Ivy Notes, S1 – Last One Of The Year UPDATED

Yes, there has been a slight downtick in August.  Not of readership, oddly enough, but of verbiage.  I was taking a minute.  But one more week, then we go back to at least four posts a week.  With actual words.  More than 78 of them.

Mitchell sent me a few good things to take a look at.  First, for everybody who loves Mad Men (as a quick aside, I am gonna take the back half of this week off and will try Mad Men again based on feedback), apparently this picture went viral:


So this photo was actually the subject of a GQ article, the point of which was that Jon Hamm is an actor. Which is one of about a gazillion reasons I don’t read GQ anymore. I used to love it.  As an aside, both hats are nice, shorts and jeans fine, and the dog is a home run.


From the article by Alfred Tong:

It’s been 15 years since Mad Men first aired on HBO and it’s difficult to overstate the impact it had on not just men’s fashion but also, men’s aspirations in general. Back then everyone was discussing pocket square folding, hair pomading, and the correct way to make an Old Fashioned. Being cool meant rules, regimes and regularity. One had to be precise, pulled together, neat and tidy. Thank goodness Harry Styles, Timothée Chalamet and Frank Ocean came along to get us to loosen up a bit, so that these days the only people who dress like Don Draper now are contestants on The Apprentice.

Mr. Tong, I extend an invitation for you to be interviewed here.

Mitchell also kindly sent me another GQ article from February where Mr. Bastian, who still refuses to be interviewed, talks again about “doing the things I missed from Brooks Brothers that they weren’t doing anymore” and that made me sad too, but not about Mr. Bastian.  He is a great designer in a no win situation.  We have spelled out the path back for Brooks here a few times, and they are at least giving lip service to it.  But debt service is the real game.

I don’t usually link articles here from other sources – but this one is really strong, sent to me by The Amazing Tom.  I don’t agree with a lot of it, but it is at least thought out and worth your while perhaps.  Here’s the article.   If you read the article, it has a link to an “Ivy Symposium” from a few years back, and in that article is this quote:

The second thing I learnt was that Ivy style survived so well – became the American style – because it was so adaptable. Because it evolved.

Ivy originated in the 20s, was democratised by vets in the 50s, and became preppy mainstream in the 80s. The French had their version; the Japanese mixed it (feverishly) together.

Which is why purists make perhaps less sense in Ivy than anything else.


Like I say, there are things to disagree with, but at least thought was given, and it isn’t another stupid article about Tom Cruise’s pilot watch.

The Amazing Tom also sent me an article from The Wall Street Journal that further frustrated me about the state of fashion writing.  In an attempt to sell cardigans in August they say that people are using “perhaps even blankets” but that you don’t have to.  If you send me a picture of you literally wearing a blanket in your company office where you can’t control the air conditioner, I will post it and start a Go Fund Me for a sweater for you.   Here:


That’s a real fashion illustration of a person in shorts and a blanket next to another person in a scarf and blanket in winter. Fashion needs better writers.


The cover image is from The Dartmouth, which if you are burning time at the end of the summer, is a really good read too.  Click on the picture, it’ll take you there.


Go ahead, click.



I said I would.


Benjamin, if I get a paywall I assume others do as well. I removed your comment only because of the link. THANKS




20 Comments on "Ivy Notes, S1 – Last One Of The Year UPDATED"

  1. John, I’m on a roll, thanks for the credit!

    I too like the bandana dog. I just noticed the dog has a red bandanna and a blue bandanna. This must’ve been around July 4 that the photo was taken.

  2. It takes a real lack of self-awareness (or perhaps just narcissism) to write a sentence this impenetrable and then complain about the object of your derision being a poor writer:

    “In an attempt to sell cardigans in August they say that people are using ‘perhaps even blankets’ but that you don’t have to.”

    I suppose it piqued my curiosity to see what you were complaining about but since you once again haven’t bothered to link to what you’re talking about, I’m not really all that interested in wasting more of my time trying to figure out what you’re misunderstanding today.

