Rogers Peet was inducted into the halls of Americana with the song “Marry The Man Today” from the 1950 musical, “Guys & Dolls.” The lyrics tout the clothier as among “the better things: respectable, conservative and clean,” in company with the likes of Readers’ Digest, Guy Lombardo, golf, galoshes and Ovaltine.
That may befit the era, but with the sole exception of golf, I prefer the associations made by Jonathan Yardley in his moving memoir of his parents’ life, “Our Kind of People.” Yardley’s grandfather, Alfred Gregory, was a Rogers Peet man; a person who “liked to go first-class,” who gave his piano-playing wife a Steinway grand, who had his family’s photographs “taken by Fabian Bachrach,” and who “bought his boring gray suits at Rogers Peet.” (Continue)
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 the surface it does not appear different from other Izod-Lacoste advertising material from the period. It carries the sobriety one might expect from the faux Anglo-Franco alliance. While the French side was real — Lacoste was founded by the tennis champ Rene Lacoste, nicknamed “Le Crocodile” — the other pard is English in name only. Izod was a London tailor, but an American bought the rights to use his name to play up the English pedigree.
The ad’s illustrated model is a mature golfer, his trousers pleated and his shirt buttons all buttoned up — quite incorrectly, as The Andover Shop’s Charlie Davidson says this was never done. It is likely a stock image.
The curious part is where the advertisement was placed, who placed it, and the Ivy-relevant copywriting that is going to invite a comparison to our previous piece on the difference — or not — between Ivy and preppy.
The ad appeared in the Phillipian, the student newspaper of Phillips Academy (long known as a feeder school to Yale) and the advertiser is none other than The Andover Shop. The ad copy certainly isn’t stock and is a veritable ode to Ivy:
Through the hallowed halls of learning
And the fields of sport and play
Strides the modern Ivy League man
In the costume of the day.
In his clothing there’s distinction
And he knows the signs of style
On his slacks a silver buckle
On his shirt a crocodile.
For the croc’s a sign of quality
Of shoulders never sagging
Of collars that will always fit
And garments never bagging
Its built a reputation
Its fame just grows and grows
Chemise Lacoste is worn by
Every Ivy man who knows.
Yet further evidence, we think, that the preppy style that flourished in the ’70s had the bulk of its origins in the Ivy League Look of a generation before.
We called Charlie Davidson and asked if he had any recollection of the ad, but he did not. By that time he was running just the Cambridge store, with family members running the branch in Andover.
He did recall that Lacoste shirts from that period were of exceptional quality, and that while he never liked to stock name brands, Lacoste sold better than any brand he’s ever carried.
Charlie also recalled how the shirts were worn with the collar popped, and how “guys in Southampton would wear two at a time,” but he couldn’t tell us precisely what decade these trends first emerged. — CHRISTOPHER SHARP & CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Fred at Unabashedly Prep, recent star of our comments section, has just put up a Paul Newman photo gallery that may include some shots you haven’t seen before, such as this one with popped oxford. Head over here to see the rest. — CC
W. David Marx, who recently gave us his interview with “Take Ivy” author Toshiyuki Kuroso, today shared on Ivy Style’s Facebook page his Pinterest devoted to Japanese Ivy books he’s discovered. It’s another fascinating glimpse into Japan’s longstanding reverence for American natural-shouldered clothing. (Continue)
Think I’ll take it for one last spin today.
Came across this passage recently in Nelson W. Aldrich, Jr.’s biography of Tommy Hitchcock, Jr.:
The polo coat — long, belted, and made of soft camel’s hair — was still for the most part used by polo players, thrown over their shoulders for warmth between chukkers, but it would soon drape every prep-school graduate, north and south, from Foxcroft to St. Paul’s.
For more on the “aristocrat of topcoats,” see this post at Gentlemen’s Gazette. — CC
Today Nick Hilton sent out an email message with this 1965 image. The car may look dated, but certainly not the clothes. A couple of years ago son Nick resurrected his father’s name for a line of Ivy-cut jackets, and glad to see he’s still doing them. The spring trunk show kicks off this weekend and there’s a 20 percent discount offered through March 30. Call 609.921.8160 for an appointment.