Aristocracy & Revolution: Taylor-Made Shoes, 1955

Once the Ivy League Look gained popularity during the silver age of the ’50s, Main Street clothiers used the term as an advertising buzzword. Needless to say, Brooks Brothers and J. Press never had to resort to the term, and in fact dismissed the term “Ivy League” with mild scorn, as they’ve always done with every popular term applied to their clothing.This Taylor-Made shoe ad lays it on pretty thick. As if the term “Ivy League” didn’t carry enough weight, the copywriter further drives the point home with “aristocracy” and “patrician.” The ad dates from 1955, well before the world was turned upside-down in the late ’60s, when it became cooler to identify with the peasantry than the aristocracy. But Taylor-Made knew how to play to both sides. This 1953 ad shows it could appeal to radicals in penny loafers. Vive la revolution. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

16 Comments on "Aristocracy & Revolution: Taylor-Made Shoes, 1955"

  1. Could one even go so far as to say that to call the style “Ivy League” in the first place is not to discuss the style of Brooks and J. Press? The other, lesser names were “Ivy League”. Brooks and J. Press just “were”?

  2. Not surprising, in the 50s and 60s my older sisters who taught me how to dress always used the word “Ivy” in reference to something, particularly fashion, instead of a word like “cool”. They also referred to the words “Ivy league” concerning clothing. Funny, we were military brats in the deep South.

  3. Taylor-Made’s use of “aristocracy” and “patrician” brings to mind Sondheim’s lyric, “Everybody Wants To Have A Maid.”

  4. Squeeze, remember much about the brand?

  5. Middle American shoes contiguous with Arrow Shirts comfortable on Main Street not Mt. Auburn Street.

  6. Doesn’t sound very patrician….

  7. I do like the price tag!

  8. It would be interesting to know what other brands were made in the same factory.

  9. First add from the year of my birth. Seems so old these days.
    I have both of these lace-up styles. Do need to replace the tassels someday soon.

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  11. Charlottesville | January 22, 2021 at 4:45 pm |

    Also note the collar: either a pinned club collar or possibly a tab collar, two heyday styles that one seldom sees now. I’m wearing a BB tab collar shirt today, and wish I had a dozen more. The odd vest is a nice touch from the era as well. I have a few, including a tattersall number, that are a nice change from a sweater worn under a sport coat.

  12. @Charlottesville
    I’m with you on the tab collars. A good clean look, I used to get positive comments on them.
    I always went with snap tabs: early morning is no time to deal with that little fiddly-ass button

  13. Dutch Uncle | January 23, 2021 at 6:06 am |

    It was thanks to such Middle American brands that Ivy league style was able to survive a while longer.

  14. I strongly suspect that the quality of materials and construction was pretty decent by today’s standards.

  15. Some of our better radicals were preppy aristocrats and patricians. Including…

    https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/17606/traitor-to-his-class-by-h-w-brands/

    I would add Teddy Roosevelt — and even Woodrow Wilson. And plenty of Peabodys and Reynolds.

    Reformist and radical tendencies within the realm of politics are not antithetical to wealth. Indeed, they are complementary. They go together. Historically it has been the middle class businessman, (usually schooled in sales, engineering, accounting or some such), who has looked upon political and economic reform as unnecessary — and even dangerous. A threat to his/her aspirations.

    Another way of putting it: No combo more suitable for a Bernie rally than tweed jacket-Shaggy Dog, OCBD-corduroys-and-penny loafers.

  16. Interesting. My parents, maternal grandparents, and men of the extended family never used the term ‘ivy league’ (though several of them were). These sorts of clothes were simply how they dressed, and how I was quietly schooled in appearing “pulled together” as my grandmother used to say. I recall with a chuckle now how, as a skinny kid with an Eddie Van Halen haircut, I carefully smuggled my navy blazer and a repp stripe tie to school in a brown paper grocery bag one morning for senior photographs later that day. I didn’t want to spoil the carefully cultivated rocker image by appearing ‘dressed up’ like the establishment. Live and learn as they say. The photographer and his assistants certainly appreciated my sartorial efforts later though, once the OCBD had been tucked in, the tie added, and the blazer donned. No other 11th Grade guy at my small rural public high school was dressed as well for his senior picture that day.

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