I’m headed for the last roundup, as they used to say out here in the Old West. A big and exciting change is coming to Ivy-Style.com this weekend, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s the latest news from Tradsville.
First off, the above image. Recognize it? That’s William Holden from the 1954 classic “Sabrina,” costarring Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn, which I watched recently. Holden and Bogart play two brothers from a very rich family on Long Island. What I found amusing is that Holden, who plays the n’er do well younger brother, drives a European roadster and wears the Ivy League Look, while Bogart’s uptight character gets chauffeured into the city — so that he can work and not waste any time — and still dresses in JP Morgan mode of at least a generation earlier, with homburg and rolled umbrella.
And yes, he has a phone in his car. I didn’t know that was possible. And I suppose that everything possible eventually becomes inevitable. The sight of people walking about everywhere hunched over their phones will always be eerie to me as we go bravely into the Twilight Zone of the new normal. When you’re forced to talk to these people, you quickly realize there’s no there there. I have a new nickname for them: replicants. They look like the human beings of old, but they’re not the same.
But let’s not digress further. Back in Tradsville, where tradition still beats in the hearts of men, occasional Ivy Style contributor Eric Twardzik once again schools the ultraluxe readers of Robb Report in the classics with a new piece on Nantucket Reds that mentions Murray’s, J. Press, and Rowing Blazers:
In addition to ballcaps, American-made pants and shorts, the collection saw J. Press signatures accented by the unmistakable hue: flap-pocket oxford sports shirts with Nantucket Red stitching at the back collar buttonhole, and a made-to-order hopsack wool blazer that smuggles Nantucket Red under the lining of its collar and the piping of an inside pocket.
While the offerings—many of which sold out quickly—were diverse, Squillaro says they were organized around a single principle: “If you’re in Nantucket, or even Manhattan on a summer night, and you wanted to pair something with Murray’s Nantucket Reds, what would you wear?”
J. Press has attempted its own “brick red” imitation in decades past, but this is the first time the label has carried the authentic item. Having proven to be a match made in Ivy style heaven, the partnership is set to continue through the next year—Squillaro hints that we will see Nantucket Red manifest across other signature J. Press items this coming fall and winter.
Next up, in my storybook “These Are Our Failures,” which came out in January 2020 a couple months before the pandemic, a character argues that menswear never goes backwards when it comes to formality, and once an item is gone it’s gone for good. The story argues that the necktie and not the suit is the linchpin of male elegance and holds the entire formula together. Sure enough, The Atlantic has a piece arguing that neckties are the new bow ties, and you know what comes after that:
After this pandemic, many fewer men will have to. The arc of fashion has always bent toward informality (and androgyny—since the late 1800s, women have sometimes worn ties too). But a major disruption—like a war, a recession, or a global pandemic—can accelerate that natural change. Ties as an everyday accessory have certainly taken a hit, from which they’re unlikely to recover fully. The deeper functions that ties have long provided—such as social signaling and personal expression—will be absorbed by other garments. But ties will continue to be worn on the most formal occasions, and as quirky accoutrements for the self-consciously old-fashioned or whimsical. In other words, neckties are the new bow ties.
Over the years, especially in my home state of California, I’ve elicited some pretty strange reactions from people not accustomed to seeing men dressed with style. Once in San Francisco during my mid-twenties I wore a gray suit, gray tie and gray gloves — what I called being a symphony in gray, in homage to the great dandy painter Whistler. I was asked if I’d just come from a wedding, and, moreover, was it mine. Five years later, in a double-breasted Glen Plaid suit from Alan Flusser I’d found at a thrift store, which had a Duke of Windsor feel, I was called Iceberg Slim, which is actually a pretty good nickname for me, except that I don’t look anything like the real Iceberg Slim.
Then yesterday another curious remark. It was another monotonously gorgeous day and I was dressed in my black and white Palm Beach/Riviera mode complete with striped espadrilles, and a Russian woman at Whole Foods said, by way of complement, that I looked like Italian mafia.
So things should get interesting. According to this piece on the Ralph Lauren brand in Forbes, we’re at the dawn of a new style era that will somehow seek to preserve some semblance of the style of the past:
Here, model Maverick LaRue from vnymodels.com portrays the power to interpret the unique qualities that reinstate men’s clothing for the new generation derived from the culture expressed by POLO Ralph Lauren. For me, this is the way American men should dress. It evokes a positive feeling of freedom and a great future ahead.
And on that note, here’s to that great, soon-to-be-revealed future ahead. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD