Discussions on Trad

doghouse

King Of The Elite Idiots
Moderator
Supporter
Messages
9,671
Ratings
9,305
I figured this might be a solid opportunity to create some discussion on traditional menswear. In my mind SF is too CBD-conscious and AAAC is too suburban dad-minded. Hopefully in WDWV there is an opportunity to talk about traditional American attire without veering sharply into the world of Belk catalogs or business suits.

Right now I'm in the quest for the perfect pop-over. To me they are the perfect off-the-clock casual shirt. I've been playing with some collar configurations and I think I'm going to shoot for a cotton-linen blend, but I'm curious if anyone has any insight...
 

Chorn

Resident iGent
Supporter
Messages
2,265
Ratings
1,992
From PTO

[article=PTO]

What Is Traditional American Style?

Our most recent video, Tradition, features a conversation with Jay Walter, a true-blue American style traditionalist. The American aesthetic is largely a creation of the mid-20th century, and after some years of being maligned, it’s being re-evaluated at the moment, as “Ivy League” style (a close variant) has its moment.

Above are two men in tailored clothing. In black and white, we see a customer at J. Press in the mid-20th century. In color, we see a contemporary photo of Patrick Grant, proprietor of Norton & Sons, a Savile Row tailor. Each of these guys is wearing an outfit that couldn’t be more emblematic of their nation’s signature styles.

Difference to note (pictured and unpictured):

-The American suit features what’s called a 3-roll-2 buttoning arrangement. That means that there are three buttons on the front,but only two are openly visible and only one is intended to be used. The third (top) button rolls under the lapel. This is a classic button arrangement for suits of any nation, but it’s particularly vital to the American look. The English suit is in a classic English configuration: a narrow double-breasted.

-The shoulders of the American jacket are soft and nearly unpadded. This is called a “natural shoulder,” and it’s comfortable and casual. Contrast this with the built-up, strongly-shaped shoulder on the Savile Row suit.

-The American jacket lacks darts (folds, sewn into the fabric for shape) on the front. Most continental jackets have a dart on each side, running from about nipple level to the waist. This gives the jacket shape over and above the shaping permitted by the side seams. The classic undarted American coat is called a “sack,” because, well, it’s sack-like, rather than following the countour of the front of the body.

-The classic American jacket has a single vent in the back, often a “hook vent.” The hook vent, a J. Press innovation, is cut wider at the top (giving it a hook-like shape) to prevent awkward splaying. An English coat is typically double-vented (sometimes called side-vented), which helps prevent splaying. Sometimes it’s unvented, in the style of the “golden age” of men’s style, the 1930s.

-Pants in the classic American suit are, as Jay Walter described in our piece, typically flat-front, rather than pleated. They often have plain fronts as well. Generally, this is a simpler, more relaxed style.

There are of course other difference in the aesthetics - Americans have a predilection for button-down collars, even sometimes wearing them with suits, for example. The knit tie is a particularly Ivy League aesthetic. Belts are favored over braces, and loafers, especially penny loafers, are beloved.

The end result is a distinctive, American aesthetic. The shape is youthful. Because it lacks darts, the jacket falls straight, rather than emphasizing the shoulders and chest and narrowing the waist. The goal here is to attain the slim, straight body of the 20 year old, rather than the strong-shouldered, broad-chested body of the Powerful Man favored on Savile Row.

Of course, this style is just as much associated with an insurance salesman in Muskogee as it is with a young Bobby Kennedy. On the hefty man these youngsters of the 1950s and 60s became, the look has a different effect. The shapelessness and weak shoulders of the look can make a heavy man look, for lack of a better word, dumpy. Still: it is classic, comfortable and proudly American.

What’s important to remember is that a suit’s silhouette isn’t an absolute value, following exactly the curves of the body. There are choices about what to emphasize, what to de-emphasize, what to build up and what to slim down. These are informed by individual aesthetics and cultural tradition. I hope this will help you make informed choices for your own wardrobe.
[/article]
 

Chorn

Resident iGent
Supporter
Messages
2,265
Ratings
1,992
I'm very new to all these distinctions. Could someone succinctly sum up the difference between Trad and CBD. And where does London fit in to all this?

