1950s

Tea and Sympathy, 1956

“Tea and Sympathy” was mentioned recently in one of the articles reprinted from Ivy Magazine. It’s also on the reading list featured in the “Official Preppy Handbook.” I figured it was time to check it out. Written by Robert Anderson for the stage, “Tea and Sympathy” was adapted for the screen in 1956 with Vincente


Building a Wardrobe: Mid-Century Architect Style

Architects are generally an international type, the sort who work in minimalist offices with Scandinavian furniture. But during Ivy’s heyday, many of them wore soft-spoken and soft-shouldered suits, even while radically remaking urban skylines. Above, at the 1957 International Building Exhibition in Berlin, Hugh A. Stubbins relaxes while articulating his vision, the epitome of nerd-chic




College Miscellany

Above: University of Pennsylvania, 1949. Below: MIT, 1956 (click images for hi-res version): Harvard Divinity School, 1955: Two from the University of Illinois, 1956: Brown, 1938: Tailgate party at Amherst, 1958: St. John’s, 1940:


Poetic Injustice

Before his untimely death, few men of letters embodied the jazz-fueled cool of midcentury New York better than poet Frank O’Hara. The Whitman of the modern urban landscape, O’Hara captured the essence of the city, its multitudes, and its motions of constant speed punctuated with moments of stillness. Heavily influenced by Abstract Expressionism and jazz,


Diddley Squat

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the greatest contributions by the state of Arkansas to the American way of life. In 1959, fraternity brothers at the University of Arkansas were suffering from a shortage of chairs. In protest, they took to “hunkering,” or squatting. It’s a fine example of American ingenuity, of


Sex Education: A Playmate at Dartmouth

This Life Magazine photo shoot is a bit of a mystery. First off, there’s no date, but it looks like the second half of the fifties. Next, it has evidently been mislabled “Miss Playgirl at Dartmouth.” Playboy began using the term “playmate” with the magazine’s second issue, making “playgirl” a typo. No idea why the


Bermuda Short

In celebration of Spring Break, I wrote a shortie on the origins of the Great Escape for the blog at Ralph Lauren’s Rugby.com. Seems the tradition of students going somewhere tropical over Easter began in 1935 when The Bermuda Athletic Association invited some Ivy League rugby teams down for a friendly tournament. By the ’50s


Man of Taste

In 1954, culture critic Russell Lynes published “The Tastemakers: The Shaping of American Popular Taste,” a lengthy meditation on the nature of taste, which Lynes believed had supplanted class as the new social hierarchy. Taste, Lynes argues, can be broken into three categories: Highbrow, Middlebrow and Lowbrow. Naturally the theory applies to clothing. A supplementary


Bruce Almighty

Over the past several decades, G. Bruce Boyer has distinguished himself as one of the most erudite writers ever to tackle the subject of menswear. Born in 1941, he came of age at the Ivy League Look’s height in popularity. A graduate of Moravian, the fifth-oldest college in the US, Boyer went on to do


Penny For Your Thoughts

A few months ago the Japanese photo book “Take Ivy” sold on eBay for $1,500, setting all of Tradsville abuzz. Naturally something so hyped could only be a letdown, and when The Trad finally presented all the images online (see “Take Ivy” links in the Ephemera column at right), having scored his copy for a


Questionable Gentleman

  The scion of a distinguished literary family, Charles Van Doren — who turns 83 on February 12 — was a professor of English at Columbia when he became a contestant on the popular quiz show “Twenty One” in 1957. His youth, clean-cut looks, family background and spectacular winning streak made him an instant celebrity


Blue Man Group

Before 1894, when Yale adopted its special shade of blue (hex triplet #0F4D92), its school color was green. Kind of like the freshmen pictured above at a welcoming ceremony, 1964. Now that they’re bulldogs, it’s time to start looking the part. First, a college sweater (1959): Then a proper jacket. Freshman getting a sermon on


Frat Pack

College fraternities of the past offered male bonding in a stylish setting. The photo above, plus the two below, are from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, 1949. Click images to go to the hi-res version.


