Question for Harris, Dart, Coolidge, Max et. al.

jmorgan32

Suspended
Oh hell, question for the whole board!

This whole "definition" of trad, and class distinctions is something I have not really given a lot of thought to and have not really involved myself in.

However, now that I think about it, I want your opinion on my thoughts...........

True blue trads, if you will, were brought up "dressing tradly", acting tradly, etc. Never moving with fashion trends. Right??!! OK.
I also get the impression that most of the "true trads" as defined on this forum, attended rather elite schools, had fathers that wore Aldens, J Press or Brooks suits, etc.
Prep schools as youngsters, and either Ivy League or small Liberal Arts schools for college.

Well, I am not a true trad then. My Dad was a Colonel in the USAF and we had 4 kids in our family. I could not attend a prep school. I did go to a private school for some years, but my Mom taught there so I was "discounted!" I attended a state college. (only. seeming rather lowly-I say kiddingly......Of course we Buckeyes always say our undergrad in Business is equal to an MBA anywhere else!)

I did, however, see my Dad only wearing OCBD's, tan bucks, Florsheims, etc as a kid. (not Alden, et al. probably too expensive or he just didn't care enough to shop around a lot) He shopped at discount houses, wore London Fog raincoats, but to me, looking back this was fairly trad. He worked in a very trad men's store during the summers in college and adopted his tastes and stuck with them. (the 50's)
I don't think he really gave a damn about clothes, and just kept it simple for himself.

I guess I am almost tempted to call our definition of trad, as it has "evolved" through our board discussions, as almost "old money!" Maybe true. I am not sure........I would debate that for the minority of "cases" where you have a trad old college professor. You know the type......Smokes a pipe, blazer with elbow patches, cords, desert boots, etc......you get the pic.. I think they could be truly trad without having the "money" to be "super tradly" and send their kids to prep schools etc.

I quite simply made a decision as a soph or jr in college is was much more economical to go with what we are calling trad on this board and I REFUSED to change. Ever...circa 1978 forward.....Yes in high school there were some bell bottoms (oh crap I admitted it...) and lots of........well........smoking organic things of nature..........OK Harris, don't clench your molars at the bell bottom comment.....I was a damned hood okay!!

I CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH! (aka Mr. Nicholson) I am not tradly! (voice sounding like "I am not worthy!!!!!!!!!")

OK. Feedback welcome as always.
 

familyman

Super Member
Which begs the question, can one be a first generation trad?

_____________________________________________________________________________
I am no enemy of elegance, but I say no man has a right to think of elegance till he has secured substance, nor then, to seek more of it than he can afford.

John Adams
 

jmorgan32

Suspended
quote:Originally posted by familyman

Which begs the question, can one be a first generation trad?

_____________________________________________________________________________
I am no enemy of elegance, but I say no man has a right to think of elegance till he has secured substance, nor then, to seek more of it than he can afford.

John Adams

Better put, and done so much more concisely!!
Joe
 

A.Squire

Honors Member
quote:Originally posted by familyman

Which begs the question, can one be a first generation trad?

_____________________________________________________________________________
I am no enemy of elegance, but I say no man has a right to think of elegance till he has secured substance, nor then, to seek more of it than he can afford.

John Adams

Excellent post! By both I must say.
 

jmorgan32

Suspended
quote:Originally posted by LongWing

JOE -

SNAP OUT OF IT !

Have a drink.

I am! Chugging hard. Dealing with not being a true trad. I even think I have one single tear rolling down my left cheek at this very moment!
 

A.Squire

Honors Member
Joe,
Old money is Trad, almost without exception.
A more encompassing term of course for old money would be old money. Old money in the north is the same as old money in the south. You really needn’t say more. Folks will know exactly what you mean.

Trad in my mind however and what I relate to encompasses the ideals of old money. Good taste, conservative dress, conservative politics, a mistrust of the new, a longing for the old, etc. as mentioned on this board many times. Many are called, yet few are chosen who share this mindset(my correct views)---Southern trad.

