Esquire’s League Of The Ivy Look, 1961


Esquire recently made its entire archival history available online. For a mere $4.99 per month you can digitally browse every issue it ever published.

I’m sure the folks at Hearst Media wouldn’t mind if we occasionally share the findings, as long as we give Esquire Classic a free plug. The image above is a two-page humor piece that imagines what if everyone was a little buttoned-down, grey-flanneled, and unpadded. Click on the image to enlarge. — CC

13 Comments on "Esquire’s League Of The Ivy Look, 1961"

  1. I’m confused with this. Why does the Classic Ivy League guy have a double-breasted suit and straight-collar shirt?

  2. Bags' Groove | October 19, 2015 at 1:15 pm |

    None are a “little buttoned-down, grey-flanneled, and unpadded”.

  3. Jonathan Mitchell | October 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm |

    You’re not the only one who’s confused. The humor is lost on me. Most of these guys seem to have nothing whatsoever to do with Ivy League style.

  4. I will give a stab at this, classic ivy do not think ivy but classic say Esquire 1938.
    I think the point might be by 1961 everyone wanted to be associated with Ivy even if it has nothing to do with Ivy. I would be interested to hear others readers thoughts on this.

  5. I agree it’s hard to tell just what the illustrator is satirizing. Some have sloping shoulders while others are square, but it’s hard to understand the difference in the characters. Was he satirizing the popularity of Ivy by showing in fact how much variety there was?

  6. They called it a pictured essay with climbing and prostate varieties.

    In the wearable section of the magazine they were featuring British and continental looks.

  7. Peter Woodland of Old Philadelphia | October 20, 2015 at 8:34 am |

    I agree with C. Sharp in that this is a send up, not an actual documentation of style. Esquire editors were suggesting that by 1961 the Ivy League look was becoming so popular, and so imitated (and dilluted from its origins) that a variety of personalities/archtypes were attempting to merge their style with that of Ivy, and stake a claim. But, the results are disasterous. Today, we would take the ubiquity of the word “innovation” which apparently all companies, artists, designers, hipsters are mastering, and make a terrific send up. I can see it illustrated now, with the corporate innovator, the artsy innovator, the hipster innovator, the nerd innovator,the old money innovator, and so on. The readers of this blog know that sartorial behavior is an expression of taste and comportment for some, a uniform for others, and for many a disguise.

  8. The humor consists in this:
    in 1961 ALL (or almost all) in USA was labeled as “Ivy League”.
    Ivy sold so much that the most unlikely hybrids were under the Ivy League mantle.
    So the “Continental suit” with natural shoulders was “Continental Ivy League”,the British suit “middle atlantic” Ivy League,and so.
    The core of the style is lost in a jam in which all is “Ivy League”,this is the gag of Esquire.
    Is not much different today when someone said that JFK or Fred Astaire are “Ivy League”.

  9. Primitive Ivy League all the way.

  10. Jonathan Mitchell | October 20, 2015 at 11:28 am |

    I’m sure that Messrs. Press and Boyner could confirm the fact that in 1961 most men’s clothing in the U.S. was most certainly NOT labelled as “Ivy League”.

  11. Off topic, I know, but … Esquire’s content has gone from excellent to mediocre to dreadful in the last 15 years or so. The current management must be unaware of how badly they have degraded the magazine if they are willing to let readers compare and contrast the sad successor to what was once an excellent publication.

    Aside from fashion, the old magazine featured a lot of work by serious writers that didn’t cater to readers with short attention spans. Rather, they assumed they were writing for adults. The subject matter and language were pitched at a far higher level and dealt with more important issues than “The 5 must have watches you need for your summer vacation” or “Women We Love”.

  12. What month was this Esquire magazine issue published in ’61?

  13. Esquire March 1961

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