Free & Easy’s Summer Ivy Handbook

As the summer of 2020 winds to a close, we revisit these Japanese images from eight years ago with a little inspiration for what to wear this weekend. 

These are bow-tie slip-ons….

…. which might just result in a….

15 Comments on "Free & Easy’s Summer Ivy Handbook"

  1. What are those shoes? Bow ties?

    My summer handbook is also rather skimpy: red or khaki shorts, white polo or ocbd, burgundy pennys, and black wayfarers…

    There are no french artist hats in the mix for me…

  2. The shoes? I’m thinkin Louis XIV, goes with the french beret. Although that beret boarders on tam.

  3. The go to hell pheasant embroidered shorts? I like pheasants, but Kionon, do the Japanese hunt pheasants in summer?

  4. Also, I’m going to exhibit my “uneducated” xenophobia here, but that handbook cover with the gentleman wearing the batik sash reminds me of “The last Emperor” or “Empire of The Sun” or maybe just Charlies Chan’s number one son. Two great movies and who doesn’t enjoy the campy Charlie Chan movies, his son probably being the only Asian actor in them.

  5. I love those Illustrations, so cool!

  6. Never (well maybe not never) has a white ivy league man looked so Asian-inspired. It’s really quite an interesting and oddly appealing way of illustration.

  7. Free & Easy is pretty to look at, but I wouldn’t use it for inspiration. It’s a prime example of what leads to Japanese Ivy/Prep adherents duplicating entire outfits… some of which are of dubious authenticity to begin with.

  8. It seems that nobody (apart from Cheistian that also appear in a review on F&E) here knows who is the editor of F&E, the knowledge they have, the archive of vintage clothes they manage every months in their issues.
    It seems also that only few here understand that Japanese, don’t copy in fashion, but is exactly the inverse: American and European designer go monthly in Japan to see shops, dept store and so on to take “inspiration” that it means to COPY exaclty items from brands like 45 RPM, Engineered Garments and many other.

    After 27 years of working in fashion industry also for some important brands I can tribute the most honour to the Japanese people and their point of view in Ivy style, the way they work on it to renew, evolve and update to the target of young guys, the way they tell the history of Ivy style with archives picture of Tokyo shops in the sixties when you will see that brabds like VAN introduce a bright and very correct Ivy Style there.

    So if you never have read a copy of F&E or never by in Tokyo, please avoid comments on Japanese fashion.

    You can wear your burgundy lofaer in good healt, and maybe you can consider to buy a pair from Regal an hand made artisanal Japanese manufacturer that produce classic shoes probably better than any English or American manufacturer.

    Knowledge, is power.

  9. Christiano,

    I live in Japan. My own blog is heavily tilted towards my experiences in Japan. I have read Free & Easy off of Tsutaya shelves in Shibuya and Shinsaibashi. I’ve visited many stores all over Japan, including at least four of the J.PRESS locations in Japan. I own a pair of Regals.

    I think I am quite qualified to comment.

  10. Oh, and MAC, yes, we have pheasant hunting. However, the hunting population is very small. I don’t personally hunt and I’ve met only one or two older gentlemen who do. Hunting is one of the legitimate reasons to own firearms in Japan, but the licensing procedures are complex and require quite a bit of police interaction.

  11. Kionon,

    To live in japan and visit a couple of store does not demonstrate nothing, I have lived in many country, but this means nothing!
    Your comment @8.55 it’s clearly show the way you see the Ivy philosophy in Japan.

    The word “duplicating” say all.

    Nothing more to say.
    Bet Regards.

  12. Cristiano,

    Your comment at 12:07am was directed towards me. No one else in this particular post had any criticism, but you didn’t choose to address me personally, despite how obvious it was. You have a different opinion than I do, that’s fine, but you seemed pretty certain I had never read a copy of Free & Easy and I had never been to Japan. Clearly, that’s absurd.

    To live in Japan for a number of years, and to decide, barring any major changes, to live there for the rest of one’s life is most certainly not nothing. And I said I visited many stores, and I have. I stand by my comment “duplicating.” Do all Japanese Ivy/Prep adherents do this? No. Not all. Many. This goes way beyond fashion and into Japanese culture, which I’ve studied academically in addition to living in the country. Japanese subgroups tend to take a very detail oriented approach to self-identification, and this leads to duplication or a very, very limited set of choices. Even more limited than Ivy/Prep typically is or has been. It’s the reason cosplay is so very prevalent here. In cosplay every detail is exactly like it is in the show or the comic book or the movie, etc. Cosplay appeals to Japanese subgroups because of a cultural emphasis on identification through duplication.

    You say there’s nothing more to say, but honestly, books have been written on this subject. You can’t just wave a magic wand say, “this means nothing” and have this view go away. It doesn’t work like that.

    Oh, and as an aside, the Izutsuya store about five minutes from me has quite a lot of VAN clothing, and none of it personally appeals to me. So while, historically VAN’s offerings were quite good (I think Christian has covered this in an article), I think they’ve followed many of the American manufacturers in their worst decisions. Patches and numbers and the like. Brooks and J. PRESS have both done this, which is annoying.

  13. “Japanese subgroups tend to take a very detail oriented approach to self-identification, and this leads to duplication or a very, very limited set of choices.”

    Kionon, that explains why the original Honda Civics all looked alike and only came in three colors. 😉

    Van’s, weren’t their huge fashion break through marketing tee shirts? Just kidding guys, all I know of Van is what I’ve read here.

  14. BTW, all,

    Yesterday, I went back to Izutsuya and spent quite a bit of time in the VAN section. Decent button downs and some very nice navy blazers. However, everything else was number/logo/quote/patch city. I was not impressed.

  15. Would love to see some critter pants with Shiba Inu and other Japanese animals on them, as a fun twist on Japanese Ivy.

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