It’s a start. I know. It’s a start.

It’s a start. I know. But it’s a start.

Here’s the article.

Three observations, then have at it yourself.   First, the using of Ivy and Prep as interchangeable.  I know they aren’t, you know they aren’t, how does Kareem Rashed not know they aren’t?  Easily explained dear reader – because for him they still are, and he is the window shopper we are looking to attract if the object is to introduce the aesthetic to a new audience.   There are two ways to react – throw up your patched elbows OR – a slow welcome.  I vote the latter, if you ever want to see the aesthetic with a significant presence.  Speaking of which, I am writing this in Cafe 346 on Madison – take a look –

Cafe 346, 9:15am Monday morning.


The second point I want to highlight is this:  the quote from Richard Press.  Here:  ” “You go to work in an oxford button-down shirt, a blue blazer, khaki slacks and that, today, is dressing up,” Press says. It’s a uniform, he explains, which communicates that a man “still adheres to certain principles.”  To reinvigorate the aesthetic, you sell a lifestyle based on values.  Mr. Press is 1, 282% right.  No secret – I am a giant J Press fan, but even if I weren’t, I remember starting out in advertising in 1986 at NW Ayer, then one of the largest advertising agencies in the world.  David Ogilvy was coming out of retirement and I tailed along at a presentation he was giving to young advertising creatives.  He gave us an exercise.  He held up a bar of hand soap (1986, remember).  He asked, “You are selling this soap, what are people buying?”  Hands shot up.  “Scent.”  “The package, that is the first thing they see.”  “Lather.”  (Lather used to be a real selling point for a lot of stuff.)  “The name, everyone is in a hurry.”

“No,” Ogilvy said, “they are buying clean hands.”

And so it is with Ivy.  Take it from Mr. Press himself, when you buy Ivy you are buying a statement about yourself.

The third point comes from Mr. Bastian of Brooks association.  The article runs through the pre-trodden path – Ivy is made up of  classical elements and then you put them together – yada yada.  What was Lebron wearing, etc.   Then Bastian remarks, “These edgier streetwear brands are less democratic than a brand like ours,” Bastian says, “which has great price points and high quality and is enduring.”

Whoa whoa whoa.  NOW we are getting somewhere, and Mr. Bastian gets it.  In a crowded aisle of shopping carts bumping into each other as consumers climb over each other for bling, the polarized lenses of trad meet the flourescents and the glare of the mirage evaporates:  you have been sold the idea that you want to live a life you can’t afford with transient priorities and most importantly, the Augustus Gloop mantra that your appetite is the only thing that matters.  But here’s the fact of the matter, if you buy that we are all in this together, if  you buy we need each other and that dignity is the highest approach, then you realize that an aesthetic that you can afford and that your role models are wearing is the only ego-billboard that makes any sense.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again – welcome back, Ivy.

12 Comments on "It’s a start. I know. It’s a start."

  1. Valentine Hayes | October 4, 2021 at 10:46 am |

    Words we want to hear

  2. Richard E. Press | October 4, 2021 at 10:49 am |

    Thanks for the memory of tinkling temple bells, alma mater yells and Cuban rum and towels from the very best hotels, oh how lovely it was…..

  3. @Richard Press

    “The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.” – Yogi Berra

  4. David Futch | October 4, 2021 at 12:17 pm |

    My name is David Futch. I’m a writer and was Jane Engelhard’s friend on Boca Grande having been to a couple of her fabulous dinner parties at the Engelhard estate, Pamplemousse.

    I’ve written a story about the Engelhards and would like permission to use one of the photographs of Charles and Jane Engelhard that I saw on your page, specifically the one of them at Cragwood Stables, her resplendent of course, and him with cane standing in front of a fireplace.

    Could someone at Ivy Style please contact me at the email address below?

  5. “…you buy that we are all in this together, if you buy we need each other and that dignity is the highest approach, then you realize that an aesthetic that you can afford and that your role models are wearing is the only ego-billboard that makes any sense.”

    True. Well stated. Thought provoking.

    So, having been provoked, I ask two questions:

    1. Who are the role models?
    2. What are the values/priorities they, as living billboards, embody/convey?

  6. * in addition to dignity, that is. Which is, I agree, priority #1.

  7. Remember when BB floated the idea of a steakhouse a few years ago… Especially since BB is a licensing company now, I’m looking at that picture of 346 thinking there is your space. The problem is Manhattan needs to be cleaned up a bit beforehand.

  8. Charlottesville | October 4, 2021 at 1:51 pm |

    I was glad to see that Mr. Press was quoted prominently. At least it indicates that the author knows where to go for the real thing, and anything that may introduce contemporary men, especially young men, to traditional Ivy clothing is a plus. Coincidentally, a navy blazer, OCBD, repp tie, khakis and penny loafers are what I am wearing today.

  9. When an acquaintance asked me whether I loved or hated wearing my school uniform (which they felt was stifling), I replied that I loved it. The uniform meant we all looked harmonious – like a team. For brief moments, no one looked more or less affluent than the other; we weren’t separated into groups of who had “it” and who “didn’t.” We shared values personified through our identical attire; by wearing it, we respected the collective it represented.

    I don’t pretend to think those who wear the ivy or prep look share the same values or goals. But I enjoy the aspirational sentiment it promotes in me. I’m also well aware that style doesn’t relate to manners nor potential. But if the growth of ivy/prep/trad/whatever style is an opportunity to, for brief moments, forget about the haves and have nots, and form cohesive bonds among ourselves, I can’t see that as anything but a good thing.

  10. Interesting picture on modern ivy/trad style.

  11. michael powell | October 4, 2021 at 4:57 pm |

    I’m wearing a blue OCBD and a regimental tie. Next, I can either put on some khakis, a blue jacket and some oxblood penny loafers; or a navy suit and oxblood Chelsea boots. What am I; Prep or Ivy? In the immortal; words of Forrest Gump – “maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time.”

  12. “Then Bastian remarks, ‘These edgier streetwear brands are less democratic than a brand like ours.'”
    Yes and yes – I’ve been saying this for years to people I know who assert that Ivy/Trad is oppressive (in whatever way the speaker chose it to be) and would prefer to relegate it to the back of the closet…yet, not only does streetwear create an unsustainable monetary arms race in the fashion world, but it truly does prioritize flash over substance. It’s this, I’d argue, that ought to be the enduring appeal of Ivy: it’s all about substance, both regarding the person and the clothes he/she is wearing, and a sign of mutual respect with whomever you encounter that you’ve invested in yourself and the world. I’ll take it.

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