Dig It: Dexter Shoe Ads, ’65-’68

Mon 19 Nov 2012 - Filed under: 1960s — Christian
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This may look like a penny loafer graveyard, but the Dexter shoe is apparently alive and well (sort of). Though the company doesn’t have much of an online presence, there’s a 1957 collection, named for the year of its founding, available from Shoeline.com.

The above ad is from 1965. Below is one from 1966, which features some handsome tassel moccasins as well as those ghastly Venetian loafers, which are like a face with the eyes, nose and mouth missing: (Continue)

Varsity Town’s Madisonaire, 1966

Sun 28 Oct 2012 - Filed under: 1960s,Historic Images — Christian
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Recently we mentioned the “Main Street” Ivy brands that flickered briefly during the heyday, which often touted their wares as “authentic natural shoulder fashions,” as if one were buying an ethos along with a jacket cut.

Of course, among the original arbiters of the Ivy League Look, the natural shoulder was an expression of the values and culture of America’s WASPy upper middle class. But because they got their clothes from Brooks and Press (and The Andover Shop and Langrock and so forth), their clothes weren’t advertised as “authentic” because they actually were.

To wit, check out the ad by Varsity Town’s Madisonaire line from 1966, one year before the fall of the Ivy League Look. What do you bet that by ’68 the street-sign logo was changed to Haight-Ashbury?

Either way it’s still Main Street, a wonderful example of commerce at work and the flourishing of the Ivy League Look to men across the nation, who, if they couldn’t get the real deal, could at least get a replica. — CC

 

Do-It-Yourself Ivy, 1965

Thu 6 Sep 2012 - Filed under: 1960s,Clothes — Christian
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Back in the heyday, if you couldn’t afford to shop at the right stores and mom was handy with a needle and thread, you could get your very own homemade Ivy League jacket for a fraction of the cost, as these images from a 1965 McCall’s pattern book show.

And it’s theoretically possible that the in-crowd might not even know the difference.

Fabric, of course, was not included, but papers were thrown in so you could roll your own cigarette. — CC

 

A Leiter Shade Of Gray: Savile Row Versus Ivy League

Tue 4 Sep 2012 - Filed under: 1960s,Film — Christian
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Recently a blog called The Suits Of James Bond paid tribute to 007’s American counterpart, Felix Leiter. The observations are hardly earth-shattering, but it is worth noting how the two tailoring styles relect the characters. “The colours Leiter wears may be the same as Bond’s,” the blogger writes, “but the styles are an ocean apart.”

So are the men.

The Suits Of James Bond cites the example of “Goldfinger,” in which Leiter is given an older and stodgier portrayal by actor Cec Linder. Linder wears an anonymous sack suit — along with buttondown oxford and knit tie — as befitting a middle-aged man working in Washington’s corridors of power. Bond, of course, wears Savile Row. Bond is also sexy; Leiter is not.

Of course clothing ultimately depends on who’s wearing it, and a different man in Leiter’s outfit might look like the kind of fearless hero that men want to be, and women want to be with.

The many anonymous sack-suited CIA agents never captured the public’s imagination like the fictional British spy, but they fought the Cold War dressed with understated confidence that natural-shouldered American freedom would eventually triumph over double-breasted Communist cardboard evil.

“Skyfall,” the next James Bond installment, opens next month. Check out the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet. — CC

 

Oh What a Knight: Hardwick Ads Of The ’60s

Thu 9 Aug 2012 - Filed under: 1960s,Historic Images — Christian
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“Oh what a night,” goes the Four Seasons tune, “late December back in ’63….”

Well about that same time Tennessee-based Hardwick was selling its natural-shouldered clothing to the masses in a series of chivalrous print ads.

Still extant, Hardwick was recently revealed as the manufacturer of the new Crittenden Ivy-styled sportcoats, so we thought we’d take a look at some of the company’s advertising imagery from the Ivy heyday. (Continue)

 

Preppies Vs. Hippies: The Ivy League Guidebook, 1969

Wed 18 Jul 2012 - Filed under: 1960s,Historic Images,Historic Texts — Christian
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In 1969, when the Ivy League was shedding Weejuns and growing sideburns at an alarming rate, three students — Andrew Tobias, Arnold Bortz and Caspar Weinberg — published “The Ivy League Guidebook.” Exactly as its title would suggest, the book is aimed at incoming freshman and devotes a chapter to each school, plus general sections on campus life.

Although things were rapidly changing, the clichéd image of the Ivy League student was still germane enough to gently mock in the book’s opening pages:

Few labels in Ameirca today conjure up as strong an image of sophistication and success as that of “Ivy Leaguer.” Stereotypically attired in three-piece English tweed suit and stoking his pipe, the well-bred, well-read, well-heeled Ivy Leaguer stands confidently atop the American totem pole.

Well, there’s certainly no arguing with the totem pole part.

Not suprising, Princeton gets the tiger’s share of credit for male vanity. Here the book quotes a Smith College newspaper columnist:

Princeton is the only place in the world where when a boy and his date walk past a mirror, it’s the boy who stops to comb his hair. Your Princeton date will spend the whole weekend worrying whether you might possibly look better than he does.

In the Yale chapter, Press gets a mention:

… new admissions policies placing more emphasis on abilities than bloodlines (over 60 percent of the Class of ’71 attended public schools). The New Yalie is less likely to be a product of Choate, debutante parties, and J. Press Clothiers…

The following passages on preppies is one of the most interesting one on prepdom I’ve come across since starting this site. It uses that much-maligned term to characterize the twilight of the old values (not to mention legacy students) in the wake of open admissions and the Age of Aquarius. Check out this useage, from 1969 no less, in which “preppie” is essentially used to characterize a kind of reactionary ethos:

While the eight Ivy League schools may still be the bastion of preppiedom, and while in the popular mind the tweed-suited, Bourbon-sipping Groton man may still be the Ivy League archetype, preppies themselves know that even at Princeton they are a steadily decreasing minority. For the preppie is not defined by having attended private school, but by having the moderate, sometimes conservative behavior, the cliquishness, sometimes snobbery, and the traditional good taste, sometimes stuffiness, that are now being swept from the college scene by the frenetic sensuality of the plastic hippie. Preppie clubs and fraternities are being infiltrated increasingly by intellectuals, activists and artists…

On the plus side, however, the sentence concludes:

… anti-Semitism and racial discrimination are dwindling.

Certainly a good thing. But the very next paragraph whisks us back to prepdom:

Nonetheless, it seems that as long as there are football games there will be preppies. Any fall Saturday the stadiums are full of neatly shod and coifed girls from Wellesley and Mt. Holyoke, draping their braceleted arms over boys with flasks and Brooks Brothers scarves. After the game there are cocktails and dinner at the club and a party at the friends of friends.

The book’s final chapter is entitled “Student Activism: The Ivy Left,” and there’s also extended discussion about marijuana and LSD, none of which is worth quoting here. But make no mistake: The hippies won. — CC

 

Madras Season: Dexys Midnight Runners

Wed 4 Jul 2012 - Filed under: 1960s,1970s,1980s,Clothes — Christian
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When madras season officially opened on Memorial Day, we ran a post showing George HW Bush clad in a madras sportcoat in company that wasn’t exactly wearing the same (can you imagine Obama or Romney doing that in 2012?) Now that July 4th marks our deeper descent into madras, this time we show the fabric in an equally unexpected context: on the backs of British pop stars. (Continue)

 
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