Customer Service

There was a time (1954, for example, as in these two photos) when you could visit J. Press in New Haven and have an old gent like this help you pick out a jacket. He may have been on commission, but he probably knew what looked good on you. You might even bump into Irving


Holly and the Ivy

Although the film version of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was made in 1961, author Truman Capote created heroine Holly Golightly in 1958, whereupon she took her place alongside Odette de Crecy, Suzie Wong and Fanny Hill in the long line of literary lady escorts. Holly’s 50th anniversary has been celebrated in various media outlets, including The


Prep Rally

Ah, the halcyon days at an all-male prep school, mid-century. Here we have two future lawyers shining their shoes while debating the merits of the various Ivies. The Hill School in Pottstown, PA, 1942. Argyle socks and cuffed flannels: Pants so short they go up to your knees when you cross your legs. The Hotchkiss


Give Ivy

All of Tradsville is abuzz with “Take Ivy,” the Japanese photo book featuring candid shots of Princeton students in the late ’60s. Recently a copy of the rare tome sold on American eBay for $1,500. Then The Trad scored one on Japanese eBay for 1/10th that, promising to present scans of the entire book for


The Gentrified Campus

I recently called up an old colleague, Matthew Jacobsen of OldMagazineArticles.com, told him about Ivy Style, and said, “Whatcha got?” Matthew did not disappoint. What were Ivy Leaguers wearing in the fall of 1953? According to Gentry magazine, anything in tawny black. In a fashion spread entitled “Fashions Cum Laude for the Undergraduate,” the uber-elitist


Ears Wide Open

New contributing writer Scott Byrnes, who works in finance in San Francisco, was inspired by an Ivy Style jazz post and herein offers one of his own. I was in the middle of a long moving process when I read Ivy Style’s “All That Jazz” article, which inspired me to dig through boxes and pull


Grant Writing

“People Will Talk,” one of Cary Grant’s lesser known movies, boasts some interesting outfits for the sartorial historicist. In order to portray a medical professor at a small Midwestern college in 1951, Grant was costumed in one double-breasted suit, and three suits and jackets that feature a 3/2 roll, but still have the overall cut


Somewhere in Time: The Brick-Red Look

With this post Ivy-Style introduces a new series called “Somewhere in Time,” featuring historical articles from the pages of Time magazine that offer insight into how Ivy attire was worn — and viewed by society —  during its heyday in the ’50s and ’60s. We will also present a judicious selection of articles about the


Running Man

One of the good things about living in LA (I’ve forgotten the others) is the chance to see movies before anyone else does. To wit, several weeks ago, while on assignment for the Rugby blog, I took in a screening of “The Express,” a biopic about Ernie Davis, star running back for Syracuse University from


No Picture

Art of Noise

“Jazz is just insolent noise,” says Dickie Greenleaf’s father in “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” And no one’s noise is more sublimely insolent than skin-beater Art Blakey’s. For your visual and aural enjoyment, Ivy Style presents three clips of jazz-ivy style that may look buttoned-down, but certainly don’t sound that way. “I Remember Clifford,” by Art


All That Jazz

On assignment for the online magazine at RalphLauren.com, Ivy Style founder Christian Chensvold muses on that brief point in time when jazz musicians went for the clean-cut look, which, considering many of them were junkies, was the only clean thing about them. Sometime around 1954, jazz great Miles Davis walked into the Andover Shop, a


The Autocrat of the Three-Martini Lunch

Bon vivantism, if that is indeed a legitimate phrase, is a characteristic — or, if you prefer, a malady — particularly evident in great historians and men of letters. From Ben Franklin and Emile Zola to Winston Churchill and Bernard DeVoto — whose book “The Hour” is perhaps the most elegant paean to cocktail time