The last week in March. You may remember this time from a year ago. It was when this mysterious virus we’d heard about in the news suddenly became real, and the businesses in your town — perhaps even your own — were forced to close, and people began panic buying the one commodity they deduced would be the most valuable: toilet paper.
And now here we are a year later, and really it wasn’t so bad was it? OK perhaps it’s a tad lugubrious, but recall your Stoic philosophy and remember that nothing’s good or bad but thinking makes it so (actually that’s Hamlet summarizing a Stoic precept). The amount of compensation required by the ego to maintain its equilibrium during a time such as this is quite substantial, and this can be quite liberating. Who says you need to make a billion dollars before you can be like Ralph Lauren and “cosplay” or “live-action role play” as a rancher, race car driver, English peer, neo-Gatsby, or tweedy professor. This is the moment to realize that imagination is actually more real, from the soul’s point of view, than humdrum reality. So free up some blocked inner energy and let loose, if only in your mind. Take it seriously enough and it will begin to permeate your personality. Besides, for the indefinite future most people won’t recognize you anyway. As I said last summer, if you’ll wear a mask for a year you’ll wear one for five, and if you’ll wear one for five, then you’ll wear one for the rest of your life.
Now let’s get caught up on some news. For men of my age, pop music ceased producing anything listenable in 1989, so I must admit having never listened to the popular Korean act BTS, who performed recently at the Grammy Awards, the first-ever act from that country to do so. But someone pointed out the above photo of them wearing crested patchwork jackets, an interesting example of trad motifs constantly being recycled for public consumption.
Speaking of consumption, and that of the more conspicuous kind, Ivy Style contributor Eric Twardzik has brought a dollop of trad taste to parvenu breviary The Robb Report with this write-up on J. Press.
Twardzik also has a piece at Inside Hook on an impressive vintage Polo dealer.
In more general menswear news, The New York Times reports on something called the “bro brooch,” The Telegraph shows you how to do the preppy look beyond your forties, as if that is a challenge, the Wall Street Journal looks at the “polarizing” flat cap, and, inevitably, the Associated Press tells us that, in spite of Rowing Blazers, tailored clothing is, well, you know:
BOSTON (AP) — A sneaker-clad Latino state senator in Rhode Island is objecting to his chamber’s jacket and dress shirt edict as a form of white oppression. Female lawmakers in Montana complain proposed rules dealing with s kirt lengths and necklines are overly sexist. And an Iowa state representative wore jeans on the floor last month to highlight the irony of Republican leaders refusing to mandate face masks in the chamber as the coronavirus pandemic rages while still banning jeans and other casual clothes. With women and people of color elected in larger numbers in many states, legislatures are being forced to confront longstanding dress codes that are increasingly viewed as sexist and racist.
… Wearing unconventional clothing can be an effective “statement of resistance” or solidarity in the political arena, but dress codes also play an important role in preserving decorum in the democratic process, said Rhonda Garelick, a dean at the Parsons School of Design in New York. “That is where the pushback comes from: We dress differently for a funeral from the way we do at a barbecue,” she said. “Are there other ways to convey difference or resistance while still conveying respect or formality?”
…The Democrat-controlled Rhode Island Senate approved its new dress code Tuesday, over objections from Acosta and other lawmakers. The provision, a revision of a policy the chamber has had for decades, requires Senate members and staff dress in “proper and appropriate attire, such as blouses, dress slacks and collared shirts with accompanying jacket.” Democratic Sen. Louis DiPalma, who chairs the rules committee that vetted the revised mandates, argued that the dress provision is broader than those in other state legislatures.“It’s not about judging how anyone looks,” he said. “A dress code and decorum are about respecting an institution that is 200-plus years old.”
As we repeatedly read on the Internet, this website, as well as everything else sartorial, is “just clothes” and has nothing to do with politics. Therefore we would be failing in our duty to bring you all the news that’s fit to print without reporting that cable news trad icon and lightening rod Tucker Carlson is expanding with a new show.
We think, however, that Mr. Carlson should resume wearing bow ties. They seem to suit him, and certainly fit the times we live in.
Until next time, gentlemen. — CC
I had no idea that ivy caps were “divisive”, “an immediate red flag” for “pretentious pretenders” to quote the women in the WSJ article.
Boston, where I live, is the Mecca for flat caps, or as we call them in Boston, “scally caps”.
It’s amazing to me how women hate so many items of menswear. They make assumptions, have prejudices, and discriminate against guys who wear classic menswear items, especially for men they don’t know.
If you really want to offend a woman, wear a scally cap with a shawl collar cardigan and alligator loafers.
