Historic Images

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


Christopher Bastin on Building the Gant Archives

This interview originally ran in 2011, but the historic information on Gant, one of the most celebrated brands of the Ivy heyday, has evergreen value, and so today we pay it a revisit. * * * With fashion in a constant state of flux, it’s no wonder apparel brands are less than assiduous when it


Monday Grab Bag

Today we feature a random assortment of vintage images that have been lying around in an old shoe box, metaphorically speaking. And yes that’s a pun on “shoe;” after all, some of these images are from Yale.   This one, however, is from an altogether different kind of campus shop:   College men were once


The Cleanest Cut: Remembering Dick Clark

A clean-cut appearance has always been part of the Ivy League Look. With a soft-shouldered jacket and Princeton haircut, a young man could conveniently mask his salacious intentions. After all, what father could fear for his teenage daughter’s honor while on a date with a boy wearing a cardigan? In the 1950s, this kind of


The Ivy League Look In Australia In The ’50s

During the heyday of the Ivy League Look, the natural-shoulder diaspora spread not only from the Ancient Eight to campuses across America, it also spread to far corners of the globe. In March of 1957, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on the growing trend for American Ivy League clothes. Farmer’s is a department store that


Lacoste For The Andover Shop, 1958

  In honor of Bastille Day, we revisit this post on France’s great contribution to the preppy-Ivy wardrobe. * * * One of the pleasures of spending time among archival material is the chance discovery. We recently came across an Izod Lacoste advertisement that was used in 1958 and 1959, placed by The Andover Shop. On



Ascot What Your Country Can Do For You

In the spirit of “just clothes,” Ivy Style is pleased to present this ode to one of menswear’s most precariously pretentious items. It was written exclusively for us by James Kraus, previous contributor and founder of Auto Universum. * * * Five years ago I decided to take a long-considered plunge into the world of