1980s

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Preppy Week: Alison Lurie on Being Rich and Dull

In celebration of the publication of Lisa Birnbach’s “True Prep,” Ivy-Style is devoting the entire week to preppy posts. By the end of the week you’ll be so sick of them you’ll relish the final post, in which preppies are skewered and stuffed to a Dead Kennedys soundtrack. First up is an excerpt from Alison


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Devil In The Details: Japanese Ivy Dictionary

When it comes to classic Americana, the Japanese are meticulous in their research and sticklers for details — at least most of the time. Nick Sullivan, Esquire‘s fashion director, recently lent me the latest addition to his style library: “The Ivy Pictorial Dictionary” by Toshiyuki Kurosu (who’s associated with the brand VAN, according to our


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Preppy Evangelist: The Lisa Birnbach Interview

Six months ago Lisa Birnbach, author of the 1980 bestseller “The Official Preppy Handbook,” agreed to do a Q&A interview with Ivy-Style. Shortly after settling in New York, I contacted Birnbach, who said she was too busy to talk as she was finishing a sequel. Then, when word recently leaked out about the forthcoming tome


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Twilight in Vermont: The Rise and Fall of the Moriarty Ski Hat

If there’s one character in “The Official Preppy Handbook” who could be singled out for derision, it’s the skier. Wearing mirrored sunglasses and a cocky sneer, he looks like the kind of guy you’d hate everything about. Everything, that is, except his ski cap from Moriarty of Stowe, Vermont. For five decades the Moriarty cap


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The Aristocrat of Topcoats: Boyer on the Polo Coat

This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most erudite and entertaining tomes on menswear: G. Bruce Boyer’s “Elegance.” Ivy-Style continues its efforts to digitize Boyer’s work for the Internet and a new generation of readers. This latest offering addresses the polo coat, the so-called “aristocrat of topcoats.” Below are some words of


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Secrets of Sprezzatura: The Messed-Up Shirt Collar

Do your outfits look stiff and contrived? Do you have a tendency to wear matching pants and saddle shoes? What you need is a dash of sprezzatura — deliberately calculated nonchalance — to give yourself a more devil-may-care, deshabille appearance. Here’s a quick fix in three easy steps: 1) When you launder an oxford-cloth buttondown,


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Prep Membership Card: The LL Bean Norwegian Sweater

In the 1980s, I would stroll through the oak grove of my small college campus clad in a well worn pair of chinos, cream-colored turtleneck, a pink Brooks oxford and an LL Bean Norwegian Sweater. I was confident in believing I had found the perfect sweater that would be around forever. Boy was I wrong.


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Slipping Into Something More Comfortable

This is the second in our efforts to digitize the work of G. Bruce Boyer, whose many fine articles on menswear have not yet found their way onto the Internet. Titled simply “Loafers,” this piece originally appeared in the July, 1982 issue of Town & Country, and was collected in Boyer’s 1985 book “Elegance.” Boyer


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Bruce Almighty

Over the past several decades, G. Bruce Boyer has distinguished himself as one of the most erudite writers ever to tackle the subject of menswear. Born in 1941, he came of age at the Ivy League Look’s height in popularity. A graduate of Moravian, the fifth-oldest college in the US, Boyer went on to do


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Boyer on Brooks

Renowned menswear writer G. Bruce Boyer has generously given Ivy Style his imprimatur to reproduce several chapters from his 1985 book “Elegance.” It will mark the first time the articles have been digitized for the Internet. We thought of no better way to launch the series than with Boyer’s chapter on Brooks Brothers, which is


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Southern Gentleman 2/2

The following is part two of Ivy Style’s interview with Ken C. Pollock (pictured ca. 1985). IS: What’s it been like to watch the steady decline in quality and availability of traditional clothing since your college days? KP: It’s been sad and distressing. In the early ’70s, it became very hard to get any of


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Southern Gentleman

Ken C. Pollock wears fine shoes today, but there was a time when he held his Bass Weejuns together with duct tape. Of course, that was for style, not because he was impecunious. Born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised primarily in Roanoke, Virginia, the son of an immigrant from Belarus and a small-town Alabama girl