Two Titans of Ivy and Fashion Meet A Blogger For Lunch and Ivy Notes S1 E10

Had lunch with G. Bruce Boyer and Eric Twardzik last week.  It was fantastic.  Wine, pizza and two hours plus of conversation.  We covered a ton of ground, and I learned so much from these two veterans.   But first, the mountainous challenge of what to wear to that.  I mean,  it is Boyer and Twardzik.  Problem solved with Mr. Boyer asked about the Besnard shirt, so I wore that.    This was the pregame collar roll:

I know we have gone a few rounds about this shirt, but that roll is a thing.

So of course I get there, and the two Best-In-Class are dressed immaculately.  Here, my shame:

For every picture I post there are like 2,347 that I toss, and this is amongst the worst I have ever taken, but these two look so good, I have to.

I learned so much, I made notes on the train back.  I will summarize:  both of these guys are… good guys.  They are encyclopedic about Ivy Style, but they are also hilarious and compelling.   Eric Twardzic had these braces on, and it was like a permission slip for me.  I am going back.  And G. Bruce Boyer (look at those cuffs folks) has this way of looking like he was born in perfect combinations.  I mean, there is no effort.  And he had a bag.  I wanted to sneak a look but I also didn’t want to be rude.   I was going to check it out when we were walking about but I was thinking about the story I told about Sinatra saying that if Sinead O’Connor “wasn’t a broad I would punch her in the nose” at the Garden State Arts Center after she ripped up a picture of the Pope and refused to sing the national anthem.  (I was there, he said it, I don’t condone it, but he did say it.  You can ask the other 700 people or whatever)

If there is a next time, I am wearing a knit tie.   As I say, we covered a TON of ground, but one of the things I got from our conversation that I didn’t understand was that while some are so precise about canonical Ivy, these were clothes that students threw on hungover to get to class.  That should take the canonical blood pressure down a few points.  I mean, if it works for you, good, but if it stresses you out, it might not be all that rigid anyway.

They are also both excellent conversationalists who asked me questions, which stopped it from being a full out interview.  But as I say, if I get a next time with these fellas I am doing NO storytelling.

From our friend James Taylor at Waterhollow Tweed, a brief history of the Princeton English Shop.

The English Shop

 

Founded in 1951 by Eric P. Mihan and originally located at 5 Palmer Square (now the site of Chez Alice Cafe) The English Shop was one of what is now considered the Big Five Princeton clothiers; the others being Langrock, Harry Ballot, Landau, and, trailing in prestige, the Princeton Clothing Co.. (Interestingly, in the 1960s the Big Five were considered to be Langrock, The English Shop, Ballot’s…. and Douglas MacDaid, and Saks Fifth Avenue.) Next to Langrock–the undoubted flagship of Princeton’s Ivy Style–The English Shop was one of the original purveyors of the Ivy League Look in the 1950s and 1960s.
Adverts from the 1950s and 1960s proudly proclaim that it carries Harris Tweed jackets, flannel blazers, and worsted suits, the majority of which were cut in the distinctive Ivy League 3/2 sack style. The English Shop also carried Scottish shetland sweaters, tweed caps, English regimental ties, wool challis ties, worsted pants, tattersall shirts… the whole range of classic Ivy Style!
The English Shop closed in December 1996. Indeed, with the closure of Landau’s none of Princeton’s original Ivy stores remain.
A little known piece of Ivy trivia: Eric P. Mihan also founded EMP Steins. This was a company that made beer steins, including commemorative steins for various schools. Appropriately, the first schools that these steins were made for were the Ivy Leagues, and (of course!) they were originally sold at The English Shop in Princeton. (I doubt that many Dartmouth men bought them there!) Apparently, EMP steins are now extremely collectible, with the original Ivy steins fetching premiums. I’ll post a picture of one here once when I unearth one on my vintage-seeking travels!
The Lainey Howard Project got a lot of comments, and even more emails.  I was surprised at the few critical ones.  I really thought this was no-controversy.  Here you have this amazing woman who loves her husband so much that she gives him the gift of redoing his wardrobe – how fantastic is that?  And she did a great job.  It’s an Ivy love story.

 

But a few fussed.  You didn’t like the fit?  You saw a wrinkle?   And you had to write about it?  I think that probably says more about you than anything else.  And you do know that content providers at all levels, when we read comments like that, we always just email each other about how there always has to be one.  You really wanna be that one?

