Fall News Roundup

Here are some news tidbits as well as things that have caught my eye recently. I recently visited the remodeled Ralph Lauren Rhinelander mansion and no surprise the elegance and style are absolutely suffocating (above photo by Michael Williams; check out the rest of his shots here). What a tactile experience: I don’t think there’s



Ivy Trendwatch: Northern Exposure

If you’ve ever wondered where my patronym comes from, the answer is Norway. My paternal grandfather came over in the ’30s and settled in San Francisco, where he married my grandmother, who had about the plainest English name imaginable: Betty Jane Smith. We’re one of only two Chensvold families in the US (the other is



Ivy Trendwatch: The Return of Norman Hilton

During the heyday of the Ivy League Look, Norman Hilton was a leading natural-shoulder brand sold at many campus shops and regional clothiers. Hilton was also Ralph Lauren’s first major investor, and made many of Lauren’s suits and sportcoats in the ’70s. His son Nick Hilton has continued the family tradition, running a clothing shop


Ask And Ye Shall Receive: Trad in a Toaster

I love the message-in-a-bottle quality of the net. Send a note out and see what comes back. So on day three or so of tweeting — which is actually pretty fun — I hear about this new site Fuck Yeah Menswear, which runs “on point” stream-of-consciousness parodies of fashionable pretension. So on Friday I tweeted


Pursuit of Scrappiness: The Patchwork Tweed Cap

Recently I was perusing a 1979 Brooks Brothers catalog and this image caught my eye. I liked the contrast of the patchwork tweed cap with the otherwise “correct” clothing. This has always been the WASP approach to sartorial whimsy. I’d been on the lookout for a new cap for this fall/winter season, and decided to


Princeton vs. Yale, 1955

It’s kind of funny to think that standards of dress for a football game half a century ago were higher than for much of corporate America today. Several shots of the crowd reveal all the requisite gear: natural shoulders, buttondown collars, rep ties, short haircuts, and crewneck sweaters worn high in the front. — CC


Just Shoot Me

I have the dubious distinction of being one of the most unphotogenic style writers ever. By the time most photographers are done trying to get a decent shot of me, a new version of their camera has come out. But Unabashedly Prep’s Fred Castleberry just snapped a few quick shots and voila: yours truly in


Lost Treasure: O’Connell’s Uncovers ’60s-Era Tweed Stash

O’Connell’s is a big place. How big? Big enough for 26 tweed sportcoats to get lost for decades. Owner Ethan Huber recently discovered a stash of two dozen tweed sportcoats made shortly after the store opened in 1959. The jackets have all the Ivy details straight from the heyday: natural shoulders, three-button fronts, narrow lapels,


True Blue: Gant Returns To Yale

Originally founded in New Haven in 1949, Gant is returning to Yale with a “campus store” opening next month, the company announced today. Gant will also recreate “a limited-edition shirt collection featuring the historically significant Yale Co-op label,” set to debut in early 2011. The shop will be located at 268 York Street and Broadway,


Clothes Mad: The English Ivy Obsession

“Sussed” is one of those British slang terms that suggests maybe we really are divided by a common language. It is often used by fans of the Ivy League Look in England — finding its cognate in the American concept of hip — and is used to describe the result of a long and earnest


Sophomoric No More: Ivy-Style Completes Year Two

This Friday marks Ivy-Style’s two-year anniversary. With our sophomore year behind us, we’re upperclassmen at last. The year was full of highlights. For starters, I coined the acronym PITA (for Preppy-Ivy-Trad-Americana), which has been picked up by at least two people, and, less significantly, moved to New York. Ivy-Style added a new category called Ivy


Wet Behind The Ears: White Squall, 1996

I recently discovered the movie “White Squall,” directed by Ridley Scott and starring Jeff Bridges. Set in 1961, it’s a coming-of-age film crossed with maritime adventure. The story centers around a group of prep-school flunkies who get to redeem themselves in a kind of nautical reform school, doing their studies at sea while they learn


Brooks Brothers Spring 2011 Preview

I know, fall is here and you’re eagerly breaking out the woolens. No one could be happier than me, as I get to spend my first autumn in New York. But apparel brands are always working well in advance, so I need you to temporarily shift your brain back into warm-weather mode and have a


Immortal Sole: Adlai Stevenson and the Boston Cracked Shoe

If you don’t live on the East Coast and are under the age of 60, the term “Boston Cracked Shoe” will not likely have any resonance. But being 77, and having spent all of my business career in the East, it’s a part of the history of the Ivy League Look that is impossible to


Alden Shoes and the Birth of American Traditional

Our man in Tokyo recently alerted us to this Japanese interview with Arthur Tarlow, president of Alden. In it Tarlow talks about how immigrant craftsmen from various European countries brought their own styles and techniques to the US, the confluence of which became a distinct style of shoemaking he calls “American Traditional.” The video was


Terminal Preppies: Skewered, Stuffed, And Put To Good Use

With this post Ivy-Style bring Preppy Week to a close. Click here to have the Dead Kennedys’ “Terminal Preppie” play in another browser window as you rejoice in the demise of Biff and Muffy. Every trend carries within it the seed of its own negation. The hype and expectation over “Take Ivy” has made it


Somewhere in Time: The Preppy ’80s

Preppy Week continues with this impressive bit of research from Greg Moniz, a student at Connecticut’s Trinity College, who brings back our “Somewhere in Time” series by compiling highlights from Time Magazine’s coverage of the ’80s preppy trend. “If one more person comes in here and asks for Bass Weejuns, I think I’ll scream,” says


Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Prep

Preppy Week continues with this pre-OPH exploration of prepdom from the August 27, 1980 edition of The Toledo Blade. Everything you always wanted to know about prep but were too stuck-up to ask By Mike Steere Blade Staff Writer For lack of a better word, we’ll stick to the label that has been so cavalierly


Preppy Week: Alison Lurie on Being Rich and Dull

In celebration of the publication of Lisa Birnbach’s “True Prep,” Ivy-Style is devoting the entire week to preppy posts. By the end of the week you’ll be so sick of them you’ll relish the final post, in which preppies are skewered and stuffed to a Dead Kennedys soundtrack. First up is an excerpt from Alison


Princeton Newsreel, 1961

Our latest video from the Princeton Campus Life channel on YouTube is just the thing to get you in the mood for the release of “Take Ivy” next week. It’s another long one, but worth watching in full. Students in jackets and ties make their first appearance at 4:26, and return repeatedly, so be patient


Ivy Jukebox: White Bucks and Saddle Shoes

We’ve previously written on how the Ivy League Look was the perfect garb to gain approval from a girl’s father. Even though a boy had wolfish intentions, in white bucks and a crew cut he might convince her parents to let her stay out past 10. Now here’s a tune that makes the same case:


Were You There?

Several Ivy-Style readers have left interesting comments recently, mentioning how they’ve been wearing button-downs and Weejuns for 50 years, and stuff like that. Here’s a comment on the Brooks Brothers novel post from a reader who worked at Brooks at the time: I took a year off from college and worked at Brooks from fall


Ivy League Killers, 1959

Just how much was the Ancient Eight a part of pop culture during the heyday of the Ivy League Look? Enough to inspire a B movie like 1959’s “Ivy League Killers,” whose title, reeking of both murder and elitism, was sure to have kids across the nation flocking to drive-ins. The film (which was made