HSM Archives Finale: A Youthful Look of Slim Straightness

The Hartmarx Corporation has closed up its Hart, Schaffner & Marx and Hickey Freeman archives until their full public unveiling. These are the last images I was able to grab before the gate closed.

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 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 exagerration,” 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

4 Comments on "HSM Archives Finale: A Youthful Look of Slim Straightness"

  1. Take Christian’s post here – and pin it up on the BB or faculty lounge (if those still exist) at our colleges and universities today, and see if anyone has the gumption to make a good change.

  2. This is the quintessential Ivy Style post. A unique mix of nostalgia, original reporting, and actual sartorial discussion of fit and proportion. Great work.

  3. Thanks, Alden.

  4. Great post. My favorite suit is a charcoal gray Hart Schaffner & Marx number purchased new in 2000. It fits great and looks great. I could wear it every day.

    Wish I could afford more! Wish that they made them like what you found in the archives!

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