Having two sons who are recent college graduates, I hear about the odd prejudices of internet women from time to time. The most recent: one who will have absolutely nothing to do with men who tuck in their shirts!
I’ve explained more than once how things like that are opinions that girls have, not women, and if you’re an adult, you’re much better off with a woman than a girl. Women, in general, are awesome. Girls might get there one day, but they’re not there yet, and you’re better off letting them make someone else’s life difficult until they grow up.
Just clothes? I assure you, if one wears an MA1, bleach spattered jeans and oxblood Doctor Martens with white laces it is nothing to do with clothes and everything to do with politics…
Why some of us steer clear of pink OCBDs and GTH trousers:
Something else by Mr. Twardzik that’s certainly worth a read:
Link to the Book Launch:
“One in, one out.”
One of the great pleasures of life is filling your house with both way too many suits and way too many books. As you wear the suits and read the books, of course.
“One of the great pleasures of life is filling your house with both way too many suits and way too many books.”
I second that observation. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
lwmarti and Heinz-Ulrich – I’m afraid I’m with you as well, much as it makes my poor wife roll her eyes. Suits (and sport coats and shirts and ties) and books tend to multiply like proverbial rabbits in my house, and there seems to be no end in sight.
Apropos of the mention of Ralph Lauren above, I received a notice regarding a new Beverly Hills Polo RL store in my e-mail this morning. Looks like lapels will be widening in LA, at least if Mr. Lauren gets his way. Take a look if you like: https://ralphlaurenvirtualstores.com/beverly-hills/#/en_us/?j=577079&l=26_HTML&u=114287542&mid=7232476&jb=22380&EP_RID=97384753&EP_MID=577079&utm_source=email&utm_medium=RLE&utm_campaign=210326_MW_MIX_LuxeMulti_PostShow_BH_RSIQ0024&utm_content=noncom&utm_term=mix&segid=RSIQ0024&gender=3&sfmc_sub=97384753&EM_RID=260551665&mi_u=97384753&mi_ecmp=20210326_RLNA_LuxeMulti_PostShow_BH
Too expensive and a bit costumey, but much of it is preferable to what I usually see coming out of the west coast, with appropriate exceptions for our friends Henry and the other traditional types out west. Meanwhile, I remain thankful for J. Press and eBay.
My wife just last week commented on my having no fewer than eight gold/navy rep ties and twelve navy crew neck cotton sweaters in various states of wear. Don’t even get her started on my khakis-twenty five pairs.
I would also like to extend my sympathy to you and others from Charlottesville for your unfortunate poet/mayor. What a shame.
Charlottesville and Sacksuit- I fall in with the two of you when it comes to what my two former wives called “excess”, except my collectibles were madras shirts, khakis and shell cordovans and boat shoes. I figured I couldn’t have too many. Maybe that explains why I’m single.
My experience has been that the joy of disposing of clothes one doesn’t wear equals–nay, exceeds–the joy of acquiring them in the first place.
Will and John Carlos – I am to ashamed to post the number of tweed and other sport coats, blazers, suits, shoes, ties, socks, overcoats, etc. in my closets, but I am sure that it is more than would be found in my size at any normal men’s shop. But, after 30+ years, why wouldn’t it be? I do give things away, but somehow my eye is caught yet again by that perfect shade of tweed, or an Irish poplin tie on sale, or … . It never ends. I do wear the stuff though, and I read the books on the shelves and stacked on tables, desks and sometimes floors.
Also, Will, many thanks for the sympathy. Par for the course, I’m afraid. Perhaps Bill DeBlasio isn’t the worst mayor in history after all.
Charlottesville- I feel your gain. I need two closets for my stuff, one of which is a rather sizeable walk in.
I have closets full of clothing that I haven’t worn in years. Another closet contains the five odd jackets and two navy blazers that I keep returning to, and wearing in rotation. The same goes for grey flannels and khakis/chinos. Time for me to listen to Pedro Mendes and Minimalist Trad and divest myself of those space-occupying clothes, once we have, hopefully, emerged from the plague. Then it might be time for me to acquire a new tweed jacket or two that I might actually wear…though I know that they’ll most likely resemble the ones that I already have.
Something else that some of us steer clear of:
Me too on closets and drawers full of stuff I can’t or won’t let go of. According to Eric’s Robb Report article, the J Press OCBD has a layer of the same cloth between the two layers of the collar. So it’s not unlined. It may not have the white tape-like stuff I’ve seen on other shirts. And it’s not fused. But there is some “lining”, even if it is lighter. Am I wrong?
Instead of calling it “lined”, I would say that it has three layers of Oxford cloth, rather than two.