Historic Texts


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


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:


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


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


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


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


The Game

The annual Harvard-Yale football game — known to students and alumni simply as The Game — has been played since 1875 and alternates each year between Harvard Stadium and the Yale Bowl. The Game is famous for its always-waning-but-never-quite-dead tradition of genteel tailgating, nowadays conducted alongside college parties more squarely within the “Animal House” tradition.


Leading Men: The Princetonians

When it comes to starting fashion trends, there’s Princeton and then there’s every other school. From the three-button suit to its namesake haircut, Princeton has popularized such menswear staples as Norfolk jackets, raccoon coats, tweed sport coats, rep ties, spectator shoes, khaki pants and Shetland sweaters. Princeton’s sartorial influence has been dulled by time, but


The Year Brooks Invented Pink

If you’re reading this, chances are there’s something pink in your closet. In fact, you might be wearing a pink polo, oxford or Shetland right now, and feeling pretty damn manly doing it. Do you owe it all to Brooks Brothers? According to LIFE magazine, Brooks all but invented the color pink — at least


Going Down: Brooks, Escalators, and Marks & Spencer

When Marks & Spencer installed elevators in Brooks Brothers’ Madison Avenue flagship, they only went down. Widely acknowledged for monumental mismanaging Brooks, hastening a decline in quality and the isolation of lifelong customers, the UK apparel firm Marks & Spencer eventually sold Brooks Brothers in 2001 after 13 years and hundreds of millions in losses.


Somewhere in Time: Socks are for Suckas

With this post Ivy-Style revisits our Somewhere in Time series, based on articles from the Time Magazine archives. Custom dictates that the bottom button on a vest or cardigan is left nonchalantly undone, a tradition credited to the absent-mindedness of Edward VII. The origins of socks without loafers are probably similar: Some stylish student somewhere


Well Groomed Conformity

In 1947, a letter from the Student Tailor Shop gave official notice to Princeton’s incoming class of ’51 that the university required its own wardrobe. “The style of clothing worn around the campus,” it read, “is different from that sold in metropolitan centers and home town stores.” From four-button suits and detachable-collar shirts in the


Somewhere in Time: Back to the Button-Down

This is the latest in Ivy-Style’s series of articles from the vaults of Time Magazine, which shed light on the evolution of traditional style through the decades. The currents of change move slowly in menswear; there is always time, as TS Eliot put it, “to murder and create.” Adherence to this adage may result in


Gentrified Campus: The J. Press 4/3

Our confrere Matthew Jacobsen of OldMagazineArticles.com recently supplied us with a vintage article from the pages of Gentry Magazine (see “The Gentrified Campus.”) Now he follows up with another one, this time from Gentry’s Autumn 1952 issue, that provides an eye-opening glimpse into how collegiate attire was presented to young men at the time. As


Nelson W. Aldrich Jr. on Preppies

Almost two years before “The Official Preppy Handbook” made preppy affectation accessible to all, Nelson W. Aldrich Jr. had already caught wind of the zeitgeist. His January 1979 cover story for the Atlantic Monthly, “Preppies: The Last Upper Class?” is a seminal work of exposition on the manners and mores of the WASP establishment. It


Boyer on Brooks

Renowned menswear writer G. Bruce Boyer has generously given Ivy Style his imprimatur to reproduce several chapters from his 1985 book “Elegance.” It will mark the first time the articles have been digitized for the Internet. We thought of no better way to launch the series than with Boyer’s chapter on Brooks Brothers, which is


Somewhere in Time: Conform and Function

Taliesin, our man in Washington, who has more Ivy League degrees than some men have suits, pens another piece in Ivy Style’s “Somewhere in Time” series, which looks at articles from the vaults of Time Magazine. It is said that the winners get to write the history books. One of the now-official effects of the


The Gentrified Campus

I recently called up an old colleague, Matthew Jacobsen of OldMagazineArticles.com, told him about Ivy Style, and said, “Whatcha got?” Matthew did not disappoint. What were Ivy Leaguers wearing in the fall of 1953? According to Gentry magazine, anything in tawny black. In a fashion spread entitled “Fashions Cum Laude for the Undergraduate,” the uber-elitist


Somewhere in Time: The Politics of Style

In honor of Election Day, Ivy Style presents the second in its series of articles from the vaults of Time magazine. For this one, commentary is provided by a Washington insider writing under the pseudonym Taliesin. Traditional Ivy style is rarely exhibited by the most visible Ivy League graduates: politicians. For instance, George W. Bush