Legendary menswear designer Mark McNairy released his first book last week entitled F**k Ivy and Everything Else. Published by HarperCollins, this 176 page book delivers McNairy’s unadulterated take on men’s style, manners, and life and how to live it with his usual candor and wry wit. Once a style guide that provides invaluable style tips for today’s audience, this book serves as a witty riff of sorts on the 1965 Japanese classic, Take Ivy, which was republished in English in 2010. In fact, McNairy is largely credited with popularizing the Take Ivy style: a preppy, All American Ivy League look coveted by fashion insiders.
For those of you who aren’t familiar. Mark McNairy is the creative vision behind Mark McNairy New Amsterdam, the creative director for Woolrich Woolen Mills, and the creative director of the Bee Line and BBC Black, both collaborations with Pharrell Williams and Billionaire Boys Club. He has collaborated with brands such as Keds, Timberland, Bass, Adidas, Heineken, and Zippo. The former creative director of J. Press, Mark has been named a Woolmark Prize finalist, GQ’s best new menswear designer in America, and Complex’s man of the year in style.
Having awesomely been given a copy by McNairy himself when I was in Vegas last week, I’ve already had a chance to read up on all of the great tips outlined in the book. Here are three more shareable, yet important, tips and life lessons featured in McNairy’s new guide to life.
1. Wear only one interesting piece of clothing at a time. McNairy shares a tale of how he was once refused entrance to the bar at the Ritz Hotel in Paris because the doorman did not care for his “coordination.” He ended up getting in, by way of GQ creative director Jim Moore, but later realized that he should have gone straight back to his room and changed. In his words, “the doorman was actually doing me a favor.”
2. The Navy Blazer is essential. McNairy writes: “Unless you is in Nickelback, Creed, or some other supercool rock ‘n’ roll band, you probably need one of these. Asking why the navy blazer is so important is like asking the meaning of life. I have no idea, but trust me on this one. Never wear a navy blazer with khaki trousers – a horrible combination that was established after World War II.”
3. Always carry your own pen. As McNairy so graciously points out, “Do you really want to use the pen that the waiter brings with the check? The same pen he dropped on the floor by the urinal? The same pen that some guy who always happens to have his hand down his trousers just used to sign the check before you?
F**K Ivy and Everything Else is a new type of style guide, laying the groundwork for dressing well and good behavior, yet encouraging readers to think for themselves, to see the humor in life, and not to take themselves too seriously. As he writes, “Do not be afraid to break the rules . . . But you’ve got to know them before you break them.”