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:
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!
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.
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.