While Lisa Birnbach steps up her media blitz (where's Chip?) and utters 'polar fleece' for the 466th time, there's nary a whisper about two authors in the UK who have already released, 'The Ivy Look - An Illustrated Pocket Guide to Classic American Clothing. ' It hits the states the end of October but if you're in a hurry you can order from Amazon UK now.
Americans like to consider Ivy their own but anyone who's read anything by Bruce Boyer knows that Ivy was born far from our shores and across the pond where those people with no fluoride live. We Yanks have certainly tweaked the polo, hunting, cricket, rugby, tennis, look. More important, we made it inclusive. Something that never looks bad on our permanent record. Have you ever heard a Brit say inclusive? I personally don't think they can pronounce it.
JP Gaul and Graham Marsh have make it their own again and this time they're inviting everyone. The Ivy Look, like Take Ivy, is an appreciation of what many of us take for granted. Weejuns, button downs, khakis, Jazz, Horween cordovan. And unlike True Prep or the Official Preppy Handbook, the aesthetic here is a quiet whisper of traditional. What is best described as invisible but with style points for those in the know.
Chock full of Esquire ads, Jazz album covers and movie one-sheets, it's the British POV on what is a very different message in London than it is here in the states. Mr. Gaul and I talked about how rarely I saw Ivy when I worked in London. "Ivy existed away from the world of business. Through Jazz and black American music it was an expression of the roll of a button down collar or the feel of a properly broken in Weejun."
There's also a look at Ivy through the Japanese, Italian and French perspective. All with their own codes and unique tweaks. If you're looking for the Locust Valley lock jaw, full out preppy courtesy of the Tommy, Ralph and Mickey Show, this ain't gonna be your cup of tea. But if you're the least bit curious about stuff happening to our culture in other countries - - this book will answer questions you never considered while maybe even tweaking your own closet.