Over the past few years, the Ivy Trendwatch has helped bring scholarly attention to the clothing and social customs of college men during the heyday of the Ivy League Look. “Take Ivy” shined an outsider’s lens on college life in the mid-’60s with a specific eye for what men were wearing. Then came the MFIT exhibit, and previous contributors Rebecca C. Tuite and Deirdre Clemente both have books coming out on postwar college life and style. Meanwhile, Richard Press is also cranking out his memoirs.
All this has helped bring us to the point today where a kid can say he wants to do an independent study course on the history of prep-school fashion and the teachers actually go for it.
Pictured above is George Cleveland, a student at The Hill School, a private institution founded in 1851 in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He’s an Ivy Style reader who seeks to connect with guys who prepped in previous decades in order to gather their sartorial recollections for his research paper.
Here’s his project in his own words:
In the fall I will return to The Hill School for my senior year. Throughout the summer and next year I will complete an independent study on the history of culture and clothing at boarding schools in the United States.
My final project will consist of an in-depth analysis of culture and clothing at boarding school and its influence on society. Moreover, it will show the history of “preppy” clothing. I will attain this goal with the following endeavors:
The Boarding School Look Book This book will depict the current and past styles expressed at boarding schools across the East Coast. It will contain pictures and snippets of writing. The snippets will articulate historical research, advice on attire, and interesting facts.
Research Paper This paper will be roughly 20 pages. It will weigh heavily on the history and influence of clothing at prep school. However, it will also touch on aspects like seniority in school, coed vs. single-sex schools, and socioeconomic influence on status. Lastly, the document will include first person memories of boarding school.
Exhibit An exhibit containing “preppy” clothing, sports equipment, short clips from boarding school films, and in-depth research will be on display in the coming year at The Center for the Arts at The Hill School. I will be accepting any items to be donated or on loan to the exhibit for the display, in case anyone is willing to provide relevant artifacts. (Similar to the Ivy-Style exhibit at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.)
Please contact me at gcleveland [at] thehill.org if you would like to be interviewed for the research paper, or if you have anything to donate to the exhibit.
Follow @takeprep on Instagram to stay connected with the project.