Tradsville 2015, The Year In Review

2015

Here are the highlights — good, bad and neutral — from 2015, the year that was. Help us add to the list. — CS & CC

* * *

Ivy Style gets a magazine-style, device-responsive redesign

Ralph Lauren steps down as CEO

According to The Daily Beast, college students lose their collective mind

John Simons celebrates 60 years in retail

Bills Khakis is bought, going through restructuring; Ivy Style’s full-rise/tapered leg khaki project shelved

Murray’s Toggery Shop turns 70

Death of Milton Julian, founder of Julian’s

Death of Leon Gorman of LL Bean

G. Bruce Boyer publishes “True Style,” W. David Marx publishes “Ametora,” Chensvold publishes “The Stylish Life: Golf,” Richard Press publishes “Rebel Without A Suit,” Mark McNairy announces “F**k Ivy”

Bleeding madras reintroduced by Looming Madras

Newton Street Vintage closes shop

Esquire puts archive online

The Trad ceases posting, as does An Affordable Wardrobe (its author now writes for eHow)

Unabashedly Prep ceases; FE Castleberry launches clothing line

J. Press’ New Haven store vacated, to be demolished?

J. Press announces pending end of York Street brand

Return of the Duck Head brand

Kamakura Shirts opens second New York store

“Mad Men” props auctioned

Michael Spencer launches

Brooks Brothers cancels Black Fleece, Own Make

RL alum Scot Meacham Wood launches tartan-heavy, prep-themed home collection

Daniel C. Greenwood gets Millennial Fogey column; turns in a piece somewhere between bimonthly and quarterly

“Seven Sisters” author Rebecca Tuite marries; KJP and Sarah Vickers marry; Dan Greenwood gets engaged in Bermuda wearing knee socks

Chensvold grows hair, launches Masculine Interiors, then “editor’s corner” Idle Talk

Muffy Aldrich retreats into anonymity, fulfilling the brand destiny she herself charted

35 Comments on "Tradsville 2015, The Year In Review"

  1. Chewco L.P. (Offshore) | December 29, 2015 at 12:58 pm |

    CC,

    Please add to the list once completed:

    “OCBD parties hard; posts pics of himself with Swedish models in some Xmas knickers; wins wager v. Chensvold.”

    (We’re still waiting for the pictures)

  2. Actually I was very close to adding “OCBD posts pic of himself in khakis, pennies, blue oxford, striped tie, and navy blazer.”

  3. I read the comment thread on here from Thanksgiving 2014 about The Daily Prep and Muffy Aldrich, but it’s still unclear to me exactly what happened and why the blog suddenly changed its name and stopped covering so much of what it used to. Anyone care to briefly explain?

  4. The changes were not sudden but were done in a gradual series of steps from December through the spring. The gradual nature of it was particularly odd and fascinating and I kept track of the stages, especially as the UVA thread here was presumed to be the cause.

    In my notes I wrote that most of the changes came one by one over the course of the first few weeks after Thanksgiving weekend:

    * removes references to ancestry on her website

    * removes longstanding slogans “graciousness” and “authenticity”

    * changes references to the site as The Daily Prep to simply TDP

    * changes the address of her site from muffyaldrich.com to saltwaternewengland.com

    * removes all references to “Muffy Aldrich” from the front page and About page

    * closes Twitter account for “Muffy Aldrich” and deletes all previous tweets

    * starts TDP_New England twitter account

    * begins referring to herself as The Editor

    * removes About page entirely

    * requires google account in order to leave comment

    changed email addresss

    photo credits removed

    In March comments entirely disabled

    No more pictures of herself in posts (photos are now headless). All previous photos of her face believed to be removed.

    In May descendants of new england seal removed

    At some point, according to the thread at GOMI, the infamous blocking and redirecting was dropped, though I haven’t checked myself and still use an anonymizer to look at the site.

    Some time this fall the line “Over Ten Million Pages Viewed” was added near the top of the site, and I note that just recently, perhaps in the last week, the logo font has been changed.

    The site is still active in the loose sense, though it’s clear to even the most casual viewer that the most common sort of post is the “single image,” often banal, and offered without commentary.

  5. CC,

    Thanks for the explanation. I drop by occasionally and did notice a reduction in the commentary on the posts being put up, as well as the removal of the comments thread (which is a large part of the value of any blog, in my opinion). I did like much of what she discussed and shared with viewers prior to her “outing,” if one can call it that.

  6. Ms. Aldrich introduced many of us to what was great about New England.
    I was surprised that Muffy-bashing was not added to the list as the latest Ivy sport.
    Perhaps that started earlier than 2015.

  7. The Official Preppy Handbook turned 35

  8. Pluperfect: Were you previously unaware of New England’s existence?

  9. Perhaps she was disturbed by those people that are semi-stocking her. The types that seem to know everything about her updates, changes, etc…

  10. Semi-stocking? Is that like thigh-highs?

  11. Since when is basic “google-fu” and even some simple quick hand observation on-line semi-stalking? She willingly walked into the public eye to begin with. Now she turns a buck from it.

