Historic Texts


Brooks Clothes & White Shoes: Harvard Blues, 1941

On our recent white bucks and grey flannels post, Bruce Boyer left a comment mentioning the song “Harvard Blues.” Considering it’s been on our editorial calendar for about four years, I’d say it’s high time we do a post on it. The song, recorded in 1941 by Count Basie, opens with these immortal lines: I


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Bits At Burdine’s: The Squire Shop, 1968

A couple of weeks ago we posted a collection of vintage Dexter advertisements, and 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 Palm


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Preppies Vs. Hippies: The Ivy League Guidebook, 1969

In 1969, when the Ivy League was shedding Weejuns and growing sideburns at an alarming rate, three students — Andrew Tobias, Arnold Bortz and Caspar Weinberg — published “The Ivy League Guidebook.” Exactly as its title would suggest, the book is aimed at incoming freshman and devotes a chapter to each school, plus general sections


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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


Dirty White Bucks & An Ivy League Coat

We’ve previously featured pop tunes from the Ivy heyday (and from the good old days when guys would sing about their clothes), and here’s another one: Ronnie Haig & Jerry Siefert singing the praises of dirty white bucks and “an Ivy League coat to burn out your eye.” Ignore the references to tight pants. —


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Voice In The Dark: Richard Frede’s Entry E, 1958

“Entry E” is something of a pulp novel, telling a tale of Ivy League life in America that was considered startling on its release in 1958. But for all the adolescent angst and raucous action in this story, there is plenty of mid-century Ivy League style and quiet consideration of the “Ivy Man,” described in


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Russell Lynes On The Shoe Hierarchy, Esquire 1953

Despite the fact that you’re supposed to be learning to think for yourself, college has always been a conformist environment. Those with an excess of individuality may be respected, but are rarely popular. And even during the heyday of the Ivy League Look, not every student was a perfect example of the style. What became





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The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt

For Ivy Style’s 300th post, London-based contributor Rebecca C. Tuite examines the most important piece of literature about The Ivy League Look’s most important brand. There is little doubt that Mary Mccarthy’s short story “The Man in the Brooks Brothers Shirt” is now probably more famous for its punchy title — a dream for the



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Terminal Preppies: Skewered, Stuffed, And Put To Good Use

With this post Ivy-Style bring Preppy Week to a close. Click here to have the Dead Kennedys’ “Terminal Preppie” play in another browser window as you rejoice in the demise of Biff and Muffy. Every trend carries within it the seed of its own negation. The hype and expectation over “Take Ivy” has made it


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Somewhere in Time: The Preppy ’80s

Preppy Week continues with this impressive bit of research from Greg Moniz, a student at Connecticut’s Trinity College, who brings back our “Somewhere in Time” series by compiling highlights from Time Magazine’s coverage of the ’80s preppy trend. “If one more person comes in here and asks for Bass Weejuns, I think I’ll scream,” says


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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Prep

Preppy Week continues with this pre-OPH exploration of prepdom from the August 27, 1980 edition of The Toledo Blade. Everything you always wanted to know about prep but were too stuck-up to ask By Mike Steere Blade Staff Writer For lack of a better word, we’ll stick to the label that has been so cavalierly


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Preppy Week: Alison Lurie on Being Rich and Dull

In celebration of the publication of Lisa Birnbach’s “True Prep,” Ivy-Style is devoting the entire week to preppy posts. By the end of the week you’ll be so sick of them you’ll relish the final post, in which preppies are skewered and stuffed to a Dead Kennedys soundtrack. First up is an excerpt from Alison


The Rights Stuff: The Publication of “Take Ivy”

The following is an interview with Wes Del Val, vice president and associate publisher at powerHouse Books, which brings out “Take Ivy” on August 31. IS: “Take Ivy” isn’t due to come out for another month, and yet you’ve already pre-sold the first printing. How many copies have you sold in advance of publication? WDV:


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There’s Only One Brooks Brothers: Coronet Magazine, 1950

I’ve previously presented two articles on Brooks Brothers from the troubled Marks & Spencer era. This one, from four decades earlier, was featured in the September, 1950 issue of the Esquire-owned digest Coronet, and also reflects a time of corporate management change. In 1946 Brooks Brothers was bought by the Washington, DC department store known


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Removing the Ivy League Stigma: Plimpton on Brooks

In 1993, five-odd years under new owners Marks & Spencer, now widely agreed to have veered the brand drastically off course, Brooks Brothers took out a six-page advertorial in The Atlantic Monthly celebrating its 175 years in business. Literary heavyweight George Plimpton was hired to write the text, which combines history with everyday goings-on at


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M Magazine, 1991: Unbuttoning Brooks Brothers

The March, 1991 M Magazine article — of which scans are presented below after the jump (click “Continue”) — is our second article on Brooks Brothers during the Marks & Spencer era. Along with the previous one from Forbes, the article is part of a cache I collected while doing a paper for a Business


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The Aristocrat of Topcoats: Boyer on the Polo Coat

This year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most erudite and entertaining tomes on menswear: G. Bruce Boyer’s “Elegance.” Ivy-Style continues its efforts to digitize Boyer’s work for the Internet and a new generation of readers. This latest offering addresses the polo coat, the so-called “aristocrat of topcoats.” Below are some words of