Ivy Notes S1 E4 J. Press Rendering, An Ivy Hack, and Why Is Dark Academia In The News Again?

Good morning.  J Press sent me the rendering for the new store.  Here:

Rendering from J. Press of their return to New Haven. This is not particular to J. Press, but this rendering is one of the two best parts of construction. The other is a week after the punch list is done when you are in and the REAL punch list is done.

I have learned an amazing thing for those of us who wear glasses and order online.  I wear progressives (bifocals without the line) and I wear them pretty much all the time.  I’m no Oprah (different glasses for every outfit) but I do have a rotation, depending.  I started ordering online during Covid and found that you can get decent progressives for not a lot of money.  BUT.  Sometimes they fit, sometimes they don’t so much.  Same with sunglasses.  Love sunglasses.  HATE sliding sunglasses.  Oily T Zone.  It haunts me.

Found a solution.  I wouldn’t do this with any glasses that I spent bigger bucks on, although the fellas in this charming video do.  First, you know that rubber tacky (sticky, not ugly) material that sports glasses put on the nose pads and the part of the arm that goes over the ear?  It is this.  Polyolefin.

This is polyolefin tubing. You can get a bag of it in different widths at Home Depot for $4, or Amazon, or Lowe’s, or whatever. Overseas readers, what is the equivalent of Home Depot? Anyway, $4 where I am.


Polyolefin has two amazing properties.  First, it is resistant to moisture and slippage.  It’ll move, you have have to work to get it to.  For sure.  The second is that it shrinks when you apply heat to it.  So it is essentially non-slip shrink wrap.  See where I am going with this?

This is a Wagner Heat Gun.  I got mine for $23 at Home Depot.

This is a heat gun. It is set to stun.

But don’t sweat.  (That was a really sh&*y heat gun joke for which I am already sorry).  You can use a blow dryer.  It takes a minute longer, but who cares.  What you do is cut the tubing with scissors to whatever length you want, slide it over the ear part of the glasses, and then use the heat gun or the blow dryer to shrink it around.   Friends, it works.  Two other important things – no one else can see it, and you don’t feel it.  I practiced on an old pair of glasses, and when I say practiced I took :30 to see how hot everything got and how long it takes.  It seriously takes less than a minute, and that is if you are going really slow.

This video from 2012 is hilarious – it is kind of if Wayne’s World started a Life Hacks segment.  But they show you how to do it.  Here’s a link, CLICK THIS.

For real. Star Wars posters, and these guys work it hard.

Here’s what it looks like on one of my glasses.  Again, no one sees it, and you don’t feel it, and your glasses stop slipping.

That’s a Nantucket lighthouse in the background. Well, to the side. That’s me, in the background.

Finally, thank you for sending me this article on Dark Academia from CNN.  If you are interested, you can read it here.

Or I can spare you, and sum it up.  Dark Academia is when people who go to college wear Ivy or Degage clothes.  It has a plus side, it looks good, it has a down side but the article then gets so off the rails that I don’t get it.   That’s the summary.

Of course, there are the obligatory Dead Poets Society pictures.  There’s Carpe Dieming, and then there is knowing when to let go.  I love the clothes in Dead Poets Society as much as the next public school guy who lived near a good private school, but (1) that’s not Dark Academia, that’s Academia and (2) using Dead Poets Society to illustrate Ivy in academic fashion is like using Moby Dick to teach whaling.

Is it possible that CNN had to literally blow the dust off of a digital photo to post this article?

You are CNN.  Go to a college, take a picture.  Unless, as I suspect, you can’t because this whole Dark Academia thing, which was covered to a large extent already on this site, is very hard to find in real life.

OH AND MY FAVORITE THING today is people who write me, “this is what kids are wearing on campuses” when they themselves haven’t been to a campus.  Like, well, CNN.

This is the Wren Library at Trinity College in Cambridge, England. This photo was in the CNN story. It has nothing to do with the story, but at least it is not anothere photo of DPS. And this looks like a great library.


This is not Dark Academia. Nor is it Academia. This is a guy checking out his eyeglass handiwork without his eyeglasses. In front of Star War posters.



23 Comments on "Ivy Notes S1 E4 J. Press Rendering, An Ivy Hack, and Why Is Dark Academia In The News Again?"

  1. Frederick J Johnson | January 31, 2022 at 11:08 am |

    That is a pretty crude drawing.

