Spin Cycle: How Bleeding Madras Washed Vice Into Virtue

Gentleman’s Gazette just published a great story on the history of madras. There’s much on the origins of the fabric in India, but even more interesting is Sven Raphael Schneider’s recap of the bleeding madras damage control at midcentury, when irate consumers were quickly educated that authentic madras was “guaranteed to bleed.” According to Schneider,


Must-Have Summer Vacation Item: The Dacron Suit, 1961

Every so often while working the Ivy beat, I come across an historical document so utterly anathema to the world of today that it feels like it’s from another universe. Case in point, this advertisement just dug up by assistant editor Chris Sharp. It ran in a May, 1961 edition of the Brown University school


Straight Dope: Connecticut Teen Discovers Brooks Brothers

Do kids still use the term “dope” to describe something cool? Evidently they do, and they’ll even use it to describe stodgy ol’ Brooks Brothers. If you’ve puzzled over who exactly is the target customer for Brooks’ more youthful offerings, such as the new buttondown and rep tie trompe l’oeil t-shirt, Brooks’ witty take on


Power Dressing In A T-Shirt And Chinos

A new book on the relationship between clothing and  power examines centuries-old European monarchs, maharajahs and tribal leaders, totalitarian dictators, and the Ivy League Look. “Power & Style: A World History of Politics and Dress,” by Dominique and Francois Gaulme, presents JFK as the centerpiece of its chapter on post-World War II American style and


Pipes & Sacks Get The Chicks, Arthur Miller Version

Back in Ivy Style’s freshman year we did a post on Hugh Hefner’s Ivy phase called “Pipes And Cardigans Get The Chicks.” Well Hef may have gotten Marilyn Monroe as the first Playboy Playmate, but Arthur Miller got her for a wife. About a week ago Esquire’s website paid a little style tribute to Miller


Three Cheers For The Pink, White & Blue

The colors of the American flag are almost the same as the traditional choices of oxford-cloth buttondowns. After all, who the heck wears yellow? And so on this Fourth of July Ivy Style bids you Happy Independence Day with this festive “fun” shirt from Brooks Brothers, which is almost as old as America itself. Let the


What The Deuce: A Tennis Image Miscellany

Today is the birthday of Rene Lacoste, the man who gave the world the original preppy polo shirt. And since Wimbledon is also currently underway, I thought it the perfect excuse for a tennis-themed image gallery. Above is a vintage tennis sweater and necktie from Newton Street Vintage; below, another vintage specimen:

Photo of Terry Melcher

Surfing Craze: Tradsville Flooded By Surf-Motif Tsunami

A swell at sea has been building and has finally crashed upon the shores of Ivy Style. Yes, there’s a surfing micro-trend going on in Tradsville. Beyond the coinciding of their heydays, the connections between surfing and the Ivy League Look are quite incidental. The founder of Ivy-Style.com used to surf, but that’s really stretching


Casual Friday: Golf & Tennis For Birchbox’s Summer Friday Series

Besides the obvious things like career and family, the two things for me that make life worth living are art and sport. During the winter I’m more focused on the art side (typically concerts), while in the summer I like to play outdoors. So when Birchbox, a company that introduces you to new stuff via


Tee & Sympathy: The White Crew Under A Buttondown

Today is another muggy summer day, and with nothing particular to do but sit at the computer between trips to the laundromat, I’m wearing a white t-shirt with chino shorts, canvas sneakers, and my boll weevil crest belt. But it would never occur to me to put on a buttondown and sportcoat over my white


New Old School: Introducing Concord Button Downs

Last summer saw the launch of a new US-made shirt company out of Massachusetts called Concord Button Downs. The line began with plaids, but has since focused on oxford cloth in both solids and stripes, including pink. “Our shirts attempt to replicate the OCBDs many men wore in the ’50s and ’60s,” says founder Daniel


Chipp In Japan, 1978

In the late 1970s, Japanese companies went on a mad spree to secure licenses for American traditional brands. Everyone knows that Onward Kashiyama acquired J. Press, and maybe even that VAN Jacket made Japanese versions of Gant shirts. But what is lesser known is that Macbeth — a trad clothier founded in 1967 by former


