Tokyo Trad

Here’s a patch of prose from Esquire:

Imagine a world in which the style of John F. Kennedy’s America never ended. It’s a world where clothes are unapologetically preppy, and where dressing for occasion is still a primary element of social life. Suits and blazers would be of the classic Brooks Brothers variety (perfectly tailored, of course). Casual wear would be sophisticated enough to make it past the gates of the most exclusive country clubs.

Sounds like something about America in the preppy ’80s, right? Alas, no. It was just posted today, which means it’s most emphatically not about the States, but rather Japan. Yes if these days Ralph is more Brooks than Brooks, then Japan is more American than America.

At least the “mythical version” of America. When talking about the past in any kind of positive light, certain folks like to add the word “mythical.” And you can check out “How Japan turned a mythical version of America into a world-renowned style” here. — CC


24 Comments on "Tokyo Trad"

  1. The Japanese make the best selvedge denim in the world, hands down. Made on vintage Toyoda shuttle fly looms, Japanese denim has a texture and look that are superior to Cone Mills White Oak plant (which has recently closed permanently) denim.

  2. Parker Jordan | September 27, 2018 at 1:42 pm |

    I can’t find the link to the article.

  3. That is a bitchin’ blazer.

  4. Canadian Trad | September 27, 2018 at 3:59 pm |

    Any version of the past that we’d actually want to live in is “mythical” or “idealized.” Now isn’t perfect, but my fantasies about going back to the heyday omit polio, Jim Crow, laws against LGBTQ+ folks, quotas, higher degrees of dental pain, and a lot of other things that we’re better off without.

  5. Link fixed. That’s been glitching lately.

  6. Christian, your pipe and bushy beard make you look very suave and intellectual.

    I am a cigar smoker myself and I enjoy Latakia very much, especially this time of year.

  7. I sought beard consultation from a wise old friend today. I’ve been in Viking/barbarian mode all summer. Might be time to do a little landscaping.

    But one can’t do much better than suave and intellectual.

  8. Charles Denton | September 28, 2018 at 12:26 am |


  9. Jean-Pierre Dumont | September 28, 2018 at 1:42 am |

    @Carter Malmo,

    Which blazer?

  10. I think the term mythical works if you take it to men that the Japanese mostly created an ideal around what they thought America, and American style, was. The great book Ametora reveals that the Japanese struggled to develop anything remotely akin to the Ivy style at first. Then, when it became accessible, many of them were obsessed with authenticity from the likes of Brooks Brothers and J. Press. But this too proved elusive as many found out when they actually visited Ivy League schools and saw students in sweatshirts and shorts rather than the beloved navy blazer and tie. So in that sense it is mythical. If we were to examine the American niche that obsesses over Ivy style I think a better term to describe the way they see it would be “nostalgic.” Probably with a little myth thrown in, too. But nostalgia is a very different thing than mythology.

  11. *take it to MEAN

  12. Christians, we applaud you. You have embraced your inner Commander Whitehead, who, by the way, was a smoker of pipes.

    Well done.

  13. Old School Tie | September 28, 2018 at 10:14 am |

    Sublime. But no socks – that type of shoe would cut ones ankles to ribbons.

  14. I was going to ask Commander Whitehead where to find the original Schweppes Bitter Lemon; I have just been told It is available in the US through Amazon.

  15. @Jean-Pierre Dumont

    Both I suppose, but I was referring to the 2nd.

  16. @Old School Tie: Agree.
    My sans socks shoes are limited to my Sperry’s and penny loafer. Like buttah…

  17. Gin and Bitter Lemon. Yes.

    What this guy, a plump version of the Whitehead, drinks when the sun shines:

  18. To say that Ralph is more Brooks than Brooks is quite comical, at least Brooks makes a proper OCBD, something that can’t be said about Ralph.

  19. That photo of the Japanese guy is what ivy league looks in some minds? With *those* shoes and no socks? OhhhhKaaay….

    This place becomes more humorous daily.

  20. “This place” is Tokyo???

  21. Looks good to me. I have a pair of beat-to-hell AE tassel loafers, and I tend to wear them without socks. The fellow in the photo actually is wearing socks of the no-show variety, I’d wager–you can kind of see them peeking out.

  22. Henry Contestwinner | December 17, 2019 at 11:03 pm |

    Canadian Trad, as soon as you find someone here who advocates a return to the social situations you mentioned, we’ll listen to your folderol. Until then, how about engaging with positions that people actually espouse, rather than the windmills you’ve set up in your mind (such as it is)?

    Also, have you ever considered that despite their flaws, our ancestors got some things right? Have you ever considered that in some ways, we are worse off now than people were then?

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