Many thanks to all for the birthday wishes. Another thing I learned – cake is no longer a viable option.
So for the next few posts, mostly housekeeping as we use August to evolve a bit. Comments are essential. If you want a response, email me. But comments are the key to understanding what you want and how to get it to you. Good comments, that is. Don’t be a boor. No one likes a boor. I don’t even like typing “boor.”
- The menu is being fussed with, it is going to change a few times. We are keeping all of the old content, but making sure we have an organized system for the new content. Don’t get worked up until September.
- Why subscribe? Wait. Wait. Hear that? That is the sound of us leaving you alone. As me move along though, there are going to be topics you care about and topics you don’t. This helps with the weeding. Again, don’t get too wound until September, but do subscribe now.
- Subjects you want covered. Best to email me.
- Do I or do I not wear a white ocbd every day? I do. But not all day. Although I probably could. So if you see me in another shirt, I haven’t jumped ship.
- Speaking of ships – here is where you can rent a classic wooden boat on Lake Como. Because I knew you were gonna ask.
- Over at the Facebook Group, we are getting a lot of interest and great feedback from women. I would love to get that going here, so if you know any…
- Regarding moderating. We curate hard there, and we will curate hard here. Club rules apply. If you don’t know club rules, join a club. If you can’t join a club, start dressing better and good things will come to you. Curating makes a better experience. I have never, once, removed a comment that was both objectionable and funny, but none of us have the time to scroll through stupidity.
- The Live section will cover books, art, music, cooking, family, all kinds of things. It won’t cover politics, ever.
I look forward to your comments, emails, etc.
I have very much enjoyed many of your changes to the facebook site, such as stopping trolling and political arguments, and ad hominem attacks. Bravo. Those things have never really been tolerated by Christian on this blog. But as a caution, this blog is more like Augusta National in comparison to the public course of facebook, and, while you might gain readership, the long-time membership likely will lose interest quickly, preferring a more tucked-in atmosphere and uncrowded fairways, and this blog will not be what it was created to be. Perhaps I am the only old fogey here . . .
Hi JDV, and thanks! I know that you have availed yourself of our firm hand a few times over on FB. I am trying to follow you here – you are saying that that same firm hand was used on the site too – so that should be a wash, right? In terms of a more tucked-in atmosphere – as we have done elsewhere, we will present all facets of Ivy – the canonical and orthodox first and foremost. In terms of an uncrowded fairway, I can’t promise that because (1) a rising tide lifts all boats and we are increasing the readership and (2) I am not even sure what you mean. 🙂 In terms of the blog not being what it was created to be, I think Christian himself would be the first to tell you, that’s kinda the point. It’ll be good, give us a few weeks to find our sea legs. – JB
Well, then– best of luck and all to the good …and so on.
We spend a lot of time looking back–which makes sense for a lot of reasons. There are valid reasons to suspect that people who are drawn to this style have the beating heart of an old-fashioned Burkean–nostlagia-drenched romantic traditionalism. Because this transcends the muddled messiness of modern-day American politics and political cultures, it has less to do with how a person votes — and a great deal more to do with how deeply-and-longingly he/she sighs upon catching a glimpse of an old tweed jacket or creased shell cordovan loafers.
Could it be They Heyday is, well, right now? Right now (as in now, this very moment) an American clothing manufacturer is making 3-button, natural shoulder clothing that’s equal (or superior) to anything Southwick has been offering throughout the past few decades. Fact. Furthermore, there are at least four American shirtmaker who are cutting/sewing beefy, U.K.-woven oxford cloth that are at least as remarkable as the old, days-of-yore Troy Shirtmakers Guild shirts. Fact. Hertling presses on, and so do Alden and a bunch of American neckwear designers/makers. Facts. It’s all out there, and, since it’s smart to buy once and repair repeatedly, it’s all about good value.
It’s probably a (very) good thing that Ivy has been slowly-but-surely shedding the crusty-fustyness of “Old Brooks” and Boola, Boola/Old Eli Yale (The “Bonesy Bullshit and Dink Stover Crap”– Kingman Brewster). Why’s this a good thing? Because, to put the matter bluntly: a lot of it isn’t cool. At all. Thankfully, a lot of people who have/seek ZERO affiliations with Connecticut’s ‘Gold Coast’ upper class (yawn), fancy prep schools (snoozeville), and/or haute culture (of any kind) have adopted Ivy as their style-of-choice because, approached and exegetes from perspectives that have nothing to do with (a.) being rich, (b.) attending a private school of any sort, and/or (c.) belonging to elite, expensive clubs. GenZ’s aren’t impressed by much, and without a devout they’re rescinding and revoking Boomers’ priorities. Good for them–and us.
Ralph Lauren’s dream is fading. Dying. The Rich couldn’t care less about the maintenance of Ivy style (did they ever?) , and the rest of us couldn’t care less about choosing a style solely (or even mostly) because it makes us look richer than we are. Nowadays a Rolex, an antique Land Rover Defender, “Nantucket Reds,” and mention of “our Vineyard house” are as likely to prompt the gag reflex as they are to inspire envy. That sound you hear is a twenty-year old — throwing up in his mouth.