  12. That sucks about the full rise/tapered khaki idea being shelved.

  13. Ol’Nipppy: Not to recommence beating the Muffy & Clark dead horse, but it seems that since they went public with a blog on the internet (with apparent attempt to profit by selling advertising while doing so) there should have been a reasonable expectation by them that their Kimono was going to eventually be looked under. Furthermore, when said blogger openly espoused “authenticity,” perhaps opened themselves up for scrutiny. When they were eventually questioned by readers about inconsistencies and possible inauthenticity, they went silent and then with little to no explanation made the changes mentioned above. Oh, and also blocked former readers whose transgressions were apparently just visiting this blog and a few others objectionable to them. Wouldn’t you agree that that’s pretty strange behavior, especially from people who espouse the values, institutions, etc. that they do/did?

    PS, rmpmcdermott: Good one 😉

  14. Ward Wickers | December 30, 2015 at 3:33 pm |

    I agree with BC. Noting website changes isn’t stalking. She portrayed herself as more than what she is and people questioned that–gleefully, perhaps, due to some of the attitudes expressed on her site, but it was all fair game for a public figure. She stuck rigidly to her persona, banned visitors, killed comments, and restructured her website from one that had an active community into one of those company shells she so critically disparaged. She made her own mess.

  15. @Ward Wickers
    Aren’t all of us who adopted Ivy style–rather than being born into it–portraying ourselves as more than when we are? Isn’t that why Ivy style has been able to survive?

  16. Are you really drawing a parallell between wearing natural shouldered jackets and buttondown collars with trying to defraud the public, which is what many felt she did?

  17. @Cambrox – I wear ivy style because it is comfortable, simple and classic, not because I’m trying to portray myself as anything other than what I really am. I’m a guy who grew up in working class family in New Jersey and now makes his living as a middle class journalist in D.C. I did not go to an Ivy League school. I did not grow up in New England. And I’m not a WASP. I just like classic style and the TNSIL look – which I might add proliferated throughout the country in its boom era – is timeless to me. I’ve talked to a lot of guys who wore the look in its heyday who grew up in the midwest and went to public universities. They wore it then for the same reasons I do now.

  18. rmpmcdermott: New Jersey, which exit? Just kidding… and your point is well taken that if J. Press, Brooks Brothers , etc. only sold their clothing to brand name Americans who happened to attend Harvard, Yale or Princeton it’s doubtful they would have remained in business. It is certainly possible (and commendable) to dress with traditional classic clothing without being disingenuous. BTW, ever frequent the Off the Record Bar in the Hay Adams? One of my favorites…

  19. @BC I grew up in South Jersey and much of my family is from Philadelphia. I have been to Off the Record, though since I don’t drink anymore I don’t frequent bars a ton. I’ll have to go there for lunch sometime soon. I work out of the Wilson Building (D.C.’s city hall) often so I’m only a few blocks away. And thanks for understanding my point. I’m sure some dress in the ivy league look to project a certain class status. And, frankly, that’s fine. It doesn’t bother me at all. But I do it because I think the style is timeless and it makes getting dressed in the morning incredibly easy. OCBD? check. Repp tie? check. Blazer/sport coat? check. Chinos? check. Weejuns? check. And I’m out the door.

  20. “Aren’t all of us who adopted Ivy style–rather than being born into it–portraying ourselves as more than when we are? Isn’t that why Ivy style has been able to survive?”

    Cambrox

    I don’t buy into the idea that Ivy style is only for WASPs who come from New England and can trace their ancestors back to the Mayflower and Puritan days. The whole “being born into it” is a colossal joke, in my judgement. Do you really think there is some Devine Right operating that makes some people come into this world as automatically more privileged than others and therefore somehow certified to wear Ivy and all others are just poseurs? I surely don’t.

    I will bet you dollars to donuts that you didn’t chose to be born into your family. I know I didn’t. I will also bet that your parents didn’t chose you, just like mine didn’t choose me. Think on that. It’s random whether you were born WASP or Italian, Black or White, Jewish, Muslim or Christian.

    To say that WASP is better than any other ethnic group is merely a social construction because the WASPs happened to be here first and created the political and business structures. In my judgement, that social construction is poppycock. I say that because I have never yet heard a sensible argument otherwise.

    I wear Ivy because I grew up with it and I find it the most comfortable style for me. I can trace some of my ancestors arriving in New England during the 1600s. One was a captain in Connecticut’s early army, had land granted to him by the King of England, and was a magistrate who served in the Connecticut witch trials. But I am also part Irish, part Swedish, and have a little American Indian blood running through my veins. I grew up as a middle class kid in a tract house on a quarter acre lot my father built on weekends with his father, when his father wasn’t drunk. Both of my parents worked. My Dad was a blue collar worker, and finished high school in his mid-30s at night after work. He never went to college. My mother was accepted at Albertus Magnus, but her family couldn’t afford the tuition, so she didn’t go. You might imagine from these experiences that education was highly valued in my family, and it was. I hold a doctorate, but didn’t go to a prep school, or Yale, or any other Ivy League school. Does my background make me any less eligible to wear an OCBD, repp tie, navy blazer, and grey flannels? I’d fight to the death anyone who says no, or at least until one of us got a bloody nose.

