Specs In The City

Wed 24 Sep 2014 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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I brought my camera to the “Rowing Blazers” party last night at the new Polo flagship on Fifth Avenue, but the event was so packed taking pictures was too much trouble.

That is until a certain bespectacled gentleman passed by, none other than Larry from The Andover Shop, who was down from Cambridge and looking quite natty.

I’ll update with links to party pix as they go online. — CC

Hit The Lode, Jack: The Khaki Kickstarter Campaign

Tue 23 Sep 2014 - Filed under: Clothes — Christian
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Longtime Ivy Style supporter Jack Donnelly was founded by a young entrepeneur with the crazy dream of making khakis in America. “It’s something I believe in and have sunk my entire life into for the last five years,” says founder Gregg Donnelly.

Now he’s heading into stage two of his endeavor with a Kickstarter campaign that launched yesterday. Check it out to see how you too can help keep the quintessential American pant made in America. And who knows, the kid might just turn out to be the next fashion mogul. After all, Ralph Lauren started out making ties.

Best of luck, Gregg, and may you hit the mother lode. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD


A Trad Among The Radicals

Sun 21 Sep 2014 - Filed under: 1990-present — Christian
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I spent a summer at Cal doing a French intensive. It’s the kind of crash-course where you walk in on the first day and don’t hear a word of English eight hours a day for the next 10 weeks (that’s right, they teach you French in French). By the end of the summer you can read a newspaper, or at least a children’s book, and for the rest of your life sound like a pretentious twit whenever you order a croissant.

I don’t remember exactly what I wore that summer some 20 years ago. It certainly wasn’t tie-dye and bellbottoms, but nor was it a bow tie and blazer.

Pictured above is Berkeley student Will Coleman, who, if he isn’t the president of the campus Republicans, must certainly be taken for it. But that didn’t stop the student paper from acknowledging him as one of the school’s best — and certainly unique — dressers. — CC


First To Arrive, Or Last To Leave?

Fri 19 Sep 2014 - Filed under: 1950s,Historic Images — Christian
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At a party you never want to be the first to arrive nor the last to leave, though someone inevitably must be. Dorm life (which is kind of like an endless party) is no different. This young chap is either an eager beaver at the start of the year, or a sentimental sap waxing contemplative after everyone else is long gone. From the Brown Alumni Magazine, 1953.

Chris Sharp found the photo. Maybe next he’ll find the guy and ask him whether he was coming or going. — CC


Post #1,000: The Ivy League Look Crossword Puzzle

Mon 15 Sep 2014 - Filed under: Clothes — Christian
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A few weeks short of our sixth anniversary, Ivy-Style.com has reached blog post number 1,000. For your brain-teasing entertainment, we have created a test to see how well you’ve been paying attention for the past 999 posts.

Click here for a larger file of the crossword above, drag it to your desktop, enlarge if needed, and send it to the printer. Then grab a pencil and a cup of coffee. Feel free to discuss in the comments section, but please no sharing of answers.

We had a lot of fun creating this. The clues, at least. The actual puzzle was generated by an inexpensive puzzlemaking website. Please excuse its haggard appearance.

We’ve also enjoyed informing and entertaining you for the past thousand posts and look forward to a thousand more. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD & CHRISTOPHER SHARP

Update: Click here for the answers!


Sharpen Your Pencils

Sun 14 Sep 2014 - Filed under: Clothes — Christian
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 Sharpen your pencils. Or if you’re really bold, use a pen.

And get a good night’s sleep. Or pull an all-nighter reading the previous 999 blog posts.

You’ll also need access to a printer.

Post number 1,000 goes live Monday morning. — CC & CS


James Brown III: LIFE Magazine’s Face Of Ivy, 1954

Fri 12 Sep 2014 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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The name James M. Brown III may not be familiar to you, but every trad web surfer knows his face, the face of an undergraduate of 60 years ago. Brown is pictured above in a shot from LIFE Magazine’s 1954 article “The Ivy Look Heads Across US,” which was much seen when the LIFE archives were put on the web several years ago.

James Brown may have been destined to be the poster boy for J. Press and the new collegiate look that would sweep America in 1954. He was born in New Rochelle, New York, and raised in Mamaroneck and Darien, Connecticut. Brown was in the Kent school class of 1952. While at Kent he played football and hockey and rowed crew. Brown was in the Yale Class of 1956, where he was a member of Fence and Haunt (America’s oldest drinking club). He majored in American Studies and minored in visiting the prominent girl’s schools.

Ivy Style caught up with Brown via his yacht club. The octogenarian, who still possesses a warm smile and bright eyes, was interested in revisiting the article again and graciously shared with us his memories of how he became the face of Ivy (in profile, at least).

It was the fall of 1954 when a simple errand put him on a collision course with Ivy style history. “J. Press, or J. Squeeze as we called it, was the New Haven substitute for Brooks Brothers,” says Brown. “Best I can remember was that I had walked in to check on tails they were making for me.” When Brown entered the shop he was initially unaware that LIFE was shooting the New Haven portion of the article. “Somebody asked if I would change and then come back for some pictures. My residential College, Davenport, was next to J. Press, so it was easy.”

The photographer was Nina Leen, a Russian-born, self-taught vagabond who emigrated from Germany in 1939. She became one of LIFE’s first female photographers with more than 50 covers to her credit.   Her photograph shows Brown being fitted for a sportcoat by a veteran J. Press salesman Herman Racow. This was a little bit of artistic license, Brown explains: “My salesman was George Feen, a short fellow, and you stuck with one salesman. George was the go-t0 guy for fixing parking tickets.”

Many Ivy devotees have mooned over the jacket he is wearing in the photo. “I don’t think I bought that jacket,” Brown recalls. “As I remember, they wanted to feature it and it fit.”

The tailcoat he’d commissioned was another matter. It saw plenty of action during the debutante season. “There were a lot of great coming-out parties with lots of alcohol, legal then,” he recalls. “I remember rolling down the hill of John Nicholas Brown’s daughter’s coming-out in those tails, to the breakfast tent at 2 AM. That house is now Harbour Court, the New York Yacht club station in Newport.”

Being featured in LIFE was a footnote in what has been a full life. After college, Brown served two years as an officer in the navy before heading to Wall Street. “The floor was very white shoe/old school tie while I was there. There were some incredibly unsharp members, sons of partners and guys who had the money to buy a seat. Going rate was $165K at the time. I have to admit, many of the clerks I worked with were sharper than I. Eventually firms got smart and bought seats for many clerks. They made great brokers.” Brown spent 11 years as a member of the New York Stock Exchange and a partner at Goodbody and Co. “It was a good life and I was lucky for the opportunity,” he says. “I hung in there until things got untenable.”

As far as hobbies go, Brown’s first love was actually being on the other side of the camera. “My grandfather introduced me to photography when I was 12. His dark room, where I learned, was featured in the 1928 Leica manual. While in the navy I won a couple of international awards for my photos.” Brown eventually became a commercial photographer. “I shot everything from fashion to candy,” he says. “I had a natural bent for marine photography after a lifelong love affair with boats.” That’s a bit of an understatement, considering Brown has captained or crewed in most of the major Eastern Seaboard races over the years. “What I loved about commercial photography was the challenge of lighting and solving problems,” he continues, “even to the extent of making some of my own gear. There was no Photoshop back then. It was film and you had to get it right the first time.”

Now happily retired in Florida, Brown still enjoys photography and sailing. — CHRISTOPHER SHARP


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