Ivy Notes S1 E19 – Ch Ch Ch Changes, The Casual/Formal Theory, And Younger People

Next week we will be moving the site, AND signing off on final design changes.  Last call for thoughts, contributions, etc.    A few ideas still kicking around.  First, that you would have to subscribe to comment (not a paid subscription).  That would take a few months to implement, just verifying the subscriptions, but the argument is that it would lift the quality of that section, which is already higher (in my humble opinion) than anywhere else online.   It works on the FB group really well, but on the other hand, people have a thing about subscribing.  We are going to be offering a paid subscription newsletter from guest authors.  And women’s and lifestyle are happening.  What do you all think?

But NOW, we have created threads, so that you can reply to a specific comment.  We are limited right now to 10 comments per thread, but when we move that should change.  This group rabbit-holes better than, well, in my opinion again but, better than anywhere else online.  Threads let you rabbit hole without scrolling like you are flying a drone.

I forgot to mention one super important thing about that J. Press event:

This is the layout of madras shirts that was at the event. There are, as you will note, a number of glasses in the picture as well. The madras was flowing. Anyway, I took this picture but I wanted to lift the camera too and take a picture of the crowd. But I have this thing about taking pictures of people and publishing them. With apologies to Laura Arnold, who had to know when she posed with me… Anyway. I’ve had my boat in the Long Island Sound for a long time, maybe 15 years? When I first went there, we would go out in the sound (you really can’t get into much trouble in the sound unless you are doing one of those sailing schools, which are increasingly tragic) and we would just tool around.  There was a helicopter that always flew above you, and would fly in and take pictures.  They would then run your registration (the numbers on the side of a boat can, if you pay the right people, lead you to the owner of the boat), and then email the photos to the email attached to the registration.  They were just thumbnails, but you could buy larger prints if you wanted to.  I bought one.  How many times are you going to be photographed by a helicopter while you are captaining a boat?  Anyway, I started to notice they weren’t around anymore, so I asked the Coast Guard what happened.  Why was I talking to the Coast Guard, you ask?  Because if you pull out of a certain club with a boat of a certain size they assume you are partying and wave you over almost every single time.  So I asked the Coast Guard as they were counting my life jackets, “What happened to that helicopter business?  I don’t see them around anymore.”  Turns out one poor gentleman registered the boat in his wife’s name, with her email address, and photos got sent there of this gentleman captaining his boat with, shall we say, ancillary crew.   I don’t post crowd shots cause ya never know.

 

The reason that I wanted to take a picture of the crowd and post it is so that you could see – the overwhelming majority of people attending the event were 35 and younger!  Turning out for cologne and madras!  Also, James, if you are reading, I enjoyed our conversation, email me if you like.  James is doing good in the world and is Ivy, it would be good to profile him.  Anyway, it was so hopeful, seeing that demographic out there.

Of course, there was this one kid I kicked off of the FB group for trolling another person who had to walk up, introduce himself, and shake my hand too hard (bro, I play guitar and type for a living), but whatever.  The rest of the group was fantastic.

The always-amazing Tom sent me this article, I couldn’t figure out where it came from (my fault, not his) but the premise was interesting.  It talked about how because suits are not as required as they used to be – anywhere – that the people that do wear them are doing so by choice, and doing it better.  And how this whole thing is being led by creatives.  Two of the five creatives they cited are dead now, and one of the other was Harry Styles who was wearing a pearl necklace, but…

 

David Hockney in his studio, 1967. This was in the article, I guess as an example of a creative wearing a suit? It was off point but a good photo so here you go.

 

Regrettably, the article then went on to talk about the ways that you can do to get your suit to stand out.  It talked about non-traditional colors, exaggerated fits, etc.  To which I say:  if fewer people are wearing suits, aren’t you going to stand out anyway, without mucking things up?

As I say, weird take but it does lead me to a thought – if creatives (including Mr. Styles) are getting back into suits, even if they are fingerpainting instead of tailoring, that is typically the precursor of a comeback.  Ivy has made its comeback but suits were left in the wake.  Perhaps this is the next round.   I suspect not, though.  But I have been wrong before.

Finally, Tarik asked in the comments:  If one of the beautiful things about Ivy is its simultaneously dressed up/casual look, what does that look like in the context of 2022? What does the answer say about Ivy’s status as a ‘living’ style vs a museum piece?

