The Lost Money Look…10 Years On

The following article appeared on the Ivy Style blog in 2008, during the pitch black months of the financial crisis. The blog’s founder, Christian Chensvold, promotes the ‘Ivy Style’ wardrobe and to a lesser extent its corresponding values. His article here is interesting: he makes the astute observation that the American economy is largely kept afloat by people buying things they don’t need. It also hints at a fairly common Old Money practice: to not buy new clothes for years at a time. (I wouldn’t go so far to say ten years, but, one or two…?) The (gallows) humor and irony of the piece is that it addresses an Old Money fundamental: to dress well, dress the same way whether or not your flush with cash or busted flat.

The photo that accompanies the article is a classic. The angst captured in their young faces sends the imagination reeling. Obviously, at least one of them is on their way somewhere, but questions loom:  has someone’s family just lost all of its money? Has someone just failed a critical exam? Did that plan to abscond with the rival university’s mascot just not go according to plan? Are they on ‘double secret probation’?

We will probably never know. One reassuring element remains: we’ve got our style, call it Ivy or Old Money, and it’s here to stay. Enjoy…and make sure to visit the Ivy Style blog.

  • BGT

The Lost-Money Look (from the Ivy Style blog, 2008)

Eminently suited menswear author G. Bruce Boyer has opined eloquently about the Old Money Look. But now with the economy completely FUBAR, both old and new money can finally schlep around together in the Lost-Money Look.

To get the look, simply stop buying new clothes for the next five years.

Wear your shirts until they’re frayed, your tweed until it looks like an ancient oriental rug, your footwear until it has that Boston Cracked Shoe look. Since you won’t be living well off the land (in fact, you might be sleeping on it), you will also lose weight during this time, so discard any clothes that don’t fit. You’ll wear out the remaining clothing even faster.

The American economy is largely kept afloat by people buying things they don’t need, often with money they don’t have. So the effect of our collectively adopting the Lost-Money Look will be to drag out the economy’s FUBAR status another five years, for a grand total of 10 years of no new clothing purchases.

The light at the end of this tunnel is that you will look far cooler than you ever have before.

Yes, at the end of a decade of retail abstention, with your leisure time spent reading Spengler’s “The Decline of the West” and drinking cheap bourbon, you might just look as cool as these vagabond prep-school grads hopping a plane to Singapore just to find a job in finance.

The poor chap on the right can’t even afford socks. — CC

(Photo from the January 1988 issue of M.)

10 COMMENTSON “THE LOST-MONEY LOOK”

  1. I remember this photo well. M Magazine is much missed indeed; I still have a few issues-wish I’d kept them all. They had a good article on “The American Look”, among many others.

  2. Did you just feel the need to take a stab at WASP 101? That sentence just came out of blue, and it doesn’t flow. I am 30 years old, and when I am 60 my clothes will be worn. I am sorry that I don’t buy already used articles of clothing from ebay.

  3. Yes, I did feel the need.

  4. Christian,

    I see your list of merchants on your site that you endorse, and I can’t help but see a contradiction. I didn’t realize Ralph Lauren and J Crew (Or Any Of The Sites) sold used merchandise on their websites. Shouldn’t you just list Ebay and other thrift stores?

    Richard

  5. I too love a bit of scruff around the edges of my finery…builds character. Any chump can wear something fresh and new, but it takes some flair to pull of the look of good clothes a day past prime.

    I’ve even heard stories of the old timers buying new clothes and giving them to thier valet to wear for a year or two first, because thier was something abit tacky about brand newness.

    Once upon a time, ‘Yankee Thrift’ was a prized virtue, and what better way to show it than wearing your Grandfather’s worn out and slightly ill-fitting tweeds.

    p.s. not to be a pain, but that shot at the WASP was a bit un-called-for. We all knowhow easily excitable he can be.

  6. Giuseppe, your work has been the needed inspiration to get me back into thrift store hunting. I don’t seem to have the luck you do out in Boston, but I’ve made decent enough finds and the hopes of happening upon a Barbour jacket for $15 keep me going.

  7. Best post yet, fellows. I was feeling a bit anxious this morning about those loose threads sprouting from my shirt cuffs. But no more.

    Too bad Richard has his cream trousers in a wad. No doubt his tweed Teddy will be a comfort.

    Scott

  8. the photo shown, features in the book “jocks and nerds” by Richard Martin and Harold Koda published 1989. funny i was flicking through it just the other day.

    not sure about carrying the shabby chic through to the wardrobe, OK leather and denim up to a point looks good with a little patina ……… but a line needs drawing and staying the correct side of.

  9. News alert: If you are trying to emulate this style and have to read an article about this …you are an outsider.

  10. Alert, if you read the article and didn’t notice the tongue-in-cheek tone, you may be an outsider to the English language.

1TRACKBACKS & PINGBACKS

  1. Old Money « Drinkin’ And Dronin’

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Eminently suited menswear author G. Bruce Boyer has opined eloquently about the Old Money Look. But now with the economy completely FUBAR, both old and new money can finally schlep around together in the Lost-Money Look.

To get the look, simply stop buying new clothes for the next five years.

Wear your shirts until they’re frayed, your tweed until it looks like an ancient oriental rug, your footwear until it has that Boston Cracked Shoe look. Since you won’t be living well off the land (in fact, you might be sleeping on it), you will also lose weight during this time, so discard any clothes that don’t fit. You’ll wear out the remaining clothing even faster.

The American economy is largely kept afloat by people buying things they don’t need, often with money they don’t have. So the effect of our collectively adopting the Lost-Money Look will be to drag out the economy’s FUBAR status another five years, for a grand total of 10 years of no new clothing purchases.

The light at the end of this tunnel is that you will look far cooler than you ever have before. 

Yes, at the end of a decade of retail abstention, with your leisure time spent reading Spengler’s “The Decline of the West” and drinking cheap bourbon, you might just look as cool as these vagabond prep-school grads hopping a plane to Singapore just to find a job in finance.

The poor chap on the right can’t even afford socks. — CC

 


2 thoughts on “The Lost Money Look…10 Years On

  1. It seems that financial troubles among the upper class aren’t a new phenomenon, as the song “The Stately Homes of England” — part of the musical “Operette” (1938) — by Noël Coward, testifies. An extract:

    “The Stately Homes of England
    We proudly represent,
    We only keep them up for
    Americans to rent,
    Though the pipes that supply the bathroom burst
    And the lavatory makes you fear the worst”

    Like

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