August 6, 2012

Inspiration: Ivy Style


On a recent trip to Boston and Harvard Square, I found myself doing a lot of people watching. What I noticed, not surprisingly, was the proliferation of preppy style, specifically collegiate-inspired. I know there is a lot of contention about the difference between preppy and Ivy style (or if there even is one), but what I wanted to do with this post was take some specific aspects of traditional Ivy style and have a little bit of fun with them.


Patch pocket blazers have a storied history in university settings, particularly in sporting clubs. This one features grosgrain piping to add a little uniform styling. What makes this jacket great for summer is that not only is it linen, but it is also ¼ lined which lets the linen really breathe and keep you cool.

Button-down collars and chinos are about as ubiquitous on campuses in the northeast as anything else you’ll find. Ever since the 1950’s when button-down collars made the transition out of sporting wear they have been a preppy staple. They are one of the truly American sartorial contributions, and nothing is more classic than white.


Chinos, by contrast, have their origins in the British military. Originally khaki in color (in fact khaki and chino were once, and to some degree still are, considered synonyms), they are now offered in nearly every color imaginable.

Another collegiate staple is the repp tie. Though commonly thought to refer to the diagonal striping, ‘repp’ actually refers to the type of weave commonly found on these ties that produces a tight ribbed pattern. This tie takes the traditional patterning and infuses some of the fun that Psycho Bunny is so good at doing. I try not to take my wardrobe too seriously, which is why I like the whimsy of this tie (despite a bunny skull and crossbones not really being ‘whimsical’ per se).


Boat shoes are another American contribution to style and, while not really Ivy, they have enough of a history in New England to complete the look. Plus, I like the way this particular pair plays against the pants, shirt, and tie.

Jacket by Bamford and Sons; Shirt by Uniqlo; Chinos by Gant Rugger;
Shoes by Sebago; Tie by Psycho Bunny; Tie bar by Link Up;
Belt by Brooks Brothers; Eyeglasses by Dolce & Gabbana

The beauty of inspiration, like style in general, is that it doesn’t need to follow any rigid guidelines. Be cohesive, be complementary, but above all be yourself.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

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