 

Tomorrow, the Mercer WOCBD.

 

JB

26 Comments on "Two Titans of Ivy and Fashion Meet A Blogger For Lunch and Ivy Notes S1 E10"

  1. Frederick J Johnson | March 15, 2022 at 1:50 pm | Reply

    Is it just me or the picture but Eric’s tie know looks to big for the shirt tie space to my eyes.

    It’s you. It was perfect. I think the roll is casting a shadow. – JB

  2. Frederick J Johnson | March 15, 2022 at 1:51 pm | Reply

    meant to say “knot”.

  3. The collar on Eric Twardzik’s BOCBD! I’ve been looking for longer point BDs, but that might be a bit too much. But with just a tad of shrinkage and a move of the butons outboard and down another tad, it might be just what the doctor ordered. Did he disclose the maker? Looking forward to the Mercer.

    Also, I do not remember, but it may have been ET who coined the term “cloth puddles”. Priceless. Was that you, Ed?

  4. Did it occur to you that they were probably worried about what to wear meeting you?

    Not for a second. But now you have given me something to journal about 🙂 – JB

  5. Yes, that is quite a shadow. I’m betting the point length is good without shrinking.

  6. Did you dine in Bethlehem? As a Lehigh alum—like Mr. Boyer—I’d be interested. I don’t think the Tally-Ho offers a wine menu…

    Hey Bill – did not. We were in town here. But I would go to Bethlehem in a hot second for the next one. I love PA, would move there, too. You. Danyi. What’s not to love? – JB

  7. I Twardzik’s jacket from O’Connells? It looks a lot like one I’ve considered buying.

  8. “Is” dammit.

  9. Pocket squares. Worn nonchalantly. Nuff said.

  10. G. Ellery Cobbold | March 15, 2022 at 5:17 pm | Reply

    @whiskeydent

    For what it’s worth, I haven’t seen a single O’C sport coat/jacket or blazer with a ticket pocket or a suppressed waist. I’d guess Eric’s jacket is RL or, I dunno, Spier Mackay.

  11. Love it. All of it. And the knit ties. – Reading Boyer’s True Style at present: it took me some time to figure out what tie is shown on its dust jacket.

    Looking forward, JB, for you sharing some of these notes one day.

    Thanks for the great post.

  12. Arthur McLean | March 15, 2022 at 6:41 pm | Reply

    Referring to Princeton tailors I’m surprised no one mentioned Saks Fifth Ave.’s University Shop on Nassau St. Nice traditional clothing store but expensive. It was on Nassau St. somewhat to the west of Palmer Sq.

  13. The gun club check. The collar roll. The knit tie (maroon? black?). All wonderful. But let’s also just admit it: Twardzik wins on hair alone. Is that jealousy speaking on my part? You betcha. But still …

    This reminds me a bit of an article from our erstwhile editor about another similar meeting with him, Richard Press, and maybe the Millennial Fogey?

    Anyway, a great looking crew. Would it have killed you to tuck in your shirt though, John? Jesus.

    Never met Richard Press. – JB

  14. RIchard E. Press | March 15, 2022 at 9:11 pm | Reply

    Call me “Available Jones.”

  15. Thank you for the kind words, John, and for the fine food and conversation. It was truly a pleasure to meet. Now, a couple answers to the comment section:

    @Frederick J. Johnson: It’s a matter of shadow, if anything I was worried that the knot was too small.

    @Hardbopperr: the shirt, a royal oxford, came from Paolo Martorano bespoke in New York. The points measure about 3.5,” which makes for pretty dramatic roll. I wouldn’t consider it Ivy (which wasn’t the maker’s intent), but more of an old-school Hollywood throwback in its proportions. However, it is very soft. And I didn’t coin “cloth puddles,” but I am intrigued.

    @whiskeydent/G. Ellery Cobbold: this was a recent commission from The Andover Shop, on its very first wear. The fabric was something I pulled from the “wall” of mismatched bolts—a hard-finished tweed of unknown origin. They wrote “Italy” on the customs forms.

    @Paul: the hair is from my grandfather’s side of the family. Fingers crossed it lasts.

  16. Reasonable Republican | March 16, 2022 at 12:35 am | Reply

    John,
    I’m really surprised that you were surprised by the critical comments regarding the Howard Project. I was surprised that there weren’t more. I’m not going to add fuel to the fire by adding my own critical comments other than to say that I agree with all those who weren’t impressed.

