Intrepid

Super Member
It is amazing to think about the evolution of what we refer to as Trad style.

The present day Trad board was started by Harris, maybe 25 years ago in the regular AAAC board, and soon evolved into its own board.

It is certainly not bad, but the change that has taken place is immense.

We used to worship at the shrine of BB and JP. BB now looks like Men's Warehouse, and JP had to go through a near death experience when ownership changed. About the only purveyors of Trad as it was originally referred to here are present day JP, and OCLS.

Absolutely nothing wrong with dramatic change, it is inevitable.

However what the originators of the AAAT were really educating us about, was not clothing as such, but what it was to have "Understated Elegance" as an objective.
 

fishertw

Advanced Member
Having watched the evolution of others, I guess that I'm pretty much of a fogey. I joined AAAC in 2006 and Harris was still active at the time. What I wore prior to then and since then has not changed much at all, but like you say, it just gets harder to find.
 

rl1856

Senior Member
Sigh....the only constant is change; even in a niche that has tried to avoid change. Many newer members represent a slightly different aesthetic. OTOH there remain many older members who are unabashedly steadfast in their preference NS 3r2 Suits, and 100% need to be ironed OCBD shirts.
 

drpeter

Super Member
I was talking about some of this in another thread which was about the continued use of materials like cotton, wool and leather which do harm to the environment in numerous ways. To summarize, there could be approaches like thrifting (recycling, really) that does not add to the harm already present. Also, our notions of what is Trad could evolve further, and incorporate Trad features (cut, stitching, style) in non-Trad materials.

In the fifties and sixties, there was widespread use of artificial fibres blended with natural ones to create garments that were not objectionable, to say the least. I used to dislike the very idea of nylon or polyester in almost any proportion in clothes, but I am beginning to be convinced of the desirability of considering sustainable materials in clothing our bodies and shodding our feet. I think newer technologies might develop in this area, and the new materials will become good enough in their own right. There is a huge amount of research and development in this area, and a lot of information on the net about all of it.

After all, if we think about it, there is really not much that is truly natural in clothes made of cotton and wool or shoes made of leather, is there? Extensive human intervention with machines of every size and shape come between cotton plants, fur-clad animals and animal skins before we even begin to have the shirtings, suitings or leather as the basic material to be used in the finished products we consume.

We may not have much choice about the inevitability of these alternatives. Perhaps we are historical curiosities, in a world which is passing us by, but I confess I still enjoy it all.
 

Intrepid

Super Member
It should have been obvious that AAAT would become Ask Andy about Woke. I'm grateful for all of the early years of being able to learn from many like minded participants. Best of luck to you.
 

smmrfld

Super Member
It should have been obvious that AAAT would become Ask Andy about Woke. I'm grateful for all of the early years of being able to learn from many like minded participants. Best of luck to you.
Let's see. You start a thread, disagree with one of the responses, and then take your toys to another sandbox. Seems to be a bit of a trend here lately.
 

Flairball

Super Member
Things evolve with time. Trad is no different. One problem with people who bemoan the evolution and changes of “trad” is that what they really wish is for ”trad” and “ivy” to be synonymous. Some of us won’t let that happen, and dress in a traditional way without dressing ivy. Take the same tweed, but make one sport coat a sack and the other with darts, and watch what happens.

Whether one wishes to dress historically ivy, or historically ECHL, or wear a more modern version of those looks, at least they are caring about their appearance. Or should we all just wear tracksuits?
 

katon

Super Member
Maybe a vintage Brooks tracksuit? :)


(1984)

As for environmental concerns, there are many ways to approach it. Some folks are not so keen on synthetics due to the microplastics issues, while others are supportive for the issues mentioned.
 

Dhaller

Advanced Member
I'm kind of amused at the notion that Trad style might "evolve" - is not the whole point of Trad a last stand, an Alamo, a Masada against sartorial evolution?!

I think part of the problem, really, lies in the word "Trad" itself. It's Ivy Style... was Ivy Style actually ever "traditional"? I can assure you the fathers of 1950s Ivy League men disapproved of their clothing choices. I mean, anything else would be unnervingly unnatural.

The way Ivy Style evolves is that it *doesn't* - it gets interpreted.

What is the *modern* equivalent of an Ivy League man (sorry, women) dressing in a way which secures his membership in the club while at the same time exasperating his father? There's your sweet spot. Frankly, I think the idea of sustainable clothes not made by slaves is a good starting point.

Hemp? Synthetic cork? That's the right direction.

DH

ps. This may be satirical. Or not. Or partially.
 

