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Campus Style: The Polo Coat

Think I’ll take it for one last spin today. Came across this passage recently in Nelson W. Aldrich, Jr.’s biography of Tommy Hitchcock, Jr.: The polo coat — long, belted, and made of soft camel’s hair — was still for the most part used by polo players, thrown over their shoulders for warmth between chukkers,


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Light Motif: WSJ On The Witty Embroidery Trend

There was a time when you could only get critter-embroidered clothing from a small number of clothiers, such as Chipp. The bespoke blazer above, with embroidered golf clubs, was made in 1971 and is currently for sale on Etsy for $500. But today, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, critter litter is


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The Brooks Brothers Questionnaire

In the history of the Ivy League Look, Brooks Brothers takes center stage. The brand has changed over the years, but so has society and the way men dress. In the interest of research and to better understand this website’s readership, its perception of the Brooks Brothers brand, and its shopping habits at the retailer,



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York Street’s Grand Opening

Uptown met Downtown Tuesday night at the grand opening party for J. Press’ York Street store in the West Village, where Yalie and Madison Avenue J. Press stalwart David Wilder joined this Dartmouth man and Ivy Style cheerleader in a chorus of “The Whiffenpoof Song.” Sadly no one commented on “the magic of their singing.”


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The Reluctant WASP: George Will On William Zinsser

In his column yesterday for the Washington Post, George Will discusses William Zinsser and the craft of writing, making a passing reference to J. Press and the formality still observed by old-school WASPs such as Zinsser: Tooting his own trumpet is not the style of this self-effacing and decorous WASP, who never leaves his Manhattan


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Norman Hilton Trunk Show In Princeton

Today Nick Hilton sent out an email message with this 1965 image. The car may look dated, but certainly not the clothes. A couple of years ago son Nick resurrected his father’s name for a line of Ivy-cut jackets, and glad to see he’s still doing them. The spring trunk show kicks off this weekend



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Barking Mad: An English Ad Man In Madison Avenue Clothing

There will always be Americans and Englishmen who find the other culture more appealing. You don’t have to look hard to find Anglophiles in the States, and “Downton Abbey” has relit the Anglomania torch that never really gets extinguished. But while having English taste points your class arrow upward in the US, having American taste in


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Macy’s Knows Its Yale, 1941

Some five years ago, Tradsville personality “AldenPyle” started a thread at Ask Andy that included the above ad, which ran in the Yale Daily News in 1941. The ad touches on several themes we explored in our recent rise and fall essay. First off, notice the split between clothes for campus and clothes for town, which


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Hollywood Style: Before The Golf Swing, The Other Kind Of Swing

Last night I was sitting around with the girlfriend pulling up videos on YouTube and trying to explain the difference between swing, jump blues and rockabilly. I went looking for a band I knew from San Francisco and stumbled across a blast from my past: Two recently uploaded clips about an independent movie called “Swing” I



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Reader Poll: How Ivy Are You?

How Ivy are you? Or rather, how Ivy is your wardrobe? Do you take the heyday as your guide and reject any items not part of the genre during the ’50s and ’60s? Or do you simply enjoy reading about the heyday and looking at vintage photos, but dress with a contemporary sensibility? Recently I



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Rolling Along: Kamakura Shirts’ Global E-Commerce Coming Soon

This morning I received a dispatch from Kamakura Shirts letting me know they’ve started an English-language Facebook page. The company is progressing with its plans to offer global e-commerce capabilities with a target date of April, so soon you will be able to get its collar-rolling oxford shirts without having to journey all the way


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Upwardly Mobile: Aspirational Ivy In Developing Markets

During the Ivy heyday, when the natural-shoulder style sold by Brooks Brothers and J. Press became known by the popular term “The Ivy League Look,” Main Street clothiers often used the term “Ivy” in their marketing copy, even naming products the “Ivy League” model, as in our recent Stetson hat post. But that all seems quaint



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Frugal Trad: Stafford Prep At JC Penney

Our last post on William F. Buckley included an eyewitness account of a JC Penney label spied inside one of WFB’s suits. Then yesterday, as I was exiting at Herald Square, one of the MTA’s more labyrinthine subway stations, I found myself taking an exit that led straight to a Penney’s escalator. Remembering the Buckley


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Selling Short: The Shrunken Jacket Image Contest

As “Take Ivy” and countless other photographic documents reveal, jackets were worn on the short side in the declining twilight of the Ivy heyday. But the short jacket’s current hold on the marketplace has all the earmarks of a fashion trend we’ll be laughing at years from now, the same way we laugh at the


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Old Money and Nouveau Prep: UP x WFB

Last night I attended an event graciously hosted by Allen Edmonds, who chose the classic/funky Norwood Club to show off its latest shoes. Fred of Unabashedly Prep and I were the last to leave, having a long catch-up on the world of style blogging and the menswear industry. As two guys from out west who


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Barnaby Conrad Jr., 1923-2013

Today I chatted on the phone with my old man, who remarked just as he was about to hang up that Barnaby Conrad died last week at the age of 90. I mention it here because while I never met the man — who is described in the San Francisco Chronicle as a bullfighter, diplomat,


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Arts of Asia: A Japanese Ivy Illustration Gallery

In addition to meticulously researched vintage reproductions, plus the regular dispatching of photographers and reporters to capture American collegiate style in its native habitat, the Japanese have long used illustration as a way of expressing their fervent admiration of Ivy style. From stark line drawings to realistic paintings and silly cartoons, the Japanese continue to


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Getting It Wrong: Pre-Handbook Preppy In Japan

According to the February issue of Free & Easy, Japan evidently never saw the 1979 “Are You a Preppie?” poster. As has been discussed lately, it’s always interesting to hear foreigners’ take on American culture. It’s equally interesting to hear tales about guys in other countries trying to copy American style before the Information Age.


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The Black Knit Tie, The Great Neutralizer

In the discussion thread on a recent post I quoted a passage from Geoffrey’s Wolff’s “The Final Club,” which I used to point out the importance of understatement in the Ivy wardrobe (well, contextual understatement; go-to-hell clothes are another matter). The reason the sack cut became the default jacket style for the Ivy League Look


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Main Street Ivy: The Sears Catalog, 1964

Sears called its Christmas catalog the “Wish Book.” It, along with other oversized glossy catalogs, came to American households every year heralding the Christmas buying season and giving children plenty of images to fantasize over. Studying them is a remembered rite of passage. In the days before gender neutrality, girls’ thoughts turned to Mrs. Beasley