Classic Since 1953: The Gucci Horsebit Loafer’s 60th Anniversary

Mon 11 Mar 2013 - Filed under: 1950s — Christian
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This month marks the 60th anniversary of Gucci’s famous horsebit loafer, which solidified itself in the preppy wardrobe sometime in the 1970s, where it remains to this day. Even a shoemaker as conservative as Alden sees fit to offer a version. (Continue)

Stetson’s Ivy League Fedora, 1953

Fri 18 Jan 2013 - Filed under: 1950s,Historic Images — Christian
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In our recent rise and fall essay, you may have noticed that one of the differences between Ivy’s prewar golden age and postwar silver age is that hats used to be worn on campus. But in 1965, after President Kennedy supposedly dealt the hat the coup de grace, the only hats you see in “Take Ivy” are on the working stiffs of Madison Avenue.

You probably didn’t notice, however, that Tuesday was National Hat Day. I only know because the Headwear Association sent me a press release. (Continue)

 

Aristocracy & Revolution: Taylor-Made Shoes, 1955

Thu 17 Jan 2013 - Filed under: 1950s,Historic Images — Christian
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Once the Ivy League Look gained popularity during the silver age of the ’50s, Main Street clothiers used the term as an advertising buzzword. Needless to say, Brooks Brothers and J. Press never had to resort to the term, and in fact dismissed the term “Ivy League” with mild scorn, as they’ve always done with every popular term applied to their clothing.

This Taylor-Made shoe ad lays it on pretty thick. As if the term “Ivy League” didn’t carry enough weight, the copywriter further drives the point home with “aristocracy” and “patrician.”

The ad dates from 1955, well before the world was turned upside-down in the late ’60s, when it became cooler to identify with the peasantry than the aristocracy.

But Taylor-Made knew how to play to both sides. This 1953 ad shows it could appeal to radicals in penny loafers. Vive la revolution. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

 

White Christmas: Bucks, Flannels And A Shaggy Dog

Fri 14 Dec 2012 - Filed under: 1950s,Clothes — Christian
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With 10 days before Christmas with not a snowflake in sight, this bright and sunny day in New York with a high temperature of 47 is perfect weather — for those of us not office bound — for white bucks and grey flannels.

Unlike penny loafers and khakis, white bucks and grey flannels is one of those youthful combinations from the Ivy heyday that didn’t survive. Busting it out these days is neither for the fuddy duddy reactionary nor the neo-prep hipster, but someone in between. That’s probably why the two bloggers who’ve written about it on several occasions include myself and Joe from An Affordable Wardrobe.

Last year someone broached the topic at Andy’s Trad Forum, where the idea wasn’t met with much sympathy, especially from the Southerners.

Perform a Google search for “white bucks grey flannels” and you get some interesting results. In addition to mentions from me and Joe:

• Bucks and flannels were elements of the uniform for Brown University’s acapella group The Jabberwocks. The Jabberwocks are still around, though their clothes, along with their material, has changed a bit.

• The book “Secret Riches” by John Alan Masters includes this passage about Yale in the heyday: “Most of my classmates wandered around in white bucks, grey flannel trousers, and J. Press jackets.”

• The 1954 stage comedy “Father’s Been To Mars” includes specific costuming for a student character, who’s  to be clad in grey flannels, white bucks, and “a conservative tweed sport jacket.”

Pulling off something unusual comes down to attitude. With white bucks and grey flannels, people might think you’re stylish. Then again, they might think you’re from another planet. — CC

 

Getting Fitted At Chipp, 1965

Thu 1 Nov 2012 - Filed under: 1950s,Historic Images — Christian
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If you hold a mirror up to your computer screen, you’ll see that the gent being measured for a jacket is at the venerable clothier Chipp, as seen in this illustration from the company’s 1965 catalog.

Ivy Style asked Paul Winston, son of the Chipp founders, for any insight on the drawing. Here’s what he had to say:

The drawing was done by Al Herman, who was a top fashion illustrator of the period. The fitter pictured was Bob DiFalco, who was our designer and fitter. Back then all the ads and catalogs featured line drawings, not pictures of products and models wearing clothing.

That was what Chipp looked like before we bought the building. It was a walk-up with a narrow flight of stairs, which was negotiated by the Kennedys, Watsons, and Cyrus Vance to drop a few names.

In the background you see the wall of cloth. No swatch books; customers were shown bolts of cloth.

Paul is still making suits in Midtown Manhattan under the name Winston Clothiers. He also recently received a batch of grenadine ties which he now has in a dozen colors and sells for a very modest tariff. For more info, give him a ring at (212) 687-0850. — CC

 
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