1920s-’40s

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Golden Years: Anything Goes in New Haven

Last night the Broadway revival of “Anything Goes,” which had received nine Tony nominations, ended up winning three. As I watched, I couldn’t help but remember one of the great historical anecdotes of J. Press: The time my grandfather Jacobi helped the musical’s composer Cole Porter evade the New Haven police. During a 1912 football


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Gommy, Forgotten Campus Shop of Penn and Princeton

Recently I purchased a 1926 yearbook for my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, and was pleasantly surprised to see a Brooks Brothers advertisement on the first page of the ad section. Flipping through, I also discovered ads for a few local establishments, including a campus menswear shop called Gommy. It seemed like Gommy may


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The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt

For Ivy Style’s 300th post, London-based contributor Rebecca C. Tuite examines the most important piece of literature about The Ivy League Look’s most important brand. There is little doubt that Mary Mccarthy’s short story “The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt” is now probably more famous for its punchy title — a dream for the


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Princeton Crew, 1948-50

This is a 20-minute clip, so watch it over lunch if you’re the kind of poor schlub who eats lunch at his desk. And if you’re at home, pour yourself a drink and get comfortable. Love the towel worn as a scarf in the opening. Great chinos and sweaters in action at 2:28. Jackets and


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Perfect Form: The Best Dressed Golfer of 1936

AldenPyle of Andy’s Trad Forum, one of the most diligent ransackers of the LIFE archives, recently dug up some photos of the 1936 National Amateur Golf Championship at the Garden City Golf Club. The winner was John W. Fischer, who took the cup not only for his fine form on the fairway, but for being




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Leading Men: The Princetonians

When it comes to starting fashion trends, there’s Princeton and then there’s every other school. From the three-button suit to its namesake haircut, Princeton has popularized such menswear staples as Norfolk jackets, raccoon coats, tweed sport coats, rep ties, spectator shoes, khaki pants and Shetland sweaters. Princeton’s sartorial influence has been dulled by time, but


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Raccoon Season

Historically, Ivy style has always championed durability and functionality. Nowhere is this truer than in the realm of outerwear, where such weathered classics as the toggle coat and balmacaan remain viable and timeless. However, at certain vivacious moments in the style’s history, discerning collegiate sartorialists have exchanged the reliable for the resplendent, the austere for


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A LIFE in Brief: The Kennedy Clan

On newsstands now is one of those book-like magazines LIFE puts out when someone important dies — in this case, Edward Kennedy. “The Kennedys: End of a Dynasty” provides plenty of photos and family history for those who don’t want to wade through a full biography. I especially liked this photo of JFK from 1946.


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Vintage Varsity

Varsity-inspired items from RL’s Rugby line fit in well at last Sunday’s 25th annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon. Of all the vintage events wacky Californians put on, this one is by far the most spectacular. Held at the Dunsmuir House, an estate in the Oakland Hills, the event features music and dancing, vintage cars, and a




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Bermuda Short

In celebration of Spring Break, I wrote a shortie on the origins of the Great Escape for the blog at Ralph Lauren’s Rugby.com. Seems the tradition of students going somewhere tropical over Easter began in 1935 when The Bermuda Athletic Association invited some Ivy League rugby teams down for a friendly tournament. By the ’50s


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Hold That Tiger

Our last two posts revolved around Princeton and the Roaring Twenties. Now we combine the two with images from a Charleston-themed party held at Princeton in 1949. Arriving fashionably late in dad’s coonskin coat:


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Campus Capers

Note: This post includes audio files that are not set to play automatically. If they do, and you don’t want them to, please adjust your browser preferences. Reading the lyrics to “The Ivy League Look” in our last post reminded me of the words to another college tune from a generation earlier: Harry Reser‘s “He


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Classic ‘Rock

It’s long been said that Yankee frugality dictates that men hang on to their clothes, repair them as necessary, and pass them on to their progeny. Somehow, I got hold of one when the owner wasn’t looking. It bears witness to the values of Ivy style: quality, smartness, practicality, longevity, thrift, stability. Custom made in


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Frat Pack

College fraternities of the past offered male bonding in a stylish setting. The photo above, plus the two below, are from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, 1949. Click images to go to the hi-res version.


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Building Character

Though he never graduated, F. Scott Fitzgerald attended Princeton and remained ever loyal to his alma mater. So loyal that while most of his characters attend an Ivy League college, Fitzgerald specifically sent his most autobiographical protagonist to Princeton. In the wake of the new film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which is based


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Prep Rally

Ah, the halcyon days at an all-male prep school, mid-century. Here we have two future lawyers shining their shoes while debating the merits of the various Ivies. The Hill School in Pottstown, PA, 1942 (click image to see clothes and pimples in hi-res):


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Big Men On Campus

Michigan halfback Tom Harmon doing his sports radio show, in classic combo of button-down collar, knit tie and cardigan, 1940 (click images below for hi-res version):


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Give Ivy

All of Tradsville is abuzz with “Take Ivy,” the Japanese photo book featuring candid shots of Princeton students in the late ’60s. Recently a copy of the rare tome sold on American eBay for $1,500. Then The Trad scored one on Japanese eBay for 1/10th that, promising to present scans of the entire book for


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Joe College

J.C. Leyendecker’s first initials stand for Joseph Christian, but they might as well stand for Joe College. In a career spanning from 1900 until World War II, the American illustrator painted 300 covers for the Saturday Evening Post, as well as advertisements for products like Kuppenheimer Clothes and Interwoven Socks, that featured Harvard Rowers, Princeton


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Andre 1935

Along with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Andre Benjamin has plummeted from Andre 3000 to Andre 1935. The pop fop’s new clothing collection, called Benjamin Bixby, drinks from the same well (or Gatorade cooler) as Ralph Lauren’s latest Rugby collection, with inspiration from vintage college football. “The collection was inspired by Ivy League athletics of