Edit: Not just the tech stuff, but the connotation and junk. Alright...toasted*...cahnt type .Time to sleep.




*I wish
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
I can be a surrogate OP, or Allen Smithee is always up for whatever.
I guess the preppy rarely gets anywhere near CBD, while the trad is just anachronistically CBD and Ivy a snootier or more modern variant of trad?
I'm guilty of reading Lisa Birnbach's Official Preppy Handbook at an impressionable age and watching all those late 60's re-reuns with the skinny lapels and all. Also, the friggin reruns of the 1970s reminded one that faddy stuff aged horribly.
 
Last edited:

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
Trad, being partially born of mass-production and factory/machine-made clothing, has always been somewhat less than tailored, lending it a certain casualness.
The natural, unpadded shoulder comes to mind, as does the boxy undarted coat waist.
Somewhere on here, recently, Chorn Chorn made the point that the modern crowd had likely adopted Neapolitan tailoring because it was soft and casual, that it lent a look that said the wearer chose to wear a suit and did not have to for business reasons.
I think there is some sort of link between these two different schools. I just can't figure it out.
 

Chorn

Resident iGent
Supporter
Messages
2,265
Ratings
1,992
I think trad might also have been adopted as a reaction to British tailoring, lending weight to the already powerful force of convenience and lower costs?
 

Chorn

Resident iGent
Supporter
Messages
2,265
Ratings
1,992
similar in that they are both reactions (iGent soft shoulder to the connotation suits took on in the 90s when only certain professions continued wearing suits and suits themselves became less commonplace). Similar in that they are more casual than what they reacting against (didn't Americans at one point deride the zbritish for being stiff? Perhaps it derives from that)
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
Honestly, I'm totally conjecturing on the origins here. I suspect that flat front pants are just a product of streamlining manufacturing, same with dart elimination. But there does seem to be a bit of the spirit of a lounge suit as opposed to the structured armor of British tailoring.
 

Thruth

thicker but more pliant than horsehide
Moderator
Messages
19,052
Ratings
23,907
The sack suit - according to Chensvold's essay(s) - is a Brooks Brothers creation that debuted in 1895 or so. Many of the style elements existed prior to the boom of trad and Ivy.

There are also passages about the significant influence well to do university students had on style and their role in driving the rise of the style.

That said, he also points out that when surveyed, they fully expected to wear traditional suiting when they began their journey to becoming captains of industry post-graduation.

Might be the trickle-down effect that when more affordable providers of clothing latched onto the look it became more accessible to the general population?
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
Well Brook Brothers were the onset of the RTW market, so I guess the looser fit was the S-M-L of the day in terms of squashing the greatest number of people in the smallest number of sizes.

Might be the trickle-down effect that when more affordable providers of clothing latched onto the look it became more accessible to the general population?
Interesting that essentially cheaper, cruder style came from the top and not the bottom, contrary to the usual prole drift.
 

MFDoom

Daily Vaporizer
Supporter
Messages
1,472
Ratings
1,930
Well Brook Brothers were the onset of the RTW market, so I guess the looser fit was the S-M-L of the day in terms of squashing the greatest number of people in the smallest number of sizes.