    Between that and the repeated bellyaching that the powers that be aren’t paying enough attention to your website, it seems like Ivy Style is off to another great week!

    • Chris, your criticism here is both hard to follow and oddly personal. If you’re dissatisfied, you can always just cancel your subscription.

    • 1. JB has made it clear that he will not link to paywall sites.

      2. JBs quote is intended to demonstrate the absurdity of the situation, and presumably the article, as evidenced by the illustration.

      • The article is not behind a paywall, for what it’s worth.

        • Hey! You’re right. Why, do you suppose? Is it essentially an infomercial?

          • Not sure but that’s a very good guess! I would have to imagine that’s it.

            • John Burton | August 23, 2022 at 9:46 am |

              Please see the photo above.

              • Huh, that is strange. I was surprised it wasn’t behind a paywall either! I just checked the link and was able to get it again, though I did have to close out the X at the top of the initial popup window to see it. Thanks for clarifying. In any event, seems like people can read it here if they have trouble getting it to work:

                AT MY LAST OFFICE job at Women’s Wear Daily, my desk was positioned directly under an air-conditioning vent that chilled me to the marrow of my bones. During New York City summer heat waves, my deskmates and I shared space-heaters and spent our days shivering under a scattershot collection of beach towels sourced from the “giveaway table,” a spread of free samples that’s a familiar sight in fashion-publication offices.

                Were the beach towels a chic complement to the all-designer ensembles worn underneath? No. They were part survival, part protest: We’ll look professional when you turn up the dial.

                As the sun blazes outside, workers practically fight off frostbite at their desks.
                A few years on, the thermostat war has picked up again as employees return to offices after months of WFH. As the sun blazes outside, workers practically fight off frostbite at their desks. Kristi Garced, 36, a former member of my towel cohort, has moved on to a corporate career and, earlier this summer, she conducted brand consulting for a Wall Street law firm. She described their office as “frigid.” On the hottest July days, when commuting on the subway feels like walking through soup, she smuggled thick, camping-style socks in her tote. Once at her desk, “off went my Prada sandals and on went those cozy socks,” she said. Not that any of the lawyers knew: Before walking to the kitchen or bathroom, she’d whip off the socks, calling them her “embarrassing secret.”

                While many folks equate Arctic offices with shamefully dorky accessories, sad cardigans and free corporate fleece vests, others see a sartorial opportunity. To them, overactive air cons let you wear an attractive, lightweight layer that stops the chill and ups the cool.

                According to Josh Peskowitz, a men’s style consultant in Manhattan, “guys should wear some sort of jacket [in] the office,” whether or not they’re chilly. A jacket brings presentability to your work look, with pockets for stashing phones, swipe cards and other ephemera that, he insists, should not be stuffed into pants because chinos with bulging pockets are a sorry sight. Mr. Peskowitz proposes a textured, knit blazer from Harris Wharf London, or a linen-blend chore jacket. “That’s the closest a guy should come to having an office cardigan.”

                For those men keen to update the “finance bro vest,” Los Angeles stylist Chris Kim recommends the cashmere sweater vest. It has similar appeal to the staid gray fleeces favored by corporate types, in that it keeps your body warm and your arms free, but “it’s more sophisticated,” he said. And for men and women after a no-fuss tailored look, Mr. Kim is a fan of the Uniqlo blazers made from ultralight, moisture-wicking fabrics. These, he said, excel at keeping your deskside temperature just-so.

                Rather than limiting yourself to one item, you could follow Taylor Okata’s lead. The Manhattan stylist and creative director, who is in his 30s, has mastered his work layering system. Instead of schlepping garments on the subway, Mr. Okata wears a light T-shirt for his commute and keeps a stash of options in his office that he can toss on top for the workday. Among them: a sleeveless sweater vest, a simple black blazer, a dress shirt and a sheer Dries Van Noten button-down for something different.

                Beyond regulating his temperature, each item brings polish, enabling him to look “somewhat dressed up” for meetings, said Mr. Okata. “I don’t have the option to throw something on [purely] out of comfort,” he said, adding that a small collection of similarly sleek-yet-sensible office supplies should do the trick for anyone. Take that, thermostat.

