1950s

Collegiate Grooming Showdown: Vitalis vs. Brylcreem

Princeton, NJ resident Bill Stephenson graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1954 and lived in the Delta Upsilon fraternity house. Herein he shares his thoughts on haircuts and grooming products during the heyday of the Ivy League Look. Back in the day, undergraduates throughout the US looked pretty similar when it came to hairstyles,

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From The Archives

The Young JFK, Not Yet Ready For Prime Time

Yesterday was the birthday of John F. Kennedy. Here are a few pictures of him while a student at Choate, submitted by a reader a couple of birthdays ago. Above Kennedy is pictured in buttondown collar, which he would abandon during his presidential election — the first to reach a mass audience via television —

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I Feel Like A Princeton Graduate! Ernie Ford’s “Ivy League,” 1957

We’ve got one more post — for now — on pop music from the 1950s. I mentioned in the comment thread on the “Optimism And Prosperity” post about discovering my parents’ record collection, which included some 45 RPM records from the late ’50s, when my father was a teenager, and which he later converted to



Optimism And Prosperity: American Life During The Ivy Heyday, Part One

Contributing writer James Kraus is an arch-connoisseur of the 1950s and ’60s. Herein he takes us on a tour of the years of the Ivy heday, giving us a broad overview of what else was going on in American life besides penny loafers and buttondown collars. Part one covers the first half of the heyday,


The Not-So-Odd Jacket, 1954

Last week we ran a photo from 1954, the dawn of the Ivy heyday. The post was entitled “The Ideal” and featured tennis player Vic Seixas wearing a J. Press sportcoat for a Sports Illustrated clothing spread. Now, as promised, is the rest of the article. The piece is entitled “The Not So Odd Jacket”


The Ideal

This photo may be familiar to half of you, while the other half are seeing it for the first time. It’s floated around Tradsville for years, but I’m not sure we ever posted it here, and even if we did, it’s due for a curtain call. Why today? Because it was recently posted to our


This Is Pennsylvania, 1957

Here’s a post that originally ran in the summer of 2012, and which makes for a perfect follow-up to yesterday’s post on a video from the University of Pennsylvania made in 1967. This is another school promo film, but from precisely a decade earlier. * * * Recently I ran across a video for Penn


The Court Demands To See Vintage Ivy Ads As Evidence

Recently we posted about a company called Worsted-Tex and how it used the term “Ivy League” to sell mass-market clothing as soon as the heyday of the Ivy League Look took off. In 1960 the company began filing lawsuits against other brands that were using variations of the term “Ivy” in their products. In a


Prince Among Preps: Aga Khan At Harvard

For yesterday’s Easter post I shared the collection of top hat images that fills my apartment, one of which is a rakish photo of Aly Khan, an international playboy who married actress Rita Hayworth. His son, known as Prince Karim, the fourth Aga Khan, was featured in one of Ivy Style’s earliest posts, which we



Ivy League By Worsted-Tex, 1955

Another great find by Carmelo Pugliatti showing mass-market Ivy at the dawn of the heyday. And the worst-dressed award goes to the young man in the middle, who’s wearing a coat that looks like an orphaned suit jacket, along with a hat for over which his classmates will give him infinite grief. — CC


Botany 500’s Ivy Executive Collection, 1955

Within one year of LIFE Magazine’s 1954 feature “The Ivy Look Heads Across The US,” which surely would have caught the eyes of the apparel industry given the magazine’s enormous circulation, Botany 500 was already jumping on the new menswear trend. You can all but imagine the product development meeting. Let’s come up with a


Simple And Modern: In Search Of The Ivy Heyday Watch

One often sees the subject of watches come up here in the comments section as well as on Ivy Style’s Facebook group, usually concerning which timepieces might confer an Ivy aura. That can be a wormhole, since people wore a variety of watch styles over the decades. However, there are watches that were popular during


JFK At Work And Play

A lot of original photos of JFK has gone on the auction block at Bonhams. There are a couple of sartorial details worth noting. The photos are from 1954, when Kennedy hadn’t fully sanitized his wardrobe of Ivy affectation in order to better reflect the American public via the medium of television. In the photo


Perfect Match

No, not the couple. The guy’s outfit in this 1959 illustration. Check out the full image: He’s matched light blue socks to his light blue shirt. That’s a matchy-matchy no-no, to say nothing of harmonizing with the drapery. The other items are fine, including what we assume is a navy knit tie, and penny loafers


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. Below, crew cuts and crewnecks. University of Illinois, 1956: The archetypal combo of argyle socks and tassel loafers. Looks cooler if you’re 20, though. University of Illinois, 1956: Varsity sweater, OCBD, and lovestruck Wake Forest


Life Vests

  As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on vests, let’s take a look at a micro-fad that struck a group of Yale students in 1950. We’ve used some of these photos on Ivy Style before, but not the whole batch. The shots come from an April 1950 issue of LIFE Magazine, which reported on the


The Great Indoors

Midcentury modern fans, as well as guys who are single (or sometimes wish they were), will likely enjoy heading over to our fraternal site Masculine Interiors for a fine article posted yesterday. It’s about Playboy’s architectural and interior design articles of the ’50s and ’60s, and was written by contributor James Kraus. Kraus’ previous articles


Holiday Jeer

As you break out the tartan jacket and red socks to hit the holiday party circuit, take a tip from Tony Randall and watch out for these fellow guests. In 1957 Randall did a photo shoot in which he portrayed various pests typically encountered at cocktail parties. Pictured above is The Jokester, who amuses himself


Collegiate Stripes

Presented here are some vintage illustrations — presumably from the Esquire archives — posted to Ivy Style’s Facebook group by image collector and comment-leaver “Carmelo.” Sportcoats with stripes — often running through a herringbone pattern — aren’t often seen today, but were popular during the Ivy heyday and, as these images show, back to the


Gentrified Campus: The J. Press 4/3

Our confrere Matthew Jacobsen of OldMagazineArticles.com recently supplied us with a vintage article from the pages of Gentry Magazine (see “The Gentrified Campus.”) Now he follows up with another one, this time from Gentry’s Autumn 1952 issue, that provides an eye-opening glimpse into how collegiate attire was presented to young men at the time. As