On Friday the Metro-North line, which runs from Grand Central Station up through Connecticut, served its last alcoholic beverage. Perfect excuse to revisit this LIFE Magazine photo gallery from Ivy Style’s first year. — CC
Associate editor Christopher Sharp follows up on our last post, a slideshow on the Brown engineering department, with these late ’60s recruitment ads from Brown’s college newspaper.
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While perusing the archives of a Brown University student newspaper, I found myself venturing where most traditionalists dare not tread: the late ’60s.
My intent was to investigate how the former captains of cool, the campus haberdashers, navigated the choppy waters of the counter culture. Before long, however, I was distracted by advertisements for Tiny Tim albums and lost myself in pondering how great it would have been to have attended the Cream concert the paper was promoting. Although I never got back on track, I discovered some advertisements that speak not only to their time, but also to ours.
The first advertisement I encountered was for Gant shirts. Rendered in an illustration style associated with the ’60s, the figure is serene in his buttondown shirt as he lights his briar pipe:
With this image fresh in my mind, a few pages later I was struck by another ad featuring a young man smoking a pipe. Still modern in style, the image of a second smoker also conveys a sense of ease. His pipe, buttondown and rep tie, however, are juxtaposed with state of the art computer equipment. Guess the advertiser. IBM? Rockwell Aerospace? Bell Labs? Nope, the National Security Agency (see top illustration).
I believe it was Derek at Die Workwear! who stumbled upon this, or stumbled upon another stumbler. Either way, it’s a great chronicle of student dress during the Ivy heyday, including plenty of white socks, shorts hems, and penny loafers. — CC
Last night the CBS evening news did a story on Joe Brown of Pensacola, FL, who is still a hardworking barber at the age of 98. Patrons were asked, as they should have been, whether they feel safe in the hands of a nearly century-old tonsorian, especially when he breaks out the straight razor. But apparently his skills are still sharp and he gives a good cut.
Mr. Brown said that the low point in his very long career was when the Beatles became the rage and hair styles — along with pretty much everything else — began to change.
And so we present the above photo, alerted to us by ever-faithful reader “OldSchool,” as an illustration of the battle between Ivy and Beatles haircuts. I wonder which side won? — CC
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.