1980s

Who You Calling Stodgy?

Frequent comment-leaver SE dug up these photos in light of the recent LL Bean post. They show that traditional New England style is — or at least was — youthful rather than stodgy, and that it exports well all around the country. * * * It’s that time of year. Bean boots, corduroys, and Norwegian

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Holiday Party Footwear: Jay Butler’s Low-Vamp Bit Loafers

As you gear up for holiday parties and prepare to break out the Black Watch tartan and other festive items, here’s another footwear option. Those who aren’t fans of velvet slippers might want to take a look at the bit loafers by Jay Butler. Founded by Justin Jeffers, an enterprising young man in Pennsylvania, the

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From The Archives

JFK At Work And Play

A lot of original photos of JFK has gone on the auction block at Bonhams. There are a couple of sartorial details worth noting. The photos are from 1954, when Kennedy hadn’t fully sanitized his wardrobe of Ivy affectation in order to better reflect the American public via the medium of television. In the photo

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Confessions Of An ’80s Europrep

Growing up in 1980s Berlin, then a city with lots of “cool” but very little elegance, I caused quite a stir when I came to school in my new pink Lacoste shirt. What struck people as curious was not only the color of the shirt, unavailable for boys at the time, but also the color


When Pigs Flew: GQ On The Porcellian Club, 1988

Yes, there was a time when GQ would run an eight-page story about Harvard’s most exclusive final club, The Porcellian. Not to boar you, but I don’t think this story would fly today. We’ll stop hamming and leave you with this fascinating tail. — CS & CC


Reel To Real: Take Ivy 1984

Deep Google searches on the phrase “Take Ivy” often return an image of a mysterious green VHS cassette with art from illustrator Kazuo Hozumi — evoking fantasties that the mythic 1965 film was once available as a commercial release. Six months ago, a former VAN Jacket employee handed me this very videotape after cleaning out


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


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


‘Sucker Punch

We’re halfway to Labor Day, so if you’ve been neglecting your seersucker jacket, now’s the time to start wearing it all the time — even while riding the bike you stole from the new dork in school. After all, doesn’t this model from Rugby’s website remind you of someone? Click “continue” to see his pop-culture


Confessions of a Preppy Snob

Slate Magazine recently posted a long-winded and at times insufferable meditation on snobbery by a prep who came of age in the ’80s. The author’s resumé would certainly suggest the presence of snobbery: Mark Oppenheimer writes about religion for the New York Times. He is the author of a memoir, Wisenheimer; is an editor of


Extreme Gatoring: The Preppy Video Game, 1982

Last year, during Preppy Week, we examined some of the spoofs created by opportunistic cash-ins thanks to the success of “The Official Preppy Handbook.” But the preppy cash-grab went beyond mere words and drawings. To wit, a video game for the Atari console that allowed hoi polloi to sit in front of its TV sets


Terminal Preppies: Skewered, Stuffed, And Put To Good Use

With this post Ivy-Style bring Preppy Week to a close. Click here to have the Dead Kennedys’ “Terminal Preppie” play in another browser window as you rejoice in the demise of Biff and Muffy. Every trend carries within it the seed of its own negation. The hype and expectation over “Take Ivy” has made it


Somewhere in Time: The Preppy ’80s

Preppy Week continues with this impressive bit of research from Greg Moniz, a student at Connecticut’s Trinity College, who brings back our “Somewhere in Time” series by compiling highlights from Time Magazine’s coverage of the ’80s preppy trend. “If one more person comes in here and asks for Bass Weejuns, I think I’ll scream,” says