Ivy Style at the F.I.T. Museum

I’m headed out of New York this morning, having taped a few episodes of Judge John Hodgman, enjoyed a San Francisco Giants World Series victory, ordered a few shirts from my friend Carl, and attended WFMU’s Radiovision conference. I didn’t have a lot of free time on this trip - blame the baby - but I did make time to visit the Fashion Institute of Technology Museum and their lovely exhibit Ivy Style.

Among the sights:

  • Some stunning tartan sportcoats by Jeffrey Banks, the former protege of Ralph Lauren, author of several menswear books, and sole African-American contributor to the exhibition.
  • Some delightful Berk slippers, featuring a pair in crescent moon and star theme which match some I bought for my wife recently.
  • Ralph Lauren outfits pieced together from collections 30 years apart, but sharing a near-perfect aesthetic symmetry.
  • A Thom Browne Ivy-inspired suit featuring a spiked crotch.
  • Some genuinely gorgeous bleeding madras in shorts, coats, and everything else.
  • Some amazing information about a Princeton tradition, still extant, called the Beer Suit. Derived from workwear, it was clothing made to be worn by seniors while drinking, to avoid ruining the good stuff. They look a bit like a painter’s outfit, with graduation years and slogans stenciled on. After graduation, the suit was worn to reunions until the 25th reunion, when one could finally wear a class jacket - usually (by the looks of it) a crested blazer.

If you’re in New York, don’t miss the exhibition, which is free. And don’t forget the symposium, which is in just a few weeks.

Speaking of seeing me live and in-person, if you’re in New York, I’ll be joining my friend and colleague John Hodgman for the first ever live Judge John Hodgman show. We’ll have some very cool special guests on tap, and I’ll be wearing a full bailiff uniform that I purchased from a company that sells clothes to real bailiffs. 100% Polyester. I’ll basically be dressed like Bull from Night Court.
Anyway, it’s October 22nd at the Greene Space. Tickets are on sale now.

Speaking of seeing me live and in-person, if you’re in New York, I’ll be joining my friend and colleague John Hodgman for the first ever live Judge John Hodgman show. We’ll have some very cool special guests on tap, and I’ll be wearing a full bailiff uniform that I purchased from a company that sells clothes to real bailiffs. 100% Polyester. I’ll basically be dressed like Bull from Night Court.

Anyway, it’s October 22nd at the Greene Space. Tickets are on sale now.

There’s no better master class on the semiotics of getting dressed than the documentary Paris Is Burning. Released at the start of the 1990s, it chronicles the Ball scene in late 1980s New York. The Balls featured bisexual and gay men and transgendered women in all manner of drag - from clothes intended to convincingly portray a beautiful woman to clothes intended to convincingly portray an executive or a member of the military.

For folks like these, passing was and is essential to living safely, and being conversant in cultural norms was more than just a passing interest. As one of the interview subjects above says, “When you’re gay, you monitor everything you do. You monitor how you look, how you talk, how you act. Do they see me? What do they think of me?”

I’m guessing that most of the people who read this blog were born in a position where they don’t usually rely on cultural signifiers to ensure their physical safety, like the people in Paris Is Burning. The stakes are lower for most of us. Thankfully, they’re even somewhat lower for GLBT men and women twenty years after the film was made.

But if you want to learn something about how cultural cues like clothing can affect your place in the world, watch Paris Is Burning. That’s realness.

Put This On Season Two, Episode 2: Eclecticism

Put This On, a web series about dressing like a grownup, visits New York City, where eclectic style is a way of life.

We go thrifting with Josh and Trav from the blog Street Etiquette. They’re known for their thrift-store eyes and their unique editorials. We drop some shopping and alteration knowledge and have a friendly competition: who can pick up the coolest stuff in three shops and two hours?

Visit Jay Kos, the eclectic boutique that fuses traditional style with a decidedly non-traditional palette. It’s a favorite of modern dandies because of Jay’s bold color sense and wild material choices. Here you can find traditionally-made trousers in green python or a fine Italian sportcoat rendered in a blown-up flannel shirting pattern.

