True University Style: Kuppenheimer, 1928

Fri 8 Feb 2013 - Filed under: 1920s-'40s,Historic Images — Christian
Comments (24)

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 option.

These two different suit styles, offered by the same manufacturer, predate by several decades what Richard Press has said about the Ivy heyday, when J. Press’ two-button models were sold almost exclusively at the New York store, where they represented 40 percent of sales.

So while three-button jackets were associated with both city and campus, two-button models were associated with city only, reinforcing that the lasting influence of the Ivy League Look is the campus side of the genre. — CC

Dateline 1929: Princeton Invents Brown Tweed & Grey Flannel Combo?

Wed 6 Feb 2013 - Filed under: 1920s-'40s,Clothes,Historic Texts — Christian
Comments (44)

Ivy Style recently received a dispatch from scholar Deirdre Clemente, who is busy doing groundbreaking research on the history of college students as consumers. In fact, she said her career might be made if she can get a paper into a certain scholarly journal. When they say academia is publish or perish, they’re not kidding.

Clemente presented at the MFIT’s “Ivy Style” symposium, and did a piece for us years ago on Princeton, which is one of her specialties.

Now she sends the excerpt below, which has us wondering if Princeton guys essentially wrote the rulebook for dressing Ivy. Here they are credited with popularizing the wearing of brown odd jackets with grey flannel trousers in 1929. It’s from an April, 1935 passage in a publication called the Fashion Group Bulletin. According to Clemente, “You rarely get an exact date for a trend like this.” (Continue)

 

So This Is College, 1929

Wed 2 Jan 2013 - Filed under: 1920s-'40s,Film — Christian
Comments (4)

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 past seem extremely formal.

Take the film “So This Is College” from 1929, for example. In the preview available on Rotten Tomatoes the young gentlemen — students at USC — are noteworthy for the formality (from our point of view) of their suits and ties yet also their general disregard for their clothing. Look at the way the plop down on the lawn without a second thought, and the way one guy teases his roommate by standing on his laundry.

The film also shows the difference between the early days of the Ivy League Look and what is remembered as “Joe College” garb from the ’20s. While the raccoon coat trend may have begun at Princeton, some of the more rah-rah outfits, such as oxford bags, seem to have been more of a Midwestern state school look.

According to the Brooks Brothers book “Generations Of Style,” Brooks “refused to sell” oxford bags. — CC (Continue)

 

Brooks Clothes & White Shoes: Harvard Blues, 1941

Mon 17 Dec 2012 - Filed under: 1920s-'40s,Historic Texts,Jazz — Christian
Comments (12)

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 wear Brooks clothes and white shoes all the time

I wear Brooks clothes and white shoes all the time

Get three “Cs,” a “D” and think checks from home sublime

The lyrics were written by George Frazier, best pal of The Andover Shop’s Charlie Davidson. Odd then that when they played the duende game, they always placed Basie second fiddle to Ellington.

I’ll leave you with one more quote on white bucks and flannels, this time from Elizabeth Hawes’ 1939 book “Men Can Take It.” — CC

At Harvard they have something called “white-shoe boys.” I gather it is okay to be one if you feel that way. It appears to be the Harvard idea carried to its furthest extreme. These are the sloppiest and worst-dressed of all the Harvard men, I was told. They wear dirty black and white shoes which turn up at the toes, black or white socks and gray flannels, very unpressed, tweed coats — and collars and ties, of course… The thing that distinguishes a “white-shoe boy” is his shoes — and the fact he has the guts to wear them ansd still feel okay socially.

 

Allen Edmonds Releases 1940s Footage, Expands Cordovan, & Goes Global

Mon 10 Dec 2012 - Filed under: 1920s-'40s,Film — Christian
Comments (9)

Much is afoot, if you’ll pardon the pun, at Allen Edmonds these days. A few days ago the company released some fascinating footage on YouTube showing its factory in the 1940s. (Continue)

 
Theme Easy White by st3fo - rUn3 Production