Interesting that essentially cheaper, cruder style came from the top and not the bottom, contrary to the usual prole drift.
I'm also inclined to guess that one aspect of the simplicity comes from the Calvinist (look ma no Google) ethos, in which adornment is eschewed, viewing the time and money spent in getting a well-contoured fit as wasteful and a manifestation of pride / conspicuous consumption.
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
www.askandyaboutclothes.com/forum/showthread.php?78851-Trad-is-about-being-a-child
Trad clothes, even at their dressiest, downplay male secondary sexual characteristics. By this, I mean that they radically de-emphasize the physical model of masculinity characterized by broad shoulders and chest with a narrow waist. Let’s compare a Huntsman style jacket to a sack suit. The Hunstman will have constructed shoulders, harder construction and a very narrow waist. It is designed to convey the message that the wearer is most certainly a grown, athletic man. The sack, in contrast, moves to eliminate any suggestion of shoulder. While the waist on a sack jacket can be nipped in, it often is not and it omits the darts which give the impression of shape. The overall effect is not the triangular, masculine Huntsman, but rather a shape straight from shoulder through hip that is more child-like and less masculine. It is the shape of a boy in the nursery.
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
Right now I'm in the quest for the perfect pop-over. To me they are the perfect off-the-clock casual shirt.
I don't really get popovers. I guess they spare you the trouble of fastening a few buttons, but you're stuck sticking your head through the shirt. I have a feeling that their rarity is the bulk of the appeal for these things.
 

Thruth

thicker but more pliant than horsehide
Moderator
Messages
19,052
Ratings
23,907
I don't really get popovers. I guess they spare you the trouble of fastening a few buttons, but you're stuck sticking your head through the shirt. I have a feeling that their rarity is the bulk of the appeal for these things.
I would only wear such a thing out in the woods
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
Don't get me started on the misappropriation of all this comical preppy stuff currently, the Breton reds and the patchwork madras and whatnot. Like the popover, this was stuff to be worn at home, on vacation, at the club or a resort. Not to go to the yogurt shop in suburbia. And certainly not to any serious gathering outside a tight social circle.
This goes for that Vineyard Vines shit too.
 

Thruth

thicker but more pliant than horsehide
Moderator
Messages
19,052
Ratings
23,907
So I have a sense of the origins of trad and Ivy but where can preppy be traced back to? Wasn't this something that sprang to life in the late 70's/80's at least in the sense of the general public being aware?

Is prep what Trad/Ivy people dressed down into? According to the chart you posted it is its own style?

I am confused.
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
For the name, prep can mean "in the the style of preparatory school" although Birnbach, I think, claims it is short for preposterous.
If this is the case, it is a younger form of Ivy, no? I think it came about as a 70s thing when they stood out by remaining old establishment while the mainstream trends went haywire.
The big difference, in my mind, is that preppy is cavalier, lighthearted. It is country club and island wear. I suppose one could make a case that Ivy was initially fairly upper crust, trad is mid-market Americana, and prep is lightly affluent, upper-middle class, privileged without being real plutocrats.

That popped collar, the hot pink, friggin boat shoes with a blazer, all that is preppy.
 

Thruth

thicker but more pliant than horsehide
Moderator
Messages
19,052
Ratings
23,907
For the name, prep can mean "in the the style of preparatory school" although Birnbach, I think, claims it is short for preposterous.
If this is the case, it is a younger form of Ivy, no? I think it came about as a 70s thing when they stood out by remaining old establishment while the mainstream trends went haywire.
The big difference, in my mind, is that preppy is cavalier, lighthearted. It is country club and island wear. I suppose one could make a case that Ivy was initially fairly upper crust, trad is mid-market Americana, and prep is lightly affluent, upper-middle class, privileged without being real plutocrats.

That popped collar, the hot pink, friggin boat shoes with a blazer, all that is preppy.
These style affectations are what sticks in my mind when I hear the term, especially the popped collar and fey colours. I equate it with douche as it seems to be sported by many douches. But it seems to have a longer history than we might think?

A younger form of Ivy makes sense.

Stereotypes for me are the bad characters in John Hughes movies as well as the shitbags from Valley Girl
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
That 7-series bimmer dropping off the Ginger Ringwald character is my favorite part of that flick. I seem to have missed the message in many Hughes flicks, since I was the materialist being parodied.
 

