Ivy Athletics & the Shawl Collar Sweatshirt

I have been ignoring one area of my wardrobe for far too long. It has been living on leftovers from my weekend gear, rarely getting any attention of its own, and because of this it’s severely lacking any personality. Needless to say, it is time to ivy up my athletic gear.

I love sports. While I am not one for watching televised sporting events I will play any game. I run, play basketball, racquetball, lift weights, have been learning tennis, and as I have documented here have been banging my head against the wall that is golf. I spend almost an hour everyday pursuing one of these endeavors or training at the gym. All of this time adds up. I see lots of people during my workouts and I spend a lot of time in these clothes. These are the main reasons that I decided to up my game.
Shawl Collar SweatshirtMy goal is to create a simplistic uniform that has a classic look. I have the t-shirt part covered. I wear grey Fruit of the Loom pocket tees. I find the heathered grey color to be the ideal color and the simplicity of them is perfect. What I need to add in is something to wear over my t-shirts as the weather turns cold.

It is not much of a surprise, but I will admit that I already knew what I wanted before I started my hunt. I have been seeking a cotton shawl collared sweatshirt for the last 6 months or so. Armed with a list of items to  look out for I hit up the local outlet mall. I found a shawl collared sweatshirt at the Gap. I purchased 3. One in navy, one in grey, and a burgundy one. It was a good day.

There are a few things that I like about the shawl collar. It looks a touch more sophisticated than a regular sweatshirt. That sophistication lends it an ivy feel, whether or not they were actually worn during the heyday. Most importantly it injects a little of my personality into my gym kit.

With my top of my gym kit now covered I will be moving onto sweatpants and sneakers. You would think that it would be easy to find these items, but in today’s world of skin tight joggers and technicolor shoes that resemble spaceships I am anticipating a challenge.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

11 Comments on "Ivy Athletics & the Shawl Collar Sweatshirt"

  1. rmpmcdermott says:

    Great stuff, Jerrod. For sneakers, I always liked the Converse Jack Purcells as a decent, Ivy-ish option. Unless you want more of a basketball or running sneaker. That’s outside of my purview!

  2. Celimos says:


    I urge you to check out “skin tight joggers and technicolor shoes that resemble spaceships”. As you said you the past regarding slim fit shirt (and this has resounded with me as of late), paraphrasing, “trad style is all about utility”. There are a lot of research to show a tighter compressive skin tight pant will encourage muscle healing faster than a looser pant. As for sneakers, for walking I prefer classic tennis shoes such as Jack Purcells or Keds, but for heavy sports/gym work I feel the more “spaceship” looking ones provide far greater support. Nike and Adidas both have modern sports shoes that are more minimal looking.

    I know these items I’m suggesting are far from stylish in a Trad sense, but they’re much better in terms of utility and practicality for the intended use.


  3. Roger C. Russell II says:

    This sweatshirt has been in my mind all day. I ran into a Gap store seeking stuff for my two sons and spotted that shirt. It is a great looking and very affordable clothing option. I first noticed the look last week while browsing an Orvis Christmas Catalog. The Orvis shirt is really nice but really pricey for my purposes. The Gap shirt is thin but worth the money.
    Shoes are difficult subject. I notice in many of your past posts you like many of the old standards. I love the look of Jack Purcell, Tretorn. Keds, all of the old standards. I personally would wear any of these if they would fit on my E width foot. Not going to happen! They might work for a visit to the coffee shop. However, for actual athletic use they have no support or padding. I suggest going to Adidas web site and customizing one of their shoes in a simple white base color with either green or black stripes. (It is very affordable) Or, the gray and white 990 New Balance running shoe in my opinion should be a modern Trad approved item.

  4. Lennart says:

    I follow your thoughts here, athletic gear can easily be a forgotten area when it comes to ivy. As for sneakers I prefer Adidas Stan Smith, they have been looking the same since 1971 and I have been wearing them since 1982, however they are not very comfortable when running longer distances, then it’s the technicolour spaceships that are needed..

  5. oxford cloth button down says:

    Thanks for all of the feedback!

    I currently have a few pair of spaceships in my line-up. As a kid of the Nike generation I can’t imagine running in a pair Converse All-Stars or even Stan Smiths. I am thinking more along the lines of New Balance 998 or 990s. Or as Celimos suggested a modern shoe with a minimalist aesthetic.

    Roger – I have been looking at the same Orvis sweatshirt! Too bad Orvis doesn’t carry many size smalls. The Gap sweatshirts were a steal at $15 a piece.

  6. Lennart says:

    Jerrod, I wouldn’t consider running in my Stan Smith’s either. The shoes you mention look nice, don’t think I have seen them here in Sweden but they sure look nice. I am more of a power walk together with Mrs kinda guy but I’d definitely pick a pair of New Balance when it’s time to get some new gear after the long cold and dark winter. Stan Smith’s are for racket sports and casual, sometimes even for office.

  7. Dutch Uncle says:

    I thought that gentlemen walked.

  8. George says:

    The shawl gives a much more refined presentation! The Gap; really, I never would have…well, anyway, fantastic, IMO. And the little button is the icing. Regarding footwear, there are icons and there are icons. The Rod Laver / Stan Smith / Jack Purcell crowd will rarely be happy with anything other, and that’s fine. They are as iconic as can be. I would advocate extending the icon tree to the New Balance 990 series…and, no, not solely because of Steve Jobs, though he does factor. I would simply re-state what Jobs told New Balance once, to paraphrase: “You make some of the greatest stuff on the planet, and you make some junk. Get rid of the junk.” 990s are a Rolls-Bentley level of quality that I just can’t ignore. As for your sweatshirt, I’m now compelled to soon visit the local Gap. Thumbs-up winner.

  9. George says:

    @Dutch Uncle View the historically-based film, Chariots of Fire, to see characterizations of gentlemen running, and rather well, at that.

  10. Andy Gilchrist says:

    Yes, yes, yes. Jerrod I am fast becoming your number one fan.

    Your friend,


  11. paper clip says:

    I like the New Balance 990s for a casual/port shoe, though I do own some purpose-built NB spaceships as well for running and tennis. The 990 has a very plain look, but it is very comfortable. I live near the NB factory in Lawrence, MA and hit the outlet when I need some new shoes. I can usually find pairs that are still Made in US.

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