Ivy Style Book Sneak Peek

It’s kinda cool to have your name on a book — especially when you didn’t even have to do anything.

Last week I got a copy of “Ivy Style,” the book, published by Yale University Press, no less, that accompanies the MFIT exhibit. It includes my Q&A with Richard Press from here. Other writers contributed chapters on related topics such as the British influence on Ivy garb, and Patricia Mears, the museum’s curator provided several overview chapters.

Heavier on text than images, the book includes some old, some new:

Here’s Ivy in the early years:

Here’s the heyday chapter:

Boyer contributed a number of his writings, as well as a chapter on the jazz-Ivy connection:

My interview with Mr. P:

I look forward to reading it closely and am sure there will be much fodder for material to further explore in future posts.

The book is due out in November and can be pre-ordered through Amazon. — CC

12 Comments on "Ivy Style Book Sneak Peek"

  1. Just placed my preorder! Looks fantastic, can’t wait for it to ship!

  2. One of the few books published on the subject that I will actually purchase. I am glad to hear that it is heavy on text as the press release made its content sound very interesting. I am looking forward to reading it.

  3. Ah, the Princeton University Band (first picture). For those of you who have never witnessed a “scramble band,” theirs is a unique sense of humor. If you’re bored today at work, check out their Wiki page, which outlines some of the band’s antics.

    Here’s a great example:

    The band plays “The national anthem…of France” during their pre-game show and pokes fun at Lafayette with a flurry of France jokes. Lafayette is not amused and does not allow the PUB to Lafayette for the next 14 years.”

  4. Every piece of work is shaped by the experiences and world view(s) of the author, or, in this case, authors.

    There are so many nuances. It’s a complicated subject, seen from a certain perspective.

    What I hear through the grapevine–take it for what it’s worth, or not–is that the strictly or mostly off-the-rack retailers were selling goods that were so-so, but not great and maybe not even as well made as some imagine. The myths persist.

    At least two older gentlemen who worked in the trade allow that Norman Hilton was the game-changer for high-end off-the-rack natural shoulder clothing, especially in the South–upscale Southern men’s shops that catered to the traditional yet refined tastes of men who understood and appreciated quality. Thing is, the goods were twice as expensive as anything else in the shop. What would such a jacket or suit cost nowadays? Roughly the same cost as modern-day high end made to measure. At least a grand and, for the better cloth, higher and maybe much higher. One source says he remembers Norman Hilton blazers selling for around $600 in the late 60s. What’s that in today’s dollars?

    There was a world of difference between really top drawer “Ivy”…and the rest.

    Today’s “trads”–it seems they’re fine with cheaply made goods.

    Most men who can afford the better MTM or custom or really well-tailored off-the-rack aren’t going for the Ivy look. I guess I can understand why, even if softly tailored clothing requires as much or more attention to detail.

  5. It’s great to see some of Press’ current off the rack offerings, by the way. The Made in the USA tweeds in particular. A safe hunch is cloth that’s as good as the tailoring. Probably better than a lot of MTM. (since there’s a lot of mediocre MTM out there). A nod to the Heyday–the good stuff, I mean. Kudos to Press.

  6. Matthew Benz | August 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |

    Congrats, gentlemen. It’s a great-looking book.

  7. Wow, it looks damn good. Can’t wait to get my grubby paws on this.

  8. Austin, is the Stanford band a “scramble” band?

  9. Dickey Greenleaf | August 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm |

    Eli, and Chris, what?, writting a book together, merging Nepotism?, to be continued……….

  10. Yes, I believe Stanford also has a “scramble” band. Hilarious counter-points to the pomp of big time marching bands, if you ask me.

  11. Back to clothes.

    The greatest gifts to this forum are the interviews with Mr. Winston and Mr. Press. If this exhibit does nothing else, let’s hope it reveals Ivy Style to be what it really and truly is: the high point of tailoring in America. Not all of it, mind you. But more than enough. As Mr. Press correctly puts it: a true natural shoulder is unbelievably difficult to make. It’s a lost art–well, almost.

    Pollock lamented the ennui, and more than a few have referenced the tragic lack of imagination. Regarding both patterns (why not try lower framed patch pockets on a tweed or blazer?? Why not a 12 inch hook vent?) and cloth (why must we settle for the cloth they use in the factory or even the cloth we find in the books?)

    Real deal “trads” who live in or near New York, Boston, D.C., and maybe Philadelphia are out there. Not many. A few. And here I don’t use the term in reference to anything but style. Clothing. There are still men who won’t settle for the same ol’. Their tastes run traditional but creative…and, in terms of cloth, just as picky as guys who are going English bespoke.

    I know of two tailors in New York who can and will happily work with the customer on sourcing unique (bespoke) tweeds, Woolens, and worsteds. This goes beyond picking cloth from books. The tailors will keep leftovers for future clients. And the preferred style among a few remains natural shoulder three button soft roll with lapped seams, center hook, and quarter inch machine stitching. As befits a tailored piece, there’s some shaping.

    It can be done, and a few dinosaurs are insisting upon it. Some of them younger. Probably candidates for the Young Fogey Club.

    I wish Mr. Press was still at the helm. Don’t you? I’d love to see redesigned tweeds and repps and shirtings and flannels–all sourced at mills and weavers who would happily run 12m or less.

  12. My preordered copy was delivered yesterday (Thursday, October 11) and Amazon lists the publication date as October 16. I’ve enjoyed it so far and I wouldn’t have known about this book had I not read this post back in August, so thank you!

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