It’s about looking good–tasteful…and cool. One of the many, many ways of looking cool is Ivy.
Lots of people are into Ivy because they caught a glimpse of Roy Wilkins wearing a vested flannel sack suit, Miles wearing a sack patch-pocketed blazer and OCBD, Steve McQueen wearing a tweed-shetland crewneck combo, or, to speak personally, Bobby Kennedy sporting worsted suits and wool challis ties out on the campaign trail, or a younger John Updike wearing– well, pretty much everything he wore. The by-now-precedence inspired affiliations with cultural movements, hip music, and literary circles outnumber and outweigh the associations with folks who have gobs of money.
Ralph Lauren tried (and, for a while, succeeded) at making this style about “looking rich”– preferably the most charming and quaint of all versions of “looking rich”: Old Money. 2022 is upon us. It’s a very different world. The postwar boom in births and wealth and England-is-our-most treasured Allie Anglophilia are gone–fading memories, now blurry in the rear view mirror. Ivy will benefit from some reforming, refining, and redefining — all of it rooted in the efforts made by Charlie Davidson’s favorite crowd: The Cool Crowd.
Without the Cool element, Ivy would have died (“gone extinct?”) a long time ago. Reaganism-soaked “preppy” inspired a brief resurrection, but nothing built on the flimsy, moving sand of “looking rich” can last for long.
Agreed on the cool thing, and it begs a follow up question. What made them cool? I look at Miles – why was he cool in a suit? Because he was authentic, and because he thought (and performed) for himself. It is so odd to me that Ivy gets wrapped into conformity, it is actually the opposite. Ivy is individualism, dignity, and a good eye. I also agree with you that Ivy – like everything, needs pruning. – JB
YES – JB
type-‘s galore. I hate computer keyboards.
You get the idea.
Best of luck to the new regime.
Not because it’s especially eloquent or inspiring, but, simply for the sake of clarification– edit:
“Thankfully, a lot of people who have/seek ZERO affiliations with Connecticut’s ‘Gold Coast’ upper class (yawn), fancy prep schools (snoozeville), and/or haute culture (of any kind) have adopted Ivy as their style-of-choice because, approached and exegeted from perspectives that have nothing to do with (a.) being rich, (b.) attending a private school of any sort, and/or (c.) belonging to elite, expensive clubs, they prefer Cool. GenZ’s aren’t impressed by much, and without a devout they’re rescinding and revoking Boomers’ priorities. Good for them–and us.”
The genesis of this site, Christian leading us across the bridge that connects a clothing style (Ivy) and a music genre/cultural movement (jazz) was always– always– spot on. The Cool element. I wonder if all the “Remember Brooks when…?” and “Remember J. Press when…?” recollections were useless eulogies. Nick Hilton has argued persuasively that his father approved the old Norman Hilton ad(s) copy with a particular sort of guy in mind: successful, masculine, confident…and…
My two cents, which I doubt are worth that much: if today’s hipsters, whom S.E. following Charlie Davidson calls ‘the Cool Crowd,’ ever adopt Ivy style, they will adopt it as a costume or a parody. A few of Rowing Blazers’ offerings parody Ivy fairly successfully. A parody of Ivy isn’t bad for Ivy, but it isn’t Ivy. As I understand it Ivy is the tasteful, sometimes whimsical combination of a relatively small number of tried-and-true, universally appropriate articles of American clothing, footwear, and neckwear. We all know what they are. Ivy has nothing to do with being or looking wealthy. That remains Ralph Lauren’s caricature of Ivy. Ralph has always sold Ivy as an aspirational, largely unattainable, not especially well defined lifestyle because convincing people to aspire endlessly to a lifestyle that exists nowhere but in a Ralph Lauren advertisement is far more profitable than selling the clothes, shoes, and ties on their own merits. Ivy on its own merits, in its various historical contexts, interests me. The lifestyle, or the profit-motivated, attention-seeking pretense that there is such a thing, bores me. Your mileage almost certainly varies.
Extremely well-put, S.E., with or without the edits.
All kinds of trends and subcultures come and go, but other than ivy, there aren’t a lot of modes of dress that look as good and sensible now as they did 60 years ago, no matter the economic circumstances of the wearer.
“[N]othing built on the flimsy, moving sand of ‘looking rich’ can last for long.” — Nailed it.
JB: I was basically commenting that bigger is not always better, if in order to become bigger you lose the asthetic which brought the original patrons to the party. On par, this site is far more reserveed than the bell curve of the facebook comments, more “If you have to ask whether to tuck in your shirt or cuff your khakis, you are new to the site,” than “Look at my own version of Ivy’. But I could be wrong and SE might be correct that many feel the heyday is now.
Re: No. 8:
I hope it won’t cover spiritualism, astrology, or dime store psychology either.
We are in a different world but Uncle Ralph is still making money.
Uncle Ralph still making money is a promising sign.
Albeit they are somewhere between very traditional, western, and neo-prep simultaneously, they do a great job at keeping interest in Ivy/Trad, and hope they continue to stick to their guns.
And for No. 8, hope it includes alcohol as well.
No. 8 = it does. JB
Man, this is very interesting. There is a ton of thought here. Another question – are comments the best way to go? This isn’t the FB group redux – there won’t be new pictures of all of us in new clothes all the time – but I LOVE the discourse. Just want to make sure that comments are the best media for it. What do you think?
Once suggestion I have is for there to be an Ivy Style YouTube channel.
I made overtures to Christian, but he never responded. Christian is very photogenic, knowledgeable, and articulate and I believe YouTube would open up new avenues to discourse on the Internet in the comments section.
YouTube has a young, international audience of Millennials curious about how to dress ivy.
I am always fascinated with Internet interviews, commentary on new trends,and the psychology behind what people are wearing.
We have plans for video interviews, but here, not on You Tube. And also, for texting or PMing interviews. Great idea! – JB
I believe that comments are the true lifeblood of any blog. Ivy Style (the website) is first and foremost a blog. If the readership grows large enough then significant work will have to be done on the back end to improve the readability of the comments but for now it is manageable.
I am very much looking forward to the future of the site and you seem to be aimed in a very promising direction.
Thanks! I think I agree with you. – JB
@S.E. – which American manufacturer is making a 3 button natural shoulder jacket superior to Southwick.
I look forward to the future of the site with Mr. Burton at the helm. I do think the comments should be retained as they add as much, if not more, than the actual post.
It was a breath of fresh air to read S.E.’s August 4th 12:26 comment.Finally, someone who, instead of perpetuating the myth that the classics have disappeared, forthrightly states the opposite.
My observation and experience is that top-quality chinos/khakis, substantial OCBDs, tweed jackets, grey flannel trousers, penny loafers, wingtips, reppe neckties, etc. are readily available from a number of sources, to the extent that I am able to wear the same style that I wore in the early 1960s. Certainly lapel widths of jackets, shirt collar point lengths, widths of neckties have changed, but, changed for the better, in my opinion. (When I read people bemoaning the decline and fall of Ivy clothing I wonder if they also imagine that yellow pencils, Parker Jotter ballpoints, cork bulletin boards, manual pencil sharpeners, and 3×5 inch index cards, have declined in quality or disappeared).
Best of luck in your new endeavor, John. I look forward to each new post.
Good things–like good people–still exist.
I like reading comments! I also like reading Op Ed pieces… A lot of what has made this site interesting is getting to, and acknowledging, the substance that the “style” comes from. There are a few manufactures and retailers that are inextricably linked with it but they have come and gone, and in a few cases come again. I’m much more interested in enjoying it and celebrating what’s there and how it has evolved and keeps evolving. Looking forward to the changes!
I also want to add my enthusiastic agreement that the comment section is a crucial part of the Ivy Style site. I have made a few actual friendships through the comment section, and feel close to a number of commenters whom I am unlikely to meet, from California and the Rockies, through Texas, the South and Midwest, up into New York and New England, across the Atlantic to England, France and Italy and east to Japan. They bring a broad perspective and genuine conversation that a single voice or even a stable of regular contributors would not be able to duplicate. Why else would so many of us keep checking back on the same post we have already read the day before? Quash the trolls, of course, but otherwise I say, keep the comments coming!
So I think we have consensus – Ivy is not disappearing despite a few innovations, Ivy clothes are still available (and you can get a pencil if you want one too) – and the comment section is also vital. Good?
Agree with Charlottesville (whom I consider a friend, notwithstanding the fact that I don’t know his real name and we have never met): I’m here for the comments at least as much as I am for the articles themselves. Antagonists and trouble-makers tend to be (mostly) ignored and go away quickly; and some of the “regulars” are pretty good writers.
Over the years I’ve drifted in and out of reading various blogs and sites, but I don’t think I’m being too sappy when I say that Ivy Style is actually important and meaningful to a lot of us.
Paul – I did not mean to leave Annapolis off my list of places harboring cyber friends. I hope you are enjoying your summer.
Like you, Ivy Style is special to me, and I think to a lot of us. It is one of the very few sites on which I have ever left a comment, and the only one to which I have contributed full-length posts and where I regularly read the comments. Usually, I don’t really have that much interest in what other readers of a website have to say, but here I actually learn as much or more from the comments as from the official posts, as good as the latter are.
As a Dutchie, it’s a lot of fun to learn and read about the traditions and mannerisms that are (or can be) behind what to me is “just” a personal style. I’m looking forward to the continuation of the site. I think leaving politics out is a good way to keep the blog interesting to your international readership!
Just one thing though: please stop with the two spaces after a period – it’s a pain to read 😉