“Ivy isn’t Ivy anymore”: The Travails of Ivy League Fashion Blogs

We actually kind of adore Ivy Style, the Ivy League fashion blog. We have no idea what’s going on most of the time, but the site’s vocal commenters are hilarious, in their mordantly un-self-aware way:

Comment by 90 Percenter — July 17, 2012 @ 9:57 am
@ MAC

I beg to differ, sir.

The underlying philosophy of Ivy is that some things are right and others most certainly are not.

Neck tats optional? Not to those of us who value civilization.

Isn’t that delightful? Sure, the blog is basically a cargo cult of postwar America, plus its obsession with sartorial status markers too often slips into a ritual worship of the social conditions which occasioned them in the first place. But other than that it’s totally great!

The founder president of fashion retailer J. Press ably demonstrates Ivy Style’s unique ethos in a meandering essay, published on Ivy Style two days ago, about the vertiginous decline of Ivy League fashion (as documented by a Japanese museum, apparently):

Ivy isn’t Ivy anymore. Now it’s called “preppy.” Except Brooks Brothers is back in the fold announcing, “American Ivy” and “Trad & True New Arrivals for Fall.” It all gets very confusing. Last year’s items weren’t “trad and true?” Maybe they were just preppy.

R. Press goes on:

The Ivy campuses exploded in the ’60s. The assassinations, Vietnam protests, and civil disorder all cast their mark on the Ivy League as on the rest of America. Amid the unrest, corporations continued to prosper, the suburbs fostered a second-tier business elite which fulfilled its business and social obligations wearing Ivy League suits to the office and patchwork madras on the 18th hole. It was the best of times in the worst of times and I was on the fringes of glory.

And on:

Ivy Style at the MFIT depicts a saga when preppies were monied WASP teenagers who didn’t need high SATs to get into Yale. Their status was reflected by the understatement of their sophisticated wardrobe. It’s all going to be at the museum, along with the work of designers currently translating the hallowed remnants of the past into a new frontier, though hardly like JFK’s.

You have to wonder: is he nostalgic? Is he bitter that illiterate rich WASPs don’t get into Yale anymore? And what does any of this have to do with fashion, exactly? And then you realize—SPOILER. ROSEBUD. HE WAS DEAD THE WHOLE TIME—Ivy Style isn’t actually about fashion. Indeed, it never was. Ivy Style—the blog, the fashion, the whole thing—emphasizes not those who wear it, but those who don’t.

  • Yalie and Brooks Brothers Fan

    Brooks Brother’s “American Ivy” advertising campaign features Yale. Lots of the shots are on Old Campus and Cross Campus.

    • rick131

      But the real students at Yale dress like goth freaks.

    • rick131

      But the real Yale students dress like goth freaks.

  • booo

    not really sure why you had to ruin Citizen Kane for me here…

    • http://ivygateblog.com/ J.K. Trotter

      not really sure why you think the word “rosebud” would ruin citizen kane…

  • Yankee Doodle

    Richard Press did not found J.Press.

    It goes back a bit farther than that. That’s some pretty basic stuff sweetie.
    Methinks you need to actually EARN your snark with a modicum of basic knowledge first.

    BTW, J. Crew wasn’t founded by J.Crew either.

    • http://ivygateblog.com/ J.K. Trotter

      Ha. Perfect comment.

      (Also: fixed.)

  • Quadrantprivate

    It may be that the term ‘Ivy’ refers to a period in American history, really, the “preppie” look was revived in the 1980′s as a comment on where modern teenagers thoughts were as opposed to what were supposed to be golden eras of hope and innocence.