In earlier posts I was looking to pick a fight with Familyman. I wanted to show him that he was wrong to criticize the threaded pony. After all, these folks---Proud Pony Wearers, are attempting to emulate good taste in dress. And that is the early signs of recognition of the trad mind set. To shun those is like a preaching without an alter call.

I am not old money. I am trad.
 

septa

Senior Member
I find this post very interesting. All in all it has been the (often times very good) amateur sociology that has kept me hooked to the Trad forum. As a "birthright trad" (really more preppy, but lets not get too nit-picky) I have heard most of the advice given on this site, although I too learn more and more every day. However, the way that trad is percieved, and interacts with people's self perception is something I find endlessly fascinating.
I think that at some point everyone's family has some "first generation" trad. I'd say my dad is one. When he was at West Point(back when it attracted from the same pool as the Ivys, current west pointers are very talented, I just don't think that there are as many guys from Exeter there as there were in my dad's day) he had a roommate from Virginia who instructed my dad in the ways of trad. He took him to 346 Madison, taught him how to identify a J.Press shirt by its flap pocket, how to wear loafers without socks and how to properly tie a bowtie, along with all the other arcana of trad. My dad went on to grad school at an Ivy, married a tradly woman, taught his two sons how to dress trad, sent them to private schools and liberal arts collages and told them to major in things like history and politics, practicality be damned. I have always known that we weren't "old money", and my dad knows this too, but he is a trad. I have always thought of trad, in the stripped down, Tory version that Harris talks about as the sort of thing that one could emulate without being self-conscious. A vested suit worn with cordo. tassel loafers and a conservative necktie is the sort of thing that a guy who was the first to go to college in his family could wear, whereas whale pants and patch madras would feel a bit affected. For me this has always helped me draw the preppy-trad distinction. Could a guy who faught at Iwo Jima wear it? If yes trad, if no preppy or other. I also think that one needs to realize that the tradly upper class in this country are so much on the defensive that, rather than condescend to people who emulate them, they are usually quite kind. They might not invite you to join thier country club, but if you were to go to the auction at one of the prep schools around Philly, dressed in High Trad Fashion as described on this site, you would get nods of approval from the heads of the "first families". We live in a tacky, rude world where money has really begun to encroach on areas that were firmly in the domain of class. My advice to any "first generation" trads who are nervous is "keep it up". Dressing the part will take you far. In all the time I have spent in tradly places (the Main Line, Oxford, New York, Boston) I have rarely felt that someone considered me a threat because I tried to dress in a way that was somehow "above my station". I don't have much money, nor a flash car, or a big house, nor a long and impressive lineage but I have gotten a lot of free scotches and martinis out of the 3/2/w/vest sack suit from Brooks that my dad bought when he was 20.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Trad Authority
 

Harris

Elite Member
Everyone's heard my exaltations of my father and grandfather, so no need to bother with all that sappy sentimentality again. My father was shaped by a boarding school and private college education, to be sure. But he was just as shaped by years spent in the military and years spent with really decent people (in business) who were not "old money."

It suffices to say that trad is as trad does, or, rather, looks and sounds and acts. Whether you learned it from your father or from a roommate or from a friend or from Tucker Carlson or from a "handbook," it is what it is. Joe, do have that drink. Chill.

I know guys with lots of $ who are definitely not trad. At all. And I know a public high school history teacher (and basketball coach) who makes a decent but not great living who is trad in appearance (Ivy, non-grosgrain version) attitude/personality (hell of guy), and beliefs (moderate Republican and mainline Presbyterian--not too fundy, not too liberal) all the way. Sure, you need enough $ to get stuff repaired and enjoy life a little bit...but do you have to be rich? Hell, no. In fact, most rich people I know have (IMHO) horrible taste in pretty much everything, including houses, cars, and clothing. There, I said it: most rich people's tastes suck.

