Jazz

Miles Ago

Today would have been the 89th birthday of Miles Davis, the jazz legend who briefly got hip to the Ivy League Look at none other than The Andover Shop in Harvard Square. It was seven years ago, while telling that story for Ralph Lauren Magazine, that I got fascinated by the social and sartorial history


No Picture

Take Five

Take a five minute break and listen to some music. Actually, you’ll need more like 15. Last night ABC’s “World News Tonight” reported on a new documentary on the plight of music in Pakistan. An important topic to be sure, but what does that have to do with us here? The story recounts a 1962


No Picture

The Ivy Style Christmas Mix

For this Christmas, Ivy Style founder Christian Chensvold and contributor/comment leaver Daniel C. Greenwood (“DCG”) are pleased to present a little holiday merry-making. We’d planned to just give you one tune, but ended up with four good takes, so consider this Christmas megamix the equivalent of a Joseph A. Bank sweater sale. Now the disclaimers:


Ethan Hawke’s Chet Biopic And Holiday Trumpet Fanfare

Last night on “The Jimmy Kimmel Show,” actor Ethan Hawke, whom Tradsville knows for his early role in “Dead Poets Society,” discussed his upcoming Chet Baker biopic. Unfortunately, as with the long-gestating Miles Davis project headed by Don Cheadle, the film will focus on the jazz musician’s later years, not the years when he would


Soft Shoulder Shuffle By The Hook Vents

Last week something new shook the foundations of the sedate community of Tradsville — a rockin’ blues band called The Hook Vents. The coolest thing about the band and their tune “Soft Shoulder Shuffle” is that the musicians were never in the recording studio together. They simply laid down their tracks individuallly and emailed them


My Way: Section Of West 77th Named For Miles Davis

Today, on Miles Davis’ birthday, a section of West 77th Street is being christened Miles Davis Way. The jazz legend made his home there for 25 years. Davis will always hold a special place here, as it was in the summer of 2008, while on assignment for Ralph Lauren Magazine doing a piece about when


The Marketing Man Who Made Jazz And Ivy Cool

Commenting on our article “Is Ivy Cool?” reader “Camford” asked, “Are cigarettes and jazz cool?” I cannot say whether they are cool. Well, I could, but I won’t, as my physician, insurance agent and childhood music teacher might be reading this article. But I believe they are both addictive and potentially lethal. When I was young


No Picture

The Heyday Christmas Turntable

The time for Christmas cheer is once again upon us and Ivy Style is here to help you celebrate in midcentury manner. When one thinks of the Christmas season, one of the first things to spring to mind is music. With that in mind, here’s a look back at some worthy old chestnuts, standards and


Room For Squares: Kamakura’s Handkerchiefs & Neckties

We’ll conclude the recent batch of Kamakura-versus-Brooks discussion (aka the “buttondown showdown”) with a couple of photos snapped yesterday in the Madison Avenue store. The shop may be small, but it still has room for some newly arrived pocket squares and wool neckties, in addition to all the shirts.


This Day In 1959

…. the Guggenheim Museum opened. One year later William Claxton took the above photo of jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. A previous Ivy Style tribute to Coltrane (and the Claxton photo shoot) is here, while a post on striped sportcoats is here. As for posts on buttondown-collared shirts, Mr. Erik J. has weighed in on the


A New Port Of Call

Lately we’ve been talking about the year 1954 as an arbitrary starting point for the Ivy heyday. Both LIFE Magazine and Playboy ran big stories on the look that year, and Miles Davis is believed to have first donned Ivy duds about that time, serving as an example of the many guys who would become


Must-Have Summer Vacation Item: The Dacron Suit, 1961

Every so often while working the Ivy beat, I come across an historical document so utterly anathema to the world of today that it feels like it’s from another universe. Case in point, this advertisement just dug up by assistant editor Chris Sharp. It ran in a May, 1961 edition of the Brown University school


Ivy Style Salutes Squaresville Appreciation Month

Now that April’s Jazz Appreciation Month is over, Ivy Style would like to declare the merry month of May Squaresville Appreciation Month. Throughout the month Ivy Style will cater to philistines, dullards and middlebrows with series of posts devoted to repressed WASPs, conservative politicians, the accounting and insurance industries, Internet trads, and the buttoned-down mind


Lemmony Snippet: Jack’s Jazz Piano At Cafe Carlyle

We close our tribute to Jazz Appreciation Month with the short clip above, in which Jack Lemmon demonstrates his impressive piano chops at Cafe Carlyle with Bobby Short. Not one sour note. Lemmon was born to play the sack-suited, dyspeptic advertising man of the Atomic Age. We’ve previously done posts on his films “Good Neighbor


Jazz Goes To College

On our recent post in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month, someone left a comment saying he was at college in the ’50s and that jazz was only for beatniks. Sure beatniks dug jazz, but so did the guys above, and they’re goatee and sandal-free. The photo is from the 1960 yearbook of Lehigh University, and



It Might As Well Be Spring

Last night on the quiz show “Jeopardy!” there was a jazz category. The contestants left it for last and then failed to answer a single question. America’s classical music, indeed. On New Year’s Eve I made a resolution to work on my jazz piano chops. It’s the only resolution I’ve kept through March. My girlfriend


Hollywood Style: Before The Golf Swing, The Other Kind Of Swing

Last night I was sitting around with the girlfriend pulling up videos on YouTube and trying to explain the difference between swing, jump blues and rockabilly. I went looking for a band I knew from San Francisco and stumbled across a blast from my past: Two recently uploaded clips about an independent movie called “Swing” I



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


The Well Edited Wardrobe, Part Two

After the recent closet-purging post, some of you no doubt wondered what was left. Well, after you get rid of the stuff you don’t love and keep only what you do, you end up with a wardrobe that looks something like this: • Herringbone sportcoats, far and above my favorite pattern. • Lots of grey