Film

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Five Years Ago — The Underappreciated Yellow Oxford

This post originally ran five years ago this week. * * * For a certain breed of trad purist, there are only four shirts worth wearing: oxford-cloth button-downs in white, blue, pink and yellow. White and blue are everyday staples of the office wardrobe, and pink is the iconic color, leaving yellow in fourth place,

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Katnip Kollege, 1938

OK, it’s officially Cartoon Week. This one’s from 1938, three years into the swing era. The music is decidedly different from 1932’s “Freddy The Freshman.” — CC


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Raw! Raw! Rooster, 1956

It’s inevitable that things wind down at the end of the week, but to devolve into Cartoon Week? Sheesh…. On the plus side, it may be a short week. I did some extensive googling for collegiate-themed animated shorts from the ’30s, but couldn’t actually find anything. Suggestions appreciated. Were there any Madison Avenue spoofs? —



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Call The Style Police: The 3/1 Roll

Does this man look guilty to you? Does it look like he’s hiding something? In fact he is: he has fastened only the top button on his three-button jacket. Pictured above is Tyrone Power from the fantastic 1957 Billy Wilder film “Witness For The Prosecution,” which features an incredible performance by Charles Laughton as a


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Where It’s Always 1963

Tonight the SyFy channel debuts a new series called “Ascension,” inspired by the JFK administration’s Project Orion. The premise is that in 1963 a group of men, women and children were launched into space as part of a secret government program. Now it’s 50 years later, and they’re suddenly questioning the truth behind their mission.


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Elegance Week: Lessons From The Master

In the 1984 prepsloitation movie “Making The Grade,” protagonist Eddie gets invited to a black-tie event. To learn how to properly deport himself, he and two of his prep-school buddies study Cary Grant, the master of looking cool and elegant in a dinner jacket. The entire movie is up on YouTube, so you can sneak


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Dear White People

Yes, dear reader, that probably means you. Especially if you have “reactionary” or “curmudgeon” in your username. Or if you’re Henry. Today a new film called “Dear White People” opens. Set at an elite college campus, the film includes a prepped-out black protagonist and assorted other characters who look like this:


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Typecast: John Kerr, Born To Play Ivy Prepsters

Every so often I get these little obsessions. The athletic ones drag out for years, and things like the taste for late 19th-century French chamber music are lifelong. But every so often something cultural piques my interest, and I’ll spend a month or so furiously reading books and watching movies. I think last year’s was


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James Garner, 1928-2014

Actor James Garner has died at the age of 86. In 1963 he donned 3/2-roll suit to play opposite Doris Day in the Atomic Age sex comedy “Move Over Darling.” Garner is pictured above in the book “Hollywood And The Ivy Look.” Click here for the New York Times write-up. — CC



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Dateline 1957: Ivy School, But Not Ivy Style

  A couple days ago I participated in a little forum banter, pointing out that in my opinion the ubiquity of the Ivy League Look during the heyday can sometimes be overstated. What’s more, once certain items became so mainstream they certainly ceased to have any direct connection to the campus and Eastern Establishment, even



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Brown University Engineering Students, Circa Early ’60s

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


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Make Mine A Double: Chens On DB For The Rake

Our double-breast-fest continues with this story I wrote for the current issue of The Rake. Not exactly Ivy-focused, but those with a general interest in menswear may enjoy it. Pictured above is Fred Astaire from “Funny Face,” in DB grey flannel suit with blue oxford buttondown and bit loafers, while below is me with ’80s


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End The Madness: Esquire Calls Don Draper An Undertaker

Since it first aired in 2007, “Mad Men” has been the point of origin of a nostalgic zeitgeist for all things mid-century. From hotels to haircuts, from two-inch ties to tiki bars, an infatuation with the so-called “Mad Men Era” has permeated fashion and design. Now the trend may finally be reaching its inevitable end,