The answer is:  (I used to LOVE how John McLaughlin would do that, he would go around his panel with a question, and after they all answered he would say, “The answer is…”) Ivy is perfectly timed for this chapter of history.  We are in between a lot of things, formality and informality being one of them.  Ivy OWNS (not invented, for those who get triggered by the word invented) that space.  Ivy is perfectly suited (ugh, I saw it when I wrote it but I am on deadline) for a huge surge, as the style comforts us with the past but represents the future.  If Ivy were a stock, the recommendation would be Buy.

JB

68 Comments on "Ivy Notes S1 E19 – Ch Ch Ch Changes, The Casual/Formal Theory, And Younger People"

  1. Looking forward to the new website and the continuation of something I have been following online since the start. Regarding suits, I work at a big university (run the IT department) and I wear a suit and tie 4 days a week. There is no dress code ,but I chose to do it and now everybody is surprised if I don’t wear one. Comments have only been positive form the lecturers to the dean himself. I’m a big proponent of wearing what makes you conformable ,but for me being dressed down is wearing chinos, loafers and a OCBD.

    • I could very well be wrong on this one. I am hoping I am. What do you wear on Day 5? Is that a casual Friday type thing? And yes, you very rarely ever get negativity from treating your job and the people you work with with the respect of wearing a suit.

      • Hahahaha….dress down on a Friday of course. Anything else would be very scandalous not to mention probably illegal 🙂

  2. Harkness Tower | May 19, 2022 at 9:30 am | Reply

    John,
    For the sake of those younger readers who have never heard of “John McLoughlin”, have Googled him, and were only confused with the result , allow me to point out that it’s John McLaughlin (with an “a”, not an “o”).

  3. Happy to hear about the youngin’s supporting classic preppy/ivy/WASPish style.

    I firmly believe in “genetic memory.” Classic fragrance and madras have a certain genetic memory that is part of the collective consciousness zeitgeist that Balanciega/Prada/Rick Owens lack.

    • It was remarkable. Would love to hear more about your genetic memory theory. I think you are on to something.

      • I first heard the term “genetic memory” used by Joseph Abboud when talking about how linen is such a classic menswear staple during summer months.

        I believe that this idea also applies to fragrances and accessories.

  4. “Ivy is perfectly suited…for a huge surge, as the style comforts us with the past but represents the future.” I have mixed feelings about this possibility, for a couple of reasons.

    1. Part of the fun is bucking the trend, particularly when the trend is goofy.

    2. “If Ivy were a stock, the recommendation would be Buy.” Yes, and the sooner the better if your prediction comes to be. If good taste were to become a thing, wouldn’t that drive the price up for us consumers? If I could buy now, I would, but I don’t live in Ivy country.

    I like the casual feel of the suit coat David Hockney is wearing in the photo, except for the too much extended shoulder.

  5. *As an under-35 wearing Madras today,* let me chime in: I do think that there’s something to the thought that young–okay, I and my friends are in our late 20s/early 30s–people would like to “dress up” some in this first summer where the pandemic restrictions are firmly behind us. But, many folks still want some of the trappings of casualness. Ivy things like Madras fill that niche: it’s colorful, comfortable, casual, but has buttons.

    Would love to subscribe just so I could have a profile picture in the comments sections!

  6. One thought re: subscription requirements – great idea if you want to reduce engagement. Looking forward to Women’s Ivy. It was launched, and then…? Glad to hear it’s coming back. Always interested in different voices.

    • John Burton | May 19, 2022 at 8:06 pm | Reply

      Why do you think it reduces engagement? It isn’t a paid subscription. It might actually improve engagement, as you will have people with skin in the game. Still working it out, would appreciate your rationale?

  7. Anyone know how/if I can purchase the long-sleeved blue plaid madras shirt shown on the counter in the picture? It’s not on the J Press website. I did send them an email inquiring about it.

  8. So, there’s this theory about happiness– and, well, it’s actually interesting. Which is unusual because most of the theories about happiness (how to be happy/achieve happiness) are incredibly, mind-bogglingly boring. There are so many, after all. But this theory — this one’s a keeper because it’s all about via negativa, a old, old Latin phrase that means “by way of negation.”

