If you were off on Spring Break or spending the winter in Palm Beach, Princeton’s clothiers of the 1940s had just the clothes you needed, including plenty of seersucker. While not graphically interesting, these ads include interesting copy revealing what was popular with students at the time. — CS & CC (Continue)
The era of men wearing proper hats has certainly gone the way of the dodo. Blame it on JFK. Still, there are older men and younger dandies who are somehow keeping the hat business afloat. For them, May 15th is a special day, as it’s the traditional date of putting away your wool hats and bringing out your straw hats, marking the sartorial turn from the cold winter to the warm summer.
Vintage photos reveal that this tradition was present during the Ivy heyday. Young men are out in lighter fabrics, donning their straw hats, and generally looking pleased to be out of the harsh Eastern winter.
“Hat bands were made of a variety of different fabrics with bright, summery colorways,” recalls Richard Press, former president of J. Press. “Madras, batik and rep bands were common and were a part of the Ivy summertime uniform.”
The boater hat in particular made its way into the wardrobes of various Ivy men. It has always been the oddball piece of headwear. It was a specialty hat, often worn by members of the cheerleading squads and university bands. “Boaters were also worn specifically for sporting events, such as the Kentucky Derby,” says Press, “and rowing events on the Charles and Schuylkill rivers.”
While it’s appearance is quirky, it’s association with sports and school pride made it suitable at such events for the students. The first three photos are from the 1953 Skimmer Day at Penn, while the botoom photo is of the Princeton band in 1961. — MATTHEW KARL GALE (Continue)
English lass Rebecca C. Tuite reached out to us several years ago, introducing herself as a sorority girl simpatico with our little sartorial fraternity here. She was researching the corollary of the Ivy League Look, namely the style that WASPy women wore at elite eastern colleges at the same time young men were setting styles on college campuses.
She wrote several pieces for us that combined sartorial observations with the social context of boy-girl interactions during the heyday, including “Vasser Versus Ivies Touch Football,” “Double Date,” “The Yale-Vassar Bike Race,” plus posts on “The Man In The Brooks Brothers Shirt” and a piece on Richard Frede’s collegiate novel, “Entry E.”
The fruits of her research have blossomed and ripened in the form of her recently released book, “Seven Sisters Style,” which is getting plenty of publicity. Congrats to Rebecca, and here are some images from the book that show the girls fraternizing with the fellas. — CC (Continue)
Last night the CBS evening news did a story on Joe Brown of Pensacola, FL, who is still a hardworking barber at the age of 98. Patrons were asked, as they should have been, whether they feel safe in the hands of a nearly century-old tonsorian, especially when he breaks out the straight razor. But apparently his skills are still sharp and he gives a good cut.
Mr. Brown said that the low point in his very long career was when the Beatles became the rage and hair styles — along with pretty much everything else — began to change.
And so we present the above photo, alerted to us by ever-faithful reader “OldSchool,” as an illustration of the battle between Ivy and Beatles haircuts. I wonder which side won? — CC