If there’s one character in “The Official Preppy Handbook” who could be singled out for derision, it’s the skier. Wearing mirrored sunglasses and a cocky sneer, he looks like the kind of guy you’d hate everything about.
Everything, that is, except his ski cap from Moriarty of Stowe, Vermont.
For five decades the Moriarty cap and the Stowe ski industry grew in tandem. Here is a story that appeared in the June 2006 issue of Skiing Heritage Journal, recounting how Anabel Moriarty founded a cottage industry and outfitted American Winter Olympians, including her son, from 1956-2006.
Today, as the opening ceremony marks the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics, I wish I could tell you that Moriarty is still a dominant force in ski hats. But there is no longer a store on Main Street, according to the Stowe Chamber of Commerce. The Vermont Ski Museum was also unable to locate a store representative.
But there are still hats available. The museum has a few caps left emblazoned with Stowe, and an Internet search reveals some interesting things for preps who turned left at Bohemian. Moriarty hats and sweaters also appear on eBay from time to time.
The optimist in me believes the Moriarty hat is simply dormant. I’d also like to think there are some Vermont knitters just waiting for someone to appreciate their work again.
As the old advisement used to say, “The People of Vermont make great maple syrup, great cheddar, and the best ski hats in the world.” — CHRISTOPHER SHARP
AldenPyle of Andy’s Trad Forum, one of the most diligent ransackers of the LIFE archives, recently dug up some photos of the 1936 National Amateur Golf Championship at the Garden City Golf Club.
The winner was John W. Fischer, who took the cup not only for his fine form on the fairway, but for being the most Ivishly styled. The shot of him above caught my eye. Note the natural shoulder, 3/2 roll and patch pockets, and perfectly contemporary proportions. The lapel width is even so spot on you could wear the jacket today, nearly 80 years later, and not have to change a stitch. (Continue)
How many posts are we going to do on raccoon coats? Answer: as long as we keep getting fresh material, which in this case was supplied by Yale undergrad Riley Ford, who wore his great-granddad’s coonskin coat to The Game. Yeah, we realize that was six weeks ago: The kid had to finish finals.
For Bulldog fans, the 2009 edition of The Game was one to forget. Off the field, however, there was plenty to celebrate: Regardless of outcome, the annual Harvard-Yale football game presents one of the best opportunities of the year to put together traditional preppy ensembles and turn out in force.
My great-grandfather graduated from Yale in 1916, and I’m the proud owner of several sartorial artifacts from his time in New Haven, among them a pipe, a smoking jacket embroidered with the Yale crest, and his ankle-length raccoon coat. The latter appeared on my doorstep in 2007, just after I matriculated at Yale; it had been passed from attic to attic until a distant relative heard I was heading to New Haven and graciously handed it down to another generation.
Although the coat is in remarkably good shape, I wasn’t bold enough to ship it the 1,000 miles between home and school during my freshman year. I was similarly unwilling to risk its health in the alleys of Cambridge in 2008. This year, however, I decided to brave the tailgates and constant threat of rain in true Old Yale fashion, and invoke the spirit of Yale legends past in the process.
My homage was in vain, but the weekend was not lost. I attended the Mory’s brunch tent with friends. While we found it rather sad to be posing for pictures on makeshift tables and chairs, rather than at the famed eating club itself, it was wonderful to taste the Baker’s Soup after the year-long drought brought on by the club’s temporary closing. Furthermore, we were able to continue exercising our love for the 1920s at Yale’s Prohibition Party (formerly Casino Night), and channeled Zelda and F. Scott all evening as flapper and philosopher.
Of course there was the potential for backlash from other undergraduates, indignant that their peers held Old Yale in such high regard. Save for a few catcalls from PETA devotees, we emerged unscathed. It was not nearly as cold as previous years, so fewer alums were sporting their own coats, but I bumped into a handful at the Mory’s tent who were more than willing to reminisce about the golden age. Those undergraduates who knew of the tradition found the revival genuinely cool, while those who didn’t simply scratched their hoodies in confusion.
It was the first time in almost a century that the coat had seen the inside of the Yale Bowl, and while I regret it didn’t see victory, as in 1916, it made an already special event even more memorable. Perhaps next year, my last at Yale, it will make the trip with me to enemy territory, and we shall see if the Cantabs respect the tradition of Ivy League fashion as much as their Yale brethren. — RILEY FORD
Riley Ford is an English major from Harbor Springs, MI. A member of the varsity polo team, he also rowed lightweight crew his freshman year and is involved with the Tory Party, the Yale Political Union’s most sartorial-minded and bow tie-heavy party. He’s an aspiring novelist and devoted acolyte of Fitzgerald, Rand and Wolfe.
Last spring, when I found this New Yorker article on the Ivy League Football Association, football season was already over and baseball was in the air. I’ve been sitting on it ever since and if I don’t post it now, I’ll forget and another season will be gone.
It’s not much: The main revelation is that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was a third-string quarterback his freshman year at Princeton. The article also gives us an excuse to post the above 1954 class photo of Rumsfeld, in which he looks more like a football player than how we normally think of him: a kind of third-string supervillain plotting world domination in one of the lesser Bond movies. — CC
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.
What we still call Ivy League clothing is rarely seen on the campuses of these premier Ivy League schools. Today’s Harvard and Yale students attend The Game in nondescript jeans, sweatshirts and fleece — or shorts and t-shirts if they want to signal that dressing for the weather is beneath them. But in the heyday of the Ivy League Look, as this 1962 Sports Illustrated article explains, The Game enabled Cambridge and New Haven clothiers to scout out sartorial trends and keep track of their rivals:
Whenever it is played at Harvard, as it was November 24 last, representatives of the New Haven tailoring establishments—J. Press, Fenn-Feinstein, Chipp, Arthur Rosenberg, et al.—entrain for Cambridge to render biennial obeisance and to see what the young gentlemen are wearing. The tailors themselves wear velour Alpine hats, double-breasted, tweed topcoats and blue oxford shirts to offset their sallow complexions. By custom they do not speak to one another, and, upon arrival, each goes his separate way. Following tradition, Paul Press descends into the basement of J. Press, where he stands his Cambridge branch employees to a buffet luncheon of cream soda and hot pastrami imported from New Haven.
This year’s Game will be played on November 21 at Yale and marks a return for Mory’s, the New Haven dining club that appeared headed for oblivion a few years ago. The Yale Herald reports that Mory’s will have a tent at The Game, serving brunch, drinks, nostalgia, and hope for the future.
Pictured are photos of The 1960 Game from the LIFE archives. — TALIESIN
Taliesin, who works in the federal government, holds a master’s degree from Harvard, where he was always amazed at how badly his fellow students dressed, though how impressive they were in most other respects. He has never been to New Haven. (Continue)
On Monday a young Argentine named Juan Martin del Potro won his first major title, beating Roger Federer to win the US Open.
We’d like to honor, however, Arthur Ashe, who won the inaugural US Open in 1968. He’s pictured above in 1966; the accompanying story is here.