In the Put This On article about the rise and fall of early 21st-century neo-prep, I was quoted saying that perhaps the next stage will be a rediscovering of the sober side of the trad-Ivy-preppy genre. After all, “all fashion ends in excess,” as the old adage goes, and once this stage has been reached it’s usually time to hit the reset button.
During the interview, the quote was given in the context of a particular brand, one largely off the Tradsville radar, but which we’ve mentioned here a couple of times.
The brand is Ralph Lauren-owned Club Monaco.
A month or two ago, as spring items were filling retailers, our Millennial Fogey suggested I take a fresh look at Club Monaco’s men’s flagship in the Flatiron district. I was surprised at what I saw there, and spent a long time with the store manager. It’s finally the right time to share my findings.
Club Monaco has significantly upped the number of its Ivy-inspired suits and sportcoats. A couple of seasons ago there may have just been a few models, but in the store I lost count at about a dozen. The jackets all had at least a couple of the following attributes: unpadded shoulder, hook vent, two-button cuff, 3/2 button stance, patch/flap pockets, and undarted chest. Several models had all of those details.
Shaping of the jackets is provided via side darts below the armhole. But there are no chest darts on many of the models. They’re made in the USA, at the Southwick factory, as I recall. Many are priced at a reasonable $575, and are even more attainable when they go 30 percent off. The fabrics are typically in restrained shades of blue and gray.
If you’re a younger guy or on the short side, you might want to take a look at these.
As for sizing, by now it should be obvious that you should not judge cut and fit by a retailer’s marketing images. The size and length chosen for the models may not be the size you would choose for yourself. That said, in keeping with current fashion, the jackets are cut on the short side. Long sizes are available, but they would translate to a regular. And if you normally take a short, then you’d likely be fine with a regular.
According to the manager, the number of offerings in these styles was increased for the simple fact that they have sold well. Maybe it’s the sign of a new kind of heyday. As recently discussed on our Facebook page, during the ’50s and ’60s, Ivy would have exerted a broader fashion influence without many wearers being aware of it. I’m not sure if the average customer of Club Monaco knows what tailoring style hook vents, 3/2 rolls and two-button cuffs are associated with. It’s also foolish, of course, to predict any kind of resurgent influence of 1960s sober Ivy. But regardless, I think what Club Monaco is doing is rather unique among mainstream fashion retailers. — CC