I could hardly believe it, but there it was right in front of me: a grainy newspaper photo of a group of happy haberdashers under a sign in Old English script that read “The Trad Shop.”
How could this be? The general consensus in the natural-shoulder enthusiast community is that the word “trad” refers roughly to the Ivy League Look in Japan, and that it was never used in the US to refer to the natural-shoulder genre. To believe otherwise is to embrace an artificial construct of the Internet age.
But the question now is what to do when you find the exception to the rule. I believe that a dispassionate examination of the evidence will show that this anomaly adds to the richness of the Ivy story for those who love both clothes and the business acumen that brought them to the public. So let’s delve in and meet Stuart Lewis and The Trad Shop, which served the Cornell campus during the Ivy heyday. (Continue)
As our exploration of “cool Ivy” continues, assistant editor Chris Sharp examines this Stanley Blacker advertisement, which is held in special reverence in the jazzier corners of Tradsville.
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This Stanley Blacker advertisement is from 1965 and features an American blazer being offered at a British store. When it appeared on the Film Noir Buff Talk Ivy forum in July of 2009, it created quite a stir.
One of the most passionate defenses of the look presented was from “Gibson Gardens” (believed to be the online handle for John Gall, co-author of “The Ivy Look”), who wrote the following:
If you think that Stanley Blacker jacket is all wrong and is badly cut then you are on the wrong website…. The jacket featured in that ad is just about as definitively Ivy League as you can get. It’s what the whole look is about, the spine of an aesthetic… Dismissing that Stanley Blacker jacket on this forum is akin to a Christian who rejects the Bible. Here we are presented with that weirdly straight almost asexual Ivy style in its absolute most perfect expression at the height of the original Golden Age of Ivy. This is a sacred text upon which we are gazing and I react with Al-Qaeda-like fury and intolerance when the very roots of the look are so nonchalantly dismissed with a few ignorant pokes at a keyboard.
So who is this Stanley Blacker who offered a blazer that has risen to such iconic status across the pond and prompted such a vigorous defense? (Continue)
Tonight at 9 PM is the premiere of a new JFK documentary on PBS. Here’s the description:
Forever enshrined in myth by an assassin’s bullet, Kennedy’s presidency long defied objective appraisal. Recent assessments have revealed an administration long on promise and vigor, and somewhat lacking in tangible accomplishment. His proposals for a tax cut and civil rights legislation, however, promised significant gains in the months before his assassination. While maturation, as evidenced in the handling of the Cuban missile crisis, was apparent, the potential legacy of the New Frontier will forever be left to speculation.
We encourage you to watch and discuss here.
Today Baracuta, maker of the iconic G9 jacket, announced it has drawn the zipper on a new website with ecommerce features as well as a generous dose of brand heritage. Baracuta was founded in England in 1937 and is currently owned by the Bologna-based company WP Lavori In Corso, which is currently planning a flagship retail store in London, plus Baracuta shops in other major cities.
During the Ivy heyday the Baracuta jacket entertained a certain popularity on campus, as this 1960 ad from the Yale Daily News shows:
Frequent comment-leaver Old School alerted us to this 1966 Gant ad, which he’d found on the web but didn’t think had been tumblred to death.
The ad copy attests to correctness of Gant’s oxford buttondowns, including its “casual roll of the collar.” (Continue)
Every so often while working the Ivy beat, I come across an historical document so utterly anathema to the world of today that it feels like it’s from another universe.
Case in point, this advertisement just dug up by assistant editor Chris Sharp. It ran in a May, 1961 edition of the Brown University school newspaper, and is interesting for a number of reasons.
First, the otherworldliness. The ad (which, once again, ran in a college newspaper), argues that before students head home for summer vacation, they should get themselves not Bermuda shorts and madras shirts — and certainly not flip-flops — but a “frothy” new Dacron-blend suit! The selling point seems to be that they’ll be greeted by their home town as a young man whose future success is already assured, even if he’s still not old enough to drink. (Continue)