Let’s talk about Jack Wills.
Until recently, I was under the impression that Jack was some guy on the football team whose name was emblazoned on t-shirts and flyers as part of an inside joke. Every time there was a “Jack Wills Party” I just assumed that Jack’s friends were all meeting up at a bar again and giving out free shirts because ordering 500 was way cheaper than the 10 they actually needed.
Then I discovered that Jack Wills is not a drunken fraternity brother. Jack Wills is a clothing company and a rather swanky one at that. (What? Everyone else already knew that? Oh.) Feeling behind the times, I decided to browse the Web site to do some “research.” Here’s what I found. www.jackwills.com calls tank tops “vests.” I’m not sure if that’s a British thing or if the company is decidedly pretentious or what. But just keep in mind, if you are looking for wife beaters, click on “vests,” and if you’re looking for vests, click on “outerwear” (although the only vests they do have are the puffy ones which are, apparently, called “gilets”). Brightly colored socks go for $24 a pop and artfully frayed polos, the British love child of Brooks Brothers and Abercrombie & Fitch, are available for £49 each (while browsing I somehow switched to the U.K. site and couldn’t figure out how to get back). The Web site has a category of clothing called “Henley,” also the name of a Royal Regatta that has been held in Oxfordshire, English since 1839. That is classy shit, my friends.
So can someone explain to me how the makers of this “fabulously British lifestyle clothing” were responsible for the Saturday night dance party at Toad’s?
I guess my biggest issue with connecting Jack Wills to my Saturday evening is the fact that Toad’s is, well, Toad’s. Although Yale’s two hundred-year-old history often conjures up images of tweed-clad, bespectacled professors and the future leaders of the free world engaged in philosophical discussions, any current student could tell you there are plenty of not-so-classy goings-on on campus. Exhibit A: Toad’s on a Saturday night.
Toad’s just doesn’t seem to fit the Jack Wills image. Maybe the company’s owners, sitting over in jolly old England, don’t know what their brand is up to over here in the States. Maybe my interpretation of the Jack Wills lifestyle was completely wrong. But girls in their skivvies carrying trays full of vodka shots? For some reason I have a hard time associating that with a company that sells britches called “The Fulthorpe Trouser.”
Putting mental blockages aside, the party itself was pretty fun. Toad’s may not be my first choice for a Saturday night outing, but it is consistent. And even though I had an awkward exchange with a past hookup and spent part of the evening trying to avoid another, at least there seemed to be fewer Q-Pac sketchballs than usual. Add an open bar and Jack Wills goody bags and — voilà! — success.
And maybe my evening did somehow fit in with the Jack Wills lifestyle of collared shirts and blazers with funny names. The first thing I did when I arrived at the party was order a gin and tonic. Now that’s classy.