Sunday, February 6, 2011

My Response to Fit

In response to my last post, Dutch Uncle asked...

Is it really necessary for trousers to be at least one size too small in order to qualify as
ivy/prep/trad/WASP, whatever? 

While I'm not sure of the question's sincerity, this is my take on the general matter. I'm certainly not among those in favor "slim fit" or "custom fit" trousers and shirts. Those that reveal too much and show a couple inches of ankle without having to cuff or roll. I appreciate this return to well-fitted clothes after seeing trends of oversized, baggy clothing since the 1980's. However, I think this movement has gone too far in the direction of constricting or even skin-tight pieces. Personally speaking, I'm a big guy and I don't buy anything unless it fits well and fits comfortably. Part of the whole ivy/prep/etc. lifestyle is sartorial ease and comfort. Those who are following this new "trad" trend tend to look somewhat childish and not the least bit elegant. Look at photos from the Take Ivy book or one of the vintage-photo blogs out there. You won't see any "true prep" who had to hold his breath to squeeze into his trousers.

Don't try this at home. In fact, don't try this anywhere.

I try to avoid the cliche labels, but which do you usually go with? Trad, ivy, prep, WASP, etc?
As the term trad, though simply short for traditional, has been played out I tend to go with classic.


  1. Sir,

    I'm afraid that the problem with both the "Trad" and "Classic" labels is that--in reality--this style has never been favored by the vast majority of American men, so technically it is neither traditional nor classic. Unfortunately this style has always been favored by a minority.

  2. JFK knew how trousers should fit:

  3. In response to Anon, I'm guessing you have never heard of the 1940's, 1950's or early 1960's? It definitely isn't in the majority now, but it came to be known as such during the time and the name happened to stick with around as a particular style of dress. American historians tend to denote the mid-century period as that which defined the rise of American superiority and thus what largely defined America to the world. Thus, it is also "classic" because it was the authoritative look for Americans when they became widely known.

  4. Anon - See David's response.

    Orthodox Trad - Amen. JFK gets credit for far too many things, but the guy knew how to dress.

    David - Thanks for a brilliant answer to Anon's comment. I completely agree and couldn't have said it better.