Many of us take heart in knowing that the tradition of menswear illustration still lives, and last week the John Simons shop in London, longtime epicenter of Ivy in the UK, sent out an email promoting its summer sale with the illustration above. Across the pond what’s referred to as “Ivy” is often generic Americana, but now that the transatlantic online Ivy wars of a decade ago are largely over, we should more explicitly acknowledge that the English, like the Japanese, have not only helped preserve our cherished style, but created their own variations on it as well.
And when it comes to preservation, we’re going to need all the help we can get. Even though Brooks Brothers has been shedding its Ivy pedigree for decades, at least its Madison Avenue flagship stood as a reminder of what it once was. But recently Ivy Style contributor Peter Lavelle snapped these photos through the window of the new Cafe 346. Tables in that room used to hold oxford shirts and rep ties, and will now presumably hold kale salads and twenty-dollar hamburgers.
Moving on to other news, a faithful reader sent in this New York Times article on face masks as a new social signifier. Fortunately it’s blocked by a paywall as it must surely be an example of the old adage that ignorance is bliss.
Statues literal and metaphoric are in free-fall, but Esquire still acknowledges JFK as an “eternal” style icon, and recently ran a 40-pic image gallery showing Kennedy in everything from white t-shirts to black tie, and even a shaggy sweater by the swimming pool. Bet you’ve never tried that one.
There’s a lot of “misinformation” out there these days, so tread carefully. Esquire deems JFK an eternal icon, but he was also a wearer of Nantucket Reds, and the Wall Street Journal recently wondered if red pants are ever a good idea.
Over the years, Reds have become associated with New England WASPs, the country club set and the kind of entitled frat boy who might say, “Do you know who my dad is?” This is especially true when they’re worn with such traditional accompaniments as preppy polo shirts, boxy navy blazers, Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes or some unfortunate combination of the three.
But some Reds devotees insist that, if teamed with tops and shoes that aren’t yacht-club approved, the trousers can seem unstuffy—even cool. Jack Carlson, the founder of Rowing Blazers, a clothing brand dedicated to remixed preppy classics, proposed wearing Reds with a graphic T-shirt (like Aloye’s Memphis-style tee, below). Balancing pink pants with something more casual demonstrates a “certain cultural awareness,” said Mr. Carlson. In other words, it proves that you understand the unspoken rules of the East Coast dress code and can cheekily (and stylishly) break them. Mr. Carlson is also pro-Reds for the simpler reason that “the color goes with almost everything.” They are like a pair of jeans, he said, only “more interesting.”
Finally, something personal to lift your spirits. In the right-side tower you may have noticed a new ad with the tagline Spirit Of The Times, which will take you to my new column running in a couple of alt-weeklies covering Marin, Sonoma and Napa Counties. They’re snappy pieces based on ancient wisdom and the mysteries of the cosmos, which should get you to thinking about the timeless things that really matter, and help liberate you from the crazy times and feeling that nothing matters.
I’m off for a forest hike, and hope you all were able to get outside on this summer weekend and fill your lungs — and mind — with fresh air. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD