The Ivy Barberhop In Austin

Editor’s Note:   Always hated the perception that Ivy is exclusively a northeast thing .  This article was submitted by the proprietor of Brazos Barbershop in Austin.  Click here to see the site.  If you have a small business that you feel is Ivy, by all means, let me know and let’s get you out there.

Russell Firestone of Brazos.

Opened in 2021, the Brazos Barbershop in Austin, Texas, is about as classic as they come.  The shop is located off Brazos Street in a tiny, hole-in-the-wall spot that is deeper than it is wide.  It hosts two chairs and two barbers atop a red and white checkered tile floor.  A Marvy Model 55 barber pole spins in the main window alerting those passing by that a true, immemorial barber experience can still be had, even in a city as tech driven as Austin.

Offering everything from timeless men’s cuts to straight razor shaves in an anachronistic atmosphere sure to please the button-down set, what really sets the shop apart is the Ivy loving barber and author of this article, Russell Firestone.  Not one to ring my own bell, I wanted to let all those in Ivy Land know that should you ever be making a tour this far south, a quick clean-up around the ears might be well worth your time.

One of the best rituals ever,  going to the barber.

I have been an Ivy style enthusiast for the past several years amassing quite the collection of OCBDs, knit ties, sack suits, and tweed sport coats.  Often times you will find me cutting hair in chinos, knit tie, J Press oxford, and completely unstructured Ivy like jacket made from a material that prevents hair from clinging to it.  While I wouldn’t say I dress Ivy all of the time, I do like my trad looks and pleated trousers, Ivy definitely constitutes a large portion of my wardrobe.

Ever since I became more interested in and started researching classic menswear, I have discovered an interesting fact about myself.  I tend to be a mood dresser.  My overall style vacillates between classic British and American ensembles to Ivy inspired looks.  I call it my Brooks-Press disorder – the Savile variant.  I am certain this stems from the fact that I am an American, which means I am forever trying to ward off British intrusions into my wardrobe, but I can’t help having a great deal of respect for British tailoring.  It is a madding dichotomy, aggravated immensely when I read P.G. Wodehouse, but it also cannot be overlooked that so much of our classic American style has connections back to the Old World.  Where would Ivy be without English flannels and Harris Tweed?  In short gentlemen, the more jolly well imperialistic I am feeling the more British I lean; the more bally, bally recalcitrant I am running, the more American you see; and, if the cup of oolong was steeped long enough, the morning pipe packed tight enough, and the weather that day clement enough, a certain, sporty Ivyness appears and the longing for loafers, a natural shouldered herringbone, and OCBD comes over me once more.

I remember when barbershops had magazines where you had to swear you read the articles.

So if you are down this way, stop in and ask for an Ivy League haircut or just to say hello.  After that, you’ll want to throw on that worn-in, tweed sport coat and head subterranean for libations and jazz at the Elephant Room, Austin’s oldest downtown jazz dive.  Once you have had a few, you can tip the band and make your request to hear the “Whiffenpoof Song” – is it not the obligation of the votaries of Ivy style?

  • Russell Firestone

26 Comments on "The Ivy Barberhop In Austin"

  1. Very classy, thank you!

  2. Cool shop, and love Russell’s description of his personal style.

    Ivy (and Prep) obviously began in the northeast, so while you may hate the perception that Ivy’s exclusively a Northeast thing now, there’s a *pretty* strong historical basis for that perception. Up to folks like this gentleman in Austin and this site in general to show the greater Ivy community country and worldwide.

  3. Mr. Firestone,

    1. Is it first come, first serve, Ivy style, or is it make an appointment with an app, post-COVID style?

    2. How many pair of thinning shears do you work with?

    3. Barbers traditionally wear some form of a Guayabera shirt, with four pockets, but a quick image search, and Barber Supply House search, says that has changed most recently. I see in your photo that this has changed to a jacket for chillier weather? That’s cool. (See what I did there)?

    4. It’s none of my business, of course, but I would not like to spend several hours each evening with tweezers picking hairs out of my silk necktie. I do, however, appreciate the effort, and your sense of style.

    5. Concerning the Brooks-Press disorder, it is one thing to have “a great deal of respect for British tailoring”, while it is another to have the physique for it. British cloth, however, is unparalleled. I let that be my appreciation for classic British style.

    MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: EPILOGUE:

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find an American tailor, who can, and is willing to build from scratch, a classic American style suit, coat, or trousers, using the best British cloth, and solid construction techniques, i.e., lap seams, etc.

  4. This is a good post, J.B.

    I think I love you. – JB

  5. Charlottesville | January 21, 2022 at 1:07 pm | Reply

    Very nice shop, interesting post, and the OCBD, repp tie and cuffed trousers are a good look, Mr. Firestone. Perhaps I will make it to Austin one day and get to experience your tonsorial services first hand.

    I miss my old barber shop in Washington, D.C., which was quite traditional, and even had a shoeshine stand. There are certainly not many of those remaining, since sneakers and Crocs do not require polishing.

  6. Hardbopper:
    Unfortunately, even Brits who don’t have the physique for it wear jackets cut in the traditional British way.
    Those who do have the physique for it, unfortunately wear jackets that are at least one size too small.

  7. The best-dressed barber that I’ve ever seen!

  8. Please consider opening a branch in East Lansing, Michigan!

    Kind Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich

  9. 5. Concerning the Brooks-Press disorder, it is one thing to have “a great deal of respect for British tailoring”, while it is another to have the physique for it. British cloth, however, is unparalleled. I let that be my appreciation for classic British style.