  2. Dark Academia is the style equivalent of Bigfoot: a lot of supposed sightings but no proof that it exists in the wild.

    Die, Workwear!, on the other hand, has a post about “Bookcore” style with plenty of real-life examples.

    Nobody exemplifies Bookcore better than G. Bruce Boyer, a retired professor and the Eminence Grise of menswear. Lots of tweed, flannel, knit ties, and suede shoes; a grey-haired, pipe-smoking version of ivy style:


    Pitch perfect spot on. JB

  3. This is what J Press proposed for New Haven a couple of years ago:


    What happened?

  4. @Tom Conroy — While the new planned J. Press building is more, shall we say, creatively illustrated in pen and …Crayola?, it looks like it will be an even grander structure than the one earlier proposed.

  5. …And I would love to see more young (and not-so-young) people dressing in “dark academia” style out there in the real world, but I’m thinking it’s a look seen exclusively in the venerable hallowed halls of Instagram.

  6. whiskeydent | January 31, 2022 at 2:05 pm |

    Dorky Monday

  7. Why does it matter if Dark Academia only exists as a community online? Ivy started in Japan as whispers from a world away and look at it now.

    I wish CNN had shown more examples of the clothes. As far as the critiques of the aesthetic, I understand and accept that CNN had to cover multiple angles. The criticisms are fair, though I imagine those interviewed and I have differing opinions about what should be done about it. Lest we forget, opinions are just that; and everyone is entitled to one, no matter how right or wrong it is. I mean some people think Ed Sheeran makes good music.

    (1) Yes but Japan called it Ivy. (2) I don’t think anyone was arguing that CNN isn’t entitled to publish the piece. I am arguing they were lazy doing it. (3) Those who think Ed Sheeran makes good music have the backing of… the other half of the world that thinks Ed Sheeran makes good music. – JB

  8. “is like using Moby Dick to teach whaling”

    If you want to know how to be a whaler ca. 1851, I can think of worse manuals. Moby Dick is chock full of then-current technical knowledge about whales and whaling.

    If you want to know about 1851 whaling. But… – JB

    JRF’s comment about Ivy starting in Japan is interesting. I too believe that “Ivy” is a construct, built from the outside looking in at something that may never have even existed in the form in which it’s been codified as a style. The interesting piece is that many would surely vociferously disagree with the comment and marshal lots of evidence to prove it. Yet here we are, reading a blog about Ivy started by a non-Ivy grad and continued by a non-Ivy grad. (This sentence is the foundation of every critic’s perspective on Ivy Style… because it is so wrong.) – JB Speaking of ‘“this is what kids are wearing on campuses” when they themselves haven’t been to a campus.’ Makes you wonder if this all isn’t a bit like the old Whose Line Is It Anyway slogan — the style where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter 😉

    Hey, if you are gonna say you are done with a site, please don’t come back under a pseudonym. Own your s*&t. – JB

  9. Before Tartt’s A Secret History, there was DPS.

    I’ve seen (still see) this tweedy vibe in action, but then I live within an hour’s drive of approximately 20-30 colleges (true), dozens upon dozens of private schools, and too many dying but endowed High Church(ish) Protestant parishes to count. It’s cold and frequently snowy here, and there’s lots of WASPy low-level depression that’s managed with booze, book clubs (“Patchett’s Dutch House is a delight, Edith”), and long happy hours spent at old haunts that specialize in bland but digestible French fare. Old rusty Volvo and MB wagons abound, and, for all the athleisure seen among the younger folks at the coffee shops before 9AM, it’s sufficiently urban to invite the mid-morning switch to campus-inspired kit.

    So yeah, here in this corner of the Northeast, it’s real. Mostly.

    Man, I do not agree that it is a trend on the grounds that after the real trend clears out of Starbuck’s the tweed enters. BUT I COULD READ THAT PARAGRAPH YOU WROTE ALL DAY. That is some prose, my friend. – JB

  10. * It = Dark Academia,

  11. ** There’s something about that peculiar subculture-within-a-subculture of men, somberly fogeyish no matter their age, who extract Traditionalist-ish principles from the (reading and study of) classical poetry, literature, history, and so on. DPS, a story told from a fervently and unapologetically male outlook (“Language was invented for one reason, boys– to woo women”–Keating), stands as proof. So, come to think of it, does Tarttt’s TSC: the small flock of disciples the Classics professor gathers is male– save for the lovely Camilla.

