Us Vs. Them: Langrock Defends The Ivy Look From ’70s Barbarism

Thu 17 Jul 2014 - Filed under: 1970s — Christian
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We return to the topic of Langrock, the lengendary Princeton clothier, with these two ads from the 1970s aimed at the campus community. Together they illustrate how the shop viewed itself following the fall in popularity of the Ivy League Look.

In the top ad, Langrock touts itself as a noble knight defending the Ivy look. The copy reads:

As the only true purveyor of the Ivy look in men’s clothing in America today…


The Ivy look means natural shoulders. It means three button style. It means unobtrusive lapels. It means distinguished traditional tailoring. It means comfort as well as fit. It means fine fabrics, superbly tailored.

But if Langrock characterized itself as a knight in natural-shouldered armor, how did it view the enemy? Essentially like a pimp:


This rhetorical device has hardly changed, as Ivy Style readers with “reactionary” or “curmudgeon” in their usernames view well fitting shirts — even for those slight of frame — as “gigolo” cut.

Speaking of reactionary, in our next post Chris Sharp offers a biography of Langrock owner Alan Frank, who refused any concession to changing times and eventually found himself out of business. — CC

Fall Forward: New Items From Brooks Brothers Red Fleece

Tue 15 Jul 2014 - Filed under: 1990-present,Clothes — Christian
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When we change the clocks twice a year, we remember the direction with the mnemonic device “spring forward, fall back.” But these days retailers bring out next season’s clothes earlier and earlier, and as soon as July 4th was over there were already signs of fall.

Yesterday Brooks Brothers sent out an email blast plugging its new fall items, so I went to the company’s website to check them out.

As always there’s an endless number of bland products. Most of the creativity, for better or worse, is in the Red Fleece collection, such as the robot tie above, which I kind of like, except that whenever I have a whimsical tie hanging in my closet I never feel like actually putting it on. (Continue)


To Meet Enemies Undaunted

Sun 13 Jul 2014 - Filed under: Clothes — Christian
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Today, as you may have heard, is the last game of the World Cup. Germany will take on Argentina, and the nations have met thrice before in the final. I’ll be cheering for Germany, land of my birth (on a US military base, that is).

A couple of weeks ago pundit Ann Coulter remarked that no one whose great-grandfather was born in America is watching soccer. Time for a poll to guage interest in the world’s so-called “beautiful game” among devotees of American style. — CC

The World Cup
How closely have you followed the World Cup?


Norman Hilton: Coming (Again!) For Fall 2014

Sat 12 Jul 2014 - Filed under: 1990-present — Christian
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Our last post was on Nick Hilton’s blog post about Langrock, and today he sent out a mailer announcing the return of the Norman Hilton sportcoats he recently produced. More info as we get it. — CC


Retail Darwinism In Tigertown: Nick Hilton On Langrock

Fri 11 Jul 2014 - Filed under: 1970s — Christian
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Nick Hilton, Princeton-based son of late Ivy clothier (and Ralph Lauren’s first investor) Norman Hilton, has written a terrific post on his blog about the legendary clothier Langrock.

Entitled “A Case Study In Retail Darwinism,” the piece explores how Langrock’s resistance to change — even after the fall of the Ivy League Look — doomed it to extinction. Hilton writes:

I tried to sell Langrock our new (1971) “West End,” model. Named for the upscale, fashionable end of London, it was a shapely, two-button, darted front jacket. I thought I could convince Allen Frank, the owner, that “updated” traditional was tasteful and right. He wasn’t buying, but with a vengeance. Mr. Frank wasn’t insensitive to my pitch; he was downright insulted. True Natural Shoulder style was his Religion; the three-button, undarted coat style, the flannelly finish, and skinny pants were the sacred icons of the faith. Anyone who proposed a change was the Infidel.

“Never!”  He practically shouted. “I could never put that kind of stuff in this store! Never! My customers would be insulted.”  You’d think I’d been proposing human sacrifice. “This store stands for timeless good taste. We have no use for your fads and gimmicks. Our customers know what they want, and they don’t want shape!” It never occurred to him that Ivy League itself was just a longish-lasting fad.

Get the full story here.

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