Poetic Injustice

Before his untimely death, few men of letters embodied the jazz-fueled cool of midcentury New York better than poet Frank O’Hara. The Whitman of the modern urban landscape, O’Hara captured the essence of the city, its multitudes, and its motions of constant speed punctuated with moments of stillness. Heavily influenced by Abstract Expressionism and jazz,

Performance Anxiety

As we’ve repeatedly been told, WASP nonchalance is merely an affectation, a performance that renders its mannered marionettes ever anxious about committing some cred-crushing gaucherie. And if it’s like that for members of the tribe, just imagine what it’s like for Jews. Tobias Wolff’s 2003 novel “Old School” belongs to the prep-school-coming-of-age genre, while its


The Quiet American

Ivy-Style mourns the passing of John Updike, who died Tuesday at 76. While his status as a Great American Novelist is well known, his role as an icon of sartorial understatement is not. And so we present this homage to a master not only of English literature, but of dressing with quiet flair. Our tweed


Writers Block

In 1962 Life ran a group of photos of American authors. Pictured above is James Baldwin, while below is Philip Roth. Click on images for hi-res version:


Poor Richard

Richard Yates was one of those guys who adopted the Ivy look early in life and never let go of it. Whether due to good taste, lack of imagination, or being too impecunious to afford new clothes, Yates’ perennial style was recently described by Dan Wakefield (author of “New York in the Fifties”) as follows:


Building Character

Though he never graduated, F. Scott Fitzgerald attended Princeton and remained ever loyal to his alma mater. So loyal that while most of his characters attend an Ivy League college, Fitzgerald specifically sent his most autobiographical protagonist to Princeton. In the wake of the new film “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which is based


Boy George

The October issue of Men’s Vogue devotes its “Examined Life” column to the late literary lion George Plimpton. The piece consists of excerpts from Nelson W. Aldrich Jr.’s forthcoming oral-history bio, “George, Being George.” Included are various reminiscences by former boyhood pals, including classmates from the Phillips Exeter Academy, which Plimpton attended from 1940-1944, getting