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From Collar Pop To Total Flop: Preppies The Musical, 1982

It was the summer of 1982, not quite two years after Lisa Birnbach wrote “The Official Preppy Handbook,” and I got a call from my agent in New York. After several rounds of auditions, I (then known as Susan Dow) was cast in “Preppies” and was rehearsing at the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam,


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Wednesday News Roundup

There are several bits of news here in Tradsville, so let’s take care of them all at once. First off is a new e-book by Sven from Gentleman’s Gazette. The book is on the style of the 1930s and includes a number of Apparel Arts and Esquire images you may not have seen before, several


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From Peasantry To Palm Beach: The Story Of The Bass Weejun

In the history of the Ivy League Look, Arnold Gingrich should receive honorable mention status solely based on his consideration of naming his fledgling magazine Town and Campus. He chose, however, to name it Esquire, and if that was were the story ended it would not be enough to warrant the virtual ink on this


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US-Made Calf & Cordovan Weejuns Due This Fall

Yesterday I visited the Bass showroom and got a look at the new US-made Weejun due out this fall. Bass made some last year for the Weejun’s 75th anniversary, but these are new shoes that will be part of the standard Bass lineup. The shoes are made in Maine, and while the sales rep was


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The Arguably Eternal Style of JFK

Earlier this month the Dallas Morning News did a style tribute to JFK. There’s plenty to nitpick in the story, including the awkwardly oxymoronic line that Kennedy’s style influence is “arguably eternal,” but there were a few parts I thought interesting. First off is this 1958 quote referring to “Brooks Brothers couture”: “This night, Jack


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Wax Wane On Japanese Ivy

As a follow-up to our interview with “Take Ivy” author Toshiyuki Kurosu, here’s a post we discovered recently on a blog called Wax Wane. It features some photos we hadn’t seen before of Japanese Ivy enthusiasts in the ’60s, as well as some magazine covers such as the one above, and some of those cute


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Talk Ivy: An Interview With Toshiyuki Kurosu

I am currently working on a book about the importation of Ivy League fashion into Japan in the 1960s, and as part of the research I sat down with Toshiyuki Kurosu (pictured above second from left) in February at the Kamakura Shirts office in Tokyo. Kurosu is legendary in Japan as one of the very


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O’Connell’s, Main Street Clothier Since 1959

O’Connell’s may be located on Main Street in Buffalo, NY, but it’s certainly not “Main Street” in its wares. The company has been offering the real deal since 1959, and is still family owned. The website Department of Style recently paid O’Connell’s a visit and produced a short but fun video. Check it out. —


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It Might As Well Be Spring

Last night on the quiz show “Jeopardy!” there was a jazz category. The contestants left it for last and then failed to answer a single question. America’s classical music, indeed. On New Year’s Eve I made a resolution to work on my jazz piano chops. It’s the only resolution I’ve kept through March. My girlfriend


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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