    The Ivy style a great American style. That is why it has endured. The legitimate wearing of the style isn’t limited to WASPs from Greenwich–not by a long shot. Thinking so is faulty thinking, and only serves to perpetuate silly myths.

  21. @ WW: Not to mention the fact that OCBDs and 3/2 sack suits were worn by people across the country by the late 50s whether they were car salesmen, Yalies, Madison Avenue execs or public university students. You hit on a great point. It stopped being a WASP style and became an American style.

  22. I said “all of us”, not “all of you”. I should have said “many of us”. I too come from a working class family, had parents who never went to college, and I attended a state university. I feel no shame whatsoever in admitting that conservative Ivy style’s snob appeal is what first attracted me to the style. I still stand by my assertion that if Ivy style purveyors are still in business, it’s due in part to the fact that many Americans want to dress like their social betters. One can hardly argue that it is typical or traditional American style anymore.

  23. Buttoned Down | December 31, 2015 at 12:56 am |

    Cambrox, I adopted Ivy style because I wanted to look Japanese.

  24. Lex Sharpstone | December 31, 2015 at 1:04 am |

    Christian,
    “Defraud the public”? She was entertaining us with frequent doses of exaggerated WASPishness, and we lapped it up.

  25. @Cambrox – You definitely should not feel at all ashamed that you were attracted to ivy style because of its snob appeal. Nothing wrong with that at all. It’s just not why I was attracted to it. I wanted to dress like my literary heroes when I was in high school and college and many of them were at their height in the 40s, 50s and early 60s. I admit that maybe that’s just a different kind of snob appeal. But it had more to do with intellectual aspirations than it did class aspirations. I can only speak for myself, though.

  26. The apparent failure of BB’s “Own Make” is a shame. I would attribute it to three factors: (1). the prices, which while not outrageous but a little higher than average; (2) the online images, in which stylists seemed to put short jackets on tall models, failing to show the line’s actual cut; and (3) the fabrics, which for suits and sportcoats were often a bit odd (e.g., a hopsack suit), making it hard to view the line as a fount of wardrobe fundamentals.

    It seems like a good idea that got messed up along the way, likely through choices made by BB staff who have no understanding of which characteristics were important.

  27. Bags' Groove | December 31, 2015 at 4:34 am |

    @rmpmcd
    Would one of your literary heroes have been Saul Bellow, by any chance? He dressed extraordinarily well.

  28. @bags Bellow, Cheever, Mailer, Barthelme, Updike to name a few.

  29. @Taliesin

    Own Make was also based on a strange pattern. I’m a pretty easy fit (a 40 long in BB’s Fitzgerald cut fits me perfectly), but a 40 in Own Make fit in the shoulders but pinched in the back/armpits, and sizing up was worse. DCG has a different physique from me but encountered the same problem.

    @ButtonedDown

    Quip of the year! Well, that’s easy to say as we’re at the end of the year.

    @Lex

    Not sure how up you are on the general miasma of misrepresentation that floats around Muffy and Mr. Muffy (such as the book review thing). If you google her name, you will quickly find both the Ivy Style and GOMI threads FYI.

  30. James Redhouse | December 31, 2015 at 12:01 pm |

    I enjoyed this:
    http://thepreppytimes.blogspot.com.tr/2011/05/inside-of-preppy-bloggers-muffy-aldrich.html

    But then again, I also enjoyed reading “Richard”‘s WASP 101.

    I enjoywatching magaicians, too. The fact that I’m being knowingly deceived is part of the fun.

  31. Brooks screwed up Own Make. No surprise there.

    It is possible, of course, like natural shoulder clothing because it just plain looks better. From pleatlessness and dartlessness (minimal shaping in the middle) to soft collars and rounded shoulders–just a really good look. Dressed up but relaxed.

    Muffy–I tend to agree that, her faults noted, her blog was and is worthy of the frequent glance.

    Surely Pluperfect was previously aware of New England’s existence. Yet, we may guess, equally aware that plenty of the region (culture) hardly qualifies as “great.”

  32. Frank L. Ingram | December 31, 2015 at 2:12 pm |

    Blogosphere story of the year: deconstructing Clark and Lisa Wezniak.

  33. “The Best of Enemies” was released.

  34. Thank you for the inclusion in such a jolly list! We’re off to a rollicking start to our new business – and your support has been flawless.

  35. You sanctimonious twats. You have no idea of what was happening behind the scenes with the Aldriches that motivated them to de-identify the site. They didn’t “defraud the public,” they didn’t do shit. The crimes against humanity that you allege were all bogus. And they don’t owe you or anyone else an explanation. I’m sorry I checked back in here.

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