Historic Texts

Six Years Ago — Ivy Magazine, 1957

This post originally ran this week in 2009 and was Ivy Style’s 100th post.  * * * This is Ivy-Style’s one-hundredth post. Over the past 99, I can honestly say that the thing I’m most proud of is never having once attempted to confirm or deny that there is or is not such a thing


Still Elegant After 30 Years

Apologies for being in the dark yesterday as we got bit by another bug. We’re now in the process of migrating to a new hosting company with better protection against these tedious maladies. In the meantime, we welcome everyone back with a special treat from Toronto-based style writer and broadcaster Pedro Mendes, who recently interviewed


Goodbye And Good Riddance

After that epic winter, I hope I never see tweed again. If you haven’t brushed your old jackets and put them away yet, this weekend might be the time. Just don’t forget to get outside. — CC


Typical University Of Virginia Students, 1962

Following our April Fool’s Day diversion, we return to the topic of UVA with this wonderful find by assistant editor Christopher Sharp. Pictured are caricatures by Carlton Abbott entitled “Typical UVA Students,” which appeared in a 1962 issue of University of Virginia Magazine. Pictured above is The Ghoul, whose description reads: Amusements: Bicycling, Chess, Newcomb



Roll Of A Lifetime: Esquire On Buttondowns, 1983

A reader recently left a comment saying that collar roll is a fetish of the Internet age and that didn’t exist in the analog decades. Assistant editor Chris Sharp tapped his photographic memory, rummaged through his archives, and immediately produced an article from the April, 1983 issue of Esquire in which John Berendt opined on


What, Me Worry? Yale During The Great Depression

The 1930s was the time of the Great Depression, yet simultaneously it was also the golden age of Hollywood glamor and of masculine elegance. It was also the time when the Ivy League Look flourished, though within closed corridors, the aristocratic golden age versus the postwar, democratic silver age. This article from the Yale Alumni


George Frazier’s The Art Of Wearing Clothes, 1960

Yesterday on our Facebook group a young lad wondered where he could read the famous essay by George Frazier mentioned in our previous post. While it’s certainly googleable, we figured why not present it here. There is a section on New Haven and the natural-shoulder look, plus plenty of fine general observations on dressing. Also,


Secret Society: NSA Recruiting Ads At Brown, 1968

Associate editor Christopher Sharp follows up on our last post, a slideshow on the Brown engineering department, with these late ’60s recruitment ads from Brown’s college newspaper. * * * While perusing the archives of a Brown University student newspaper, I found myself venturing where most traditionalists dare not tread: the late ’60s. My intent


Tartan Day And Men In Plaid, 1950

In case you hadn’t heard, tomorrow is Tartan Day. To celebrate, we’re sharing a LIFE Magazine article from 1950 (scroll down to page 123) that showcased Yale students in plaid vests and Andover preps in plaid caps. The article opens with this: When the British caught wind of the fact that American men were developing



Dateline 1954, The Ivy League Look Heads Across The US

In our last post we mentioned a 1954 LIFE Magazine article entitled “The Ivy Look Heads Across US.” It’s been referenced several times here, including in a few of Richard Press’ columns, as J. Press was largely featured in the article. But we’ve never actually presented it here and new readers may not be familiar


From Wall Street To Main Street: That Brooks Brothers Look, 1954

Recently on Ivy Style’s Facebook page a reader posted an article by Julien Dedman entitled “That Brooks Brothers Look.” A quick investigation revealed that the article comes from the February, 1954 issue of Playboy, and that Dedman had graduated from Yale in 1948. I’ve argued several times for the year 1967 as an end of


Spin Cycle: How Bleeding Madras Washed Vice Into Virtue

Gentleman’s Gazette just published a great story on the history of madras. There’s much on the origins of the fabric in India, but even more interesting is Sven Raphael Schneider’s recap of the bleeding madras damage control at midcentury, when irate consumers were quickly educated that authentic madras was “guaranteed to bleed.” According to Schneider,



Help A Prep With His Homework

Over the past few years, the Ivy Trendwatch has helped bring scholarly attention to the clothing and social customs of college men during the heyday of the Ivy League Look. “Take Ivy” shined an outsider’s lens on college life in the mid-’60s with a specific eye for what men were wearing. Then came the MFIT


Macy’s Knows Its Yale, 1941

Some five years ago, Tradsville personality “AldenPyle” started a thread at Ask Andy that included the above ad, which ran in the Yale Daily News in 1941. The ad touches on several themes we explored in our recent rise and fall essay. First off, notice the split between clothes for campus and clothes for town, which


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


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


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. —