Madras Madness

Nothing goes with madras quite like a vacation.

On the other hand, many Ivy stylists are daring enough to wear madras to the office during the summer. Here’s an assortment of madras items — ties, shorts and sportcoats — worn by members of Ivy Style’s Facebook group. If they inspire you to add something new to your wardrobe, consider H. Stockton, one of the last independent trad retailers. The shop carries traditional bleeding madras shirts made for them right at the source in India. Check out this page for an explanation of the difference between colorfast and traditional madras dyeing techniques, and for a video of the fabric being woven for H. Stockton in the city of Chennai (formerly known as Madras).

Now for some trads in madras. It’s a summer Friday, so here’s hoping you can knock off early. — CC

20 Comments on "Madras Madness"

  1. Wow! Wearing madras to the office is BOLD! Hats off to you, but then again many of the gentleman doing so appear to be older and well established in their respective professions.

  2. Charlottesville | June 28, 2019 at 1:07 pm |

    Very nice. A couple of familiar faces, and some great clothes, although I am envious of the tropical climes in a couple of the photos. I am wearing madras today, but only in necktie form. I paired it with a seersucker sport coat, gray tropical-weight wool pants and penny loafers and received nice compliments om the combination from a few of ladies at the office. Alas, I am not quite up to trying my madras sport coat at work, but I don’t think my coworkers would mind if I did.

  3. I have a vintage Madras jacket (primarily navy, green, and cream) plus a similar few ties that I wear to school each August and early September (I know, I know. . .) when the fall term kicks off. As long as the weather is still uncomfortably warm, here (Mid-Michigan) usually until mid- to late September, I wear it. Loudly and proudly. Bold, yes, and I am clearly the only man in the area fool enough to wear and enjoy Madras (seersucker suit too while wer’re at it) in a professional setting, but there we are. Once in while, random people on campus, usually students, have been kind enough to pay the odd compliment or two as we pass. Not necessary, of course, but always nice hear.

    Best Regards,

  4. Caustic Man | June 28, 2019 at 2:30 pm |

    For whatever it’s worth, that first picture is actually a Baird McNutt Irish linen jacket. That gentleman and I happened to have the same jacket made by Brooks Brothers.

  5. Caustic Man | June 28, 2019 at 2:30 pm |

    I’m sorry, not the first pic. It’s the pic of the man sitting at his desk.

  6. NaturalShoulder | June 28, 2019 at 3:54 pm |

    Good timing on my part. I am wearing a madras tie with a tan poplin suit (which has a touch of cashmere which makes fabric buttery soft), blue Mercer OCBD, and Alden shell penny loafers. I do have some madras pants I will wear to the office some day.

  7. john carlos | June 28, 2019 at 7:51 pm |

    I’m a lawyer in a small firm. Was with a very large firm in my younger years. I was introduced to India Madras during my teenage years in the mid 60’s. I’ve been wearing it ever since. I purchased some vintage madras trousers from O’Connell’s several years ago. I’ve been “planning” to wear them to the office for some time. At almost 70 years young, I figure it’s time. Next week, I’m breaking them out for the office. CC, thanks for this post. I just purchased two of the featured madras shirts from H. Stockton. Bleeding ones that I grew up with are almost impossible to find these days.

  8. elder prep | June 28, 2019 at 8:00 pm |

    Madras is one of the foundation items in the prep wardrobe. No apologies are needed to wear it. Anyware.

  9. john carlos | June 28, 2019 at 8:58 pm |

    Thanks elder prep. I believe I am probably close to the elder category if I’m not already there.

  10. Roger Sack | June 28, 2019 at 11:19 pm |

    Not to be too fussy, but I am. The collar points on the shirt from H. Stockton
    are too short to roll properly. Also, the size “M” denotes a lower quality. Dress shirt
    cut shirts should have exact sizes.

  11. Old School Tie | June 29, 2019 at 3:03 am |

    Perhaps it is merely an optical illusion but the collars of the Stockton shirt appear to be of different lengths……..

  12. I don’t own a madras jacket at this time, but I can’t see how anyone could object to one in almost any office setting. Most offices are casual. I’m a retired CPA, but the last time I was in an accounting office, the managing partner had an orange shirt, a gold neck chain and id bracelet, and looked like a porn star.

    I recall, being told in the 1980’s, that my navy blazer, OCBD, khaki pants, and tie was too casual for the office. Now, that outfit is literally formal.

    Will scour the thrifts for a nice madras sport coat.

  13. Edward Aisthorpe | June 29, 2019 at 10:26 am |

    James, which photo is yours? It’s easy to be a big man on the internet isn’t it?

  14. Boop McSnoot | June 29, 2019 at 10:33 am |

    @ Roger Sack – Many high quality madras shirts, being sport shirts, are sized using S/M/L. It denotes nothing in this case other than the type of shirt it is. O’Connell’s madras shirts are sized this way as well. As for collar roll, we all like our longer collar points, but I highly doubt you’re wearing a tie with a madras shirt, so why does it matter if the points are a bit shorter?

  15. (sticks head out of hiding in bushes)

    Our collar point is about 3 1/4″ on the madras shirts.

    The illusion of different point lengths might be due to one of the collar points in the photo being rolled “out” and the other one rolled “in”.

    Ready, aim, fire, gentlemen.

    Glenn Au
    H. Stockton
    glenn@hstockton.com

  16. The photos lift my spirits! In 1965, six of us were honored by our parents at “It’s a Mad, Mad, Madras World” high school graduation dance on the Texas Gulf Coast. Our mothers made matching madras dresses for us, and all 50 grads were dressed for the theme, danced to a good band, and enjoyed refreshments. What happy memories your article revived; thank you!

  17. Old School Tie | June 29, 2019 at 3:25 pm |

    @Glenn – I thought it would be a question of camera angle or rolling in instead of out or something. Now then, we have heard of prole gape, what is the technical term (and reason) for a shirt placket popping out between the top and second button?

  18. Caustic Man, you are indeed correct: that is a Baird McNutt Irish Linen from Brooks Brothers (I’m the guy in the photo). I wear it as I would a Madras jacket, e.g., with khakis and OCBD. I’m wearing a black knit tie (BB) in the photo, but the jacket works just as well over a Lacoste.

    I’m a trusts and estates lawyer and have been in practice for over thirty years. I wore a suit every day in the 80s and 90s, but these days, what would have been considered to be casual back then works fine for my office.

  19. @Old School Tie: I’m not sure what you mean about the placket popping out? Are you referring to our product photo?

    Glenn Au
    @glennmau
    glenn@hstockton.com

  20. Boop McSnoot | June 30, 2019 at 4:56 pm |

    Yeah, the H. Stockton photo in the article seems completely fine to me. Not sure what others are on about. The collar is clearly a soft, unlined (or at least unfused) collar, which rolls – surely commenters at Ivy Style have heard of that concept? The placket is flat and ironed, and the collar points are simply responding in different ways to the open collar – one is bulging out, and one is concave. Pick up a Mercer or Makers OCBD and you can make the same effect happen on one or both sides of an unlined collar with your fingers. Not sure why there’s this impulse to obsessively nitpick, the shirt looks great to me.

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