JFK At Work And Play

A lot of original photos of JFK has gone on the auction block at Bonhams. There are a couple of sartorial details worth noting.

The photos are from 1954, when Kennedy hadn’t fully sanitized his wardrobe of Ivy affectation in order to better reflect the American public via the medium of television. In the photo above, while he may be wearing the kind of square-shouldered two-button suit he was later known for, his tie is a traditional (Anglo) stripe, and note the argyle socks worn here with a suit, a very Ivy gesture.

Next up are his play clothes, which reveal a fondness for Converse Chuck Taylors in black.

Finally, in a non-auction photo recently posted to our Facebook page, here’s JFK as a young lad already sporting a collar pin.

What wonderful juxtapostions in these photos! The youthful lad with a pinned collar; the grown-up wearing argyle socks with his business suit; the man at leisure with black high-top sneakers and a cashmere sweater. This is what gives Ivy its everlasting charm. — CC

14 Comments on "JFK At Work And Play"

  1. Is he wearing grey flannels in the picture where he’s about to throw a football? That’s a nice look, very Animal House-esque.

  2. Carmelo Pugliatti | March 10, 2017 at 2:52 pm |

    Lem Billings,the best Kennedy’s friend (the guy on the right in the first picture) was much more “ivy” of JFK.

  3. Dutch Uncle | March 10, 2017 at 3:03 pm |

    Let’s not overlook JFK’s OCBD shirt in the first photo.

  4. The auction says the pictures were taken at Georgetown while Jackie attended GU. I’m guessing the one of Jack in a pinned collar is at Bronxville where they grew up.

  5. Mitchell S. | March 10, 2017 at 4:32 pm |

    Argyle socks AND dark Chuck Taylor sneakers worn together??? I don’t think so…

  6. I wonder what lapel pin JFK is wearing on his right lapel. My Dad wore his WW2 discharge “Ruptured Duck” pin on his left lapel.

  7. Argyle socks and Chuck Taylors?! I love it.

  8. Wriggles
    I doubt it’s a lapel pin, probably just a flaw in the photo. Note the “lapel pin” on Jackie’s ankle or the long grey hair on Lem Billings neck. Ansel Adams didn’t process this photo. 😉

  9. Amazing how young he looks at 36 or 37 in an time when people aged more quickly than today. Must be the clothes.

  10. @ Mac

    Good deduction!

  11. Vern Trotter | March 11, 2017 at 1:38 pm |

    I am pretty sure at this time Chuck Taylor’s were still made in Malden Mass.; likely the reason he was wearing them.

  12. @Vern Trotter,

    It’s “Chuck Taylors”. No apostrophe, please.

  13. Vern Trotter | March 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm |


    I had my first pair in 1953. Then they were called Chuck Taylor All-Stars. High top black. In 1957 I had my first white low tops.

  14. My first pair were in 1975. I wore only the black low tops in college. It wasn’t until a decade and a half or so later, right along with the second coming of punk, that I went with any other colors — optic white and off white. I never much cared for the high tops.

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