Romance at Eastern Kentucky University, 1963

The French preppy blog Greensleeves To A Ground dug up a series of photos depicting couples at Eastern Kentucky University from 1963-1964. Plenty of chinos, penny loafers, collegiate haircuts, and third button on the back of shirt collars. Not to mention young couples gazing longingly into each other’s eyes at the most feverish “should we or shouldn’t we?” point in American history. 

28 Comments on "Romance at Eastern Kentucky University, 1963"

  1. Is it just me, or is there something kind of weird about all of those images? I can’t put my finger on it…

  2. Umm, Kentucky?

  3. The weirdness comes from the fact that they are all posed pictures, not captures of couples doing their thing. What I would really like to know is for what? Would agree on the “let get it on” looks in some of their eyes… well before hooking up was even part of the American lexicon.

  4. It hurts just to look at the amazingly-uncomfortable position of the railing post in the posterior of the young man depicted in the first photograph.

  5. Too posed, perhaps? I agree that it seems a bit unnatural.

  6. It is an oxymoron to say but these are posed candids. I am not sure if photographers still do these but it was a common thing once.

  7. “It is an oxymoron to say but these are posed candids. I am not sure if photographers still do these but it was a common thing once.”

    It happens every day across the nation in the composition of post-wedding photographs. Think of every photo of a groom holding his bride up in the air while gazing lovingly at her in front of a fountain. Some photographer was saying “great! a little higher! now smile! lovely!”

  8. Maybe I’m ignorant, but the image quality seems to be way too sharp for 1963.

  9. these are pleasant.

  10. George, While I can understand why you would make the leap to the ubiquitous wedding photographs, I was speaking on the subject of the photo essay. I am not sure how common photo studies of unwed “loving couples” are today. I am either showing my age or spent to much time around photographers, but this was once a common genre. Loving couples walking through wooded glens, sniffing flowers in a meadow ect.

  11. I didn’t notice the guy’s posterior until you pointed it out.

    I was much more interested in the third collar button, a wonderful style that I wish would come back.

  12. I have a Double RL oxford in blue and white thin stripes with a flap pocket. Got it for $15 at an RL outlet. It has the third button, and ever since I got this shirt I’ve been wishing my other buttondowns had it too.

  13. Ah, that would explain it: living in California with a wife, children, and mortgage, I can’t afford the Brethren.

    Please, by all means, do a post. Your reader-requested watch post was a big success; I imagine that one on the third button would be about half as popular.

  14. Not only ”the most feverish ‘should we or shouldn’t we?’ point in American history”, but also in British History. The English poet, Philip Larkin:

    Sexual intercourse began
    In nineteen sixty-three
    (which was rather late for me) –
    Between the end of the “Chatterley” ban
    And the Beatles’ first LP.

    More here:

  15. Christian | June 20, 2011 at 6:28 am |

    Great cultural reference there, Tim. Just watched “Sylvia” the other night (re: Ted Hughes, contemporary of Larkin).

  16. Actually, even Old Navy offered three-button Oxfords for a while a couple of years ago, though I don’t know if they still do.

  17. Hackworth | June 24, 2011 at 7:18 am |

    Regarding the back collar button, Lands’ End has it on at least one of their shirts:

    I didn’t realize it was a three-button job when I ordered it a few months ago. It’s not visible in the photos, although I see it’s listed in the description:

    “Classic details include buttondown collar (with back collar button)”

  18. J. Crew also features back collar buttons on their vintage oxfords:

  19. Thanks for clarification on the photo essay. Aside from weddings, these are becoming more common for unwed couples, particularly on the occasion of their engagement. Click on this link and scroll down to “Kristy and Jeremy”:

    As for contemporary Kentucky style:

  20. Thurman Punster | April 23, 2020 at 7:44 pm |

    They look great. Clothes are solid. Good haircuts on the men.

    Can I move there and never come back?

  21. Yes, but only on the subtle plane.

  22. Never understood white socks with anything but athletic wear. Otherwise love the look!

  23. I forwarded a few of these pictures to a friend, who replied, “looks like old-fashioned New England clothes.” Which called to mind an observation made by an owner of a men’s clothing store in the south. “We stopped doing the New England thing back in the 80s.“ By this he meant they no longer carried anything resembling classic IVy style.

    Which then called to mind and observation made by a sales representative for a clothing manufacturer—about their natural shoulder, undarted model jacket.” It’s the most New Englandy style we offer”

    Now that the style in question can’t be found on mo Ivy League campuses and Southern traditionalists have succumbed to updated traditional… Maybe all the terms we have been using our misnomers. Maybe, it really is just “old New England style”

  24. Roger Sack | April 25, 2020 at 5:24 pm |

    When I was at Cornell 1958-62 there was a tendency among us Ivy snobs
    to look down on such “innovations” as the third button, and the snap on a
    tab collar shirt instead of a traditional collar button. It probably reflects an
    innate social mechanism to distinguish one’s own “in-group”from the less
    worthy “other” and create a hirearchy of dress. However, my loyalty to this aesthetic
    was such that when I went to London summer of my junior year, I immediately
    bought detached collar shirts which set me apart from my brethren
    when I returned to school. My place the hierarchy remained secure because,
    at least in my group, Jermyn Street actually added status to the “old New England
    style” we practiced.

  25. I understand that freshmen at many men’s schools were required to wear beanies, but I’ve never heard of one on a young lady. What gives?

  26. Interestingly, Harvey Lee Yeary is a 1962 grad of EKU. He is now known as Lee Majors.

  27. At that point in time, the third button was already common to collars. What was an added attraction was the locker loop below that. Unfortunately, among kids it had become known as the “Fag Tag”, a phrase gleefully shouted as one ripped it away from the cloth covering your victim (usually a friend, rarely a stranger). It wasn’t long before they disappeared from all but the most thoroughly completed of shirts.

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