Another Madison Avenue Working Stiff

I’ve been working at a magazine for the past few weeks and today my first issue came from the printers. The magazine is called Quest and is basically New York’s last Society magazine — capital S. We cover the Upper East Side/Hamptons/Greenwich/Palm Beach crowd. They were closing the November issue when I started and I

Across The Pond: Brooks Dresses Kermit The Frog

Brooks Brothers has historically taken its inspiration from across the pond — England, to be precise. Now it’s looked across a smaller, home-grown pond and found an amphibian celebrity to outfit. Today the company announced that in addition to its roster of presidents, captains of industry and rogues and gentlemen, it has now dressed a

Jock Envy: A Roundup Of Varsity Sweaters

There’s just something about this time of year — the fact that school’s back in session, the way the leaves are changing, all the football that’s being played — that makes autumn feel very collegiate. The varsity sweater channels this state of mind. It evokes memories, whether real or idealized, of strolls across leaf-strewn quads

Bagpipes And Buttondowns: Brooks Celebrates Scotland

On Wednesday night the sound of bagpipes serenaded workers on Madison Avenue as they filtered out of their offices. Pipes are an acquired taste — best acquired by growing up in Scotland — and while some stopped to listen, others stayed glued to their iPods. The kilts and argyle were part of a celebration of

Norman Hilton, 1919-2011

Norman Hilton, who ran an eponymous Ivy League clothing brand and was Ralph Lauren’s first investor, died yesterday at the age of 92, his son Nick told Hilton’s motto was “Doing One Thing Well” and his logo features a weathervane. Tonight it points not north or south, east or west, but towards the sky.

Upmarket Neckties From Lands’ End

Lands’ End is a great source for simple ties like stripes and knits. I have both the navy and black Italian-made knits, which are just the right width for me. But this season the Sears-owned brand is offering a handful of specialty ties at a much higher price point. Above is a patchwork tartan wool

Junior Prom: Ivy Style Completes Year Three

Lately I’ve been hitting golf balls so obsessively I failed to notice that October 1st marked Ivy Style’s three-year anniversary. We’re finally seniors. In the meantime, though, it’s time to celebrate the junior prom. The image above is from the Vassar archives, and comes from an article with an amusing run-down of men from various

Preppy Book Signing At Saks

Last night Jeffrey Banks (pictured above) and Doria de La Chapelle signed copies of their new book “Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style” at Saks Fifth Avenue. It was a full house, though hardly a Prep-a-Palooza. Besides your humble blogger in rep tie and pinned club, there was just KJP and sweetheart:

I Finally Take A Good Photo

… and then get mis-identified. Mort must have been not stoned. Me at the Gant fashion show two weeks ago, in tailor-tapered tan 501s and Allen Edmonds penny loafers. Above the waist: navy Lacoste polo and a constipated expression. It’s pretty ignominious when your most flattering side is your feet. — CC

See Ya Later Alligator: The $1,000 Brooks Brothers Belt

I think I’m going to get an engine-turned belt buckle. I’ll have it engraved with just two initials — CC — a little in-joke reference to my abbreviated bylines here. For now, however, I’ll have to settle for a leather strap to go with it. Brooks Brothers offers a buckle for $250 — the going

Battle of the Wits: What Does A Preppy Smell Like?

Tommy Hilfiger recently released a new fragrance called Eau de Prep. I took a whiff of it at the Fifth Avenue flagship recently, and you can definitely detect a trace of tonic water. But it got me thinking, what does a preppy really smell like? Old money and even older sneakers? Salt water and peanut

Riding The Crest: Morris of Stockholm

When it comes to piling on the faux-heraldic crests, nobody does it like Morris. The Swedish brand’s Anglo-prep fantasy ensembles include the above example, which pairs a crested hoodie with a crested necktie and crested cardigan. (You probably also noticed the striped belt echoed by a striped watchband.) Perhaps all those crests should include as

Deadstock Troy Guild Sea Island Buttondowns at O’Connell’s

We always consider it newsy when Ethan up at O’Connell’s digs up some deadstock items that have been buried for decades. Earlier this summer, in an act of unselfishness, Ethan decided to start sharing his special hoard of Troy Guild shirts from the early ’80s. These aren’t your typical oxford-cloth buttondowns: The shirts are made

It’s a Cinch: Buckle-Back Trousers at J. Press

Over two years ago I wrote an open letter to American retailers suggesting they put a buckle on the back of chinos, a craze among students circa 1956. With the PITA trend in full swing, I even asked readers to speculate what brand might be first to freshen up a pair of quotidian khakis with

High Note: New York City Opera’s George Steel

Men who work in the arts generally aren’t known for sartorial conservatism. That’s why this photo of George Steel, general manager and artistic director of New York City Opera, caught my eye in a recent issue of the New York Times. Kinda reminds me of George Will. — CC Photo by Chester Higgins, Jr. for

Ivy Trendwatch: Hollywood and the Ivy Look

Later this year Reel Art Press will release a lavish photographic coffee-table book full of rare images of Hollywood icons wearing Ivy garb. It will surely be a delight to behold. Reading it, however, may be another story. One should never judge a book by its cover, but we’ve had an Ivy book by this

On Point: Chens on Fencing for Ralph Lauren Magazine

My latest piece for Ralph Lauren Magazine is on the rise of American fencing. I spent about five years training up to five days a week and faced the national champion several times (the first time losing 5-0 in 45 seconds; the last time a more respectable 5-3). At the time, US fencing was barely

The Preppie Murder, 25 Years Later

August 26th marked the 25th anniversary of the so-called “Preppie Murder.” In 1986, Robert Chambers, a former student of Choate Rosemary Hall, left the Upper East Side bar Dorrian’s Red Hand with 18-year-old Jennifer Levin, whom he later strangled in Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum. The story became a tabloid sensation, was eventually made