Questions I Got Over At FB and My Answers: Part One

So over at FB people write me questions from time to time privately. In case you aren’t over there with us (and a lot of you are not, and I get it, we don’t need another comment on how you don’t do FB) I thought it would be interesting to place them here. I am of course not going to attribute them because they were private.

Q: I am bored of the OCBD, is there any other collar type that I can wear and still be Ivy?

J: No. Well, yes. First off, you have to understand that there was pre HeyDay Ivy, and so you can pull from that and still be canonical. And before you argue with me that there was no pre HeyDay Ivy, I have two words for you: White Bucks. I always thought tab collars looked just great with a tie, and they can shrink the size of your head a little bit proportionally as well.

Those are Hiltl slacks. You know about Hiltl slacks?

Q: What are Richard Press and Bruce Boyer like in person?

A: I will start with what they have in common. Over this last year my family had to deal with a rough cancer. Both of them, the first thing they ask was after that issue. Then they both sent private notes, over and over again. It is not business first with them, it is life first. I would LOVE a return to that level of civility overall. The other thing they have in common is they both get that sometimes, you just wanna wear clothes. On the podcast, Richard admitted to maybe wearing sweats around the house at night and on weekends. And there is this G. Bruce Boyer story. So I am going to meet the greatest men’s fashion writer of all time for lunch? What do you wear? I had no idea and humility is a good thing to practice. So I wrote him and asked, what should I wear? He wrote back:

“Whatever the f*** you want.”

*takes a beat for the laugh*

So I relax. At the time, I was 50 pounds heavier than I am now. And I am doing the WOCBD reviews. And I get sent the Besnard shirt, which is… “fitted.” And “fitted” has a different connotation when you are packing an extra 50. Day before we are going to meet Bruce writes me, you know what? Wear that Besnard shirt you wrote about. I would like to see it in person.”

Boyer asks, I do.

And to this day I won’t look at the pictures.

Part Two tomorrow.


18 Comments on "Questions I Got Over At FB and My Answers: Part One"

  1. Richard E. Press | June 8, 2023 at 10:09 am |


  2. JB,

    You meant to write Hiltl slacks, no?

  3. The tab collar always looks great with a tie, but looks quite strange without one, in my view. Another option is the spearpoint collar, which has nearly the same taper as some of the better OCBD collars, but without the buttons. It looks great framing a tie knot but gives a sense of carefree panache when left flying open. Mercer makes a button-free button-down collar (which I’ve never tried but certainly want to) that’s basically a spearpoint. (There’s the horribly tacky kind of spearpoint that often appears in the movie, Goodfellas — that’s definitely *not* the one I mean…)
    I also like — and I know it’s Ivy sacrilege — the cutaway collar. But I emphasize that I like it worn casually, not with a tie. Better yet, remove the collar stays and let it curl this way and that. Left open, the cutaway manages to keep its profile and not slide or “pancake” under jacket lapels almost as well as a button-down. With a tie, I think it leans too Pitti peacock.

    Both Mr. Boyer and Mr. Press seem like genuinely great guys, role models for many, and not just in terms of style.

    Looking forward to Part II.

  4. Charlottesville | June 8, 2023 at 1:26 pm |

    Good comment on civility and kindness, and the examples of Messrs. Press and Boyer.

    Also, I agree on the tab collar. The BB snap tab collar was great, and in fact I am wearing one today. I have a couple in white and one in blue, all pinpoint oxford. I wish I could find another source, since it is no longer available. The few I encounter now are a bit too long and fasten with a button.

    A club collar is another heyday style, that is still available. The RL Polo line often features a few and they are offered by most of the MTM shops. It looks best with a collar pin in my opinion, but I understand that a pinned collar can seem a bit fussy, certainly much fussier than the OCBD.

  5. Roger Sack | June 8, 2023 at 2:57 pm |

    Club collar w/o a pin looks a bit casual like the buttonless button down.
    Adds some sprezzatura to the Ivy Style.

    • Charlottesville | June 9, 2023 at 10:00 am |

      Thanks, Roger. I hadn’t thought of it that way, although I do wear a club collar sans pin on occasion. It always reminds me of a 1910-era shirt with a detachable collar.

  6. whiskeydent | June 8, 2023 at 7:09 pm |

    J. Press and O’Connell’s sell a shirt with a “point” collar, which appear to be a close cousin of the spearpoint (a term I’ve not heard before). I like them because the long points and narrow spread make my neck and noggin appear a little less thick. For some reason, I identify these collars as non-canonical Ivy but still under the traditional umbrella.

    Now, it’s time to switch to a Negroni.

  7. MacMcConnell | June 8, 2023 at 8:04 pm |

    I would never wear tab, cricket, cutaway or club collar without a tie, no more than wearing a wing tip tux shirt without one.

  8. Polo Hound | June 8, 2023 at 9:42 pm |

    John Burton, you’re a good man . .I don’t read the site as much as I used to but every time I do you just elevate the conversation with how you look at the world and how you interact with people. . .this Ivy world or whatever you wanna call it, needs more people like you involved in it in every way

  9. The hidden-button down collar is similar to the tab collar and OCBD. It has buttons covered by fabric and can be worn with or without a necktie. I get a lot of compliments when I wear it with a bow tie.

  10. Hardbopper | June 9, 2023 at 12:24 pm |

    I really like a tab collar on others. I don’t seem to be able to pull it off. Slightly narrower neckties would probably do the trick, but where to find them?

    • Marc Chevalier | June 9, 2023 at 3:34 pm |

      It’s not that the tie needs to be narrower; rather, the tie’s interlining needs to be less thick. In eBay and Etsy, you can find plenty of vintage ties which will fit the bill. Look for ones which were made before 1967, or between 1980 and the mid ‘90s.

  11. @JB…is the tie JPress? I picked one up in DC this past Wednesday – similar to yours but not the same.

    Also, I have an idea for an idea, ping me via email and I’ll share it with you.

  12. Maybe this is a dumb question but how does a tab collar shrink someone’s head or make it appear smaller? I’ve never heard or noticed that before and I can’t wrap my head around the idea at all. It’s not like they are large collars that would make something appear small next to it?

  13. MacMcConnell | June 13, 2023 at 12:44 pm |

    I’ve only got two tab collar shirts left. Both are Polo bought probably twenty years ago. I still wear them, mostly with suits. The collar height is normal and can be worn with any width fore-in-hand knotted tie.
    The tab collar making one’s head smaller is news to me. I’ve been wearing them for at least fifty years. I’ve got a big head, it is still a big head regaedless of the collar I’m wearing.

  14. MacMcConnell | June 13, 2023 at 12:46 pm |

    Sorry for the typo.

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