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Allen Edmonds Releases 1940s Footage, Expands Cordovan, & Goes Global

Mon 10 Dec 2012 - Filed under: 1920s-'40s,Film — Christian
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Much is afoot, if you’ll pardon the pun, at Allen Edmonds these days. A few days ago the company released some fascinating footage on YouTube showing its factory in the 1940s. (Continue)

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The Post Of The Seven Gables

Wed 3 Oct 2012 - Filed under: 1950s,Film,Historic Images,Personae — Christian
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Clark Gable is largely remebered as one of the glamorous menswear icons of the 1930s, along with Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, and just about every other star from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

But as he aged and fashions changed, Gable evolved with the times and shed his double-breasted suits with nipped waists and squared shoulders, and settled into buttondowns, discrete ties and natural shouldered jackets. He kept the signature mustache, though.

Gable is seen here in a series of photos by Sid Avery taken in 1957. (Continue)

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A Leiter Shade Of Gray: Savile Row Versus Ivy League

Tue 4 Sep 2012 - Filed under: 1960s,Film — Christian
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Recently a blog called The Suits Of James Bond paid tribute to 007′s American counterpart, Felix Leiter. The observations are hardly earth-shattering, but it is worth noting how the two tailoring styles relect the characters. “The colours Leiter wears may be the same as Bond’s,” the blogger writes, “but the styles are an ocean apart.”

So are the men.

The Suits Of James Bond cites the example of “Goldfinger,” in which Leiter is given an older and stodgier portrayal by actor Cec Linder. Linder wears an anonymous sack suit — along with buttondown oxford and knit tie — as befitting a middle-aged man working in Washington’s corridors of power. Bond, of course, wears Savile Row. Bond is also sexy; Leiter is not.

Of course clothing ultimately depends on who’s wearing it, and a different man in Leiter’s outfit might look like the kind of fearless hero that men want to be, and women want to be with.

The many anonymous sack-suited CIA agents never captured the public’s imagination like the fictional British spy, but they fought the Cold War dressed with understated confidence that natural-shouldered American freedom would eventually triumph over double-breasted Communist cardboard evil.

“Skyfall,” the next James Bond installment, opens next month. Check out the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet. — CC

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Olympics, You Know: Walk Don’t Run, 1966

Fri 27 Jul 2012 - Filed under: Film,Sport — Christian
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Today, you may have heard, is the start of the Games of the Thirtieth Olympiad. Likewise, “It’s the Olympics, you know?” is a running line from the comedy “Walk, Don’t Run,” which is set amid the chaos of the 1964 Tokyo games. The city is so overburdened that stars Cary Grant and Jim Hutton are forced to take lodgings with a pretty young English girl who lives and works in the Japanese metropolis.

It’s a moderately amusing comedy you might want to check out. Cary Grant doesn’t have much to do except be Cary Grant, and indeed this was his last film. Hutton plays a slightly sarcastic collegiate type, though far less goofy than his similar role in 1960′s “Where The Boys Are” (which we wrote about here).

Hutton plays an architecture student who lives in Greenwich Village and is competing in the racewalking competition, which is to athletic competition what humming is to a singing competition.

Hutton’s main outfit for his sightseeing time in Tokyo consists of tapered trousers, desert boots, blue oxford, knit tie, and a natural-shouldered sack jacket, updated with short side vents in concession to the Continental influence.

Warning: Orthodox trads and neatniks may be offended by his shirt, which shows the puckering and character of non-chemically treated cotton, and, as he’s a slim guy, has a slim cut.

I don’t want to go on a nostalgic rant here, and I hope my regular readers have noticed my tolerance — or at least helpless resignation — at the march of time, but one contrast between then and now is worth pointing out. This being 1964, not only does Hutton’s character spend most of his sightseeing time in a jacket and tie, when he goes out to dinner with fellow athletes from the Olympic Village, he wears his Olympic blazer.

In contrast, I’ve seen a number of athletes this week on the morning shows who went on national television, live from London, where they’re representing their country overseas, wearing sweatpants, shorts, t-shirts and even flip-flops.

I can only conclude that it simply never occurred to them, in our take-me-as-I-am/come-as-you-are era, that an athlete would be expected — or want — to wear anything but athletic clothing at all times.

So let the games begin. I’ll be cheering for Denmark’s Boe & Mogensen men’s doubles team in the badminton event, and our own Miles Chamley-Watson, the best foil fencer America has ever had, whom I wrote about last year for Ralph Lauren Magazine. — CC

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Over The Top: The 10,000th Comment Contest Winner

Tue 3 Jul 2012 - Filed under: 1920s-'40s,1970s,1980s,1990-present,Film,Historic Images,Ivy Trendwatch,Jazz,Lit,Sport — Christian
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Update, 3 July, 10:04 AM:

Last night Ivy Style crossed the 10,000-comment threshold with these infamous words that will echo across America this summer as families pile up the station wagon and head out on the road:

Are we there yet?

The comment was left by none other than regular reader Henry, who will finally be rewarded for years of faithful interaction.

Leave one more comment with your real email address, Henry, so I can make sure the IP addresses match. Wouldn’t want the loot to go to one of your sparring partners pretending to be you. — CC

* * *

Ivy-Style.com is rapidly approaching its 10,000th comment. As a way of saying thank you for the interaction and entertainment that our comments section provides, I’m arranging for one lucky reader to get a pile of loot donated by our sponsors.

Here’s how it will work. Sometime over the next couple of weeks — depending on how worked up you guys get — we’ll cross the ten thousand threshold. The person to leave comment number 10,000 — after all spam and petty nastiness has been expunged, of course — wins.

So you might want to leave a valid email address when you comment, at least for the time being.

And while it’s true that the winner may be one of the usual suspects in our perennial Left vs. Right and US vs. UK kerfuffles, at least everyone has an equal chance of winning, regardless of ideology.

After all, anyone can wear buttondowns and penny loafers. — CC

Update: Here is a confirmed alphabetical list of the prizes so far, which have a combined value of $1,425: (Continue)

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The Difference Between Ivy And Preppy

Thu 28 Jun 2012 - Filed under: Film — Christian
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There’s much debate about the difference between Ivy and preppy, but it’s really quite simple: they occur at different points on a timeline.

For example, in 1964, when a spirited girl meets a handsome, reserved, all-American, clean-cut kind of guy who gets his clothing at Brooks Brothers, and simultaneously finds herself both attracted and repelled by him, she teasingly calls him “Ivy League.” Case in point, Barbara Eden and Peter Brown in “Ride The Wild Surf.”

And in 1970, after the fall of the Ivy League Look, when this same spirited girl meets the same all-American guy, she mockingly calls him “preppy.” Case in point, Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal in “Love Story.”

So you see, the clothing is essentially the same. It’s just how women referred to the clothing — and the men who wore it. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

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