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 and impressionable, I saw a jazz documentary on my local PBS station and have never been the same since. Years later I learned it was Bert Stern’s smoked-infused 1958 bacchanalia “Jazz On A Summer’s Day.” It should have come with a warning label. To this day I struggle with the compulsion to drink Rheingold beer and dance on rooftops, an endeavor I know is as foolhardy as a Lucky Strike habit.
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 rare gems from the heyday. (Continue)
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. (Continue)
…. 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 new “FIGHT!” (the term he used on Twitter) between Brooks Brothers and Kamakura Shirts for your oxford dollars. — CC
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 hip to the look as a smart and modern way of dressing.
Something else happened in 1954: the Newport Jazz Festival was founded. And in 2013, I went for the first time. It was at the invitation of a gracious “old” friend. In fact, he’s so well seasoned, he’s been going to the festival ever since it was founded. (Continue)
Every so often while working the Ivy beat, I come across an historical document so utterly anathema to the world of today that it feels like it’s from another universe.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 newspaper, and is interesting for a number of reasons.
First, the otherworldliness. The ad (which, once again, ran in a college newspaper), argues that before students head home for summer vacation, they should get themselves not Bermuda shorts and madras shirts — and certainly not flip-flops — but a “frothy” new Dacron-blend suit! The selling point seems to be that they’ll be greeted by their home town as a young man whose future success is already assured, even if he’s still not old enough to drink. (Continue)