Back in Ivy Style’s freshman year we did a post on Hugh Hefner’s Ivy phase called “Pipes And Cardigans Get The Chicks.”
Well Hef may have gotten Marilyn Monroe as the first Playboy Playmate, but Arthur Miller got her for a wife.
About a week ago Esquire’s website paid a little style tribute to Miller with a simultaneous lionizing of the sack jacket:
In this photo, taken in 1956 at the couple’s estate in Englefield Green, England, Miller is a paragon of East Coast style. A born-and-raised New Yorker, the playwright’s trad roots clearly run deep, from his dark-rimmed specs to his dotted silk tie to his oxford cloth button-down (with a pretty perfect collar roll, we might add.) But it’s that little buttonhole — right above his thumb; see it? — that holds the key to Miller’s superior style.
Basically a reworked three-button setup where the top button and buttonhole serve only as ornament so it fastens like a two-button, the three-roll-two is one of the most quintessentially American button stances. Closely associated with the “Ivy League” look that reigned during Miller’s mid-century career, it’s an enduring (and increasingly international) style to this day. Put simply: It’s a classic.
Esquire goes on to muse whether the sack jacket helped catch Marilyn’s eye. There was no mention of the pipe, alas. — c C m
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 exhibit, and previous contributors Rebecca C. Tuite and Deirdre Clemente both have books coming out on postwar college life and style. Meanwhile, Richard Press is also cranking out his memoirs.
All this has helped bring us to the point today where a kid can say he wants to do an independent study course on the history of prep-school fashion and the teachers actually go for it.
Pictured above is George Cleveland, a student at The Hill School, a private institution founded in 1851 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He’s an Ivy Style reader who seeks to connect with guys who prepped in previous decades in order to gather their sartorial recollections for his research paper. (Continue)
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 Beach Post and plugs the Squire Shop, the in-store campus shop of Florida department store chain Burdine’s. Here Dexter bit loafers are paired with Gant buttondowns and a Hunter Haig three-piece sack suit in the ’60s Ivy palette of gray and olive.
Bit loafers may be a common sight today in Palm Beach; three-piece sack suits not so much. — CC
Fifty years ago, in the midst of the Ivy heyday, mass-market retailers started offering knock-offs of items previously available from only a handful of menswear shops. Often these brands referenced the Ivy League Look in their ad copy, throwing in, for such the nature of advertising, words like “genuine” and “authentic.”
Now it looks like our own Ivy Trendwatch is producing a new round of what Richard Press calls “Main Street Ivy.” On Friday the e-commerce company Indochino sent out a mailer promoting Ivy League style.
As you can see, “Ivy League” apparently consists not of specifically styled clothing items, but of a formula that can be achieved with simple ingredients, such as bow ties, cardigans, bicycles and side-parted hair.— CC
Four weeks from today Ivy Trendwatch will shift into overdrive. The developments of the past five years, during which we’ve seen the republication of “Take Ivy,” several Ivy and preppy books from around the world, the proliferation of trad blogs and tumblrs, and of course Ivy-Style.com, will presumably shoot to new heights of public awareness when the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology unveils its “Ivy Style” exhibit.
I got the publicity ball rolling with a story in the latest issue of Ralph Lauren Magazine, which posted on the RL site a few days ago. Head over here to check it out.
It’s going to be a wonderful autumn. I’ll be reporting from the front lines on all the festivities. Stay tuned to these pages for updates on get-togethers, especially for the tours that Richard Press will be leading. — CC
Today the Rugby blog plugged a relatively new tumblr called Men Of The Ivy League, so we figured it’s about time we did the same.
The site should more appropriately be called Sportsmen Of The Ivy League, as it’s focused almost entirely on athletics. The photo-driven site (as are all tumblrs) features contemporary photos, and of the vintage ones the focus is more on the interwar years than the ’50s and ’60s, with the exception of this shot of Princeton students in 1962. — CC
What a difference half a century makes. Brooks Brothers, essentially the creators of what came to be known as the Ivy League Look, used to scoff at the term. To wit, this passage from the 1959 novel “Try For Elegance” by former Brooks Brothers employee David Loovis:
He [the floor manager] detested to the point of vehemence the term “Ivy League” although the store was generally considered as the long-time stronghold of that type of apparel. Dunar suspected Pardee’s lack of college background and a secret envy of the well-fed, rangy type of boy and man who mostly patronized the store had something to do with it.
Today Brooks Brothers unveiled a new campaign on its website and in its email newsletter that loudly proclaims the term “Ivy.” (Continue)