Cheers,
Harris
 

Coolidge24

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by septa

I find this post very interesting. All in all it has been the (often times very good) amateur sociology that has kept me hooked to the Trad forum. As a "birthright trad" (really more preppy, but lets not get too nit-picky) I have heard most of the advice given on this site, although I too learn more and more every day. However, the way that trad is percieved, and interacts with people's self perception is something I find endlessly fascinating.
I think that at some point everyone's family has some "first generation" trad. I'd say my dad is one. When he was at West Point(back when it attracted from the same pool as the Ivys, current west pointers are very talented, I just don't think that there are as many guys from Exeter there as there were in my dad's day) he had a roommate from Virginia who instructed my dad in the ways of trad. He took him to 346 Madison, taught him how to identify a J.Press shirt by its flap pocket, how to wear loafers without socks and how to properly tie a bowtie, along with all the other arcana of trad. My dad went on to grad school at an Ivy, married a tradly woman, taught his two sons how to dress trad, sent them to private schools and liberal arts collages and told them to major in things like history and politics, practicality be damned. I have always known that we weren't "old money", and my dad knows this too, but he is a trad. I have always thought of trad, in the stripped down, Tory version that Harris talks about as the sort of thing that one could emulate without being self-conscious. A vested suit worn with cordo. tassel loafers and a conservative necktie is the sort of thing that a guy who was the first to go to college in his family could wear, whereas whale pants and patch madras would feel a bit affected. For me this has always helped me draw the preppy-trad distinction. Could a guy who faught at Iwo Jima wear it? If yes trad, if no preppy or other. I also think that one needs to realize that the tradly upper class in this country are so much on the defensive that, rather than condescend to people who emulate them, they are usually quite kind. They might not invite you to join thier country club, but if you were to go to the auction at one of the prep schools around Philly, dressed in High Trad Fashion as described on this site, you would get nods of approval from the heads of the "first families". We live in a tacky, rude world where money has really begun to encroach on areas that were firmly in the domain of class. My advice to any "first generation" trads who are nervous is "keep it up". Dressing the part will take you far. In all the time I have spent in tradly places (the Main Line, Oxford, New York, Boston) I have rarely felt that someone considered me a threat because I tried to dress in a way that was somehow "above my station". I don't have much money, nor a flash car, or a big house, nor a long and impressive lineage but I have gotten a lot of free scotches and martinis out of the 3/2/w/vest sack suit from Brooks that my dad bought when he was 20.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Trad Authority


Excellent Post.

And no trad would ever consider a "first-generation" trad a threat. Threat to what? The threat is the Donald Trump type who might buy all your neighbors houses, rip them down, and put up a monstrosity with 8 Hummers parked in front.

You might not be invited to join a country club by Mr. First Family right away. But I bet he'd happily pick you over Mr. Glitzy Yuppie when a vacancy was noted.
 

Coolidge24

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by Harris

Everyone's heard my exaltations of my father and grandfather, so no need to bother with all that sappy sentimentality again. My father was shaped by a boarding school and private college education, to be sure. But he was just as shaped by years spent in the military and years spent with really decent people (in business) who were not "old money."

It suffices to say that trad is as trad does, or, rather, looks and sounds and acts. Whether you learned it from your father or from a roommate or from a friend or from Tucker Carlson or from a "handbook," it is what it is. Joe, do have that drink. Chill.

I know guys with lots of $ who are definitely not trad. At all. And I know a public high school history teacher (and basketball coach) who makes a decent but not great living who is trad in appearance (Ivy, non-grosgrain version) attitude/personality (hell of guy), and beliefs (moderate Republican and mainline Presbyterian--not too fundy, not too liberal) all the way. Sure, you need enough $ to get stuff repaired and enjoy life a little bit...but do you have to be rich? Hell, no. In fact, most rich people I know have (IMHO) horrible taste in pretty much everything, including houses, cars, and clothing. There, I said it: most rich people's tastes suck.

Cheers,
Harris

Frankly most people's tastes suck.