Flairball

Super Member
I'm kind of amused at the notion that Trad style might "evolve" - is not the whole point of Trad a last stand, an Alamo, a Masada against sartorial evolution?!
Of course it evolves. Everything evolves. There is nothing wrong with a bit of evolution. Evolution is not the same as perversion. Ivy is an evolution of traditional men’s dress, though I’m certain that when ivy was young there were some who viewed it as a perversion.

Much of what the fashion industry puts in front of us is a perversion.
 

drpeter

Super Member
If we wanted to keep the styles and cuts of Ivy (or Trad or TNSL or whatever label you prefer to use), we could do that. The evolution of cuts and styles is part of clothing and has been for a very long time.

Trad actually evolved from English ways of dressing and tailoring, and manufacturing cloth in their woolen mills. The sack suit was in use in England in the 1890s and we all know the origins of the OCBD shirt. The American establishment, in the first and middle part of the last century, chose to emulate some aspects of this English style, add a few other features, and then stamp the imprimatur of the upper classes on this mode of dressing, especially at Eastern universities and colleges. That's all well and good.

Does adherence to Trad ways mean that we must distance ourselves from, say, the house style of an establishment tailor across the pond, like Anderson & Sheppard? Or a distinctly different style such as that at Huntsman? Neither are American, but those traditions have value too, and connections with American dressing and tailoring traditions. I think what might be more useful is to look at the links between English and American styles and see how both evolved over the decades.

The Trad style found a lot of adherents for a considerable period of time, but really, by the 1970s and 1980s, it was already beginning to fade away. I rarely saw undarted three-button, natural shoulder jackets in the US even as far back as the 1980s. More people were wearing Armani by then, for cryin' out loud! (There, I used one of my favourite American expressions, LOL).

I think cut and style are simply matters of personal taste. I have clothes that are not especially Trad, and I have no problem with wearing them because they provide a look I appreciate just as much as the Trad style. I don't think enjoying the Trad style means we have to take a pledge never to wear or praise any other style we find attractive or interesting. Or act in a patronizing manner toward those who are not in strict obedience to the Trad rules of tailoring and dressing as laid out in 1958. Or thereabouts.

I say live and let live, LOL.
 
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Corcovado

Senior Member

drpeter

Super Member
The following article by a fellow academic in Ivy Style brought a smile to my face. Professor Caplan, who writes an occasional (now regular) column for the Ivy Style blog, touches upon several points I myself have observed and discussed with my own students at a comparable university in the midwest. He does touch on how no style is permanent, and how, when we are locked into one particular sartorial ethos, all others seem strange. He also cites the experience of a South Korean student at Bowdoin, where the students were supposed to dress "preppy", but actually dressed "sweatclothes" (my term for the sweatpants, hoodies/sweatshirts and sneakers style much beloved by the young).

http://www.ivy-style.com/new-year-r...ucing-office-hours-with-professor-caplan.html
 

drpeter

Super Member
Looking back at this thread and the OP's comments, it struck me as amusing that AAAC could become (or has become) AAAW - Ask Andy About Woke. I think the word "woke", in the sense that it has been used by black activists, entered the American vocabulary fairly recently. It does a bit of violence to English grammar (I much prefer "awakened") but woke is a short jab of a word, and perhaps its inventors wanted that sort of impact. Regardless, it has a great history that the average citizen of our nation might not know about.

To the best of my knowledge, the first person to become "woke" was the Buddha, who lived around 500 BC. The very word Buddha, in both Sanskrit and Pali, means "The Awakened One". For the great teacher, awakening meant understanding the true nature of reality, behind the veil of illusion that sensory and perceptual processes provide us. The twin doctrines of emptiness and dependent arising, basic precepts in the Buddhist world view, follow directly from the awakening -- in fact those doctrines form the realization of the nature of reality that comes with the awakening.

These precepts have also comported well with modern science at least until very recently. Most of space is empty (in spite of claims to the existence of dark matter, which we don't understand well). And objects and qualities within space arise in counterposition to one another -- a simple way to understand dependent arising is to think of the idea that there is no one object or quality that comes about without a corresponding, and contrasting object or quality -- no light without dark, no happiness without sadness, no winning without losing, etc. In short, no yin without yang. (LOL, Americans often say they've had it up the ying-yang, which could be related to the Buddhist world view. Or not.).

A young schoolgirl once asked Gandhi what democracy meant. Gandhi said it was very simple. Think of yourself as running in a race. You run with others and you win the race. Then you come to the realization that you won because all of the others lost! Without losers, there literally is no winning. That realization, Gandhi told the schoolgirl, is at the heart of democracy. Not very American, I know. For most of us, winning is the only thing that matters, no matter how we win. But then our yin and yang would be winners and losers. And you see why Gandhi was right about the race.

