Studied Carelessness, 1934

This is what passed for undergraduate nonchalance in 1934: three-piece suits, suspenders, lace-up shoes, topcoats and hats.

From the January issue, here’s Esquire‘s take on the studied carelessness of collegiate style. — CC

8 Comments on "Studied Carelessness, 1934"

  1. Henry Contestwinner | March 16, 2017 at 7:40 pm |

    Also casual: the belted back; the color (green) of the belted-back jacket; the color (brown) of the suit; the material (tweed) of the suit; the knit ties; and, of course, the button-down shirt. And the overcoat Mr. Green Beltedback is holding? Super casual!

    While it all looks pretty nice, I can’t say that I care for the combination of black and brown.

  2. Undergraduate nonchalance is not found in the three-piece suits, suspenders, lace-up shoes, topcoats and hats per se. .After all, we still have to wear something. It is to be found in the shift from urban corporate dress to country / sporting wear on campus. From 19th Century white wing collars, black cravats and grey chalk stripe flannel to blue ocbd, colourful knit ties and tweed jacketing . Only to the hippies and their workwear descendants could country clothing been considered “dressed up” with its connotations of leisure and frivolous activity free from the toil of labour.

    Clothes that look right in Manhattan don’t really suit Harvard Yard and vice versa. It’s a genuine problem for me in that my taste and values conflict with my usual environment. Without the camouflage of compromise, I am liable to feeling like I am wearing a costume. The worst is when someone sincerely compliments my “outfit” when i am just wearing what I wear.

  3. A 1934 use of the term “Suitings?”

  4. Philly Trad | March 17, 2017 at 10:04 am |

    Is our gentleman wearing green socks that match his tie? Very 2017.

  5. Best few words may be “From Princeton to California, the better dressed undergraduates are wearing…….”

  6. A correct use of “suitings.”

  7. My own grandfathers were past college age by 1934, but suits and those hats on campus seem like another world to me. And a full third of the text is devoted to hats.

  8. Mitchell S. | March 17, 2017 at 1:01 pm |

    No wonder the 30s are called the golden age of menswear. Notice how the button downs omit pockets and the French style appearance of the cuffs. Very elegant.

    The women dressed just as elegantly (if not more so) than the men.

    I love the reversible coat on the guy on the left. Gabardine tan for the city and brown tweed for the country or campus. As Christian notes on his essay on the rise of Ivy style, this fashion descended from clothing and colors worn in the country and proliferated among campuses in urban areas.

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