From Shoe To Douche: The Fall Of The House Of Biff

In 1960 Biff wore J. Press and played tennis. That same year he sired Biff Jr., who in 1986 wore Lacoste and Brooks and played squash. That same year Biff Jr. brought into this world Biff III, who would go on to wear Abercrombie & Fitch and Vineyard Vines and play lacrosse. Biff the elder

david mercer

Unbuttoned: An Interview With David Mercer

The Finnish menswear site Keikari recently profiled David Mercer of Mercer & Sons, maker of traditional buttondown oxfords. David talks about life, the shirt business, and clothing that’s built to last: I believe strongly that clothes you buy should last forever. I wear old Peal & Co. shoes I bought in the ’60s and ’70s,


Help A Prep With His Homework

Over the past few years, the Ivy Trendwatch has helped bring scholarly attention to the clothing and social customs of college men during the heyday of the Ivy League Look. “Take Ivy” shined an outsider’s lens on college life in the mid-’60s with a specific eye for what men were wearing. Then came the MFIT


By George He’s Got It: Bush 41 Is Preppiest Prez

On Wednesday George HW Bush celebrated his 89th birthday, and well-wishers were encouraged to honor the occasion by donning whimsical socks. Go-to-hell hosiery has become Bush’s trademark now that he’s at that age when dressing becomes something of a challenge. Although JFK often gets credit for being America’s preppiest president, the honor really goes to


Medgar Evers’ Widow: Jim Crow Wears A Brooks Brothers Suit

Over the years we’ve chronicled many pop culture references made to Brooks Brothers throughout the 20th century. Starting some 70 years ago, the brand began to serve as shorthand not only for affluence and tradition, but for their flipside, the stodginess and narrow-mindedness of the Eastern Establishment. Examples range from Mary McCarthy’s 1942 short story


Island Dispatch: Inside The Headquarters Of St. Johns Bay Rum

In the shadow of a hulking cruise ship, Warehouse No. 1 sits nondescriptly on the West Indian Company dock on the island of St. Thomas. Ignored by most vacationers in search of duty-free bargains, it’s nevertheless a magnet for those accidental tourists lured by the mysterious scent that wafts from the building, or who misunderstand


Great Escape: The Automotive Illustration Of Fitzpatrick & Kaufman

Recently James Kraus, who authored a piece for Ivy Style on bachelor cuisine, shared with us a post from his vintage automotive blog, Auto Universum. The piece centers around Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman, the Matisse and Picasso of automotive illustration. Writes Kraus: These lush images depicted scenes of glamour and sophistication populated by suave,


Vertical Integration: An Ode To The Striped Sportcoat

Some months ago we ran a photo of a striped sportcoat. Either that or I mentioned finding them cool. Whichever it was, I remember several readers chiming in to say that this was a faux pas, that stripes only belong on suits, and that a striped sportcoat was destined to look like an orphaned suit.


Shagging In North Carolina

What? Headline makes perfect sense to me. What did you think it was referring to? Honi soit qui mal y pense. The shagging in question is of the dancing kind, to that delightful mishmash musical genre known as “Beach Music,” the subject of a lengthy article in the latest issue of O. Henry, a magazine


In His Own Words: Audio Clip Of Holloway Denying WASP 101

Update, 7 June, 11:55 AM: Camel City Dispatch has the latest minor developments on the story. Update, 4 June, 10:23 AM: WRAL has pressed Representative Holloway on the WASP 101 story, who has said he’s just another man in a Brooks Brothers tie: Monday night, offered the chance to reconsider his denial, Holloway declined. “I’ve


Better Things: Rogers Peet & Co.

Rogers Peet was inducted into the halls of Americana with the song “Marry The Man Today” from the 1950 musical, “Guys & Dolls.” The lyrics tout the clothier as among “the better things: respectable, conservative and clean,” in company with the likes of Readers’ Digest, Guy Lombardo, golf, galoshes and Ovaltine. That may befit the