Historic Images

Spring Trend Forecast: Argyle Socks & Shorts

OK, not a trend for this season, but it was in 1957. At least in one place: Rhodes College. And at least among this group of guys… on this particular day. But even in this small scientific sample, you can see human social tendencies asserting themselves. The guys in solid socks may be part of the

Art of the Deal: 1960s Japanese Playing Cards

Well here’s a super-cool discovery: a pack of 1960s playing cards using cover art for the magazine Heibon Punch, by artist Ayumi Ohashi. The cards, our translator tells us, depict a wide range of social situations and leisure activities and the proper attire for each. 

True University Style: Kuppenheimer, 1928

The above image, which comes from a 1928 Kuppenheimer catalog, ties in with themes explored in our comprehensive rise and fall essay: namely town and country, or city and campus. In it the three-button undarted suit is presented as “authentically designed” for the university man, while the postgraduate “Young Executive” model is a tapered two-button option.These

Green Day: 1950s Campus Ads For The Fighting Irish

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we pay tribute to the Irish — specifically the Fighting Irish of the University Of Notre Dame. After a long and fruitless search for vintage images, I finally found a few in the campus magazine called The Scholastic, where there were some ads for Arrow buttondowns, “natural” tuxedo rentals (with

Stetson’s Ivy League Fedora, 1953

As a follow-up to our last post on Taylor-Made shyoes, here’s another Main Street retailer that used the term “Ivy League” in its ad copy once the look became popular. These two Stetson ads are from 1953 and 1955 (coincidentally the same years as the Taylor-Made ads). Thanks to frequent comment-leaver “Old School” for alerting us

Aristocracy & Revolution: Taylor-Made Shoes, 1955

Once the Ivy League Look gained popularity during the silver age of the ’50s, Main Street clothiers used the term as an advertising buzzword. Needless to say, Brooks Brothers and J. Press never had to resort to the term, and in fact dismissed the term “Ivy League” with mild scorn, as they’ve always done with

Bits At Burdine’s: The Squire Shop, 1968

A couple of weeks ago we posted a collection of vintage Dexter advertisements, and now here’s an interesting follow up. In 1968, as the Ivy League Look was plummeting in popularity, the shoe that would cement itself as a preppy staple in the 1970s was gradually garnering greater attention.  The above ad is from The

Varsity Town’s Madisonaire, 1966

The “Main Street” Ivy brands that flickered briefly during the heyday often touted their wares as “authentic natural shoulder fashions,” as if one were buying an ethos along with a jacket cut. Of course, among the original arbiters of the Ivy League Look, the natural shoulder was an expression of values and culture. But because they

Getting Fitted At Chipp, 1965

If you hold a mirror up to your computer screen, you’ll see that the gent being measured for a jacket is at the venerable clothier Chipp, as seen in this illustration from the company’s 1965 catalog. Ivy Style asked Paul Winston, son of the Chipp founders, for any insight on the drawing, and he replied, “The

International Men’s Day 2020

Today Ivy Style extends warmest wishes for a happy International Men’s Day, with a little help from Harvard’s theatrical troupe The Hasty Pudding Club.  The above image dates from the 1880s, when men were men. 

Comfortably Distinctive: Norman Hilton, 1958

This Norman Hilton advertisement dates from 1958. The copy includes the phrase “comfortably distinctive,” which is a good description of the Ivy League Look in general. Being distinctive while still comfortable is much more challenging, alas, when not wearing a flannel suit and soft-roll collar. But let the principle guide us nevertheless.

The Swiss Army Knife of Tailored Jackets

Back in 2011 I wrote a little piece on the navy blazer for Gilt MANual, calling it the Swiss Army Knife of tailored jackets. And yes, I’ve actually worn it as a warm-up jacket to the tennis court. That’s probably a bit affected, but it was rather enjoyable, and probably for that reason. One thinks of

What, Me Worry?

For Election Day 2020, here’s trivial troika of retro diversions. First up is the Kennedy clan in 1960, looking concerned when the outcome was still undecided. Perhaps JFK was humming our second vintage distraction, the Kingston Trio’s signature song “Worried Man”: And thirdly, from the previous election cycle of 1956, we have the debut cover of

Do-It-Yourself Ivy, 1965

Back in the heyday, if you couldn’t afford to shop at the right stores and mom was handy with a needle and thread, you could get your very own homemade Ivy League jacket for a fraction of the cost, as these images from a 1965 McCall’s pattern book show. It’s possible the in-crowd might not even

Oh What a Knight: Hardwick Ads Of The ’60s

“Oh what a night,” goes the Four Seasons tune, “late December back in ’63….” Well about that time, Tennessee-based Hardwick was selling its natural-shouldered clothing to the masses in a series of chivalrous print ads. According to this one, your “natural shouldered presence” will earn approval from a “damsel”: Hardwick was in the clothing business, but they