Meet Lewis Lapham, the found of Lapham’s Quarterly and longtime editor of Harper’s Magazine. Lapham discusses why fine clothes suit the humble journalist, and compares a coat and tie to the pair of gold coins Flaubert carried in his pocket - they lend the bearer a sense of weight.

In our How It’s Made segment, we learn what’s inside your jacket. Tailor Leonard Logsdail tears open a few coats to show us their guts and compares the construction of pieces at a variety of price points.

Plus, the return of Rudiments with new host Dave Hill. Dave explains that a coat isn’t finished until it has been altered by a tailor.

This is the second episode in our six-episode second season. In this season, we visit the three greatest men’s style cities in the world, as chosen by our readers - New York, Milan and London.

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Watch it elsewhere:

Vimeo / Youtube / iTunes


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Buy Season One on DVD for $16

This episode was supported by our viewers and by The Put This On Gentlemen’s Association.


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Executive Producers: Jesse Thorn & Adam Lisagor

Director: Benjamin Ahr Harrison

Host / Writer / Producer: Jesse Thorn

Rudiments: Dave Hill

Producer: Andrew Yamato

Director of Photography: Ryan Samul

Sound: Andrew J. Reardon

Season 2, Episode 2: PTO Place: Jay Kos

From Put This On Season 2, Episode 2, a profile of New York menswear retailer Jay Kos. Kos is known for mixing traditional style with bold fabrics and colors, and is a favorite of contemporary dandies like Fonzworth Bentley.

From Season 2, Episode 2 of Put This On

Ed Morel and Bruce Boyer, at the Panta trunk show Jesse talked about. 
Both gentlemen have especially nice shirt collars on. 

Ed Morel and Bruce Boyer, at the Panta trunk show Jesse talked about. 

Both gentlemen have especially nice shirt collars on. 

If you’re in New York City, you won’t want to miss tomorrow’s Panta trunk show. Founder Ed Morel will be on hand with a selection of pants, ties and (new) suits and sportcoats. It’s at CEGO Custom Shirtmaker, and Carl (who you may remember from our Body episode) will be offering some CEGO stuff - pajama bottoms, orphaned shirts, that kind of thing - along with the Panta line.
We’ve reviewed Panta’s beautiful ties, which are about a hundred bucks, but they’ll also be offering a full range of trousers for about $300, sportcoats for $850-950 and suits for about $1200. I’m really impressed by what Morel has been up to, and you should stop by and say “hi” to Ed and Carl even if you can’t scrape up the scratch to buy anything.
Find the sale Friday, March 23rd at the CEGO Custom Shirtmakers shop, 246 Fifth Avenue (corner of 28th), Second Floor, from 11:00-6:00pm.

If you’re in New York City, you won’t want to miss tomorrow’s Panta trunk show. Founder Ed Morel will be on hand with a selection of pants, ties and (new) suits and sportcoats. It’s at CEGO Custom Shirtmaker, and Carl (who you may remember from our Body episode) will be offering some CEGO stuff - pajama bottoms, orphaned shirts, that kind of thing - along with the Panta line.

We’ve reviewed Panta’s beautiful ties, which are about a hundred bucks, but they’ll also be offering a full range of trousers for about $300, sportcoats for $850-950 and suits for about $1200. I’m really impressed by what Morel has been up to, and you should stop by and say “hi” to Ed and Carl even if you can’t scrape up the scratch to buy anything.

Find the sale Friday, March 23rd at the CEGO Custom Shirtmakers shop, 246 Fifth Avenue (corner of 28th), Second Floor, from 11:00-6:00pm.

One of the forefathers of the Lo Heads movement is Thirstin Howl III, aka the Polo Rican, a veteran MC and longtime Lo Life. Here’s his most recent single, “What It Iz Brother Lo,” featuring the late Professor X from X Clan.

Here he is showing off his all-Polo table service on his web series How Lo Can You Go?

Put This On Season 2, Episode 1: The Melting Pot

PTO Place: Worth & Worth

Visit Worth & Worth hat shop, a New York institution with roots going back to 1922. In recent memory, Orlando Palacios has made the shop a home for rockers as well as traditionalists, turning hundred-year-old machines to the task of reinterpreting hundred-year-old styles.

Watch the full episode.