    I think you mean “both of those” instead of all those. – JB

  17. Stephen J. Gordon | March 16, 2022 at 6:04 am | Reply

    There is a J. Mclaughlin in Palmer Square still. It has a smattering of men’s clothing in the trad style. Good quality.

  18. Reasonable Republican | March 16, 2022 at 10:34 am | Reply

    John,
    I really expressed myself poorly. What I had intended to say was that although there were only two negative comments (according to your count), I strongly suspect that there were many followers of this site who were not impressed, but chose not to comment for fear of hurting Mrs. Howard’s feelings.

    Ah, gotcha. No worries! I never know what to do with comments about non-comments, but I take your point. And thank you for a reasonable discussion. THANKS – JB

  19. Not everyone thinks like you, RR. I have a feeling most people were sufficiently positively moved by the whole thing that the smattering of details that might not be quite perfect (because who is?) didn’t enter into the equation. Contrarianism for its own sake is not reasonable, it’s called trolling.

  20. Lol. Then agreeableness for agreeableness sake is also trolling. Reacting and responding to something presented publicly with criticism or a lack of glowing positivity isn’t trolling. It’s honest. Receiving criticism and learning from it isn’t novel or unique to these comment sections. The aversion to criticism of any variety on here is appalling.

    Being agreeable, unless you are toadying, and in your case Jeff with the fake email address (but of course) you can go through whatever day you go through with the concrete certainty that I am not toadying YOU, is called manners. Categorizing all criticism as honest is also, well, to be honest, stupid. Finally, I have learned a great deal from a great many of the readers. Just. Not. You. – JB

  21. G. Ellery Cobbold | March 16, 2022 at 5:55 pm | Reply

    @Eric Twardzik

    Gorgeous, perfectly tailored sport coat. I hope my comment didn’t read as sniping. My intent was just to list the reasons for my suspicion that your coat didn’t come from O’C.

  22. I was one of the people who was less than entirely enamored with the actual presentation of the Howards’ effort, and your characterization of this sort of thing as “trolling” is absurd, Nevada. As anyone in the legal profession will tell you, intent is often difficult to prove and characterizing mild skepticism as “contrarianism for its own sake” doesn’t make any sense if we’re looking at the facts. My comments, in particular, took pains to say that I thought it was a lovely effort. It’s entirely fair and reasonable to say that someone’s clothes don’t seem to fit that well when the majority of people weighing in are gushing with adulation. Someone even compared them to Lennon and McCartney. Give me a break. There is nothing wrong with a measured, respectful opinion that differs from (what appears to be) the consensus. That used to be called “nuance.” Singling out mild criticism among the heaps of fawning praise is entirely unwarranted and borders on groupthink.

    I do think it is hilarious to write about nuance and not get the Lennon McCartney reference. And we need to go over what groupthink is. But I gotta finish the Mercer review. But I also think it is hilarious for someone who critiques something to object so strongly (that’s a legal reference for those in the legal profession – what on earth does implying that you are in the legal profession have to do with ANYTHING) … someone who critiques to get their feathers ruffled when they are, well, critiqued. But hey, legit email address, so your opinion counts! – JB

  23. @Dennis
    “Fawning praise”.
    That truly sums things up nicely.

    No it doesn’t. From my comments:
    Ok, if you are gonna keep this up, then I guess I have to put it to bed. Look, Dennis, when one writes, one uses metaphor, simile, and other literary devices to keep things interesting. If you are going to walk through a style site and object to (legal term) style, then you are missing the point entirely. Which appears to be the case (another legal term)Get it now? Cheers, JB

  24. Thank you, OT. I mean, they seem like lovely people and I went out of my way to say that, but to have mild skepticism dismissed as “trolling” and insincere “contrarianism” is nonsense. Saying “hey, maybe this is just average” when someone is being lionized as a “folk hero” and compared to some of the all-time greats doesn’t make me a troll. There is always something to be said for measured praise or critique.

    Ok, if you are gonna keep this up, then I guess I have to put it to bed. Look, Dennis, when one writes, one uses metaphor, simile, and other literary devices to keep things interesting. If you are going to walk through a style site and object to (legal term) style, then you are missing the point entirely. Which appears to be the case (another legal term). Get it now? Cheers, JB

  25. I’ll admit to having bemoaned the quality of this site before, but it is ALWAYS worth coming back to see someone melting down in the comment section yet again because one or two people have a differing opinion. Bravo.

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