Dr. Claire-Marie Brisson is a faculty member in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. She resides in Cambridge, MA and is originally from Metro Detroit. A foodie and oenophile, Dr. Brisson recognizes that a life well-lived combines aesthetics, form, function, and (of course) food.
It’s often been said that Ivy is a fashion that develops from a life lived thoughtfully – a lifestyle that combines hard work and tradition with an appreciation for aesthetics. Put simply, to be Ivy is to strive for continuous self-amelioration, stitching together education, mindfulness, and excellence.
Dressing well is not at all a past tense, yet fast fashion trends have dominated the world of women’s fashion for generations, reducing the quality of materials used and thought that has gone into the process. Combined with the garish collection of prints and metallics cut into clothes destined for a short lifespan, classic outfitters like Brooks Brothers, J. McLaughlin, or Ralph Lauren stand as safe havens in a sea of fad fashion.
I am often told that I dress with an eye for the mid-century. I usually reply that I have an affinity for the past, but I’m bringing that to the present. I’m dressing for now, because Ivy style is timeless. Women’s Ivy is anchored to an attention to form and function, and women can find it through traditional staples used in menswear just as in womenswear – Oxford shirts, loafers, or blazers – and should feel free to combine them with other pieces of womenswear. Classic cut dresses and skirts enrich the sartorial palate of women’s Ivy.
As a young academic, it is inspiring to see the scope and reach of Ivy style. It is a reminder that academic environments are transformative in multiple aspects of life, fashion not at all excluded. It is exciting to see the emergent voices of women interested in developing a more vibrant community on sites like these and via social media. These connections have already demonstrated three important facts: Ivy style is alive and well, Ivy style is more than just a pair of trousers or a Harris Tweed suit, and Ivy style is for everyone.
The holidays are a fraught season for many reasons, not least of which is the etiquette that surrounds the “season of giving” part. It’s sometimes difficult to gauge social and even familial relationships as to whether or not they warrant the exchange of gifts, and then, how big or small the gift should be. There’s also how much one should spend on a gift with consideration of how much can be spent. It might then present an awkward situation if one has incorrectly assessed a relationship in any of the ways previously mentioned, and the receiver has nothing to give in return. Furthermore, there are the people in one’s life who just aren’t that into stuff. It can all be very confusing.
Friends, our troubles for this season may be over. While browsing Drake’s ‘Festive’ section, I was surprised and not a little amused to find the Orange Casentino Wool Duck. Among the luxurious knitwear and intricately patterned scarves for which the brand is so well known, the duck seems out of place. Its bright orange color isn’t so jarring next to vermilion lambswool cardigans and egg yolk Shetland jumpers, yet the duck’s comical roundness seems out of step with the usual elegance of Drake’s collection. It’s certainly the most huggable item I’ve ever seen the brand produce. “Call it an objet d’art, call it a paperweight…” I call it an unexpected fix to many of our last minute gift-giving anxieties.
Ducks are an established motif, canonized by The Official Preppy Handbook and seen in most of our parents’ homes on one decorative surface or the next. The Drake’s duck is a worthy addition, doesn’t take up too much space, and is certainly a conversation piece. Indeed, it completely refutes the idea that gifts should have any practical use whatsoever. Made in England from the bouclé Casentino wool that Drake’s sources in Arezzo for its outerwear, the duck should age well as long as the dog doesn’t get to it. At $85 it’s one of the least expensive products on the website, yet still a respectable sum for an in-law gift or better, for the friend who always just buys what they want and leaves few gift options. Surprise them, I doubt they’ll be expecting the duck.
– ZG BURNETT
And finally, a few things from me. In no particular order:
(1) Tom was nice enough to forward me an article from Mr Magazine that summarized the findings of Stitch Fix’s Inaugural Style Forecast. This is what happens when we ask people who just bought denim from us if they think jeans are back on trend. I was alarmed at the report. Usual suspects: Nearly one-third (31%) of consumers say they would rather take a 10% pay cut than dress up for work every day. Nearly 4 in 5 Americans (77%) have sworn off at least some business clothes for good, with nearly half (45%) of people dying to ditch business suits and a third (31%) wanting to ditch dress pants. Until I got to this: Over half (51%) of Boomers say they will never wear a business suit again. There is no way. Thankfully, the researchers at Stitch Fix (here’s an SAT question for you – Researcher is to Stitch Fix what Dog Walker is to ________ (answer: Veterinarian) have provided us with their Methodology. I’m not kidding, like a real white paper. It’s cute. In it they reveal that they surveyed their Athleisure-based customer base who, wait for it, said they were going to wear Athleisure. Oh, and TikTok influencers. FOR BOOMERS. … Well, maybe that does make sense. If you are a Boomer on TikTok, you probably are wearing Athleisure.
(2) A few of you sent me the article about”Why Don’t Iranian Men Wear Neckties?” so
I took a look. I did not know that ties were banned in Iran in 1979. While things have loosened up with regard to ties there, it still appears that ties in Iran are like marijuana in 2018. You can have it, you just can’t sell it.
(3) You were also kind enough to send me an article from the WSJ about How ‘Succession’ Stoked a Frenzy for Status Baseball Caps. The article cites Loro Piana baseball caps, that go for around $600.
Ball caps are Ivy, clearly, whether worn backwards or not. I have a draft of an article sitting here that I am going to finish about how one ages in to, out of, and then back in to prep. I think too there is a window for a backwards ball cap. It not the biggest window in the house. It does not open very far. It is the window in the powder room. There is, however, NO window for a $600 ball cap. Ever.