Pipes and Cardigans Get the Chicks

Playboy in its early years has always struck me as the ultimate men’s magazine. The emphasis on jazz and literature gave it a highbrow edge not found in today’s magazines, in which articles on socially relevant topics, rather than aesthetic matters, provide the weight and seriousness.

Moreover, Playboy‘s editorial vision really did encapsulate a lifestyle, whereas today a “lifestyle” magazine is not one guided by philosophy, but by consumer choices. Of course, Playboy is in fact largely credited with creating the modern urban male consumer.

Like bohemian writers in tweed jackets or jazz musicians playing avant-garde music in gray suits, Hefner wore conservative clothing while radically changing America’s views on sex. Recently I discovered a tattered paperback called “Big Bunny,” written by Joe Goldberg in 1967. The book chronicles Hefner and his empire and includes the following passages:

Black-haired, instense, slightly under six feet, he looks, in his often-photographed costume of white button-down shirt, orange cardigan sweater, slacks, loafers and pipe, like a college senior on his way to class.

And later:

[Hefner’s] dress is conservative-casual. His suits are custom-made Continental or Ivy League — he has two complete wardrobes. But he says, “Taste isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something you develop. When I came out of the war, I was wearing the broad shoulders, wide lapels like everybody else. But when I went to work [as a copywriter] for Carson’s [a Chicago department store], I discovered Ivy and Brooks Brothers and wore it consistently thereafter.”

That is, until he started wearing pajamas all the time.

Lastly, let this be a lesson to our younger readers: There was a time when it was possible to wear conservative clothes unironically, keep your hair neat and smoke a pipe, and still be a Casanova. — CC

Photo from the Chicago Tribune.

11 Comments on "Pipes and Cardigans Get the Chicks"

  1. Hef is now an old d*****bag surrounded by brainless and not even pretty bimbos. The magazine is also worthless as far as non-pictorial content.

  2. Brilliant find as always, Christian!! Let’s pray that the youth will heed those wise words at the end of your essay…..If only it were that easy ….sigh….

  3. Christian | June 28, 2009 at 3:38 pm |

    Agree that Hefner has terrible taste in women. He seems to like them as blonde and dumb as possible.

  4. he wore the ivy clothing in an attempt to appeal to the mainstream of america in order to sell more magazines…he obviously had no values behind the clothing….I like pretty women but his magazine is currently trash. The girls have fake body parts and the photos are airbrushed. He seems like a pervert

  5. Christian | June 28, 2009 at 7:43 pm |

    The magazine is a reflection of current tastes, which evidently — for reasons I can’t explain — includes the taste for spray-tanned, fake-boobed, depilated airbrushed bimbos.

    If the magazine is trash, it’s because so are we.

  6. Richard M | June 29, 2009 at 2:20 pm |

    “If the magazine is trash…”? Speak for yourself, sir.

  7. Hopefully he is generalizing about american males in general and not about us fine gentleman that post on ivy style

  8. Great post. This is my first time visiting your blog. It is really incredible. I love Playboy of that era.

  9. neat hair, classic American dress, and a full briar, can’t go wrong with that combo.

  10. Forgetting for a moment what Playboy magazine has devolved to in 2014, the original magazine appeared at a time when men, some of them at least, aspired to be urbane sophisticates, instead of the Joe the Plumber slobs that now reign supreme almost everywhere in public and private life. Even guys with degrees can’t manage to leave behind (and presumably don’t want to) their phillistine attitudes, aspirations, and behaviors these days. But since everything is pitched to such a low , readily attainable level now, why bother when easy credit makes everything accessible?

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich von B.

  11. Kyle McKenna | February 27, 2015 at 2:10 am |

    Hef is best remembered–if at all–as he was then, and not as he has been ever since.

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