    The roots may very well be apophatic (negative) theology, which tries-like-heck to discern God (“the divine”) by nullifying everything which God was/is not. If you negate everything God is not, so the theory goes, eventually you arrive at some sort of kinda-sorta viable definition/understanding of God. Still messy (it’s theology, after all), but there ya go.

    How, for gosh sakes, does this relate to happiness? Well, this is where it gets interesting. You see, it may very well be that the key to real, deep-down, lasting happiness to avoid doing things that make you UNhappy (think long-term), rather than always seeking things that make you happy. Discover, learn, discern what makes you unhappy (again, try to think long-term), and avoid those things, events, and people.

    Wearing traditional, English Lit. (or Classics–I like Classics) Professorish clothes makes me happy–for reasons that almost certainly have lots to do with my family and upbringing. This is, to borrow a phrase, is “my vibe.” But, equally important, wearing other kinds of clothes makes either (a.) doesn’t make nearly as happy, or, (b.) makes me unhappy. (You’d know this with certainty if you’ve ever seen me in a hoodie, jeans, and New Balance sneakers). Am I choosing what makes me happy–or actively, knowingly avoiding what makes me unhappy? The via negative theory — there’s something to it.

    This relates to the parameters of the style itself. “Something that’s everything at once is nothing at all,” so the ancient wisdom goes. Is Ivy at its best when it’s described according to what it’s not? Maybe.

  9. And yes, what we do for short terms happiness (the immediate and sometimes volcanic bursts of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin) sometimes interfere with the really good stuff that leads to long-term, lasting happiness. Good news: When it comes to wearing great clothes, you get both.

  10. I’ve made into an actual piece on Ivy Style? Mama I’ve made it.
    But seriously, I’m a dedicated Ivy guy and always will be, regardless of what’s currently in style. I guess I was just curious how Ivy would work in a culture where, unlike before, nearly every situation is a casual one, which makes slightly dressing up seem flagrantly dressy to the point that it’s almost obnoxious. For instance, I went to church dressed in some gray slacks, a J Press sport coat, a tab club collar, and a slim tie with oxblood weejuns. A friend asked me why I was so dressed up. I got vertigo from the irony.

    • John Burton | May 19, 2022 at 8:09 pm | Reply

      Ok, “I got vertigo from the irony…” – you may see that in print again. I will attribute it to you, but I am using it.

  11. Charlottesville | May 19, 2022 at 3:29 pm | Reply

    Tarik – Sounds like a great outfit. I would advise you to get used to the surprise it elicited, since you may hear it a lot if you dress that well. Keep up the good work!

    I am routinely the only person in a room who is at all dressed up (i.e., coat and tie), but I actually think many (most?) people like to see the old standards being maintained. I frequently get compliments and can’t recall any negative comments, allowing for occasional good-natured ribbing from a friend or co-worker.

    Seersucker season is approaching, and I find that I almost always get at least one unsolicited compliment from a stranger when I wear a seersucker suit or sport coat. Often they come from from young ladies, which perhaps is something that the young and unattached among us may wish to consider.

  12. @Charlottesville,
    Two questions:
    1. Have you seen brass buttons on a seersucker SC?
    2. JP does not have my size, and that is perhaps just as well, as it is not made in the Classic fit. If I were to get one in the Long size and have the sleeves shortened, would I end up with a mess?

  13. I look at this site every day, without fail, since shortly after it launched. I have left a few comments, usually brief. I look forward to checking things out at around this time of night. I don’t subscribe. I just don’t want to. I don’t know why. This may be irrational, but it’s where I am. Just my two cents about one of your proposed changes. Thanks for your attention.

    • John Burton | May 19, 2022 at 8:51 pm | Reply

      Hi! I don’t think it is irrational at all. It is why I am asking. Some people just don’t like it. By the way, don’t feel awkward at all. There are, every day, thousands of people who read anonymously but don’t comment. Your feedback is not only legit, it is invaluable.

  14. I also will not subscribe, and also prefer not to have a detailed discussion about it. Please accept this one sentence reason – I prefer the anonymity of this page vs. FB, and I see no purpose to subscribing.

