Easy and Elegant Life

The Search for Everyday Elegance and the Art of Living Well.

And the Other Side of the Coin

“In a 1967 talk with students, professor Thaddeus Braxton Woody commented that it was distressing to see great traditions passing away: ‘The tradition of gentlemenly dress is slowly dying.’

…Opposition to the traditional coats and ties actually began after World War II. As one student wrote to the editor of College Topics in 1946: ‘I agree that the wearing of coats and ties gives a much better appearance than the mode of dressing to be found on most campuses. But please do not try to indoctrinate us with the theory that the mere wearing of a coat and tie will effect a magical change on those of us who are not gentlemen by virtue of our actions, or that the lack of those articles of apparel will in any way change a gentleman from what his is.’ ” (1)

(N.B. The tradition does continue after a fashion. Mrs. E, Wahoo herself, tells me that Fraternity members are frequently seen in ties at home football games. In fact, you can catch a glimpse of a few on the right side of the cover of the alumni magazine from which this quotation was taken.)

1. Coy Barefoot, “According to Custom: Student Traditions at Virginia”, The University of Virginia Magazine, Fall 2007, 42.

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