Bay Rum, The Scent Of Madison Avenue

Today is National Rum Day, the perfect excuse to revisit one of the bay rum stories from our archive. Although this post ran a mere two years ago, it was actually written several before that. No idea if bay rum improves with age (nor my writing, for that matter), but I’m pretty sure rum does.

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From The Archives

poolside prep

The Life Aquatic: Pulling Off Poolside Panache

For the latest issue of The Rake I was asked 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

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First To Arrive, Or Last To Leave?

At a party you never want to be the first to arrive nor the last to leave, though someone inevitably must be. Dorm life (which is kind of like an endless party) is no different. This young chap is either an eager beaver at the start of the year, or a sentimental sap waxing contemplative


Authentic Ivy League Suits Sanitized For Freshness

This ad from a 1959 issue of Sports Illustrated is interesting for a number of reasons. Most obvious is the ad’s premise of dressing young. From our perspective 55 years later, the men in the ad could hardly look more mature. Yet such were the small distinctions of suit-wearing at the time. Then, in the


Dateline 1957: Ivy School, But Not Ivy Style

  A couple days ago I participated in a little forum banter, pointing out that in my opinion the ubiquity of the Ivy League Look during the heyday can sometimes be overstated. What’s more, once certain items became so mainstream they certainly ceased to have any direct connection to the campus and Eastern Establishment, even


Tartan Day And Men In Plaid, 1950

In case you hadn’t heard, tomorrow is Tartan Day. To celebrate, we’re sharing a LIFE Magazine article from 1950 (scroll down to page 123) that showcased Yale students in plaid vests and Andover preps in plaid caps. The article opens with this: When the British caught wind of the fact that American men were developing

JPress 4B

Pushing Buttons: York Street Revives The 4/3

  In the reliably lively commentary on the last post, commenter “Oxford Cloth Button Down” called attention to a couple of four-button jackets in the latest York Street collection. As divisive as York Street is, the jackets will no doubt fan the flames of distaste. But what appears as another case of youth-market flippancy actually

bert marilyn

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

claxton coltrane

This Day In 1959

…. the Guggenheim Museum opened. One year later William Claxton took the above photo of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. A previous Ivy Style tribute to Coltrane (and the Claxton photo shoot) is here, while a post on striped sportcoats is here. As for posts on buttondown-collared shirts, Mr. Erik J. has weighed in on the


Success Through Good Grooming: Bert Bacharach’s Right Dress, 1955

After a spell of breaking-news interruptions, we’re finally returning to the topic of rules when it comes to dressing. It all started, you may recall, with a Japanese graphic that included the word “rules” along with “snob.” This got me free-associating about a certain type of fusty clotheshorse who takes pride not in anything original


The Ivy League Look As Youth Serum: Cary Grant In Monkey Business, 1952

The other night I was browsing the streaming Netflix options and ended up watching “Monkey Business,” the 1952 screwball comedy with Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe. I hadn’t seen the movie since starting this website, and a very interesting scene caught my attention. Grant plays a chemist who thinks he’s discovered a youth serum (which,


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


From Wall Street To Main Street: That Brooks Brothers Look, 1954

Recently on Ivy Style’s Facebook page a reader posted an article by Julien Dedman entitled “That Brooks Brothers Look.” A quick investigation revealed that the article comes from the February, 1954 issue of Playboy, and that Dedman had graduated from Yale in 1948. I’ve argued several times for the year 1967 as an end of