1920s-’40s

Ideal For Lounging About: Bass Weejuns, 1936

It’s already time to dip into the Esquire archives again. This one was spotted by Marc Chevalier, walking menswear encyclopedia and member of Ivy Style’s Facebook group. The ad above dates to August 1936, less than one year after Esquire had helped introduce the Bass Weejun to the nation. Two months later, there was this


What Is The Origin Of The Two-Button Cuff?

The Masters golf tournament gets underway tomorrow, and so in the interest of timeliness we present the above photo to fuel historic conjecture. The photo is of Ernest Jones, one of the most famous early golf instructors and author of the classic tome “Swing The Clubhead.” Jones was an Englishman who lost a leg in


Brooks Civvies: The New Yorker, 1945

Perhaps the heyday of the Ivy League Look began not in the ’50s, but the moment after World War II’s detente. In this 1945 New Yorker cartoon, a soldier returns home from the war and is told by his mother to immediately get himself some mufti at Brooks Brothers to show that everything is all


White Friday

  Stuff your stocking with stocking ties from White of New Haven.



What, Me Worry? Yale During The Great Depression

The 1930s was the time of the Great Depression, yet simultaneously it was also the golden age of Hollywood glamor and of masculine elegance. It was also the time when the Ivy League Look flourished, though within closed corridors, the aristocratic golden age versus the postwar, democratic silver age. This article from the Yale Alumni



Ivy’s Place On The The Sartorial Totem Pole

Following the mention of Paul Fussell’s pinpoint-accurate and hilarious book “Class” in our last post, faithful reader “Old School” sent us a reminder about another entertaining class theorist, Russell Lynes. The above chart comes from Lynes’ 1949 book “The Tastemakers.” His 1953 Esquire article on the shoe hierarchy at Yale, which we presented several years



School’s Out: Daily Princetonian Seersucker Ads, 1940s

If you were off on Spring Break or spending the winter in Palm Beach, Princeton’s clothiers of the 1940s had just the clothes you needed, including plenty of seersucker. While not graphically interesting, these ads include interesting copy revealing what was popular with students at the time. — CS & CC


Bathing Suit: Joseph Haspel Goes Swimming In Seersucker, 1946

One summer day in 1946, Joseph Haspel, Sr. walked neck deep into the Atlantic Ocean wearing one of his family’s seersucker suits. He emerged from the ocean a part of clothing lore. Haspel was attending a convention in Boca Raton, Florida, when he took his now famous dip into the sea. Afterwards he hung his


The 2014 Ivy Style Seersucker Fest

Next Wednesday marks the return of National Seersucker Day, when the US Congress temporarily resembles a gathering of Kentucky Derby spectators. In celebration, Ivy Style will present a truly epic presentation of seersucker coverage — all spearheaded by associate editor Christopher Sharp — including multiple galleries depicting campus advertising through the decades. By the time


The Shawl-Collared Baseball Cardigan For RL Magazine

My latest piece for Ralph Lauren Magazine is on the shawl-collared cardigan, which was the favored warm-up gear for baseball players from about 1900-1930. Origins of exactly how and why the shawl cardigan became associated with baseball are murky, and very few of the sweaters survive outside of photographs. I was able to talk to


Bowed To Joy: Harvard Displays Architect Walter Gropius’ Bow Ties

A collection of six bow ties belonging to pioneering modernist architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969) are currently on display at the Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Frances Loeb Library. Gropius, along with fellow modernist Le Corbusier, helped cement the bow tie as an emblem of nonconformist thinking, creativity, and architectural genius. The bow ties in the


Boys To Men: The Long And Short Of It

No need to be long-winded, so I’ll keep it short: Jackets that are too short make men look like boys, while jackets of adequate length make boys look like men. Take it from these 1927 Whiffenpoofs — estimated ages 18-22. These gentlemen songsters may be doomed from here to eternity, but it’s not for being


From Peasantry To Palm Beach: The Story Of The Bass Weejun

In the history of the Ivy League Look, Arnold Gingrich should receive honorable mention status solely based on his consideration of naming his fledgling magazine Town and Campus. He chose, however, to name it Esquire, and if that was were the story ended it would not be enough to warrant the virtual ink on this


Macy’s Knows Its Yale, 1941

Some five years ago, Tradsville personality “AldenPyle” started a thread at Ask Andy that included the above ad, which ran in the Yale Daily News in 1941. The ad touches on several themes we explored in our recent rise and fall essay. First off, notice the split between clothes for campus and clothes for town, which


True University Style: Kuppenheimer, 1928

The above image, which comes from a 1928 Kuppenheimer catalog, ties in with themes explored in our recent rise and fall essay: namely town and country, or city and campus. In it the three-button undarted suit is presented as “authentically designed” for the university man, while the postgraduate “Young Executive” model is a tapered two-button


So This Is College, 1929

It feels like I’m in college right now, trying to get my “term paper” on Ivy ready for Monday. I’ve been working on a long essay for some time now, and one of the themes it explores is the casual nature of campus dress, even when from our point of view the students of the


Brooks Clothes & White Shoes: Harvard Blues, 1941

On our recent white bucks and grey flannels post, Bruce Boyer left a comment mentioning the song “Harvard Blues.” Considering it’s been on our editorial calendar for about four years, I’d say it’s high time we do a post on it. The song, recorded in 1941 by Count Basie, opens with these immortal lines: I




Sailing New Seas: Brooks Brothers In Newport & Palm Beach

You may have received an email from Brooks Brothers recently that made a passing references to the company’s first stores outside of New York. It was enough for me to stop and take notice, because those other locations were not other bastions of the eastern establishment, such as Boston, Philadelphia or Washington, DC, but the