MFDoom

Daily Vaporizer
Supporter
Messages
1,472
Ratings
1,930
That 7-series bimmer dropping off the Ginger Ringwald character is my favorite part of that flick. I seem to have missed the message in many Hughes flicks, since I was the materialist being parodied.
Hey the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
... trad is mid-market Americana...
The word that I was looking for was everyman. Once upon a time, a guy in khaki pants, a button down, and a herringbone tweed coat with penny loaferscould have been the president of IBM or a plumber. There would be nuanced clues, but it was a unifying look that worked for a broad spectrum of socio-economic classes, was very egalitarian.
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
I must add that the versatility of trad is paramount. The same basic staples, with a minor change in accessories or a bit of ironing/crumpling go from very casual to decently businesslike. The #menswear stuff keeps trying to mishmash casual and tailored together and have not done it so well.
 

Thruth

thicker but more pliant than horsehide
Moderator
Messages
19,052
Ratings
23,907
So are you saying that Trad needs to have a second coming much like when it originally moved into the mainstream as it is better suited than the mishmashed #menswear that is trying to strive for a similar feel?
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
Yeah, maybe the recent fruity preppy revival will recede and the wiser parts will stick around. Khakis and OCBDs are great. Lose the patchwork madras and pink pants, but keeps the Americana stuff instead of going around in camo cargo pants with double monk straps and no socks.

As I mentioned in another thread, Banana Republic is in the awkward position of selling useful daily clothing that is accessible without being viewed as commodity-level blandness. The backlash against the #menswear extravagance may tone this all down to where it belongs.
 

doghouse

King Of The Elite Idiots
Moderator
Supporter
Messages
9,671
Ratings
9,305
Yeah, I saw that a little while ago. Deleted it without reading. I know what I like from Ivy already. Get my fill of pics and minutiae on FNB Talk Ivy.

I dig Sven's newsletters by and large though.
 

Thruth

thicker but more pliant than horsehide
Moderator
Messages
19,052
Ratings
23,907
Generally I find his newsletter and site are good resources. His assessment of vintage sartorial illustrations is quite good.
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
I am very open on finding the Original Preppy Handbook on my parent's bookshelf at some point in my early teens and embracing it. I think I've slid more to the trad/ivy side which skims off the country club excesses that come off as caricature (or faggotry) in the wrong crowd.

Despite using her as my avatar, I can not get so ponderous about all this as the above article or Muffy the Daily Prep obsessive. Also, like many, I've shied away due to the relative mainstreaming of so many things (the fucking red pants, the cutesy embroideries, the madras shorts everywhere...) the last few years.

Anchor bracelets are bullshit. Who the fuck ever heard of such a thing before that Patrick Kiel James (or whatever) douchery came out a few years back?
 

doghouse

King Of The Elite Idiots
Moderator
Supporter
Messages
9,671
Ratings
9,305
That's because anything done to the point of pedantry is missing the point. The entire exercise is for aesthetic appeal and non verbal communication. If it's just formula following you will miss the boat.

The biggest appeal to me of Ivy stuff is it's a fantastic way to do casual well.
 

Russell Street

King Of The Trolls
Supporter
Messages
6,461
Ratings
3,623
These look like either friendship bracelets made by teen girls or some summer camp craft project. I have no idea what deluded consumers shell out cash for this junk.
Admittedly, if I was at some harbor and some hippie had a little stand, I'd consider it as a gift souvenir, but ordering over the internet, nyet.

That might be what annoys me about all this, and I'm in no way claiming to be some plutocratic scion or high society type... but for proper lifestyle, one doesn't obsess on brands. You don't ponder the Barbour jacket, you go to the local tony equestrian/sporting goods store (what, like you shop at the mall?) and buy what they have in stock. You don't go on AAAC and fret over the barn-mucking coat to buy for drizzly days. You buy a friggin waxed jacket and that's it. One doesn't get all estatic that they've bought this aspirational good of the "correct" brand.
It's pretty much like all the middle class suburbanites in their luxury-branded vehicles. Go out to the wealthier areas and there seem to be a lot of bland Toyotas and Jeeps and stuff. The leisure class is not trying to impress. They are remarkably practical and lacking in pretense. I know that I sound like a hipster ranting about authenticity, but get too fake and it shows.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom