Earlier this week, in the wake of coronavirus, I suggested that the current Ivy trend should shift towards what the Japanese call rugged Ivy. But they have another similar and creative twist on Ivy, called bankara, which was celebrated on the cover of Free & Easy magazine in May of 2011, when this post originally ran.
What in the world is bankara Ivy? Japanese Ivy expert W. David Marx tells us:
Bankara is a word that combines two other words: “ban” is barbarian and “kara” is “collar,” from “haikara” (high collar), which was basically a Meiji (1868-1912) term for “cool” or “civilized.”
I think it means something like you are wearing nice clothing, but they are all frayed and not well preserved. At the time, this was seen as a more manly and Bushido approach to life than being purely Western focused and haikara.
I think “roguish” is good translation, but it’s mostly about being manly and gruff in your clothing rather than prissy and dandy.
Now what does bankara Ivy actually look like in practice? According to Free & Easy, it consists of wearing a fun shirt and madras cap with patched chinos and paint-splattered wingtips:
Or a checked shirt, madras tie and collar pin with a rather hideous jacket:
Or going balls-out with a three-piece patchwork seersucker suit:
Not terribly rogueish, but add a quarantine beard and long hair and you get the idea.
Long live Ivy. — CC