When Anything Goes

When Anything Goes

“Leave The Sweat Shirt at Home. Dining Dress Codes Are Back,” declared @nytimes several weeks back. Social media has been awash with controversy regarding the post.

Menswear blogger Derek Guy @dieworkwear exposes a matrix of the genre picturing Pennsylvania Democratic senate primary winner John Fetterman garbed in his populist campaign street style cargo shorts with defeated opponent Conor Lamb, poor Ivy Style lamb.

The Yale Club of New York next to J. Press has reset rules relieving the pain that the former coat and tie requirement might have rendered current woke alumni members. Cole Porter Yale ’13, might well turn over in his grave observing old Boola Boola Eli Yale Club costumed as if from a verse in his classic Anything Goes.

The rulebook unequivocally states, “On a temporary basis, the following changes will be in effect: Denim Pants: neat, clean, and in good repair (no holes, rips, or tears) are permitted throughout the entire Clubhouse. Shorts are permitted within the Clubhouse from Memorial Day to Labor Day, provided they are not made of denim, or athletic in nature. Athletic shorts are only permitted in the athletic facilities. Non-athletic shoe wear that has a “sneaker-like” sole is permitted throughout the entire Clubhouse.” Not permitted: tee shirts, tank tops, casual sandals (such as flip flops or Birkenstocks), athletic wear of any kind (including sweatpants, caps, cross-trainers, or tennis shoes, and team jerseys), and torn, provocative, or revealing clothing.

The upscale restaurant cited in aforementioned NY Times article, Les Trois Chevaux, upstages the Yale Club hanging E-Bay looking “blazers” practically on a dry-cleaning rack to redress their coatless social climbing patrons.

Jack and Charlie late of their lamented “21 Club” offered their Peter Arno archetype coatless patrons the choice of well-tailored proxy Sport Coats quietly stored in the back of the cloakroom. Their coat and tie gospel was a well-kept secret among the cognoscenti.

Times have changed. Holding the fort against hoi polloi Slobbovia may be a losing proposition in Circus Americanus. Rules are made to be broken.


In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking but now, God knows Anything Goes






There is no doubt that the trend in Mens’ clothing is toward informal. Part of this trend has to be due to climate change and the accompanying warmer temperatures. Even in France (where we are) most people are dressed very casually but when the temps are in the 90s who can caste blame? It’s a disappointing trend and one can hope for some redirection.

David Lewis

I agree in principle. Even my prep school, while in California, required coat and tie to dinner every night. Sunday nights was always school blazer (with crest) gray pants (wool preferred) and blue and gold regimental striped school tie. This went away several years back when it went to coat and tie 2 or 3 days a week. The coat and tie added a level of discipline to the most undisciplined. It required showering (sometimes the window between baseball practice ending and dinner starting was minutes. But you learned to be resourceful and quick) and it required grooming and a sense of what it meant to be a man. Not just a boy trying to get away with it. Believe it or not, so many of us exuded pride in this ritual, especially on Sundays.
Sadly, that has slipped. As, I fear, has the lessons learned from such a ritual. I can still tie a good looking tie in about 20 seconds. And, due to all of this… change…. I hardly wear one anymore. I wonder if the new graduated alums can say the same?

Todd McNichols

The historian Christopher Dawson pointed out that in the Modern Age, “we find the freedom of the personality threatened by the pressures of economic forces, and the HIGHER cultural values SACRIFICED to the LOWER STANDARDS of mass civilization.”

N.L. Wilson

A pedestrian and indifferent dress code is the external manifestation of a paltry and languid state of mind — undisciplined and unimaginative, flaccid. The triumph of Stanley Kowalski in a ripped t-shirt. To paraphrase from DOCTOR ZHIVAGO by Boris Pasternak: Goethe was right — and the lower classes ultimately subvert and dismantle the higher standards of the upper classes.

Donald Robert Wilson

I learned to dress up from my father, who was a sixth-generation German-American Hoosier truck farmer. Work hard outside all day with sleeves rolled up and donning a fedora. But when it came to Sunday “meeting”, put on the bespoke double-breasted suit with starched white shirt and suspenders, wing-tips, and a reverse-cameo Indian head ring.

Robert W. Emmaus