  15. Charlottesville | May 19, 2022 at 9:26 pm | Reply

    Hardbopper – I can’t recall seeing brass buttons on seersucker, although I have seen them on other non-blazer sport coats, such as tweeds. Not sure that I am on board with it, although on a solid navy seersucker (no white stripes), it might work quite well as an unorthodox blazer. Just my opinion.

    Seersucker is more versatile than one often thinks. I bought a solid navy seersucker suit (actually, matching separates) at J. Press last year or the year before and love it. I have even seen a black seersucker dinner jacket with grosgrain lapels that looked wonderful. Alas I have several dinner suits and jackets in the closet already that I get to wear all too rarely, so getting one in seersucker seems a bit extravagant.

    As for getting something by mail that is not one’s usual size, I would make certain that it is returnable for a full refund. The sleeves are not a problem, but jacket length is very difficult to adjust, and the fit in shoulders and waist is hard to judge without trying it on. I am 5′ 10″ with a 34″ shirt sleeve (allowing for shrinkage, as George Costanza might say) and J. Press (and in the old days Brooks) regular sacks fit me quite well with a nip here and a tuck there. A long in the same size, does not work at all, and would take a genius with the needle and thread to remake into something wearable. But if I were an inch and a half taller, it might be a completely different story.

    J. B. – I fear I also side with the non-subscriber element, which is why I have not joined the Facebook page. Privacy is important to me, especially in the digital marketplace.

    • John Burton | May 19, 2022 at 9:29 pm | Reply

      I hear you, I think the subscription thing for the main site is a dud.

    • Thanks for the reply, and the sensible advice. Yes, I was thinking it might make a nice Panama blazer.

      @All,
      And on a related subject, what’s the consensus on navy sport coats? It seems odd to me.

      • John Burton | May 20, 2022 at 8:55 am | Reply

        Wait, navy sports coats seem odd? What am I missing?

        • I don’t know what I am missing. Why not just wear a blazer? Do the brass buttons seem too flashy for some? Why would J Press not make the navy seersucker a blazer. How does one techically define blazer vs sportcoat? A navy sportcoat kinda looks like a suit coat worn with odd trousers to me. BTW, I have a navy flannel with navy horn buttons, a beautiful piece although not what I REALLY wanted. Did the tailor assume I would put my own “custom” “blazer buttons” on it? If so, good on him leaving me that option.

    • Thanks for the sensible advise. Yes, a Panama blazer. That would look good with a Panama hat and white bucks, eh? Banana Ivy?

  16. Ok, so now we have a new function and it’s going to take boomer, er, BOPPER, awhile to learn the rubrics.

  17. Boston Bean | May 20, 2022 at 1:22 am | Reply

    Greetings JB,
    One more regular reader and occasional comment leaver who is addicted to the site (in the most positive sense), appreciates the anonymity, and won’t be subscribing if that becomes necessary. Privacy is a New England value. I’d like to think it’s also an Ivy value. Hate to think I won’t have access since the site is so much better than was before you acquired it.

    • John Burton | May 20, 2022 at 4:12 am | Reply

      Hi and THANK YOU. Forget the subscribing. It was only going to be for people who wanted to comment, but it’s a bad idea. Scrubbed. 🙂

  18. Planning (already?) for fall semester kick-off events in late August with colleagues via Zoom yesterday. Linen and traditional blue-white seersucker suits hang at the ready. Until then, chino shorts, madras or polo shirts (rugby jerseys for chilly mornings), and worn leather deck shoes since I am well into full summer dress mode at this point.

    Kind Regards,

    H-U

  19. Charlottesville | May 20, 2022 at 10:14 am | Reply

    On navy sport coats, I have mixed feelings. A brass- or gold-buttoned navy blazer, in flannel or tropical wool according to season, is my standard but in the late 80s I bought a navy Polo sport coat in linen with mother-of-pearl buttons that was quite dashing. I also wear my J. Press seersucker suit coat as a sport coat; it was actually offered as a sport coat with optional matching trousers. I have no idea whether there is any truth to this, but in my mind the non-traditional fabrics for a blazer lend themselves to non-metal buttons.