    This assertion is confusing. British tailoring is very different from Ivy style. I am not sure that the same physique
    is best for both. Unless one is a Gary Grant or Paul Newman type who looks great in everything. I abandoned the
    pure sack suit look over 40 years ago because I am very big on top. I went to a more fitted but still natural shoulder
    jacket then available at Chipp and Paul Stuart, sometimes with (ugh !) side vents.

  10. Roger Sack,
    My apologies for the unclear assertion. I do not believe the same physique is best for both. British tailoring is “weigh” too high and tight for me. I think I have an American physique.

  11. This was a delight to read. I don’t know when I’ll ever get to Austin for a visit, but I know exactly where I’ll try to get a haircut when I do. You’ve got great style, both in your clothes and in your writing. Thanks for the post!
    …And as far as attractive clothes well suited to inclement weather, the British do it best. When I’m feeling bold (or wanting to), I go for my more British-cut jacket, as the lapels and shoulders are just a bit more aggressive. Not sure how long my physique will support it, but I’ll wear it until I can’t anymore.

  12. Well dang Mr. Firestone, I’ll have to come by to say hidy. I live only five blocks from your shop. Also, can you do anything to get Biedermens to come back?

  13. Wish you had been around when I went to UT in the 90s. The Elephant Room was and I have fond, smoky memories of the music and good times had there.

  14. It’s nice to see the return of the traditional barbershop with an emphasis on cutting men’s hair. The arrival of the Haircuttery’s of the world and the unisex emporiums are all well and good if you don’t care what you look like when you walk out.

  15. Humility: another Ivy virtue. Well done – and a piece in fitting with this site’s traditional American values and traditional readership.

  16. Russell Firestone | January 22, 2022 at 3:10 pm | Reply

    Hardbopper:

    1. I work by appointment. Customers can book through the barbershop’s website. I appreciate the walk-in style barbershop, but our shop is way too small to have a gang of disheveled types sitting around wondering who he will call next.

    2. Two actual thinning shears… I have many more regular cutting shears. But most importantly, I have well over ten OCBDs. Priorities…

    3. I like to wear my Guayabera shirts when I am cruising around in South Florida looking like a “supicious and dangerous type with no visible means of support.”

    4. I haven’t had any issues with hair sticking in my ties; it tends to prefer my hands.

    Whiskeydent:

    Thank you for reading my post. Yes, please do stop by to say, “Halo!”

  17. Hey! Very interesting and right on the money, time-wise, for me.

    I am a barber as well outside of Louisville, Kentucky. No one would make the mistake of suggesting our barbershop was “Ivy”, more a contemporary rural, blue collar place. In it I am the most “formal” dresser in loafers/mocs, chinos, ocbd, and my local team’s ballcap.

    This is a long winded way to ask about your smock/sportcoat. You said it was made out of a particular material, but has a classic design. Could you possibly point me in the direction of where I can purchase them?

  18. NaturalShoulder | January 22, 2022 at 10:10 pm | Reply

    I enjoy the updates of posters or others who sport the Ivy look and this update is a good one. I may be down in Austin in early spring and, if I am, I will try to stop in and say hello and get a shave.

  19. born and raised Austinite – still here, drowning in California refugees… they make no attempt to assimilate, but bring their obnoxious self centeredness and their love affair of franchises and materialism along with them… how very un-Texan! how I wish we could stem their flow, but I digress…

    I shave my head – 1 guard – every Sunday… I have concluded that as a result I dont need a barber, but I bet you’d do it for me every once in a while… I’ll head down soon and introduce myself… looking forward to it!

  20. Charlottesville– that wouldn’t be Charles’ Barbershop that you mention would it? They were located at 18th and L and then in the International Bldg at 18th and K if memory serves.

  21. Lovely article and a lovely barber shop!
    I think the idea of a directory of Ivy-appropriate shops, etc. would be great.

  22. Russell Firestone | January 24, 2022 at 12:16 pm | Reply

    Jarod:

    I got the jacket from a local clothier called Capra & Cavelli. You can contact them at 512-450-1919. Ask for Ivan and mention me. He will know what you need. It’s always great to hear from other Ivy barbers. – RF

  23. Charlottesville | January 27, 2022 at 3:46 pm | Reply

    Chris – The shop I was thinking of was called Louis Barber Shop, and was up L St. a bit in the Lafayette Square building, which fronted on 20th Street. The owner was a Cypriot named Demitris, who had previously had a shop in London. He was a real master at his craft, and on at least one occasion went to the White House to cut Bill Clinton’s hair. The wonderful shoeshine man was named Tom, and he had been at the job at various shops since the FDR administration. It was a pleasure to go in just for the conversation and I always left feeling like a million bucks.

    Tom died at some point in the 90s, I’m afraid, and Demitris retired. The shop was taken over by a barber named Achilleas, but has since closed for good, I believe. However, for years after relocating to the Charlottesville area, I still made the trek up to see Demetris several times a year.

  24. I think Mr Firestone could be described as a ‘Chap’. A nice article.

  25. I will be traveling to Austin in mid April and will be getting a haircut at the shop. Will be staying at The Driskill Hotel which is a 2 minute walk from the shop. Good times! Thank you for the tip-love great barber shops.

  26. Gary S. Glazer | April 25, 2022 at 6:53 pm | Reply

    I made it to the shop over Easter weekend and the place is amazing.Russell is an incredible barber, does a terrific straight razor shave and is extremely knowledgeable on all things Ivy. I highly recommend this shop-and I definitely will be returning on future visits to Austin.

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