Articles by Christian

Graduation Day

In 1992, while a student at my California state school, I met with one of my English professors to talk about grad school. “I think I’d like to go to the Ivy League,” I said.  She gave me quite a look.  I don’t know where that came from, as I clearly didn’t know what I

A League Of His Own: The Andover Shop’s Charlie Davidson

Today I’d like to look back on one of my favorite menswear stories I was ever fortunate enough to tell: my 2012 profile on Charlie Davidson of The Andover Shop, written shortly after meeting the legend for the first time. * * * A League Of His Own By Christian Chensvold From The Rake, issue

The Last Roundup

I’m headed for the last roundup, as they used to say out here in the Old West. A big and exciting change is coming to this weekend, so stay tuned. In the meantime, here’s the latest news from Tradsville. First off, the above image. Recognize it? That’s William Holden from the 1954 classic “Sabrina,”

Golden Years: A Wonderful LIFE

The laws of acceptance and exclusion were epiphanies I experienced during my days at the prep school Loomis, now known as Loomis Chaffee. My own humble status skyrocketed the day the November 22, 1954 issue of LIFE Magazine came out, which proclaimed the Ivy League Look a national style sweeping the country from its wellspring

Dateline 1954, The Ivy League Look Heads Across The US

In our last post we mentioned a 1954 LIFE Magazine article entitled “The Ivy Look Heads Across US.” It’s been referenced several times here, including in a few of Richard Press’ columns, as J. Press was largely featured in the article. But we’ve never actually presented it here and new readers may not be familiar with

Tarnished Gold: Olympic Uniforms And The Ancient Regime

The inevitable result of the fall of  the Ivy League Look in 1967 is that eventually, for a certain segment of the public, the look would become America’s version of the powder and wigs of the ancient regime. Which means it’s time for the guillotine. Ralph Lauren, the man largely credited with saving the Ivy

The Life Aquatic: Pulling Off Poolside Panache

Some years ago The Rake asked me to meditate on the concept of poolside elegance. My starting point was the work of Slim Aarons, while my ending note was James Bond. In between are stops in Palm Beach with a few notes on WASPdom. If anything, this piece should get you thinking about a summer

El Cheapo: Introducing The Sartego Watch

As mentioned in the comments section of the last post, “Preppy Chic,” watch discussions are always worth preserving. This post ran 10 years ago and was picked up by several other websites. The Sartego watches have since been discontinued and will prove difficult though perhaps not impossible to find. At the bottom of the post you’ll

The Marketing Man Who Made Jazz And Ivy Cool

Commenting on our article “Is Ivy Cool?” reader “Camford” asked, “Are cigarettes and jazz cool?” I cannot say whether they are cool. Well, I could, but I won’t, as my physician, insurance agent and childhood music teacher might be reading this article. But I believe they are both addictive and potentially lethal. When I was young

How To Identify What Is Cool

I am not an Ivy native. The university I attended is surrounded by endless wind rumpled prairies. The time I spent there was informed by the rise of The Flaming Lips, R.E.M. and Public Enemy. I reference pop culture because it is where I got my clothing education. What I learned, what pop taught me,

Must-Have Summer Vacation Item: The Dacron Suit, 1961

Every so often while working the Ivy beat, I come across an historical document so utterly anathema to the world of today that it feels like it’s from another universe. Case in point, this advertisement dug up by Ivy Style contributor Chris Sharp. It ran in a May, 1961 edition of the Brown University school newspaper,

Pipes & Sacks Get The Chicks, Arthur Miller Version

Back in Ivy Style’s freshman year we did a post on Hugh Hefner’s Ivy phase called “Pipes And Cardigans Get The Chicks.” Well Hef may have gotten Marilyn Monroe as the first Playboy Playmate, but Arthur Miller got her for a wife. Some years ago Esquire’s website paid a little style tribute to Miller with a simultaneous

What The Deuce: A Tennis Image Miscellany

Like the French republic, Rene Lacoste was born in the month of July. He’s the man who essentially gave the world the original preppy polo shirt, and since the polo is ostensibly making a comeback, according to spurious news sources, it’s a good excuse for a tennis-themed image gallery on this summer weekend.  Above is a

Sartoria Portlandia: John Helmer Turns 100

John Helmer III knew what he wanted to do from an early age. “It was a little bit destiny,” he told me with a waggish grin when I visited his store in Downtown Portland on a recent summer morning. “My dad remodeled the store the year I was born, 1956. They put me out in

Très Preppy: The Art Of Floc’h

In honor of Bastille Day — or dishonor for the Royalists out there — we revisit these images from the French illustrator Jean-Claude Floch, who goes by the professional name Floc’h and is pictured at the bottom of this post.   

Tee & Sympathy: The White Crew Under A Buttondown

While working around the house on a weekend afternoon, you may find yourself in a white t-shirt with an old beater oxford over it, perhaps untucked. But you likely wouldn’t throw on a sportcoat — or orphaned suit jacket — over the tee-and-oxford combo and actually go somewhere. Or would you?  When the above photo

Vertical Integration: An Ode To The Striped Sportcoat

Some months ago we ran a photo of a striped sportcoat. Either that or I mentioned finding them cool. Whichever it was, I remember several readers chiming in to say that this was a faux pas, that stripes only belong on suits, and that a striped sportcoat was destined to look like an orphaned suit.

Southern Comfort: Shag The Movie, 1989

“Take Ivy” is full of students wearing shorts, untucked oxfords and Weejuns without socks. This begs the question: Did the look originate on Yankee campuses, or did the practice originate in the South, with Southern students taking the look North with them when they headed off to college? Made in 1989 and set in Myrtle