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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Wayward Preppies

This week I heard about a prime-time drama on Fox called “Wayward Pines” featuring a preppy with a wayward-fitting school blazer. Apparently the show has a sci-fi theme. I’ve actually been on a sci-fi kick lately since watching a movie called “Predestination,” based on a story by Robert Heinlein. I got a collection of his


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Six Years Ago — License Revoked: John Gavin, Almost a 007

As part of our regular new series revisiting topics from the early years, here’s a fresh look at this post that originally ran in June 2009. * * * Take a look at the guy above: Mild-mannered schoolteacher, or James Bond, license to kill? Providing Ivy Infotainment comes with constant pressure to dig up fresh


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Six Years Ago: Dirty Rotten Scoundrel

We close out the month of May with this post, which originally ran in May of 2009. Pegged on the movie “Dirty Dancing,” it’s a short but fascinating look at how heroes and villains have switched places in pop culture — at least when it comes to messy issues such as social class. * *


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Six Years Ago: Haole Spirit

As we approach our 1,200th post, I’m going to start giving some of the early ones an encore in a regular series of reposts from five, six and seven years ago. This one originally ran on this day in 2009, and concerns heyday-era Ivy in unexpected places (or maybe not), as well as the interesting


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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


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Just Give Them Some Space: The Astronaut Wives Club

When one door closes, the saying goes, another one opens. Or when one TV show ends, another begins. In our case, farewell “Mad Men” and welcome to earth “The Astonaut Wives Club.” ABC is currently advertising the series, which is set during the ’60s Space Race; it will debut in June.


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Boys Town

As we approach our 1,200th post, I suppose it’s inevitable that we start recycling things every once in a while. It offers those of us who’ve been here all along to revisit certain topics (I’m certainly at the stage where I’ve forgotten half the stuff on here), while giving new readers the chance to see


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Light In The Fog: Streets Of San Francisco’s Mike Stone

When we ran our profile of a tradly dressed Washington DC police officer last week, a reader left a comment invoking the name of Mike Stone, the cop played by Karl Malden on the ’70s TV show “The Streets Of San Francisco.” In contrast to his wide-lapelled and groovy necktie-wearing partner (played by a young



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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