Which is why I'm really happy to see anyone else dressing trad.
 

tom22

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
I was born and grew up near New Haven which obviously is a fairly trad place. I spent a year in prep school, hated it, yelled at my parents and graduated from public school. Did go to an elite eastern college, which was and is not noted for preppiness (had to go to the other little Ivy League schools for that). I did get a certain style, with certain variations, from my father, who shopped at Rosenberg's of New haven. It shocked the hell out of me to read the original George Frazier Esquire article a couple of months ago which announced Rosenberg's of New Haven as an essential founder of the sack suit.
I grew up with some florsheim shoes and a few arrow shirts. and a London Fog raincoat (a good lable then) Most shirts were from Hathaway and shoes from the age of fourteen were from Barries but these were just what was offered at the neighborhood stores. i think until the advent of designer labels (which I associate with the mid 1980s) there was a broad consensus about how you were supposed to dress. Navy blazers, tweed jackets. two or three button suits in grey or navy or glen plaud. The rules were faily basic. labels didn't mean all that much. there were so many good American manufacturers of RTW i really didn't matter too too much what you bought. fabrics would vary with the season, styles never did.
a simpler, and maybe a better age. Everyone was pretty much trad. you could spend more or less money but everyone was trad.
 

crs

Super Member
quote:Originally posted by jmorgan32

Well, I am not a true trad then. My Dad was a Colonel in the USAF and we had 4 kids in our family. I could not attend a prep school.

Just an aside to anyone considering this for their children. My old prep school costs about $35,000 per year for boarders ... but almost half the kids receive financial aid from the school, and plenty of them come from families that are far from poor -- the school understands that $140,000 is a good chunk of change even for upper middle-class families. Some families have several children at a time on scholarship. I was on scholarship for four years. It can happen if you want it to happen. The better prep schools have large endowments and loyal alumni who contribute to the annual fund. Often the financial aid package is negotiable. The schools are willing to work with the parents in order to make it happen. If you think a boarding school would be a good thing for your children, cost does not necessarily mean it can't happen.
 

rl1856

Senior Member
quote:Originally posted by septa

We live in a tacky, rude world where money has really begun to encroach on areas that were firmly in the domain of class.

Truer words were never spoken. Other than attire, This to me is the essence of the distinction between the trad and non-trad ethic. Class in this case is not a another word for snobbish superiority, meerly a description of how one acts towards ones fellow man.

Pre 60's it was considered a virtue to want to improve oneself through education, exposure to the arts and volunteer work. Now it is mearly enough to have money.

Best,

Ross
 

3button Max

Senior Member
What interesting posts.
It reminds me of a fairly recent commmercial whereupon an Asian appearing man invests and says"my grandchildren will be old money"

and indeed they wiil in a sense can and will become trad- so it was with wasp forbears of today's best and brightest.-Imagine considering the needs of a future generation-and one you may not live to see-total I mean total trad virtue.

enter Joe's post. We may have entered the portals of trad through the beauty of meritocracy(ours and our dad's.) Pop got the Big 10 school on the GI bill(sorry Joe not Ohio State) and I am sure what trad orientation he has is from his formative years in the early-mid fifties. From this point on those becoming professional men tended towards ivy leaugue clothing-(but didnt care too much)

so Joe by birthright I may well be an accidental tourist, a product of meritocracy- an assimilationist by virtue of being employed by trads at times.
Donald Trump's grandchildren(perish the thought) will be somewhat old money butnever trad. (euro trash mainly- meant in a fashion sense only)

I have seen old money descend into a horrible john Cheever like mess and also seen the finest in noblisse oblige from them-and I like it from my vantage point just fine. Trad is the sum of several virtues added together which can supercede any economic origin. We are worthy because we are the bulwark ofMIDWESTERN TRAD
(drink one for old Max)
 

mpcsb

Inactive User
I have never felt better about associating myself with the 'Trad' as I do after reading the many excellent posts on this thread.

Joe, hope you now feel 'worthy'. I mean that.

True Trad is, I think, accepting of those who try. Not trying to be better than others, but to better ones-self. Money has very little to do with it. I have always found the important thing is to be comfortable - and to make others feel comfortable.

I apologize if this post is way too sentimental. I've never been good with words - a 'Gentleman's C' was one of my highest aspirations once.

Cheers
 
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