Vineyard Vines, purveyor of all things ultra-preppie, is now offering a line of atypical college ties, featuring a silk-screen of the university’s symbol.Â Obviously, this works better for schools with especially pleasant insignia, such as the Columbia University crown and University of Texas longhorn.Â Izzy’s personal favorite is the necktie for the University of Virgnia’s Fighting Sabres, which possesses the visual dynamism of an art deco print.
Since there’s nothing preppier than corduroys embroidered with cutesy whales, ducks, or monkeys, the folks at Hickey seem to be targeting the elusive Groton-alumni-who-are-truckers demographic.Â Presumably the care label reads, “Requires no additional irony.”
They even make a matching cashmere sweater.
Among the ranks of these Viking re-enactors, one make-believe Norseman is not quite like the others.Â Â Too much herring, and not enough pillaging, has left him out of shape, while his askew helmet, with an extra wide nose-guard, adds to his loveable-misfit charm.Â Izzy can’t help but think that this is what Obelix would look like in Viking armor.
Izzy somehow missed it, but a few weeks ago The New York Times reported that the economic downturn has led to a true casual-ty: 21, the famed Manhattan restaurant, is no longer requiring that male diners wear ties, as it had for the prior 79 years:
The power-dining oasis, where Manhattanâ€™s surviving masters of the universe daily attempt critical mass, announced last Thursday that the restaurant, virtually the last in town with a neckwear rule, had abandoned its tie requirement at dinner in its two dining rooms, the Bar Room and Upstairs at 21.
Ties are â€œpreferred,â€ it said â€” indeed, â€œgreatly appreciated.â€ And mind you, gentlemen, your jackets must stay on.
Actually, â€œ21â€ instituted the policy â€œafter Labor Day, a soft opening if you will,â€ said Bryan McGuire, the manager for the last, yes, 21 years. â€œWe wanted to be on a more level playing field with our competitors,â€ he said, adding, â€œWe didnâ€™t think it was that big a deal.â€ Especially since, during lunch, the tie policy was ixnayed in 1996, he said.
The restaurantâ€™s publicist, Diana Biederman, said she issued the release so people could â€œknow about the policy in these challenging times.â€
Mr. McGuire, though, insisted that the decision was not recession-driven.
But he allowed that the policy â€œcould help the restaurant greatly in a time of difficulty.â€ Revenue, $18.5 million last year, is off by â€œdouble digits,â€ he said.
The restaurant has made other concessions to the economy, including free parking for all dinner patrons.
(For the record, he noted, ties are required in the 20-seat private dining room, the Wine Cellar.)
The Zagat 2009 New York City Restaurant guide has starred the Rainbow Room (which offers dinner on â€œselectedâ€ Friday and Saturday nights even as its landlord seeks to terminate its lease for nonpayment of rent) as the only other public restaurant requiring a tie among 13 that demand jackets.
â€œIt is the final victory of Los Angeles,â€ Tim Zagat said.
As Woody Allen said of that city in Annie Hall, “I don’t want to live in a city where the only cultural advantage is that you can make a right turn on a red light.”
The ultra-formal should know that there are still a few New York holdouts when it comes to the ties-required rule.Â You’ll just need to know someone who can get you into the likes of the Harvard Club.
The new president has, it would seem, brought a new sartorial informality to the White House:
The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House,Â President ObamaÂ was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.
â€œHeâ€™s from Hawaii, O.K.?â€ said Mr. Obamaâ€™s senior adviser,Â David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. â€œHe likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.â€
Thus did an ironclad rule of theÂ George W. Bush administrationÂ â€” coat and tie in the Oval Office at all times . . . .
In cranking up the heat and ditching his jacket, Obama is showing himself to be anything but Jimmy Carter in aÂ malaise-coloredÂ cardigan sweater, which he wore in an intentionally cold but more energy efficient White House.
Obama has explicitly changed the rules from the prior administration:
Over the weekend, Mr. Obamaâ€™s first in office, his aides did not quite know how to dress. Some showed up in the West Wing in jeans (another no-no under Mr. Bush), some in coats and ties.
So the president issued an informal edict for â€œbusiness casualâ€ on weekends â€” and set his own example. He showed up Saturday for a briefing with his chief economic adviser,Â Lawrence H. Summers, dressed in slacks and a gray sweater over a white buttoned-down shirt. Workers from the Bush White House are shocked.
â€œIâ€™ll never forget going to work on a Saturday morning, getting called down to the Oval Office because there was something he was mad about,â€ said Dan Bartlett, who was counselor to Mr. Bush. â€œI had on khakis and a buttoned-down shirt, and I had to stand by the door and get chewed out for about 15 minutes. He wouldnâ€™t even let me cross the threshold.â€
Izzy finds it amusing that the Bush was such a stickler for decorum, when he otherwise tried to represent himself as an ordinary Joe. Indeed, were his official portrait hung in the Oval Office, it would appear to violate his own office dress code.
Now sporting a full beard, darker than his blond locks, Britian’s Prince William is looking excedeedingly kinglyâ€”and it also happens to emphasize his eyes (royal blue?). But will he continue the bold style when he takes the crown? As far as Izzy can tell, the last leonine King of Britain was George V, who ruled from 1910 to 1936.
Hard economic times appear to have affected even Austin Powers, who must be the British eBay seller hoping to exchange these groovy, Cuban-heeled Chelsea boots for cash. If any of Izzy’s loyal readers are friends with the Riddler, please tell him to bid now.
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While parading during Venezuela’s Independence Day, this army cadet looked down to discover that it his crotch was celebrating its newfound freedom.Â It’s a good thing the soldier wasn’t going commando.
Izzy recently popped into H. Herzfeld, possibly New York’s last true habedasher.Â Inside the cozy store, which has been in business since 1890, it is easy to imagine one is on Jermyn Street in London, not E. 57th Street in Manhattan. It probably the only place in New York city that sells shirts by Hilditch & Key and Harvie & Hudson, among with many other rarities in America, such as sock garters. Browsing toward the back of the shop, Izzy felt a pair of gloves from Dents, the leather of which was so surprisingly soft that it truly sent a shiver up his spine. The salesman said that the British glovemaker was the best in the world, which, Izzy had to agree, was not a hyperbolic claim.
Excluding saddle shoes and a few other exceptions, Izzy is averse to two-toned footwear. And were you to ask him to imagine blue-and-white boots, he would start to gag mentally. And yet there are these highly unusual boots from Grenson, the storied British cordwainer, which, despite consisting of off-white canvas and light-blue leather infill, somehow work wonderfully. They are not exactly meant for everyday wear, but if you find your self running a tropical colony while wearing a pith helmet…
Izzy recently acquired this unusual vintage necktie made by Chipp, the old-school haberdasher, headquartered in New Haven, that sadly closed shop years ago. Izzy was able to determine that half of the chemical formula stands for urea, the other for acetic acid. In other words, the tie is delightfully full of piss and vinegar.