As I planned to spend this lazy Sunday strolling Fifth Avenue, I found myself feeling George Frazier-ish. That’s what I call it when I feel like wearing Ivy with a touch of elegant bon vivantism. I envisoned that well-known photo of Frazier with boutonniere, small-dot necktie, and arched fingers holding a cigarette.
In case the name is unfamiliar, Frazier was Esquire’s style columnist back when it saw fit to employ a literate and witty Harvard gentleman to handle its clothes coverage. Frazier also had a thing for pink buttondowns, and was famous for complaining about Brooks Brothers collars long before there was an Internet on which to do so.
So in honor of Frazier, today I’m wearing a Prince Of Wales jacket with blue overplaid, small blue dot pocket square, black knit tie, and a pink buttondown by Mercer & Sons, which stepped in to fill the void when that other buttondown maker’s offerings were no longer like the ones of yore. The pink oxford buttondown is one of the signature items in the Ivy League Look, and when you’re going to wear an iconic item you want it done, well, iconically.
Helmed today by David Mercer (a Harvard man, just like Frazier), Mercer & Sons makes its shirts the old-fashioned way, with no fusing or lining in the collar, so they roll the way they’re supposed to.
Frazier left this world — leaving a void that no one has been able to fill — before Mercer & Sons was founded in 1982. But I think he would have gladly worn their buttondowns. In pink oxford, and a whole lot more. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Addendum: This post was conceived as a surprise tribute to a longtime sponsor. When David Mercer read it, he thanked me and pointed out that Mercer & Sons and George Frazier are connected not just in my imagination, but reality:
We love the George Frazier look. His writing prowess was outweighed only by his poor driving. Mr. Frazier drove his son and me down to New Haven for a Harvard-Yale football game one Saturday when we were in the seventh grade. Puffing on the ever present cigarette, he’d drive 70 miles an hour one minute and 35 the next. Oblivious to the traffic as we tooled along in his smoke-filled Thunderbird, George’s only concern was entertaining and amusing us young’uns, as he well did. A trip I will always remember.
Note: This post originally ran in the Sponsor News section.