So, what's the upshot? I'm saying this with tongue only partly in cheek: It is that we can be proud at AAAC, or AAAW, to be the descendants of a great philosophical and religious tradition, one that has stressed compassion and kindness more than almost any other religion in the world. Given this background, let us all be kind and compassionate to one another! In fact the AAAC has a sticky that exhorts us to civility, decency, etc. That is very fitting with being awakened. Or being woke, if that's your choice of terms.
 
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drpeter

Super Member
For those of us in this thread discussing the evolution of Trad, the following symposium might be of interest -- among others, it has Alan Flusser and Richard Press speaking on Ivy Style,Trad and Prep, their history and attributes and other related matters. I am about halfway through it -- it is rather long. I thought it might be useful and of interest to some:

 

some_dude

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I'm more of an "Andy's Fashion Forum" guy, although I've been drifting a bit toward Trad with my recent adoption of tweeds for the pandemic winter season (lots of outdoor dining).

That said, I don't really think"Trad" is supposed to evolve. It's meant to be a throwback to a particular time and place. I own some old Mercedes Benz automobiles, and on the internet forums devoted to them, we don't talk much about the new Mercedes SUV or electric vehicle or whatever... there are other forums for that.

Same for Trad. We already have a forum for evolving menswear, even if at AAAC it does evolve slowly and with some complaining along the way.
 

TKI67

Super Member
I'm more of an "Andy's Fashion Forum" guy, although I've been drifting a bit toward Trad with my recent adoption of tweeds for the pandemic winter season (lots of outdoor dining).

That said, I don't really think"Trad" is supposed to evolve. It's meant to be a throwback to a particular time and place. I own some old Mercedes Benz automobiles, and on the internet forums devoted to them, we don't talk much about the new Mercedes SUV or electric vehicle or whatever... there are other forums for that.

Same for Trad. We already have a forum for evolving menswear, even if at AAAC it does evolve slowly and with some complaining along the way.
I personally like your take. Prep clearly evolves, witness the way prep school kids dress today and the way they dressed ages ago. They clearly had a rebellious streak despite the oppressive dress codes under which they lived.

My father's Trad on the other hand evolved in less reactionary ways and stayed grounded in somewhat more staid and solid clothing. Ivy seemed like the Trad offshoot from which Prep took its lead, given that college student's could evolve with less circumscription.

The basic bones of Trad made up much of their wardrobes and then got changed in ways sure to have horrified their parents, such dirty white bucks, garish Madras jackets, GTH pants, and sockless Weejuns. Anyway, that is my take. I note that Prep continues to evolve rapidly, witness A&F, VV, etc.

They are no longer as strongly influenced by the Trad/Ivy legacy of quality as a means to thrift and understatement.
 
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drpeter

Super Member
I like many of the stylistic aspects of Trad, and I also like the quality and thrift aspects that TK167 points out. However, I have clothes that are perfectly fine for me that do not fall under the Trad label.

I also don't think of khakis as Trad, it resonated more for me with its origins in India, and National Service in that country (I have touched on these things in multiple threads, so I won't belabor the points, LOL), For me, wearing khakis is a connection with the old country, rather than a specific style of dressing in the new one!

I go by a general aesthetic, rather than a strict interpretation of a "school of dressing", with its orthodoxies. If I like the look of a garment, then I buy it. For example: A range of military jackets, many of them genuine vintage items, some of them American, others foreign, can be found in my closets. I like the way they look with casual trousers, shirts and sweaters.

I also like short and long point collars on shirts, and I like both oxford cloth and broadcloth, poplin and viyella. In short, many of my tastes overlap with Trad clothes, but there are also items that are quite distinct from Trad.
 
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delicious_scent

Super Member
I like many of the stylistic aspects of Trad, and I also like the quality and thrift aspects that TK167 points out. However, I have clothes that are perfectly fine for me that do not fall under the Trad label. I also don't think of khakis as Trad, it resonated more for me with its origins in India, and National Service in that country (I have touched on these things in multiple threads, so I won't belabor the points, LOL), For me, wearing khakis is a connection with the old country, rather than a specific style of dressing in the new one!

I go by a general aesthetic, rather than a strict interpretation of a "school of dressing", with its orthodoxies. If I like the look of a garment, then I buy it. For example: A range of military jackets, many of them genuine vintage items, some of them American, others foreign, can be found in my closets. I like the way they look with casual trousers, shirts and sweaters. I also like short and long point collars on shirts, and I like both oxford cloth and broadcloth, poplin and viyella. In short, many of my tastes overlap with Trad clothes, but there are also items that are quite distinct from Trad.
This is basically how I feel about trad.

A lot of it influences my wardrobe, but I've never been a fan of strict adherence to it, it's too self limiting and circular.

The irony of that statement is I've mostly been wearing OCBDs and chambray shirts with khakis and 5 pocket corduroys to class lectures.
 
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