    On the subject of tailored blazers with horn buttons, it may well be standard practice to start out with plain buttons, and later switch to the metal button of one’s choice. I had a DB blazer made in navy flannel some years ago, and the tailor sewed plain black buttons on for the fitting, after which he substituted the gold W&L blazer buttons which I had supplied to him. Ben Silver has a good selection of blazer buttons, including some in gold and colored enamel if one wants to go that route. Plain brass or gold (gold plate, actually) for me.

    • Hardbopper (boppin' down the rabbit hole) | May 20, 2022 at 11:12 am | Reply

      I’m tracking, Charlottesville. It’s been too hot around here lately even for a tropical wool blazer. Even hot enough to consider going the unstructured route. I do not own any linen pieces, but if I were to get a linen sportcoat, it would probably be in a light beige/ivory color, to be paired with an olive-ish linen, tropical worsted, or poplin trousers. Would drill cloth be light/cool enough for hot weather? How about cotton chambray? (I’m window shopping O’Connell’s again).

  20. I understand the benefits to registration – when the assimilation occurs it’s easier to locate everyone. As we already know who we are, let’s just register the outsiders.

    • It was really to have accountability for comments…. there are (happily) too many readers at this point to register readers. BUT. Registering the outsiders… now that is viable 🙂

  21. John, just my two cents, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to charge readers for exclusive content. Christian wanted Ivy Style to be for the people, for the PEOPLE, John. Not everyone has a trust fund, or a Roman numeral after their name, to use a phrase I picked up from Mr. Chensvold.

    • John Burton | May 20, 2022 at 5:07 pm | Reply

      Let’s run this out. (1) I don’t know that what the former publisher intended for the site to be is any kind of point of orientation. (2) I am pretty sure I am at least as inclusive as the site’s prior editorial staff. No, I am pretty sure I am MORE. (ps, just riffing on your all caps jam). (3) that said, I am open to all ideas for revenue generation. You don’t want to pay for a newsletter, give me other ideas. (4). We are very very very near quadrupling the site’s LEGIT (there it is again) readership in under a year. I attribute that to a change in energy and direction. I don’t think regressing is a good idea. (5). Yeah, I know the line about the Roman numeral. It always struck me as off putting, but I didn’t give it a full think until you raised it up. So here. What bothers me about it is that it is pretty, elitist. Turns out it is a fairly common practice amongst all classes in the south. Not too mention the fact that it is an almost completely male-oriented practice. So when we say somebody wanted Ivy for the People, well, I think you have to qualify that. You are talking to an orphan who aged out of the system with a gym bag of clothes and a guitar at age 18. I don’t quake at the idea of paying extra for an option. Nor should you. But if you like, I guess we can set up a scholarship, to continue the ambiance. (6) I look forward to your alternatives.

      • I hear you. Christian wanted to find a way to increase revenue at the end of his tenure at Ivy Style. My suggestion is to start a Patreon page. Patreon supporters have the option to choose what level of support they’re willing to pay.

        Congratulations to you for expanding the audience for IS. My advice to you is to remember that it was Christian and his supporters (myself included) who grew his blog from virtually nothing. Christian even uploaded his first posts from a Whole Foods to take advantage of their free WiFi. There is no other menswear blog that is as civil, engaging, and diverse as the one that you publish today.

        There is a saying, a cliche, that “if something is not broke, don’t fix it.”

        • John Burton | May 21, 2022 at 5:46 am | Reply

          Is that how you get paid? Does your firm/boss/client/whatever decide what they want to pay, and you do the job regardless? I am gonna bet not?

          • John, I have made countless contributions to your site before and after Christian departed, and I have never asked for a dime. Not everyone is motivated by the coin.

            • John Burton | May 21, 2022 at 8:37 am | Reply

              And we are grateful, but that doesn’t answer the question. You are a wonderful part of this, but if you don’t work for whatever your employer is willing to pay you that day, there is a disconnect in suggesting others do.

  22. Charlottesville | May 20, 2022 at 3:02 pm | Reply

    Hardbopper – May I ask where you call home? Are you another of our Texas brethren by any chance? It is in the humid mid 80s today, with 90s predicted for tomorrow and Sunday, so I understand the desire for light weight clothing.