  12. @Tom Conroy “ What happened?”

    What happened seems to have been that a different opportunity presented itself and they went for it. Now the shop is next door to LL Bean on a more commercial street that abuts the old lot, which they might still use, the article you posted latex out the difficulties they anticipated rebuilding “on a postage stamp”, and now they have one less neighbor they have to worry about

    And the building is old(er) instead of brand new construction

    This seems like a pretty ingenious move

  13. Laid out not latex, Freudian slip !

  14. I kind of like the illustration at the top of the post. But then ol’ Mom always said I am easily entertained.

    Kind Regards,


  15. The Harry Potter generation. Mostly girls who self-identify as intellectuals. In junior high school they were the goths. 4-6-8, or more years in college, until they got a job, running the country.

  16. “using Dead Poets Society to illustrate Ivy in academic fashion is like using Moby Dick to teach whaling.”

    Now that’s funny!

  17. @Hardbopper:

    You are right about the similarity between Dark Academia and Goths.

    When I was a college student (early 90s), there was a dorm next to mine full of Goth philosophy majors. They used to wear a lot of black, smoke clove cigarettes, and listen to Nine Inch Nails.

  18. JM, Virginia | February 1, 2022 at 12:36 pm |

    So apparently all I need to elevate myself from a simple traditionalist and pluviophile to Dark Academic is a TikTok account.

    I love DPS. It’s central message however is not to conform. I imagine that at least a few of the movie’s main characters would have entered the beatnik scene and rejected the “Tradition, Honor, Discipline, [and] Excellence” of much of academia later in life. On the other hand some ,like Keating, might choose to undo the world of academia from the inside out.

    Nevertheless, the cast’s wardrobe is perfect.

  19. Mitchell,
    Philosophy majors used to wear a lot of black in the 60s, as well. They smoked Gauloises and read Sartre and Camus. Philosophy majors today haven’t even heard of Sartre and Camus.

  20. Jonathan Mitchell | February 2, 2022 at 1:22 am |

    Heinz-Ulrich said it before I did.
    I found the illustration at the top to be charming.

  21. Charlottesville | February 2, 2022 at 10:01 am |

    Jonathan Mitchell and Heinz-Ulrich – I like the illustration very much as well. So glad that J. Press will again have a real home in New Haven, even if the NY and DC branches (and the website) are my normal stores.

    As for Dark Academia and Bookcore, if it means tweeds, ties and flannels, I give it a thumbs up. Perhaps it will be a gateway to more adult dressing down the road. However, I have not seen much of anything like that locally, beyond some Harry Potter Halloween costumes. Perhaps they only come out at night, when I am safely at home tucked behind a good book.

  22. Charlottesville, I share both of your views on the thumbs up as well so welcoming the potential opportunity to dress more adult, i. e. age appropriate.

    From my Central European perspective over here I can say that wearing tweeds immediately puts you into a senior surrounding (older, affluent, slightly awkward male), and adding a tie is already a small rebellion – which I think really is the opportunity for personality and diversification. Not in an arrogant meaning but interpreting Ivy values as a stable and reliable distinction for own dignity as being the wearer. This is the rock in the sea of dirty trainers, spandex track pants and hoodies.

    DPS – if any of today’s students would even stick to real books, get excited, in an age where private libraries, book shelves in the living room, are if still there downgraded to an exotic wallpaper, mere decoration, and literature has sadly been sacrificed to digital versions which lack the ambience, haptic of books.

  23. Charlottesville | February 2, 2022 at 2:46 pm |

    Stanislaus – Hear hear! Very well said, and I couldn’t agree more on the feel of real books.

    I add only that I have been told that my books, piano, antique furniture, original artwork, inherited silver, etc. (not to mention suits, shirts, ties, et al.) are all white elephants and will be difficult even to give away if I ever want to get rid of them. Still, while there are many much more important things, my wife and I are enjoying these accoutrements and aids to a satisfying life and hope to be able to do so for some decades to come.

Comments are closed.