1980s

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From The Archives

The Bard Of Nantucket: A Preppy Twist On Shakespeare

This weekend a high school in Danvers, Massachusetts will open its production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which it has set on Nantucket. The local newspaper reports: Where the “Twelfth Night” takes place on an island full of rich people, the Academy wanted to make its version “accessible to the Danvers community.” “The cast is ridiculous,”

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Roll Of A Lifetime: Esquire On Buttondowns, 1983

A reader recently left a comment saying that collar roll is a fetish of the Internet age and that didn’t exist in the analog decades. Assistant editor Chris Sharp tapped his photographic memory, rummaged through his archives, and immediately produced an article from the April, 1983 issue of Esquire in which John Berendt opined on


Public Access

There was a time before JK Rowling. A time we spoke of other initialed authors JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, AA Milne and JM Barrie. An age of Young Fogeys, Sloane Rangers and “Brideshead Revisited.” We called that time the 1980s. Photographer Mark Draisey now shows us what we were not allowed to see. His book



Get All Your Ducks In A Row

It’s been Duck Head week here at Ivy Style, and this third post will mark our last until the collection is unveiled. In our first post we noted that the small Southern brand made it to outposts as far-flung as London. As this photo shows, an ad for Duck Head can be seen above the


Quack From The Dead: The Return Of The Duck Head Brand

Some time later today, according to the timer counting down on its website, Duck Head will relaunch. The brand has its genesis in the postwar workwear market, and when I say postwar, I mean the War Between the States. “For a preppy Southern college guy in the 1980s,” writes Eileen Glanton in a November, 2000


Blast From The Past: The Space Invaders Argyle Sock

In 1980, the only thing hotter than the best-selling “Official Preppy Handbook” was blasting aliens at the local arcade. Though they appealed to different demographics, three decades later the worlds of prepdom and video games have been combined in the form of Soxfords’ Space Invaders argyle sock, ideal for those who grew up in the


From Collar Pop To Total Flop: Preppies The Musical, 1982

It was the summer of 1982, not quite two years after Lisa Birnbach wrote “The Official Preppy Handbook,” and I got a call from my agent in New York. After several rounds of auditions, I (then known as Susan Dow) was cast in “Preppies” and was rehearsing at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam,


Accidental Tourist: An M&S Exec At 346 Madison Avenue

Last evening I was taking a golf lesson at Brooks Brothers when a vacationing gentleman stopped by to check out the high-tech simulator. By a happy accident it turned out to be a former executive for Marks & Spencer, the English department-store chain that bought Brooks in 1988 and went about dismantling it, starting with


Madras Season: Dexys Midnight Runners

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



Slim-Fit Shirts Ain’t Trad?

To those who complain that slim-fit shirts are evidence of Brooks Brothers having lost its way, the brethren have offered them for at least 25 years, as this late ’80s catalog shows. In general, WASPy preppy types have preferred a generous cut to their clothing, and the sack suit got its name for a reason.


Deadstock Troy Guild Sea Island Buttondowns at O’Connell’s

We always consider it newsy when Ethan up at O’Connell’s digs up some deadstock items that have been buried for decades. Earlier this summer, in an act of unselfishness, Ethan decided to start sharing his special hoard of Troy Guild shirts from the early ’80s. These aren’t your typical oxford-cloth buttondowns: The shirts are made


The Preppie Murder, 25 Years Later

August 26th marked the 25th anniversary of the so-called “Preppie Murder.” In 1986, Robert Chambers, a former student of Choate Rosemary Hall, left the Upper East Side bar Dorrian’s Red Hand with 18-year-old Jennifer Levin, whom he later strangled in Central Park behind the Metropolitan Museum. The story became a tabloid sensation, was eventually made