          • Hardbopper – Upon further reflection, they probably made if freely available for the first day and then once it was indexed by Google, they put the paywall back up. At least that’s my best guess. In any event, I noticed that you can bypass it if you click the X at the top right of the popup screen.

  3. Wait. Hold on a minute. There’s a subscription?

    Plenty of “Damn, he looks great!” and “Wow, she looks great!” Mad Men moments, including but not limited to Roger, Marie, Duck, Faye, Betty, Rachel, Henry and Pete’s father. Duck’s flannel chalkstripe suit/tattersall waistcoat/pinned club collar/wool challis necktie combo is my favorite. That said, season one Roger is a steady flow of conservative elegance and Henry’s sweaters were top drawer.

  4. Jordan Montefiore | August 22, 2022 at 2:48 pm |

    Posts like this, sir, are why I continue to follow this site regularly.

  5. Chris,
    To me,
    Ivy is not inclusive of darts & reverse pleats.
    My Ivy also includes a modicum of civility.
    If we are missing something or if there’s a contentious history, air it out.
    I believe JB, et al., are shooting for standards in an environment that is both nonjudgmental & inclusive.
    In other words, I believe this is a safe place to seek the “heart of an onion”.


  6. whiskeydent | August 22, 2022 at 7:39 pm |

    Jon Hamm was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity while he was a student at the University of Texas at Austin. It is therefore possible that he once wore starched OCBD’s, sharply creased khakis or Wrangler jeans, and penny loafers or deck shoes. Or (get ready New England purists) cowboy boots.

    I know this because I was once a frat boy over there myself and that has been the style there forever. I still dress similarly (sans the starch) when it’s not hotter than the hinges of hell outside.

  7. Where was it that I read the demise of business attire (comprised of coat and tie) could be directly linked to conditioned air – be it blown cold or hot? Maybe it was here – perhaps not – but either way the WSJ article, while perhaps not well written (something I can neither confirm or deny as I did not click the link and verify) does have validity in its supposition – AC makes the office cold.

    I work in Florida. This time of year the temps vary daily by 12 degrees, it is 79 overnight and 91 during the day. My humble abode, where I do not work as I go to an office every day, is kept at 80 whilst I’m out earning the rent and spare change for pocket squares. At night I lower the thermostat to a cool 77 for sleeping – it’s just me, so alas, no extra body heat I need to cool down. My employer keeps the internal temperature of our building at 72 – which while not a literal freezing temperature, is just cold.

    Rather than flash up the joint with a quilt around my shoulders, or a cape – we already have enough drama in the office, I just keep my jacket on during the day. This is my “sartorial opportunity” as the tag line to the image above purports the article to delve into – I keep my clothes on.

  8. I’m assuming this was an error in the original source material, but Mad Men aired on AMC, not HBO.

  9. I guess it’s also worth pointing out that the reason that the Jon Hamm photo is notable is that he is hanging out with his former co-star John Slattery. A mini Mad Men reunion if you will. Perhaps it was a slow news day but celeb stuff often goes viral for the silliest reasons so can’t say I’m too surprised. But I guess they look pretty cool.

  10. Mad Men (Weiner) cleverly revealed a cultural conservatism that (still) lies at the heart of much of American middle-class (and upper middle-class) life. Watch carefully and note that the villainous forces aren’t capitalistic excesses. The disdain for bohemianism, including beatniks and hippies, is subtle yet vigorous–and constant. What do left-leaning bourgeoisie and right-leaning bourgeoisie have in common? They share a disdain for the unkempt, the slovenly, and the disheveled. This is still the most impactive/defining of all the debates that have defined Western culture: how much (and often) do have to humor the lazy, the free spirited, and the nonconformists? By now we have a pretty good idea of when to quash the avante garde, the creatives, and “the artistic.” Usually they devour themselves.

    Weiner’s scathing treatment of 60s counterculture is both intriguing and hilarious.

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