    I highly recommend chambray for a summer coat. I also have a light-tan/off-white 3/2 sack sport coat in what I think was called BrooksLinen, or some similar tradename. It is blended with a bit of Dacron or something to reduce wrinkles, but is still pretty light. I believe that J. Press has a similar offering this year. But chambray and madras are the two lightest sport coats I own; even lighter than seersucker. If you get one that is lined only at the shoulder in back, it is almost like wearing a light shirt. Perfect when a coat is appropriate, but the temperature won’t cooperate. Pincord is also a good choice.

  23. “…talked about how because suits are not as required as they used to be – anywhere – that the people that do wear them are doing so by choice, and doing it better. And how this whole thing is being led by creatives.“

    By “this whole thing” do you mean the revival of Ivy style? I don’t disagree about creatives leading the way. I think Ivy has always been ‘at home’ among writers, musicians, artists, architects, public intellectuals,* professors.
    Who’ll be wearing Ivy 50 years from now?
    The clerisy.

    * Think Lionel Trilling

  24. I agree with others who have some concerns about a premium product or having to “register” to participate in the community. Not that there are any inherent problems with those ideas but they seem a bit more exclusionary than is my taste. To each his or her own, I suppose.

  25. What an encouraging post. The suit is dead. Long live the suit!
    It’s also nice to get a glimpse of some of the coming changes to the site. The thread function is a very welcome addition already.

  26. Re: Patreon & Paid Subscriptions

    In the case of linking to a pay-what-you-want Patreon account at the end of articles, that can generate some revenue, particularly when catering to an audience that isn’t being served by very many other outlets.

    As an example, nearly all of NFL film analyst Brett Kollman’s content is free on YouTube and he pulls in over $6,000/month from Patreon while still including ad reads in his videos. As the networks have pivoted, almost-entirely, to five guys seated around a large table bantering for hours as their only offerings for analysis, Kollman has stepped in with approachable content for football fans looking to actually learn more about the game.

    “Consider supporting us if you like this unique content so we can make more of it,” is a pitch applicable to both a voluntary Patreon drive as well as a paywall. But online, the latter can come at the expense of growing an audience as quickly, which makes the voluntary Patreon approach attractive for content creators that are in the process of growing their audience, and doesn’t exclude also pursuing ad revenue.

    Mr. Burton, if Ivy Style’s page views are trending upward and you think additional Patreon revenue could be used to drive them even higher, then the pay-what-you-want approach can have merit.

    I’ve also noticed, recently, that larger sites are losing subscribers and slashing subscription fees for their paywalls. $4/mo. for a year of the WSJ is an all-time low for online access. The Athletic, which launched as a combination of subscription-only or free if reading via the site’s app, recently ran a $1/mo. for a year offer that likely speaks volumes about the direction is number of paid subscriptions is trending. The NYT has done so for $19.99/year after Biden’s election brought an end to the news equivalent of doom-scrolling for its customer base during Trump’s tenure.

    There are also financially successful podcasts using Patreon and Substack to offer a split of free and premium content (e.g. two public podcasts a month and two extra premium podcasts a month) — Chapo Traphouse, Blocked and Reported, the Fifth Column, etc.

    I ultimately have no idea what would be best for Ivy Style, but I don’t think a pay-what-you-want Patreon approach is beyond consideration given the state of subscription content on the web at present.

    • John Burton | May 21, 2022 at 7:06 pm | Reply

      And… this is why I like talking to people. THANK YOU. Just to be clear, the subscription idea was ever only for the newsletter. The site remains free. To continue the idea, I wonder what the rational for literally every major online media NOT doing pay what you want is? I dunno, but I think it has to do with content level. Sure, if you are a football analyst and there are like 1,000 others of you on every local news channel, you cannot get a steady fee. But I am thinking out loud. Perhaps that is a good interim step. You make a good point about it working in concert with advertisers. A really good point. I am weird, I LOVE our advertisers for real, and think that partnership is the cornerstone of the whole she-bang. Here’s an idea, we could try it, and if it sucks, we could take it down.

      • Reactionary Trad | May 22, 2022 at 2:41 pm | Reply

        I only hope that if you do make readers pay for the newsletter it will be a failure. Love the site and appreciate all the effort that goes into it, but I would also hope to love the newsletter–for free.

