1950s

This Is Pennsylvania, 1957

Recently I ran across a video for Penn that was created in 1957 and documents campus life for a full 30 minutes. There’s some really great footage in here, and you are able to see a lot of detail that’s not as noticeable with still-frame photos like you get in “Take Ivy.” Here are some


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O’Connell’s, Where It’s Still 1959

The Saturday edition of the Buffalo News carried a story on independent men’s clothiers, including O’Connell’s, which has opened in Buffalo in 1959 and still carries basically the same stuff. “What we sold in the ’50s is very similar to what we sell today,” the store told the paper. Here are some more excerpts on


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The Cleanest Cut: Remembering Dick Clark

In honor of the death of Dick Clark yesterday at the age of 82, Ivy Style presents this repost of a piece we did exactly three years ago to the day. A clean-cut appearance has always been part of the Ivy League Look. With a soft-shouldered jacket and Princeton haircut, a young man could conveniently


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The Ivy League Look In Australia In The ’50s

During the heyday of the Ivy League Look, the natural-shoulder diaspora spread not only from the Ancient Eight to campuses across America, it also spread to far corners of the globe. In March of 1957, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the growing trend for American Ivy League clothes. Farmer’s is a department store that


Dirty White Bucks & An Ivy League Coat

We’ve previously featured pop tunes from the Ivy heyday (and from the good old days when guys would sing about their clothes), and here’s another one: Ronnie Haig & Jerry Siefert singing the praises of dirty white bucks and “an Ivy League coat to burn out your eye.” Ignore the references to tight pants. —


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Bass From The Past

This is our third post based on vintage Bass advertisements, which have now been consolidated into this one post. A walks through American history in the footsteps of one of its singular shoes. — CC


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Buckle Down: The Elusive History Of The Belted-Back Trouser

Contributing writer Christopher Sharp has buckled-down, hit the books, and put his nose to the grindstone in an effort to suss out once and for all the origins of the mid-’50s buckle-back chino trend. During my formative years back in the Fifties, I was the kind of kid who was secure in the belief that


Picture Show: Hollywood And The Ivy Look

As the editor of Tradsville’s news gazette for the past three years, I’ve been obliged to work my beat with at least some attempt at assiduity. That includes keeping an unjaundiced eye on the discourse at Talk Ivy, a discussion forum hosted at filmnoirbuff.com whose members are mostly from the UK and Continental Europe. From



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A Tale Of Two Suitings: Brooks in the ’50s & ’60s

Ivy Style contributor and Newton Street Vintage proprietor Zachary DeLuca returns after a long absence with this dissection of two vintage Brooks Brothers suits. For additional photos, visit his tumblr The Suit Room. One of the best things about my job is that every so often I come across a piece so good that I


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Ivy For The Masses: The h.i.s. Brand

H.I.S Inc. may be the missing link between workwear and Ivy-styled clothing. The company was originally founded as Honesdale manufacturing in 1923 by Henry I. Siegel. It specialized in workwear, including denim, and was a contract manufacturer for JC Penny and Montgomery Ward. The firm was headquartered in New York with manufacturing facilities in Tennessee.


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Golden Years: New York Nightlife In The ’50s

During the Eisenhower years, Manhattan was an island of social, economic and cultural equanimity. The legal drinking age was 18, the bars stayed open until four in the morning, and the Biltmore Hotel advertised special student rates for Seven Sisters and Ivy Leaguers. Here are some memories from those days of my misspent youth. The



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Voice In The Dark: Richard Frede’s Entry E, 1958

“Entry E” is something of a pulp novel, telling a tale of Ivy League life in America that was considered startling on its release in 1958. But for all the adolescent angst and raucous action in this story, there is plenty of mid-century Ivy League style and quiet consideration of the “Ivy Man,” described in


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Buckle-Back Flannels and Cordovan Loafers, 1954

As a follow-up to this week’s earlier post about J. Press’ new cinch-back trousers, contributing writer Christopher Sharp sent in the above image showing buckle-back trousers in their original context. The source: Gentry magazine The year: 1954 The campus: University of North Carolina The trousers: “Ivy League Narrows” Paired with: Shell cordovan penny loafers Note


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It’s a Cinch: Buckle-Back Trousers at J. Press

Over two years ago I wrote an open letter to American retailers suggesting they put a buckle on the back of chinos, a craze among students circa 1956. With the PITA trend in full swing, I even asked readers to speculate what brand might be first to freshen up a pair of quotidian khakis with


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Russell Lynes On The Shoe Hierarchy, Esquire 1953

Despite the fact that you’re supposed to be learning to think for yourself, college has always been a conformist environment. Those with an excess of individuality may be respected, but are rarely popular. And even during the heyday of the Ivy League Look, not every student was a perfect example of the style. What became


How The White-Shoe Law Firm Got Its Name

Now that summer is over and the punctilious will put away their white bucks until next Memorial Day, it’s time to honor the collegiate tradition of wearing scuffed-up white bucks in autumn, preferably with grey flannels. The fashion gave birth to the term “white shoe,” usually applied to a law or financial firm that hired


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Taft By Numbers: Peter Rawson III, 1952

In 1952, LIFE Magazine ran a profile on the Taft family, one of America’s great political dynasties, having produced President William Howard Taft. The family also produced a prep school — The Taft School in Watertown, CT — which was founded by William’s brother Horace Dutton Taft, an early Skull & Bones member. Pictured above


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The $800 Lacoste x Brooks Brothers Collaboration

Yesterday an interesting auction ended on eBay: a polo shirt made by Lacoste for Brooks Brothers, putatively from the 1950s. The shirt’s four-inch tails and artifact status, however, were not enough to motivate anyone to place a bid at the opening price of $499, and at the close of the week-long auction the shirt went



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Comfortably Distinctive: Norman Hilton, 1958

Earlier this week, Men of Habit’s Chris Callis — and current Norman Hilton lookbook stylist and coordinator — posted this vintage Hilton advertisement from 1958. The copy includes the phrase “comfortably distinctive,” a good description of the Ivy League Look in general. A link to the latest Norman Hilton lookbook was placed in our Ephemera


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Bicycle Week: The Yale-Vassar Bike Race

The Yale-Vassar bike race found its origins in a drunken wager. At a meeting of Yale’s Trumbull Beer and Bike Society, one student declared he could beat another in a bicycle race all the way to Vassar. However, this valiant duel between two determined Trumbull residents quickly became a popular annual tradition in the early