When I first moved to New York in late 2009 the Hartmarx Corporation gave me a couple of private views of their advertising archives. These are the last images I was able to grab. They date from the 1950s and document the trend in menswear to the natural-shouldered look. The final document has a nice breakdown of how the long, lean effect in the other images is achieved, beyond the svelte physique that nature (or in this case, the artist) has bestowed on the models.
The image above has an interesting collegiate theme: the homecoming reunion of the class of ’31 (making this presumably ’51 or ’56). With the collar roll, glasses and overall vibe, somehow the word that pops into my head to describe this image is “trad.” Also, those familiar with the identity of the blogger formerly known as Longwing might see a certain resemblance to the gentleman on the left.
Continuing the collegiate theme is this ad featuring a couple of coeds admiring their professor on his way to the faculty club, to the chagrin of their highwater pants-clad classmate:
This ad extolls “slim, trim lines and straightforward naturalness:”
Hartmarx had a date for this one. The ad ran in Time Magazine in 1956:
Finally, here’s an ad that breaks down how the elongated effect is achieved. The ad ran in LIFE in 1953, and explains the new trend in menswear, which includes a “trim, youthful appearance as opposed to V-shaped exaggeration,” and a “straight-line effect where the sleeve joins the shoulder.”
Moreover, “Shoulders have been given a more natural, not-so-wide look. Lapels have been slimmed down, buttons placed somewhat lower and virtually all suggestion of waistline eliminated, front and back.”
Take these instructions to your tailor, lose 10 pounds, and you too can achieve a youthful look of slim straightness. — CC