonant
    is just an unnecessary letter.

    …Worn oft at the theater.
    There, tis de rigueeeuuueer. ueeur. ur.

  18. Thanks to all who responded. The community will be relieved to know that I have purchased!

  19. Bags' Groove | January 17, 2015 at 2:59 pm |

    Claim the language all you like, S.E., but it originated from one place only. And praise be to those indomitable English Pilgrim Fathers, eh America?

  20. I’m sorry, but it’s more than a little silly to claim the origin of a language as a claim of authenticity. Are you really that defensive in relation to American culture?

    First of all, which English do you mean, Anglo-Saxon (Old English), which is no longer intelligible to modern speakers, or Anglo-Saxon mingled and altered fundamentally with French, Latin, Danish, Welsh, and Gaelic, etc., and the different regional dialects coming out of the mix, some of which are still unintelligible to the English themselves. Geordie, anyone? Large parts of Shakespeare make no sense to modern speakers as well and have to be acquired for comprehension. And if you insist on place as a holy thing, don’t forget that the Britons and the Romans were there before the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes arrived. Or that, as late as the seventeenth century, naturalized Englishmen still complained of the “Norman yoke.” Defoe satirizes the whole claim for purity in a jaunty poem, “The True Born Englishman,” directed at those who complained that William III was Dutch.

    Alternatively, which English do mean in class terms, the language of the Beatles, or the BBC before it got democratized? The point is that language is not one thing with one cite of origin, and there has also certainly been influence moving both ways across the Atlantic.

  21. RJG

    One thing is certain: The English language did not originate in North America,
    (Just like Oxford cloth, tweed, khakis, repp stripe ties, flannel, navy blazers, etc., etc.)

  22. Like every other item that Prof. Boyer chooses, the Anglo-American 406 “Liberty” frames are perfect.

  23. Bags' Groove | January 18, 2015 at 4:03 am |

    Many thanks Phidale, I couldn’t have epitomised (not a word i would normally utilise, you understand) it better.

  24. Phidale; Bag’s Groove

    The English language, at least its Anglo-Saxon base, also did not originate in England, but in what is now northwestern Germany. And for three hundred years after the Norman Conquest, the official language of England was French, which was spoken in Parliament (a French word) until the 1350s.

    None of the dominant components — Anglo-Saxon, French, and Latin — originated (your word) in the British Isles. Vocabulary, syntax, and pronunciation have always been in flux and been stabilized only by local convention.

    But I let myself get carried away. All I needed to say was that to insist that a word be spelled with a certain number of “l”s is provincial pedantry.

  25. Bags' Groove | January 18, 2015 at 8:48 am |

    I think Ivy Stylists are beginning to an idea of who, exactly, constitutes the provincial pedant.
    All I was doing was having a bit of fun…may Christian forgive me!

  26. Oh, I see. It was all just in fun.

    If you insist that one national convention of spelling is right and another national convention is wrong, and pull rank to do so as though your way is the real deal, you have a very singular notion of making fun. Especially when you seem unaware that your language has always been a mongrel, and that’s exactly its strength.

    Ironic that you set yourself up as an arbiter of elegant language by invoking rules, when this thread began by honoring a genuine arbiter of elegance who advises that rules are to be lightly observed in the pursuit of an individual style.

  27. Bags' Groove | January 18, 2015 at 12:15 pm |

    Yes, I made a fun comment about “grey coloured woollen fibre” and look, heaven forfend, what you’ve managed to distort it into.
    No wonder we’re in such a right old two and eight…

  28. Uncle George | January 18, 2015 at 12:21 pm |

    “Mongrel” is a most unfortunate term to use to describe any language. To the best of my knowledge, there are no “pure” languages: all languages engage in lexical and phonological borrowing, and, to a far lesser extent, syntactic borrowing.

  29. Oh dear; poor old ‘S E’ just misspelled ‘de rigueur’, possibly because he does not speak French. No harm in that.

  30. For those who are interested, may I recommend Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue by John McWhorter? It’s a fascinating read on English, its origins, and how it came to be the way it is.

  31. Richard Meyer | January 19, 2015 at 9:11 am |

    Nice article. Reminds one of the times when Esquire, with articles by the likes of the late George Frazier, was truly a guide to dressing well, instead of looking “hip”

  32. @Richard Meyer

    Hear! Hear!
    I couldn’t have put it better myself.
    I wonder if GQ was ever like that.

  33. …ueeurer…ur.
    eur. er.

  34. Philly Trad | January 24, 2015 at 2:49 am |

    A quote from Mr. Boyer:

    “Tradition in taste is now in the public domain because the faster we thrust into the future, the greater the tendency to sentimentalize the past. And so the true classics will continue to hold an important place in our hearts. “

  35. Benedict Clark | March 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm |


    Prof. Boyer described his style as “rumpled”, not “rumbled”.

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