While the English are often praised for laying the vestiary groundwork forthe Ivy Leauge Look, it is my biased opinion that the Scots are worthy of praise for their numerous contributions to the genre as well.
I am biased because my Scottish grandmother made sure that I am not only proud of my Scottish heritage, but that I am also well versed on her people’s achievements. While the English formed the basis for this style, the Scots truly mastered the accessories, and may even have contributed more to the genre overall. Then again, that’s just the opinion of this quarter-Scottish trad dresser.
This pattern, which has been featured on men’s hosiery since the 1600’s, hails from the country of Argyll and was first worn by members of Clan Campbell. In the 1920s, argyle socks were made popular by the Duke of Windsor, who famously wore them as part of his golf attire along with plus fours and Fair Isle sweaters. Soon after, Brooks Brothers began carrying the socks, which had become popular with the golf set. From Brooks, the socks traveled to the feet of Ivy Leaguers, who began wearing them with Bass Weejuns in the late 1930s.
A print that originated in Persia, made famous by the weavers of the Scottish town of Paisley. With this print being popularized in Britain, it soon traveled to America in the form of ancient madder ties and silk scarves. This design has also been used by Chipp for its famous bold jacket linings.
The Balmacaan Coat
A raincoat with raglan sleeves made of either heavy tweed or gabardine that comes from the Balmacaan Estate in Inverness, which just happens to be my grandmother’s birthplace. This traditional style of raincoat has been made by both Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren. Worn at outdoor events by trads for years, but often referred to simply as a raincoat.
Quite possibly the greatest sartorial contribution by the Scots to the world. Ubiquitous in Ivy wear from jacket linings to ties, pants, sport coats, boxers, blankets and robes. Stresses the point of the Scot’s contributing the accessories of the style. Originated in Ancient Scotland, each clan has their own distinguishing tartan. Favored by the English, starting with King George IV, and later crossed the pond bundled with other British style elements.
Founded by a Scot named John Barbour in England, for some reason. Though he did not invent oilcloth (it is in fact an early Scottish mariner’s invention), Barbour created a now iconic brand that has found its way into the hearts of trads. With the jacket’s classic, sporty style and enduring quality, it came as no surprise that Barbour was added to the trad canon.
As the name suggests, this sweater pattern was first produced in Fair Isle, a small island that is part of the Shetland Islands. Another style made famous by the stylish Duke of Windsor who popularized them in the 1920s. Later adopted into British country wear, and finally made the trip to America as part of classic golf attire. Fair Isle pattern sweaters occasionally reproduced by Polo, Brooks and J. Crew.
A classic crewneck sweater, first knit by weavers in the Shetland Islands. In Scotland, it is a simple sweater that most people wore whereas in America it became an Ivy staple. Made of thick, Shetland wool that comes from the Shetland breed of sheep, this sweater was brought to America by Brooks Brothers at the turn of the century.
Also part of British country clothing as well as Ivy, tweed is a woolen cloth whose name is derived from the Gaelic word “tweel” with means “twill.” Popularized by Edwardian elites who wore coats made of the fabric while hunting. Known for its durability, tweed was exported to America where it kept its form as a country-wear jacket. Favored by Ivy league students as well as their professors.
This style of shoe was invented in Scotland as the now decorative perforations once served a purpose: draining excess bog water. From the scots Gaelic word “bròg,” which means shoe, this style of shoe was worn in the country as it was practical. Later became popular in America as a casual shoe that also fit the British country wear bill. Beloved by Ivy students for their British ties and for being well paired with tweed.
This one came as a surprise to both my grandmother and I, but apparently the fabric was originally produced by Scottish mills, and was one of four university-named fabrics, along with Harvard, Yale and Cambridge. While the other three were lost to history, oxford cloth has become all but synonymous with Ivy style. The cloth was used to make the original polo shirt, which was brought to America by Brooks Brothers in 1896. — GERLANDO SCIASCIA