  27. I support some endeavors I appreciate and value on Patreon. It’s not a bad idea. That said, clothing industry-adjacent blogs like A Continuous Lean have lately become newsletters offering both free content and a subscription for the deep dive journalistic articles and profiles. I’m not fundamentally opposed to either idea, but, not to devalue the hard work that I know goes into writing features and profiles on this site, I would hate to see a paywall for the majority of what appears here. That said, I’ll pay it if it comes to that. Commenting as someone in the arts, I see the devaluation of creative work of any kind as an ongoing plague.

  28. …A small downside of threads: The comments section winds up so full of responses I don’t have time in the moment to read the ones that already address the concerns in my comment! Ah well. I’ll read more carefully next time.

  29. ” I also hope it isn’t the clerisy alone. The Classics Are For Everyone.”

    Populist hopes and dreams aside, it will almost certainly be the clerisy– creatives and intellectuals and high brow’s generally. The inherently everymanish “_____is for everyone” is a nice-and-noble-sounding sentiment, but the availability of something (to everyone) mustn’t be confused with a welcoming embrace. It’s true my down-the-street neighbor, an insurance man and Rotarian, has access to the actual Classics (Plato, Herodotus, Homer, Seneca, Sophocles, Virgil, Tacitus, Ovid, Euripides, so on); it’s equally true that, for all of that access and availability (the library is a 10-minute drive from his house) he nonetheless prefers books about lawn mower repair and baseball and gardening–and ESPN, and watching that Netflix show ‘Longmire” all the way through for the fifth time.

    You’re right about creative leading the way; mistaken about other types following in their footsteps. No great tragedy, this. Not everybody wants to look Old School in a bookish/collegiate/professorish sort of way.

    • John Burton | May 22, 2022 at 5:31 pm | Reply

      If you believe history repeats itself, there was a time when Ivy was for everyone. If it happened once, it can certainly happen again. And, I think we have to expand our definition of classics. Will Prince be a classic in 50, 100 years? Will the Astros’ uniform? The Ivy World tends to think of classics as only things from Greece and Rome and maybe Beethoven. That definition is going to embarrass those who hold it. By definition they will not be here to see how the term classic evolves, but their digital footprint will be. And your “Longmire” line – I legit had to pause to laugh. 🙂

    • I tend to agree with this, S.E.. Many of the elements of “Ivy Style” that are likely to remain in the public consciousness to one degree or another (Oxford shirts, khaki trousers, loafers, etc.) have long since crossed over to the mainstream and are often more commonly referred to as “preppy” among the general public. Prep styles seem to come and go about every 10 years or so, never really going totally out of style but increasing in popularity at certain intervals. Other aspects of Ivy Style like the sack suit have been increasingly obsolete in popular culture for quite some time.

      “Brooks Brothers appears to see the legacy of its iconic sack suit as something best used to serve fashion ends via distortion and irony, while offering the straight, non-ironic version to conservative businessmen in Japan. Both are signs that the sack suit is one step closer to extinction.”

      http://www.ivy-style.com/can-the-sack-suit-survive.html

      This could certainly change over time but what’s working against its favor is the fact that, by definition, classics are more often than not of the unchanging kind. The idea that the public is going to collectively re-embrace a style of clothing whose heyday was 50+ years strikes me as wishful thinking, particularly when the public seems to have gone all in on full-time “Casual Fridays.”

      • John Burton | May 23, 2022 at 7:40 am | Reply

        I have a different take. There are, of course, elements of Ivy that are not coming back. The fur coat. That does not disqualify a resurgence in the style. Enhanced by the fact that there is a good degree of overlap between prep and Ivy. If a person wears an OCBD, are they part of the prep resurgence or the Ivy one? Well, Ivy came first so… But you take my point. People HAVE collectively re-embraced a style of clothing whose heyday (ugh) was 50+ years ago. Nothing is universal, but there is retail trend after trend supporting the claim.

  30. Behind Enemy Lines | May 24, 2022 at 5:13 am | Reply

    John, would it be possible to generate some pin money for Ivy Style by offering us an easy one-stop option to sign up for the mailing lists of the site’s advertisers? Me, I’d be perfectly happy for hear regularly from anyone who advertises here. All of them are aimed exactly at me. And over time, being on their email lists would vastly increase the chance they’d be in front of my eyes when I need new stuff or am otherwise ready to buy.

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